Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas time is here...almost

Been a while. Christmas is coming in just a few more days, though, and I thought I'd update.

Firstly, the only TF thing I know for sure I'm getting is the TRU release of the US DOTM Jetwing Optimus. TRU did a 50% off (so, $50) Black Friday sale, and the wife and I braved the TRU by one of the biggest malls in the state on Thanksgiving night, so I went ahead and got it for myself. I'd love to get Metroplex, too, but I'm 100% sure that won't happen. Maybe post-Christmas if I get enough in money/gift cards/etc. My son is getting the Rescue Bots Beam Box system from my parents, so I picked up the Boulder figurine for it. I also got him the RB Optimus figurine (the bagged version w/o a human) for a stocking stuffer, along with Kre-O Custom Optimus. A friend from work has bought him the Kre-O Ripclaw set. I also bought him all 5 Kre-O Seacons a couple months back, intended as a school incentive, but we didn't end up using them, so he'll probably get them too. I think that may be it on the TF front this Christmas.



In other news, the local Walmart continues to suck, most recently only having 2 BH CV Commanders in stock. And, honestly, it wasn't much better than that before Black Friday. In more fortunate parts of the country, people have been finding deluxe Generations T30 wave 3 (which they are also callign 2014 wave 1, to further confuse things). That's the wave with Waspinator, Skids, Goldbug, and G2 Dreadwing. Waspinator I want for sure, and I was also interested in Goldbug some (I didn't get the original version of this mold, and if I get this remold, it'll look like a real upgrade next to Classics BB) and Dreadwing. Skids. not so much; I love the design in the comics but the toy looks iffy.

Also, lots of in-hand pics have surfaced of the wave 4 toys, which I'm more excited about (save for Scoop). Armada Starscream, the new Minicon Combiner (named Centuritron with components Wind Shear, Heavy Tread, and Runway) and WfC/FoC Skywarp to complete the main Seeker trio from that mold.

In addition, pics of the next Generations wave (wave 5) have surfaced, first from the club mag and then online. This one has Rattrap, Crosscut (silver Skids with a new head) and BM Tankor. I'll probably get Rattrap. I'm not REALLY excited about him like a lot of other people, but it does look like the best Rattrap yet and uses his Season 1 design, which the original toy of is notoriously expensive in the aftermarket (and not that good anyway). Crosscut I'm not interested in; he's a nonentity, and while his new head is better than Skids', that mold is just not selling me. Tankor has disappointed a lot of people; his tank mode is a bit skinnier than they would like, and he may not have his backwards legs, but I think he's fine. In fact, I'm really excited about him. I've dug out my BM Mega Tankorr, BWR Tankor/Tank drone, and Energon Signal Flare (I use him as a UT Tankor) out as a result and have been playing with them a lot.



Friday, September 13, 2013

Craziness

Ok, I've made much over these past couple of months over my struggle to transition from full-time TF collector to something more like seasonal help (or whatever. Terrible analogy). So, shocker, I've made a few more exceptions to my "No More TFs" rule.

A) I sold my boxed Botcon 2010 set about a month ago. Got about what I paid for it, which was sort of ok (man, should I have bought the 2008 set). So, as it sells, I get it in my head that I really do want to get TRU's MP Soundwave. But it's initially hard to find, so I rely on a guy I know from TFW to nab and hold onto one for me. And so he does. Of course, literally one day before I'm supposed to meet him, his nephew gets into the package and breaks the thing. So, while I'm not out the $120 plus tax, I am without an MP Soundwave. I finally got to check one of the "local" TRUs this afternoon, and they actually still had one. I had to ask for it (it wasn't on the shelf), but the box was in great shape in everything (this particular release is well known for appearing on shelves in banged-up boxes).

So, I bought it. But, man, am I having some second thoughts. I know I've spent a lot of money on other TFs before, and while I don't think I'd have as much of a problem spending roughly the same amount of cash on T30 Metroplex, I just don't feel like the purchase is justified. I haven't opened the thing, and I've pretty much settled on returning (or maybe selling) the thing. I think my wife'll be happy about that.

B) Holy crap, Sharkticon Megatron. I first saw this guy right around my last post, the weekend when I got T30 Sandstorm and Predacons Rising Abominus (oh, I should add that I've recently picked up legion class Windrazor and Blight, so using Cindersaur in lieu of non-clear Rippersnapper, I also have a complete opaque Abominus). Anyhow, shortly after that, I basically got a hard-on for the thing and have been lusting over online pics for weeks. Naturally, the local Walmart only has a few Predakings, and the Kmart ain't doin' any better. I did manage to find one at a Walmart not too far from the TRU where I got Soundwave today. And man, is Sharktitron (Megalotron?) a cool toy. I really wasn't impressed with it initially, in large part because I couldn't really fit it into my head-canon for the whole Beast Hunters story (because said head-canon didn't, at least until recently, resemble the actual BH episodes very much). But, I figured it out. After SPOILERS Megatron gets killed in "Deadlock," Starscream vows to bring him back/find a way to fight the Predacons, who are attacking not just 'bots, but 'cons too. Soooo, cloning project time! Starcream, referring back to his own successful cloning projects and Shockwave's CNA blending techniques, splices Megatron's CNA with that of a Sharkticon (which, by my fiat, exist in the TFP universe), producing several Sharkticlones/Sharktitrons/Megalotrons/whatever you wanna call 'em. Now, we all know that SPOILERS the real Megatron is going to be reanimated/possessed by Unicron in the Predacons Rising DVD/TV movie, but these clones are totally separate, and are lead by Starscream along with his weird clone of Dreadwing (the BH Dreadwing toy). And, again, the toy itself is just great. Much more enjoyable that the original version of the mold.

C) Remember my angst over the TFSS last year? This year, it's pretty much the opposite. I have largely not cared about the toys/designs revealed for the TFSS 2.0. Until yesterday. The sixth (of seven) toy was revealed to be...Thrustinator? Whaa.....


Yep, I think this is cool. Not sure what kind of doctor I need.

So, there he is! Yep, nothing anyone would have ever guessed. This is the kind of off-the-wall stuff that the Club has been lacking for a good while. I'll admit, I've been taken in by a lot of the more standard, expected repaint/remolds. Just look at the TFSS 1.0: RiD Scourge from RtS G2 Optimus? No surprise; we all expected it. Slipstream from FE Starscream? It's the most feminine Starscream ever, so sure; why not? An Ultra Magnus from an Optimus (well, sort of...) mold? You don't say. G1 Breakdown from G2 Breakdown; too easy. Circuit from Axor? We've seen that before. And Jackpot from Jazz? Heck, I couldn't even tell his head was remolded at first. But this? Taking a remold of the original Waspinator (Dirgegun, for the uninitiated) and then reremolding it back into the original Waspinator?! And then gaining demand even at Club prices? Crazy, man. Crazy. Obviously, this is Waspinator, but with his body being a mashed-together version of his "organic" Beast Wars body and his his mechanical Vehicon Thrust body from Beast Machines. It's important to note that the only remolding that the Club themselves have added is the head - and it's a great mash-up of the character's two faces - but all the other remolding was already there from the Dirgegun release. The trick, of course, being that all of Dirgegun's "cyborg" parts are now painted in Thrust's colors. Seriously, I'm gonna have to try for this guy, whether if it's through a trade, eBay or *shudder* BBTS.
 

