Mini-reviews: G1/G2/Alternators/Classics/Universe 2.0/Generations


This page reviews toys that were released as part of the Transformers ("G1," 1984 - 1991), Transformers: Generation 2 (1993 - 1995),  Transformers: Alternators (2003 - 2007), Transformers ("Classics," 2006-2007), Universe (2008-2009), Generations (2010 - 2012, then 2012 - ) and most of the Reveal the Shield (2010 - 2011) toylines.

-Ramjet
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Classics
Class: Deluxe
Release: Early spring 2007
Acquired: Target
Accessories: 2 missile launchers, 2 missiles.
Strongest mode: Robot.
- Ramjet is a remold of Classics Starscream. His new parts include the head, wing roots, tail fins, and missiles. His jet mode looks great - it's like an interceptor version of the F-15, almost like it jumped off of some military concept art from the 70s. It looks fast. The bot mode minimizes the amount of red visible; being mostly white and dark grey with gold highlights. I think this is for the better; it looks nicer than the redder, more cartoon-accurate Henkei verison. This remold is also more playable than the original version, since there are no large wings to block arm movement. Probably the best version of this mold that's been released at US retail.

-Astrotrain
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Classics
Class: Deluxe
Release: Early Fall 2006
Acquired: Walmart
Accessories: Rifle.
Strongest mode: Robot (although I like the train more than most people.
- Astrotrain was one of the original Decepticon Triple-Changers in the G1 toyline, and is so again in his Classics incarnation. He transforms into both a space shuttle and a bullet train, and manages to do so pretty well. He's much better than most of the "triple changers" in the UT toylines (think of Energon Scorponok or Cybertron Megatron), a point made even more clearly by the fact that he's only a deluxe class toy. In addition to "bringing back" classic-style triple-changing, Astrotrain is also armed with a simple, one-piece laser rifle. It looks awesome; it's got two barrels and a scope, and can be mounted in each of his three modes. You can use the horizontal peg to connect mini-cons, as well. Some people may not like the white-dominant color scheme, but it really sells the shuttle mode and matches the altered colors on Hasbro's reissue of the original toy. A real stand-out Decepticon in a short toyline dominated by Seekers.

-Onslaught
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Universe
Class: Ultra
Release: Early Fall 2008
Acquired: Birthday 2008
Accessories: Riot shield
Strongest mode: Robot.
- Onslaught was part of the first wave of Universe 2.0 Ultra toys, making him the first truly big Classics-style Decepticon toy. While the original G1 toy could form the torso for the Combaticon combiner Bruticus, this mold is a stand-alone toy. Also changed is the alt mode - the original was a flatbed military truck with twin anti-aircraft cannons; this one is a compact SWAT APC that keeps the cannons and adds elevating minsweepers at the front. And while the vehicle mode looks military enough, the SWAT theme is reinforced in bot mode with the inclusion of Onslaught's riot shield. The shield, unfortunately, doesn't connect too solidly in either mode, and his arm cannon's spring isn't strong enough to hold the cannon straight out. Moreover, the backpack twin cannons are easily pulled out and hard to keep properly aligned, too. But, despite these problems, overall it's a great mold and a fitting update for Onslaught. At least, it looks a lot more like him than the ROTF repaint of Energon Barricade!

-Acid Storm
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Universe
Class: Deluxe
Release: Early Fall 2008
Acquired: Walmart
Accessories: 2 missile launchers, 2 missiles.
Strongest mode: Jet. 
- Acid Storm is a little different. A(nother) repaint of Starscream, he's not one of the more established Seekers. Instead, he's based off of one of the background Seekers called the "Rainmakers" from the old G1 episode "Divide and Conquer." While he's a bit of a sore point for some (since he was released at retail, while other, better known Seekers, like Thundercracker, were relegated to be Botcon or henkei exclusives), he's an excellent repaint. He's the only one of the Classics/Universe 2.0 Seekers to have a halfway realistic color scheme (much more toned down than his cartoon appearance), and unlike my copy of Starscream, his arm cannons don't fall out of his arms at the slightest breeze. He's a great addition to the Classics Seekers.

-Scavenger ("UT Wolfang")
Faction: Decepticon ("Autobot")
Toyline: Universe
Class: Mini-Con 10 Pack
Release: Fall 2009
Acquired: Kmart
Accessories: 9 other Mini-Cons...
Strongest mode: Wolf.
- Scavenger is a repaint of the Classics Mini-Con Snarl (the black wolf; his incorrect packaging name is Overbite) in gray & white with some tealish-blue robot parts. This makes him somewhat resemble Beast Wars Wolfang, and as such that's what I'm calling him (also making him Autobot-aligned instead of Decepticon). I actually like this version of the mold better, since the medium grey makes the molded details a lot easier to see than with Snarl's black plastic. The robot mode colors look nicer, too. Unlike Snarl, who was straight-up marked with a Decepticon sigil, Wolfang and the rest of the 10 pack toys have the Mini-Con sigil first seen in Armada. Wolfang's is white, and ends up on the right side of his torso in bot mode. Anyhow, I didn't go into this set for Wolfang, but realizing the connection to a BW character I don't have and him looking better than the original deco makes me glad I got him.

-Longview
Faction: Decepticon ("Autobot")
Toyline: Universe
Class: Mini-Con 10 Pack
Release: Fall 2009
Acquired: Kmart
Accessories: 9 other Mini-Cons...
Strongest mode: Eagle.
- Longivew, like Scavenger/Wolfang, is another Classics Mini-Con repaint, this time of Dreadwing, who was painted to look like a generic hawk. Longivew is a bit more interesting as his deco is intended to make him look like a bald eagle, making him only the second transformer to do so (after BW Silverbolt). The head is predictably and completely white, and the rest of the deco looks really nice, especially the feather-by-feather gradation from dark brown to light tan on the outer most wingtips. Robot mode looks decent as well; some white shows up on his upper arms, and is is painted to look like a brown helmet with white eyes and faceplate. Overall, it's a great Mini-Con repaint (and one of the best of the beast mode Mini-Cons), and a good reason to pick up this 10-pack.

