Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Time!

So, it's the day before Christmas Eve. I'm taking a break from wrapping presents (about to wrap my a few for my son, including Rescue Bots Optimus and Charlie Burns), but I thought I'd go ahead and go over my...contingency plan.

As you may recall, last year I purchased a few TFs ahead of time for myself in the event that my family wouldn't be able to find them. The plan worked fairly well, as (I think) I only ended up having to return two transformers that I had bought for myself (though I did receive 1 HftD Highbrow apiece from my mom and mother-in-law, so I returned one of those as well).

This year, I've managed to mostly refrain from purchasing items on the list I gave to my mom, though there were a few exceptions. I got DOTM Voy. Sentinel Prime right after my birthday, and then bought HA Roadbuster during my October fall break. I also went ahead and purchased TFP Arcee, Bumblebee, and Starscream last month, though Starscream was the only one originally on the list anyway. All three of them remain hidden in package, along with Generations Black Shadow and Junkheap (who also weren't on the list, since I got them before I had a chance to add them). I also picked up DOTM Legion Soundwave last week.

And that's pretty much it...we'll see what else I get over the next few days!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Windcharger

So, hey, my Windcharger arrived in the mail today! Luckily, some low-tier retailers in other parts of the country have started getting a lot of them, and this has in turned driven down his asking price on eBay. I managed to get mine for 2x retail, including shipping.

Pretty neat little guy - it's a shame he's the only classics-style scout-class toy to see US release.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Best of 2011

Ok, so it could be a bit early for this kind of post. Christmas isn't here yet, and some of the more high-profile TF toys of the year (MP Rodimus, Kre-O Optimus, etc) aren't in my possession...yet. Even so, someone started the yearly "Best of" thread over on the Allspark, and I figured I could go ahead and compile a tentative list here, and I'll revise it later in the month if necessary.

I'll be breaking everything down by toyline, and then by size class. Ultimately, I'll post Basement Invasion's Transformer of the Year.

Ok, here we go:

Reveal the Shield:

Legends class: Megatron, for Hasbro having the ***** again to make a realistic gun mode G1 Megatron. Also, bonus points for making the barrel the fusion cannon instead of back kibble. Extra bonus points for making it compatible with the Masterpiece Seeker mold!

Scout class: not that I have it yet (I did manage to win one on ebay for only 2x retail the other day, though), but Windcharger kinda takes this one by default. I mean, his only competition was Chopsaw, and no movieverse repaint is going to be able to compete with an elusive new-mold G1 character. It's just too bad we never got Frenzy/Rumble to go with Windcharger.

Deluxe class: Perceptor. Very cool alt mode that echoes the Animated version of the character, and a great bot mode to match it.

Voyager class: Lugnut, no question. Yeah, Solar Storm Grapple (I swear, it's like I could just make shit up and it'd be a TF name) is pretty cool, but Lugnut is fantastic. He not only manages to be a great homage to the Animated version, but also be a much better toy.


Generations:

Deluxe class: Well, this is the only category, isn't it? And there's so much awesome to choose from...I guess I'll have to go with one of the most recent entries, Black Shadow (well, Sky Shadow, but whatever). See, the thing is, most of the other awesome new mold guys (Kup, Scourge, Warpath) would have inevitably gotten new molds anyway, or at least gotten an homage mold from some other part of the franchise. But a new Black Shadow was never going to happen. Well, at least until we also got a new Thunderwing, the original version of whom the first Black Shadow was remolded from. Even then, the release of Generations Thunderwing last year didn't guarantee a new Black Shadow. He'd have to at least get a new head mold, and there was always a chance that the Thunderwing mold could end up as one of those (nowadays) rare molds that never gets repainted. Or Hasbro could have just repainted him as someone totally unrelated (Earth-mode Terrorsaur!) or brand-new. But, no - Hasbro took the opportunity, made a new head AND chest piece for the toy, and one year after Thunderwing we got Black Shadow. And, right now, he's relatively easy to find, too.

Dark of the Moon: OK, the big bad movie line of the year.

Mini-con: Yep, there are four older minicons repainted and put in DOTM-style packaging, so I figure they could get a shout-out here. "Dualor" is the best of the set, being that he's basically a Grimlock minicon (a Classics Terrorsaur repaint, if you couldn't figure it out). Still, Catilla (from the tiger minicon mold) gets up twinkles for being, well, a Catilla
homage.

Cybervese Legion: I dunno. There's a lot of fun ones here. I'll have to settle for a 3-way tie between Sideswipe, Roadbuster, and Crowbar. Sideswipe has a fun, clean transformation, Roadbuster is just a lot more than you expect from a legends/legion toy, and Crowbar is really interesting (not to mention pretty posable).

Cyberverse Commander: On the Allspark, I posted Hatchet as my choice here, but now that I think about it, I'm going with Blackout. He has an amazing transformation and manages to be a much better toy than his TFM Voyager counterpart. Add in the tiny Targetmaster Scorponok, and you're golden. Really, this size class has been one of the best new things about 2011. The only real "duds" are Optimus and Sentinel, and even they're decent (especially the Battle Steel Optimus repaint with the new weapons).

Cyberverse Action Sets: I've only got the Megatron one, and even that one I just got a few weeks ago. It's pretty cool, though. I'll eventually get Shockwave, since it's not clear that he'll get a single-packed release, but all the other ones are passable.

HA Scout/Basics: Maybe Icepick? I think that's my favorite to transform, and it makes some good ninja poses. Plus, Sgt. Chaos is pretty cool. Doesn't have the best weapon mode, though; I think that goes to Whirl.

Deluxe: Cyberfire Bumblebee. The new BB mold for DOTM is pretty awesome, but when Hasbro slapped this deco on it, they really hit a home run. It's like BB is possessed by the Fallen. It's great. Also, bonus points to a very awesome (and fun!) Laserbeak.

Voyager: Megatron. Just a great, creative voyager. Also, one of the few DOTM toys to have an integrated Mechtech weapon. Both Shockwave and Sentinel are fun, too, though.

Human Alliance (large): Roadbuster. Yeah, he's the only DOTM HA I have right now, but he's also really good. His car mode is really cool and he has a very interesting, involved transformation. One of the best HAs and reason for this size class to continue.

Leader: Sentinel. When you're competing against an oversized BB and a sort-of-crappy Ironhide, it's easy to be #1. However, I think it's awesome that we can even say the phrase "Leader class Sentinel Prime" without it being a pipe dream. All you Bay haters better thank the movies for giving some of the really obscure characters a spotlight.

Kre-O: Seeing as how I only own 2 of these sets, and there aren't that many releases in each of the "size classes", I think I'll just break it down between the sets themselves and the Kreons:

Sets: Megatron. Between him and the larger Bumblebee, he's a bit more interesting in terms of blending design traits of various Megatrons. It's easy enough to construct an awesome wheel cannon, a la Cybertron Megatron, for him too. Also, the truck mode looks really cool, and the tiny cell is fun.

Kreons: Of the ones I have, I'll go with Shockwave. He's just a cool looking little guy, mostly due to his helmet/face. The gun could be better, though.

Transformers: Prime (First Edition):

Deluxe: As of this posting, this is the only class that has been released in the US. While I own the normal releases of Starscream, Arcee, and Bumblebee, I've yet to open them as I'm saving them for Christmas. The two toys that I do have open, NYCC Arcee and Bumblebee, I'd say that Arcee is the better of the two. Bumblebee is pretty cool (I especially like the shoulder transformation), but Arcee is the best version of that character that transforms into a motorcycle. Also, G1 colors FTW.

Basement Invasion Transformer of the Year: ???????

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Prime Time: Part Deux

Ok, so in the past couple of weeks the TF fandom rather quickly learned that the Transformers Prime: First Edition toys would not be carried at general retail stores like Walmart and Target. BBTS started this all off by insinuating that only they (and some unnamed specialty stores) would carry the toys, so you should preorder the stuff from them, shipping and markup and all. Thankfully, some people read between the lines, realizing that Toys R Us might be one of those "specialty" retailers.

Sure enough, within a week or so, we saw TFP Bumblebee get listed as in-stock on the TRU website. Then, within a couple of days, not only do Starscream and Arcee show up online, but all three also being to appear in stores! I thought this was great, as I had been worried about my chances of getting the toys online. I got excited when some of my online GA TF allies began to report seeing the toys in stores not too far away, but since I mostly wanted just Starscream from this wave, I was content to wait it out and leave Starscream on the Christmas list I had sent my mom.

