Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Almost there

So, the New York Toyfair is coming soon (two weeks or something) with the London Toyfair come and gone, so info regarding Hasbro's new releases is starting to leak!

So far, of note:

- Amazon (maybe other retailers?) is releasing a $60 First Edition Leader class Optimus from Age of Extinction, the fourth movie. This is notable because hasbro already revealed an AoE leader Optimus toy back in October at the NYCC that is going to be released in the Generations line (apparently Generations this year will include both Classics/Thrilling 30-type stuff AND the movie toys; we've seen no indication yet that there will be an independent movie toyline). So, the two leader toys are definitely different, but both kind of suck in that they are super-shellformers and do a terrible job of translating Optimus's new AoE robot design into toy form. Also curious is the pricing - while this FE Leader certainly has the type of packaging we've now become used to from the Generations Platinums Edition toys, the toy itself doesn't seem to have any features that make it look really different from the Generations Leader - both handle kibble similarly, have similar weapons, and both have chromed parts. Whatever. I do really hope that we see a better large-scale Optimus with this design before long, though.

- BBTS confirmed that we will be getting Generations deluxe toys of Arcee and Chromia! FINALLY. They are supposedly in the wave after Tankor, Rattrap, and Crosscut. I know we now have a precedent of sometimes getting two versions of the same mold in the same wave (FoC Soundwave and Soundblaster), but I really hope these two are different molds. Arcee in particular I'd like to be the WfC design that IDW has been using since RiD started. Really hoping these get shown at toyfair!

- Rescue Bots are getting a prehistoric makeover....most, if not all of the robot cast is getting redesigned with not only new vehicle modes, but also other (presumably larger) toys with dinosaur alt modes! So far, only one actual toy image has been revealed, that of Optimus Primal (yes, that's the toy's name!). Amusingly, he transforms quite a bit like BW Megatron's first toy, with the right arm being the T-Rex (yep, that's his alt mode) head and the left being the tail (complete with drill bit tip)! His new, smaller toy (normal RB size) is a monster truck, with Heatwave now being a firefighting speedboat and Bumblebee being a motorcycle. It seems that Blades might become a jet, and Heatwave's dino mode appears to be a sauropod, with Boulder being a triceratops. The others are sort of unclear so far. Still, I wish Hasbro was willing to make these kind of alt mode changes in a mainline, such as the movies or TF: Prime. Ah, well.

Ok, that's kind of it for now. I will add that I've done a couple of mini-reviews (haven't done any in a while!) - Generations deluxe Waspinator and Predacons Rising Sky Lynx, on the G1 and Prime pages, respectively. Both are great deluxes.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Transformers of the Year, 2013! (Late edition)

Ok, this is just C & P'ed from my Allspark post:

Ok, I figure that it's time for this thread. It's the brand's 29th anniversary, though Hasbro started celebrating early! Broken down by line, then size class:

TF Prime: Beast Hunters (technically, some of these were available this time last year, but I figure it's close enough that I could include anything from the line):

-Cyberverse Legion: Soundwave. Looks great in both modes and was sorely missed as a non-BH character that should have had a toy earlier. I admit I gave him Flamewar's gun to replace his chainsaw gun, but otherwise he's basically perfect. Runners-up: All the predacons/Abominus (not sure if he shouldn't have his own category, but whatever) for being a great successor to RotF Legends Devastator, and Airachnid for being better than her deluxe mold.

- Cyberverse Commander: Three-way tie between Optimus, Beast Blade Optimus, and Optimus/Thunderclash from Target. This is a truly fun mold that, while deviating from the design of the show and larger toys, looks great and has an interesting transformation. The original gets points for evoking the aborted "Monster Convoy" Armada design. Beast Blade has the awesome shield/wings and the swirled plastic "camo" otherwise reserved for Deluxe Beast Hunters, and Thunderclash cleverly became available around the time of his fun MTMTE appearance, in addition to inverting the MW repaint order. Runners-up: Hardshell for being another great mold with fun transformation, and Trailcutter for being a great remold.

- Deluxe: Ripclaw. She's the most solid non-cyberverse Predacon toy. Her dragon mode is great; she has a traditional-ish but fun tranformation with a few fourishes, and has a great weapon while being an atypical female. It's a shame she wasn't in the show. Runners-up: Starscream, for being a much for fun/toyish version of the character (though I still love FE Starscream) and Dreadwing for being bananas but still a fun mold.

