Transformers Purchased in September 2017

August 12th, 2018 No comments

A very modest number of TFs were acquired in September of 2017. And none of them were Decepticons. Autobots, roll!

  • Titans Return Hot Rod, amazon.com, $9.99

  • The Last Knight Drift, Walmart, $15.83

  • The Last Knight Bumblebee, Walmart, $15.83

Hot Rod

TR Hot Rod was already first acquired back in Dec of 2016. So why did I buy this a second time? In the post for Dec 2016, I mentioned that I broke off the head connection mechanism while removing Firedrive from Hot Rod on the very first transformation attempt. Read that post for all the details and for my thoughts on the figure. But suffice it to say I don’t like having broken Transformers in my collection. And at less than $10, I felt justified in getting another Hot Rod. He is the star of the G1 Movie, after all. I took care not to break the connection mechanism this time.

The packaging arrived in less than perfect condition, as you can clearly see in the above pic. I would definitely file a complaint with Amazon if my intention was to keep this figure mint on the card. But I planned to open this, and at less than $10, it’s not really worth my time.

Drift

The Last Knight figures continue with Drift. AoE gave us a very good Deluxe class Drift, one of my few favorites from that line. So how does TLK Drift fare? Overall, he’s not bad. In robot mode, he’s got decent articulation and his proportions are well balanced. The iconic twin swords are on full display here. This Drift is colored mostly red in robot mode, and that’s quite a departure from the blue AoE Drift.

TLK Drift in an action pose.

Close up shot. Pretty good face sculpt. Drift has got the full samurai motif going on, from the samurai face plate to the samurai shoulder pads. Notice the Mercedes logo on the center of the chest. Drift is luxury class samurai… no ghetto swordsman here.

Backview of TLK Drift. Notice he has twin shorter swords, stored on his back over the shoulders. So this guy comes with a total of 4 blades. Very, very cool.

In TLK, Drift transforms into a Mercedes, while in AoE he was a Bugatti. Transformation to car mode is completely different from AoE. In AoE, the front of the vehicle transforms into the chest, while in TLK it transforms into the feet. I won’t describe the rest of it too much since the transformation is not that complicated and not terribly original.

In alt mode, he’s mostly black, with just a touch of red on the very bottom of the vehicle. He looks good as a Mercedes, though I still prefer it if he was a Bugatti. Below is a shot of TLK and AoE Drift side by side.

All in all, I like this Drift. I think AoE Drift is still better, but TLK Drift has got some nice features going on too. Recommended.

Bumblebee

We really don’t need any more Movie-verse Bumblebees. But I suppose the execs at Hasbro just love pumping out more of the one Transformer character that even the most casual of fans can identify by name. This is the second Deluxe class Bumblebee figure in the TLK line. I passed on buying the first one, which was just a repaint of AoE Deluxe class Bumblebee. This second one is a brand new mold.

Word has it that this new TLK Bumblebee is a mass retail toy representation of Masterpiece Movie Bumblebee (MPM-3). I can neither confirm nor deny that assertion, since I don’t have MPM-3. And I’m not gonna pay about $100 to find out. From what I know, the overall transformation schema is the same. But TLK Bee is obviously smaller. I will also guess that the materials used are cheaper and the mechanical complexity is toned down.

In robot mode, TLK Bee looks good. I like the details on the figure. Compared to previous deluxe Movie Bumblebees, TLK Bee appears more show accurate.

TLK Bee is capable of some fairly dynamic poses since he’s pretty well articulated. He comes with a gun-arm accessory, which he uses in the shot below. This can be used on either arm. However, the arm does need to be removed to attach the gun-arm.

I should point out that the construction of TLK Bumblebee is not the best. The feet pieces are quite loose. The hip joints are a bit loose too. The result is that it’s difficult to stand the figure. While TLK Bee is capable of a wide range of poses, he cannot hold it because of the weak construction.

Close up shot of TLK Bee. The face sculpt is quite good, and I like that the eyes are painted blue. I believe the Autobot logo on the forehead is painted on. In this pic below it looks a bit sloppy since it’s totally magnified, but under the naked eye it actually looks quite good. I commend Hasbro for including this bit of detail.

Transformation to alt mode is a completely new design. Like I said, I don’t know how much of this is borrowed from MPM-3, but for a deluxe class mass retail toy it’s definitely cool. From a engineering perspective, I rate this deluxe Bumblebee second among all the deluxe Movie Bumblebees. And if you’re wondering who gets first honors, it’s Battle Blade Bumblebee from Revenge of the Fallen, Hunt for the Decepticons subline.

In alt mode, TLK Bee has black coloring painted over the hood and roof. All the Movie deluxe Bumblebees has been pretty good in alt mode, and TLK Bee is no exception.

The gun-arm accessory can be attached in alt mode, but it looks quite silly.

Underside of the vehicle.

All in all, this Bumblebee is good, but just short of great. I would give it much higher recommendation if the build and construction had no issues. But as is, I would still get it. It’s without a doubt one of the better deluxe Bumblebees made. I don’t think you would be missing out on too much if you passed on this, especially if you already have too many Movie Bumblebees taking up precious shelf space. But I would definitely get this Bee over many others that have been made in the Movie-verse.