Monday, August 12, 2013

An Abomination

So, erm, I haven't stuck to the "No More Transformers" thing too well. About the only thing I can say in my defense is that I have avoided purchasing TFs that are on my want list. However, after buying Springer, Slipstream arrived (see last post and yes, she is technically a 2012 purchase), and this past weekend I managed to procure for myself T30 Sandstorm, Predacons Rising Cindersaur/Smokescreen and Abominus. So, yeah. A fair bit of TF.

I will say it was all pretty opportunistic. I only got Sandstorm due to getting an extra $20 from a family member. I returned an extra Voyager Predaking I got back in March and used the money from that to get the Smokescreen/Cindersaur set, and I bought Abominus because I sold another TF on ebay.

Sandstorm's pretty cool, probably better than Springer, if not in color scheme. He'd be a good base mold for a new Highbrow or Obsidian or something.

I caved on the Predacon Rising stuff (initially I wasn't really interested) mostly because I don't know how easy it'll be to get the three remaining normal Predacons (the opaque, single-packed Rippersnapper, Blight, and Cutthroat). At any given moment, at least one of them is sold out at HTS and they've only just begun to hit retail (no local sightings yet that I know of). Add to the fact that they're on my wish list and may not get them until Christmas (if at all), and you get a fair bit of Cyberverse Abominus Anxiety (I think if I don't get them for my birthday and they're actually readily available at that point, I'll just get them myself. $15 isn't that bad).

 So, I was able to go to Target this weekend, and Rippersnapper's repaint, Cindersaur, who's packed with a pretty sharp-looking G1 deco Smokescreen, looked damned tempting. As yet, my "Abominus" only consisted of Hun-Grrr and Twinstrike, meaning he was only a torso/thighs with an arm. Well, and a smaller arm if you left the other of Hun-Grr's arms in its normal configuration. I figured, with Cindersaur, I could at least let the poor guy hobble around with one foot. That, and Cindersaur's deco is pretty nice. So I got it. I definitely checked out the Abominus boxed set for a while during my time at the store, but was set on only getting the regular releases + Cindersaur.

After playing around with Cindersaur, Hun-Grrr and Twinstrike, I decided that Amputee Abominus was not going to cut it. I mean, it's fun to pretend your combiner has had a few limbs blasted off or that he's in the middle of one of Shockwave's experiments, but at some point you just need the whole dude, especially when Hasbro actually put out an affordable combiner gift set for the first time in twenty years. So, back to Target I went the next day. Picked up Abominus (along with some shoes for my wife). He's pretty awesome. Hasbro did a pretty decent job differentiating him from the standard version, despite them having almost the same deco. Basically, each Predacon has a primary color recast in translucent plastic. The opaque plastics are altered as well, some more than others (Hun-Grr's opaque change is more subtle than Twinstrike's, for example). Also, each of the weapons has been altered from a metallic grey to "Daaaaaaaaaark Energon" translucent purple. It's nice, dark shade that is also pretty vivid. As a combiner, Abominus is pretty great. He's the second legends/legion class combiner we've gotten, after RotF's Devastator (which had SEVEN component bots, and was pretty uniquely awesome). However, Abominus is a lot more like the original "Scramble City" or later Energon 5-man combiners. Particularly, this repaint will draw comparisons to the TFCC's Nexus Prime, also partially made of translucent plastic. Anyhow, what makes Abominus a bit unique is that his torso is the same size as the limbs (shared with FoC Bruticus and Ruination/Xaaron, but that's it) and his knees don't move. People are pretty well used to Combiners without elbows, but a lack of working knee joints is something new. Even Legends Devastator had knees (yes, they're really transformation joints and where the legs connect to the body, at the hips, there's no useful articulation. But don't tell anybody!). Honestly, it's not missed that much at this scale, and I have to imagine that incorporating knee joints would have either compromised the leg bots or made Hun-Grr's dragon heads so floppy the knee's wouldn't've mattered anyway. Overall, Abominus does a fantastic job of taking 5 legion molds and allowing them to combine into a respectable classic-style combiner that uses no extra parts without compromising the individual toys. Heck, the single-packed releases don't even mention that they combine! And whereas there's no way you'd sell me on a G1 Scramble city limb bot without the combiner hook, these guys are all stand-alone greats. About the only one that is off a bit is Rippersnapper's beast mode with its weird hips and how that handles the bot mode head. Other than that, you're golden. You could even call Blot/Blight's transformation inspired, especially at this scale.

However, from the moment we found out that this release of Abominus would have clear parts, people have been worried about its fragility. I have to admit I do hesitate to remove and tack Cutthroat back on to Hun-Grr's arms many more times. I'm sure I'll be fine leaving this set in combined mode once I have all the other standard Abominus dudes. And I'm hoping that Hun-Grr and Twinstrike (yes, I like his new name better, if you couldn't tell) get repaints. Seeing as how I already have Cindersaur, I now plan to get Divebomb (an Autobot defector repaint of Cutthroat) and Rot-Gut (the MTMTE Blip-inspired Blight redeco) as well to make up a crew of Auxiliary Predacons. Yes, I'm aware of the upcoming other Blight redeco, but it's as himself, and I don't need three extra feet guys.

Get Abominus in some form. This is the kind of thing we should be supporting with our dollars.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Slipstream

While the Club didn't get around to mailing the first TFSS figure (Scourge) until earlier this summer, this does at least mean that there is only a month between shipments at this point. As such, my second TFSS toy arrived in the mail today - Slipstream!

I commented a bit on Slipstream last year when I did a run-down on the whole set of six TFSS figs. The character originated back in 2008 (!) in the second season of TF: Animated as one of several "Seeker" clones of Starscream. The first, and only (so far) female Seeker, Slipstream can count on that feature alone as built-in appeal for a fan base. To be sure, she showed up again in 2010 in the WfC video game (a design which I hope still gets a toy some day). Fast forward to 2012/13, and the TFSS has produced a version of her that looks like she walked right out of TF: Prime.

She is, of course, remolded from TFP First Edition Starscream, one of the better deluxe Starscream molds out there and certainly one of the most feminine. The head is all new, but as I stated, still easily fits in with the TFP design aesthetic while further feminizing the design and setting her apart from the masculine Seekers that use this mold (it has been repainted into Skywarp and Thundercracker as well). However, I suggest mistransforming the torso, as correct transformation will produce Starscream's typical hunchbacked look, which doesn't work well for a female.

All in all, she's a pretty great figure!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Green Propeller Task Force

That's what I call them, anyway.

If you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about, it's a set of four voyager class TFs: Energon Bulkhead, Universe Springer, HftD Highbrow, and T30 Springer.

Why these four? I guess it all goes back to Energon Bulkhead. When this guy came out, back in the fall of 2004 (!), it was part of the very G1 homage-heavy Energon line and in the midst of the franchise's 20th anniversary. As such, people assumed that Bulkhead (who came before the now-famous bulky autobot bruiser of Animated and Prime) was an homage to G1 Springer. It made sense - Energon also saw characters like Rodimus get homage toys, and Bulkhead was a green autobot helicopter, that, while it lacked a true third mode, could have a ground mode thanks to its ability to combine with its walker-mech "accessory."

Anyhow, one year later, Hasbro releases the orange rescue copter Evac as part of the Cybertron toy line, who then got repainted into an official Springer toy as part of the Universe 2.0 line during the franchise's 25th anniversary. Seeing that I never use UT molds as G1 characters as the repaint was intended, that meant that this Springer would be my UT Springer. This also meant that Bulkhead, also being a UT character, definitely couldn't be the UT version of Springer, despite the design similarities. Now, granted, I had never really been sold on the E. Bulkhead = Springer idea, for a few reasons, but now I had to decide for sure on a separate personality for him. Whoever he would be, in my mind he'd function as UT Springer's mentor and partner/friend (the mustache and his characterization in the show indicated that he was an older 'bot).