- Voyager: Sharkticon Megatron. C'mon. Runners-up: Optimus for being one of the most fun Voyager Optimuses in a long time and Magnus for being a great remold of PRiD Optimus and still better than PRiD Magnus.

- Ultimate: Optimus, if only for its over-the-top nature. I'll admit that I didn't buy either of these molds, so not much to say.

Generations: Man, lots of good stuff here.

-Legends 2-packs: Unfortunately, I only have the data disks and none of the more cyberverse-style 2packs. Of the disks, I'd say my favorite individual one is Ratbat. Looks great and works well. Runners-up would be Sundor, which has the best colors for that great mold, and Ramhorn, the only quadruped that really works (and does so well). I do plan on getting the Optimus, Starscream and Megatron sets, of which the Starscream/Waspinator duo seems best.

-Deluxe: Ruination/Xaaron. Yeah, it's a bit cheaty to do a 5-way tie, but this was just a great way to remold Bruticus, It allowed us to finally get an Impactor toy, put some kind of Whirl on shelves while he's a big thing in MTMTE, and allowed the Swindle mold to be used on a character it makes more sense for. The new weapons add a lot of value too. Runners-up: Thundercracker and Orion Pax.

- Voyager: Tie between Springer and Sandstorm. The latter may be a bit more fun in my book, but it's great to see this kind of engineering crossed with such extensive remolding. Runners-up: Even though I don't have him yet, I know Rhinox looks to be pretty great, and I thought Blaster was another fantastic remold that worked well (his only shortcoming was Steeljaw).

- Titan: duh. See below.

- Platinum releases: I'd love to have Platinum Predaking. Magnus was a valiant attempt, but overpriced and not better than the voyager BH Magnus.

Masterpiece: Soundwave. I bought one and then returned it for money reasons, but it seemed great for a much better price than from Japan. However, Acid Storm was very tempting as well.

Construct bots:
- Scout - Ironhide is probably the best all around scout bot. I like the Seekers a lot too, and I don't have anything from wave 3, but Ironhide is very satisfying.

- Elite: Optimus is probably my favorite. I like the clear plastic and the new parts used to differentiate him from the 2-pack version; about the only thing he lacks compared to the 2-pack version is the missile-lanching "ion" cannon. I remedied this by giving him Blitzwing's version of the gun. Runner-up: I don't have him yet, but Shockwave looks great.

- Triple-changer/2-pack: Bltizwing is the only one of these 4 I own, but I like that he manages to feel pretty much like his own bot without having many unique parts; even his head is a remold of Ironhide's. Runners-up: If I had to pick, I'd say BB because of his cool jet mode and Predaking, whose dragon mode is fantastic.


- Boxed sets: I only got Trailbreaker and Windcharger, and of the two I think I'll ultimately side with WIndcharger, because Cohrada is so awesome in its simplicity. My son did just get Ripclaw for Christmas, and it's ok.

- Microchanger wave1: Probably Airachnidis best, with Springer and Blast-Off not far behind.

- Microchanger wave 2: Lugnut is pretty darned awesome, but so are Arcee and Bulkhead. Lots of other great ones in this wave if I'm honest, though.

- Microchanger wave 3: Sharkticon is my favorite, followed by Long Haul and Thrust.

- Microchanger Combiners: I have only bought Devastator for myself, and I honestly was less than impressed with the QC (mostly joint or connector strength), something of a first for Kre-O for me. I've gotten Superion and Pirhanacon for my son. I'd probably get Bruticus, Predaking and Abominus for myself if I were more confident in them.

- Custom Kre-Os: Starscream looks the best, thought Megatron and Optimus are cool too.

TF of the Year: Titan class Metroplex. C'mon - the fact that this thing exists is something of a miracle. I don't have it yet, but there's no way I'm going to miss out on having the biggest TF ever, even if I buy him at full price. His only downside is that Hasbro didn't create a larger range of new G1 Cyberverse/legends to go with him. Well, and the fact that he's functionally an online exclusive (I still have never seen one at retail).

Post-holiday goings-on

Ok, it's 2014! Holy crap. I don't think I could have imagined how the year 2014 would have been when I was a kid, but I have to admit it's somewhat underwhelming, what with the lack of hoverboards and flying cars. Oh well. Maybe 2017? We'll see.