-Jetfire
Faction: Autobot
Toyline: Classics
Class: Voyager
Release: Late fall 2006
Acquired: TRU
Accessories: Helmet, 2 gun halves, 2 missile launchers, 2 missiles, jet/gun backpack
Strongest mode: Robot with all accessories attached.
- Jetfire holds the distinction of being the only non-Optimus/Megatron Voyager Classics mold. While many would argue that Grimlock should have gotten a voyager mold, Jetfire fits into the size class well. While the base toy would make a decent voyager transformer on its own, it's the accessories that really push this mold above and beyond most other toys in this class. TFs have by an large moved away including a lot of armor/weapon accessories (Recon Ironhide is the only other recent one I can think of), but Jetfire's extra parts allow him to A) homage the original G1 toy well, B) allow the toy to have both his masked and unmasked visages and C) allow the toy to have two very distinct looking bot modes. Without any of the extra stuff on and his wings down, Jetfire very much looks the part of the scientist, almost like he's wearing a white coat. But put on his helmet and weapons and flip his wings up, and you've got a one-man army, helpful for a scientist that explores unknown planets. A great toy, and one of the better updates (that manages not to stray too far from its roots) in the Classics line.

-Drift
Faction: Autobot
Toyline: Generations
Class: Deluxe
Release: Late Summer 2010
Acquired: Target
Accessories: 2 short swords, 1 long sword.
Strongest mode: Robot.
- Drift is easily one of the best deluxe Autobot cars to be produced in a long time. In fact, he's better than all of the Autobot cars that were released in the last G1-centric line, Universe 2.0. What makes him so great (other than his sword, bearing Japanese characters claiming "peerless under heaven?")? Well, his transformation isn't very fussy, plus it's fairly unique among car transformers. This also means his robot mode stands out pretty well, too - this isn't another hood-chester with door-wings. His swords additionally set him apart - not to mention that he has three of them, can wield them all very well, and the two short swords fold and stow very cleverly in his doors/scabbards. On top of all this, he's also the only IDW-created character to produced as a toy, joining the small ranks of toys made from characters found exclusively in the comics. This mold shouldn't be passed up, even if you only get the upcoming, heavily remolded (new head, spoiler, and weapons) Blurr release. You won't be sorry, even if you hate Drift-chan as a character.

-Thrust
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Generations
Class: Deluxe
Release: Late Summer 2010
Acquired: Target
Accessories: 2 missile launchers, 2 missiles, 2 VTOL fans.
Strongest mode: Robot.
- Like Ramjet, Thrust too is a remold of Classics Starscream; however, he's a remold I've waited to get for about four years now. When Hasbro released Classics Starscream in 2006, everyone wanted this "definitive" Seeker mold to be repainted/remolded into all the six main Seekers. However, the Classics line only gave us 2 other than Stascream - Skywarp (a Target exclusive) and Ramjet. The next year, three of the Botcon exclusives turned out to be the 3 remaining Seekers - Thundercracker, Thrust, and Dirge - igniting much fan rage. For a while, if you couldn't afford the Botcon versions, you could pay a little less for the Japanese releases (2 of which were also exclusives of some kind, and Thrust & Dirge got new, accurate, remolded wings). Finally, in 2010, Hasbro took the Japanese version of Thrust and put him out at normal retail prices. And what's funny is that he looks better than the other two, much more expensive versions, too. His maroon is metallic, and the wing deco is nice and subdued compared to, say, Classics Skywarp (or even the Japanese Thrust). Since he is based on the Japanese mold, and not the Botcon one, his wings aren't stumpy and have the removable lift fans. However, in order to keep the fans in the most aerodynamically sensible place under the wings) you have to store his missile launchers/null rays on top of his wings. That looks weird, even if there's no aerodynamic reason it shouldn't work. Thrust is also a bit unique in being one of the few recent American TFs with chrome applications - inside his cockpit. This is a nice, tasteful application of chrome, unlike a lot of its overuse in the Henkei line. Bottom line, if you're collecting Seekers or Classics-style toys, you need to pick Thrust up. Hopefully you didn't drop a ton of cash on one of the previous versions (Hasbro's also releasing their own Dirge, leaving only Thundercracker to remain!), but even if you did, Generations Thrust looks different enough from the other two to perhaps warrant inclusion in your collection.

-Skywarp
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Universe 
Class: Masterpiece
Release: Late fall 2009
Acquired: Walmart
Accessories: 2 missile racks, 2 null-ray blasters, 1 Megatron gun clip, 1 stand, 1 base, 1 not-Arkeville pilot figurine.
Strongest mode: F-15.
- Skywarp is one of the more recent in Hasbro's relatively short list of Masterpiece releases. Like Starscream before him, Skywarp's a Walmart exclusive, and although his packaging is the same basic "keystone" shape as Starscream's, it's done up to match the theme of the second Universe line where Starscream's had a Classics theme (Interesting that both of these toys saw release a good half-year after their matching toylines ended). The first "small" Masterpiece mold, Skywarp still looks good and manages to look big, especially mounted on his base (which you pretty much have to use; he's almost impossible to stand on his feet). The wings do a good job of taking up visual space, as does the hip kibble, which comes from the rear sides of the plane and carries the tailfins, making them look almost like secondary wings. As you expect from a Masterpiece mold, there's lots of details and gimmicks, including but not limited to a rotating face (to show 2 expressions), an opening cockpit, an opening nosecone (to reveal the plane's radar, a first in TFs), working landing gear, working flaps and airbrake (another first), thrust-vectoring exhaust nozzles (really a function of the bot mode's foot movement; real F-15s can't do this) and the ability to hold the Megatron from MP Optimus in hand or (with the aid of a removable clip, which stores under the base) in jet mode, as has been seen in the original cartoon. No electronics, which is sort of a disappointment; even a light-up feature of some kind would have been nice. Another disappointment is that, even though he feels much more playable than Starscream (don't ask me why), the bot mode for Skywarp doesn't quite feel solid, mostly in the torso area. Also, the leg articulation is hampered in the same way as Alternators Sideswipe - hip details prevent the thighs from rising all the way up, eliminating some dramatic poses. Arm articulation is great, though, and the head can look pretty much all the way up, so Skywarp can look like he's flying around Superman-style. Also nice is that the wings are posable; they don't just stick out to the side, like on most Seeker mold, but can angle upward a bit and fold all the way back. Overall, if you were going to get some version of this mold (there are 5 now, I'm pretty sure) this would be the most affordable one that also looks the best. Still, even though it's a Masterpiece toy, it's not without flaws. Many people will be satisfied with Classics Skywarp.