Enter 2010's Hunt for the Decepticons Highbrow. Like most of the HftD toy, it was designed to be part of the movie universe (basically a "latter-day" RotF toy), but it was also the first new Highbrow toy, by name, since G1. While he did have blue and gray in his color scheme, it was more dominated by the dark WWII green of his P-38-ish alt mode and therefore the guy didn't look much like G1 Highbrow at all. In fact, they only thing they really have in common is the fact that both of them have twin propellers in alt mode and a head gimmick (G1 = headmaster; HftD = sliding visor).

However, HftD Highbrow sure did have a lot in common with Energon Bulkhead. Both were intended to be older characters in-fiction; both had spinning propeller weapon gimmicks, both had wings on the hips armed with rockets, both had really long lower legs, both had visors covering their eyes, both had alt modes whose noses tilted up when landing gear were deployed, both were predominately green, both had transformable weapon-hands...etc. So, all the similarities, in addition to the toyless Animated Highbrow also being an older, mustachioed Autobot, lead me to conclude that I should rename E. Bulkhead as Highbrow. And thus he has remained. He and his buddy UT Springer have had a few adventures with HftD Highbrow in the past few years, and the three looked great together. What they really lacked was another good Springer to allow UT Springer to have a multiversal counterpart to join in on the fun. I owned Botcon Springer (a CDF Hotshot repaint) for a while, but he didn't quite cut it. RotF Springer was only a legends-class toy, so that wouldn't fly (they really need to remold TFM Incinerator into Springer for TF4). And last fall, they remolded HftD Tomahawk into another pseudo-G1 version of Springer, which I was not going to fall for.

Good thing I didn't, as hasbro just put out Thrilling 30 Springer as part of the Generations line this summer. Who I now own, so he has taken his place as part of the Green Propeller task force. Now, I'd still like a good, deluxe-class G1 Springer (triple-changing not necessary), but thanks to the China Generations remold, I don't think we'll see that anytime soon. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Well, almost.

Ok, so I picked up Springer today too. So sue me.



But that'll be it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Last Stand of the Wallet

Ok. The past few posts have been kind of gloom and doom, what with me highlighting my downturn in interest in transformers. I even compiled a list the other day of what remaining items I want that are being released between now-ish and next March (which is as far as we've seen as of SDCC). I plan on not buying anything on that list, which is not overly short, especially if you don't count what are now "pipe-dream" items for me (Metroplex, MP Acid Storm, etc), but instead hope to receive them as gifts over the next year or so. I've sort of tried this before, as I detailed here back about this time in 2010, but I feel like I'm approaching it a bit more seriously this time around. Finances are tighter than ever around here, and I'm going through some other lifestyle changes that make halting (at least mostly) toy purchases for myself a very prudent thing to do.

However, there was one more splurge I had to go for: The Wreckers.

Yep. They've been sighted more and more frequently and locally over the past couple of weeks, and I had the opportunity to find them today. It worked out pretty well, too - I found all five at the first and only store I checked at (one reason I wanted to go ahead and get them was being worried about finding all five, especially with how Impactor is likely to be scalper bait). It was a pretty expensive splurge, but thankfully not as much as I paid for the original Combaticons versions of the molds back in November, thanks to Walmart having deluxes on sale for $13 instead of $15.

I have to say, the Wreckers are pretty cool for what they are. If you know the FoC Combaticon molds, you know their flaws and limitations, but if you can or already have gotten over those (and I pretty much have), the new Wreckers versions bring a lot to the table.

Firstly, there's HOLY CRAP WRECKERS COMBINER Ruinations. This is possibly the greatest plastic nod to a joke in a Transformers comic, specifically when Rotorstorm tried to intimidate Overlord in Last Stand of the Wreckers by announcing, "Wreckers! Combine!," knowing full well that they had no such ability (actually, no Autobots had that ability in IDW continuity at that point). More to the point, this is a NEW Autobot combiner that has never existed, so we're not just dealing with another rehash of Superion. I'm sure this if because Hasbro didn't feel like the Combaticons couldn't be feasibly remolded into any other existing Autobot combiner team, but I'm not complaining. To cap it all off, "Ruination's" head is really that of "Emirate" (a misnomer) Xaaron from the Marvel and IDW comics, who was historically associated with the Wreckers and Impactor in particular. So that's pretty cool. I mean, it's hard to imagine Xaaron hanging out in Impactor's torso and occasionally tearing up the battlefield, but then again, that's what imagination's for.

Secondly, the remolding! All of the Wreckers, of course, got new head molds. They all look great, especially Impactor (who, as I'm sure you know, has never had a toy until now!). Whirl is probably my second favorite, though he could use his antenna on the right side that he typically sports. Topspin, uniquely, gets a second remolded part in that the panel his 5mm port is molded into is now hinged (the port itself is new, too) to lift up - Blast Off can't do this.

Thirdly, the WEAPONS. Holy crap, you get an arsenal here. On top of the weapons from the original versions of the molds, each Wrecker gets his own unique new, big weapon with some kind of action feature. Impactor gets a nice cannon that shoots his trademark harpoon (and it combines with the Onlaught-style twin cannon in such a way as to simulate a harpoon hand), if with a hair-trigger. Topspin gets a DotM Rachet-style rifle with swing-out circular saw (the rifle's barrel is pretty big!). Twin Twist gets a weapon with his spinning drill bits on the front and a small cannon on tip (the trigger for the drills). Roadblock gets and interesting gun with three opening barrels (?). It looks pretty cool. Lastly, Whirl gets a nice, big multi-barreled gun in which said barrels and be pushed forward and spin as they do so. One big problem with all of these, though, is very inconsistent handle tolerances. Some weapons can barely plug into the others at all. All the original weapons work together just fine, but try sticking Whirl's swords onto the sides of his gun. At least on my copy, they just flop down in their ports. Not cool. Luckily, there are enough ways to mount weapons that you can work around this, but still, it's aggravating. I may have to lather some posts or ports up with nail polish.

So, there you have it - my last major TF purchase for myself, or, at least, that's the plan. I'm posting the list of others I want below:



Transformers: Prime: Beast Hunters
·         Cyberverse Legion class (~$5) [$30]
o   Bluestreak  – Jan ‘14
o   Rippersnapper (white/teal aquatic dragon) – out soon
o   Windrazor (green/tan dragon with large wings on arms) – out soon
o   Blight (blue/light blue/yellow dragon) – out soon
o   Air Vehicon (purple/silver flying car- Aug ‘13
o   Ace Vehicon (white repaint of Air Vehicon w/ orange gun) – Jan ‘14
·         Cyberverse Commander class (~$9) [$27]
o   Ultra Magnus (blue/red/silver truck with opaque hammer) – Jan ‘14
o   Bludgeon (green/orange tank with skull head) – Jan ‘14
o   Unicron Megatron (Bronze repaint of Megatron w/purple sword – Jan ‘14)
Transformers: Generations
·         Legends class (~$10 2-packs) [$50]
o   Optimus Prime & Roller (Red truck with smaller blue truck) – out now
o   Megatron & Chop Shop (Grey tank w/reddish beetle) –out late summer/early fall ‘13
o   Starscream & Waspinator (Grey/red/blue jet w/green wasp) -  out late summer/early fall ‘13
o   Swerve & Flanker (red/white truck w/black jet) – Oct ‘13
o   Tailgate & Groundpounder (white/teal sports car w/blue/silver bulldozer) – Jan ‘14
·         Deluxe class (~$15) [$105]
o   Orion Pax (wave 5 young Optimus; red/blue sci-fi truck w/comic) – Aug ‘13
o   Megatron (wave 5 black stealth bomber w/comic) - Aug ’13
o   Thundercracker (wave 6 blue/silver sci-fi jet w/comic) – Sept ‘13
o   Waspinator (wave 7 larger green/yellow wasp w/comic ) – Jan ‘14
o   Armada Starscream (wave 8 red/black/yellow w/clear swords) – Mar ‘14
o   Mini-con 3-pack (names unknown;  wave 8 green/black set of tank, jet, helicopter that combine) – Mar ‘14
o   Skywarp (wave 8 black/purple/grey sci-fi jet) – Mar ‘14
·         Voyager class (~$20)
o   Rhinox (green/grey/gold rhinoceros from Beast Wars show) – Jan ‘14

