Monday, January 30, 2012

Drifting away...

So, I may not be able to get my hands on Botcon 2012 Shattered Glass Ultra Magnus and Soundwave (though I'm sure gonna try), I do definitely have a preorder for Shattered Glass Drift!

I haven't mentioned him yet here, but SG Drift is one of the Club's two 2012 exclusives. It's basically like a Botcon toy, except single-packed and you have to buy it from the club store online. Drift himself is a repaint of the original Drift toy from 2010, but now he also comes with the twin pistols that were made for the Blurr remold of Drift. He still includes all three swords, but I believe that when I have him on display, I'll leave the smaller swords in their scabbards and have him brandish his guns. It feels more appropriate for an evil version of G1 Drift, who's known for being s swordsbot. He's also $50.

So, how did I justify his cost to myself? After all, on top of the $40 I had to pay to renew my club membership, Drift's gonna cost me $90 before shipping. Here's what I did:

See, this year's free Club toy is a remold of Generations Wheeljack as Runamuck (the white battlecharger). I didn't really want him. Luckily, the other club exclusive alongside Drift is Runabout, the black battlecharger buddy of Runamuck, who he's a black repaint of. So, naturally, there's going to be a market for those people who want both the free Runamuck and the $54 Runabout. However, not everybody wants to join the club, and will buy these toys regardless secondhand from a club member such as myself. So, I ordered Runabout along with SG Drift, and when both of my battlechargers arrive, I'll be offloading them to someone else for at least the cost of Runabout alone, and hopefully a bit more, since my $40 for club membership will be partly wasted once Runamuck is gone. Either way, it'll more than pay for my SG Drift, which is all I'm really trying to do. Pics from the Club facebook page, by the way.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ah, it's that time again...

Time for the beginning of a new Transformers main line, that is. Strangely, the Dark of the Moon franchise doesn't seem to have the commitment behind it that Revenge of the Fallen or even Transformers 2007) did, and the line is starting to peter out and give way to the Transformers: Prime mainline (sort of subtitled "Robots in Disguise"). The first wave of the Prime deluxes and voyagers have begun to show up at Toys R Us stores, though when I checked out on the closest ones to me the other night, it was a bust. Still, it's a good thing these toys are hitting shelves; we'll finally be getting a toyline for a franchise that began way back in October 2010 (if you count the Prime comic and ignore WFC, that is).

Unfortunately, this has been coupled with the very unfortunate news that the Transformers: Prime: First Edition mini-line has been cancelled. So, while I was lucky enough to get Arcee, Bumblebee, and Starscream, the remaining toys - Cliffjumper, Terrorcon Cliffjumper, the Eradicon, voyagers Optimus and Bulkhead, and the deluxe Optimus/Megatron Entertainment Pack - will apparently never reach US retail, at least in the forms we knew them. This wouldn't be a huge deal, since Optimus, the Eradicon, Cliffjumper, and Megatron are all getting more new molds in the TFP:RiD line, but Cliffjumper's new mold is worse in at least two major ways - he no longer has the converting hand cannons (now he's stuck with a gimpy "hammer"/gun) and his car-roof chest is now a fake part, with the real car roof ending up somewhere redundant. Also, Megatron's deluxe mold looked great and somewhat better than the new voyager in terms of back kibble. A lot of fans also dislike the new voyager Optimus at the expense of the FE version, but I believe I feel the opposite way, though I wouldn't have minded owning the older mold at least for the weapons. I will say that the newer deluxe Eradicon looks much better than the old one, but I wasn't really planning on buying that character outside of his legion class toy. The newer Bumblebee mold is a fair bit worse than the original, though I'll get it in its Hot Shot form. Bulkhead? He's getting a new CV Commander mold, which looks good, but we've not heard anything about him getting a new voyager, though I suppose it's inevitable. Deluxe Optimus is still available in his SDCC form on HTS, I think, though I may not want him at that higher price.

All hope is not lost, thankfully. One of the upcoming releases is a 2-pack of Starscream and Bumblebee (using the FE molds) along with some MECH human figurines. I guess we can only hope that the other toys (which, again, never saw US retail) get reissued somehow.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2011 Transformer of the Year...Finally

So, I finally got around to finalizing my 2011 Transformer of the Year! I only opened this guy up after I did the actual Best of 2011 post, so he may have other wise gone somewhere else on that list, but he's awesome enough that he deserves to be here in his own post.