But then, I further learned that, basically, the shipments that had just started to show up this week were basically going to be the only shipments of this wave, meaning that there was going to be some ungodly low number of TFP toys available - like only 1500 or so Arcees on the Atlantic coast at all! So, since I was headed to my old college town to have lunch with my friend, I determined to head to the TRU there as well and just go ahead and get all three of the toys if they had them.

I was in luck. They only had four TFP toys - 2 Bumblebees and one each of Arcee and Starscream.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Some Kre-O vehicle mode pics



Prime Time








So, I managed to successfully order the NYCC Exclusive Transformers Prime set last week, which arrived today. I expected the set to sell out quickly, but as of today it's still available on HTS.

Getting this set is a bit weird. First of all, it's the first NYCC exclusive - so far, the only exclusives for comicons have been at SDCC, and this was announced just a few days before NYCC, so it sort of came out of the blue.

Also, these are my first Transformers Prime toys. Normally, exclusive repaints of toys don't get released until after said line has been out for a while, but that's not the case here - TFP deluxe Optimus got an exclusive release for SDCC, but only with exclusive packaging, but other than that, "normal" TFP toys won't get released until next month at the earliest (a full year after the show debuted).

Now, had this set just been the taxi-flavored Bumblebee, I probably wouldn't have gone for it. What really made this set a must-have was the deluxe Arcee in G1 colors. See, Arcee is blue on the show - a bit confusing, since Chromia's traditionally the blue fembot, and has more than once shared motorcycle-based bodies with Arcee - so I didn't really know if I wanted the normal release as Arcee, since I thought it was pretty likely that it'd get repainted in Arcee's traditional pink and white (or at least pink/magenta, like the movie versions).

Turns out that I was right, though I was expecting a G1-style Arcee repaint much later in the line and as a retail store exclusive of some kind. To end up getting it before Chromia, er, show-accurate Arcee, even hits stores is pretty great.

Of course, Bumblebee isn't bad, either. In fact, I'm really having more fun with him. It's a neat mold that certainly echoes the various movie BB toys in many, many ways, but much cleaner lines, so it really exemplifies the "movie/animated" view of the TFP aesthetic.

Oh, yeah - the set includes two of the human figurines from the upcoming Optimus/Megatron deluxe Entertainment Pack. We've only got Raf and Jack here, since they are the "buddies" for BB and Arcee, respectively. They both get decked out in "NY" shirts with Autobot logos, a sort of take on the classic "I <3 NY" shirts."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NOOOOOOOOO

So, I found the 2nd wave of the new, smaller Star Wars Crossover toys the other day. I didn't want any of the wave 1 guys, which have been out for a month and a half or so, but I knew that Darth Vader would be in wave 2 (a remold of the wave 1 Anakin toy) and decided to at least get him.

The toy itself is pretty decent. I mean, if you take the already questionable SWTF design choices and shrink it down to what's essentially the same size as a Cyberverse Commander class toy, you get an idea of what you've got here. If you know this going into the situation, though, you can look past some of the toy's deficits and enjoy what it has to offer. I'll not get into all of that here, as I'll probably review him at some point, but the point of this post is to insert Darth Vader into the TF mythos, since that's what his new toy got me thinking about.

Anyhow, once upon a time, after the 13 had banished/defeated Unicron and the Fallen with him, Prima (first of all transformers and first Matrix bearer) creates, from the first generation of "normal" (read: non-13) cybertronians, the Knights of Prima, a group whose role is to generally safeguard Cybertron and the Matrix. The youngest of these Knights, inducted into the order when Prima is already old, is the cybertronian represented by the SWTF Anakin Skywalker toys (I've yet to come up with an decent TF-sounding name for him; "Anatron" isn't that great). Vector Prime, to Prima the most trusted of the 13, assists in leading this group and is most likely Prima's choice to succeed him as Matrix Bearer. Vector also takes an interest in Skywalker, becoming his mentor and attempting to shape him into being the best Kinight he can be so he can take over leadership of the Knights when Vector holds the Matrix. Skywalker takes to the role of apprentice very well, excelling in all fields, to the point that some believe that he, not Vector Prime, should be the next Matrix Bearer.

Later, Skywalker learns that Unicron has returned and invaded a nearby star system, beginning to devour planets and presumably making his way back to Cybertron. Vector Prime and the ailing Prima are not terribly concerned, as the Matrix defeated Unicron before and should be able to do so again. Skywalker, however, believes that no chance should be taken and that the fight should be brought to Unicron. He implores Prima to go and unleash the Matrix on Unicron far from Cybertron. When Prima declines, Skywalker then begs Prima to allow him to take the Matrix himself and use it to defeat Unicron. Both Prima and Vector are taken aback by this show of hubris, for they believe that only a true Matrix Bearer can wield the Matrix, and that means that Skywalker has begun to believe the rumor circulating about him. Prima denies his request again, explaining that even if Skywalker took the Matrix, it would not respond to him. Vector Prime urged Skywalker to calm himself, that Unicron would be destroyed by Prima when he reached Cybertronian space.

Skywalker found this unacceptable. He gathered a crew of other Cybertronian soliders (not Knights) that could change into starfighters and left to find and attach Unicron. He knew that his chances of defeating the Dark God were slim without the Matrix, but he could at least damage the beast and perhaps save some of the planets currently under threat of destruction.

Upon arrival in Unicron's space, Skywalker and his Troopers attacked the devouring planet as it prepared to ingest yet another world, home to a sentient species. This species was technologically advanced such that they too had spacecraft capable of fighting back. Skywalker managed to communicate with the planet's military. He learned that they had a superweapon that, if brought to Unicron's center, should be able to destroy him from the inside out. However, Unicron had adapted to the creatures and had his internal antibodies equipped with a biological weapon that would infect and kill their pilots before they could reach the core. Skywalker agreed to carry the weapon himself, reasoning that his cybertronian constitution should be able to survive the trip to Unicron's core (which he knew to be his spark).

Skywalker began flying his way into Unicron, superweapon in tow. Sensing the imminent danger, Unicron began to accelerate the ingestion process against the planet. Skywalker and his Troopers tried to fly and fight through Unicron's internal defenses as fast as they could. However, once Skywalker reached Unicron's spark and prepared to arm the weapon, another explosion (caused by the fighting between the Troopers and some of Unicron's antibodies) sent Skywalker himself flying into Unicron's spark. This nearly killed Skywalker, leaving his spark destabilized, parts of his body destroyed and his mind unconscious.

The planet under attack was completely ingested. When the Troopers managed to get Skywalker to come to, they informed him of this and explained that they needed to leave immediately, lest Unicron turn his full attention to them and destroy them. Skywalker became enraged. He armed the weapon and threw it straight into Unicron's spark, even as his Troopers were evacuating. However, when Skywalker had been knocked into Unicron's spark, the weapon had become partially damaged, as well. It only managed to release a percentage of its power, and instead of destroying the Dark God, it merely sent his spark into stasis and teleported his planet-body elsewhere.

In the aftermath, the Troopers saw Skywalker's broken body, once more unconscious, floating in the space where Unicron once was and went to retrieve him. Upon their return to Cybertron, Vector Prime ordered Skywalker to immediately be repaired.

More to come...

Monday, October 3, 2011

He's back.

Unicron, I mean. I haven't made many Transformers: Prime posts, and I've certainly not made one recently. The show, which started almost a year ago, is now in the final 3-parter of its first season (and still not a single toy on shelves until maybe next month...).

Anyhow, the 3-parter (One Shall Rise or whatever) is all about the return of Unicron to the small screen. In this universe, dark energon is the blood of Unicron, and Megatron ended up finding a literal mother load of the stuff on Earth (he thought he'd have to go out into space to get more). This is because, at Earth's core, there's Unicron. He's been taking a dirt nap (ok, he wasn't really dead) for billions of years. After his defeat by the 13 Original Primes/Transformers, he apparently ended up floating off near the Sun's orbit and amassing a bunch of accreted rock and dirt, with the planet Earth eventually forming around him.

Now, since some 47 celestial bodies have aligned in such a way that the gravitational forces will disturb/awake Unicron, he's up and he's pissed. He's trapped and now has about 6 billion little "parasites" running around on his surface, which he's not happy about. Also, the only one who's shown up to help him is Megatron, who's not impressive enough to Unicron to even bother with. Optimus makes an impressive appeal to Unicron's vanity to spare the humans (he tries to make the big guy think that they're his offspring, a la Minicons), but Unicron's not having any of that, and just geopaths a bunch of rocky simulacra of his body (which, by the way, was once small enough to walk on Cybertron's surface) to fight Optimus.