Friday, July 19, 2013

Botcon/SDCC Roundup 2013

Well, despite my last post, I can still be bothered to do a run-down on the new TFs shown at Botcon and SDCC this year. Interestingly, while Hasbro's SDCC panel was just yesterday, Botcon was only about two weeks ago. Normally, there's a lot more time between the two events. Because of this (I think), Hasbro's SDCC showings weren't a whole lot greater than what they had at Botcon. Already, that brings an air of disappointment to the proceedings, but let's forget that for now and move onto the toys themselves:

-Ok, one more thing first - I'm not covering every single release here like I might've in the past. A lot of what Hasbro had to show were non-traditional TF toys (like the huge showing for the new Construct-bots). I'm really trying to focus on the mainline releases.

Start with Beast Hunters? Sure.

Cyberverse Legion:

-Bluestreak - this is a repaint of BH Legion Smokrescreen (surprise!). For some reason, he has neon green headlights and a neon green repaint of the now-omnipresent chainsaw gun. I pretty much have to get this, being that I already own Smokescreen and Prowl from this mold. Oh, and he's actually blue, for once.

-Rot Gut - a neon green/blue/yellow/repaint of BH Legion Blight (the G1 Blot homage). Pretty sure he's a reference to Blip from IDW's MTMTE, which is enough to spark interest, but unless the repaint every single one of the legion Predacons, I probably won't pick up any of these "extras."

- Windrazor (? I think that's his name) - This is a repaint of BH Legion Cutthroat (or whatever his new name turned out to be). Apparently this one is an Autobot defector, and it's hard not to draw comparisons to Swoop. Still, no draw unless all 5 get repainted.

- Ace Vehicon - repaint of the Air/Jet Vehicon that has normal colors, now in Starscream's "Armada" colors. Thought what is silver in the show is white on the toy. I'll probably get this, just because I'm surprised that this mold got made at all (I'll get the original too). Another damn chainsaw gun, though. Ugh.

Cyberverse Commanders:

- Unicron Megatron - well, it's just a repaint of TFP CV Megatron, but apparently it represents him after he's SPOILERS possessed by Unicron in the BH DVD movie. So, while the colors didn't really grab me, I may have to get this just for it's plot significance (especially since Unicron criminally never got his own domestic release).

- Bludgeon - a remold of BH CV Shockwave, this one is pretty impressive. New skull chest, new skull samurai head, plus an orange version of Optimus' Star Saber. Looks pretty good; I'll probably get it.

- Ultra Magnus - yep, UM gets another CV toy! I kind of called this one, after Um began with his own voyager mold, and then got one remolded from Optimus; now the same has happened here. In other words, this is a remold of TFP CV Optimus. And a pretty good one, too - it even includes a new-mold Forge of Solus Prime. This one's a lock.

Deluxe: Ok, this is where I convert to rant mode.

- Bumblebee repaint - shocker. This is a repaint of the BH BB remold into "Stealth" colors. Admittedly, this was a fun remold and now has even better colors, so there's a lot to like here, but it's still Yet Another Bumblebee.

- Prowl - this is pretty cool. It's obviously a Smokescreen repaint, but they did go out of there way to give him a new head based on the Prowl design from the as-yet-unreleased TFP-based Universe game. So that's pretty danged cool. I want to get this, if only to give my Universe 2.0 Prowl a multiversal buddy, but the mold is pretty iffy and I'd feel like I'd need to get Smokescreen, whom I've avoided until now. Not sure here.

- Bumblebee, Cutthroat, Twinstrike, and Smokescreen - Oh! Deluxe versions of some of the legion Predacons? Smokescreen gets a second shot at having a decent deluxe mold? A newer, better Bumblebee? NO. Shitty upsized legion class toys. That's really it. This is the most embarrassing thing Hasbro has done since I've been an adult collector. Sucktown. At least these are $60 less toy that I have to worry about.

Voyager:

- Optimus Prime - like the new deluxes, this is just an upsized version of the BH CV Commander. It seems to fare a bit better from the upsizing process, and his weapons looks good, but it's still unecessary.

- Predaking - Conceptually, this is another "upsize", but is really more of just a simplified new mold. It does takes some cues from the CV Commander, but not too many. Honestly, this one looks pretty good, maybe even better than the original voyager, my opinion of which has really dropped over the past few months.

I won't say anything about the larger toys except that it was a smart move to make the Weaponizer BB's deco match his look in the show (it originally was going to be some kind of stupid yellow/brown camo).

Ok, Generations!

Legends class (this is really now a 2-pack class, containing a CV Commander-ish toy along with a Micromaster-ish partner)

- Swerve w/Flanker - This is MTMTE Swerve with an Earth mode. Despite getting a G1 Swerve truck toy last fall thanks to the China Generations stuff, this is pretty hard to not want. Flanker looks like a Micromaster and probably homages one.

- Cosmos w/Payload - Cosmos, who last appeared as an impossible to find legends toy for the 25th anniversary line, gets a size upgrade. Payload is a pretty cool looking space shuttle guy. I'll probably skip this. At least it'll maybe drive the aftermarket price of the 25th anny one down?

- Tailgate w/Groundpounder - Like Swerve, this is IDW Tailgate with an Earth mode. He has flames on the hood, a la Prime Tailgate. Looks great. Groundpounder is an interesting little bulldozer with an attack claw weapon mode. If I get Swerve, I have to get Tailgate.

- Shrapnel w/Reflector - Forget that "Sharpshot" nonsense, this is Shrapnel. It's honestly a pretty perfect G1 Shrapnel update, too, in size and appearance. What's funny is that I wanted them to make some legends-ish sized G1 Insecticons many years ago, but we are finally getting them. Reflector has the gun mode, but transforms into the entire camera (with a very long zoom lens). He's probably the weakest of the partner toys, unfortunately. Unless they make the other two Insecticons like this, I'm not sure I'll go for this.

Deluxe!

- Dreadwing - this is a remold of the upcoming Stealth Megatron into G2 Dreadwing. New head. Makes a lot of sense. Not sure if I'll go for it.

- Skids - this is straight-up a MTMTE Skids. Even has the cybertonian car mode. I like that in concept, but the toy looks a bit off. Probably skip.

- Goldbug - remold of the IDW-style new BB mold. He gets a new head. Where I will probably skip the BB version, I may go for this one, as it would look like a real upgrade compared to Classics BB. Still don't like that weapon, though.