The good news is that it's now actually the Transformers' 30th Anniversary year, even though Hasbro really started celebrating late last summer with the Thrilling 30 Generations releases. I've been able to start off this 30th Anniversary pretty well in terms of TFs, too!

Firstly, the DotM Jetwing Optimus I was able to get myself for Christmas is pretty awesome. His only real faults: one of his four wings is a bit loose at its root (though only in a certain direction), the feet stabilizers do not attach very securely to the jet pack for truck mode (necessitating careful handling), and his kneepads get knocked out of place a bit more easily than those on my copy of RotF Leader Optimus. Overall, though, he's functionally fine and really, really looks great. I have no idea why Hasbro passed this remold over during the initial DotM run in favor of Ultimate Optimus Prime, but I'm glad to finally have it (and for a fair price, too). Now I just have to round up DotM Wheeljack, and the deluxe and HA molds for Soundwave....yay.

Secondly, I was able to acquire both Legends Starscream/Waspinator and deluxe Dreadwing on New Year's Eve, making them my last purchases of 2013. The only reason I got them was because I was out of town; the local Walmart still currently has NO Generations deluxes, and has NEVER carried the legends class (not even the data discs). Fuckers. I still need to get Waspinator (the deluxe) and at least Megatron/Chop Shop and Optimus/Roller, and possibly Bumblebee/Blazemaster. By the way, is Target the only brick and mortar store to carry these things? Even TRU can't seem to get them in, still hanging on to wave 1 data discs. Before I move on, let me fawn over Dreadwing. I was only somewhat interested in him initially, but he really turned out great. His colors are fantastic, as is the new head (awesome light piping!) and he's even sporting the G2 'Con logo. Awesome.

Now, perhaps you're wondering why I'm on something of a tear to get the other Generations legends 2-packs. Well, that's because....I have initiated Operation: Get Metroplex! Yep, I can hardly believe it's already been almost a year since he was revealed at Toyfair....and I still don't have one. In fact, I've never seen one. Seriously, distribution has been almost total shit this year, especially in my neck of the woods. Anyway, I've finally gotten around to putting my "extra" TFSS toys on ebay - Circuit, Jackpot, and G1 Breakdown (yep, I decided to let him go). Jackpot sold on day one, fortunately. All three are BINs, and if all three actually sell for the prices I've got up (as Jackpot did), then I'll have pretty much the money I need to get a Metroplex from HTS (which fortunately has free shipping). I may go ahead and order the remaining legends toys (and maybe Construct-bots Shockwave) at the same time to take advantage of the free shipping. I'm also looking forward to deluxe Armada Starscream, Centuritron (the mini-con combiner) and FoC Skywarp, so maybe they'll be on HTS by the time I'm ready to order as well. Anyway, wish me luck. If you're interested in buying TFSS Breakdown or Circuit from me, just look here for Breakdown or here for Circuit.

Lastly, I finally ordered and received volume 5 of both Robots in Disguise and More Than Meets They Eye! Man, I know I haven't really talked much about the comics on this blog, but damn if I don't love these two series. I mean, yeah, MTMTE is better than RiD, but I like RiD a lot too. And honestly, for all the complaining about how the issues in volume 5 didn't advance the plot and were just padding to allow MTMTE to catch up for the beginning of Dark Cybertron, it's fantastic filler. Lots of backstory for Shockwave and Soundwave, a reason to be interested in Dreadwing, tying Waspinator into G1 in a purposeful way (he doesn't really do much in Spotlight: Thundercracker). The only issue I didn't care much for was the one with the Autobots being cast out into the wildnerness. Arcee had some good stuff going on, but the art was not great and compared to the other issues in the volume it just didn't feel as important, plot-wise. As for MTMTE, I had read spoilers for the Remain in Light arc as it came out, but finally getting to read it for myself was great. After lots of substitute art in the last two volumes, it was great to see a solid, 5-part arc with nothing but Milne. Having Raiz for the last issues wasn't bad, either, though it wouldn't have been my first choice. I do wish the scene with the Autbots pulling up Starscream in the Communications room would have been shown in the comic, thought. That's a perfect last-page, cliffhanger image for a comic, but oh well.

Anyway, I'll keep "you" posted on Operation: Get Metroplex. Have a happy new year!

(Now to belatedly post my Best of 2013 list)