Saturday, September 16, 2017


Nitro, from The Last Knight toyline, is a real surprise. He feels like a toy from the 2007 or ROTF movie lines, and in a good way. Great robot mode, interesting and involved transformation, pretty good alt mode. The Titanmaster interactivity is just a cherry on top. While my TLK collection is pretty small (voyager Optimus, Leader Megatron), I can easily say that Nitro is my favorite.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Turn It Up to Eleven

Ok! Here is my overdue post on Prime Wars Part 3: Power of the Primes! Hasbro did their initial unveiling in July for SDCC, and then unfortunately a HUGE leak ocurred last month, spoiling many of the surprises for this weekend's new Hascon. As such, this post will have a mix of old and new info and I'll update it if any more news emerges from Hascon!

Here is the first shown Prime Master: Liege Maximo! Ok, as we can all tell, what we really have here is Skullgrin. According to Hasbro's copy, Prime Masters transform into spark chambers containing the spark of one of the Thirteen; Skullgrin happens to possess the spark of Liege Maximo. This is clearly the new counterpart to the Titan Master size class, with the Prime Masters being indentical to Titan Masters from an engineering standpoint, but ditching the transforming vehicles/weapons fo new Pretender shells that turn into weapons. This is a fairly neat, if simplistic, way to work Pretenders back into a modern TF mainline while preserving their gimmick. Skullgrin's shell looks pretty good, even if the claw mode looks a little rough. The Prime Master itself is servicable and the spark chamber mode is interesting, especially since it can still function as a head if one so desires. Luckily, new toys in the larger size classes have methods of utilizing the spark cores in ways that (more or less) make sense!
Here us another Prime Master, this time from Hascon: Micronus! Carrying Micronus's spark is Autobot Pretender Cloudburst. There are two main things I really like about this one: first, the weapon mode is a lot better than Skullgrin's. Second, I LOVE that Hasbro took a cue from IDW and ditched the shell's human face. In fact, there is even a space in the shell's helmet through which the inner robot can peer through! It's great, and it really helps to lower the goof level of the Pretender concept. I also think human faces would have looked particularly bad on these more diminutive shells, so good move overall, hasbro!

