Saturday, December 22, 2012

Best of: 2012!

Alright, here we are, a few days before Christmas. I honestly don't expect to get much for (or after) Christmas, at least until the new year, so I'm going to go ahead and post this.

Transformers: Prime - the TFP mainline started in earnest earlier this year, and we're now several waves into it. As of this posting, the new Beast Hunters toys are already being released in some states!

-Cyberverse Legion: Breakdown. This is the only toy this character has gotten (so far), and it's the one CV Legion that I keep coming back to to play with over and over. The Outback repaint is great, too. Runner up: Cliffjumper/Tailgate - really impressive transformation and articulation.

-Cyberverse Commander: Tie between Dreadwing and Skyquake. Easily one of the best little jet molds of the past few years (Starscream just can't win in the smaller size classes, can he?), and both come with great, tailor-made weapons. Runner-up: Bulkhead, for having a great weapon, fun transformation, and both modes looking good.

-Cyberverse Vehicles: Energon Driller - damn fun. Doesn't hurt that it comes with Knock Out, who gets his two signature weapons. Runner-up: Star Hammer - pretty fun, but here Wheeljack outshines the spaceship.

-Deluxe: A tough one, but the "PRiD" Vehicon/Eradicon wins out. He's just an amazingly simple design with an almost magical transformation scheme. Easily one of the best car-formers in a while. Runners-up: Tie between Soundwave and Dead End. Soundwave effectively captures the show look for robot mode while having a convincing UAV alt mode. Dead End is just crazy, and sends the already great Wheeljack mold into the rad zone.

-Voyager: Thundertron. A fairly atypical TFP voyager, but he benefits from this. The lion mode suffers, but the bot mode is really great. Makes me nostalgic for the wonderful Cybertron toyline. Runner-up: Dreadwing. Once you get a handle on this guy, he's pretty awesome. Imposing bot mode and chunky, powerful-looking jet mode.

Transformers: Prime: First Edition - yep, we've gotten most of the remaining FE toys at TRU!

-Deluxe: Vehicon! While outshone by its PRiD counterpart in many ways, this version has its own unique charm, and I like having two different toys of a "drone" character that aren't carbon copies of each other. Very fun and interesting transformation, and the arm gun mode for the weapon looks really good. Runner up: I didn't have to buy any others!

Transformers: Prime: Dark Energon - BBTS exclusive repaints.

-Deluxe: Starscream - repainted as Skywarp with clear black parts, he looks like he's teleporting! I've been wanting a Skywarp toy like that since 2004. Runner-up: Knock Out in a violently neon green (also, incidentally, the only one of these deluxes that actually has clear purple plastic).

Transformers: Generations - this part is for the new, revamped Generations line, which is (so far) exclusively populated with Fall of Cybetron toys. The legends and voyages are just now being released, so nothing here for them yet.

-Deluxe: Shockwave. I've been waiting for a deluxe G1-style Shockwave for a long time, now, and Hasbro delivers! Great toy. Runner-up: Vortex - he's the one I keep coming back to to play with over and over, and I like his sword-guns.

Transformers: Generations - these are the toys, under the original Generations banner, that were to be Asia-market exclusives that were also released at TRU!

-Legends: Thundercracker. He looks great, and while he can't "properly" use his null-ray cannons in bot mode, it makes him more heavily armed and "completes" his jet mode appearance. Runner-up: Hoist. Just has a fun vibe about him.

-Scout: I actually didn't buy any of these, thought I thought the Laserbeak repaint of Skystalker looked good.

- Deluxe: Wheelie. He's a great example of what a little remolding can do to make a preexisting mold look like someone else altogether. The weapon really brings it home. Runner-up: Swerve - a classy, nice-looking remold.

-Voyager: Didn't buy any of these, either, but Megatron looks fun, and Hot Spot is tempting.

Masterpiece: Two this year! Crazy!

-Thundecracker. Love remolded MP Seeker design, and he completes the trio. He's also much less expensive than Optimus Prime!

Bot Shots - transforming Robot Heroes! Well, basically.

-Single-packed: Lockdown. Pleased that he showed up again, and he's pretty stand-out compared to many of the others in this (admittedly) homogeneous line. Runner-up: Thundercracker also looks really good.

-Trailers: Optimus Prime. Easily the best OP w/trailer we've gotten since the UT lines. So much fun. Runner-up: didn't buy any others, but if I did, it's probably be Starscream for the character.

-3-packs: Brawl/Shockwave/Ironhide if only for Shockwave, who looks great. The Decepticon 3-pack from wave 1 is a good runner-up, though, with the best version of Megatron, clear Acid Storm, and Nemesis Prime. 

Kre-O: the 2nd year with the Battle for Energon theme and preview wave of Microchangers!

-Microchangers: Waspinator. He has a lot going on, and I like how all of his extra parts can be incorporated into his bot mode (if not the wasp mode). Runner-up: Sunstorm - cool dark energon null-rays and effective jet mode.

-Troop builders: Cliffjumper w/Vehicons. CJ has a nice classic appearance, and the TFP-style Vehicons look great. I love that they are each different from one another.

-Bigger sets: Devastator w/Ironhide. This mammoth set is fantastic. Obviously, you get Devastator from 4 constructicons, Ironhide, and some fun construction site builds. Devastator is great, and Ironhide looks good, even if he's a bit short. Runner-up: Optimus Prime/Megatron. Optimus Prime is a great buildable action figure. and Megatron is right behind him.

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Twins..." Well, sort of.

Earlier this year, I didn't think I'd be writing a post like this. When the First Edition debacle happened early in the spring, we were pretty much told that we wouldn't be getting any more FE toys beyond the first deluxe wave in the US. Canadians managed to still get the voyagers, Entertainment Pack, and deluxe wave 2 (just Cliffjumper), but the US got nothing aside from Arcee, BB, and Starscream (well, there were the NYCC "prepaints," but I feel like there wouldn't have been as much complaining if those had been cut instead of the other FE stuff). In addition, even Canada never got the FE Vehicon (Eradicon in my vernacular). Takara released their own version, including some slight paint differences and robot-mode packaging, but Hasbro only ever ended up releasing theirs in their Asian markets some months later. In short, if you wanted a FEhicon, you were going to pay at least $60 or so for it. Now, this revelation had a bit of its sting removed when we found that the more impressive PRiD Vehicon mold would be coming to America in wave 3. I happily snatched up the first (and for months, only) one I saw this summer, but for many, this toy was just as impossible to find due to shortpacking. Finally, it seems that Hasbro has come to its senses on both fronts. We learned as SDCC this summer that all the remaining (well, except for "normal Cliffjumper) FE toys would be released at Toys R Us, including a release of Arcee and Starscream, but not BB (thank goodness). I managed to get my FEhicon last week - it was the only one left. Also, Hasbro finally put the PRiD Vehicons back into circulation as part of wave 5, along with more Knock Outs (who was also somewhat rare) and the new Kup and Rumble toys. See, now, you can actually walk into a store and have a halfway decent chance of finding a PRiD Vehicon - one guy I know managed to find eight (!) in one day and only between two stores. I myself have seen four in one week between two stores.

Very long story short, I now own both TFP Vehicon/Eradicon deluxe molds. I was initially resigned (quite happily) to only own the PRiD mold, and was lucky to get one as early as I did, but I've found that the original FEhicon is a fun and also somewhat impressive mold on its own. And, for "characters" who are identical troop builders, it's nice to have two of them that aren't exactly alike. Here are my basic impressions of both molds (I will mostly likely give them both their own mini-reviews later):

PRiD: Very small car mode, especially next to FEhicon. No hidden weapon storage, but multiple mounting points in car mode. Transformation is very innovative and allows it to avoid the kibble trap that the FEhicon falls into. Bot mode is great - I don't even mind the "weird" elbows. I do wish the knees had a greater degree of motion, and may do surgery to make that happen. Again, multiple gun mounting options in bot mode. Great head automorph that doesn't rely on springs. Overall, one of the best deluxe cars in a long time.