-Swerve
Faction: Autobot
Toyline: Universe
Class: Deluxe
Release: Sometime in 2008
Acquired: Botcon (TFCon booth)
Accessories: None.
Strongest mode: Robot.
- Swerve here is something of an anomaly. Probably the only example of Hasbro making a brand-new mold as an exclusive for another company, Swerve was made to function as a marketing/promotional tool for Chevy to help push its (then-new) Aveo cars. I won't get into the complicated mess of how you were supposed to get one, but eventually I was able to get one for what I considered a decent trade at Botcon. Beyond the complexities of his distribution, Swerve is confusing in and of himself. Labeled as a Universe 2.0 toy on his instructions, he doesn't quite resemble G1 Swerve the way one would expect a Universe toy would. However, his alt mode is even more "realistic" than the other cars in the line (like Sunstreaker, Prowl, Ironhide, etc) because he, like many of the Movie/ROTF deluxe cars, is a licensed toy accurate to the real Aveo, complete with Chevy symbols. His robot mode is vaguely movie-like, mostly thanks to a strong resemblance to 2007's Swindle toy. His head is clearly based on the Autobot symbol, or at least the top part is. His face, with visor and scuba-like breathing apparatus mouthpiece, makes the whole thing look a bit ore like the Transtech version of the Autobot logo. It also strengthens the movie look, even if the unbroken hood-chest doesn't. Also, interestingly, unlike a lot of hood-chesters, his front wheels store within the torso, not on the arms somewhere; I think the only other modern TF that does this is Animated Jazz, and he doesn't do it as well as Swerve. The leg transformation is truly unique, with the rear bumper moving to the inside of the leg. The ankle is made, on one side, the rear wheels and brake pad-looking details on the other. Overall, he's a good-looking transformer with just enough design ambiguity to allow you to place him kind of anyway among your collection (although I feel he works best as a movie design). If you can get your hands on him for a decent price (like, less than forty dollars or so), he's worth it, simply due to his uniqueness and relative rarity. After all, you couldn't get this guy anywhere at US retail. But more than that, and you're not quite getting what you're paying for.

-Grimlock
Faction: Autobot
Toyline: Generations
Class: Masterpiece
Release: Early Fall 2010
Acquired: Toys R Us (exclusive)
Accessories: 1 energo sword, 1 blaster, 1 Dinobot Crown of Leadership.
Strongest mode: Robot.
- Grimlock is the latest in the growing line of Masterpiece transformers that Hasbro has brought over from Japan. It usually takes them some time to do this; Grimlock was originally released in Japan sometime last year, even getting a more comics-accurate repaint out by the end of 2009. However, "better late than never" is an apt expression here. Grimlock costs much less than either of his Japanese releases, and includes the Crown of Leadership that was previously only available with the most expensive release, the comics-accurate edition. He may not come with some of the lamer accessories of the first version, like an apron and serving tray (I kid you not), but they're not missed when you realized that people payed almost double the price of the US version to get little stuff like that. As for Grimlock himself, he's definitely one of the stronger Masterpiece molds. Not nearly as finicky as most of them, his transformation is more fun and less overly complicated, even including a bit of automorph. He's also the MP toy that most closely resembles the original; there's not much conceptually different between the 1985 Grimlock toy and this one. There are some improvements - like the tail tip halves folding into the lower legs instead of simply hanging off the sides - but otherwise, the formula hasn't changed much, rather, it's just been perfected. The dinosaur mode, similarly, highly resembles the original, but the proportions are changed a bit to make him look a bit more like his cartoon appearance, rather than the toy's. There are many little neat gimmicks, including being able to change eye color from red to blue in both modes, a button to make the dino jaws snap shut, moving his tail to move his head side to side, and an LED in his right fist to allow either his sword or gun to glow with red light. Also, conveniently, the crown can still stay in place on the robot's head during transformation and while in altmode, so there's not real chance of losing it (unlike the weapons, which can't store on the dinosaur's body anywhere). In summation, Masterpiece Grimlock is a fun, reasonably priced collector's transformer that really encapsulates the character of Grimlock and the fun spirit of the original Dinobot toy. If you can afford him, pick him up. I feel sorry if you spent too much on the Japanese version(s).

-Darkmount ("Straxus")
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Generations
Class: Deluxe
Release: Fall 2010
Acquired: Walmart
Accessories: 1 cannon/pick axe, 1 missile pod, 1 anti-personnel gun, 1 triple-cannon thing.
Strongest mode: Robot.
- Full disclosure: I don't like Straxus. The character, I mean. First, he originated in the Marvel TF comics, which I really don't care for. More importantly, he's one of the more obscure transformers that the kids on the boards are crazy about, just because he's relatively obscure. I hate that kind of stuff - it's irritating. Luckily, it's not irritating enough to prevent me from owning "Darkmount," Straxus' first and only toy. Some clarifying comments - Darkmount is actually the name of Straxus' Cybertronian castle from the comics; his actual name wouldn't pass copyright requirements for some reason. Second, Straxus has never had an Earth alt mode in the comics, even his more recent IDW incarnation where he actually showed up on Earth (He turned into a Cybertron Sideways-esque cybertronian plane). His toy, however, has him as a large half-track mobile artillery tank thing (his Marvel cybertronian mode was a flying cannon, not unlike Galvatron). It's pretty awesome, made more so by the removable weapons accessories. These attach with the same 3mm clips that RotF Recon Ironhide's weapons have. A few other figures released this year have the same feature, but Straxus is the first G1-style toy to have them (Scout class Windcharger and Straxus remold Skullgrin will be next). His robot mode is where the toy really shines, though. Not only does it looks just like an Earth mode Straxus should, it also simply looks...well, great. His head design, always seen as unique among other TFs, translates well to the 3rd dimension, and his body proportions and colors work in concert to give one of the best looking tank deluxes in a long time. He's also a bit innovative, being the first tank TF to have the legs come from the two sides of the turret (the rear track section becomes the inevitable backpack). He also employs the same "wheels become ribs" trick that Animated Jazz and Universe Swerve use, increasing his uniqueness among tank-mode TFs. His main cannon detaches and converts into his signature pick-axe weapon, which looks great (even if it is held a bit loosely in his hand, which has finger articulation). His 3mm clip weapons look best hear atop his tracks backpack, although you'll have to creatively place the third one somewhere else on his legs (he could really have used a connection point on his arms).