Here is a pic of Drift, Bumblebee, and Hound, all from The Last Knight.

Autobots, Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in August 2017

August 1st, 2018 No comments

Some very good items were purchased in August of 2017.

  • Optimus Prime Autobot Legacy 2-Pack (Amazon Exclusive), amazon.com, $29.99

  • The Last Knight Hound, Walmart, $26.86

  • ToyWorld Assault, Combuster, Requiem, tfsource.com, $159.99

Optimus Prime and Orion Pax

I’m not sure what is the official name of this 2-Pack. This Amazon exclusive is officially listed on their website as Optimus Prime Autobot Legacy 2-Pack. I have seen it listed elsewhere as the Optimus Prime Evolution Pack. There is also the name of Transformers Tribute written on the upper left corner of the box. And I’m not sure if this falls under Titans Return, Power of the Primes, or something else. But whatever it’s called, it’s a good 2-Pack to have.

Both figures in the set are repaints. As of this writing, I have not opened the set. The Optimus Prime figure is a repaint of War For Cybertron Optimus Prime. I see some minor paint app differences between this release and the WFC figure, and I’m gonna assume everything else is the same. Do not underestimate the complexity of this deluxe figure. If I am to compile a top 10 most difficult Transformers list today, this figure would easily make the list. The Orion Pax figure is a repaint of Titans Return Kup. This is an excellent mold to be re-used as Orion Pax.

Buy this set if you don’t have either of the figures used as the base for the repaint. But even if you do, this set is still worth getting. There has not been that many Orion Pax figures made. Not counting this one, I only recall two others. One in Generations Thrilling 30, and another as the base figure in the Leader Class Evolution Optimus Prime that will be released in the Power of the Primes line. This 2-Pack adds another Orion Pax to your collection and that alone is worth the price of admission.

Hound

This is my second figure from The Last Knight. TLK gave us another excellent Hound figure, after the superb Hound we got from Age of Extinction.

The figure comes packed in robot mode. In this mode, he’s a bit stocky, but that may more accurately reflect his movie proportions. Arm articulation is decent, but there’s not that much going on in the head, chest, or legs. The front wheels of the vehicle mode transforms into the feet. This makes standing the figure somewhat challenging. Not impossible, but you will have to balance Hound just right if you want to get him into any kind of action pose.

He comes with five pieces of weapons: 2 pistols, 2 heavy rifles, and 1 weapons connector type thing. There are many ways to assemble and configure this assortment.

Transformation of TLK Hound is where this figure truly shines. The overall transformation mechanism is one of the most unique I have seen in some time. I mentioned that the feet becomes the front wheels, but worth mentioning are other engineering feats besides the feet (pun intended). The legs collapse in an impressive way too complicated to explain in words. The arms are placed bent in alt mode and it works. The entire package is well constructed. When done right, the alt mode feels like a cohesive whole.

TLK Hound looks a bit different from AoE Hound in alt mode. I don’t know if either is movie accurate, and I won’t bother looking into it because both movies pretty much suck. AoE Hound is more of a van, while TLK Hound is more of a pick-up truck with a scary big missile launcher attached on top of the bed. TLK Hound is in a lighter shade of green, which seems a bit more movie accurate as far as I know.

TLK Hound appears below with other TLK figs Barricade, Drift, and Bumblebee.

Overall, I like TLK Hound. The transformation is unique, and the alt mode comes together well. TLK Hound doesn’t sport as many weapons as his AoE counterpart, but what’s there is more than sufficient.

I should note that the Japanese version of this figure comes with a riot shield. And I’m guessing the shield goes over the bed of the truck in alt mode. But since I don’t have that version, I’m not able to say if that significantly enhances TLK Hound in any way.

Some will inevitably ask which is the better Hound. In my opinion, AoE Hound is superior. AoE Hound is sleeker looking, has more weapons, and a robot mode that is easier to stand on. But these two figures are different enough that comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. If you like movie figures, get them both.

Requiem, Assault, and Combuster

Every once in a while, you find a deal so awesome that you immediately jump on it’s purchase. That was the case with this set of Masterpiece style Conehead Seekers from ToyWorld. They usually retail for a bit over $100 each. So at $159.99 for the set of 3, I wasted no time clicking on that “Buy” button and made sure this online transaction entered the vendor’s system. This was a Labor Day sale. It didn’t take long before this set sold out at this amazing price.

I have documented my long and utter disappointment with the official MP Conehead Seekers, back in this post. So I won’t rant again here. The only thing worth repeating is that they suck, and no self-respecting TransFan should spend any of their hard earned money on such garbage. I have since sold MP Ramjet, and have been looking for 3rd party substitutes for the Coneheads. Thus I’ve had my eye on this set for some time now. Seeing this spectacular deal, I acted with haste.

My fellow TransFans, this is the set of MP Coneheads that you should have in your Decepticon forces. TW gave us a completely new design on MP Coneheads that has far surpassed all my expectations. I touched a bit on the sheer brilliance of these figures in this post about Decepticon air superiority, but some of that is worth repeating here. But before that, let’s take a look at the jet mode, which is what the figures come packed in.

ToyWorld Requiem (Dirge) in his beautiful jet mode.

ToyWorld Assault (Thrust) in his beautiful jet mode.

No scale issues with official MPs in jet mode.