- Waspinator! - looks really great. Getting it.

- Scoop - Eh. It's certainly a G1 Scoop, and even includes both of his targetmasters. No real interest here.

- Skywarp - repaint of FoC Starscream, this one's a lock. There's a bit more grey on the chest rather than the black I'd prefer, but I can deal. Glad that we're getting all three core seekers from this mold.

- Armada Starscream - that's right! The toy that got me into adult collecting gets a deluxe redo. He looks great. He now gets two swords (energon, not "metal) that detatch from the bottom of his wings so he doesn't lose the wings in bot mode. The missiles come from the front of the intakes this time, and the whole engine apparatus can fold flat on his back like it should be able to. Too friggin' great.

- Unknown minicon trio - these might be my favorite thing from both Botcon and SDCC. New character minicons, military alt modes, integrated, removable hand-held weapons, one is a fembot, they combine Armada Perceptor-style, and they're flippin' black and green! It's like a love letter to me and my fondness for UT. Have to get, and then give to the new Starscream (he has four minicon hardpoints!). Heck, even the jet one is vaguely Seeker-like.

Voyager:

- Rhinox - this is the one for me. Looks pretty much just like he did in the show. He'll go well with Waspinator.

- Doubledealer - remold of Blitzwing. Neat idea, as I've always like Doubledealer, but I'm not sure this was the best choice. He does get a new "face" (the helmet is the same), but I'm not sure if he has multiple faces like BW does. Nice looking, at least.

- Whirl - A very, very G1-looking Whirl. The head is sort of MTMTE, but I would have preferred the whole thing to be more MTMTE. Gerwalk mode was intentional, so that's neat, and I do like his weapons. I'm probably the only person who will skip him in favor of the FoC deluxe version (Vortex remold).

Fan-built bot: Ok, no toy images, but this one is the result of online polling from Hasbro that I participated in. It turns out that the bot will be Windblade, a female Autobot jet (called a "Seeker" by the Hasbro staff). She has a Kabuki/samurai motif, red/black color scheme, and VTOL fans in jet mode a la Thrust. I'll get her, but she won't be out until late 2014 as the capstone in the Thrilling 30 celebration. I really hope we get a G1 Slipstream remold out of her, as we've never had a deluxe female jet before.

And that's it. I guess there's about the right amount of stuff for me to be interested in in regards to me wanting to spend less, but I can't help but think that, outside of Generations, the offerings here were a bit weak. Oh well, there's still some very solid stuff coming around the corner.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stasis Lock Immanent

So my last post was in March? Wow, time flies. This post is going to serve two main purposes: to highlight some recent TF acquisitions of mine, and to discuss my waning interest in the brand.


Yes, believe it or not, my enthusiasm for Transformers is on the decline. You can basically blame Lego. My son got several Lego sets a month ago for his birthday, and I had a blast helping him build and play with them. So much that I went and got myself a few more sets (nothing too crazy). Basically, I realized that Legos are probably the superior toy. Obviously, they are flexible in that you can do so much with them (one thing I always appreciated about TFs versus normal toys was the puzzle aspect/having 2 toys in one), but you also have multiple "universes" or franchises in one universal format. I've got Superman hanging out with Darth Vader and Gandalf. Come on, how great is that? Venom can wear War Machine's armor. Anakin can use Spider-Man's webbing. It's too great.

     Thing is, Legos are hella expensive, so I can't really swing collecting both TFs and Legos. Which I guess is ok, considering how many TFs I have. I'm still interested in some upcoming releases (finishing BH Abominus, getting the FoC Wreckers, Stealth Megatron, etc), but many of them, even Metroplex, just don't look as interesting as they used to.

So, enough with the bad/sad/whatever news.

I finally did manage to get my hands on a PRiD Skyquake about three weeks ago. Nothing groundbreaking, but he does look nice and I now have him to pair with his voyager-class brother.

I also FINALLY got my first TFCC Subscription toy in the mail this week. Spoilers:













It's Scourge. C&P from the Allspark:

 I will say the toy looks pretty good; though for some reason I think I was expecting metallic teal paint apps. Still very nice looking. Don't care much for the inverted G2 symbol, but it's accurate to the show and something Hasbro wouldn't have done had this been a retail toy, so it's cool. My personal take on this Scourge is something like TDKR Bane, in that he wants to physically and spiritually crush Optimus, so wearing Optimus' head upside down makes sense. I also kind of wish the bas-relief Matrix had some silver on it; not so much for fictional reasons, but just because it looked damned good on SG Magnus.

In summation, this was one of the toys that I really wanted from the sub. Not as much as UM (or maybe even Slipstream), but it helped seal the deal. I'm dealing with a decline in my interest in the brand right now, so had this arrived on time (say, three months ago or so), I'd be a lot more excited, and would have done a nice blog post with photos comparing Scourge to the other 3 copies of the mold that I have. As such, I do like it, but where it would have once been a permanent part of my collection, I'm now considering selling it at some point (not now) just as I will Jackpot and Circuit.


So, there you have it.

I probably will, at some point, add some comparison photos for Scourge, Optimus, SG Optimus, and SG Magnus. But not today.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Predaqueen

Ok, thanks to Walmart price-matching Target sales, I went ahead and picked up both Ripclaw and Beast Hunters Starscream yesterday. I put SS aside for Easter and opened Ripclaw this morning. I mostly got her because (as stated) she looked fun and also has been getting pretty great reviews.

I have to admit that she's a pretty solid dragon-former. I still like Lazerback, but Ripclaw has the more classics Euro-dragon look that Predaking (mostly) has, but without a lot of that mold's drawbacks. I'm not as big a fan of the tail mechanism as many others seem to be, but it's a lot better than how Preadking's works. The weapon is pretty great, though. Also, the "energon camouflage" plastic swirls work REALLY well on this mold. I'll eventually get around to writing her a review.







Saturday, March 16, 2013

Beware the day after the Ides of March

Just sort of updating today. I'm actually quite behind on updating the collection roster, having acquired a fair number of new-release TFs since whatever the last addition on there was. Most recently, I bought Kre-O Microchanger Warpath, which I opened yesterday afternoon.

Anyways, the local Walmart, I noticed today, has gotten in about 2 cases of the second deluxe wave of Beast Hunters toys, which were hard to resist. Starscream is the main one, being that he's my favorite character, but I also want Smokescreen for character/fiction reasons despite the faux parts problem the mold has. However, the other two toys - Bulkhead and Ripclaw - are tempting too. They just look fun, Ripclaw especially. I'd kind of been holding off on wanting to get her, hoping that we'd get a repaint (maybe even with a new dragon head) as Ser-Ket from the Rage of the Dinobots comic, if only because I like her color scheme better. However, that may not happen, so I may cave on Ripclaw. Bulkhead looks like a good toy to fiddle with, and while I think he's a bit small for Bulkhead, he'd make a pretty good TFP Brawn that could still be in scale.

However, one toy I've really been having fun with lately has been Beast Hunters Legion Airachnid. Great copter mode, decent weapon, and good bot mode that bests the unfortunate deluxe mold that I skipped. One of the better legion/legends toys, well, maybe ever.