FE: Bigger in car mode, though still not among the largest deluxe car TFs. I like that the gun can be hidden in the undercarriage, but it's not a very solid connection; luckily it can be mounted on two points on the hood. Transformation is way more interesting and complex than I anticipated, but it does leave him with a substantial kibble cape. it would have been nice if, at least, the spoiler could have folded down in bot mode. Bot mode, in general, is better than expected, too. It is overall more bulkier than the PRiD mold, but the build of the torso is a lot slimmer and closer in appearance to the PRiD in hand, once you're able to see torso as separate from the cape. I like the boots a bit better, and there are 3 ways for the gun (smaller, by the way) to be held. My favorite, with the hand folded back, is of course the hardest one to have the gun keep in place, but it can be managed (and looks good once it's there). Articulation is a bit better than expected, too, including a waist swivel, something almost totally lacking in the PRiD line, including its Eradicon deluxe.

So, if you're able, I definitely recommend picking up both molds. I'm not an army builder guy, but when Hasbro presents a rare opportunity like this - two molds of the same army builder type in scale with each other (well, mostly) - it's hard for me to pass up. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gone fishin'

So, I manged to nab the Autobot Assault Devastator set last week! I finally managed to have some time to begin working on it today, and I came across two surprises that I didn't know about:

A) The Devastator kreon (yeah, this is the yellow Kre-2 version) has dark energon clear purple hands. Don't know if this decision was made before or after they decided to keep the "Megatron" gun black instead of clear purple, but it's a weird yet neat touch.

B) all of the "new" Ironhide stuff comes in a separate bag, and he also has his own instruction booklet. Both feature a new item for one of the Constructions - Hightower. It's a hook! Why am I excited? Because I wasn't very comfortable with Hightower. Sure, being a red crane, he resembled RiD Hightower, but he's an Autobot. Since he's a crane, you'd think he'd be Hook (who's been replaced, at least in name, by Decepticon Hightowers (like the Classics version), but he's still red, and he has a wrecking ball, not a hook. Going with the color, I had intended to call him Overload, after the RotF red Constructicon, even though he's an articulated dump truck, not a crane. But now, all of this doesn't matter since "Hightower", who I'll call Hook, has a, well, hook! I mean, he's still red, but I don't care.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Unleash the Beasts

And now for something completely different...sort of.

NYCC 2012 is going on and today was the Hasbro panel. The new big thing for transformers? Beasts!

Transformers: Prime season 3 is subtitled Beast Hunters, introducing a new faction of monstrous beasts, the Predacons. Their leader is Predaking, somehow procured by Shockwave (who better damned get a toy). Anyhow, the toyline is seeing some appropriate changes, and here's what they had to show us today:

Legion class:

-Bumblebee: extensive remold. Car mode is covered in spikes, guns, and armor panels. Bot mode is remolded, too, with a new horned "helmet" (I don't mean removable), abdominal region, etc. I especially like how his twin blaster is molded onto his hood, but the barrels end up as shoulder cannons - that's a nice touch. He comes with a crossbow weapon. While I wasn't impressed enough with the base mold to buy the (admittedly nice) shadowblade repaint, I may get this since I most likely won't buy the deluxe version.

- Smokescreen: the newest Autobot on the show debuts in toy form! This is a "normal" representation of the character, without "beast hunting" modifications. This version has the show deco, and his weapon is a pretty neat gun with chainsaw bayonet that manages to fit in with the line's theme. I love that they've finally figured out how to do real door wings on a deluxe (though I admit I don't know enough about the character's show design to know if he has those door wings in fiction). A bit like Knock Out in overall appearance, and no knees (I think), but overall I like it quite a bit.

-Airachnid: Well, I hate that it still has only three blades, and I don't like that they are already reusing weapons in wave 1, but this toy definitely looks better than the deluxe. The rotor blades look decent enough as a rotary shield on the arm, and at least the crossbow (BB's) is already strongly associated with fembots to make a lot of sense. Both modes look uncompromised.

- Twinstrike: Ok, this is actually Sinnertwin, an update of one of the G1 Terrorcons. This honestly looks like one of the best legion molds yet (impressive, considering they've been making them for about 7 years now), and certainly the best beast mode legion (short list, but whatever). I love the transformation - while the G1 toy wastefully turned the twin dragon heads into a backpack, here they become the arms. I also like how the beast thighs flip back to bulk up the robot lower legs. The weapon is a hammer/cannon. I really like this one, enough to make me regret having just sold my G1 Sinnertwin. I do like the name update, by the way.

Commander class:

- Bulkhead: again, a heavy remold like BB. He has Roadbuster's colors, a bunch or armor plating detail, a "cowcatcher", and a new "viking helmet" horned head. The new weapon is a hammer/axe/cannon, the design of which is directly taken from some other property I can't identify. This is pretty neat, and different enough from Bulkhead proper to serve as Roadbuster himself (barring he gets his own design down the road). I might get this one, though it makes the likelihood of me purchasing the pretty nice current blue redeco go down.

- Predaking: Not bad. I prefer his larger toys and don't care much for how the dragon head/neck split to form...well, kibble, but it'll work for this size class. The bot mode pic with the weapon  is obscured, but it appears to be the tail and to have a firing missile, which would be a first for this size class.

CV Vehicles:

- Sky Claw with Smokescreen: A nearly wingless jet in Blue Angels colors with a similarly-painted Smokescreen (same mold as the single Legion release). Has a capture claw at the front to grab predacons, and has deployable side turrets a la the Star Hammer. Not bad, and it actually kind of reminds me of Dreadwing's ship from the show. I do like how the Smokescreen toy has a number (7) and deco that homages the Alternators/BT version, which I kind of prefer to the original G1 deco. Not sure if I'll get this in addition to the single release version, but I do like it overall.

- Apex Armor with Breakdown: The armor is a remold of Bumblebee's armor that just got released. Breakdown himself is a repaint of his legion toy, and both are done up in a deco that reminds me of some micromaster that I can't put my finger on. I think that this is supposed to represent the Silas-controlled Breakdown, but I could be wrong. The armor is heavily remolded, by the way, and definitely is a more "feral" way that looks like it could take out a few predacons.

Deluxe class:

- Bumblebee: Ok, this is the remold of the deluxe class "PRiD" BB mold. Same idea as the legion remold, but the "hawk" crossbow is a totally different design and comes with six (!!!) missiles. I like that he still has his two blasters. Most likely won't get this, and for the same reason that I won't keep Dark Energon BB: I prefer the FE mold to represent the character. The mold suits Hot Shot a lot better, I think. Still, here's another great opportunity to make a Wasp, Hasbro...

- Soundwave: another heavy remold, this time with more G1 colors and a new-mold Ravage instead of Laserbeak. The weapon is a larger claw-launcher, with the claw attached by a string.
I really like this one and will definitely get it, even if Ravage looks a bit silly in armor mode.

- Wheeljack: heavy remold, lots of spikes. The green is more "lime" this time, and the translucent plastic is red. Weapon is a weird "spear" with a circular head, sort of like Sparkdrinker. Probably won't get this, having already owned the mold twice over.

- Laserback: finally, a new mold. This is another Predacon, apparently another dragon. It's quadrapedal, no wings. The name is funny, but descriptive - his back elevates and opens to reveal a missile launcher. In bot mode, the tail also functions as a whip weapon. Fairly perfunctory, but kind of neat. A bit of a toss up. Could make a good Repugnus.


- Predaking: better than the commander toy. This is the Predacon leader, named for the G1 Predacon combiner, but having conceptually more to do with Cybertron Scourge, it seems. Black, orange, yellow dragon. Unlike Scourge, he has wings, and they're pretty decently sized. He has two missile launchers that either flip out or attach at either side of the main dragon head, another similarity to Cyb Scourge. Again, bot mode pic is obscured. I might get this instead of the larger one, but we'll see.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hey there

Wow, hard to believe it's been just over a month since my last post. The month of September flew by, and normally I do birthday posts, but I didn't do much of anything on here this year.

As far as the birthday situation goes, here's what I bought:

- Kreon Galvatron
- TFP CV Commander Ironhide (finally)
- Kre-O Street Showdown set (Knock Out and Wheeljack)
- TRU exclusive Masterpiece Thundercracker (gift from parents)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Well, after my whiny last post, I was able to order the subscription service last night.

Now to figure out the dark Energon stuff.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Ok, so my awesome SDCC post from July, with all of its awesome toys? It may not amount to much.

Money, money, money - I just don't have enough!

First and foremost, there are the TFCC Subscription toys. I did a post on them a couple of weeks ago, and it looks like they may not happen for me. The cost - about $360 - is pretty damned high, and earlier this week when I mentioned the idea of her getting me the set as a combined birthday/Christmas gift, she wasn't at all interested. Didn't say no, but I have my doubts she'll say yes (and the clock is ticking! They stop taking orders on the 10th!). So there's that.