Assault and Combuster in jet mode.

Now let’s look at the robot mode.

All 3 look excellent in robot mode. Nice and slender build, unlike the fat bulky MP Coneheads.

Each figure comes with 2 black display panels that can connect both vertically and horizontally. In these pics I am using all 6. They are also used in the pic above for Hound and the other cars.

In robot mode, the TW Coneheads are quite a bit taller than official MPs.

The TW Coneheads really deserve a review in a separate post, but I’m gonna give some quick thoughts here:

  • Both modes look good – no complaints from me as far as the appearance of both jet and robot modes; see the pics for yourself
  • Amazing build and construction – nice and tight joints, no quality issues here like the MP Seekers
  • Great materials used – these figures feel solid and heft, and by comparison the MP Seekers feel cheap and sloppy
  • Excellent design and engineering – an intuitive and enjoyable transformation that is many times superior to official MPs
  • Each figure comes with 2 black display panels – TW didn’t have to include this but it’s a great addition
  • Front landing gear of each jet and be hard to get out, but that’s a minor complaint
  • Requiem (Dirge) and Combuster (Ramjet) come with firing missiles – and they FIRE! Careful not to lose them, they shoot pretty far
  • Cockpits open in jet mode
  • No scale issues in jet mode with official MPs
  • In robot mode, TW Coneheads don’t scale so well; they are a tad taller than official MPs, which may be a turn off for some (see above pic)
  • When you have all three and assemble the boxes, they form a nice big image

There is much more I should mention about this set, but I’ll reserve that for my review. I give the TW Coneheads the highest possible recommendation, and that’s the bottom line. If you are looking for Masterpiece style Coneheads for your collection, look no further.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Before Carly 7

July 4th, 2018 No comments

Welcome to this special exciting installment of Before Carly, 4th of July Edition! 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. “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings,” and the babes below celebrate freedom on the 4th of July the best way they know how.

Hover the mouse over each girl’s name to see the name of the TF. Let freedom ring! Join Spike as he celebrates Independence Day with all the patriotic babes below.

Enjoy the pics.

Aimee Lest
Aimless

 

Missy Friar
Misfire

 

Debb Uru
Daburu

 

M. Ethel Houck
Metalhawk

 

Dae Euge
Deluge

 

Breanne Storm
Brainstorm

 

Flo Spade
Flowspade

 

Tae Al Gates
Tailgate

 

Rowe Barr
Rollbar

 

Shay D. Locke
Shadelock

 

You know you want more Before Carly…
Before Carly
Before Carly 2
Before Carly 3
Before Carly 4
Before Carly 5
Before Carly 6

Happy Independence Day! God Bless America!!! Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, Top Ten

Transformers Rub On Faction Decals, More Pics

June 30th, 2018 1 comment

I have previously reviewed these awesome faction rub on decals for your Transformers. Today I’m gonna show off some more pictures of them being used on my 3rd party and 4th party transforming figures.


Kubianbao MP-10V Optimus Prime – white backing
 


Mech Planet Hot Soldiers Bumblebee – clear backing
 


Fans Toys Mercenary – clear backing
 

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

Transformers Purchased in July 2017

June 26th, 2018 No comments

Only 2 Transformers were purchased in July of 2017. This is the lowest purchase count in a month since March of 2014. But what was lacking in quantity, this month makes up for in quality.

  • Titans Return Seaspray, Walmart, $9.84

  • Fans Toys Stomp, thechosenprime.com, $199.99

I already reviewed Titans Return Seaspray. He’s a terrific little figure that all G1-ers need in their collection.

Now let us focus on Stomp, a 3rd party Masterpiece interpretation of Dinobot Sludge. Stomp is produced by Fans Toys, and Fans Toys is probably the highest regarded 3rd party toy company in the TF fandom. And I’ll get straight to it: Stomp is an awesome figure! FT hit this one out of the park and delivered a MP Sludge figure that exceeded all expectations.

Stomp is the 4th Dinobot figure I have from FT. FT calls this line of figures the Iron Dibots. The first one I got was Scoria, their tribute to Slag. Scoria was pretty good for it’s time as the first MP style Dinobot by a 3rd party. But it is kind of lacking by today’s standards. And from a build and engineering perspective, Scoria was not without its issues. Many have complained about loose shoulder joints. Mine is ok, but I don’t like how Scoria’s hip joints droop down when the figure is picked up, because the weak hip joints cannot support the heavy die-cast legs. Next I got Sever (Snarl) and Soar (Swoop). These 2 were much better. I hold both of these in very high regard, close to TF perfection. Now I’m happy to add Stomp to the mix.

Like I mentioned already, Stomp is awesome, like his brothers Sever and Soar. Stomp deserves a review of its own, but I will mention here some quick points on why you need Stomp in your collection.

  • Look great in both modes! Robot mode is well proportioned, and dino mode is large and intimidating.
  • G1 accurate transformation. Sometimes 3P takes too many liberties in the way a figure transforms. I give that points for creativity, but some may consider it straying too far from the original source. Stomp’s transformation scheme is identical to that of G1 Sludge. Obviously it’s implemented with modern day engineering, which takes me to my next point…
  • Solid build and engineering. It seems that FT took all the lessons learned from the previous FT Iron Dibots, and improved on their design choices in how Stomp is constructed. The drooping hips/legs issue I mentioned for Scoria, none of that applies to Stomp. There is a spring tabbing mechanism that locks Stomp’s hips into place in robot mode. So despite the heavy legs, no drooping occurs. Bravo Fans Toys!
  • Quality materials used for the figure.
  • Comes with working LED blaster and sword.
  • Premium paint job.