-Optimus Prime
Faction: Autobot
Toyline: Reveal the Shield
Class: Deluxe
Release: January 2011
Acquired: Target
Accessories: 1 fifth wheel/energon sword
Strongest mode: Robot.
 - Yep, one more Optimus for the collection. This one is part of RtS (and as such has a rubsign), a line that began with two movie toy repaints but mostly has acted as a second outlet for Classics/Generations-style molds that update older characters. Of course, we've gotten plenty of G1-style Optimus toys over the past few years - Titanium War Within Prime, Classics Voyager and Deluxe Primes, Generations War for Cybertron Prime, to name a few - but Optimus' upgraded Generation 2 ("Laser Prime") body has only seen one update - a repaint of RiD Spychanger Scourge in the original Universe line. Now, he's back as a deluxe, a move some have questioned the necessity of - wasn't the original G2 mold ahead of its time? Doesn't it still compare favorably to this newer, smaller (and somewhat less agile) mold? Well, yes and no. Sure, the G2 original is a great mold - I own the RiD Scourge repaint - but it's not that easy to get a hold of in its Optimus Prime form. This new mold is much cheaper and hits most of the right notes. While he loses his gun, he keeps what made G2 Prime stand apart from the G1 toy - a huge energon sword, which, in this case, hides between the legs in truck mode with the hilt forming the fifth wheel. While he doesn't have an LED, he uses extensive translucent plastic and light piping, including for his shoulder-mounted cannons. Also, he employs a clever trick where his side windows fold in to create the illusion of the Matrix sitting in his chest, an effect the Japanese G2 release accomplished through stickers. Finally, I'll add that Classics-style purists may not totally enjoy this toy, as he is influenced a bit by Movie Optimus Prime. I find it appropriate, seeing as how Movie Prime called back to the original G2 in the first place. In summation, this isn't a perfect toy, and may not be a necessary addition to your collection if you own the original toy. However, for those of us who didn't get Optimus back in the early 90s, this reinvisioning is a great replacement.

-Lugnut
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Reveal the Shield
Class:Voyager
Release: Spring 2011
Acquired: Hasbro Toy Shop
Accessories: 1 missile.
Strongest mode: Both.
- Lugnut is the latest in an increasingly long line of characters to get "transplanted" from their home continuity to some other - such as Animated Lockdown showing up in both the Movie and IDW G1 universes, Cybertron Evac in the Movie universe, and Animated Bulkhead being in the main cast for Prime. In Lugnut's case, he's been taken from the Animated world to the world of Generation 1. Not only is his toy in the G1/Classics/"realistic" styling (honestly, he almost feels like a Movie toy due to the level of detail), but he also gets retconned into the 1986 Animated G1 Movie thanks to the "Battle in Space" comic that comes with the Reveal the Shield 2-pack of the same name. As for the toy itself, it's an effective translation of the Animated character's design into a "normal" aesthetic - one look at this guy in either mode and there's no question who you're dealing with. His bomber plane mode is a made-up model designed to look like a hybrid of various WWII designs, but with jet engines rather than props. However, the plane isn't mostly purple like the original toy; rather, it's a drab olive green like many WWII bombers were, which also makes him somewhat resemble the Atomic Lugnut repaint of the original toy, as does the shark mouth pain app near the nose of the plane. He does have a bit more functional posability this time around, seeing as how he can move his neck, jaw, fingers (3 this time instead of two pincers!), waist, and ankles - joints that the 2008 version simply lacked. He's also a bit taller, even though both molds deal with the issue of relegating the tail's mass to being a gimmick housing. Instead of providing Lugnut with a battle mace, this version's tail hides a missile launcher that can rotate out about 110 degrees or so. However, you can never have it pointing straight forward in either mode, so in bomber mode, I just have him aim it at cities/battlegrounds that he's flying past, and in bot mode, he looks like he's lobbing the missile to some far away location instead of dead ahead, no doubt because of the high explosive yield of the weapon. It's pretty impressive, anyway, that he can actually remain standing in bot mode with the tail extended horizontally off his back. One other major feature of this guy is that he is literally covered in c-clip rods, even if he sadly doesn't include any weapons to utilize them. Even so, if you've been buying any transformers for the past year, there's a good chance that you've got some weapons to put on this guys, from Recon Ironhide's guns and knives to Jazz's speakers. You can place them pretty much anywhere - his missile launcher, his wingtips, his shoulders, his cockpit kibble, his torso guns, his legs, his forearms...you get the idea. Lastly, he's got a punching gimmick in both forearms to approximate his POKE from the Animated cartoon; it works pretty well, and can also serve to extend his already impressive wingspan in plane mode.In the end, this guy is a great addition to your Classics/Universe/Generations/RTS collection. Firstly, he's rare in that he's a recent toy of that style that's bigger than a deluxe, and he also brings something to the table that most other Decepticon planes (who tend to be fighter jets) don't - he's not lithe and aerodynamic; he's a bruiser, a walking WMD that adds real presence amidst the bevy of Seekers, Thunderwings, Cyclonuses, and the like. Get him from HTS (or some other online retailer) while you can; chances are that he'll be hard to find on shelves now that Dark of the Moon is only a month away...

-Sixshot
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: G1 (Japanese Reissue)
Class:...S.T.A.G.?
Release: Sometime before Fall 2004
Acquired: eBay
Accessories: 2 guns
Strongest mode: Tie between robot and starfighter.

-Wow, I've been doing these mini-reviews for a little over a year now and I'm only just now getting around to reviewing a G1 toy. I got Sixshot thanks to some birthday money from my friends for my 21st birthday and nabbed him off of eBay. Takara had reissued him sometime before, but he still cost somewhere around $60. He's worth it, though. Six shot is one of the more fun G1 toys. First off, he's got presence. His bot mode is pretty tall, made even more so by the "correct" positioning of his wings, which add another three inches or so to his height. He also, like many late G1 "brickish" toys, just looks solid, and that hard-ass, expressionless head sculpt (he looks like an evil version of Magnus' normal head) is great. Second, of course, is his big gimmick - he's the first 6-changer. Despite the fact that his instructions come sealed as a "challenge" to transform him without them, his transformations really aren't that hard. This is mostly thanks to how he's really just a bunch of polygons with random kibble slapped on to be used where necessary (claws, wheels, tank treads, etc). As for the modes, they are: robot, starfighter/jet, tank, armored car, flying gun/cannon, and winged wolf. Well, there's also the "secret" 7th mode that's a hybrid between the wolf and tank modes, but it's pretty redundant. My favorite, other than the robot, is the starfighter. It's the one that probably suffers the least. The armored car isn't so great, and while I would normally not care so much for the gun mode, at least the handle is cleverly made from combining the wings. The tank mode is kind of neat, in that it had a fairly unique look. Actually, all the vehicles are pretty vague and "cybertronian" looking, although maybe not intentionally. As a G1 toy, his articulation is pretty limited, only really having shoulder rotation, forearm twisting (so he can shoot you gangsta-stlye), and knee-bending (though his lower legs are linked, so it only really works for flight poses). It is nice that he can have his wings in a variety of positions in bot mode; it can really change his "mood." Anyhow, Sixshot received a pretty decent limelight in IDW's comics, and his portrayal in the Headmasters cartoon (dude killed Magnus, yo) and DW's profile books are pretty cool too, so all that just adds to his aura. If you can get him, do so. However, considering the tear Hasbro's been on lately with making lower-tier characters into new toys (Thunderwing, Straxus, etc), don't be surprised if he gets an updated mold in the next iteration of Classics. I know I'd love one.