I've considered asking my parents for the set in the same fashion, but I already had Amazon Jetwing Optimus on preorder that they were going to pay for. Mom was going to get me the SDCC exclusives this year for a belated Father's day gift, but I missed out on Bruticus, so I ordered Jetwing Optimus instead. However, I imagine the idea of my parents spending nigh-$500 on me within 6 months isn't too appetizing to them. I weighed my chances of getting the Subscription set against how much I wanted Jetwing, and I settled on cancelling the Jetwing preorder, which I just did. So, I guess, that's one obstacle out of my way, though I don't know how much it will help.

I also considered finally listing my Botcon 2010 box set on ebay and using the money from that to get the FSS, but when I had got the Botcon set, I had told my wife that I'd give the money back to us as a family to use for something collectively. I brought this up, and, again, she didn't say no to this idea, but it was clear she didn't care for it.

On top of all this, BBTS decides to list their exclusive Dark Energon repaints today (well, at 12 in the morning, what the hell?) in the midst of all this FSS stuff. While not that bad as individual prices, the four deluxes are only available as a case for $60 plus shipping, and the two voyagers are sold together as well for $50 plus shipping. Originally, the only one of these toys I didn't want in any way was Optimus, but now that I know that acquiring them will be difficult, I really only want the Skywarp-looking repaint of Starscream. So, either I pay over $60 to get him and either sell the other three deluxes (or decide to keep some of them, I don't know?) or I have to buy him on the secondary market, hoping that someone on a board will let me at him for a decent price before resorting to ebay.

So, if I were to pony up and buy both of these sets, it would cost $470. And that's not considering BBTS's shipping costs. $500 for 12 toys. Now, this isn't unheard of in the franchise. To fully enjoy a Botcon set, buying both the box set and the souvenir exclusives costs about the same. However, this isn't Botcon. Yeah, the FSS toys are close in concept, since they are just an expanded take on the Club's online exclusives, but the main problem with both of these sets is that if you want a realistic shot at getting any one toy for a decent price, you've got to get the set. With BBTS, there's no option. With the Club, they say that the individual toys will be available at some point, but of course only at a higher price and being very limited. And, again, even if you are among the hardcore that attends Botcon every single year and manages to do so by carefully budgeting through the year, now you've got what amounts to a second Botcon-level expenditure that nearly came out of nowhere. And, again, if you want it, you've got to act now, pretty much. Of course, this ignores all the "normal" retail purchases you might want to make to keep up with the current cool stuff that Hasbro is putting out.

Anyhow, this is all getting a bit frustrating. In hopes of making a bit of extra cash that could go toward some of this stuff (and also just thinning out the collection a bit), I compiled a list of transformers that I'm going to be selling over the next few weeks/months. None of them are real blockbusters, but, again, hopefully I can reclaim some of the cash they cost me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Shocking Developments!

Well, the second wave of Bot Shots 3-packs has finally emerged at retail, and I got the "ground vehicle" set. And, honestly, I did it all for the Shocker (I have other plans for Blue Brawls and Ghost of Ironhide). So that was awesome.

Was that it?

Of course not.

On the Hub tonight, we see this:
G1? Never heard of it. Why?

That's Transformers:Prime Shockwave! In NEXT WEEK'S episode!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kre-2: The Sequel!

Once in a generation, comes the...Retail Surprise!
So. That G2 (yellow) Devastator Kreon from a few posts back? Well, it's coming out, all right, and it's even still included with the Devastator building set!

Well, that'd be cool, variants and all that kind of thing. But no. This is better.

Much better.

As you can see to the left, Devastator ain't the only thing going on with this, the biggest and baddest of Kre-O sets! Weighing in at ninety four dollars, this Toys R Us exclusive also includes a Kre-O Ironhide kit! And man, he looks pretty danged good. Mostly G1 inspired, with a bit of Movie/Animated/Prime influence thrown in for good measure, this is a rare Total Retail Surprise that has sneaked up on us, appearing out of nowhere at a US TRU.

More than just Ironhide, the set also includes a port-o-potty "brick house" and an extra human dude Kreon for kicks. I mean, I was all about getting the Devastator set when it eventually clearanced down some (keep in mind I got Kre-O Ratchet for four bucks this summer), but now I'm kind of screwed. See, TRU pretty much never clearances their exclusives, so my hopes of paying $40, $50 tops for Devastator are now quashed. Of course, even though this set is $15 over the MSRP for Normalstator, the Ironhide & Bits more than makes up for this difference. Luckily, this thing will mostly like sit on shelves forever, so even if I can't finagle my way into getting one for my birthday or Christmas, I should still be able to pick one up, oh, let's say, next April.

Of course, waiting that long will be hard. Ironhide! Devastator! G2 Kreonstator! In box! It's too great. The only thing I can think of to complain about is the fact that among the 7 (!) Kreons it includes, only two are robots. But that just means more dudes for Devastator to kill, I guess.

Thanks to Triceraton 1 of the Allspark for the photo!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hitting the Jackpot?

Ok - back in May, I alluded to FunPub's announcement of their new Subscription Service when I discussed my favorite of the set, Ultra Mammoth. Well, now it's August 18th, and the site for ordering the set already went live just last night!

First, that's a lot quicker than most anticipated. Also, the deadline if you want the set is September 10th, just a couple of weeks. Not a whole lot of time, but at least it's not like the online club exclusives of the past (or even botcon sets) - the orders they are taking until the 10th are the numbers they are going to use to place their own orders from the factories. So, if you order, say, 3 subscriptions, that's three sets of toys that FP now has to get made. So that's nice, even if there's no way I'd get more than one set; at least I don't have to worry about them selling out tomorrow.

You can pay for the whole set at once or in three installments. The whole shebang is $282 plus $3 processing and then shipping ($10? I don't know). If you go with the installments, then you just pay $6 more since you are doing two more card processing charges. The club also says that after the orders are filled, anything "extra" will be on sale on the club store site, but those could be limited amounts and will cost much more a la carte than with the subscription price.

So, who's in the lineup? Well, this isn't news, but we know have access to the actual images that we had seen photos of at Botcon. In order of personal importance:

Global warming? Bullsh!t.
Ultra Mammoth - I've covered him already, but he's the biggest toy in the set, and the only one that's truly a "gotta have it". A BW version of Ultra Magnus is something I've wanted for a long time (see Ursa Magnus of the Allspark boards), and this is one of the most imposing BW molds. I like the G2 Magnus-inspired deco, too. Now I have to figure out how to fit it on my Magnus shelf, which could barely handle the inclusion of SG Magnus...

Fear me, Scourge, bearer of backwards swords and inverted logos!
Scourge - oh boy, he's back! Scourge was the original "Nemesis Prime" form the Robots in Disguise show. The original toy, which I have, is a repaint of G2 Laser Optimus, and this toy is a repaint of the newer, smaller RtS version of that G2 design, so this was a no-brainer. He even retains the Japanese upside-down G2 Autobot logo. This and other things suggest he may be intended to be part of the "Wings" G2 continuity. I don't really care; he just looks great. I'm also one of the somewhat few that actively enjoy this mold, owning all three American releases so far (and I still want a skull-headed Nemesis Prime and a G2 Magnus from it!). I wouldn't die without it, but it'll be really nice to have.

They tell me that humpbacked girls are dumpy. Then I shoot them.

Slipstream - the female Seeker introduced in the Animated cartoon, and then in War for Cybertron, finally gets her own toy. Technically, this would be the same character as WfC Slipstream, but as I consider WfC/FoC and Prime to be different continuities, this toy will simply be Prime Slipstream for me. It uses the excellent FE Starscream deluxe mold, which is suitably feminine, and it has a wonderful new headsculpt that is certainly Prime-styled (I feared that FP would shoehorn an Animated style head on here). I'll be happy to have her; she can stand at the lead of my non-Starscream Seeker display.

That was Tomahawk! Did you see him? DID YOU?!
Breakdown - I got the G2 version of this mold at Botcon 2010, and now we have the G1 deco! It's nice to see this finally come to fruition. I'm sure there are plenty of fun tales to be told with this guy and his future self; the paranoia will be off the charts. Makes me wonder/hope for Streetwise with his "G1" deco from the Botcon '10 comic.