There are other pros about the figure, but I’ll stop here. Check out some pics for yourself.

Stomp comes packaged in robot mode.

With his pal Soar.

Stomp in his awesome dino mode.

With his creator Wheeljack.

With ToyWorld Muddy.

Now I am debating if I should buy Fans Toys Grinder (Grimlock) to complete the set of FT Iron Dibots. I have MP Grimlock, but he’s too small when scaled next to the Iron Dibots. I can’t have have the leader of the Dinobots be the smallest one!

And I’m also considering getting the next evolution in Scoria, which is Perfect Fusion Cesium. As far as I know, Perfect Fusion is a spin-off sister company of Fans Toys. PF took everything wrong with Scoria, went back to the drawing board, and produced another version of MP-style Slag called Cesium that fixes everything wrong with Scoria. I am tempted to buy Cesium. However, in robot mode he seems to big. In fact, he is even a smidge taller than Grinder. For that reason I am hesitant. At $139.99, Cesium is a bit cheaper than the Iron Dibots (usual MSRP is $199.99). I may get him. Or not.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Titans Return Seaspray Quick Review

June 20th, 2018 No comments

All G1 TransFans need no introduction to Seaspray. He is perhaps the only Transformer ever to have a hovercraft alt mode (not counting characters that are repaints of Seaspray in any one of his toy molds). G1-ers also immediately recognize his unique gurgle speech.

Titans Return finally gave us a modern update of this famous Minibot.

Seaspray in modern form and holding true to his G1 aesthetics.

Back of Seaspray is pretty clean. No nasty kibble here.

Helmet is modeled after the G1 animation model, while the eyes are more G1 toy accurate. Probably a good thing, the Seaspray cartoon eyes on a toy might bug me.

Articulation is limited, but decent for a $10 figure.

Holding a random weapon that belongs to another Transformer. Big prizes to anyone out there hardcore enough to identify the weapon.

With G1 Seaspray.

Notice in the above 3 shots, Seaspray has a module attached to his chest. The module can be seen packaged in the upper right corner (first pic). I guess you can detach this for a more accurate animation look, or attach it to look more like the G1 toy. I’m not sure if there exist other reasons for this extra attachment.

Transformation from robot to hovercraft follows almost the exact same scheme as G1, so I won’t describe it too much. The only real difference is that, for the alt mode, the arms point backwards in TR, as opposed to forwards like in G1.

Rear view of the hovercraft. Those are working spinning propellers.

A Titan Master can ride inside in alt mode.

With G1 Seaspray.

Seaspray with his Season 2 Minibot cohorts in modern form.

Go Seaspray! Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

The Last Knight Nitro Quick Review

June 14th, 2018 No comments

Figures from The Last Knight are fairly unremarkable as a whole. But some stars stand out among all this mediocrity. Voyager class Nitro is one of them.

In the movie, his name is Nitro Zeus. For the toy, he’s just Nitro. I don’t know why the name is shortened. But he is one of the few figures you should have for your TLK collection.

Let’s take a look. I’m starting in robot mode because that’s how he’s packaged.

Nitro in your standard A stance.

He’s capable of some dynamic action poses.

Striking another pose.

Up close face shot.

A little known feature is that Nitro’s head can be removed, and any standard Titan Master can be inserted and used as the head. Here I have the head of Twin Twist on Nitro’s body. Why Hasbro saw fit to give us this feature in this TLK figure is a mystery, but I suppose it’s kind of a cool gimmick.

Rear view. He’s got some junk on him. I wish the rear tail fin hanging off his ass can be folded upwards towards his back.

Missiles on the top of the backpack can be removed.

Transformation to jet mode can be challenging for the casual TF fans out there. I have transformed Nitro to jet mode twice. On my first attempt, I needed the instructions. But even with that, the conversion process proved demanding. I remember having a hard time aligning the legs. On my 2nd attempt, it felt just as difficult, but in a different area. I had to resort to watching YouTube vids of other fans explaining the process. Turn out I had the shoulder of the jet nosecone arm configured directly reversed from how it should be. On yeah, Nitro is a non-symmetrical Transformer (like many of the motorcycle figures). I have always felt that non-symmetrical TFs are in general more difficult than symmetrical ones. If I was compiling a top 10 most difficult list today, I am really tempted to put Nitro on there.

When done right, Nitro is a fantastic looking jet. Look at the first pic below. Yes the transformation is hard, but the end result is so worth it. Everything comes together nicely. In fact, if something doesn’t come together nicely, you know you have done something wrong.

Jet looks beautiful from the rear.

A Titan Master can sit in the cockpit. Very cool. We already saw that Titan Masters can be used as heads in robot mode. Nitro can be a full fledged Titans Return figure if Hasbro chose to repaint the mold and include a repainted Titan Master.

Underneath the Jet. Nitro packs in rather well. Overall shape is clean without too much bulk.

