Before Carly 6

June 20th, 2017 No comments

Welcome to another edition of Before Carly! It has been about two and a half years since the last installment, so here we go again with this long overdue episode of Before Carly 6! As usual, I will start with what I think was the official description given by Seibertron:

“Spike is quite the ladies man. He eventually married Carly, but she was not the only one to have fun in the backseat of Bumblebee.”

The fictitious name of each girl is made to sound like various characters in the TF universe, and each part of every name is based on real names I’ve seen. See how many TFs you can identify. Spike sure is lucky. How can he keep his mind on saving the Earth from routine Decepticon attacks while he has all these babes to keep him busy? We may never know the truth. What Spike did off camera will be a mystery for the ages.

Hover the mouse over each girl’s name to see the name of the TF. Make Spike proud! Impress all these babes with how much Transformers you know. Or not.

Enjoy the pics!

Riko Shay
Ricochet

 

Rowe D. Byrne
Roadburn

 

Skye Shade Oh
Sky Shadow

 

Astrid O. Train
Astrotrain

 

Bree K. Down
Breakdown

 

Erica Torre
Erector

 

Hedy Strong
Headstrong

 

Goldie Bugg
Goldbug

 

Oak T. Eng
Octane

 

Tripti Khan
Trypticon

 

If you can’t get enough of Before Carly, here are links to the previous installments:
Before Carly
Before Carly 2
Before Carly 3
Before Carly 4
Before Carly 5

Everyone loves Before Carly! Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, Top Ten

Mastermind Creations Terminus Hexatron

June 14th, 2017 No comments

Terminus Hexatron by Mastermind Creations was a figure I bought almost 3 years ago. Any TransFan worth his energon would take one look at him and immediately know he’s an homage to Sixhot, the first six changer in the Transformers universe.

There are plenty of reviews out there already for Hexatron, so I won’t do one here. But I am going to post pics of this awesome figure in all six modes. Let these pics convince you to get one if you haven’t already. This is required purchase if you call yourself a G1 fan.

Robot Mode


Hexatron with MP Shockwave


Hexatron with Cyber Battalion Starscream, MP Shockwave, and Fans Toys Grenadier

Winged Wolf Mode

APC Mode

Laser Pistol Mode

Tank Mode


Hexatron in tank mode (left), Titans Return Sixshot in APC mode

Star Fighter Mode

My favorite mode is probably the robot mode. If I had to pick a favorite alt mode, it would either be the APC mode or the tank mode. Right now I’m leaning towards the tank mode, but catch me at a later time and the answer could be completely different.

There’s a pic above under the tank mode section that featured Titans Return Sixshot. That figure ain’t half bad, but Hexatron is still leaps and bounds superior.

Some other Third Parties are attempting their versions of Sixshot. I believe Fans Toys will soon release Hydra. Hydra looks to be massive, and it remains to be seen how Hydra would stack up against Hexatron. But for now, Hexatron is still the reigning king of Sixshot figures.

Go Hexatron! And in true Sixshot fashion, I will say this 6 times:

Transform and Roll Out!
Transform and Roll Out!
Transform and Roll Out!
Transform and Roll Out!
Transform and Roll Out!
Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

Transformers Purchased in October 2016

May 30th, 2017 No comments

October has historically been a month filled with many TF purchases. That is not so in 2016. But there are some cool items this month, and one surprising trend that I didn’t notice before.

  • Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime, amazon.com, $39.99

  • Titans Return Apeface, Target, $4.99
  • Titans Return Skytread, Target, $4.99

  • Robots in Disguise Paralon, Toys R Us, $9.99

  • Fans Toys Soar, capturedprey.com, $180

Like I said, October 2016 does not have a crazy TF purchase count, as was the case in 2012, 2014, and 2015. This October is more on par with 2013 with a modest number of TF purchases.

Let’s take a look first at Powermaster Optimus Prime! Growing up, I really wanted G1 Powermaster Optimus Prime. I know, the concept of a Powermaster is really lame. But all Powermaster figures were good toys, for G1 standards anyway. And back in the 80s, Hasbro was not in the habit of releasing 10 different Optimus Prime figures every year across all toylines and sizes. Believe it or not, Powermaster Optimus Prime was only the 2nd OP figure produced, after the original season 1 toy. It was already Season 5 when Powermasters rolled around, and us fans were all itching for a new figure of OP.

My cousin had G1 Powermaster OP. I played with the figure quite a bit. For G1 standards, this was an awesome figure. I tried to buy one back in the 80s, but didn’t have the money. Now nearly 30 years later, Hasbro is giving us a homage to the original Powermaster OP in the Titans Return line. In this case he’s really a Headmaster, but he’s still got his 80s Powermaster design and aesthetics.

The figure is a heavy retool of the wonderful Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus figure that I went into back in this post. Hasbro took that mold and reconfigured it to resemble G1 Powermaster Optimus Prime with modern stylings and updates. The result is quite nice, and I’m happy that Hasbro took the effort to give us true fans something to homage the Powermasters, even though the figure is not a ture Powermaster. The Titan Master (or Headmaster figure) transforms into Prime’s head in robot mode. The helmet of the head is part of Prime’s body, flipped out from the cab. We’ve seen this mechanism before on TR Galvatron.

Since this technically a repaint, I won’t comment too much more. But he is recommended. Below is a pic of the alt mode. Notice how similar the cab appears when compared with CW Ultra Magnus.

Next up are two Titan Masters figures. Hasbro makes a whole bunch of these. For this month I got Apeface and Skytread. Yes, these are small figures that transform to heads. And FYI, all heads are interchangeable for figures in the TR line. Meaning you can take the head for Blurr and stick it on Scourge, or any other combination you see fit. Why you would wanna do this is beyond me. And with these small Titan Master figures, you get extra heads to swap between figures to your heart’s content. I got Apeface because I liked the original G1 Horrocon (and I’m hoping Hasbor will give him a true modern update). Not sure why I bought Skytread. The small Titan Masters also have another alt mode, in addition to the robot mode and head mode. To this day I still have not opened Apeface and Skytread, but I did open some other ones (purchased in later months). These figures are mostly forgettable in opinion. Oh, in my TF count page, I specifically stated that I don’t count mini-figures, such as Targetmasters and Mini-Cons. So I’m not adding Titan Masters to the figure count either. I truly seem them more as accessories. But they will add to the purchase count, since I did have to buy them separately.