Also having fun with Lazerbeak, which I got a few weeks ago. I like how similar his robot and dragon modes are, and due to this (and to play up his sower-of-chaos thing) I imagine him rarely ever being distinctly in one mode or the other; I usually have him transformed sort of half-way, often with his bot head out, but legs & tail in dragon mode, and usually one forearm in dragon mode too (love those claws). A very fun mold that I was originally going to pass on that I'm glad I didn't.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fantastic voyage

I've bought a lot of voyager-class TFs lately. It started with the Generations FoC Soundwave I got a few weeks ago. Then, last weekend, I found his remold, FoC Blaster. This past Saturday, I found the Beast Hunters Voyagers Optimus and Predaking for the first time. Finally, yesterday I found Blaster's wavemate, FoC Grimlock.

I'm actually trying to decide about taking Grimlock back to the store; I feel a bit guilty about spending even more money on TFs after getting so many recently. As such, he's still in package in my car along with the receipt.

Anyhow, Blaster is pretty awesome, being a really good example of remold. Even right next to Soundwave, it's not too obvious that they are the same basic toy. Unfortunately, his databot (?) partner is Steeljaw, which is a Ravage remold. Now, Ravage, which I got back over New Year's, is not great, but it does fold up well into disc mode and has a great deco. Steeljaw has neither of these features going for him, being made of cheap-looking yellow and white plastic and having a disc mode that does not have a flush surface. And, of course, he inherits all the problems that Ravage has. But, overall, Blaster is very much worth the cost. It's a good mold, though I  wouldn't own all three versions (I've passed over Soundblaster/Buzzsaw).

Predaking is interesting. He has some really awesome design/transformation features and some fairly obvious deficits. But overall he looks really good in both modes and basically does what he's supposed to do. I'll discuss him further in a mini-review later on.

Optimus Prime is a horse of a different color. This is easily one of the best voyager class Optimus Prime toys we've gotten in a long, long time. While it is recognizably an update to Optimus' TFP body, it manages to homage many other iterations of Optimus from across the years. It's also one of the best Voyager OPs in terms of being a toy; the figure is simply very fun.

I'll have to get back to you on Grimlock.

My God. It's full of stars.

edit: Ok, I meant to get this up last Sunday. But here you go anyway:

I thought Hasbro really outdid themselves at SDCC last year. You may recall my "How Hasbro Got Their Groove Back" post. This was in the context of last year's Botcon and Toyfair, both of which (Toyfair specifically) were rather underwhelming, new-wise. So SDCC (and later NYCC with Beast Hunters) was a breath of fresh air.

I...I had no idea...

All the stuff I raved about during SDCC last year? It's small potatoes. Today, Hasbro has put on one of their greatest showings in a long, long time. Probably since I joined the fandom a decade ago. I mean, I'm sure plenty of other Toy Fairs/Botcons/SDCCs/NYCCS have had some great gems - MP-01 Optimus Prime, Armada Unicron, Alternators Smokescreen, and Classics come to mind. But I really don't think Hasbro's ever been able to cram so much awesome into one toy show. I'll try to do justice to everything, but forgive me if I leave something out. So, by toyline:

Transformers: Prime: Beast Hunters

-Legion class: No one that we didn't already know of as of this week. Still, I'm excited about that Soundwave.

-Commander class: 2 new guys:

  - Shockwave: very nice; maybe nicer than the voyager. Definitely looks better than the DotM Commander.

  - Starscream: remold of the existing CV Commander Starscream. Looks a bit like the new BH deluxe, but the deco is almost flame-themed, to the point that it looks like it'd be a different Seeker. Not sure I'll go for this one, not being a fan of the original mold.

-Deluxe:
  - Skystalker: gracile, blue ice dragon with discs that fire from the wings. Not bad looking, and I like how the dragon mouth opens Divebomb-style to reveal the robot head. Not sold on it, but I've got no major objections, either, other than the fact that it's an ice dragon and isn't named Cryotek.

  - Ratchet: ugh. Probably the only toy shown here that I actively dislike. Of all the BH weapons, Ratchet's is the most toy-looking, and that's largely due to the color. Also, like BH BB and Wheeljack, Ratchet is a remold of the original TFP toy, which was never my favorite mold. Oh, and he looks evil as hell, so that works well for him, right? Very low likelihood that I'll get this one.

  - Dreadwing: Apparently not too dead, Dreadwing gets a deluxe mold that is full-on Beast Hunters. The jet mode gets beefier, almost AV-8B style intakes, and the bot mode has wings that open as feathers and has an overall avian look. Weird weapon, though. Not sure about this one.

-Voyager class: Cool stuff here!

  - SHOCKWAVE: I posted about him earlier today, but I'm pretty happy about this guy. We get a better look at the "tank" mode, which take more cues from the Energon and Animated versions than the DotM one. Still digging this.

  - Grimwing: green Predacon, he looks pretty good! Dragon mode was described as a cross between a bear and falcon, which is pretty accurate, but his weapon also doubles as his little monster-parrot buddy thing, as noted in the Guidebook. Strange. Good chance I'll get this guy.

  - Ultra Magnus: I had pics of the prototype up about three posts ago, and here's the real thing! Already knew it was a remold of PRiD Optimus, but it's still great and looks honestly more enjoyable than PRiD Magnus himself. Love the Forge of Solus Prime and add-on armor. Really excited about this one.

-Ultimate class: I guess these are like Supremes? Not sure on the price.

  - Predaking: Apparently a Target exclusive, this guy does look really nice. Instead of the two extra "hydra" head/launchers, he gets two crossbow-type guns, and of course his tail sword. Crazy 21" wingspan. I like it, but may not need it. Price is a big determining factor here.

  - Optimus Prime: OK, so this is really called Dragon Laser OP or something ridiculous, but it's basically the voyager design, but larger and with the wings replaced by this crazy five-headed dragon cannon ring thing. He also has his meat cleaver sword (not the Star Saber) and a dragon head-styled shield that other toys of him lack. The variety makes him more appealing than Predaking in a certain sense, but again, necessity vs. price will play a big role here.

Ok, onto Generations!

-Legends class: firstly, let me say that after the 2 sets of Autbot data discs, it looks like those little automorphing guys are done for. Wave 3 and beyond are (apparently) 2 packs that seem to feature a CV Commander-sized figure with a sub-legends (mini-con-ish?) partner that is a bot/vehicle/targetmaster triplechanger. Pretty ambitious! Also very happy that these are inteded to specifically interact with the Titan class, discussed below...

  - Optimus Prime w/Roller: This is the G1 Optimus design from the IDW Ongoing series, which is pretty cool. The chest windows even pivot open to reveal more mechanical sternum detail. Roller is a little armored truck with a decent bot mode and forms an impressive cannon that Optimus's gun can attach to. Definitely cool.

  - Bumblebee w/Blazemaster: This is interesting. Bumblebee's bot mode is clearly based on his WfC/FoC/IDWRiD body, but has am alt mode that is more of an Earth car. Weird, but it looks good. Blazemaster doesn't look too much like the G1 micromaster, but still has a detachable rotor blade that can attach to BB's arm wheels. He also forms a gun. Pretty neat; I'll be getting it.

-Deluxe class: Ok, here's where I really start to get excited. Starting with wave 5 (the post-Wreckers wave), we're getting new-mold toys based on IDW designs with pack-in (full-sized) comics! Too great.

  - Trailcutter (Trailbreaker): His packaging/comic wasn't shown, but this guy looks great. I think the bot mode is meant to be a bit MTMTE-ish, but it definitely has an Earth truck mode. The camper shell detaches to become the weapon. I'll be happy to finally get a decent-sized G1 version of this guy. And between this, his Kreon, and the BH Ironhide remold, Trailbreaker's finally getting a break this year.