Oh, I failed to mention that he's voiced by John Denethor/Dr. Bishop Noble! Awesome. However, I didn't think it sounded much like him, though I did think it sounded like a good Unicron.

B-day wrap-up

Ok, so I didn't end up getting that much this years. Here's the run down:

What I bought myself:

-DOTM DVD
-DOTM Voy. Sentinel Prime
-DOTM Legion Flak
-Kre-O Bumblebee (large version)

Here's what my parents got me:

-Kre-O Megatron

So...yeah. I'm not as disappointed as last year (kre-O Megatron being awesome doesn't hurt), but I'm pretty disappointed - no, that's not the word - I'm pretty worried that I didn't get MP Rodimus Prime. My mom warned me yesterday not to buy anything else on my birthday list (as she'll be pulling from the remaining stuff for Christmas), but I fear that if I don't track down a Rodimus myself, he'll be gone (if he isn't already). I didn't get to go to any functioning TRUs in Orlando, so I can't yet confirm this for myself. Of course, she could have bought it already (she did get Kreotron at a TRU...), but I'll probably just call her to be sure.

And, yeah - Kre-O Megatron is great. And I haven't even built the truck mode yet. I bought the larger BB at the local Walmart last night, but since I was also getting groceries with both kids and had to also get them fed at home when I got back (all by myself), the farthest I got with BB was opening the box. I figured I'd get him because he wasn't on the list and he's the only one of the car Kre-Os that really looks pretty decent.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Oh son!

So I picked up the DOTM DVD today!

I haven't gotten any physical presents yet, so I also picked up a Voyager Sentinel Prime. I know, he's on my list, but it's like only the second time I've seen him, so I have no idea how much luck my parents would have at finding him. Awesome gun.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

B-Day

Ok, here it is. So far all I've gotten is money/checks and a Starbuck's gift certificate from my wife (along with a drink!). Pretty cool. Now, if I only knew what my parents planned to get so I could buy whatever in Orlando this weekend...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

B-day list, round 2

Ok, so here's a C&P of the Word file b-day list I've made for my mom:

  • Masterpiece Rodimus Prime (Toys R Us exclusive; $60 – this is the one I want most)
  • Transformers 3 (Dark of the Moon):

    • Human Alliance class (all $30 each)
      • Leadfoot (red Target NASCAR; only avail. at Target stores)

      • Roadbuster (green Amp NASCAR w/guns sticking out)

      • Skids/Elita-1 (black/green compact car w/purple motorcycle robot)

    • Voyager class ($20)
      • Sentinel Prime (red fire truck)

    • Cyberverse ($30)
      • Ark (Spaceship/base w/Roller robot – turns into lunar rover)


  • Kre-O (Transformer legos)
    • Starscream (Red/grey/blue jet, $30)
    • Megatron (Grey/red truck, $30)
    • Sentinel Prime (red fire truck, $40)
    • Optimus Prime (large version: truck with trailer, $60)

Man, that's a lot more spaced out than I expected. Anyway, here's some of the other stuff that'll be out this fall/winter that I want before the year is out:

DOTM:

CV Legion:
- Soundwave

CV Commander:
- ??? Is anything else interesting coming out this year? I guess we'll likely get a Shockwave release.

HA Scouts:
- Icepick

Deluxe:
- Air Raid
- Wheeljack
- Soundwave

Voyager:
-Cannon Force Ironhide

Human Alliance:
- Soundwave

Generations:

Uh, the only 2 guys that are left:
- Sky Shadow
-Junkheap

Prime:

CV Legion:
-Arcee/Chromia
-Wheeljack (likely w/o spaceship)
-Bumblebee

CV Commander:
-Ironhide
-Optimus Prime

Deluxe:
-Starscream
-Bumblebee
-Optimus Prime
-Megatron
-Cliffjumper (probably normal, not Terrorcon)
-Soundwave
-Wheeljack

Voyager:
-Optimus Prime
-Bulkhead
-Starscream

Monday, August 29, 2011

September looms

Ok, so it's getting close to that time of year again. It's one month until my birthday. You may recall my angst-filled wait last year, where I didn't buy much at all for myself before my bday and tried to depend on my family for my TF desires. It kinda worked, but not that well and not without some doubt.

This year, I'm still nailing some TF hopes and dreams on my family, but between streamlining my collecting and just not wanting some current/upcoming stuff, there shouldn't be too much I want this fall to begin with.

So, top of the list is TRU Exclusive Masterpiece Rodimus Prime. I got MP Grimlock from my parents for my last birthday, and this year Hot Rod/imus is available. I'm a bit worried, as the TRUs don't seem to be carrying too many of these and I'm sure that my family probably wouldn't try to find this until late in September, so there's a decent chance this may not happen. If not, I'll be trying to get it on my own, because this is a must-own figure.

Next is (possibly) DOTM Ultimate Optimus Prime. He looks fun enough, but he's more expensive than MP Rodimus and could be clearanced later, and I'm more concerned about getting Rodimus right now. May leave him off.

Next are 3 DOTM HA toys: Skids/Elita-1, Roadbuster, and Target Exclusive Leadfoot. I really only want Skids because he has a sick deco and he comes with Elita-1 (who I want more than ever now that I just read Rising Storm the other day). Both Wreckers, though, look great and very fun for HAs. However, if I don't get them, I may not pursue them, because I'm sure that a HA Topspin will follow, and altogether that'd be $90 for very non-core characters. I will definitely get HA Soundwave down the road, though.

Also possibly on the list is the Cyberverse Ark. This used to be a must-have for me, but now I'm not so sure (I haven't bought any of the smaller CV playsets, and they all interact and so on). I don't have to own Roller, seeing as how he's not really in the movie, and it's not like the Ark turns into Omega Supreme or anything. Still, it looks fun enough, and it plenty interactive. And I do like the idea of playsets in general, so I kind of feel like I need to do my part to convince Hasbro to make more.

And, of course, there're the Kre-O sets. I'm still feeling the itch, but have yet to scratch it. I'd like to at least get Starscream and Megatron, and wouldn't mind the huge Optimus or Sentinel either. Most of the smaller ones I'm not too big on, and the only big one I don't really want is the larger Bumblebee. I may just ask for Starscream, being as how he's my "official" favorite Transformer and I could probably get away with asking for just one of these sets. I may get the other larger ones on my own later, but I'll at least buy some of the Kreons online from eBay (Shockwave, Soundwave, the Seekers, Megatron, Sentinel, etc).

Last, but certainly not least, will be the DVD copy of Dark of the Moon itself! That's right, it's getting a very early release on the day after my Bday, September 30th (a Friday, no less)! Pretty danged awesome. On top of that, my wife and I will be taking that day off work to be in Orlando for her master's degree class that weekend staying at my cousin's, so I should be able to enjoy the movie just fine. Of course, this also means I'll likely have to wait for the end of the weekend to get anything from my parents, but oh well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot Rods

This year's Transformers Collectors' Club free toy was Sideburn. I got mine in the mail yesterday. He's awesome.

Sideburn is a repaint of the 2006 Classics Rodimus (Hot Rod, really) mold. This makes him a continuity transplant - the Sideburn character began life in the 2001 Robots in Disguise show as one of the three Autobot Car Brothers. Along with Prowl and X-Brawn, he was a key character, and in many regards filled the Hot Rod-esque "young good-natured punk" role. This eventuated in a repaint of RiD Sideburn in Hot Rod's red & orange colors. For the new, G1 version of Sideburn, the opposite was done, putting Classics Rodimus in Sideburn's blue & white. As I said, it looks great.

Sideburn inspired me to finally getting around to purchasing one of Walmart's DOTM exclusives - a legends class 3-pack with ROTF Bumblebee repainted in gold & silver (pretty much movie Goldbug), ROTF Soundwave in G1 colors, and Universe Rodimus in orange, brown, and silver.

Yeah, you read right. The Rodimus mold has been released in the US twice before, the first time in his typical red & yellow flame deco, and also in blue & red as Smokescreen. However, the original release was all but impossible to find and commands a much higher-than-reasonable price on ebay. Luckily, this mold is close enough to being Rodimus' G1 colors to satisfy me. Heck, IDW has even provided a good excuse for his brighter-than-normal colors - Hot Rod was shown in Maximum Dinobots to have the ability to pull a Human Torch-style "flame on" and engulf himself in flames. So, I guess this toy will be Flaming Hot Rod to me. Go ahead, get the giggles out.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Kre-O itch

I was initially intrigue by the idea of Kre-O. The cross-section of Transformers and Lego-style building block toys is a great idea, though its last iteration (Built-2-Rule) wasn't great and I avoided them. Still, even though Kre-O looked to be better executed, the pricing and lack of normal transformation has largely kept me from indulging in the new toys.

