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.