Nitro with Studio Series Starscream. They are both Voyager class. Notice SS figs got much smaller, but that’s a topic for another day.

Hasbro saw fit to repaint this mold as Studio Series Thundercracker, SS-08. That was my final purchase from Toys R Us before it went belly up.

Go Nitro! Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

Transformers Purchased in June 2017

June 9th, 2018 1 comment

The purchases for June 2017 were all part of a single wave.

  • Titans Return Sergeant Kup, Target, $15.29

  • Titans Return Perceptor, Target, $15.29

  • Titans Return Topspin, Target, $15.29

  • Titans Return Quake, Target, $15.29

All figures are deluxe class, from Titans Return. All have Titan Masters that transform into the head (or Headmasters, if you prefer G1 terminology).

Kup

The last time we got a Kup figure in the CHUG-verse was back in 2011, so we are long overdue for an update. We already got updates to Hot Rod and Blurr in Titans Return, so Kup should come as no surprise.

I like TR Kup. For starters, this Kup has an alt mode that is most G1 accurate since the original G1 figure. I like the 2011 Generations Kup, but that figure’s alt mode did not resemble G1 Kup’s alt mode in the least. TR Kup has ample room up front to fit the Titan Master in vehicle mode, and the twin weapons can be stored on the bed of the pickup.

TR Kup offers one of the more refreshing transformations that we got in recent years for a retail deluxe figure. The leg transformation is worth mentioning. The truck side panels open up, and folds upward to form the legs. It’s very cool and very original. Arms are tucked behind the cab in alt mode. The cab area collapses on itself to form the torso in robot mode.

Fans will undoubtedly compare this Kup to 2011 Generations Kup. It’s hard to say which is superior. They each have their pros and cons. TR Kup has a more show accurate alt mode and an overall cleaner design. Generations Kup has a more show accurate head mold (since he’s not a Headmaster). Other aspects are up for debate. I would keep both Kups in my collection.

Perceptor

I think this may be the first time we got a Perceptor that transforms into a microscope since G1 (not counting G1 re-issues). In TR, Perceptor too is a Headmaster, but it doesn’t bother me.

I like the microscope alt mode. It doesn’t really look like a real microscope in my opinion, but the G1 toy had the same issue as well. I believe TR Perceptor has another alt mode where he’s a tank, with seat area for the Titan Master. I didn’t try this though.

Transformation to robot mode is fairly simple. If you look at the two pics, you can kinda see how he would transform. And you would be right. There aren’t any hidden surprises to this transformation. And that’s not a bad thing. Not every Transformer needs to have original engineering mechanisms. Sometimes sticking to the tried and true is best, if it’s executed well. Perceptor comes with a long rifle type weapon, complete with built-in gun rest. I think this totally works. In battle, I see Perceptor as the type that would stay back and pick off his enemies from long distance with extreme precision.

I would say this is the most show accurate G1-style Perceptor that we have got. For that reason, I recommend TR Perceptor. He is a bit flimsy in construction in my opinion, but nothing here is so bad that it’s a deal breaker. Fans would undoubtedly compare TR Perceptor with Generations Perceptor (who also was released at the same time as Generations Kup). TR Perceptor is way more show accurate, but there are things I like about Generations Perceptor too. They both have a place in your collection.

Topspin

TR Topspin is my favorite figure this month. I am not sure if Hasbro has released any direct updates to this character since G1. This may be the first time, and that’s a treat. Topspin and his near-identical clone Twin Twist were Jumpstarters in G1. The gimmick of this little known subgroup is that they have pull-back motors and they auto-transform. You start in alt mode, lay them on a flat surface, pull back, release, then watch them roll forward and automatically “jump” and transform into their robot modes. Yeah, it’s a crazy gimmick that only kids would dig, but it represents toy technology that was popular back in the 80s.

Because of this gimmick, the Jumpstarters had very simple transformations, even for G1 standards. There are really only two steps to the transformation: legs rotate forward by 180 degrees, and stand the figure. That’s it. Transformation is achieved automatically through the gimmick. I imagine modern day 2-Step Changers are highly similar, but I don’t have them so I can’t say for sure.

The Jumpstarters never got any love in the G1 cartoons. I imagine they were last minute additions in Season 2 in the toy line, so they got left out in the cartoon planning. The toys themselves were also forgettable to the more mature collectors. I’m gonna guess that, for these reasons, Hasbro never saw fit to update them. Until now.

And what a update it is. Using toy technology available today, Topspin is a very impressive figure from a engineering perspective. Yet he still retains that 80s futuristic and blocky robot aesthetics. This is definitely a figure catered to fans that grew up with robots in the 80s, and I commend Hasbro for giving us something so advanced and so nostalgic at the same time.

The Jumpstarters are supposed to be futuristic or Cybertronian in their alt modes. Topspin is a jet, while Twin Twist is a drill tank. The G1 toys were near clones of each other (think G1 Bumblebee and Cliffjumper), and in TR that still applies. I like Topspin’s alt mode. It’s unmistakably Topspin, there are no other alt modes that resemble this in the entire TF Universe. Colors and paint job are superb. A Titan Master can sit comfortably in the cockpit. The twin guns can be stored underneath the wings.