Third mode: LSD tablet
Circuit - ok, here's where we get to the clunkers. I didn't know who this guy was when he was announced. Apparently his G1/G2 toy was a European repaint of the actionmaster Axor. So, this toy is a repaint of HftD Axor. In an insane deco. But there you go. I actually already have someone who expressed interest in buying this should I purchase the whole set, so I guess that's a plus.

Looks like Kick-off, but don't jumble their names together
Jackpot - this guy is another actionmaster, albeit a somewhat more recognizable American one. A repaint of Animated Jazz, arguably the most pedestrian Animated mold, this doesn't really grab me at all. I'm well past the point of wanting Animated for the sake of it being Animated (how much botcon 2011 stuff did I go for? That's right; none). Apparently he's supposed to get his own Wyatt-designed head mold, but it's pretty similar to the Jazz mold's head; it was hard for me to tell that it was new. I really hope he's not the first one to arrive in the mail, though at least that means I could sell him first and begin to recoup some money.

So, there you have it - the line up for the inaugural TFCC Subscription Service. Not too bad - I really like 4/6 figures, which is 2 out of 3. Overall, assuming this all works, this is a much better plan than the how the club has handled their non-botcon exclusives for the past 5 years. Yeah, it may not be easy to buy a certain single toy, but if they're going to inflate the a la carte price and you can make money buy selling the other 5 toys, why not get the whole deal anyway? Honestly, that's kind of ideal, as you'd mostly likely make more than you paid for, giving you funds for other TF ventures. Also, this kind of puts another "botcon set" out there for those of us who can't/don't want to deal with the hassle of all that. Sure, it's not a true "set", but you'll be guaranteed that all of these will likely show up in club fiction at some point (or are established characters, like Mammoth/Magnus and Scourge).

Oh, and I want a Botcon Skyquake now. If you've got one you want to get rid of (especially if you'll trade it for a Botcon Banzai Tron), let me know.

All images courtesy of Fun Publications

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Time to Bot Some Decepti'Shots

I don't know who in the hell I am, Praahm!
I have way more Bot Shots than I need. Granted, a good portion of the total Bot Shots in our home belong to my son, but I still have a lot of my own. And I managed to grab a few more this week.

I had to make a run to the store Thursday night, and ended up picking up Jazz. Nothing really special about him; he's a straight-up replication of G1 Jazz, #4 on the hood and all. I transformed him about twice and then put him next to the other Jazzes on the shelf.

Yesterday, I had to go back, so caved on the Old Duo - Ratchet and Ironhide. I hadn't really planned on getting either of them, but you know how it goes....I knew that Ironhide was getting a clear black Super Bot release in the upcoming three-pack with Shockwave (yay!) and Blue Brawls (eh...), so I initially just figured on that being my BS Ironhide. However, I gave my son the latest in a series of Super Bots Friday afternoon ("matrix blue" Optimus, as I call him. Oh, didn't I mention that I got him, too? No? Oops). He loves the clear sh!t, and I had been pretty impressed with how normal Ironhide looked in the store the other day when I got Jazz, so I concluded that whenever the ShockHideBrawls set came out, my boy would get the clear Ironhide and I would go ahead and get the "real deal". And, naturally, if I'm going to get AHHNHAAHD, I've got to get his doctor buddy that I've avoided since May, right? I mean, Kup's not around, so it just felt right.

Anyhow, turns out that Ironhide is pretty great. The truck mode manages to look both badass and adorable at the same time, and the robot mode feels like the Ironhide we all know and love (GEEWUN, amirite?) without being exactly that. In fact, he's sort of a 4-way homage. For starters, we all can tell that the truck is based on movie Ironhide (yeah, yeah, RiD, Energon, and Prime Ironhide are all trucks, but the movies are the reason this toy is a black truck). The chest design and color scheme (duh) are both also call-outs to the movies. Or are they? Turns out, black was the original color for Ironhide's G1 mold back when it was a pre-Transformers Diaclone toy. And guess what? It's the same color used for Ironhide's evil Shattered Glass incarnation, which is based on his Universe toy's design. Topping all of this off, of course, is the clearly G1 (or is it SG? We'll never know) head sculpt. The official Hasbro pic up there shows him with the blue "blaster" symbol, but I rotated it to the red "sword" one so that it recalled his G1 colors at least a little. Not that Ironhide is known for using swords, but what're you gonna do? At least he can go GDTR with the "fist" symbol, what what!!

Ratchet is a bit more pedestrian. He looks pretty G1, like Jazz, but closer inspection reveals a movie-inspired chest and ambulance mode clearly (most obvously in the grille) taken from Transformers: Prime. Also, his red is a bit more maroon, something Ratchet has never had. Not sure why; maybe the 'Bro was worried about him being on shelves while another red & white Autobot - Jetfire - would show up just a few weeks later? I use the blue "blaster" for him; it gives him a sort of emergency light effect.

Anyhow, this is all just more evidence that I'm easily hooked by the "cute mini-TFs" thing Hasbro's been doing for years now. Robot Heroes, Kreons, and Bot Shots? I don't stand a chance.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


The 80s? Whatever, man.

Well, it was bound to happen. Generation 2 has officially infected Kre-O - and not a moment too soon. While mostly populated by G1 homages, the Kre-O universe has also recently gotten refugees from the world of Transformers: Prime (Optimus, Bumblebee, Megatron, Airachnid, Knock Out, Eradicons) and Beast Wars (Waspinator). But now, another segment of the franchise's history is represented, that most quintessentially 90s part.

Ok, sure. Yes, G2 is really just G1: More, and Devastator here isn't terribly different from the original (even still possessing a G1 Decepticon symbol), but I think it's great. Partially because the only version of G1 Devastator I own is the G2 version, which I collected piece-by-piece over the course of my 3rd grade year. Actually, there were two versions of G2 Devastator - the more common yellow deco (which I have) and then the very orange version. I think this Kreon - assuming the color in the image is correct - strikes a good balance between the two colors, being a fairly yellow orange.

However, I also like this version just for the "dark energon" purple version of the gun - which is G1 Megatron in alt mode. The original version of the kreon, which comes with the larger Kre-O Devastator set, has the same gun, but it's molded in a less exciting flat black plastic.

Edit: I should add that this image showed up on the Hasbro site overnight, and while it is listed for a price of $3.99, there's no indication of how this Devastator will be sold. It's too expensive to be a blind-packed Microchanger, nor does it have any parts to make an alt mode with (indeed, Devastator doesn't have an alt mode). It's too cheap to be part of any building set, so my guess is that this will be an HTS or NYCC exclusive. Maybe.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Swing and a miss

Ok, so today was the day that HTS finally deigned to list the SDCC exclusives.


Bruticus sold out in less than three minutes. I didn't stand a chance.

Thankfully, I did manage to order Rust in Peace Terrocon Cliffjumper.

So, what next? Well, I wasn't originally a fan of the retail deco for FoC Bruticus, but I did already like Blast Off (purple vs. brown? Yes, please) and more recently, Onslaught, who is actually more game and cartoon accurate. Swindle just has yellow versus gold, which other Swindles have had in the past. No version of Voretx looks G1 accurate, so it was kind of pick your poison already. However, the SDCC Vortex doesn't look that much like the game deco, and the retail one has the advantage of marrying more purple (G1? check!) and orange, which the Energon version of Vortex (Stormcloud) was colored with. Brawl is almost lime green, which I don't appreciate, but whatever. Long story short, I guess I can handle Retail Bruticus. I would have thought about G2 Bruticus, but banana grape Onslaught is a deal breaker.

I was happy to get the RiP version of CJ. The "normal" Terrorcon version of him, that was originally supposed to be a wave 3 First Edition toy, is now going to be released for realz this fall, but it doesn't possess the more detailed deco, dark energon accessories, or over-the-top packaging that the SDCC one does.

Also, the missed opportunity of SDCC Bruticus opened up another opportunity: since he's basically the same price, I decided to have Amazon exclusive Jetwing Optimus replace the Brute as a belated father's day gift. So I'm pretty excited about getting him later in the year.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Fall Begins Now

So, Fall of Cybertron. Sequel to War for Cybertron, the game comes out next month (I think) and the toys themselves are just now hitting shelves. Just like the WfC toys, the FoC toys are actually part of the new, second iteration of the Generations line, and (thus far) compose all of its releases. This is in contrast to Generations Mk I, which only had five WfC releases amongst many other toys.