The Basement Invasion 2011 Transformer of the Year is Transformers: Prime: First Edition Starscream!

Yeah, this guy is awesome. He really redefines what can be done with a deluxe jetformer. Yes, he has his kibble problems - his bottom half is all legs and his chestplate just aft of the cockpit. However, the legs (in jet mode) are headed up buy the F-16's intake and they occupy a space that actually exists on that airplane, so this isn't the traditional jetformer bottom kibble that we're all so used to. Also, the chestplate is a lot less of a big deal in person than I thought it would be, as the details do actually flow fairly well with the rest of the design. Perhaps the only real downside to the jet mode are the permanently deployed landing gear, though they are thankfully short.

Robot mode is where Starscream really shines. He does look pretty much like his on-screen counterpart, which itself is a sort of deadlier-looking version of Animated Starscream. His headsculpt is great with its smirk, and his articulation allows him to have some great, character-filled poses. Also, I love how the jet's exhaust actually forms the back-mounted jetpack as on the show. His hunched back doesn't hurt, either.

Love this guy; hope the voyager's at least as good.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More TF: Prime around the corner...

Ok, we're moving into Toyfair season! kind of like with Toyfair 2010, we've stumbled on some images for upcoming toys that will undoubtedly be part of Hasbro's Toyfair 2012 offering a few weeks earlier than expected. This time, it's from a catalog for Argos, the UK retailer, and they show some of the upcoming Transformers: Prime: Robots in Disguise and Cyberverse toys.

Just for your edification, the Transformers: Prime toyline has been a unique one. The TFP toys that were/are available at Toys R Us/ were the TFP: First Edition toys. Now, US TRUs have only gotten the first wave of TFP:FE deluxes (Bumblebee, Arcee, and Starscream) in, leaving still quite a few FE toys unreleased, such as voyagers Optimus and Bulkhead, the Entertainment Pack (with deluxes Optimus and Megatron, along w/DVD and human kid figurines), and deluxes Cliffjumper, Vehicon/Eradicon, and Terrorcon Cliffjumper. This would normally not be much cause for worry, but the newer, "actual" toyline for the show is already starting to hit shelves overseas and will soon here in the US. The problem is that the new line includes toys for the characters from the FE line, but the newer toys are all new molds or remolds. For example, TFP:RiD Bumblebee has a totally new upper body and two guns that can combine and be mounted on his engine block, something that FE BB can't do. RiD Cliffjumper is a totally new toy, and while he looks a bit more screen-accurate in bot mode, he does so at the expense of a non-cheating transformation, as his car roof-chest is a fake one. Also, while he includes a new weapon, he appears to lack the FE version's deployable arm cannons. There's a new Arcee coming, too, but we don't know what she's like yet. A new voyager Optimus has emerged, which (in the reverse of CJ's situation) now has a non-cheating transformation, though his new weapons look less accurate to the show. The Eradicon, too, has gotten a newer mold, that may or may not cheat less, but certainly ends up looking much cleaner in bot mode.

Anyway, here's a quick run down of my thoughts on these newer TFP toys, ripped from the Allspark boards:

Legion (blue): I guess this is Evac. Interesting that he got an energon weapon. I thought that he, at least, would get a proper "movie" release, seeing as how he's the centerpiece of the new movie-focused ride.

Legion (red): I guess this is DotM Mirage, which sucks. They couldn't even manage to give him a new mold for this smallest size class. At least he got something, I guess, and the energon weapon is at least a blade, so it's sort of appropriate. I'm sure he won't have a new head. I'll get him, regardless.

Drill Tank: This is friggin' great. Way better than anything I expected, and while I've been pretty impressed by all but the first images of the Star Hammer, this looks way more fun. Not sure why Knockout is included with it other than we're probably not getting a Miner Drone toy.

Voy. Megatron: No surprises here, but it certainly looks good. TFP Megatron's design is remarkably consistant across his three size classes, at least compared to the various versions of the movie Megatrons. I'm glad that it has the sword, as I would have been a bit disappointed if only the CV Commander had it (as great as that little mold looks).