That's starting to fade. I guess the first trigger was the Kreons - Hasbro's answer to the little Lego people figurines - that are (by and large) just little G1 figurines with interchangeable parts. These have been a big hit in the fandom, largely because they hit all the important notes (Optimus, Bumblebee, Megatron, all 3 main Seekers, Shockwave and Soundwave, even a G1-style Sentinel Prime). Furthermore, we were made privy to the toys' bios a few weeks back, and it turns out that these guys, in fact, comprise their own continuity, just as how the G1, Unicron Trilogy, Animated, and Movie franchises are all different. Of course, it's separate largely to give the creators a large berth for silliness and humor (Sentinel is retired and likes to fish, Optimus can't stand Bumblebee's punk self, etc). Even so, the idea that these toys represented yet another continuity is pretty strong bait for me. *(see below for my continued riff on continuity)

But, I haven't bought any yet. The cost is still a pretty big deterrent, as the sets I really want - big Optimus, Starscream, Megatron, and Sentinel - are all within a range of $30 to $60 (!). Also, they're not that readily available - sure, you can get them online, but then you have to factor in shipping on top of the already high cost. TRU got them first, and got them strong - I remember the first time I saw them anywhere was at a TRU over a month ago, and there weren't many sets they didn't have. Targets apparently started getting them, too, as I saw a few different sets when I got my DOTM Space Case last week. However, here in town we only have a Walmart and a Kmart for TF retail, and only the Walmart has put out any Kre-O sets. Of course, they only put out Ratchet and Sideswipe, neither of which I really want.

Also, there's this whole Dark of the Moon thing. You know, the year's mainline for the nigh-billion dollar movie? I still will be making a fair amount of purchases from that line (Voy Sentinel, Soundwaves, Wheeljack, and so on) through the course of the year, and while Kre-O looks more and more awesome, it's still, in my mind, a side-product, not a true, normal Transformers toy.

Of course, should I actually move to my "key-characters only" collecting format, where I only buy iterations of characters like Optimus, Megatron, Bumblebee, Soundwave, and few other exceptions, the Kre-O sets will certainly be there for me pick up. That's part of its appeal; it does something pretty new with the transformers brand while grounding it pretty solidly within the core cast. Sure, you're not going to find Kre-O sets for Drift, Thunderwing, or Black Shadow anytime soon, but that's what the Generations line is for.

Thankfully, I am actually beginning to move in the aforementioned direction with my collecting. With DOTM, I've largely restrained the buying of "new" (whether they're truly new or just new to the movie series) or non-multiversal characters (like, say, Barricade) to the Cyberverse size classes. There have been some exceptions, of course. I was never going to pass on stuff like Voyager Shockwave or Leader (or Voyager, really, though I haven't seen it yet) Sentinel Prime. However, I've managed not to buy any Wreckers over $5, and I've avoided deluxes like Crankcase, Jolt, Ratchet, the Twins, and Bumblebee (any versions, though the new Cyberfire one is a likely buy). I say all this to say that I will feel more justified to get bigger purchases of core/key characters - like DOTM Ultimate Optimus or Kre-O Optimus (the bigger one, obviously) if I'm not buying every other TF toy under the sun.




* Ok, on continuity: Many of the Kre-O set robots (not the Kreons themselves, which, as I've stated, adhere very closely to G1) have designs that pick and borrow from a mix of other TF continuites. Megatron's a good example - his head is clearly modeled after Animated Megatron's Cybertronian helmet (itself inspired by the unused head design for Megatron in the 2007 movie). However, his body and alt mode clearly are an adaptation of the DOTM Megatron design, what with the truck mode and all (perhaps the worst thing about Megatron is his complete lack of a cannon of some kind, something I don't think we've seen since...well, I don't know. Even Cybertron and RiD Megatron could arm-mount their weapons into a cannon configuration). Sentinel's not a bad example either, with his alt-mode and body being from DOTM and his head (aside from color) being from Animated. Then there's Jazz, who looks completely G1 aside from his movie-esque silver color. Now, there are some straight-up G1 figures - Prowl and the small Bumblebee toy don't owe anything to a non-G1 continuity. But I bring all this sort of thing up to point out that, even if we hadn't officially been given a Kre-O continuity, the designs would have essentially necessitated one.

One more thing - the Kreons. Since these little guys are, with little error (Megatron's helmet looks a bit more Animated, much like the helmet of the building set robot) are G1 designs, I consider them to be G1 toys. In Hasbro's eyes, they belong to the same silly, brick-based world as the building set robots and human Kreons, with, of course, no real explanation in play (are the building sets mechs/remotely controlled drones? Are the Kreons manifestations of the Kre-O sets' spark, a la TM II Megatron/Tigerhawk?). Yeah, I'm getting too deep into this, but suffice to say, the robot Kreons and the building set Kre-O robots won't be inhabiting the same world in my book.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

SDCC 2011!

Last year's SDCC TF news kinda sucked. That was partly because I had seen most of it at Botcon the month before, but this year that isn't the case, and Hasbro had a pretty decent amount of new stuff to show (including some things they didn't show at this year's Botcon).

So, here's the run down:

Generations - ok, we're only getting one more wave this year, and they didn't show any 2012 stuff (though pretty much said they were going to continue it). But it's a pretty cool wave - giving us two remolded toys that represent pretty obscure characters.

- Junkheap - this is a remold (new head) of RTS Wreck-Gar, being that he's one of the other Junkions. His real name is either Junkyard or Scrapheap (not sure which, and it doesn't matter much to me), and he uses a different new head mold than the one that Takara used on their other Junkion remold of Wreck-Gar. I'll be getting this guy - no, he doesn't meet the criteria of being a legacy character in any way, but he and Wreck-Gar can ride each other in motorcycle mode, which is a pretty awesome gimmick, being as that's how the Junkions rode into battle in the Animated Movie. Also, as you can tell, Generations is a pretty small line for the remainder of the year, so purchasing these 2 deluxes isn't that big of a dent.

-Sky Shadow - Actually Black Shadow, this guy previously only showed up in Japanese fiction (in the Victory cartoon) and had a cameo in The Last Stand of the Wreckers. His original toy was a remold of G1 Thunderwing (just the shell; the inner robot was identical other than coloration) and so is this guy, gaining a new head and chest plate. Not only that, but by giving him larger horns/antennae than the original toy had, they made him more screen-accurate. He looks great, with his colors being a bit nicer than Thunderwing's. I'm certainly getting him, and more excited for him than Junkheap.

DOTM: Ok, it's still the year of DOTM. However, while a decent amount of stuff was shown, hasbro's still definitely keeping some stuff under wraps (for example, we haven't seen any Mirage/Dino toys other than the Hot Wheels-style Speed Stars toy). Here's the list:

-Air Raid - a deluxe first shown at Botcon, this Autobot is a green AWACS-converted airliner (pretty awesome - he' close to being in scale with ROTF Sratosphere). His radome (removable) is his mechtech gun, but can function as a shield when not in gun mode. His right hand is a bit strange as a claw of sorts made from his tail fins. Kind of insectile bot mode, but still a must-get.

- Dark Steel - remold of DOTM Sideswipe to be a BW Quickstrike homage. He has a new head, and also has a remolded version of DOTM Starscream's Mechtech weapon with claws/stingers rather than sword blades. Not bad looking, but I don't care enough about Quickstrike to get this toy (despite how fun his original toy is). That, and I'm still waiting on a properly painted Sideswipe...

- Armor Topspin - repaint of deluxe Topspin in grey and black. Looks pretty cool, but I don't plan to buy the deluxe Wreckers, and would likely opt for the screen-accurate one if I was.

- Soundwave - in his movie-accurate car form. Pretty cool - not sure if this one has the opening gull-wing doors, but still a nice car mode. His Mechtech is a gun/satellite dish. Obviously getting this guy.

- Wheeljack - the blue Mercedes that looks like Einstein, this is pretty different than most Wheeljack toys. He includes some kind of back-stowing sword and a Mechtech weapon that involves a buzzsaw, and maybe one or two other accessories. Looks fun, and has a somewhat unique transformation. Obviously getting this guy too.