Wave one, which only consists of three toys, includes Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Shockwave, all deluxes, Shockwave and Jazz still retain the same designs from the first game, which of course isn't an issue since they never got toys the first time around. Optimus is based on his new design, which looks a bit more like G1 Optimus' Earth mode body, since there's less kibble and whatnot. However, he's also pretty tiny, at least a head smaller than his previous toy, so I declined to purchase it. I don't get why you'd want the newer "upgraded" form to be smaller, so I'm holding out hope that Optimus' new design gets a release in the new Voyager class alongside Soundwave, Grimlock and crew. I also hope Megatron's new design shows up there too, as we've seen no indication that he'll be getting a FoC toy so far.

Jazz I also passed on, as he too is kind of small (though not as small as anticipated) and also very simple in transformation. I may still pick him up sometime, as I don't have a cybertronian mode Jazz, but I'm in no hurry.

I was, however, excited to pick up Shockwave, whose design for WfC/FoC is fantastic. It's very streamlined and low-kibble, but I love the addition of the wings in bot mode, and he's also got one of the coolest cybertronian modes in the toyline's history. I can get more into all of that in a mini-review for the guy.

Also, SDCC exclusive FoC Bruticus was supposed to be available on HTS by now, but hasn't made it there yet (none of the SDCC stuff has). However, I'm pretty confident that it will happen this week, and with luck I'll be able to nab the set and add another five FoC Decepticons to the ranks, which as of now only consist of Megatron, Soundwave and Shockwave. If i lose out, I guess I'll be ok with the retail versions. Blast-off actually looks better than the SDCC one, and Onslaught is more game accurate.

Beyond the Combaticons, I'm also really looking forward to Starscream, Kickback, Magnus, Sideswipe, and the Wreckers.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

SDCC 2012; Or, How Hasbro Got its Groove Back

Ok, SDCC has come early this year! Firstly, that means that I've got to try and snag the two TF exclusives from HTS next week (Rust in Peace Terrorcon Cliffjumper and G1 colors FoC Bruticus), so that'll be an adventure. At least my parents are paying for them as my belated father's day gift. Perhaps more importantly, this also means TF toy news! Longtime readers (assuming they exist, ha) will note that last year's SDCC had some pretty great news, which was a step up from the lackluster 2010 showing. But this year?

This is the year Hasbro got its groove back.

Ok, granted, a lot of this is because of many disappointments from the past year (really, the past few years, but I'll be charitable...), but Hasbro really did have a great showing today. Let's take a look at the rundown, shall we?

Some of the new Kreons

Kre-O: On top of the more expansive sets shown at ToyFair/Botcon, we now have Microchangers! These are Kreons that help fill out the line with new characters, but also come with extra parts to turn them into their "alt modes". It's pretty amusing. Also, there are combiner four-packs! I'll just be featuring my favorites here, as there are a ton of these things!

-Scorponox - yep, a name change. Still, good approximation of his G1 form (uses Sideswipe's helmet) with dark energon claws.

-Galvatron - nice to have alongside Megatron. Cannon altmode.

-Airachnid - has the spider mode that the deluxe doesn't!

-Hook - love the bastard.

-Devastator - includes four of the constructicons that aren't Hook. Looks great, and kind of neat that they're even doing this, considering that it could drain a decent percentage of collector purchases from the larger, more expensive Kre-O Devastator.

-Predicus - Formerly Predaking; glad to see these guys be remembered!

TF: Prime: Just like with Botcon, not much new here with the actual main toyline.

I swear I'm not Leobreaker. Or Razorclaw. Or Tigerhawk.

- Thundertron - talked about this guy a few posts back, and I'm still digging him. It seems, from display case pics, that he has a face mask that lifts up to reveal his bearded visage. Wonder if FP will use this to finally give us a lion Alpha Trion? Anyway, as stated before, he seems like a very fun toy that's a big shout-out to the Cybertron line - his transformation is similar to Leobreaker, his color's are Snarls, and he's an evil leader that's not Megatron, like Scourge. I'm really hoping the sword actually can stay deployed, too. Can't wait for this guy.

Naw, man. It's just a hammer. That's it.

-Ultra Magnus - looks even better in this somewhat clearer pic. After being somewhat disappointed with the Commander toy, hopefully the same design in a larger mold will work better.

-Skyquake - Uh, he was shown (as a prototype) at last year's SDCC, so that's kind of awkward. Looks good enough, but I don't think I'll get him except maybe on clearance. I prefer the Dreadwing version.

-Fallback - Really Outback, it's a repaint of Legion Breakdown with a yellow version of his gun. Don't really want it, but I actually have a decent little Outback collection going...

-Tailgate - Legion Cliffjumper repaint with a yellow Bumblebee gun, this is Arcee's first dead partner. He actually looked like CJ in the show, so that's neat. Probably skip.

-Knock Out - repaint of the legion mold with a blue or purple Ratchet blade; it's hard to tell. Similarly, I'm not sure if it's orange or red. If orange, he looks like a Skystalker homage. Not interested.

-Bulkhead - looks like an evil repaint - black with blue (or purple?) highlights. Very good looking, and a new weapon to boot! I think it's supposed to be his arm's cannon mode, but it looks more like the mace itself turned into a spherical gun. Blue color. Pretty cool!

- Skyquake - I probably will get this version, which has a new weapon - Skyquake's chaingun (orange). Nice.

Exclusives - Pretty extensive! This is really where the good stuff is.

....and this is how we get a domestic DotM leader class Optimus.

-Jetwing Optimus Prime - the Japanese/Asian DotM release. This is a remold of RotF Leader Optimus to look more like his DotM appearance and included the fuel tank transforming gun and, of course, his giant jetpack from the film, which was obviously very different from the Ultimate Optimus Prime flight armor we got stateside. This actually has a different deco from previous releases, giving the jet pack some color so it blends in with the bot mode some more. An Amazon exclusive that's $105, I may actually go for this, since Hasbro never released a proper large DotM Optimus toy. The only thing I'd want instead would be Striker Optimus.

One of these is not like the other...

-Masterpiece Thundercracker - an October TRU (I think) exclusive, this is a repaint of the new version of MP Starscream, which I'm happy to see. It's a remold of the original MP Seeker mold, so scale will be right with the older ones, but it will be distinctive in appearance. I will want this one.

-G2 FoC Bruticus - Amazon/BBTS exclusve. While actually the cheapest version of Bruticus if you buy from Amazon, overall I don't care for the colors (mostly because of Onslaught). I love the G2 symbols and packaging, though. It'll be hard not to get this to at least go with my G2 Redux set.

Not sure where these are exclusive to (TRU again?), but we're finally getting these back in November (or so)!

-Entertainment Pack - got it already, but glad it's there for others!

-Bulkhead - Glad I can get him for sane prices!

-Optimus Prime - ditto!

-Arcee - got 'er

-Starscream - got 'im

-Vehicon - I'd actually like to add this version to the collection now that he'll be a decent price. I mean, the newer mold I have is a lot better, but I like to think of the FE one as a rough job "first scan" version when the eradicons first hit Earth.

-Terrorcon Cliffjumper - a bit of a weird choice over normal CJ, since TC CJ is one of the SDCC exclusives (granted, with much nicer packaging and accesories), but still glad it'll hit retail for those who don't snag the SDCC version (possibly including me!)

>Generations "China Imports" - I had actually meant to do a big write up on these when they were first shown a couple of months back, but never got around to it. These were apparently never intended for the US market, but after a ton of fan complaints, they're getting released after (it seems, even with the mandarin still on the packaging!). I'm iffy on a lot of the larger ones, mostly because they're weird crossings of movie bodies with G1-style heads and therefore don't really fit in any continuity, such that I was considering making them their own continuity. Still, now that they'll be available without importing, they become a little more appealing.

-Silverstreak - I'll get it. RtS Prowl repaint with a G1-style rifle.

-Hoist - repaint of RtS Trailbreaker, again with a G1-style gun. Looks good; more detail than TB. Will get.

- Motorbreath - hilarious new name for Motormaster, a RtS legends Optimus repaint, with G1-style sword. Will get.

-Thundercracker - the most appealing of these four; obviously a RtS Starscream repaint. Also comes with G1 style Null Rays, even though the mold has built-in arm guns.

-Sandstorm - RotF Dune Runner in G1 Sandstorm's colors. Not getting. Already have a movieverse Sandstorm in the DotM version, and I'm happy with HftD Legends Sandstorm as a G1 stand-in for now.

-Brawl - repaint of HftD Breacher as G1 Brawl. Interesting, as it's not a tank, but it does have the dual cannons that Brawl is increasingly becoming known for. Not bad, I may get it.