The only RiD purchase this month is Paralon. I dont’ even know who Paralon is, as my knowledge of Robots in Disguise is severely limited. I only bought him because I like the purple scorpion. Supposedly, this is a Toys R Us exclusive. And Paralon was released before Scorponok, a brown repaint of this figure. So this was another case where Hasbro gave a new mold to an unknown secondary character, and released the more famous character later. However, when I saw Paralon, Scorponok was already on the shelve too. I chose Paralon anyway because I liked the purple, and honestly, I don’t much care for Scorponok as a character. Anyways, the toy itself is just ok. Like I said, a giant purple scorpion is very unique. Transformation is kind of unorthodox too. The shoulder mechanism requires that you take parts off, but the part never really completely comes off as it still dangles on the arm. So does this count as parts-forming? Who knows. Get Paralon or Scorponok if you’re partial to either character. Most fans could probably skip these two. They’re not bad figures, but they don’t have much going for them either.

Last but not least… ladies and gentlemen… I give you, Soar! That’s right folks! This month we have yet another outstanding 3P Dinobot from Fans Toys. And this time it is our favorite flyer of the group, Swoop! For trademark reasons, FT can’t call this figure Swoop, so they went with Soar. Gotta give them credit from coming up with these creative names.

Soar is packaged in robot mode, like all the other FT Dinos so far. Right upon getting this guy out of the box, the first thing you will notice is that he weighs quite a bit. I think he’s actually heavier than Scoria or Sever. Size wise, he’s smaller than these 2 when you don’t count the wings, so FT packed a lot of heft into the core frame of the figure. This is already a plus in my book.

The robot mode is a sight to behold. I went with the cartoon accurate blue version (FT also produced a G1 toy accurate red version, and I had G1 Swoop as a kid, all broken today). Check out the pic below. It’s like Swoop stepped straight out of the show!

“Me Swoop no see nothing.”

Seriously, this is so cartoon accurate that I can’t gush enough. Everything from the colors to the proportions, it’s like FT looked very carefully at every single one of Swoop’s show appearance and faithfully constructed a figure out of what they saw. Construction of this figure is absolutely superb. All joints are of the ratchet variety, and every one of them is tight enough to support the weight of this heavy figure. Soar is capable of some nice poses. I had him in several action poses, but unfortunately I didn’t take any pics. Take my word for it. If dynamic posing is your thing, Soar will not let you down.

Soar comes with the two iconic G1 wing missiles, as you can see in the pic. Unfortunately they do not fire. He also comes with his sword, which looks just like what he had with the G1 toy. The sword is attached to his back in the pic above. LED lights are featured in the sword (batteries are not included, however). I can’t remember if I have ever seen Swoop use this sword in the cartoon. All these weapons can be held in his hand, or pegged where they are in the pic in robot mode.

Transformation to pterodactyl is fairly simple. Soar is probably the easiest to transform out of all the FT Dinos so far. The overall transforming paradigm is exactly what it was in G1: bird head and beak flip up from the chest, arms and chest collapse toward the middle, and legs fold up to the back of the bird. Obviously this is all updated with modern mechanical engineering. G1 purists should have nothing to complain about in the design of transformation. Check out the pterodactyl mode below.

This dino bird is absolutely amazing! I took a quick measure of the wingspan, and in the above configuration, the wingspan is close to 18 inches! Soar looks fantastic flying above all your other MPs in this mode. The wings hold their position fairly well. On my figure, one side of the wings is nice and tight, while the other side can be argued to be a bit loose. But it still holds up well in alt mode and it does not droop down, so it works well enough for me. Soar comes with an extra set of wings. The default attached wings are more chrome, while the extra wings are more metallic. I did not try the extra wings yet. Fans Toys have thought of everything. They really love you.

In alt mode, the missiles go where you expect them to go. I detect no storage location for the sword in alt mode, but that’s a minor gripe. The beak opens and closes. The beak joint is tight and I expect no less. The alt mode comes together nicely as one cohesive whole. All parts are tabbed into place where they should be. No dangling parts whatsoever. This is the Dinobot pterodactyl that the Autobots deserve.

Last but not least, Soar comes with this awesome display stand for the figure in alt mode. You can see it in the pic above. This stand is large and robust, with enough support for this heavy figure without any worries. Oh, my figure was missing the vertical piece of the display stand when it was first shipped to me. Props to capturedprey.com for contacting Fans Toys and shipping me the missing part. I have complete faith in this retailer and I will use them more in the future. Minor issues with Fans Toys figures are not uncommon, however. I have been lucky thus far, until Soar. Other fans have complained of missing weapons, missing accessories, non-working LED weapons, batteries that should have been included but are not, etc. These periphery issues seem to plague Fans Toy’s track record. So open your FT figures as soon as you get them. Most respectable retailers will work to make it right within the proper time frame.

I give Soar the highest possible recommendation. If you want a MP Swoop in your collection, look no further than Soar. Get one before they all soar off the shelf (bad pun intended).

The surprising trend that I mentioned at the top of this post is the trend of when I buy the FT dinos. Scoria was purchased in October of 2014, and Sever October of 2015. And now Soar in October of 2016. So it looks like I buy one FT dino every year, and at October. I doubt this trend will last though. I have the 2nd release of Stomp (Sludge) pre-ordered, and he’s set to arrive June or July of 2017. But who knows… maybe he will get delayed til October. I hope not. I heard excellent things about Stomp.

More TFs are to come in the months that will end 2016. Until then, Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in September 2016

May 17th, 2017 No comments

Here are the purchases for Sept of 2016. What kind of goodies did I get? Well… nothing too special. 3 repaints and 2 RiD figs. Nothing to write home about, but better than getting nothing.

  • Titans Return Rumble, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Laserbeak, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Ravage, Target, $10.29

  • Robots in Disguise Starscream, Toys R Us, $14.99

  • Robots in Disguise Windblade, Walmart, $14.97

Let’s start with the Titans Return cassettes first. Actually, in the modern era, they are all tablets. And it hit me just now that all 3 of these are about $10 each. Oh man… there was a time when deluxe class figures were $10. Now all you can get with $10 all super small figs. Sigh. And in retrospect I totally see Hasbro’s “release-the-famous-character-later” tactic for repaints. Double sigh.