Transformation is where this figure truly shines. In G1 it was super simple, but in TR it is 10 times more advanced. The legs come apart where they are in alt mode, and then they are extended Combiners Wars style. Flip out the feet and collapse the rear leg panels. Fold the knee panels forward. Arms come out from the sides of the vehicle alt mode. Extend the arms and flip out the fists. Rotate the wings back. And here’s the part where it’s really cool: rotate the entire chest assembly 180 degrees, so the legs are now directed the other way. Open the cockpit and remove the Titan Master, then fold the front nose assembly into the cockpit area. Then close the cockpit. Rotate figure at the waist. Transform the Titan Master to head and insert. I’m glossing over the process very quickly, but you can already see it’s a pretty involved transformation for a retail deluxe figure. I wouldn’t say that it’s difficult by any means, but the number of steps required does surprise you. In some way I say this is the best kind of Transformer as a toy: involved enough for the mature collector, but not difficult or frustrating.

In robot mode, TR Topspin is a perfect homage to G1 Topspin. His overall appearance is trademark Topspin. Articulation of the figure is decent, and overall construction is solid. Topspin and Twin Twist both had very blocky heads in G1, so as Headmasters, it works. I cannot recommend this figure enough. Get yours now. You may have purchased Apex and Geminus by Mech Ideas. I like those figures too, but I would still get TR Topspin and Twin Twist if you got those 2. Mech Ideas and TR are separate efforts on updating the Jumpstarters, and both efforts have produced quality figures worthy of inclusion in your collection.

Quake

Kup, Perceptor, and Topspin were bought from Target on the same trip. I initially did not wanna buy Quake, because he’s a repaint of Titans Return Hardhead. And Quake is one of those repaints that make little sense. In G1, Quake’s tank mode is that of a modern day battle tank (Leopard 2), and this TR futuristic/Cybertronian tank mold used for Quake is unique to Hardhead. Plus Quake was a Targetmaster, not a Headmaster. Using this mold for Quake reeks of cash-grab desperation.

Still, the G1 purist in me got to me. I have G1 Quake, so I figured what the hell. One more repaint won’t hurt. So I went back to Target a few weeks later and obtained Quake. See my review of Titans Return Hardhead for my thoughts on this figure. I think Quake is a bit better constructed than Hardhead, at least on my copy. He doesn’t feel as flimsy.

I give Quake a mediocre rating. If you didn’t get Hardhead, or if you simply have a thing for Quake, then go ahead and buy this figure. Otherwise this is an optional purchase.

Below are group photos of all the purchases this month.

I should mention that there is another deluxe figure as part of this wave. That figure is Krok, a repaint of Skullsmasher. I was not terribly impressed with Skullsmasher, and I never even heard of Krok the character, so I left this on the shelf.

Grades for the month.

Recommended:

  • Topspin
  • Kup
  • Perceptor

Mediocre:

  • Quake

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Goodbye Toys R Us

June 7th, 2018 No comments

As a TF collector, it’s no accident that I would frequent Toys R Us. As of this writing, Toys R Us is no more in the United States. It’s sad to see the giant toy chain go under.

I moved to the Unites States in 1984. And on the very first ride from the airport to where we would live, I saw a giant Geoffrey sign right on the side of the highway. I didn’t know any English at the time, but I would very quickly learn later that it’s a toy store. And what a toy store it was. Coming from Taiwan, the toy stores at the time were all small mom-and-pops, or a small section in a department store. There was nothing in the scale of Toys R Us. First time I went into one, I found myself in complete shock and awe. Here I was in a store the size of a present day Walmart, with nothing but toys! God bless America!

Growing up in the 80s, I loved going to TRU. I don’t care how down I was. If my parents said we were going to TRU, that lifted my spirits almost immediately. I stopped playing with toys in the traditional sense starting in the late 80s, and moved on to video games. But this still made me visit TRU on occasion, going straight to their electronics section. In 2004, my interest in TF rekindled, and this only made the visits to TRU more frequent. As a TF hunter I made visits at least once a week. Sometimes twice a week. Especially if I’m bored at lunch (I’m lucky to always have a TRU store near work). Most of the time I wouldn’t find anything new. But that didn’t make me stop visiting. I’m filled with anticipation every time I hit up a TRU. In some ways I find the trips therapeutic. There has definitely been some days when work is pissing me off, and I needed a quick getaway from the office to recharge my batteries. A trip to TRU would always do the trick. I may not find anything, but for me, it’s calming just to be in the toy aisles, with nothing but me and my beloved Transformers.

As much as I love TRU, one thing I never liked about the store is that nothing is ever on sale. Sure they got “sales” every now and then, but it’s all the crap you don’t want. All the TF figures I bought there were all at regular price. If something was on sale, it’s only because it was shelf-warming for months and they had trouble moving the merchandise. It was the same for video games. Other retailers (like Target or Best Buy) would sometimes have real sales for just released games, and TRU never does. As time went, it was clear that TRU was not competitive in its pricing. In some ways the bankruptcy does not surprise me.