  - Orion Pax: yup! Not Optimus, this toy is based (at least the bot mode) on Optimus's pre-Prime body that first showed up in Spotlight: Blurr many years ago. The cybertronian trcuk mode is new (and featured in the included SL: Orion Pax comic) as are the energon axe and signature ion cannon. It's great that we're getting a dedicated Orion Pax mold; that's something I never saw happening. Really want this.

  - Megatron: this is B-2 Megatron from the IDW Ongoing! Don's design actually surfaced sometime earlier than it did in the comic a couple of years ago, so this is a toy I've wanted for a while. Awesome.

  - Bumblebee: again from the IDW Ongoing, this is BB's "leader" body. Having ditched the VW alt mode, he now transforms into a sports car and has door wings, taking cues from the Movie version. The design is a bit different, with the headlights/fenders forming the shoulders rather than the windshield doing so. Most anticipated BB toy in a while, that's for sure.

-Voyager class: triple changers!

  - Springer: it's pretty much perfect. This is Springer as we see him in Last Stand of the Wreckers, and yes, he actually has two alt modes that are decent and don't suffer and the benefit of the other. Looks to be one of the greatest voyagers ever.

  - Blitzwing: While I would have liked him to be a deluxe to go with the other two 'Con triple changers, this guy does look great. Both jet and tank mode are fantastic and distinct, and the head apparently changes faces Animated-style while otherwise being a G1 homage. Very cool.

-TITAN class: the piece de resistance.

  - Metroplex: I was convinced that we'd never get stuff like this from Hasbro ever again. Metroplex gets a tried-and-true Classics-style G1 update, but, oh yeah, he's also TWO FEET TALL!!!! Apparently someone at Hasbro figured we needed another giant transformer, one for the modern era, and we're getting it. The "Titan" class will cost about $125, but when the toy's this big, it's fine. He comes with a legends class Scamper toy (which hasn't been seen yet, I don't believe) and is still a triple changer in the same vein as the G1 toy. This is really incredible. Makes me feel ok for not dropping the same amount of cash on the newer MP Optimus at TRU!

-Generations: Platinum Series: We already knew about Platinum Optimus and Omega Supreme (neither of which really impresses me for the price), but know we know about two new releases:

  - Ultra Magnus: This is TFP/BH Ultra Magnus, using the same basic design as the BH voyager toy. That said, it's also a remold of Optimus, this time Weaponizer Optimus. This version also has a larger Forge of Solus Prime, which looks a little better than the voyager's, as you'd guess. I've never been too keen on Weaponizer Optimus, but this remold looks good overall, and I love the kind of attention Magnus has been getting this year. Like the BH Ultimates, price is a big determining factor here.

  -  Grimlock vs. Bruticus: no pics of this so far, but this is apparently FoC Voyager Grimlock packaged with the FoC Combaticons with more metallic paint apps. Sounds kind of neat, and I don't have Grimlock yet, and if Bruticus looks good enough, I'd be fine with handing my retail version off to my son. However, it's pretty crazy that there's yet another Combaticon redeco set. Maybe Hasbro saw how many people missed out on the SDCC version. I'd really love to see the pics so I can know if I need to pass on retail Grimlock or not.

-Generations: Masterpiece: Yep, more money-draining releases. No pics yet, though.

  - Acid Storm: Apparently a repaint of the remolded MP Seeker, like Thundercracker was last year. Not sure if it's a more cartoon/Bot Shots-like deco or more like the camo of the Universe deluxe. I'm interested, but I don't know that I need to spend ~$75 on Acid Storm. Sunstorm would have been a no-brainer, but I guess Hasbro was trying to avoid copying Takara. We'll see.

  - Soundwave: Comes with all 5 tapes in package! I'm assuming "all 5 tapes" means Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Rumble, Frenzy, and Ravage. The Japanese version just got released and looks fantastic, so I'm very happy this is being released here. Hopefully the price is reasonable. Some people are worried about the deco in reference to the Takara version, but I'm not. 

Ok, what about Kre-O?

-Microchangers: Oh man, they have went into over drive with these guys. Both waves 2 and 3 were shown. Here's the list:

  1. Arcee: Nice! A good G1 version, but still a nice Airrachnid counterpoint
  2. Acid Wing (Acid Storm): Looks good. Same as Sunstorm.
  3. Blot (Blight?): To go with Abominus (below)
  4. Bombshell (Hardshell?): A G1 version - very creepy!
  5. Bulkhead: The Animated version. I'm digging it.
  6. Groove: First Kreon motorcycle! Not a bad attempt, either.
  7. Hoist: Serviceable, but not too exciting.
  8. Scourge: G1 version; good alt mode, but bot mode suffers for lack of wings.
  9. Vehicon: A lot more blue than the multi-pack ones. Looks better, though.
  10. Lugnut: Seriously? This is awesome.
  11. Perceptor: Good bot mode, fun microscope mode that is close to the G1 toy's.
  12. Powerglide: Not bad. Plane mode is similar to Lugnut's.
  13. Beachcomber: Pretty good, but again, not too exciting.
  14. Cheetor: Fun; we need even more BW Kreons, though!
  15. Guzzle: very LSotW, looks great.
  16. Huffer: Don't care for the character, but pretty spot-on.
  17. Kickback: Neat, though not as spot-on as Bombshell.
  18. Long Haul: All right! The Constructicons are completely rounded out.
  19. Nemesis Prime: Decent truck mode, but overall more a Black Convoy.
  20. Nosecone: Looks really goo; evidence of Technobots down the road?
  21. Ramjet: Yes, please! Same as Dirge.
  22. Seawing: To complete the Seacons! Not bad.
  23. Sharkticon: Really fun. I like it; the mace is ace.
  24. Thrust: Again, same as Dirge, but now all the normal Seekers are complete.
-Microchangers Combiners:

  - Abominus

  - Piranacon

  - Defensor

-Random stuff:

  - Autobot Base

  - Special Edition Kreons
  1. Starscream
  2. Optimus Prime
  3. Ironhide
  4. Soundwave
  5. Megatron
  6. Bumblebee     

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Toyfair


Yes, it's that time again - every year close to Valentine's day, New York City hosts its annual Toy Fair, wherein Hasbro shows off its latest wares.


While their presentation isn't until later today (I think), pictures have emerged of a Hasbro-published Beast Hunters "guidebook" of sorts. And it's pretty awesome - a combination of pack-in catalog and faux-intercepted lab journal by TFP Shockwave, all about each of the Predacons and how he made them.

What grabbed me firstly about this was that it gives us our first look at the TFP Voyager Shockwave toy! You know me, I love my Shockwaves. I was happy to see that, like Beast Hunters Smokescreen, Shockwave's actual design is unaltered from his appearances in TFP Season 2, but he includes some removable (orange) armor pieces to get him ready to take on Predacons in both robot and tank mode. Yes, that's right, he appears to turn into a tank once again (it is cybertronian, as per usual). The cannon mounted on the left arm (not sure if it is removable, a la DotM and Animated Shockwaves) is the same main cannon for the tank mode, and also houses the main gimmick - the barrel splits open to reveal a missile launcher, and something in this assembly spins. It's kind of like a smaller version of Cybertron Defense Red Alert's missile, I guess. I also like how the shoulder armor attaches to the tank to look like claws; that's fun.