-Dead End ("Alt. Wildrider")
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Alternators
Class:Voyager/Mega? There was only one size class for alts...
Release: Early Fall 2004
Acquired: Walmart? I think
Accessories: 1 engine/gun
Strongest mode: Both.
- Dead End here was the first of the Alternators Decepticons, a kind of misfit crew of toys since all of them except two (Ravage 2.0 and Rumble) were all repaints/remolds of Autobot toys. Dead End himself is even weirder - not only is he also one of these Autobot remolds (of Sunstreaker/Sideswipe, in this case), but he also doesn't have his own G1 color scheme; instead, he looks like he has Wildrider's colors. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it's a really sharp color scheme - black, red, silver, and copper, with a hint of purple. In car mode, he looks great - he's still a Viper like Sideswipe before him, but he's got enough new parts that he looks like a totally different toy. It's also a lot more aggressive car body, with the new parts intended to resemble a street-racer sort of Viper. Being an alternator toy, this mold is all about being as realistic a toy car as possible, with opening doors & hood, reflective side mirrors, vanity plate, and so on. These sort of features really weren't that common in regular TF cars at the time, so these early Alts were a bit of a revelation in terms of what a TF toy could be. Of course, now a half-year after the 3rd motion picture, we're all quite used to licensed, realistic alt modes for TFs. Still, even today, Dead End's car mode does manage to catch your eye. In bot mode, it's hard not to see Dead End as an evil Sunstreaker (actually, this color scheme was given to the Universe Sunstreaker's toy design to produce Shattered Glass Sunstreaker in the SG comic). However, he doesn't look too much like Sunstreaker, since this toy was originally designed to be the Alternators Tracks toy before Hasbro got the rights to use the Corvette for him. It's really obvious, too, since the toy transforms almost just like G1 Tracks (and even more like the later RtS Tracks). However, there's enough wiggle room in the design that his arm kibble - the rear wheels and doors - don't have to take Tracks' configuration or the Sideswipe's, and I usually arrange it so that the wheels are behind Dead End's shoulders with the doors hanging down. The silver paint on the inside of the doors makes this look pretty good. Perhaps the worst thing about this toy, and all versions of this mold, is the really restricted leg movement. The hips are bad enough, being that they only go forward and backward by a few degrees, and the knees, which normally would have had full movement, can't bend past 30 degrees or so due to the fender kibble blocking them. Luckily, the ankles are ball jointed so that you can take advantage of what few poses you can get out of the guy. In the end, Dead End/Wildrider is a great-looking transformer and one of the sharper-looking alternators, even if he doesn't really look much like what he's supposed to be.

-Shockwave
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Generations (2nd version)
Class: Deluxe
Release: Summer 2012
Acquired: TRU
Accessories: 1 triple-barrel gun and "lens" for gun
Strongest mode: Robot.
- So, I've been waiting for Fall of Cybertron Shockwave for a while. He first appeared, with this same design, in the original game War for Cybertron two years ago, and was easily one of the designs I wanted most from that game, partially because it was such a great design and partially because we had yet to get a G1-ish Shockwave since the Alternators toy in 2004. Unfortunately, the toys for WfC were limited to 5 releases in the first Generations line. Luckily, WfC proved successful enough to yield as sequel, and it's a sequel that Hasbro feels is strong enough to build the 2nd iteration of Generations around. In fact, all of the toys shown so far for the line are from Fall of Cybertron, and it's actually a fair number of toys. As for Shockwave himself, he's in wave 1, alongside Optimus Prime and Jazz, and even without owning those two, I can say that Shockwave is far and away the best of the wave. Both Optimus and Jazz are designed somewhat differently than most other deluxe transformers, and not in a good way, but Shockwave doesn't really suffer from this. Sure, he's not tall - shorter than WfC Megatron and Soundwave (less so), but about the size of many other deluxe TFs, like Classics Starscream or Generations Thunderwing. His bot mode is great, too. Extremely low-kibble - only the wings and a very small backack are offending items here - he's more action figure than typical transformers (something I thought about WfC Megatron as well). The wings - something new for a Shockwave design - look great, not being too large, and actually give his silhouette a vague resemblance to the Decepticon symbol. The gun can be held in hand, or, by folding either fist back, can be attached at the forearm as per tradition. Naturally, mine has it mounted on the left arm. It looks great, too, and the partially transparent "lens" can be removed an stored on the lumber region if you want the individual barrels exposed. While he may lack an independent hose like DotM Shockwave had, the gun does have some cable/hose-like features molded in from the game model; they also appear on the lower legs in alt mode. As for the alt mode, I love it too. Shockwave was given a flight mode, but really it's just his cannon outfitted with an engine and wings, which is great. His G1 incarnation's gun mode was always interpreted as a flying cannon in the cartoon, and now we have that idea given full credit. It almost reminds me of an alien take on a WWII prop-nose fighter, with the positioning of the cannon right up front. I can't wait for FoC Starscream's toy to have alongside Shockwave in alt mode. In short, this is one great toy to reintroduce Generations with, and probably one of the best toys of the year. It's great to finally have a G1-style, deluxe class Shockwave, especially after the last attempt - for the Titanitum Series - was cancelled at the prototype stage.