- Cannon Force Ironhide - repaint of the new DOTM Voyager mold that was shown at Botcon. a G1-stlye repaint (finally), it isn't totally red in truck mode, but has some black striping that helps break up the main color. Keeps his original Mechtech gun (not sure if it's significantly repainted). Going to get this guy, as I want the mold but passed on the original black version, since I have two other black voyager movie Ironhides. Only new voyager shown, strangely (his packaging co-sell is not visible in the display case pics).

- Human Alliance Soundwave - An HA version of his new car design. Includes a Dylan Gould figure (hilarious) and also a Laserbeak that appears to turn into a gun. Hope it can also be used by the deluxe. Gull-wing doors do work. Definite purchase. Only new HA shown (again, strangely).

- Cyberverse Legion Soundwave - What you expect. No Laserbeak gimmickry or anything, not that you'd expect that from a Legion toy (which SW should be, since he's a car). It's Soundwave; I'm getting it.

TF: Prime:

- Deluxe Cliffjumper - comes in two flavors: normal and Terrorcon. The normal version (wave 2, I'll definitely get this one) has his tri-barrel arm cannon (possibly on both arms; not sure) and look how you'd expect it to, aside from some shoulder kibble. The Terrorcon version has a new head with one horn (the other got cut off before CJ was killed) and replaces the clear plastic with translucent purple to show the idea of him being powered by Dark Energon. This works to great effect on the car roof/chest, where they leave some of the red paint off as battle damage that allows some of the clear purple to show through. There're also some normal purple damage paint apps on the opaque red plastic (like on his leg). Pretty interesting repaint, and it somewhat surprisingly comes out in wave 3, right after the normal version. I may eventually get this one, too.

- Deluxe Eradicon/Vehicon - this is the more numerous (on the show) car version, with its awesome, almost batmobile-looking car mode. Great black, purple and silver color scheme. The bot mode suffers a little from the kibble backpack, but overall it's really pretty spot-on. Probably won't get this one, unfortunately, just due to his character status.

- Deluxe Soundwave - awesome! They managed to capture his thin, vampiric look pretty well. His UCAV mode looks great, and his does include his Laserbeak, which can perch on his arm on attach to his chest. Just great; definite purchase.

- Deluxe Knockout - I'm glad they're making this guy; I wasn't sure that he would. The only truly new Decepticon so far (outside of the drone-like Eradicons), he sticks to his animation model pretty well, too, including his somewhat unique transformation/kibble layout in bot mode (doors on his arms, hood/grille halves on shoulders, etc). Probably won't get, unfortunately.

- Deluxe Wheeljack - looks great, pretty much just like the animation model. Includes his two swords (Wheeldrift?) that can also mount on the front of his car for an attack mode. Definite purchase.

- Cyberverse Legion Arcee - looks pretty cool - a little stumpy, but otherwise fairly impressive for the scale. Does the "wings" better than the deluxe does, I think. Should come with some kind of weapon, from looking at the others, but I don't think they showed any.

- CV Legion Bumblebee - adorable, not unlike TFM Legends BB. Looks to come with four weapons - 2 guns and 2 blades, possibly all different. Not sure if he'll actually be sold with all four, but they showed them. Has a peghole on car roof for mounting weapons (and on the doors/arms, too).

- CV Legion Wheeljack - basically a tiny version of the deluxe, complete with both swords. They manage to peg into his back for storage. Don't think he has his wings in bot mode. It's a bit weird that they've shown this before showing a DOTM Legion Wheeljack.

- CV Commander Ironhide - this is the first we've seen at all of TFP Ironhide - no animation models or anything have been shown yet. Still, it's a great mix of the basic movie design (pickup truck alt mode, big arm cannons with a "normal"/G1-ish head. Not sure on the color (I kind of hope he's red), but overall he borrows a lot from the Earth mode design for Animated Ironhide, who was also a blend of G1 and movie elements. He'll have lightpiping of some kind (not sure if they meant for his eyes or his weapons), and the guns can mount on the truck doors, like DOTM Commander Ironhide.

- CV Playset - Wheeljack's ship - honestly, I wasn't that impressed by this. I don't remember what the ship looked like on the show, so I'm assuming that it's screen accurate. Also, I'm not sure if it's the size of the DOTM Ark, one of the action sets, or some new size in between (I think it's the latter). It does transform into a battle base like the Ark does. Need better pics; might get.

- Voyager Skyquake - awesome; like Knockout, I wasn't sure if this guy'd get made either. He really looks great, with a beefy jet mode (bot mode kibble doesn't seem to be too bad, either) and a fantastic bot mode that's very show-accurate. Comes with a big sword. Appears to have lightpiping in his arms like Starscream does, so maybe he comes with a light-up weapon, too. Unfortunately, I may not get him for character reasons.

- Voyager Starscream - in terms of kibble in jet mode and transformation, this isn't much better than the deluxe. However, the jet mode does look a little more substantial (the deluxe's jet mode is smaller than Classics Starscream's). He also includes a pretty big mechtech weapon that both transforms and lights up. Like Skyquake, he's got some lightpiping on his arms so that the weapon can light up the arm as well, which is a cool reversal of the same basic gimmick that toys like G2 Laser Optimus and Armada Superbase Optimus had. I'll be getting it.

Transformers: The Ride: Ok, so technically, this is part of the movie franchise. Only one toy here, this transformer represents the vehicle that you ride in at Universal studios in California.

EVAC - has both a Legion and a Deluxe mold. For a movie character, his car mode (a sort of hatch-back thing) is very futuristic and looks, like the DOTM Wreckers, to be in "Stealth Force" mode on top of that. The deluxe has opening gull-wing doors like HA Soundwave. The bot mode overall is kind of reminiscent of Cybertron Red Alert/Cannonball, though he has the same sort of bars on his legs as DOTM Roadbuster. I think he's supposed to be blue. Interesting. It will at least be sold at the theme park, but I assume it will be sold elsewhere, too. The Legion toy is about what you'd expect, by the way. Also, if I do get him, he won't be Evac, as I already have 2 very different versions of the movie Evac helicopter character.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Space Case

Ok, so I've already talked about Space Case in the last post and now put up my review of him. Still, some toys I end up building a bit of mental fanfic around, and Space Case is one of them. Thought I'd just write out my take on the story behind this guy here.

Ok, so in the movie universe, there are different transformer groups. There's the original Seekers, as shown in ROTF that served the 13. There're the Constructicon drones that built Solar Harvesters. Later, we get groups like Starscream's Seekers (who I envision as being started by Ransack, one of the last original Seekers, and then taken over by Starscream) and the Dreadwing-lead Alpha drones. Last year's Terradive toy lead me to imagine another group - the Decepticon Hunters.

It's not a very creative name, but it's rather just the other word from the term "hunter-seeker," of which, of course, "seeker" is the other part. Just as the latter-day Seekers were formed to be an elite group of aerial warriors within Megatron's pre-Decepticon Defense Force, the Hunters were another such group. However, they had a more specific mission profile in accordance with their name - in addition to generally engaging in combat, they were to hunt down and capture or kill Defense Force traitors and defectors, a role that became increasingly important during the conflict with the Malcontents, a movement that had recruited several Defense Force soldiers.

Terradive, obviously, was one of the Hunters, and his partner Space Case was literally the fastest of the Defense Force, let alone the Hunters. He was also an effective soldier, working well with his partner and doing his job with high competency. Both used a special spear/trident weapon to carry out their tasks. Unfortunately, the Hunters' role was sidelined after Shockwave introduced the Defense Force Drone program, which involved creating 3 types of military drones. Moreover, these drone body-types wouldn't just be used for sparkless robots, but also as replacement bodies for sparked cybertronians who entered the Defense Force. This achieved several goals, including streamlining the Defense Force's physical assets, allowing for more uniform tactics and so forth, but also putting ultimate control of the soldier's bodies into the hands of Megatron & Shockwave, the latter of which had designed the bodies to have fail-safe measures to prevent any soldier from defecting (or performing any other similar activities). Granted, many soldiers still were allowed to exist in their own, individualized bodies or in bodies of freely chosen types (like some of the Seekers, most of whom stuck to a particular group of body types) largely due to the warriors' capabilities and skills being too limited in drone bodies.

This clearly had an impact on the role of the Hunters, whose skills were now less and less needed. Space Case in particular took the "demotion" harder than most, but as one of the top enforcers of loyalty in the Defense Force, he never contemplated resigning or anything of the sort, and went along with the program when the Fallen helped corrupt Megatron and the Defense Force gave way to the new Decepticons. Space Case secretly hoped that the new civil war would lead to a higher number of defections among the non-drone Decepticon populace, as he knew some would be swayed by Optimus' claim to be Prime and his support from the aged Sentinel Prime. And there, were, for a time, an increase in hunts for Space Case, Terradive, and the rest of the Hunters, but the response from High Command was to increase the number of free-to-drone conversions and also the population of sparkless drones, who operated under the supervision of Dreadwing, who possessed a drone body himself (Starscream was now Air Commander in addition to leading the Seekers, so Dreadwing officially reported to him, while more truthfully operating under Shockwave, as did all drones, sparked or sparkless).

Space Case was eventually selected to be one of the crew of the Nemesis, captained by Soundwave. He did not see this as an honor (which Terradive did), but rather took it as a sign that he was wanted out of the way, off of Cybertron where the real conflict was going on. Much later, after the Nemesis had collided with the Ark and had been set down on Titan, Space Case was charged by Megatron to be one of many to continue watching over the ship as he took the hatchlings and remaining key officers back to Earth after his defeat by Optimus and the death of the Fallen. Space Case followed these orders for a time, but, already bored and dissatisfied with his fate, left Titan on course for Earth, where he figured there could be something going on.

In the meantime, the Seeker Firestorm had defected to the side of the Autobots during the events of ROTF, changing his appearance somewhat and his name (to Breakaway) in the process. Terradive had become aware of this and proceeded to Earth to take in (or, more likely, take out) the rouge Seeker. He sought the Nemesis first, where he attempted to find his old partner to join him on this mission; Space Case wasn't there, having already departed for Earth. So Terradive went on to Earth, hoping to find Space Case and hunt his prey. When he reached the planet and got in touch with some of the Seekers, he was rebuked; Breakaway's old brothers-in-arms Thrust and Dirge were furious that the Seeker known as Firestorm was now with the Autobots and embarrassed that a Hunter had found out that an elite Seeker could also be a defector. Insisting on keeping the elimination of Breakaway in-house, a skirmish developed between Terradive and the two Seekers. Terradive decided that he would indeed need backup, and set about trying to find the as-yet-unseen Space Case and then take care of Breakaway (and teach Thrust and Dirge a lesson).

Unfortunately, upon his entry into Earth's atmosphere, Space Case crashed into a cavern that collapsed on him, trapping him and also damaging his cerebral circuitry, putting him in stasis lock during the time that Terradive had come to Earth. When he finally woke and freed himself (thanks in part to the inadvertent actions of a squad of autobots) he eventually met up with Starscream, who had had a falling out with Megatron and was wandering the planet, attempting to find hidden Decepticons to recruit to his own cause. Space Case would have never desired to work with the Air Commander and leader of the Seekers before, but the damage from the crash was severe, causing profound memory loss and a dulling of his mind. Regardless, Starscream saw value in recruiting him.

Later, Terradive caught wind of Starscream's activities, and, thus far unsuccessful in locating Space Case, thought he'd take up the issue of Breakaway with the head Seeker himself. Of course, when he confronted the Air Commander, he found Space Case with him, which he could barely believe. While Space Case recognized Terradive, he did not fully remember him as his Hunter partner and excitedly asked him to join on with Starscream. Terradive was dismayed; he understood that something was wrong with Space Case and refused to join Starscream. He attempted to lure Space Case away with the promise of the hunt of Breakaway, but Starscream's personality and flattery had already worked its magic on Space Case. Terradive left discouraged, but still on the hunt for Breakaway. He would eventually meet back up with Megatron, and later, before the events of Dark of the Moon, Starscream and the rest of his recruits (including Space Case) were once again part of the Decepticon fold.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New stuff

So, as you can see on the collection roster page, my DOTM is growing fairly healthily. I don't feel too bad about this, as I'm trying to reserve most of my larger (read: scout class and above) purchases for "legacy characters." By that, I mean those characters that already have some kind of presence in my collection, as they've been around in the franchise for a while. Many of these, of course, are key characters like Optimus, Starscream, and Megatron, who I have several toys of (just in the movieverse alone). Others I may only have one previous toy of, like the newly acquired Space Case (I own the Universe 1.0 repaint of the G2 mold). Granted, I've caved on a few new characters, like Human Alliance Backfire and Thunderhead, but, for instance, I haven't bought things like Skyhammer (a voyager) or the deluxe Wreckers, whereas in the past I probably would already have them. I'm trying to collect "new" characters (not that Roadbuster or Leadfoot don't already have spots in my collection) largely within the Cyberverse size classes, where I have bought things like all three Dreads and both currently available Wreckers. I'll also likely buy the Legion Twins, as I'm not too interested in spending the money on their new deluxe toys, much as I like them (I'd planned to already have purchased the repaint HA Skids, mostly because of his sick black & green colors and it'd allow me to complete the HA bike triplets with Elita-1, but it's not been easy to drop $30 on that set).

Anyway, my original intent with this post was to wax poetic on a couple of new guys I picked up today, namely the aforementioned Space Case and also Hatchet, the only Commander class Dread. I'll go into more detail with their individual mini-reviews, but I'm really digging these guys, so I thought I'd give them some front page time.

Space Case is a remold/repaint of Terradive, a Su-47-ish Decepticon. He's one fourth of a whole wave of Target exclusive repaints, but he's the only one that's got a new head, is a new character, and most importantly, one that I want. The other three (another iteration of Cannon Bumblebee, ROTF Arcee, and TFM Jazz) just aren't really necessary, and ol' Space Case is limited to just one per case, so I'm glad I was able to get one while it's easy. Like the others in the wave, he's got translucent plastic (his is blue) and is covered in cyberglyphs, not unlike ROTF Starscream, who I guess inspired this whole set of exclusives. Anyway, Space Case takes an already great mold and does something pretty logical with it (which I'll get into in his review) and manages to look pretty at the same time.

Hatchet's really cool. Probably the most massive of the CV Commanders (people keep saying he's really a scout, but he's not quite there), he's based on the Hatchet from the DOTM movie, but unlike in the film, he transforms into a fighter jet, not a police SUV (as the Crankcase toy does). His jet mode is nice and solid, and the size of the cockpit is almost enough to make you believe that he's in scale with most deluxe jets, but I'm not sure. He's got a great, simple color scheme, and his animalistic robot mode is really fun. His transforming cruise missile weapons aren't bad, either.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

DOTM!

So, I saw DOTM last night. No 3D, but whatever. It was awesome! Definitely the best of the 3 movies. I might do a full review later (I never did finish the ROTF one!).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Botcon - 2011!

Hey hey, it's Botcon weekend! No, unfortunately, I'm not reporting from sunny Pasadena, but I'm excited anyway.

So far, there's not a lot of news yet, but here's what we've got:

At-con exclusives (they managed to keep them under wraps until the convention this year!):
- 3-pack of Animated Autotroopers (I'd like one, but not at con prices)
- 2-pack of Animated Toxitron and Sideswipe (in G2 Sideswipe colors; new head) (I'd like Sideswipe and may try to get him, but I'll live without him)
- 2 pack of SG Galvatron (Cyb Evac repaint) and SG Thundercracker (repaint of Classics Seeker mold) - I'd really like to get these; we'll see.

In attainable toy news, the only truly new stuff we've seen so far has been a grey/green repaint of DOTM Thunderhead (looks good! Not sure if it's a 'Bot or 'Con yet) and a new DOTM HA Scout mold - another motorcycle. Red, it's named Reverb, not unlike the ROTF toy. However, We've also gotten to see MP Rodimus Prime in and out of package. He lacks the trailer of the foreign release, but include a new mold Targetmaster partner. A TRU exclusive, it looks great and I'm sure to get it. We've also just recently gotten to see the packaging for Transformers: Prime Bumblebee and Arcee. Starscream was also on display, but his packaging wasn't. These three are part of a "First Edition" series and will apparently be out next month! Glad it's just three of them.

Also, my DOTM collection is now up to 8! I found a couple of Christmas gift cards today and went ahead and picked up deluxe Barricade and CV Legion Sideswipe. Both are nice; I love Barricade's Mechtech weapon.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Starscream

So, I picked up DotM Starscream yesterday (we got paid). I'm also typing this from my new laptop, which cost a little more than Starscream did!

