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

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