-Dead End - RotF Breakdown in G1 Wildrider's colors. Might get him if I never track down RotF deluxe Dead End.

-Laserbeak - repaint of RotF Skystalker in G1 Laserbeak's colors, most likely due to the pseudo-bird mode. Already have a movie Laserbeak, but might still get it.

-Springer - HftD Tomahawk with a new G1 head and a sword. Way to movie-looking to be a G1 stand-in, and I already have a movie Springer in the RotF legends mold, but I might get this. Maybe.

-Cliffjumper - a new G1 head on FE CJ's body. I'm guessing that this guy is why normal FE Cj isn't getting a domestic release. Still looks good, but I don't guess I need it. I'd love a blue club repaint as SG CJ, though.


- Swerve - Generations Kup with a new head. This is a straight-up G1 style toy, and recently I didn't care about it, but I have lately read the first IDW MTMTE trade. Plus, the truck mode isn't too different from my dad's, and I could slap a Georgia "G" sticker on the hood...

-Wheelie - another straight-up G1 toy, this is RtS Jazz with a new head and slingshot weapon. Not sure about the original handgun and speakers, but he looks pretty good, and I was never able to find the Universe legends mold of this guy. I don't mind the idea of Wheelie "graduating" to a normal autobot size, either, as the endless "big" Bumblebees has kind of knocked that idea aside. Will probably get.

- Powerdive - repaint of HftD Highbrow. I don't think he has a new head, but I could be wrong. And I'll be honest, I don't really know who any previous Powerdive is supposed to be, but I've read that this toy is actually an homage of G2 Ransack. Again, I already have a movieverse Ransack from RotF, but this is a really good mold. Big maybe.

-Hot Spot - repaint of Universe 2.0 Inferno with a new head. It's pretty obviously G1 Hot Spot, but I already have this mold three times over, with two of them being fire trucks. Probably won't get.

"Mash-Up-Verse Megatron". How's that sound?

-Megatron - RotF Bludgeon with a G1 Megatron head and G2 megatron deco. Interesting, as it basically blends the ideas of G2 Megatron with Alternity megatron due to the samurai design and swords. Will most likely get at some point.

-Year of the Dragon Ultimate Optimus Prime - I think this is another Amazon exclusive, but it's a repaint of DotM Ultimate Prime in more festive colors. Was released last year or early this year for the Chinese new year. A neat novelty, but I'm not going to buy this mold at all unless it reaches some pretty low clearance prices (still a few at the local Kmart for about $60).

TF: Prime - Dark Energon - Apparently a set of BBTS exclusives, this looks like an actual retail refresh line with totally redone packaging and everything. All toys have a lot of translucent plastic

-Bumblebee - PRiD BB with translucent gold and blue detailing, this is basically a Gold Bug redeco. I like it, but I'm not sure I want this mold as BB, as I use the FE mold to represent him. We'll see.

-Wheeljack - translucent blue, this is a Slicer/SG Wheeljack homage. Still has normal Autobot symbols, though, so if you really want it to be one of the other two characters, you'll need some reprolabels.

-Knock Out - pretty neat; clear neon green with purple detailing. Some say constructicon colors, but between the "green = Tox En" idea in the show and the overall look, it seems more Toxitron-ish to me. Might get.

- Starscream - FE deluxe mold, translucent black with purple detailing, this is basically Skywarp. Finally, we get a Skywarp that looks like he's phasing out to teleport (I've been waiting for this since they missed the boat in the Energon line)!

You're gonna die!

- Megatron - PRiD voyager repaint. Translucent purple (2 shades, actually, since he already had translucent parts) with black, this is the only one that really looks like it has dark energon in him. He actually looks really great - I'll probably get him to represent a "full takeover" mode by Unicron or something.

-Optimus Prime - PRiD voyager with translucent red and orange with light blue details, this is the most "vanilla" of the series. Honestly, this was a real miss, as this subline was a great place for Hasbro to use the FE mold as Nemesis Prime, especially since the more collector-oriented retailer would mean that you wouldn't necessarily need to have Optimus in the case. But whatever. Won't get unless I have to buy him with Megatron.

Generations - So far, everything in Generations "2.0" are Fall of Cybertron toys. This line has actually just started to trickle out to stores, but they obviously have much more on the way:

Oh crap

-WRECKERS! Total surprise, these are all remolds of the FoC Combaticons with new weapons to boot. The combined mode is named Ruination, in reference to the combined mode of the RiD Combaticon repaints. Color schemes are all pretty well coordinated.

Brace for impact

-Impactor - the leader, of course, he finally gets a toy as a remold of Onslaught. The new weapon looks to be his harpoon gun. Both heads (normal and combined mode) are new molds.

-Twin Twist - remold of Brawl with an impressive twin drill bit weapon. Hopefully, the drills can mount on the front of the tank mode.

-Topspin - Blast Off repaint, with a DotM Ratchet-esque buzzsaw weapon.

-Roadbuster - Swindle repaint. New gun is a big, tri-barreled thing that I think is actually from the game.

Hey look! IDW's most recent reimagined-beyond-recognition character!

-Whirl! Finally, a G1 Whirl update with the G1-acurate cyclops head. The deco is way off (and damnit, three out of four versions of this mold use orange!), but it ties him to the others pretty well. Vortex redeco, obviously.

-Blaster - remold of voyager Soundwave/blaster. Looks considerably less evil than I would have expected (especially compared to the Universe 2.0 repaint!). Comes with Steeljaw, who I think is a Ravage repaint/remold. Not sure if I'll get him.

-Eject & Ramhorn - 2-pack of data disc guys. Probably won't get.

-Rewind and Sundor - Again, 2 more disc guys for Blaster. Probably won't get.


-FoC Voyager Grimlock - looks a little more beefcake than he should, but still pretty good. I really like the light-up T-Rex mouth and chest gimmick, and the sword and shield both look good. I'll get him.

-Linkin Park Soundwave - pretty weird, they basically let Linkin Park redeco a G1 Soundwave reissue. Pretty simple, it's a gold deco with a little bit of black trim. Includes Laserbeak, Buzzsaw (who is indistinguishable from LB since they're both gold, heh), Ratbat and Ravage. Nice looking box. While I don't mind Linkin Park, I also don't actively like them, and I don't even know the outlet for this nor the price. Probably won't get.

So, overall, a pretty impressive showing! Lots of weird, interesting and niche things, but also some good surprises and (FINALLY) some good news regarding getting back cancelled toys. I still won't be completely happy with Hasbro until we get some of the cancelled Animated stuff or DotM Wheeljack and Soundwave, but the move to bring the TFP FE stuff back and "import" the Asian Generations toys really has put Hasbro back in my good graces (and those of the fandom at large, I'd wager). For now.

All pics courtesy of Hasbro via TFW2005

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Um....MORE ultra gear

Hammer Time

So, someone got a hold of a Transformers: Prime promotional booklet that has pics of the upcoming voyager toys. We had already seen Dreadwing, and now we see that his brother Skyquake is also due for a release and even managed to get his mechtech gun remolded. More interesting, though are the first pretty good pictures of both Thundertron and Ultra Magnus!

I'd already explained a few posts back that this was a good year for Ultra Magnus, as (to date) he's already received a Shattered Glass Botcon (p)remold and TFP Cyberverse Commander toy. We're also still waiting on the club to announce the date for the Ultra Mammoth repaint of Big Convoy, and the Ultra Magnus remold of Fall of Cybertron Optimus Prime is forthcoming this fall as well.

Well, it turns out that Magnus is important enough of a TFP character that he's also getting this voyager mold! It's the same design as the commander toy, meaning he very well could be in the show. Also, being a TFP Voyager, he comes with a "powerizer" mechtech weapon, which is kind of like a cannon emplacement that turns into his now-famous hammer. He also has a non-firing(?) missile, kind of like voyager Starscream's missiles.

Thundertron is a horse of a different color. Transformers: Prime has actually been fairly decent at producing some new characters, like Knock Out. Another new face on the transformers scene is this guy. Thundertron first appeared last year in Exiles, the sequel to Exodus, the War for Cybertron tie-in novel. He's the leader of a band of space pirates called the Star Seekers which are their own faction - new symbol and everything. He transforms into a lion for whatever reason, but he looks pretty good. He has a peg leg so he can maintain his pirate cred. I also appreciate him in that he kind of represents a throwback to the Cybertron series, a somewhat more fun era of the franchise. I mean, the whole idea behind him is pretty silly, but he'll also be portrayed in a serious manner, which is funny. Glad to have him coming up.