Anyways, these are all repaints. Rumble is my favorite out of these three. At least he gets a different head mold from Rewind. Ravage is a repaint from Stripes, and Laserbeak is a repaint from Buzzsaw. You can see Laserbeak’s release coming from a mile away. But in G1 these 2 were also exact repaints of each other, so I guess the trend must continue. I won’t comment any more about these 3, other than they are all famous G1 chracters from Season 1. So as much as you hate Hasbro’s double dip tactics, you still open your wallet and make the obligatory purchase. Damn you Hasbro.

Now onto some new stuff. First up is Robots in Disguise Starscream. I really tried to watch Robots in Disguise now that it’s on Netflix. But it just doesn’t grab me like any of the TF shows before it. I’ve tried starting the show on three separate occasions, starting with Ep 1. I don’t get too far before I lose interest, and before you know it, a few months has gone by and I kinda forgot what happened in Ep 1 and I had to start over. So I really don’t know what’s going on in the RiD story line. But to see Starscream on the shelf, that took me by surprise. I didn’t know if this RiD figure would be any good, but it’s Starscream, and as a hardcore G1-er you always buy Starscream.

RiD Starscream is not too shabby. I like the jet mode. It’s nice and sleek. He’s not a F-15, but some kind of futuristic jet that resembles something out of Macross. The forward wing design is a nice touch. When you look on the underside of the jet, there’s a bit of bulk but not too much. He’s got the iconic Starscream colors of light grey, red, and blue. Canopy is in a cartoon orange, and in this case I think it works. The guns go underneath the tip of the wings. If I got a gripe, it’s that the arms are under the wings in jet mode, and that makes the wing area a bit thick. But all in all I like the alt mode. It’s a familiar yet refreshing Starscream alt mode.

Transformation of RiD Starscream is pretty cool. It’s definitely different from how Starscream usually transforms. To start, the nosecone folds backwards onto the top of the plane and stays there. The arm and chest section are formed by moving it from the rear and wing of the jet and attaching it more forward. The legs fold out from the top. In robot mode, the design is still most certainly Starscream, but with RiD aesthetics. The wings on his back make it look like he’s wearing a cape, and it’s not a bad look for him. His head mold looks like a cross from various Starscreams of the past. And his shoulder design resembles his G1 shoulder ornaments during his short lived coronation in the G1 movie. Construction of the figure is solid. Everything tabs into where it should so nothing flops around. A lot of the figure is cheap ball joints, but that does make for some nice articulation. The right hip joint is a bit loose on my figure, but a little nail polish should fix that right up. To sum up, I like this Starscream figure. I wouldn’t put it in the must get category, but it’s a solid addition to your RiD lineup, or if you just want something extra to play with during a TF dry spell. Oh, I got the exclusive Toys R Us version. There is a mass retail version of this figure, but I don’t know how they’re different.

The last entry for the month is RiD Windblade. Again, I know next to nothing about RiD so I was not expecting this figure at all. And what a sweet surprise she was. Windblade as a character is getting some love in the IDW Transformers comics. Reading the IDW comis is something that’s been on my mind for a long time now, I just can’t find the time for it. And if my understanding is accurate, Windblade is a central character in some of the recent IDW plot lines. Hasbro has already produced a figure of her IDW incarnation. However, I’m not particularly fond of that figure. It looks ok, but it’s too flimsy for my liking. I have been wishing for a better Windblade.

And along comes Robots in Disguise Windblade. In my opinion, this is the Windblade to get. RiD Windblade is mostly decked out in red with patches of black here and there. Her jet mode is fairly unique. She seems to be a hover jet in every continuity, and RiD Windblade is no exception. She’s got the iconic turbines on the wings. In this mode, the figure comes together fairly well as most parts tab into place. A lot of the female figures that Hasbro has produced are flimsy (even in alt mode), but Windblade does not share that problem. There is storage space on the underside of the jet for the sword inside the sheath (more on this later). However, that’s not possible if you want to place the jet nicely on a flat surface. It will get in the way of the landing gear.

Transformation to robot is mostly derivative of what we have seen before. Legs fold out from the rear of the jet, arms untab from the sides, and the jet nosecone and wings folds to the back. Windblade implements a tried and true jet to robot formula, but there are some original mechanics. The jet turbines flips to the other side of the wings in robot mode, and the top of the jet collapses on itself in robot mode. This transformation is more about the execution and it’s done very well.

I love how Windblade looks in robot mode. I’m gonna assume she looks accurate to her RiD appearance, and I like the overall red upper body motif with black legs. The frame and shape of the robot mode makes it obvious that this is a female character. And for a female TF, she feels much more robust than other female TFs that have been done in the past. Windblade comes with her iconic sword. The sword can be placed into the sheath when not in use. There is a peg on the sheath that can be placed on the outer side of either leg for a sword-carrying samurai look.

Windblade has got some great articulation due to liberal use of ball joints. Yes, cheap ball joints again, but I can overlook it when it’s done this well on a $15 figure. She can be posed holding the sword in all kinds of ways. The figure comes with this yellow fan looking piece that I didn’t know what to do with for the longest time. I thought it was some kind of fan-based weapon, like in the old kung-fu movies. Turns out, you insert it to the back of her head. I should have looked at the packaging art more closely.

To sum up, I highly recommend RiD Windblade. Get one if you see one. However, the latest batch of Windblades that I see in the stores appears different. Take a look at pics of mine, then look at this pic I snapped today at Walmart.

At first my thought was Hasbro forgot to paint her face. Then comparing this pic with my figure, I see that the store figure now is quite a bit different. I see bits of yellow on her chest, and bits of blue on her abdomen. Her knees are also painted yellow instead of blue, and the legs are almost entirely black. I guess this is a 2nd version (much like how they did two versions of Megatronus), and she wears a face mask. I don’t know if I like that look.

More TFs to come. Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Toys R Us Paris

May 5th, 2017 No comments

I mentioned in my last post that I just got back from vacation. I traveled to New Zealand and Australia, and those are awesome places to visit! Whenever I come back from a big trip, I start thinking of other big trips that I’ve taken in the past. This made me think of the time I went to Europe, in September of 2015. I made a brief mention about it back in this post.

For this Europe trip, first we hit up Munich. We were there for Oktoberfest, and other things. We spent a few days there before we took the train to Paris. The French capital is a beautiful place. On our last day there, we decided to visit the La Defense District of Paris, just to check out areas that weren’t so touristy. Once I got there, I realized there’s a Toys R Us! And of course I had to go in there and see if I can find any good TFs. In this post I will outline my TF hunting adventures in Paris, like I did for Shanghai.

La Defense

La Defense is the business and financial district of Paris. It is much like the Financial District (FiDi) of San Francisco. During the day you will see many people dressed in business attire walking about. La Defense is located northwest of the central Paris area, just a short subway ride away from Arc de Triomphe.

The distinguishing monument in La Defense is the Grande Arche. And because of that, La Defense is still a bit more touristy than we thought. Still, I’m glad I saw it. Here are some pics of the main area of La Defense.


Standing at La Defense, looking east, across the Historical Axis of Paris. In the distance you can see the Arc de Triomphe.


Similar view as the first pic, but looking more southeast.


Looking south, at the mall where the Toys R Us is.


La Grande Arche de la Défense.


Close up of La Grande Arche.


Right inside and underneath the La Grande Arche, looking up at its ceiling.


Going past La Grande Arche and looking further west.


Back to the main area and looking north.


Back to the main area and looking northeast.

The Mall
Toys R Us is inside this mall at the main area of La Defense, a short walk from La Grande Arche. I don’t know the name of the mall. Sometimes I marvel at how similar malls across the world looks to malls of United States. I guess American consumerism is infectious everywhere.


Right outside the entrance to the mall.


The mall food court.


Another random shot of the inside of this mall.

Toys R Us
The Paris Toys R Us does not look that different than any American Toys R Us. Even the writing in the store is mostly English, and not French. Unfortunately, I did not find any TFs that I couldn’t find before, so I didn’t buy anything. Nevertheless, I’m glad I went there to see the store.


The entrance.


Transformers section!


Some Age of Extinction and Combiner Wars figures.


Same shelf as above, lower angle.


Star Wars section!


More Star Wars figures.


Lego Yoda and Darth Vader!


Lego Eiffel Tower!

Paris was awesome. I want to go back!

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Transformers Purchased in August 2016

May 1st, 2017 No comments

After a short break away, I am back! I was in New Zealand and Australia for about 2 weeks. We were in Auckland, Queenstown, and Sydney. These were all beautiful places, and I had so much fun! I want to go back so badly. Though after so much traveling, I am happy to be back in the States. And I welcome a return to my usual routine so I have time to play with my TFs and blog about them.

Unlike last month where I got a bunch of figures, only two purchases were made in August of 2016. And they’re both small legend size figures.

  • Titans Return Wheelie, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Rewind, Target, $10.29

Last month I mentioned that I got TR Stripes on the last day of the month. I will describe him here with his two other Legend size associates that are part of the same wave. None of these 3 figs will knock your socks off, but they ain’t half bad either. Stripes and Rewind are both triple changers, and both are meant to be compatible with Titans Return leader class Blaster (to be purchased in a few months). They each have an electronic tablet mode, which is the modern equivalent of the tape cassette mode that they had back in the 80s. To be frank, their shape in this mode still looks more like cassettes than tablets because they’re too thick. In addition to this mode, Stripes offers a panther mode and a jet mode, while Rewind has a robot mode and a tank mode. I like Rewind’s robot mode. All in all, these 2 figs are quite mediocre in every way possible. Stripes and Rewind will be painted into Ravage and Rumble, respectively. Frenzy probably won’t be far behind.

The only other figure here is Wheelie. He’s the most famous character out of these 3. Hasbro has not done that many CHUG Wheelies in the modern era. I can only think of 2 others: a legend size fig that came around 2010, and a deluxe version released in 2012 that’s a repaint of Reveal the Shield Jazz. So a new Wheelie figure that can more appropriately scale with new figures is very much welcome. I had high hopes for TR Wheelie, but in the end he’s just ok. Both modes look cartoon accurate to the G1 show, but this figure is just so flimsy. During transformation he can feel like a real mess. I would only recommend this Wheelie to those hardcore G1 purists that has to have a Wheelie in their CHUG lineup.

Below is a pic of the three of them.

This month is all Autobots, and all small legend size Autobots. I guess that’s the theme for the month. Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in July 2016

April 4th, 2017 No comments

July 2016 is blessed with a heavy dose of TF goodness. This month marks the start of a new TF line – Titans Return! TR is Hasbro’s official update of Headmasters, and I have been looking forward to this series of figures for quite some time now. July also includes some excellent third party acquisitions.

  • Titans Return Galvatron, Toys R Us, $24.99

  • Titans Return Sentinel Prime, Toys R Us, $24.99

  • Titans Return Skullsmasher, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Hardhead, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Scourge, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Blurr, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Stripes, Target, $10.29

  • Combiner Wars Starscream, HasbroToyshop via eBay, $35.99

  • Masterpiece Ramjet, tfsource.com, $179.99

  • ToyWorld Muddy, tfsource.com, $80

  • DX9 Carry, tfsource.com, $129.99

Quick sidebar: I started a new job in July. It was bittersweet to leave my last job, after 9 and a half years there. For reasons that I won’t go into, it became obvious that I should no longer stay at that job. I like my new job. I won’t say that it’s better than my old job in all aspects, but I’m playing the long game, and I’m confident that this new position will work out better for me in the long run. Besides, my new job allows me more time to dedicate to this blog. This was the first post after starting the new job. I have been more consistent in making new posts since then.

Those of you that read this blog regularly know that I like to hit up stores at lunch time and hunt for TFs. And just like my old job, there is also a TRU near my new job. The very first week on this new job (I think it was Day 2), I found the Titans Return figures at the TRU! I say this is a clear sign that I made the right decision in taking this job.

Titans Return

So let’s go over these TR figures first. I found all the Wave 1 deluxe and voyager figures in one shot. The 4 deluxe figs are Blurr, Scourge, Hardhead, and Skullsmasher. And I like them in that order, from best to worst.

Blurr is an awesome fig. The alt mode is extremely cartoon accurate in appearance. The robot mode is nice and proportionate. Transformation is smooth and intuitive, complex enough to feel like it’s not made for kids, but not too complicated that it distracts from the fun. Construction of the figure is superb, no joints too loose or too tight, and no tolerance issues. My only gripe is the color. The US version of TR Blurr is like this dark turquoise color. Why they decided to go with this color scheme is beyond me. Especially since the Japanese version (called Transformers Legends) has G1 accurate colors. For that reason, many hardcore G1-ers have decided to import the Japanese version. I may do that myself at some point. Blurr was never a Headmaster in G1. In TR, his Headmaster partner (now called Titan Masters) can fit comfortably inside the vehicle in alt mode, and attaches nicely in robot mode. All in all, TR Blurr is highly recommended, despite my gripe with the colors.

TR Scourge is a solid fig. Like Blurr, G1 Scourge was never a Headmaster. And like TR Blurr, the Japanese version of TR Scourge has a color scheme more similar to G1. TR Scourge has a much more accurate cartoon alt mode appearance over the Generations figure that was released around 2011. Sometimes in the cartoons, you see Scourge fly around in alt mode with his head exposed, on top of the spaceship. With TR Scourge, you can reproduce that look. All you need to so is stick the Titan Master in head mode on top of Scourge in alt mode. I like the robot mode as well. When compared to the robot mode of the Generations fig, it’s debatable which is more toon accrurate. They each have their pros and cons. But in my opinion there are no obvious weaknesses with TR Scourge in robot mode. He’s fun to transform, and he’s well built. Scourge became a Targetmaster in Season 4, so I guess making him a Headmaster is not that far-fetched.

Hardhead was one figure that I was really looking forward to in TR. I always regretted not buying the G1 figure, and I had many opportunities to. As a kid in the 80s with a very limited allowance, G1 Hardhead was a bit out of my price range. But I always liked his alt mode, and the robot mode wasn’t too shabby for G1 standards. I do have Hardbone, ToyWorld’s take on Hardhead. I highly recommend that figure, though as of this writing, you may want to consider Iron Will by MakeToys if you are in the market for a 3P Hardhead. Anyway, back to TR Hardhead. He’s only ok. I like the alt mode and the robot mode, but the figure feels a bit flimsy. During transformation, the figure feels extremely hollow. I think the reason for that is equal parts design and construction. And speaking of construction, Hardhead is not the best. He’s ok, but some parts are too loose for my liking, especially in the legs and hips. This figure could have turned out so good if they made some design tweaks, and if the build was improved to have better tolerances. His floppiness is so not worthy of the name Hardhead. As is, I can only recommend Hardhead to hardcore G1 devotees like myself. Casual TransFans should invest their money elsewhere.

Last of the deluxe TR figs is Skullsmasher. In G1 he was called Skullcruncher. I can only assume Hasbro renamed him for license reasons. This alligator Headmaster is probably one of the most unique in the world of TF. I mean, what other figure transforms into an alligator? And on that point, Skullsmasher is awesome. I love his alt mode. The toy designers really hit it out of the park with the look of the mechanical alligator. That alligator head mold has to be seen to be believed. Even the paint job is superb for a $15 toy. Some parts of Skullsmasher have this shiny, metallic finish that you only find in MP or 3P figures, and I commend Hasbro in this application. However, I mentioned that this is my least favorite of the 4 deluxe figs. Transformation and robot mode is where this figure falls apart, literally. Construction of the figure is beyond poor. Many joints are way too loose, and I guarantee you some limbs will fall off the first time you transform the figure. Holding action poses for Skullsmasher in robot mode is difficult if not impossible, due to the weak joints. Some glue or nail polish application in the ball joints should address this, but it’s not something I should have to do. Skullsmasher is recommend for hardcore G1 fans only.

Hasbro, IDW, Paramount, and whoever else is behind the Transformers have been super inconsistent with Sentinel Prime’s appearance. He’s a large and pinkish-red modern fire engine in the Movie-verse, a medium size blue pick-up truck in TF Animated, and (mostly) various shades of orange and yellow in different CHUG lines. Even when focused strictly on CHUG, it’s hard to pin down Sentinel’s appearance. And due to that reason, he’s the perfect character for a first lease of a new mold. Hasbro does this because hardcore fans like me would buy anything when it’s a new mold, then they repaint this mold with a more famous character later and I’ll buy it again (damn you Hasbro). In this case, TR Sentinel Prime is using a mold designed for Astrotrain, which they intend to release later. The body styling resembles Astrotrain, and he’s got a space shuttle alt mode and a train alt mode. All Hasbro had to do is repaint the mold and give the figure a new Titan Master for a different head design. Personally, I think this mold is not half bad. But it’s more appropriate to look at this mold in more detail when Astrotrain is released, so I’ll reserve final thoughts til then. But I will say this now… Sentinel Prime is way too orange. It kind of makes for a goofy looking Transformer.

Last in this TR lineup, but certainly not least… behold… Galvatron! Hasbro has not made that many direct G1 updates of Galvatron in the modern era. The only one I can think of is the deluxe Generations fig that was released in 2008, which was way too hard to transform to be any fun, and no Galvatron fig should be smaller than voyager class. Age of Extinction Galvatron doesn’t count as a real Galvatron. Combiner Wars had Galvatronus (formed with Cyclonus as the main body), but that’s not a standalone figure. So a real voyager sized, G1 inspired, and standalone Galvatron figure is a real treat! And Hasbro did not disappoint. TR Galvatron is the definitive CHUG Galvatron that we have been waiting for. The figure comes packaged in robot mode. This is hands down the most show accurate looking Galvatron produced to date (not counting 3P products). The figure in robot mode is well built and nicely proportioned. I don’t detect any construction issues, and he’s got enough articulation for some nice poses. He’s voyager size, so he scales well with other leaders of this size, such as Optimus and Cyclonus (quick sidebar: I hope Hasbro will one day make a CHUG voyager size Rodimus Prime, but that’s for another day). This Galvatron is both a Headmaster and a Triple Changer. I can see some G1 purists scoff at this change, but I personally don’t see it as a big deal. One alt mode of TR Galvatron is the futuristic Howitzer-like cannon first made famous in the G1 Movie, and the other alt mode is a jet with the huge orange cannon attached in the front. Both alt modes are pretty cool. The transformation mechanism is well designed and superbly implemented. Some parts in certain configurations could probably have been better tabbed in, but it’s a minor gripe. The Titan Master feature is ok. Hasbro chose a weird implementation where there is a helmet that flips out over Galvatron’s chest and it covers the head. I guess this was done so you can use any Titan Master figure with Galvatron. It looks ok, but I still wish he had a non-Headmaster head. I’m hoping that some third party will make a separate, G1 accurate head for TR Galvatron. I highly recommend this figure. Despite some minor negatives, it is the best official Galvatron figure made. Go out and get yours if you haven’t already.

Oh, I should mention that I also got Stripes this month. I found Stripes on the very last day of the month. Seriously, I took all the pics for the figures I got this month earlier, thinking I won’t find anymore. Then Stripes sneaks in on me on the last day! I think Stripes is a totally made up character. This mold is meant to be for Ravage, and the release of Stripes is just another quick cash grab for Hasbro (like Sentinel Prime before Astrotrain). I should have just left him on the shelf at Target, but the TF collector in me won’t let me. I’ll go more into Stripes when I do my purchase post for next month. I found the other 2 figures in the same wave as Stripes next month, so it makes more sense to mention him then.

Combiner Wars

By the middle of 2016, the number of CW figs have dwindled. TR is now in full swing, and that is now the active line considered to be CHUG, catered to mature, adult collectors of TF. Nevertheless, some CW figs are still out there. And here is one that I did not purchase during it’s initial release: Leader class Starscream.

I love Starscream. There is no other character like him in the entire TF universe. I try to get all Starscream figures produced in MP or CHUG form. I bought CW Leader class Starscream one day before I started my new job (on Hasbrotoyshop via eBay). This Starscream is an exact repaint of Leader Thundercracker that came before it. And for that reason, I won’t go into too much detail. I don’t like paying full price for something so similar, so I waited for a bit of a sale before committing to buy. But know that he does come with the bling-bling crown he wore during his gaudy coronation ceremony, shortly before being vaporized by Galvatron, in the 1986 movie.

Masterpiece

The lone MP figure this month is Ramjet. And I’ll get right to it… he’s disappointing. I wanted to like this figure, I really did. Hasbro and Takara have pumped out so many repaints of the 2nd generation MP seeker, and like an addict I bought all the US versions (including Thundercracker, Acid Storm, and Sunstorm). And I think that’s part of the problem… Hasbro/Takara has used this mold way too many times. I have been told that, when a mold gets used for manufacturing repeatedly, the later batches of figures comes out vastly inferior in quality to the early batches. I don’t exactly understand the specifics of why that is. But many industry insiders have assured me that this is a common problem. In the case of Ramjet, I understand that he’s reworked quite a bit off the standard MP Seekers. But most of it is still the same, and I’m betting this mold is getting seriously old and worn down that the end product is just one lousy mess.

The real problem with the figure is in the construction (probably from the bad mold I just described). It’s most evident in the robot mode. Most of the joints are way too loose, especially in the legs. The arms ain’t much better. Supposedly, this figure was already delayed because of serious issues with the shoulder joints. Takara recalled the figure from the retailers, and they went back to the factory to be repaired. I don’t know, in the end they’re still kinda bad. I would hate to see how this was before the repairs. In robot mode, this figure does not feel like a cohesive whole in the least. The overall design also don’t help matters. This mold was meant to be for the standard Seekers, and modifying it for Conehead Seekers feels like a tacked on design choice. The head transformation is bizarre. The jet nosecone kind of just hangs off the back of the robot mode, and there’s nowhere to plug it like the standard Seekers. Coneheads have their wings on their legs, and doing that in this mode, the robot mode looks too bulky below the waist. Combine that with the awful construction and you get one jumbled disarray of a figure. Takara took the cheap route and decided to rework an existing mold. They should have re-designed the Coneheads from the ground up.

I do like MP Ramjet’s alt mode. It looks show accurate. Some of the transforming mechanism is worthy of recognition. I like how the missiles cover over the guns. Some of the wing and thrusters additions are quite neat. Everything else is what you have seen before. Below are some pics of the alt mode, since this is the better mode.

With Classic Ramjet

MP Ramjet is not at all recommended. The nice alt mode is not enough to save it from the painfully crappy robot mode. And when I think that I paid $179.99, it really hurts. You may want to consider ToyWorld Combuster (or Jets) if you are in the market for a MP sized Ramjet.

To this day I still don’t have a 2nd generation MP Starscream. I missed out on MP-11 when it was first released, and I never found the TRU exclusive US version in store. But I got a MP-11 re-issue on pre-order. I sincerely hope that this re-issue will be better built. Though I have heard that the TRU version is horribly flawed in construction… so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Third Party

The first of two awesome 3P figures this month is ToyWorld Muddy, their homage to Sludge. Just like Iron Dreg last month, I also bought Muddy on sale, and he was shipped to me this month. Out of the 4 TW dinos that I now have, Muddy is my favorite. This may be because I never had a Sludge figure. But Muddy is genuinely impressive. The dino mode is fantastic. I love how he looks as a brontosaurus. In robot mode he looks cool too. I had reservations at first, because I thought having the dino front legs hiding in the wings in robot mode would look weird. But having the figure in hand, it really doesn’t look bad at all. And because of that design, the transformation from dino to robot works really well. He’s fun to pick up and play. The transformation is not difficult by any means, but at the same time complex enough for older collectors. One common gripe among fans is that his sword is too small. Yes that is a legitimate complaint, but seeing as how it’s made to compact itself into the neck in dino mode, I’m willing to give TW a pass. Having room to account for all accessories in every mode is always a plus in my book. Like I said already, I think Muddy is the best TW Dinobot out of the 4 that I have. Corelock (Grimlock) has an awesome T-Rex mode, but his robot mode leaves a bit to be desired. Roar (Snarl) is a good figure, but his tail keeps coming off during transformation. And as for Iron Dreg (Slag), it feels like TW didn’t update him enough for today’s standards. Muddy is the only one out of the four where I don’t detect any obvious weaknesses. I like both his modes, he’s well built, transformation is fun, and he’s a good modern update that will do Sludge proud. Muddy is a figure that belongs in your collection.

I reserved the best for last. My fellow TransFans… I am proud to give you (drum roll please)… Carry! Yeah, that name doesn’t do it for me either. But this figure takes 3P TF engineering to new levels. Carry is a homage to Rodimus Prime by DX9. I touched on this figure when I did my purchase post for June 2016 (pictured with Alpha Pack). Hasbro/Takara has given us only one Masterpiece Rodimus Prime figure (MP-09). That figure was met with mixed reactions from fans. Earlier in 2016 there was a MP release for Hot Rod. This figure is awesome, but it’s Hot Rod and not Rodimus Prime. So there is certainly room on my shelf for a 3P Rodimus Prime in MP scale. DX9 answered the call… and the result is amazing. Both modes are great representations of Rodimus in Prime form. He scales nicely with other MPs. Construction of the figure is nothing short of superb. And the transformation engineering of this figure is where DX9 Carry really shines. It is times like these that I wish I did video reviews, because writing about the transformation really does not do it justice. DX9 implemented some very clever mechanisms in the way that Carry converts from vehicle to robot and back. The process is smooth and fluid. The mechanics proceed logically from one step to the next. The transformation is complex yet intuitive. There are lots of steps in the process, but you really don’t feel stuck at any one time in the overall paradigm. He’s a great figure to just pick up and play, and at the same time there’s enough going on that this figure easily classifies as MP. And unlike MP Rodimus Prime, Carry is able to transform from robot to truck without external attachments. The entire truck is wholly contained within the figure. And what’s more amazing is the size differential between robot and alt mode. Carry in alt mode is only about voyager size, but in robot mode he is fully MP size. Some fans have complained that he’s too small in alt mode, but I see this more as testament to the great engineering of the figure. Another minor nitpick from some fans is how his wings appear in robot mode. Personally it doesn’t bother me. Carry comes with a Targetmaster figure. This fig is ok, but in gun mode he can be too heavy for Carry to hold properly. I don’t think of Rodimus Prime as a Targetmaster anyway, so I usually have Carry use some other weapon. The rifle from CW Silverbolt is a good substitute. I got Carry on sale at $129.99, but even at the full retail of $169.99, he’s worth every penny. I give Carry the highest possible recommendations.

Arise, Rodimus Prime

Since there are so many TFs this month, I thought it would be fun to take some group pics. Check them out below! (And like I mentioned already above, no pics of Stripes. He’s coming next month… promise.)

The Autobots:

The Decepticons:

Titans have returned! Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Do Not Buy From eBay Sellers in China!

March 31st, 2017 No comments

Today I’m going to share some of my recent eBay experiences. Specifically, I’m talking about buying from eBay sellers located in China. The title pretty much says it all. But if you’re curious and want to learn more details, read on.

I usually buy from respectable online TF retailers that specialize in Transformers and it’s third party variants. Most of them are based in the United States. Some based in Japan. If you’re reading this post, you know who they are and I don’t need to list them. Every once in a while, I find out about a good figure after it’s been all sold out at my usual online retailers. It is times like these that I turn to eBay.

I’ve been an eBay user since the late 90s. Sure, I recall several times when I had an issue buying. One time I didn’t receive a $10 video game that I won (FYI… this seller had excellent communication, and he swears he sent it… it was only $10 so I chalked it up to bad luck). And there was another time where the seller possibly shipped it to the wrong address (which I got a full refund from eBay). But out of the hundreds of times I bought items on eBay, those were the only 2 complications. Neither of them felt like scams, and more like honest mistakes. My hundreds of transactions include both US and international, including China. No issues whatsoever, other than the 2 I just listed. I have come to trust eBay as a reliable source. That is, until recently.

In Oct of 2016, I decided to get a knock off MP Starscream, I think from KBB. I heard that the official MP-11 Starscream is extremely poor in terms of build quality, and that a KBB knock off might actually be better. I found a eBay seller from China selling this buy-it-now for about $58. The seller has perfect 100% positive ratings, with about 200+ ratings. So I buy it. In a few days I received a tracking number. When I try to track it, the site says “waiting for the item to reach our warehouse”, or something to that effect. The site will state too that it’s a valid tracking number. About a month goes by, and the tracking is stuck in that state. Contacts with the seller went ignored. That’s when I contact eBay. And looking at the seller ratings at a month later, it is now filled with negatives for the month before. This seller is now banned from eBay. I got a full refund.

I figured that was just bad luck, so around Feb this year I tried again. This time I was looking for Unique Toys Buzzing/Runman (their homage to Blurr). It’s sold out on all my usual sites. And once again, I found a different eBay seller in China, asking buy-it-now for about $84. Again, this guy has all 100% positive ratings, with close to 200 ratings. I buy it and get a tracking number. This time, the tracking seemed legit (initially anyway). It tracked its location in China, and that it got onto a flight headed towards the US. After nearly 2 weeks, tracking shows that it arrived at an airport in the US. But that’s where things got stuck. 3 weeks go by, and it’s still the same status. And once again, contacts with the seller goes ignored. So I contact eBay and get my full refund. This seller is still active on eBay. Seller ID: wanli-chengke. eBay hasn’t banned him yet, but he’s racked up close to 40 negatives in the past month.

So this seems to be a trend. Buying from China on eBay used to be ok. eBay sellers in China dealing in TF products are not to be trusted today. This post is not a commentary against eBay, but sellers doing business on eBay in China. I won’t buy from them again until I see hard evidence that this trend is reversed. And I do think eBay could do more to police this.

In summary, I urge everyone to not use eBay to buy items based in China. These scams can only go on for so long before buyers wise up. Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Titans Return Trypticon with Metroplex

March 17th, 2017 No comments

Quick post today. A few weeks ago I made a post about the upcoming Titans Return Trypticon. If you’re wondering how he scales with Metroplex, here’s a pic.

If you ask me, that’s pretty darn good. Can’t wait for Trypticon to be released.

In other unrelated news, today is St Patrick’s Day. This is usually the day I take some shots of my green Transformers. Last time I did this was in 2015. I flaked on this last year, and unfortunately, I’m also too busy this year. I was gonna do it, and I made a list of my green TFs and everything. But life happens and other priorities got in the way.