-Wheelie
Faction: Autobot
Toyline: Generations (TRU China Exclusives)
Class: Deluxe
Release: Fall 2012
Acquired: Toys R Us
Accessories: 2 speakers, 1 slingshot/blaster
Strongest mode: Both?
 - So, it's Wheelie! The bot that everyone used to hate, and now does pretty darned well amongst the fans. Seriously, it's a real phenomenon - almost 10 years ago, when I got into collecting as an adult, Wheelie was almost universally loathed, making an update of him not only unlikely but undesirable. Over the past few years, probably coinciding with the very well-done Spotlight: Wheelie, the little guy's popularity swung around. I mean, he's no Jazz, Shockwave, or Starscream, but at the very least he's now a respected character rather than an annoyance. Oh, and speaking of Jazz, this toy is a remold of Reveal the Shield's neo-G1 Jazz mold, something I wouldn't have seen coming. Part of a set of mostly off-the-wall remolds and repaints initially designed for the Asian markets, Generations Wheelie actually steers a pretty normal path, being a straight-up G1 toy, rather than a hybrid of G1 and Movie or Prime as many of the other, larger Chinese exclusives are. So, he has Jazz's body, but (obviously) a new, very G1-accurate head replaces Jazz's unfolding blaster with his signature slingshot. Said slingshot is conveniently molded with a second peg on one of the two "arms", allowing it to be held in an orientation that resembles a more typical gun. Somewhat unfortunately, he still possesses Jazz's signature weapons - his speakers - but they were designed in a way that is so mold-specific that I guess it was considered impractical to try and replace them with anything else (they are present on all other versions of the mold, too - a considerable number of releases at this point, between Hasbro, Takara, and Botcon). Just as well, because the speakers can remain stowed and are easily ignored, but I'm glad they put money into giving the Wild Boy of Quintessa his Slingshot. He does, also unfortunately, inherent the mold's main problem - his chest does not lock in place in bot mode. It's a very irritating flaw that really hampers enjoyment of the toy, which is otherwise one of the best-designed of the neo-G1 car autobots (better than the Prowl mold, anyway). Ah well. Another problem is with the aforementioned slingshot - the two "arms" are too widely separated to prevent one of them (the non-pegged one) from propping its corner of the car up a bit like a jack when it's stored in car mode. It's just a bit too long to be stored inside the cab, alas. The car itself looks really good, by the way. The detail-devouring pearlescent white of RtS Jazz is gone, replaced by a good, solid orange, with some good paint apps (the tail lights are actually painted this time!). I think he could use a bit more paint (maybe more yellow from the headlights) on the limbs in bot mode, but otherwise it really is a great looking toy. If you can manage to find him at a Toys R Us, try to get this guy. The toy finally gives the characters a decent, large-sized G1 toy (the previous legends toy was near-impossible to find and expensive on the secondary market) and does so in an effective way, unlike wavemate Springer.

-Ratbat
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Generations (Fall of Cybertron)
Class: Legends
Release: Late December 2012
Acquired: TRU
Accessories: Frenzy, 2 dark energon cases
Strongest mode: Robot.
- Hasbro' second iteration of the Generations line, which is (so far) all Fall of Cybertron toys, has a voyager class - something the first iteration didn't have. First up in the voyager class is WfC/FoC Soundwave - but unlike his deluxe toy from Generations 1.0, this one has the ability to store his "minions" in his chest and launch them! It's crazy, something even the original (or Cybertron) version of Soundwave couldn't do. To accomplish this without cassette tapes modes, all the "Datacons," for lack of a better term, transform into disc-shaped data repositories. Think of them as round USBs. Their shared gimmick is an autotransformation triggered by a small button. Anyhow, while Soundwave himself comes with Laserbeak (a Buzzsaw repaint comes with another repaint, Soundblaster), the remaining Datacons come in 2-packs, billed as legends-class toys. Ratbat here is packaged with "Frenzy," the red humanoid robot. Despite FoC taking place on ancient Cybertron, Ratbat still has a bat-styled "robot" mode - I guess he's subject to the same "telescope" alt mode selection that the Dinobots and Insecticons were, with Shockwave using the Space Bridge to discover Earth and its fauna. The bat mode is pretty darn good on its own, despite having no useful articulation - yeah, stuff moves around, but the autotransformation means everything's spring-loaded, moving parts back into their standard position. One thing I like is that the wings, being formed from the round edges of the disc mode, give Ratbat a very strong resemblance to his appearance in IDW's Devastation, where he apparently turned into a portable CD player. Also, Ratbat is reportedly a remold of Laserbeak/Buzzsaw/Sundor, but the wings are actually different, and the bird tail is replaced with a piece that has the bat's hind legs, tail, and patagium - nice! The colors are pretty spot-on for G1 Ratbat, being a bit more pink than either the original or the Universe repaint of Cybertron Sideways. Transformation to disc mode is a simply but fun affair, and everything closed together nicely. The disc itself has a front and back, with the front sporting a central gold Decepticon symbol, surrounded by a thick ring of circuit patterns (also gold, on black background). I like to think that the Datacons cannot have their information retrieved without these circuits lining up in alt mode. The back is a bunch of wing kibble, but manages not to betray the fact that he turns into a bat. The back also is the location of the trigger button, a very small button in the center. While it obviously easily triggers manually, it also does well if you drop Ratbat (as the gimmick intends), so long as you do so with enough force or on a suitably hard surface. The autotransformation gimmick works well probably 9/10 times; better than I expected for what I read about some of the other Datacons online. Ratbat also comes with the disc's version of a cassette case - a 2-piece container that opens and closes to store the disc mode. Made of clear purple "dark energon" plastic with a large Decepticon symbol on the front/lid, it's a nice extra touch. There is a hole on the back/bottom; this allows you to push the disc out in case there's a tight fit (which there is in Ratbat's case). However, this also allows Ratbat's trigger button to stick through, preventing the case with disc from laying flat on a surface. Luckily, it stands vertically with no problem. The case honestly reminds me of the energon cubes Soundwave would produce from his chest in the G1 cartoon; I suppose that's appropriate. Anyhow, Ratbat is a fun little toy, considering the design limitations of the gimmick. I don't even have Soundwave yet, and I'm having a blast with him.

-Starscream
Faction: Decepticon
Toyline: Generations (2.0)
Class: Deluxe
Release: Late December 2012/Early January 2013
Acquired: Walmart
Accessories: 2 guns.
Strongest mode: Both.
- So, here he is! This Generations Starscream is, like all Generations 2.0 releases thus far, from the Fall of Cybertron game, though Starscream himself appeared in the same body in the earlier War for Cybertron. In fact, shortly after that game was released, I was able to ask a Hasbro rep at Botcon 2010 if Starscream would be one of the next molds produced from War for Cybertron, and he said he was definitely "next on the list." While that wasn't exactly true, as it took two years for Hasbro to release more video game toys and Starscream was held back until wave 3, I've got him now. And he's great. 3 of the original WfC toys - Optimus, Megatron, and Soundwave - were all good to great, normal-quality TFs (Bumblebee/Cliffjumper has some problems). Unfortunately, a lot of the new Fall of Cybertron toys - namely Jazz, Optimus, and the Combaticons - don't feel quite right, mostly due to being too small, too simple, or too hollow. Luckily, the new molds from wave 3 are a return to form, and Starscream fits in (along with wave 1's Shockwave, which I've never had any issues with) seamlessly with 2010's Megatron and Soundwave. In fact, having Megatron displayed on a shelf with his complete Decepticon braintrust of 'Screamer, Shockwave and Soundwave just looks great and is one of the biggest achievements of modern TF product, in my eyes. So, now that I'm done gushing, I'll move on to the toy itself. Starscream's video game design is a sort of another take on the G1 cartoon's "deltajet" alt mode for Seekers, though less so than either Cybetron Starscream or War Within Starscream. The main departures are the forward-swept wings (which look nice) and the far-forward cockpit that looks more like an actual aircraft than a sci-fi design. Oh, and the thrusters are huge, too. The guns (which combine to apparently form the neutron assault rifle from Fall of Cybertron) can attach to either the underside of the wings or the sides of the thrusters/legs, with either situation giving you a weapons layout that highly resembles that of TFM Voyager Starscream's guns. They spin pretty freely, which is kind of fun. Apparently the vertical stabilizers can detach, revealing two ports to allow the gun to attach in combined mode (the fins can then attach to the top of the combined gun), but I haven't bothered with this. I'd read that the transformation was similar to Energon Starscream/G2 Smokescreen, and it kind of is, but without the rear of the jet having to twist around. I do like how the shoulder section collapses when going to robot mode; it's pretty neat to do and undo. I also like how the connecting strut between the hips and chest is meant to look like Starscream's spine; it also helps to fill what would otherwise be a hollow torso. The robot mode is a very good likeness for his game appearance, and has some good articulation. In fact, that's one of the main reasons I wanted this toy - for me (and IDW, I guess), it represents G1 Starscream, not TFPrime Starscream (which is Hasbro's official line). This is good, as the previous Classics/modern G1 Starscream deluxe now has some years on it (I got it in 2006!) and, even then, the mold was a little dated, with its poor use of nosecone kibble, limited arm articulation, and space issues with the missile launchers and wings. This new toy has none of these issues, and also manages to look great in both modes. In fact, Starscream can even look up a bit due to the pnael his head is on for transformation, allowing for a great "flying in bot mode" pose. There are really only two main problems with this toy in bot mode. One is that the knee and ankle joints are very tight, to the point that some people have reported breakage upon trying to move the joints. Luckily, my copy had ankle joints that weren't too tight, and I tried dunking his legs in hot water and then setting him in the freezer for a few minutes (a trick I saw on TFW). It worked, and now the knees move fine, if still nicely tight. Second is the weaponry. While the weapon(s) are cool in and of themselves, and also look great with the figure, they don't exactly scream "null ray." I don't mind that they can only attach to the forearm and not upper arm, but they look like much more serious weapons that Starscream typically carries. I can rationalize this as Starscream's early weapons that compensate for his lack of combat experience at the beginning of the war, but it might have been nice to have more traditional-looking weapon. But, other than that, this is a fantastic transformer that is easily the best "G1" Starscream toy that is only enhanced by having his WfC/FoC Decepticon buddies to hang out with him.   

-Whirl
Faction:Autobot
Toyline: Generations (2.0)
Class: Deluxe
Release: July 2013
Acquired: Walmart
Accessories: 2 gunswords, 1 rotary cannon
Strongest mode: Robot
 -  So, after waiting seven months after wave 3 was released, I finally found Generations wave 4 - all the Wreckers - in late July, as I noted here. One of the Wreckers I was most looking forward to is our boy Whirl here. Whirl has traditionally been an obscure character, but has really gotten some traction in IDW's comics lately, gaining a pivotal role in the beginning of the war during "Chaos Theory" and then becoming one of the most important characters of More Than Meets the Eye. I've always thought he was kind of neat, and bought his Universe 1.0 once upon a time, and later his RotF and Dotm toys. However, his G1 look has never gotten a modern update, and once Hasbro decided to repaint/remold the FoC Combaticons into Wreckers, Whirl became the remold option for Vortex. While I was initially excited about this (and still am), the FoC Wreckers didn't get released until late in the summer, just after Hasbro revealed the upcoming T30 Voyager Whirl toy at Botcon/SDCC. So, if you want a really G1 Whirl, go for the voyager, I guess. But I'm pretty fond of the deluxe. I like the new color scheme - the dark blue contrasts well with the bright orange, and the "allspark blue" highlights look great too, especially on his eye (though I kind of wish he had lightpiping a la Shockwave). I'll admit that he look a bit funny with the armor skirt, but it's not a big deal. Overall, the bot mode is great (but then, Vortex was already my favorite of the FoC Combaticon molds). The copter mode looks great too, using the bright blue for the canopy/windshield, and actually using paint apps on those molded "stripes" behind the rotor. The gunswords are, of course, the same, but his new weapon is a biggun'. Designed to look like a massive handheld "Gatling" cannon, its action feature (all of the Wreckers' new weapons have one) is that by sliding a tab forward, the barrel complex moves forward and spins. It's not perfect, but works pretty well and the gun looks good even if you don't want to use it. My main problem with it are the 5mm post/port tolerances - the gun can be held/support attached weapons well at all. I did add some nail polish to the handle and the ports, but I shouldn't have to do that, especially on something as already universal as a 5mm system is in the TF franchise. Most of the new Wrecker weapons are like this, by the way; it's the main problem with my set. So, once I could at least have Whirl hold his new gun (a gun which MTMTE Whirl would be particularly fond of), he's pretty great. If you've been wanting a G1-ish deluxe Whirl, this one is pretty great if you don't mind some of the liberties taken in the name of team color cohesion and cybertronian alt modes. If you just can't get past those things, go for the upcoming voyager, as it's one of the straightest G1 updates we've gotten since Universe Inferno.