Pics courtesy of TFW2005.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sibling rivalry

So, as you can see, I managed to get my hands on Botcon 2012 Shattered Glass Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus! I'll do full individual reviews of them later, but I just wanted them to have a bit of a spotlight here.

Firstly, for the uninitiated, these are Shattered Glass transformers, meaning that they hail from a universe where everything is reversed, primarily the morality of the characters, leading to evil Autobots and good Decepticons. In most universes, Optimus and Magnus are two brothers, top-tier autobots who fight for the freedom of all sentient beings and what-not. Here, Optimus is a despot on the level of Hitler, and Magnus is his former right-hand general who (much like most Starscreams) tried to usurp leadership from his brother. Optimus recently upgaded his body in the style of G2 Optimus, and Magnus, who has been plotting his return from exile, has done the same. Oh, and he also has a skull face, since his brother ripped off his actual face.

The toys themselves look great. Optimus already got a toy back in 2008 in the original SG set, which I really should have bought. It was a repaint of the Classics voyager mold, and still goes for $500+ on ebay, also helping to keep the cost of the box set high. Fun Publications decided to throw a bone to all of us who didn't buy '08 SG Prime and wanted to fill the evil hole in our collection by repainting last year's Reveal the Shield "G2" Optimus Prime deluxe mold. It's basically what you'd expect, as it doesn't change any of SG Prime's colors - still purple torso, grey legs, and battle damage everywhere. I like the gaudy, huge SG Autobot logo on the hood. Another neat addition is the new text on the nose of the truck. '08 SG Prime had "'Till All Are Gone" emblazoned on his cab fairing, and this toy has a similar twisted quote: "I shall stand...all shall fall." I do wish the bas-relief Matrix in his chest had been painted like Magnus' is, but I guess they used up all the paint apps on other areas.

As for Ultra Magnus, he didn't have a preexisting toy, so we didn't really know what to expect. Turns out that they decided to use the Diaclone colors of the original G1 Magnus toy (called "Powered Convoy") for the evil version of this character. Also repainted from RtS Optimus Prime, this toy was given a new head mold that was already designed by Hasbro (and has actually not been used by Hasbro yet!) - a very evil, skull-faced take on the traditional Optimus head design. He looks very sharp, and, to be honest, is the best looking version of the mold I own (thus far).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ultra gear

So Botcon 2012 has come and gone. Honestly, there wasn't a whole lot of actual toy news. For instance, the only TFP toys that we hadn't seen yet (and also there are no public pics of these yet) are legion Airachnid and Voyager Thundertron. That's it.

However, I am excited by a bit of other news. One thing that's not really clear on this site is that one of my favorite TFs is Ultra Magnus. I just love the guy. And now we know that we are getting no less than four Ultra Magnus toys in 2012/2013!

Granted, one of them is the Botcon exclusive we already knew about, Shattered Glass Magnus, which I just bought along with the new SG Optimus from a fellow Allsparker. We also recently saw images of TFP Magns, a totally new mold CV Commander class toy that resembles Animated Magnus quite a bit.

But now we know of two other Magnus toys:

Timelines Ultra Mammoth - a repaint of BW Neo Big Convoy in Magnus' colors, this thing looks great. Unfortunately, like SG Magnus, this will also be expensive, especially since it's one of the biggest club exclusives made in a long time. Still, I aim to get this one, even if I decide not to go for the whole subscription line from the club.

Fall of Cybertron Ultra Magnus - this is a remold of FoC Optimus, which I honestly wasn't impressed with, to the point that I was considering skipping it - a rare thing for me when it comes to Optimus molds. However, this mold works very very well as Magnus, especially since they gave it an actual Magnus head mold (no white Prime here) and a new gun/sword. Very cool stuff, and he should be in decent scale with SG Magnus.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yep, still here

So, it's been a while, huh? I'm still here and kicking. It's actually been very busy around here lately, and I've had very little free time for posting. I've generally been keeping the roster up to date, though I need to add one more toy (Bot Shots Trailer Optimus) in a minute.

Also, it's Botcon weekend! I'm not there, nor did I save up for an Iacon package, but it looks like I'll be getting the SG Optimus Prime redeco of RtS G2 Optimus from an Allsparker for a very reasonable price. I really want Magnus, too, but I don't want this second chance at getting an SG Optimus to pass me by (especially at this price compared to the 2008 version, which normally goes for $500+ on ebay).

So far, there's no earth-shattering news out of Botcon, but that's typical, as there hasn't been a Hasbro panel yet. They do have some epic Kre-O and TFP displays up, though.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Prime Time hits home!

Got these at the local Walmart today! I definitely didn't expect to see them there.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Toy Fair 2012: The Good

Ok, I'm keeping this one positive. You'll see why in the next post.

Anyhow, this is just a rundown of my take on all of the new stuff shown at yesterday's Toyfair 2012, broken down by line and size class/price point. Also, some of this stuff has been seen in some form before (protos, crappy unofficial images, etc), so I'll mark those with an asterisk. Also, some stuff that's really old I won't comment on.

For starters, TF: Prime:

Cyberverse Legion:

-Breakdown - finally, we see a toy of this guy. If I'm not wrong, he's also got an upcoming Voyager (not shown), but this toy does pretty well at conveying the dude's bulk while not being a CV Commander. He has a pretty cool gun. I'm not sure if it's a weapon specific to him from the show (I'm only familiar with his hammer), but it's cool. Truck mode is a bit on the cutesy side, but what can you do?

- Mirage* - actually supposed to be DotM Mirage, this is really just a remold of RotF Sidways in red. Of course, they didn't bother to remold the head, just the hands so he can hold CV weapons, of which he comes with the same gun/blade that was designed for Ratchet and also included with Cliffjumper. Weak, but of course I'm going to buy it if onyl to have the only transforming toy of this character.

- Evac* - the vehicle character from the Transformers Ride, this is also a movie character. Cool, futuristic (Cybertronian?) alt mode, and decent take on the robot mode (the deluxe is obviously more detailed). Comes with Bumblebee's weapon.

- Soundwave - not the TFP, design, unfortunately, but a repaint of the DotM mold. In a darker scheme that's a bit like TFP Soundwave's, he comes with the Eradicon's weapon.

Cyberverse Commanders:

- Dreadwing - a (p)repaint of Skyquake in blue and yellow (he really does look like a desaturated Blue Angel). Not sure why he's coming out before Skyquake, or if he'll really have the same body/head as him in the show, but it's a nice looking toy. His clear parts are yellow, for some reason, and his two weapons are the sword that we've seen the voyager Skyquake proto with and a gun that (I guess) approximates Skyquake's chaingun from the show. While I like Skyquake's green color better, I may get this guy instead, seeing as how I actually have other Dreadwing toys he could go with, whereas I have zero Skyquakes (he only has two other toys, besides).

- Ironhide* - Really like this guy. Kind of like how Animated Ironhide's earth mode toy was supposed to look, it combines elements of both G1 (Head, windshield chest, red color) and Movie (Pickup mode, lots of black, arm cannons) Ironhides. The result is pretty awesome. I like how the shoulders use the front of the truck, a variation on how movie 'Hide does it. It's good that he's a commander, too, both for his size and so he can have both cannons. If there's one thing I can say against him, it's that in a world without robotic noses, one bot stands alone...

Cyberverse Vehicle class:

- Wheeljack w/Star Hammer* - Seen most of this before, but it now seems pretty sure that the only way to get the legion class Wheeljack is with the Star Hammer. One nice thing about that is that, unlike most legion class toys, Wheeljack gets two weapons, so he has both is swords. The Star Hammer itself isn't really something I have room for (don't really care for the ship mode, either), but the base mode is cool and it's the only way to take advantage of the chest light-piping gimmick on the commander toys. Likely purchase.

- Knock Out with Energon Driller* - This set looks a bit more fun than the Star Hammer. The drill is obviously based on those used in the show, and while I would have liked for it to have come with a Miner Drone and have Knock Out as a separate release, at least (like Wheeljack) this way Knock Out gets 2 weapons - both his energon prod like the deluxe and also his buzz-saw. Knock Out himself looks pretty good for a legion class toy, and may be the only version of this guy I get, since I've given myself a carte blanche for buying any character, no matter how non-legacy, at this size class. Of course, the drill itself looks very fun, both in regular drill mode and the "base" mode, which is really just the drill with more weapons.

Maximus class:

- Optimus Maximus* - the only toy at this class, Optimus Maximus is basically a power zord. No, not like how people said Energon Optimus was a power zord - this thing really is a big, piloted mecha for CV Commander Optimus and other CV autobots to pilot/man. In concept, it's pretty cool - I especially love the way Commander Optimus ends up helping to form the head while he's in the cockpit - but its lack of a real alt mode hurts it. Its shown alt mode is basically a "tank" mode, where the rifle has been plugged into the chest and the toy sits down so that the treads on the back of the legs can do their thing. Yeah, the head untransforms so that it doesn't look like a "living" transformer anymore, but still, it's a weak effort. I'm not saying I'll never own this, as it does look fun and has some positives going for it, but I'll say that a pretty steep clearance price will help. What doesn't help is that I'm 99% certain that we'll never see this thing in the show.

Deluxe (Revealers):

- Ratchet* - not a bad toy, but they totally didn't try to give the chest doors a go. That is expected at the CV scale, but I thought they'd try it here. Wrong. Also, the toy is overly white, making it look cheap. Plusses - great "scalpel" weapons that can be posed in both "normal" handheld form or in show-accurate "replace the hands" mode. Which makes Ratchet one of the few TFP toys to have this ability. I'm sure I'll get it, because, hey, Ratchet, but it makes me wish Ratchet was one of the character that got a better FE toy to have instead of this one.

- Arcee* - This looks like a RotF Cannon-BB style remold with the FE mold's legs and a new upper body, but after the subtle differences between the two deluxe TFP BBs, I'm not saying so for sure again. The main difference here is the weapons - this Arcee only gets one blade, and instead of the other gets a huge gun. It's pretty cool looking, honestly, and it makes me kind of wish I had skipped the FE blue Arcee and gotten this toy to serve in my collection as the more martial Chromia, but the blue FE Arcee is also a damn gorgeous toy, with a metallic plastic that this release might not have. The upper body transformation looks a bit less complicated in a slightly bad way, but it also appears to have freer arm articulation. Kind of a mixed bag; I likely won't get it.

- Knock Out* - the first truly new character in TFP, Knockout is (like Drift) a new carformer with a different-than-standard transformation. It's definitely an interesting looking toy, but it really has had no flattering, correctly transformed pics yet. I initially did not intend to buy this, as Knock Out isn't a legacy character, but he's actually already proven that that fact won't last long (see below in the Kre-O section). Comes with his energon prod.

- Hot Shot* - We finally get to see that Hot Shot here, a Bumblebee remold, does in fact have Universe 2.0-style moveable visor/goggles. Which is great. Also, kind of like Ironhide, he has a nose. Well, at least a nose plate, much like Drift or TFP CJ. I really like this toy, as it takes a mold that serves as a really second-rate Bumblebee but works really well for Hot Shot, since we don't have preconceived notions of his appearance. Also, I like how it (had to, really) went with Hot Shot's Cybertron deco, with mostly blue. Can't wait for this guy.

Voyagers (Powerizer):

- Bulkhead - another new mold that differs from the FE version, Bulkhead is not quite as show accurate, but he also manages not to cheat with his transformation. His Mechtech weapon has his wrecking ball mounted on it and appears to move it in a smashing motion. He also has some other, weird, static weapon that looks like one half of a vice. Some kind of hammer or something. If I can't get the FE for a decent price, I'll be ok with this version (and I'm actually really enamored with the Commander class toy).

- Starscream* - Like Optimus, Starscream has a mechtech weapon that converts from a light-up approximation of his in-show weapon mode of his arm to a big pile of parts. It even seems to have the same transformation as Optimus' gun. Ah well. The figure itself seems pretty decent, though it's a bit less accurate than the FE deluxe. I kind of like, though, how the jet exhaust halves end up on the angles; it's pretty G1. I also like the "daaaaark energon" clear purple forearms. The way the chest plate pieces are separate, movable sections (now likely due to the new transformation) is pretty cool, too. I only really hesitate about the leg placement in altmode. The deluxe did it pretty simply but did it well, and the pics so far of this new mold's jet mode have me a bit dubious. Also, yay for Mechtech port missiles.

Weaponizer Class:

- Optimus Prime - firstly, this class is basically the new leader class. From what I understand, they're still leader sized, but they also only cost $30, so I'm not really sure about that. They do possess electronics, at least. Anyway, Optimus here looks reasonably accurate in both modes, but it looks like yet another TFP Optimus toy with a cheating transformation. The key gimmick, other than the electronics, is the two giant (sort of) "gatling guns" that pop out in both modes, enabling both a robot with this big guns on either shoulder and a stealth force-style truck mode, where the guns deploy from the sides of the nose. Unfortunately, when deployed in bot mode, the guns also require the nose panels to just kind of stick up in the air, which doesn't looks the best. He comes with a fairly dainty rifle, at least compared to either voyager mold. Still, the relatively low cost of this toy may mean that I bite.

- Bumblebee - Ok, whereas Optimus is a maybe, BB is definitely a "no". I can't type any more without posting the most obvious defect - this thing has eight wheels. Not for car mode - but to support the bot mode's kibble. Instead of trying to make a single one of the actual car mode wheels end up in the right place for bot mode (which both deluxe basically manage to do, with a few small quibbles), this thing requires four new wheels to come out of nowhere to be the kibble of the shoulders and ankles. It has some positives, but I'll stick with my FE BB. No thanks.

Generations (deluxe only, still):

- FoC Optimus - I actually really liked the promo art for Optimus's new design for the WfC sequel, but the toy itself looks a bit lacking. The robot is a bit too boxy and the vehicle mode ends up being a bit too wide as a result. The gun is also not so great. Also, there's a decent chance he might be smaller than his WfC predecessor. I'm sure I'll get him, but this is the first time in a long time that I've had to actually think about whether I was going to get a deluxe Optimus toy.

- FoC Jazz - Glad this is getting made, as the only G1 deluxe Jazz I have is the RtS mold, so now I'll have a cybertronian version. I'm not so big on the blue rather than black, and I also don't care for the fake ankle wheels. Luckily, they're futuristic wheels that look non specific enough and too small to be the car's wheels; I'll just think of them as Jazz's normal ankle joints. Car mode is great, though. No complaints there.

- FoC Shockwave (FoCwave?) - Oh yes. FINALLY, we get something non-Alternator that can serve as a neo-G1 Shockwave. And I'm very glad that it's the same design from WfC, as I love the small back wings and the flying cannon mode. It looks great. Love it love it love it. One of the best things to come out of this toyfair.

- FoC Bruticus* - I'll just mention them all here because there's no way I won't buy them all. The only thing I'm really disappointed in is Vortex's colors. The in-game colors were already a bit of a deviation, but the colors shown here have nothing to do with G1 Vortex. It really does look more like a cybertronian Transquito.


- Optimus/Megatron 2-pack - totally new (except for the heads?) sets packed with a bank robbery scene. Optimus is the less changed of the two, still turning into a long-nose semi cab, if with different, less-movie colors. The bot mode is pretty different, seemingly more a mix of G1, TFP, FoC, and Movie Optimus designs, unlike the original Kre-O Optimus that was basically Movie Optimus with a G1 head. Megatron now turns into a tank that's vaguely inspired by RotF's Megatron's alt mode. The bot mode is pretty reminiscent of Animated Megatron's earth mode in proportions. Tank barrel is a fusion cannon. Interesting set, but I'm not sure that I need it or want it now that I have both of their original kits.

- Devastator - Truly amazing. Devastator seems mostly based on his RotF incarnation, though the head (in true Kre-O fashion) is pure G1. This time, he's made from four constructicons, kind of like Landfill, and also like Landfill, each smaller bot is a different color. The most recognizable is a Scrapper-like front-end loader is G2 yellow. Another bot is an orange drill tank (!), while another new recruit is a wrecking ball crane with working treads (like the Megatron tank). Lastly, we have a Bonecrusher-like bulldozer in normal green. In combined mode, Devastator has a drill right hand, a claw left hand that can hold the wrecking ball, and a scorpion-like back mounted claw to pick up stuff too. In G1 fashion, "Scrapper's" front scoop forms the toes of one foot. Overall, this is a fantastic set, and I'm really impressed that the individual bots look as good as they do. Once again, this set shows that Kre-O can sometimes do things better than normal TFs.