Anyhow, the fictional contents of the guidebook are great too. It's pretty humorous, with Shockwave honestly noting his mistakes (after making Hun-Grrr, he notes: "Nor more 2-headed dragons") and we get an idea of the individual Predacons' personalities, which is good when Hasbro decides to make an ENTIRE FACTION all have the same alt mode. And while all the Predacons are dragons, I've been impressed with how Hasbro has been able to stretch that idea and make most of them pretty unique. In fact, the only evidence we have so far even of repainting/remolding is that we know, at least in the Rage of the Dinobots comic, Ser-Ket has the same body type as Ripclaw, and the Scourge revealed in the guidebook is a retool of Lazerback with a new dragon head (not sure about the bot mode head). Anyway, here's the list of Predacons in the guidebook:


  1. Predaking
  2. Lazerback
  3. Ripclaw
  4. Grimwing
  5. Skystalker
  6. Scourge
  7. Hun-Grrr
  8. Windrazor (Cutthroat)
  9. Rippersnapper
  10. Blight (Blot)
  11. Twinstrike (Sinnertwin)
  12. Abominus (combined mode of #s 7 - 11, of course)
So that's 12, right there. Of course, we know that the neo-Terrorcons that make Abominus are legion toys, and I'd bet that they won't get larger ones, but that still leaves six Predacons that will most likely get deluxe or larger toys. The only known ones are Predaking (Ultimate, Voyager, and CV Commander), Lazerback (deluxe), and Ripclaw (deluxe). Grimwing also is the build-kit partner for Kre-O Trailbreaker, but it doesn't have a bot mode or anything; Ripclaw gets her own "transforming" build kit and Kreon, but the colors (and maybe gender) are off.

Back to the "Terrorcons" for a moment - we've known about Twinstrike/Sinnertwin for a while (since NYCC), but we just found out this week that we're getting all five, and as a combiner, to boot. In G1, not all of them are dragons; only Hun-Grrr and Sinnertwin are distincly reptilian, and for whatever reason are both 2-headed dragons. Cutthroat was most probably a pterasaur, but Rippersnapper was a shark with legs and arms, and Blot was...well, something. No one really knows. Now, they're all dragons, in keeping with the theme. Rippersnapper has been pretty effectively translated into an aquatic dragon, and Windrazor/Cutthroat is more a wyvern that pterasaur now. Blot has become the more clearly reptilian Blight (same basic body design), and obviously the two double-headed guys haven't lost their draconian features. Abominus himself, while not seen in color yet, looks pretty good for a small combiner that lack real hands and feet. He does have his own head, concealed within Hun-Grr, but the more monstrous look of the lack of hands really works for the character.

Anyhow, I'm sure Toyfair will yield more Predacon/BH info later on, so I'll try to come back and chime in.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Decade


The one that started it all.


About this time in February 2003 I began collecting Transformers. 

Don't get me wrong - my childhood was inundated with the converting plastic robots, having been born just a year before the toyline appeared on American shelves. G1 was a big part of my early childhood, and G2 a great thing for a 10 year old to have around. My last Transformer I got, as a child, was Beast Wars Waspinator. After that, I moved away from toys in general and began to get more interested in video games and the outdoors, both of which are expensive interests. I still had a lingering interests in Transformers, and still played with my cousins' growing Beast Wars collection, but it wasn't something I was personally invested in. 

That changed in 2003. Having watched the 1986 Animated Movie in the summer of 2002 for the first time in, basically, forever, my fondness for the toys was rekindled. My dorm buddies and I watched the film again very early in 2003, leading me to look up, online, the current state of the Transformers franchise. I discovered that the toyline of the day was called Transformers: Armada, and it had a lot of familiar faces, some unfamiliar faces with familiar names, and some altogether unknown. One in particular caught my eye - Starscream.

I don't know when I my affinity for Stracream began, but those images of Armada Starscream somehow rekindled it. He was just so, I don't know, dynamic. It's a robot that turns into a fighter jet. How can you not like that? At any rate, a few weeks pass, and, suddenly, I get the desire to initiate my first Hunt. My good buddy Doug (you can read more about him in my very first post here) humored and joined me. My college town, at that time, had 2 Walmarts, 1 Target, 1 Toys R Us, and 2 Kmarts as the major Transformer retailers. Not bad, but as Starscream was a wave 1 Armada Maxcon (good lord, I miss those size class names), and it was now two months into 2003, he had started to get scarce. I remember us, mid-Hunt, walking into one of the Kmarts, which was in the midst of closing - it was awful, with stuff strewn everywhere. It was no luck, just like all the other stores. It was only the last place on our route, the 2nd Walmart (the one farthest from the dorm) that finally yielded an Armada Starscream to my open wallet. 

Being an Armada toy, Starscream not only included a fun mini-con (Swindle, the red F-1 racer, who makes a good arm-mounted blade), but also electronics at the $20 price point! He also  came with a mini-comic/catalog (that actually featured him & Swindle) and, yes, somewhat limited articulation. But he was great. 

Of course, in short order my collection grew. I believe Blurr (with Incinerator) was next; I think I got him at Target. Jetfire and Commettor, my largest to date (an Ultracon!), was third, bought on a date night in with a tolerating and patient girlfriend. He particularly was cool, though even then I was beginning to get dissatisfied with the limited articulation. That was partially allayed with my fourth purchase, Supercon Optimus Prime (with Over-Run), which I bought at Toys R Us on my way out of town for vacation. It was the 2nd variant, I think, as I gave it one of Reissue Tracks' extra Autobot symbols later that year. 

Basically, it was all downhill from there. I bought a large number of Armada toys, though I was still pretty selective and anti-repaint at that point, so I passed on a lot of things like Sideways (still need to get him!), the original versions of Cyclonus and Demolishor, Thundercracker (got him off ebay in 2009) and others. Unicron was a big deal, though. And once Energon hit shelves near the end of the year, I was all in. I bought all of wave 1 - save Optimus and Treadbolt - in one fell swoop once they hit the local Walmart (not the same one I got Starscream at, if you care). That was a fun night, as was that Christmas, when I got Alternators Smokescreen, Energon Scorponok, and ordered MP-01 Optimus Prime (well, Convoy) for myself shortly thereafter. I had also, earlier in the year, begun to catch up on Robots in Disguise releases, which didn't take too long. 

So, since then, I've been an avid Transformer collector. Energon gave way to the still-incredible Cybertron, while Universe and Alternators (not to mention the TRU G1 reissues) filled in gaps on the side. Classics (and, to an extent, the Titanium Series) was a great thing to shoehorn in between Cybertron and the 2007 Movie line. Animated was also fantastic, if more limited in scope than Cybertron, and had the sequel to Classics, Universe (2.0) to increase the G1ness of my collection. Revenge of the Fallen gave us a bunch of stuff we never thought we'd see, and was follwed up by the great Hunt for the Decepticons/Reveal the Shield and Generations lines, the latter of which introduced War for Cybertron video game toys to us. Dark of the Moon was, in some ways, an inferior toyline to RotF, but it had some great individual items. Alongside it, the Kre-O line was unveiled, which has been fantastic. Transformers: Prime finally got off the ground in late 2011 with First Edition toys, which infamously not completely released in the US. I'm thankful that I didn't fully buy into the "FE rush," as most got released later in 2012. TFPrime came into its own early in 2012, which has been pretty good and looks to get only more interesting with the transition into Beast Hunters. Oh, and the video game world of Fall of Cybertron has been given full rein of the second iteration of the Generations toyline, producing a few great gems. 

While I've been meaning to cut back on collecting for a while now, and have done so in some minor ways, it's hard not to get excited about the new Transformers as we learn about them, either officially through Hasbro or through online leaks. I can say this - I'm stoked for Toyfair this weekend. Expect my response to be posted here.