Still, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy St Patrick’s Day. Celebrate responsibly! Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics, TF News

10 Starscream Quotes Useful in the Workplace

March 7th, 2017 No comments

Starscream is perhaps the most eloquent Transformer to ever grace the world of Cybertron. His combat abilities are near the top of the Decepticon ranks, but it’s his oratory skills that truly cement his place among the upper Deception echelon. Starscream could easily manipulate his way to leadership if Megatron wasn’t around.

The cunning Deception air commander has a bunch of famous quotes that you can use in your everyday work life, especially if you want to play the game of office politics. I have compiled 10 such lines and they appear below in no particular order. Use them to your advantage.
 

“It’s time for action, not words! I am the leader of the future!”
Source: Transformers (1984), More Than Meets the Eye Part 3
Context: Starscream calls for a change in Decepticon leadership. But of course Megatron would have none of it.
When to use: Management loves to promote employees who appear to be proactive. Remember, they keyword here is appear. When the opportunity presents itself, show your enthusiasm and utter this line, loud and clear. Let your superiors know that you can take charge, and that everything will get done when you’re on top of it. Management loves that, because now they think they don’t have to do a thing, like they lazy asses that they are.
 

“Faster, you malingering peasants!”
Source: Transformers (1984), A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur’s Court
Context: Starscream orders his human slaves to work faster on a electric dynamo.
When to use: Your slacker subordinates are working too slowly and making you look bad for being in charge. Now is the time for this quote. Crack that whip hard to get these good-for-nothings back to productivity.
 

“Do I have a second on that?”
Source: Transformers the Movie (1986)
Context: Starscream, being the opportunistic weasel that he is, saw a chance to overthrow a seriously injured Megatron by suggesting all near-death Decepticons be jettisoned into space so the healthy Decepticons can save themselves. He then proceeds to lobby for agreement, knowing full well he would get the support he needs.
When to use: Office politics is all about timing and alliances. When the opportunity is right, suggest something that will advance your position, whatever the situation. Then use this quote to get your office allies to back up said suggestion and carry the motion forward. Or you can just use the line to help yourself to a second helping of paid office lunches.
 

“You scratch my back, I scratch yours.”
Source: Transformers Prime (2011), Sick Mind
Context: Starscream approves of a plan where he and Knockout will mutually benefit. Megatron is stuck in stasis, and Starscream wants nothing more than to permanently deactivate him. Knockout, using his position as chief surgeon, will make a false recommendation that Megatron cannot be saved. When Starscream becomes leader, he agrees to promote Knockout as his second-in-command.
When to use: Having allies in the office is of extreme importance, as suggested in the last quote. The best way to build allies is to do something mutually beneficial. When the opportunity arises, take an action that will help your ally, or elicit help now for a returned favor in the future. Then use this line to seal the deal, ensuring that this action does not go overlooked.
 

“You would be supreme!”
Source: Transformers (1984), Auto Berserk
Context: A circuit-crossed Red Alert becomes super paranoid and thinks the Autobots are out to get him. Starscream saw this as an opportunity to advance is own personal gain. He would temporarily ally with Red Alert, and to do that Starscream told Red Alert everything he wanted to hear.
When to use: Kissing a little ass never hurts anyone. There are many perks to being well liked in the office, and the key to popularity is to let everyone else presume you think they’re wonderful, even if in fact you don’t. Flattery would get you everywhere. Unless of course someone is sucking up to you, in which case you should…
 

“Ah, flattery will get you flattened, vermin…”
Source: Beast Wars (1997), Possession
Context: Starscream’s ghost has possessed Waspinator. Starscream/Waspinator cleverly retorts an insult made by Rattrap.
When to use: Office workers that do no work but excel at kissing ass needs to be put in their place. When slacking brown nosers pay you any kind of bogus compliment, offer up this quote and then proceed to double down on their workload.
 

“You’re supposed to know everything. What are those?!”
Source: Transformers (1984), S.O.S. Dinobots
Context: Dinobots make their debut for the first time and surprises the Decepticons. Starscream mockingly asks Megatron for the identity of their new enemy.
When to use: Sometimes, to make yourself look good, you have to make others look bad. This line could be directed at anyone, including your boss, another authority figure, or simply a co-worker you hate. When your target is caught in a moment of weakness in front of a group, deliver this quote to sting that person good. For example, let’s say your boss is giving a presentation, and someone asked a question that s/he cannot answer. Quickly spew out this line to shine light on their stupidity and inflict maximum damage.
 

“I hear this is where all the idiots hangout.”
Source: Transformers Fall of Cybertron (2012), Chapter 11 Starscream’s Betrayal
Context: A group of Decepticon drone soldiers are talking smack about Starscream behind his back. Of course Starscream is hiding and heard everything. He mocks them before he effortlessly destroys them all.
When to use: This is the perfect line to use when you have caught a bunch of lazy co-workers gathered somewhere, slacking off on company time. Alternatively, offer up this quote next time you enter a board meeting. Make it clear to the useless board members what you really think of them, before you take over the company and fire all their sorry asses.
 

“Don’t start with me, woman!”
Source: Transformers Animated (2008), A Bridge Too Close Part 1
Context: Starscream is addressing Seekers cloned from himself. Slipstream, the only female clone, continuously barrages the original host with sarcastic and witty comments. Starscream has had enough and he makes his dissatisfaction perfectly clear.
When to use: When a female coworker causes you office displeasure by belittling you, such as questioning your authority or second guessing your decisions, it is time to let this quote fly. If you are of the fairer sex, then using this shouldn’t cause any issues, other than hurt feelings. The rest of you needs to tread carefully, however. Make sure no one else is within earshot, and that you’re not recorded. You could face possible HR disciplinary action at best, and a sexual harassment suit at worst.
 

“I’m stupid! I’m stupid!”
Source: Transformers (1984), Triple Takeover
Context: Megatron was about to destroy Starscream for his treachery. A humbled Starscream begs for mercy while admitting stupidity.
When to use: If/When you are about to be fired for using any of these quotes in the manner suggested (especially that last one), quickly whip out this line to feign inferiority to your superiors. A little groveling never hurts anyone. Get on your hands and knees and bow down repeatedly for full effect.
 

Here are usable workplace quotes by other famous Transformers:

Lord Starscream commands you to… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Top Ten