And now we arrive at the Legends class! While overpriced, I've really loved this size class ever since it evolved out of the Cyberverse Commander class some years ago. Thrilling 30, Combiner Wars and Titans Return have done a great job reviving the G1 Minibots, and it seems that Power of the Primes will continue that by giving us Beachcomber! I've had a soft spot for the guy since getting his metallic green G2 repaint as a kid, so it's nice to see him updated. Like the TR legends, Beachcomber can seat a Prime Master/Titan Master in car mode, so if Liege Maximo/Skullgrin wants to hit the dunes then he's good to go!
New territory! Slash enters the world of G1 via the movie continuity, but this version also serves as the franchise's first female dinobot! Pretty neat. While she can also seat Prime Masters in beast mode, it's not yet clear if she can assist the larger dinobots in some other way. Overall she looks terrific and I look forward to when she hits shelves!
Jazz! I have yo admit that when he was revealed at SDCC I was a bit perplexed; we got a pretty good neo-G1 Jazz back in the Reveal the Shield line and this one looked nust a bit more simplistic. That was before I knew PotP Jazz was also a combiner limb! A CW Jazz was, I thought, one of the CW line's biggest missed opportunities, but at that time I at most expected a Dead End remold. Instead Jazz gets his own brand new mold! We haven't seen the design for his combiner hand/armor yet, but I'm sure it will look great on him. My only reservation is that he has no obvious team/limb-mates (yet).
Dreadwind! I've always thought he and Darkwing were pretty cool, and to get them both in a form that lets them serve as combiner limbs and preserve their combined jet mode is quite impressive! Again, like with Jazz, we haven't seen their combiner accessories yet but I look forward to it. I will refrain from posting a pic of Darkwing (now officially titled Blackwing) until Hasbro releases an official render as with these other images. Still, he looks vreat and is an imressive remold of CW Air Raid.
...and here are the dinobots! I'll start with my least favorite, Snarl. He looks good enough, and the image here again leaves some things out: his hand/armor and a double-barrelled gun that can mount above the beast mode head. On his own, I'm not overly thrilled by Snarl but as part of the group he'll do nicely!
And here we have Slag! I hate that Hasbro has given up on his original name, but whatever. It will be great to finally own a G1 version of this guy; I've always enjoyed his head transformation...maybe we can get a Rhinox out of him one day?
Swoop is probably my favorite of these five from a toy perspective. I like how relatively compact his body is (compared to, say, Energon Swoop) in beast mode and his bot mode is very dynamic looking. Really looking forward to this guy.
I saved the best for last (of the deluxes): Sludge! A few remarks. First, I will admit that his robot shoulders make him look a bit weak being so low. Second, I think it's funny that Sludge didn't have to stick with his AoE replacement name of Slog, mainly because now Sludge has to be on the same team as "Slug." Lastly, one of the best things about these new Dinobots is highly featured on Sludge: the clear plastic over gold paint. It was one of the coolest things, visually, about the original toys. I was excited to get my son AoE Slog a few years ago (he was the best of the AoE dinobot toys in my estimation), so it will be great to replace my banged-up G1 copy.
Starscream was shown at SDCC before Hasbro revealed he had combiner compatibility, but it didn't take people long to figure it out. I had a similar reaction to Starscream as I did to when CW Optimus was unveiled; that is, not positive. The bulky design is growing on me, and the fact thay he forms a combiner core with his crown as part of the head is a bit of a dream come true. I do hope that he gets two more decepticon jets to combine with, but his box art shows him using what is presumably Sinnertwin as a leg, so we'll see. It's also nice to finally get a voyager class G1 Starscream!
Here is the big hombre, Grimlock! It's pretty incredible how this toy manages to make both Classics and Fall of Cybertron Grimlocks obsolete and at the same time include the combining feature. My only hesistation so far is that I have yet to see a sword for Grimlock, but I'm not too worried about it. I also like that his included combiner feet can be mounted as gauntlet claws and can store a Prime Master. Pretty awesome!
Rodimus Prime! The Leader class Evolution toys have a pretty awesome gimmick in that they all involve upgrade-style supermodes courtesy of the Matrix of Leadership that each comes with. The Matrix itself is a two part item: the inner crystal/casing can be removed from the handles and is compatible with Prime Master/Titan Master ports, though it does not turn into a smaller robot itself. Of course, the matrix can be stored in Rodimus's chest. I presume that it is too big to fit inside the smaller base Hot Rod toy, but that makes sense. I should note that I don't think I've seen any images of what Hot Rod looks like in his smaller robot mode, so I can't say how it compares to the recent TR deluxe Hot Rod. It is interesting that Hot Rod/imus has been featued in each segment of the Prime Wars trilogy. I am pretty sure that Optimus is the only other character that can claim that, which leads us to...
I am pretty excited about this one! While I ended up really liking CW Optimus, I did not end up getting either of his TR toys despite being initially excited for them. He also got a TR Orion Pax toy I am interested in, but I don't think it has been released yet and/or will be hard to get. This toy does something cool: it allows Orion Pax to actually be upgraded into Optimus via the Matrix! Amusingly, the base Optimus design here serves as the supermode, and fans of the original show are excited that Orion finally gets a toy of his original model. I'll point out that this marks the third retail release of an Orion Pax toy, all of which have been released within four years. Pretty impressive! I really hope we can get a decent Ultra Magnus out of this mold as I was never sold on CW Magnus.
Our official G1 Dinobot combiner is here: Volcanicus! This is his official artwork, which looks pretty good, though the actual toy will have all-black hands and feet; no gold paint.
Prototype image! Unfortunately, there is no evidence yet that Slash can be incorporated. Also, I anticipate Volcanicus having a big sword to wield. One interesting note: in PotP, deluxes include armor that can change into a combiner hand, but not into a foot. The voyager toys come with both combiner feet. As you can reckon, this means that when a complete combiner is assembled, there will be two extra hand pieces. At least with Volcanicus, we can see tbat Hasbro was kind enough to engineer the combined form to include these extra hands as armor to flesh out the torso of the combined form. This is great attention to detail and I hope it is standard practice for these new combiners.

Monday, February 20, 2017

This is a lot...!

Toyfair 2017! Man oh man did Hasbro show off a ton of TF product. Firstly, RiD Combiner Force gets some real combiners:

This here is Ultrabee, who interestingly gets away with only four components by using the appropriately larger Grimlock as a pair of pants, almost Energon-style. It's pretty neat!
Motormaster! I like his look.
Menasor is interesting - not as good as I'd like but it's nice to see this combiner that hasn't seen much action outside of G1 get a new look.
Cyclonus! I'll get the legion toy and hope for a Voyager, but this is pretty neat...he forms the torso of:
Galvatronus! Holy crap, I can't believe this guy made the multiversal jump so quickly, and with new-character limbs to boot! The head favors Cyclonus over Galvatron more than I'd like, but otherwise this is really cool.
Bee looks GREAT. So much better than either AoE mold, I may actually buy this despite having too many BBs already.
Sqweeks! I think that's how you spell it. This is a pretty awesome toy; it's much more fun looking than ROTF Wheelie was and has more going on than Legion Fixit.