New Eradicon: Looks way better than the FE mold, as that was the one FE toy I wasn't worried much about missing. This also makes me think that TFP RiD Arcee will be another new mold, or at least major remold like BB. I was going to only get the legion Eradicon, but it'll be hard to resist this version. Also, as a plus, if you do manage to find the FE version and want to army build, at least now all of your drones don't have to be exactly alike. However, I'll probably hold out for the jet mode Eradicon to get a toy.

Bluebee: Looks pretty cool. Assuming this is Hot Shot, I'll probably get it, as it's the new RiD remold of TFP BB and I prefer the FE version to be BB himself. Smart of them to homage Hot Shot's Cybertron color scheme, and it's kind of neat in a "full circle" sense, as both Classics Legends BB and SG Goldbug are Hot Shot redecos/remolds. Of course, you may want to buy it just to support more non-extraneous BB repaints...though I agree with the post asking for a Wasp scheme. When, Hasbro, when?

Friday, January 6, 2012


So, I'm not going to Botcon again this year. While getting to go two years ago in 2010 was a blast, the main reason I was able to attend was that it was within a half-day's drive and I could stay for free in Orlando at my cousin's place. Last year was California, so that was a no-go, and this year is Dallas (which my sister-in-law, of course, just moved back from earlier in 2011). Basically, unless it's Atlanta sometime, I'm probably not going again.

Which is (sort of) fine for this year. The box set manages to do what I've wanted since 2008: revisit of the Shattered Glass universe! However, sort of interestingly, it's only half SG - the other toys are "Classicsverse" (referring to the 2007 set), and FunPub's versions of G1 characters tend to leave me wanting something better. So, it's a bit of a mixed bag, and as such, I'm most likely not ordering the entire non-attendee set, but will try to buy a couple of the toys from other Allsparkers if possible (it worked well for me in 2008 when I managed to get SG Starscream for only $50).

So, here're the toys:

SG Ultra Magnus: A repaint of RtS "Laser"/G2 Optimus Prime, and possibly with that mold's preexisting second head, Ultra Magnus is a must-own for me. Unfortunately, he's also a pretty popular character amongst most of the fandom, so he may be expensive. by the way, he's in "Powered Convoy" colors - the colors his G1 toy had in its original Japanese Diaclone form before being released as UM in the US.

SG Soundwave: a remold (new head) of Universe Ironhide/Ratchet, this toy is also a must-own, despite not being a great mold. SG Soundwave is a fun character, and will go well, colors-wise, with the SG Ravage I already own from 2010.

SG Tracks: a repaint of RtS Tracks, this is one I'd like to have, but don't have to have. It's basically tracks done up in Road Rage's colors (she was a G1 E Hobby repaint of Tracks) - mostly red, but some purple, too. Pretty cool, and it would also be the first non-G1 Tracks; he's actually managed to stay in just one universe since 1984!

SG Treadshot: A repaint of RtS Jazz (like Magnus, using that mold's preexisting alternate head mold). Fans assumed Treadshot would be the good version of the G1 Decepticon Action Master of the same name (and therefore perhaps be a Generations Warpath redeco, since he also has a cannon-chest). Instead, we got an homage that's much more oblique: this is the SG version of Universe (1.0) Treadshot, who was a repaint of Armada Sideswipe. Now, his colors were purple and orange (a very similar looking repaint, Oil Slick, was also released in Universe). However, SG Treadshot ends up using the colors of the source mold, Armada Sideswipe, which are blue and orange. It looks really nice, but the character is such a nobody that, unless I were buying the whole set I probably wouldn't want him. Too bad!

Classics Metalhawk: A remold (new head) of Generations Thunderwing, Metalhawk mostly looks like his pretender shell (the new head is human!). While I don't really care about Metalhawk as a character, this toy does look good, and I'm a fan of the mold. Again, if I were getting the whole set, I'd be excited about this guy, but as is, I think I can pass on him (the human head is, honestly, a turn-off; I would have liked the Club Comic's hybrid design using the shell's helmet over the inner robot's head).

Classics Gigatron (Overlord): A remold (surprise! new head) of RotF Bludgeon, Overlord is supposed to be a toy of the G1 guy, but using a movie line mold (a first for FP, by the way) with a G1 head is pretty off-putting. Also, I think they went with "Gigatron" because this toy is really only half of Overlord - just the tank half. While the colors look great, this is really the only true dud in the set, and what has really kept me from wanting to go all in. If, for some reason, I do end up trying to purchase the non-attendee set, I'll be selling this guy, stat.