-Waspinator
Faction: Predacon
Class: Deluxe
Release: January 2014
Acquired: Walmart
Accessories:1 stinger/gun
Strongest mode: Robot.
- So, we've finally got him. Fans have waiting a long time for Waspinator to get a good, screen-accurate update, and now he's here. What's somewhat amusing about this is how this doesn't quite feel as amazing as it should, but that honestly has a lot to do with just how good a repaint BWX Waspinator was. Yeah, the original mold definitely has some deficiencies when it comes to matching the guy's show appearance, but the 10th anniversary reissue showed how much of that could be remedied with a good deco (have you ever looked at the original Waspinator toy? It looks terrible). So, with that out of the way, Generations Waspinator (yes, the deluxe, we're not talking about the tiny targetmaster that Legends Starscream comes with) is a pretty good update. His strongest asset is definitely his robot mode, which is pretty much spot on. I was a little disappointed from online images that they just went with clear plastic for the eyes, wings and stinger, but in-hand you find that the translucent plastic is actually iridescent, which looks great (though I wish they would have used the same iridescent paint that BWX Waspinator had for the wasp eyes). I initially wanted them to use translucent purple, a la Animated Waspinator and IDW Waspinator, but the iridescent plastic really works. The biggest flaw, by far, of the bot mode is the limited backward knee movement. Any modern TF should have fully moving knees, especially flying TFs. Of course, his forward knee movement is just fine, thanks to the transformation, but obviously not helpful. Also, the wings are by default stuck in a down position, but you can easily maneuver the bug legs on the arms to keep the wings in a flying position. Wasp mode is a little less great. On the plus side, his rear legs now actually looks like all the rest (the lower bot legs now just form the underside of the thorax) and can actually hold the wasp up without falling (a seemingly impossible feat for most Beast Wars bug toys), so that's pretty cool. The head is a lot more like the animation model, and the abdomen looks fine (the clear stinger looks pretty cool). The main weakness here is the thorax. It's basically robot parts, almost making this mode feel like a hybrid between an organic beast mode and a transmetal. The robot arms are just sitting there on the side, not really hidden, and the robot lower legs on the underside make for a big blocky section right under the wasp head that looks very inorganic. Lastly, the top part of the thorax that houses the wing flapping mechanism, again, looks more mechanical than natural, almost like some kind of engine. Aside from the rear legs, BWX Waspinator definitely looks better overall in this mode than the newer toy. At the very least, this new wasp mode is a lot more solid than the original mold; it's not coming apart on accident. In the end, this new Waspinator is definitely worth owning, even if you do have the BWX release from 2006. The show-accurate bot mode is enough to take the cake.

-Dreadwing
Faction:Decepticon (G2)
Class: Deluxe
Release: December 2014
Acquired: Walmart
Accessories:1gun (made from 2 wing pieces)
Strongest mode: Robot.
 I actually found Dreadwing a few weeks before his wavemate Waspinator, who was the last toy I reviewed on this page; specifically, he was a toy I found on New Year's Eve on the way back home. I was really hoping, at the time, to find Dreadwing AND deluxe Waspinator, but I got the legends Starscream/Waspinator two pack instead, which was close enough at the time. As for Dreadwing himself, I really, really like him. I initially wanted him mostly for being as complete as I could be in owning different Dreadwing incarnations, but in-hand, the toy really sells itself and his decently large part in Dark Cybertron (I got both collected volumes a few months ago after my birthday) doesn't hurt either, as Dreadwing looks great next to Generations Shockwave. Dreadwing is a remold of Generations/Thrilling 30 Megatron, a toy that was a new mold based on Megatron's B-2ish body introduced in the IDW Ongoing comic after being designed by Don Figueroa. The original G2 Dreadwing toy was, of course, a similar B-2 type bomber, and there was even a black/purple repaint of Dreadwing planned to be released as Megatron that never eventuated (Which presumably inspired Don's initial comic design). I mention all this because, amusingly, while I wasn't too captivated by this new mold in its Megatron incarnation, the Dreadwing release really makes the mold its own. The colors really pop, thanks to the neon "Allspark" blue, which looks great next to the darker purple that makes up most of the alt mode and robot armor. The clear red of the wings/cannon also work better visually than Megatron's less vivid clear purple. The new head sculpt is also fantastic, not just evoking the original G2 character but making it look much better for this mold (the original toy's head was rather squat looking). The choice to include the old Generation 2 symbol design is terrific, though I do wish the chest panel that housed Megatron's normal 'Con symbol wasn't left blank. The articulation hasn't changed, and it's very good EXCEPT for the choice to use pinned hinges for the shoulder roots, causing his shoulders to sag occasionally. As a Thrilling 30 release, Dreadwing comes with a comic, in this case a Robots in Disguise issue entitled "Shockwaves," which, while featuring Ramondelli on art, both looks really good and tells a great story. While Dreadwing plays second fiddle in this issue (had they been doing pack in comics in 2012, this issue would have obviously gone with FoC Shockwave, as it tells his personal history), he's pretty great as henchmen go, and we get a nice opening scene with him questioning Shockwave, and later being resurrected by Ore-14, giving him a superpower of sorts. I also liked Ramondelli showing him transforming him like I transform the toy - that is, going from bomber to bot, wings last, as Dreadwing lands in Crystal City feet first while arms are in wing mode. It's a neat detail. In short, this is one of the better remolds lately, and that's saying something, after toys like T30 Sandstorm.

-Optimus Prime
Faction:Three Guesses
Toyline: Generations: Combiner Wars
Class:Voyager
Release: Circa New Years 2015
Acquired: Amazon
Accessories: 2 guns
Strongest mode: Combiner torso?
   I wrote a more general post about this toy and Combiner Wars in general on the main page, so I'm gonna just try and do a succinct pros/cons list here!
-Pros:
  • a REAL Optimus combiner! Holy crap
  • Nice Energon Optimus homages in the head sculpt, "Matrix" area, etc
  • normal bot mode and truck mode are much nicer in person than initial pics showed
  • faux chest windows look a lot less "faux" in person, as if they were designed to look less like truck parts and more like robot anatomy (think of RiD Optimus' normal bot mode)
  • Closed chest in torso mode looks pretty good, too, though I'm looking forward to slapping the Hot Rod legends toy in there as armor
  • Weapons are decent, and one looks halfway like the original G1 rifle, something Classics Optimus can't claim
  • HUGE for a modern voyager
  • Fully combined mode will be even bigger....not much smaller than Unicron, maybe
-Cons:
  • Pretty simple, though this is not so bad in practice
  • faux kibble should still be avoided, especially with simple designs like G1 Optimus
  • Ultra Prime head/neck joint is a bit loose, as are the antennae (at least they're not soft plastic!!!)
  • Fists stick up unceremoniously in torso mode (at least you can mount weapons there)
  • Lateral hip ratcheting is overly stiff and spreads out too wide on first click
  • Could use wrist swivels
  • toe joints pretty loose
  • While not as bad as Classics Prime's, he still has arm kibble from the truck cab in normal bot mode
  • Combiner thighs are a bit too long in comparison to a connected leg