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


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!