My daughter was born in late 2017. And upon hearing the store closure news in early 2018, I thought about taking her to TRU, so she could see it for the first and last time before it’s gone for good. When TRU had their inventory sale, I went on the first day of the sale by myself after work. It was such madhouse in the store that you could hardly get around the aisles. And the sales weren’t even that good. TRU was having a fire sale without the fire sale prices. The lone purchase I made for TF Studio Series Thundercracker was at regular price, and I only did so because that was a TRU exclusive. The checkout took forever, with so many shoppers. The store employees seemed less than helpful. They were either temps that knew nothing and were brought on board just to help with the sale, or long time staffers that appeared angry that the store is closing and not motivated to do their best work. I went back there the next day, trying to grab another Thundercracker for my buddy Gemini. It was all gone. There were even more shoppers, and I didn’t see any new sales. After these 2 trips, I decided not to take my daughter to TRU. The toy chain has such fond memories for me, but it’s not the same now. Fighting through the masses just to look at the store and not buy anything seems like a waste of time. She’s not gonna remember this anyway.

In 2017, I bought some items from TRU, but less than previous years. There was Stormshot in January and Sixshot in March. There was Roadburn in May, like I mentioned in my last post. Around July, my wife and I happened to be near a TRU, so I decided to stop by to look for some TFs. I found nothing. But we happened to wonder into the electronics section, and we saw that they had 2 units of Nintendo Switch! The Switch was rare at the time, so I got one along with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In December I made 2 purchases online from toysrus.com, for Titans Return Arcee and Grotesque. And around March of this year, I made the purchase for Thundercracker that I already mentioned. These were my last purchases at Toys R Us.

Toys R Us’s demise is a perfect storm of changing shopping trends coupled with its own failure to evolve. My very first TF purchases in 2004 were online from Toys R Us, but fulfilled through Amazon. I know they had tried to do their own online operations before that, but failed horribly and had to resort to using Amazon. It was too late by the time TRU got their online act together. By then they had already racked up massive debt. Older toddlers were also playing with electronic app based games in addition to traditional toys. And I already mentioned their non-competitive pricing. None of this is a recipe for success.

It’s unclear to me what this will do to all the Toys R Us stores around the world. I know all stores are closing in the UK. I’m glad I was able to see a Paris store and a Shanghai store. I regret not going to a store in Sydney, but the current rumors are that Toys R Us will stick around in Australia.

Goodbye Toys R Us. When life kicked me down, you were there to pick me up.

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Transformers Purchased in May 2017

May 26th, 2018 No comments

Repaints and more repaints! That is the theme this month. There were 7 TFs purchased in May of 2017, and 5 of them were repaints.

I never kept stats on how many repaints there are in a month, but I can’t remember one that was this high. 5 out of 7… that’s more than 70%. Hasbro is being plenty lazy here, but perhaps I’m the sucker for buying so many.

Below I proudly present the TFs where most of these molds has been previously used on a different figure.

  • Titans Return Blitzwing, Target, $24.99

  • Titans Return Octone, Target, $24.99

  • Titans Return Brawn, amazon.com, $9.99

  • Titans Return Roadburn, Toys R Us, $9.99

  • Robots in Disguise Skywarp, Walmart, $14.97

  • Masterpiece Megatron MP-36, amiami.com, ¥17280 (about $159.09)

  • Masterpiece Starscream MP-31, amiami.com, ¥9770 (about $89.95)

Blitzwing and Octone

Blitzwing needs no introduction. As perhaps the most famous Triple Changer in TF history, Blitzwing saw plenty of action in G1, including the G1 Movie. Even casual TransFans could identify both his alt modes: a MiG-25 jet fighter and a Type 74 battle tank. Titans Return Blitzwing is a repaint of Titans Return Megatron. Or to be more precise, Megatron is a “prepaint” of Blitzwing.

In my opinion, TR Blitzwing is way better than Generations 30 Blitzwing. I enjoy the transformation of TR Blitzwing. All 3 modes look pretty good, and it doesn’t have the famous construction issue that Gen 30 Blitzwing had.

It feels weird to write Octone. His name should really be Octane, the fuel truck and fuel jet Triple Changer that came about in G1 Season 3. Titans Return Optimus Prime is a prepaint of Octone.

In the early years of the Generations line, Hasbro released a deluxe version of Octane called Tankor. That figure was really not that good. TR Octone is leaps and bounds superior to Tankor. And just like Blitzwing, all 3 modes are pretty good. There isn’t one mode that is obviously inferior to the rest, like many other attempts at Triple Changers. I commend Hasbro for coming up with modern Triple Changers where all the modes are properly represented.

G1 purists will no doubt argue that Blitzwing and Octane were never Headmasters. They would be right, but I don’t think it’s such a big deal.

Hasbro did make enough mold changes to Blitzwing and Octone that buying these repaints feels a bit more justified. If you didn’t purchase TR Optimus or Megatron, then there is no reason to not buy these 2. But even if you did, I still recommend them. The molds here were always meant for these 2 characters. Sell off Prime and Megs and put Octone and Blitzwing in your collection if you have a no-repaint rule.

Brawn

Brawn is one figure that uses a brand new mold this month. I have a quick review for him here. He is most definitely recommended.