I'll do a proper review later, but Starscream is pretty great. He's easily the best version of Movie Starscream that's close to this size, and even rivals the leader mold in some regards. I'll still be getting the upcoming silver repaint of ROTF Voyager Starscream, but this new toy is definitely a better mold. The Mechtech weapon(s) is pretty good. The conversion mechanic works well, but the connection between the two parts isn't quite as strong as the spring, so the flipped-out blade slowly moves out of its fully extended position while the two pieces are connected. I may try to get another one. We'll see. I am very happy that the repaint, Thundercracker, is in wave 3, which is already starting to hit shelves in some places. I'm sure I'll buy any and all other-Seeker repaints of this mold (and maybe even a G1-style Starscream repaint, should they choose to go that route).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cool stuff!

Well, there's a lot going on here. First off, yesterday was the last working day at school, so we're now on summer break. On top of that, I ended the day with an interview to work at the local high school (I currently work at the middle school, which is not ideal), and inadvertently interviewed again today with the head principal and got the job! I'm pretty stoked. I'll partially celebrate by getting some more DOTM toys next week after payday. Most likely Megatron, Starscream, and a couple more Cyberverse.

Also, my son turns 4 tomorrow! It's hard to believe that he'll be that old. Just this morning the wife and I went to check out the preschool he'll likely attend this fall, and after Friday he'll be out of daycare for most of the summer. He's going to have a Transformers birthday party tomorrow at his daycare - we've got a cake ready to pick up in the morning. He's also getting some of those new DOTM battle bumper (or whatever they're called) toys - the ones that are paired up and you press the back of the vehicle in and the robot mode automorphs into a standing position. They're pretty fun, and he enjoyed doing the "try me" deal at the store last week. We settled on the Bumblebee/Megatron pack. I also picked him up a Cyberverse Legion toy - Bumblebee. However, I got him the "Bolt" repaint/remold of the ROTF toy. It's got a zig-zag striping pattern and the right hand is remolded to accept CV weapons. He should be able to transform it on his own, so I hope he likes it. I also wanted to get him one that I wouldn't end up getting for myself, and I think this BB repaint fits the bill.

Anyway, just a fun day overall.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OK, so D-Day has come and gone.

The Dark of the Moon toys were officially released yesterday! And you that list I had with the stuff I wanted to get? Yeah, that didn't really happen.

I went by the local Walmart before work yesterday morning. Money's pretty tight, so I expected to walk out of there with very little; I thought I might by a Cyberverse Legion class toy (the new version of the old, normal legends class toys - $5) or maybe Deluxe Starscream. Well, they didn't actually have much out. They had some deluxes - about four of each wave 1 toy, save for Starscream, of which there was only one. I decided that I'd hold off on him, though I was worried about him selling out before I'd be able to get him (locally, at least). So then I focused on the legion toys. Well, except for the fact that they weren't there. In fact, there weren't any Cyberverse playsets, normal Human Alliance, Leaders, or Voyagers, either. They did also have the Human Alliance Basics and Cyberverse Commanders (though oddly lacking any Sentinel Primes), both of which tempted me. Still, I settled on coming back later, even possibly after the end-of-the-month paycheck.

In the afternoon, my wife and I realized that I had to get some staples at the store, so after we got home from work, I took the kids to the WM. We, of course, ended back up over at the toy section. Clearly, someone had worked hard since the morning. A ton of more stuff was out - Voyagers (just wave 1, it looked like), Leaders, Cyberverse (or CV) Legions, CV Commander Sentinel Prime, the larger/normal Human Alliance toys, and a ton of the extraneous "kiddy"/role play toys. In addition, they had put out their two current exclusives for the line: a two-pack with a remold/repaint of HFTD Battle Blades Optimus (now has faceplate-less head and hooks rather than swords, not to mention a hilarious "sparkle" deco) and Commetor (a repaint of 2007 Landmine) and then a Legends 3-pack with a Goldbug-inspired ROTF Bumblebee, a G1-style ROTF Soundwave, and a more orange than normal repaint of Universe Rodimus. They're both great deals, being much less than their component toys would cost separately, but I don't need them now (and will probably only get the Legends 3-pack).

Anyway, I sifted though the Legions, which offered a few surprises (I didn't expect to see Crowbar, Leadfoot, or Mudflap yet, and I didn't realized there was another psuedo-repaint of ROTF BB). However, since I wanted to focus on core characters for the most part for DOTM, I figures the first toy I get should be one of the those characters, and the only Legions that meet that qualification were Ratchet and the two BBs, none of which I wanted to be my first DOTM toy. So I looked at the Commanders again, and I was leaning toward getting Megatron. However, I let my son decide which one I should get between Megatron, Optimus, Ironhide, and Sentinel, and he went for Optimus (after a few attempts to get me to buy more than one), so that's what we got.

He's pretty cool. I'll put of some pics later.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

T-minus 12 days to D-day

Well, D-day keeps getting closer. In fact, many people online are finding stuff already out at Targets and Walmarts. However, with gas prices this high, I'm not going hunting just for TFs, and I'll be fine waiting until the actual release on the 16th (or maybe later in that week to celebrate the last day of having students).

However, due to slim finances and my son's birthday coming up at the end of the month, I'm only getting a few things before the end-of-the-month paycheck, and this is my likely list:

-Deluxe Starscream
-Cyberverse Sentinel Prime (if he's available)
-Cyberverse Optimus Prime (the one with the jetpack, but not the preview 3D glasses release)
-A couple of the "legion" (i.e. normal sized) class Cyberverse - probably some new characters here, like Crankcase, Crowbar, Topspin, etc...but probably only two of them.
-...maybe Voyager Megatron (or possibly Ironhide)
-...maybe HA Sandstorm. I really want all of the HA scouts, but only Sandstorm comes close to being a "legacy" character I already have other versions of (in his case, HftD legends Sandstom and Energon Cliffjumper, who's very Sandstormish).

And I'll probably get something outside of the mainline toys for my son's birthday. I'm also going to hope to get Leader Sentinel Prime for Father's Day...my son has already said he wants to get me a DOTM toy (he actually says the whole phrase "dark of the moon.")

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Countdown to D-Day

So, D-Day - that is, the release date for the Dark of the Moon/DOTM toys - is coming up here is just over a month. Come May 16th, Transformers 3 toys will be...unavoidable.

Here's a list of the Wave 1 stuff I'm looking to get:

TRA MV3 CYBERVERSE BASIC ASST W1 11
1x Crankcase
1x Skids
1x Top Spin
2x Sideswipe

4x TRA MV3 CYBERVERSE ARK SET

TRA MV3 CYBERVERSE ACTION SET ASST W1 11
2x TRA MV3 STARSCREAM W/ORBTL ASSLT CARRIER
2x TRA MV3 BUMBLEBEE W/MOBILE BATTLE BUNKER

TRA MV3 CYBERVERSE PLUS ASST W1 11
2x TRA MV3 CYBERVERSE PLUS OPTIMUS PRIME
1x TRA MV3 CYBERVERSE PLUS IRONHIDE
2x TRA MV3 CYBERVERSE PLUS MEGATRON
1x TRA MV3 CYBERVERSE PLUS FIRETRUCK

TRA MV3 MECHTECH VOYAGER ASST W1 11
1x TRA MV3 VOY MEGATRON
1x TRA MV3 VOY IRONHIDE


TRA MV3 MECHTECH DELUXE ASST W1 11
1x TRA MV3 DLX STARSCREAM

TRA MV3 HUMAN ALLIANCE ASST W1 11
2x TRA MV3 HA AUTOBOT SKIDS/ELITA-1 W/EPPS

TRA BASIC HUMAN ALLIANCE ASST W1 11
2x TRA BACKFIRE W/SPIKE WITWICKY
2x TRA ICE PICK W/SERGEANT CHAOS
2x TRA THUNDERHEAD W/MAJOR TUNGSTEN
2x TRA SANDSTORM W/PRIVATE DEDCLIFF

TRA MV3 MECHTECH LEADER ASST W1 11
Xx TRA MV3 LEADER SENTINEL PRIME

2x TRA MV3 ULTIMATE OPTIMUS PRIME

Thursday, April 7, 2011

THE MILLENIUM

So, if you go over to the Collection Roster page, you'll see that since I last updated the total count to 998, I recently got a couple of more HTS orders in that bumped me up to 1,006. Pretty crazy. Granted, this count includes all individually transforming toys (like mini-cons) and also figurines (like Robot Heroes and 3" Titaniums), but still, it's a bit crazy to think I finally went over the 1,000 mark.

Anyway, the most recent stuff to come in was:

-the new RTS legends (Optimus, Megatron, Goldbug, and Starscream)
-RTS Lugnut
-PCC Heavytread/Groundspike
-HFTD Axor

Legends Megatron and Starscream are particularly impressive with great transformations for such a small scale, and Heavytread is easily the best 2-pack Autobot PCC. All three of his modes are great with no deficits. Groundspike is ok, too, except for his low number of paint apps and somewhat weak claw mode (reminds me of Energon Sledge/Bonecrusher's weapon a bit). Lugnut is also good, although the transformation has some fiddly steps and the cannon in the plane's tail can't be pointed directly forward in a normal way. Still cool overall. Haven't opened Axor yet.

Oh, and RTS Grapple and PCC Over-run/Spastic/Dragstrip are also on the way.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Crackerjack box

So, my Wheeljack and Thundercracker from HTS arrived yesterday!

Thundercracker is, at this point, very old hat, although his deco is pleasing (very metallic paint on the torso) and he manages to look very different from that other blue Seeker, Dirge. Even so, after transforming him into bot mode, it didn't take long for him to be squeezed into my Seeker shelf, where he'll remain for a long time.

Wheeljack, on the other hand, while being "just" a remold and not a brand new toy, is as fun as a barrell of monkeys. He's based on the same mold as Tracks, but there are a number of new parts:

- Head (obviously)
- Wingtips on car doors
- Front bumper/feet
- Back of legs (now has a C-clip connector for his tools, and the wheels can rotate down)
- Spoiler (the panel it's connected to no longer rotates)
- Wrenches/exhaust pipes/guns instead of rockets
- Knees (bend the other way now)

If that wasn't enough, Wheeljack also has a different key transformation step to make him look even less like Tracks - this time, the hood of the car forms his shins, rather than the back of the legs, like Tracks. Also, the leg remolding has made its so his legs don't extend as far, making Wheeljack fairly short for a Deluxe Autobot that's not Bumblebee or Cliffjumper, but it's not a real bother.

While Tracks and Wheeljack have been somewhat similar over the years, this is the first time they have actually shared a mold, and while Tracks was both revealed and released first, how great Wheeljack has turned out makes you wonder which character the mold was initially intended for. The end result, though, is that it doesn't matter; unlike with Universe Sideswipe and Sunstreaker (where Sunstreaker ended up less like his initial G1 design due to transformation changes), neither character here suffers from being a remold of the other. They both look great and do a fantastic job of updating the originals. Here's hoping we get more remolds of this nature.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A few more HTS orders

So, I got my stuff from HTS a couple of weeks ago. Skyhammer, whom I call the UT version of Movie Dreadwing, is better than I though, as is his minicon Airlift, who has this great trick where his hips/legs link and turn with his head so that you can have two weapon modes that look essentially the same, but one attaches via a powerlinx port (female) and the other can be held by a male one that's a 5mm post. Pretty neat. Also, Scourge is great; his alt mode is unique among aircraft TFs and is actually close to being beautiful. Kup is not quite as awesome as you think he'll be, but neither does he really disappoint. I'm really glad now that I caved on the Walmart HFTD repaint of Recon Ironhide, because he still makes a pretty nice Movie Kup and can exchange weapons with the new Generations one. However, I now feel the need to go back and get Brakedown GTS, who is a blatant War Within Kup homage, even if I don't care much for the mode (it can't store its cyber key in alt mode, and it's the only Cybertron toy to not have that ability).

Anyway, newer stuff keeps sporadically popping up, and I've managed to get most of it, at this point only missing out on RTS Grapple (a Universe Inferno remold) and Windcharger (the only Classics-stlyed scout so far, at least until they release Frumble). So, I made two orders, one with RTS Lugnut and four of the upcoming RTS Legends (Megatron, Optimus, Starscream, and Goldbug) and then one with Generations Wheeljack and Thundercracker.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New stuff coming in from HTS...

Well, finding new stuff, especially PCCs, has not been easy lately, so I bit the bullet a week & and a half ago and ordered a few items from HTS: Generations Kup & Scourge and PCC Skyhammer/Airlift and Undertow/Waterlog. I'm sure I'll never see the latter two at retail, and finding the first two won't be too easy either. I was disappointed that PCC Heavytread/Groundspike wasn't available, because I know he'll be equally unavailable. They also added PCC Over-Run (Dragstrip) after the order, but I'm not sure about him.

Really looking forward to Thundercracker and Wheeljack, too.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

DOTM

Yeah, that means Dark of the Moon, the subtitle (and thus internet prefix for toys) for Transformers 3.

And already, there's a ton of DOTM toys leaking onto the internet. Mostly cool, some not quite so.

My favorites so far:

- Deluxe Starscream: We got a deluxe movie Starscream when the first movie line fist started almost four years ago, but that was of his Cybertronian "protoform" mode. This new deluxe is clearly based on his ROTF appearance - apparently, he keeps his scars/tats for the new movie - and even learns a trick or two about transformation from the HftD Leader class toy. Being that he's a deluxe, F-22 Starscream, he reminds some of Energon Starscream - a point magnified more so when you see that his has nonintegral weapons that also resemble Energon Starscream's (one's a gun, the other's a blade, and they combine).

-"Dread" - another deluxe, this one a black SUV. I'm not sure of the actual character's name (could be Crankcase), but apparently there's a subgroup of 'cons in the new movie called the Dreads. And they actually have dreadlocks in bot mode. In fact, the overall appearance of the toy's robot form really isn't that dissimilar from the Yautja Predators of cinematic fame (amusing when you consider how much like a xenomorph ROTF Ravage looks).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

REVEAL THE SHIELD

Ok, so I caved on the RTS Battle in Space set the other day. That Cyclonus kept looking better and better, and the metal Matrix that can fit G1 Optimus and exclusive comic book didn't help.

I guess I'll try to sell the Hot Rod/imus, as I don't think he looks as good as the original Classics release. I also prefer the Universe purple version of Nightstick to this more G1-accurate repaint, so he'll have to go, too.

However, Cyclonus is awesome. I had been a big fan of the very dark purple of the original Universe release, but when compared in hand to this new version, it's clear that the cruddy light grey doesn't do much for the older toy, especially when comparing the faces. And yes, the new repaint is more cartoon-accurate, even though I'm not always a big stickler for that. It helps that this new Cyclonus doesn't have trouble with one of his arms remaining connected to his torso, I suppose. So, yeah, I'll somehow get rid of old Cyclonus.

Also, the Matrix is pretty great. No paint, but it's a nicely shiny silver color, and looks very good in hand or in G1 Prime's chest. It's also got a nice heft to it, which was a bit surprising.

As for the comic, it's pretty fun. Boo's on art, so everything looks very loose and Animated-ish. This worked very well for his 'Bots of Science' story in The Arrival, and it's not the worst thing ever here, but it could be better. For example, Hot Rod looks very little like the toy in the box that this comic's included with. Cyclonus fares better, as do Kup and Galvatron. On the plus side, many of the characters have been redesigned to look like newly released/upcoming toys - Kup, Scourge, Grapple, for example. There's even a Warpath with a new design, leading most to think he'll get a new toy (as all the characters in non-new toy bodies have designs that strictly adhere to the G1 looks). Also, notably, RS Lugnut makes an appearance, confirming that his new toy represents a G1 version of himself, not from the Movie-verse or Prime-verse. Lastly, the comic takes place "behind-the-scenes" (or maybe between the scenes?) of the 1986 Animated Movie, which is pretty cool. I guess you could keep this with IDW's adaptation of the 86 Movie from a few years back, even if the designs don't mesh.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Post-Christmas

The holidays were very whirlwind this year, but a lot of fun. I only got a few TFs as actual gifts, but I was given a fair amount of cash/gift cards and I also had a small...contingency plan. So, actually, here's what all I got:

Generations:
-Thunderwing
-Skullgrin
-Cliffjumper
-Red Alert

Hunt for the Decepticons:
-Battle Blades Bumblebee
-Sidearm Sideswipe
-Elita-1
-Hubcap
-Insecticon

Reveal the Sheild:
-Tracks
-Jazz
-Mindset

Power Core Combiners:
-Leadfoot/Pinpoint
-Sledge/Throttler
-Icepick/Chainclaw
-Stakeout w/Protectobots
-Steamhammer w/Constructicons
-Grimstone w/Dinobots

So, of the available stuff I wanted, I really just need Axor. Well, and a replacement Skullgrin; his right heel spur wasn't pinned in.