Roadburn

I don’t think there was a character named Roadburn in G1 (though it won’t surprise me if I’m wrong on this). Instead, I think this character is meant to be Chase, a member of the Throttlebots. Roadburn’s color scheme and head mold is a dead on for Chase. I have G1 Throttlebot Chase. I also have ToyWorld’s MP scale interpretation of Chase, called Trace. My Chase collection is now complete with the acquisition of Roadburn. This totally unknown character deserves his 15 minutes of fame. Maybe I will do a separate collection post dedicated to Chase.

Anyways, Roadburn is a repaint of Titans Return Bumblebee. Roadburn has a different head mold, but that’s the only mold difference. Read the post on Bumblebee for my thoughts on this figure. If Chase the character means something to you, then go ahead and get this figure. Otherwise it is a skip. This figure really doesn’t offer anything that hasn’t been done before.

It should also be noted that Roadburn is one of my last in-store Transformer purchase from Toys R Us before the giant toy chain went under in early 2018. I started to write about my thoughts on TRU here, but then it got so long I realized it should get its own post. So that’s what I’ll do. A “farewell to TRU” post is coming soon.

Skywarp

Robots in Disguise Skywarp is a figure I debated about buying. I saw him on the shelves in late April or early May and decided to skip it. He is an exact repaint of RiD Starscream, which I have. I like the figure, but it’s not worth buying again in a different color.

About a week or two goes by, and I gave in to my urges and bought Skywarp. I guess it’s because I like Skywarp the character, I like the figure in the black and purple color scheme, and there was really nothing else to buy (I was not counting on the two MP figs to arrive later in the month). Read the RiD Starscream post for a more detailed discussion about the figure. Skywarp is solid, but not a required purchase by any means.

Starscream

What can I say about MP Starscream that hasn’t already been said? The mold used for this figure has been around for so long and Takara is still abusing it. What I have here is the official 2017 re-issue of MP-11. I’m fortunate enough that my Starscream doesn’t seem too bad, but it comes as no surprise that many fans report inferior construction quality with this figure (loose joints, weak tabs, etc).

I got this re-issue because, up until this point, I don’t have the famous Decepticon Aerial Commander in the newer MP Seeker mold. I have MP-3 Starscream, but that was done in the older MP Seeker mold (with the side skirts, among other things). It’s a crime not to have Starscream updated, so when I saw this re-issue, I bought it. Though, now in 2018 as I write this, 3Ps are doing their own MP style Starscream that appears to be superior (one example is MakeToys Meteor). So in retrospect, maybe I should not have bought this MP-11 re-issue, especially considering the questionable build quality.

MP-11 with MP Thundercracker and MP Skywarp. MP Thundercracker is in the new Seeker mold like the MP-11, while MP Skywarp is in the old Seeker mold like MP-3.

MP-11 in full coronation gear.

It should be noted that having the figure stand with the coronation gear is pretty difficult. It takes forever to position it so Starscream doesn’t fall ass backwards when wearing the full gear. Another reason to not get MP-11.

Megatron

I saved the best for last. Here we have the big prize of the month – Masterpiece Megatron, designation MP-36! This is the other figure having a new mold this month. Much like MP Optimus Prime that was first released as MP-1, then later got an improved but smaller version of MP-10, Megatron first received the MP treatment back in 2007 with MP-5. Now 10 years later, he is getting an updated version as MP-36, and he is meant to scale with MP-10.

MP-36 Megatron is a fantastic looking figure. Imagine if Megatron stepped out of the G1 cartoons and became a solid, tangible figure. That is how MP-36 looks. Take a look at the pics below. I cannot say enough about the show accuracy of this Megatron. He really is something to behold.

Back view. The upper back is a bit messy, but nothing I can’t live with.

Construction of MP-36 is superb. All joints are tight and clicky. No cosmic rust syndrome here.

MP Megs with the famous MP-10. Look how well they scale together.

MP Megs with his top MP lieutenant.

MP Megs up close and personal.

Look at all these accessories!

Obviously I never even took these out of the box. There’s a lot here to accessorize the Decepticon leader with. Other than the scope / fusion cannon, included are:

  • The silencer
  • The stock
  • 3 alternate face plates
  • Key to Vector Sigma
  • Energy sword (appears in the epic fight with Optimus Prime in the G1 Movie)
  • Pistol (also in the same fight)
  • Damaged chest plate (as a result of same fight with Prime)
  • Energy ball and chain (during fight with Optimus Prime, in Ep2 of More Than Meets The Eye, which he only used once ever)
  • Helmet (used in some Ep in G1 that I no longer recall)

I’m ashamed to say that, even after having this figure for about a year, I still not have transformed it. It’s not that I don’t want to. I took a quick look at the instructions, and it is more than daunting. This figure could very well make it into a top most-difficult list (btw, I really need to update that post and make a 2018 edition). I promise I will transform MP-36 soon.

Grades for the month:

Recommended:

  • TR Blitzwing
  • TR Octone
  • TR Brawn
  • MP Megatron

Mediocre:

  • TR Roadburn
  • RiD Skywarp

Not recommended:

  • MP Starscream

Again, TR Brawn and MP-36 Megatron are the only new molds in this list of Transformers. All others are repaints, and their purchase is at your discretion.

The Decepticons far outnumber the Autobots this month. Poor Brawn and Roadburn… these 2 tiny Autobots had better get back to headquarters and rustle up a few more friends (G1-ers will recognize this reference from Fire on the Mountain).

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics