Masterpiece Optimus Prime and Autobots

February 7th, 2018 No comments

I love the Masterpiece line of Transformers. Takara has done so many characters now. Some of the MP interpretations of Autobots from Season 1 are still my favorites. Below I have pics of MP Optimus Prime with different teams of Autobots, ready to roll out and kick some Decepticon butt!

Team 1 was already featured back in this post. I kept Prime and swapped in some other MP Autobots for Team 2.
 

Team 1

 

Team 2

 

Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: Pics

Broken Toys! 10 of My Damaged Transformers

February 1st, 2018 No comments

I have a lot of Transformers. I do play with them, and I try to be as careful as I can be when transforming them. But when you have as many as I do, you’re bound to break some. Occasionally the figures come broken (yes this has happened). Sometimes an inherent flaw in manufacturing or design lends the figure to breaking after only a few play.

Below are 10 of the figures from my collection where something has occurred to render them less than perfect. My heart breaks every time one of my Transformers breaks. Read on and see if you have mishandled any of these 10.
 

Brawl (Leader Class)
Series: Movie (2007)
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Ground Assault
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: Movie Deep Desert Brawl
Status: Returned to store; got replacement

The Figure:
Movie Leader Class Brawl is one of only few Leader Class figures I have from the entire Movie-verse. I highly recommend him. The robot mode is decent, but the tank mode is where this figure truly shines. He also has working lights and sounds, if that’s your thing.

The Incident:
First time I purchased this figure was from Toys R Us, and he was already broken out of the box. I documented this already, back in this post. There was a peg that came broken. It’s been more than 10 years now, so I don’t remember exactly which peg. But I think it was on the turret.

The Aftermath: I quickly returned Brawl to Toys R Us. I would have simply asked for a exchange, if they only had more of the figure. Since they didn’t, I asked for a refund and then bought it again on Amazon. And for cheaper too – looking up my old Amazon records, I re-purchased him for only $31.99! Can’t imagine getting a Leader Class figure for that price nowadays.
 

Samurai Prowl (Deluxe Class)
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Spy
Mode in Package: Motorcycle with Sidecar
Known Redecos: none
Status: Returned to store; no replacement

The Figure:
Samurai Prowl is one of the hardest figures to find from the Animated line. I was super thrilled when I found one on pure happenstance. He appeared on a TRU shelf when the TFA line of toys was officially over. I documented that purchase here and a review here.

The Incident:
I outlined how I damaged the toy in the review. Specifically, the connection between the motorcycle and the side car is broken. The whole thing happened in such a way that I didn’t even notice it when the breakage occurred. I have must broken it on the first transform from alt mode to robot mode, because I saw the breakage on the reverse transformation. I’m forced to think that connection must have been super brittle. However I haven’t seen any other documented cases of this, so it’s possible I was being too rough. Though that’s not like me at all – when it comes to my TFs I’m usually careful to a fault.

The Aftermath:
I wasn’t happy about the breakage at the time, and I don’t feel any better about it now. I returned the figure to TRU, because perhaps the TF OCD in me can’t stand to have broken figures in my collection. But like I said, this figure is hard to find. I only saw him one other time. It was at the dealer’s room at a BotCon. The dealer wanted $40 for it, and no way was I gonna pay that. Sad to say, I never saw the figure in store again. Checking on Amazon just now, the lowest price is around $100. In retrospect, maybe I should have just hung on to my broken Samurai Prowl, or spent the $40 at BotCon for another one.
 

Bumblebee (Deluxe Class)
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Speedster
Mode in Package: Car
Known Redecos: Elite Guard Bumblebee, Jetpack Bumblebee
Status: Damaged; got replacement

The Figure:
From one TFA figure we go to another. I got TFA Deluxe Bumblebee in a pack of 15 figures I bought used on Cragislist, something that I documented here. TFA figures as a whole don’t have the best construction. They often feel like cheap plastic cobbled together into a toy by ill-fitting ball joints. Bumblebee is a prime example of this. The alt mode cockpit pieces that form the back of the legs are connected by ball joints. One of them is too loose, and keeps coming off.

The Incident:
I tried to fix said loose joint by applying some nail polish to the socket. Unfortunately, I applied too much and now the ball won’t go in at all. So I guess you could say I broke this by trying to fix it.

The Aftermath:
I tried to buy another Bumblebee in store, but by then the Animated line was officially over. Online retailers were all charging a markup. Bumblebee is a mediocre figure at best, so I’m not paying markup for such a figure. Fortunately for me, I was able to get a Japanese version of this figure at a pretty good price, way less than whatever the MSRP was. That purchase was outlined here. The Japanese version is better anyway, with shiny chrome paint and slightly better construction. This is the figure that represents my Bumblebee in my TFA line. As for the “broken” Bumblebee, I keep him around for spare parts. He has come in handy, which brings me to my next entry…
 

Megatron (Voyager Class)
Series: Transformers United
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Decepticon Leader
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: Classics Megatron, Henkei Megatron
Status: Repaired

The Figure:
I am still not sure what exactly is Transformers United. It was a Japanese only line. As far as I can tell, Takara took a bunch of Henkei figures, repainted them, and released this United line. There was no US equivalent. Anyways, Classics Megatron was one of the first 6 figures produced in the Classics line. The line is significant in that it started an update of classic G1 characters in modern forms while still capturing the G1 spirit. As a figure, the design of Classics Megatron is questionable. He does transform into a gun, which all G1-ers love. But Classics Megatron fits the very definition of shell-former (think G1 Scourge). Also, his alt mode kinda looks like a futuristic Cybertron pistol at best, and a toy water gun at worst. The Classics colors also don’t help matters, and even I have to agree that the US version of the figure used some kid friendly colors that made Megatron look like a Nerf toy gun. And so I wanted a more G1 accurate version of this figure. I was at BotCon 2011, and saw a dealer selling the United version of this figure at a reasonable price. So I bought it.

The Incident:
I’m not in the habit of opening my toys at the convention. After I got home, I find that something is wrong with the transformation. I can’t get the waist to properly align correctly for alt mode. Upon closer inspection, I see that a part in the waist is installed backwards! The whole thing is assembled with a screw, so all you really had to do is unscrew the assembly, re-position the part, and re-screw. However, it took me sometime to figure all this out. And by the time I did, I totally mangled the head of the screw. Fortunately I got the screw out, but there was no way it could be used again.

The Aftermath:
In the last entry I mentioned I use TFA Bumblebee for spare parts, and he has a screw that kinda fits into United Megatron. I now use that screw to secure this part of Megatron’s waist. The part in question is only visible during transformation. The fit with Bumblebee’s screw is not perfect. Rotation of the part using this screw is quite loose. However, the loose rotation is only apparent during transformation. And the waist as a whole has other parts that lock it into place in both alt and robot modes. So I’m ok with this fix. I have made peace with the fact that my United Megatron is not perfect, but functional (que “I still function” from the G1 Movie).
 

Darksteel (Deluxe Class)
Series: Dark of the Moon
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: ???
Mode in Package: Sports Car
Known Redecos: DotM Sideswipe
Status: Damaged; got replacement

The Figure:
Dark of the Moon Darksteel is not a character in the movie. I’m not sure if he has an appearance anywhere. Darksteel is another quick cash grab off an existing mold, in this case Sideswipe from the same movie. In all honesty, this mold is pretty cool. The redeco colors chosen for Darksteel is smashingly striking, and he does have a unique head mold that differentiate him from Sideswipe. I bought one when the figure was first released. I transformed him from alt mode to robot mode no problem.

The Incident:
Some months later I decided to transform him back to alt mode. It was late a night and I guess I was a bit too careless. Long story short, I bent one of the feet pieces the wrong way and broke it. I have transformed Sideswipe many times so I thought I knew the process, but I will admit that I don’t remember how TFs transform as well as I used to.

The Aftermath:
Some months after the first breakage, I went to shop at Kohls because they mailed me a $10 certificate, good for anything in the store. Most people don’t know this, but Kohls also has a toy section. Occasionally they will have Transformers. Anyways, on this particular trip, I find that they had Darksteel. They were already having a 10% off sale. And with the $10 certificate, the final price of Darksteel came to only $3.90. I documented that purchase here. To this day, I still have this 2nd copy of Darksteel mint in the package. I’ll probably keep this unopened. He’s not worth so much now, but maybe one day.
 

Optimus Prime (Voyager Class)
Series: Transformers Prime Beast Hunters
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: Beast Hunters Optimus Prime (with extra green armor)
Status: Attempting repairs; got replacements

The Figure:
You didn’t think I was gonna get through this list without having an Optimus Prime figure on here, did you? Hasbro makes so many Optimus figures that it would be weird not to break one if you collected as many TFs as I did. I really like Beast Hunters Optimus. The toy is a good size to play with. He’s got a fun and intuitive transformation, and the figure looks good in both modes. I’m not crazy about the head mold, and hardcore TFP fans love to point out that his sword in the show is blue, not green. Still, at less than $20, this is a terrific OP figure.

The Incident:
I have only ever broken one Optimus Prime figure, and it’s this one. It could be worse, like if I broke the MP-10. But like I said, BH Optimus is one of the better figures of the famous Autobot Leader, so I’m still a bit bothered by it. Also, this figure represents something significant in my personal life, as I have documented here. So it kinda pains me to see it less than perfect. What happened is I broke the sword while Optimus is holding it, so now the handle of the sword is stuck in Prime’s right fist. I felt the sword being stuck in the fist, yet I still tried to force it out. Not a good move. Though I’m sure it was a bad job with the tolerance that led to this. My buddy Gemini had the same problem. Only he was more patient and submerged the fist and sword in really hot water and pulled it out.

The Aftermath:
To compensate for this breakage, I went out and purchased more BH Optimus figures, documented in the same post. I got both the US and Japanese versions of this, so now I have two unopened BH Optimus Prime figures sitting in a closet. I’m glad I did, because they are now worth quite a bit. I still want to attempt a fix on my original figure though. I recently bought the 3rd party Blue Skybreaker Sword by Dr Wu that is way better than the sword that came with BH Optimus. Now I just need to get the broken sword handle out of Optimus’ right fist. If I can do that, I will consider this figure back in perfect condition. Maybe I’ll try Gemini’s hot water trick.
 

Bumblebee (Deluxe Class, part of TRU Exclusive 2-pack)
Series: Age of Extinction
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: ???
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: AoE Bumblebee, standard edition
Status: Damaged; no replacement

The Figure:
How many Deluxe Bumblebees did they make from the Movie-verse? Too many to count, that’s for sure. I got one Deluxe Bumblebee in modern Camaro form from each of the 5 movies. The one featured here is from the 4th movie: Age of Extinction. After a while, all these Bumblebees just kinda blend together. The later Bees became one giant yellow blur. I don’t remember anything special about this one, other than the two circular disc type weapons that he has. For AoE, I got the special TRU 2-pack edition. The package comes with the standard AoE Deluxe Bumblebee that’s painted a bit more orange, and a repaint of Generations Legend Bumblebee from the Thrilling 30 line. One of these days I should put together all my Deluxe Movie Bumblebees for a group photo.

The Incident:
One night when I was transforming AoE Bumblebee from robot to car, I broke off the this right shoulder piece. This piece becomes the front right area of the hood in alt mode. I don’t even know what happened exactly. The part just broke on me. I dunno, I might have forced something, or maybe the part was just weak. Movie toys usually don’t have the best construction to begin with.

The Aftermath:
I thought about buying another standard Deluxe AoE Bumblebee to replace this broken one. But my feelings about this figure is mediocre at best. I didn’t wanna pay MSRP, though I was never able to find another one at less than that. So chances are this figure will just remain broken, not getting replaced or repaired.
 

Bumblebee (Deluxe Class, part of Bumblebee vs Barricade First Encounter 2-pack)
Series: Movie (2007)
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: ???
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: Movie (2007) Bumblebee standard edition, Target Exclusive Evolution of Bumblebee 2-pack
Status: Damaged; no replacement

The Figure:
How many Bumblebees are we gonna have on this list? And why do I keep breaking them? This is the last one, I promise. This is the very first Deluxe Bumblebee released in the Movie-verse. This figure transforms into a classic Camaro, the car that Sam first owns for the first half of the original Movie (and still the best). All the initial Movie toys had this crazy gimmick called “Advanced Automorph Technology”, sometimes just Automorph for short. Basically, several parts of the figure will auto transform upon moving a single piece. This is usually done through spring-loaded action built into the figure. In the case of this classic Caramo Bumblebee figure, the hood will automatically fold down to form the chest upon doing something else (of which I don’t recall anymore). It sounds cool, but it really isn’t.

The Incident:
The problem with these kinds of physical gimmicks is that they’re prone to breakage, and that’s exactly what happened. Years after I owned this figure, I dug him out of a box in the closet. I usually keep my figures in alt mode. When I found him, I saw that the car’s front hood is folded down. I tried to fold it back up, but it won’t click into position anymore. This figure broke while it was in storage. Some plastic pieces broke off after years of holding Automorph spring pressure. I probably should have stored this guy in robot mode. Lesson learned.

The Aftermath:
I actually had another version of this figure as part of the Target Exclusive Evolution of Bumblebee 2-pack. I kept it new but then sold it later, before I found out about the breakage. I do kind of want another one of this Bumblebee, not because it’s a great figure, but for it’s significance as part of a toyline that crossed from animation into live action media. Not a priority though.
 

M-F-B
Series: N/A
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: N/A
Mode in Package: N/A
Known Redecos: None
Status: Damaged; no replacement

The Figure:
This isn’t technically a figure. This is a gun accessory called M-F-B by 3rd party MakeToys. Due to licensing reasons, they can’t call it what it is, which is My First Blaster. In the IDW line of TF comics, this is a weapon for smaller sized Autobots. Swerve is often seen holding the weapon. MakeToys made this accessory to go with their Swerve figure (called Trash-Talk).

The Incident:
I got this accessory in the hopes that it would fit the Generations Thrilling 30 version of Swerve. Turns out, it doesn’t. The handle for M-F-B is 3mm, while Swerve’s hands are for 5mm weapons. Also, I didn’t know this came as a model kit (or maybe I did, but then forgot). I’m terrible at building models. During assembly, I broke off one of the light green bulbs that go on top of the M-F-B. Total bummer.

The Aftermath:
The breakage is beyond repair. And since this actually doesn’t even fit Generations Swerve, and I don’t have Trash-Talk, there’s no point for me to hunt down another one. This M-F-B will stay broken.
 

Soar (Blue)
Series: N/A
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Bombadier
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: Soar (Red), Soar (Red comic), Soar (Blue comic)
Status: Repaired

The Figure:
Soar by Fans Toys is an awesome homage to G1 Swoop. I have written about this figure already, so read all the details here. If you are collecting Masterpiece style figures and you need to round out your Dinobot collection, you need this figure.

The Incident:
Nothing was technically broken on my Soar. However, when I got the figure, it was missing the large vertical piece of the display stand that Soar sits on in dino mode. I couldn’t believe it! This is the largest piece in the package next to Soar itself. I love Fans Toys, but where was the QC on this?!

The Aftermath:
Capturedprey.com was gracious enough to hunt down a replacement piece of the stand for me. It took several months, but better late than never. I now have a fully completed Soar figure in perfect condition with all accessories intact. Thank you Capturedprey!
 

I do have more figures that are broken/damaged/missing parts, but these 10 will do for now. I’ll make another post when I have another 10. Hopefully that won’t occur. Though with the amount of Transformers I have, it’s only a matter of time.

What figures have you broken? Or come damaged or missing parts? Feel free to comment below.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Top Ten

Transformers Purchased in February 2017

January 27th, 2018 No comments

Titans Return continue in Feb of 2017. This month also includes one MP fig that I’ve been eagerly awaiting for some time.

  • Titans Return Megatron, Walmart, $24.86

  • Titans Return Optimus Prime, Walmart, $24.86

  • Masterpiece Inferno, hlj.com, ¥11200 (about $101.62)

Both TR Megatron and TR Optimus Prime are solid offerings. These 2 are quite fun to play with. Both of them continue the trend of being Triple Changers for all Voyager class figures in the TR line. And as Triple Changers, all 3 modes for each figure are decent. There are no modes that look immediately out of place. Megatron has a jet mode and a tank mode, while Optimus has a fuel truck mode and a jet mode. Does this sound familiar? That’s right… Hasbro’s real motives are to use these modes as Blitzwing and Octane. Once again, they issued the repaint of the mold first, and saved the real character for later. But this time they used such famous characters for the repaint. Oh Hasbro… will their shenanigans ever cease?

Anyways, if you just want one character each of this mold, then get Blitzwing and Octane. However, if you need more figures to add to your Megatron or Optimus collection, by all means pick these up. Hasbro did make several minor mold changes for each character, so it feels like you’re not getting the exact same thing.

And as Titans Return figures, they both come with a Titan Master which forms the head (aka Headmasters in G1). The Titan Masters can sit comfortably inside the cockpit in alt modes.

Now for the big prize of the month… Masterpiece Inferno! Many fans have waited for this figure for a long time. And he does not disappoint. There are some 3P variants of Inferno out there already, such as MakeToys Hellfire and MMC Backdraft. I don’t have these figs so I can’t attest to how good they are. But what I can attest to is the brilliance of MP Inferno.

MP Inferno comes packaged in fire engine mode. Takara did a good job with this mode. It looks show accurate to me, and the whole piece feels cohesive and solid. Though to be honest, I think every interpretation of a MP styled Inferno has a pretty good alt mode. This official MP is not any better or worse.

Transformation wise, Inferno has one particular feature that has all TransFans wetting themselves… the ladder hiding mechanism. This feature has to be seen to be believed. The ladder collapses on itself and folds into the back. Writing about it doesn’t do it justice… it’s times like these that I wish I did video reviews. I may start doing that one of these days. But yeah, this transformation mechanism alone gets Inferno a score of awesome for engineering.

In robot mode, Inferno looks like he stepped straight out of the G1 cartoons. No gripes about the appearance from me whatsoever. Compared to Hellfire or Backdraft, he as a more simplistic look. But that also makes Inferno more G1 show accurate. Construction of the figure is also superb. The joints are all solid and clicky. Add some nice detailing to all this and you really have a winning package.

Inferno with his good buddy Red Alert.

Check out all the accessories that come included with Inferno! Accessories fiends will find nothing to complain about here.

I don’t even know what all the accessories are, but in here I see:

  • 1 hand pistol
  • 1 alternate color grill/chest
  • 1 alternate color hand cannon
  • 1 alternate grill/chest for having Inferno hold Red Alert
  • 1 extra helmet, possibly for more G1 toy accuracy
  • 3 extra faces
  • 1 pipe and water attachment, to make Inferno look like he’s fighting fires

All in all, I highly recommend MP Inferno. If you need a MP scale Inferno in your collection, look no further.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Unique Toys Allen

January 24th, 2018 No comments

I recently purchased Allen by Unique Toys. Any TransFans worth his energon will tell you immediately that this is Springer, the green Autobot triple changer first made famous in the 1986 G1 Transformers Movie.

There has been other 3P attempts at Springer, such as FansProject Defender. As a side bar, I believe Defender was the very first 3P full-blown figure produced (all 3P products before that were accessories or add-ons). Oh how times have changed. There are almost too many 3P figures to count nowadays.

But back to the topic at hand. As far as I know, there are 6 different 3P companies making their own MP scaled Springer. UT struck first with Allen. And in my opinion, they have set the bar very high. This won’t be a full review. I will post some pics, then bullet point some pros and cons of the figure.

Box

Robot Mode

Car Mode

Helicopter Mode

Pros

  • Amazing engineering – Allen is mechanically well designed with a satisfying transformation
  • Fun to transform – Allen strikes the perfect balance of complexity and fun
  • All 3 modes look good – the Helicopter is my favorite, robot mode is great, and car mode is adequate
  • Solid construction – nice tight joints and transformation points; figure is big and heft and will withstand some rough play
  • Super paint job
  • Fully articulated
  • Great value – he currently goes for only $59.99 since UT want to move him before the other 3P Springers hit the market

Cons

  • Questionable aesthetics – many have said that this figure feels like a Fisher Price toy
  • Feet that seems way too big, and the wrong color
  • Figure feels a bit big – may not scale well with other MP figures
  • G1 accuracy is debatable, especially when compared with later 3P offerings of the character

Personally, I love the figure since he’s so playable and so much fun to transform. But the first bullet in the cons section is a notable negative for me. The other negatives are all appearance related as well. If they styled the figure more “MP” like, I would give Allen an even stronger recommendation. But as is, he’s a terrific figure at only $59.99, which is what I got him for. And out of other 5 MP scaled Springers out there, Fans Toys Apache looks the most G1 accurate. I may consider buying Apache as well in the months to come.

This is my first and only purchase from Unique Toys, and they have me impressed. I will be on the lookout for their offerings in the future.

And why is he called Allen you ask? Your guess is as good as mine. TransFans have suggested he really should have been called Jerry – and if you don’t get the joke, then Primus help you.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

Generations Legend Optimus, Nemesis, Pipes, Huffer

December 19th, 2017 No comments

Hasbro loves their repaints. And I’m a total sucker for them. Below I present my multi-colored legend class Generations truck figs that represents various G1 characters.

One more fig and I can have a Power Rangers team. Or a Voltron team.

Enjoy the pics.

Nemesis does not come with a weapon, in case any of you are wondering.

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics

Transformers Purchased in January 2017

December 3rd, 2017 No comments

Welcome to 2017! The year continues where 2016 left off, with more figures from Titans Return and Robots in Disguise.

  • Robots in Disguise Stormshot, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Breakaway, gift

  • Titans Return Fangry, Target, $4.99

  • Titans Return Fortress Maximus and Cerebros, entertainmentearth.com, $75

First let’s take a look at Stormshot. I know nothing about this character, and I know next to nothing about Robots in Disguise. So why did I buy this figure? He evokes heavy 80s nostalgia of a time when transforming robots were fun and simple. I took one took of his overall motif, and I’m immediately reminded of Transformers (Diaclones) and GoBots (Machine Robo) in their early days. Stormshot’s mechanical design borrows heavily from G1 Aerialbots, and perhaps even some GoBot figures, like Fitor.

While looking through Transformers Wiki one night, I stumbled upon Armada Red Alert. I know nothing about Transformers Armada or this Red Alert, since they came around during my TF hiatus. But take a look at Armada Red Alert, and you can bet your boron compressor that Stormshot’s design aesthetics is based on this Red Alert. This can’t be a coincidence. The head design and overall color scheme is near identical.

In both mechanics and design, Stormshot is a throwback to the Transformers of yore. And he transforms exactly like you would expect, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The legs extend out Combiner Wars style. Arms simply rest on the sides in alt mode. Feet and hands flip out from where they usually are like so many TFs before. The only original mechanics here is how the nose cone and wings form the back. They go through many folds, then collapses on itself. A very simple transformation overall. And that’s good for playability. Stormshot comes with two weapons, a handgun and a medium size rifle. The two can be combined into a super rifle. All in all, I like Stormshot. I recommend this figure for kids due to the ease of play, and I highly recommend this to collectors that grew up playing with transforming robots in the 80s.

Fangry is another Titan Master that I consider more of an accessory than a full-fledged figure. I only got him because he’s a direct homage to G1 Fangry. I never had G1 Fangry. He’s a winged wolf kind of creature. His name is a mash up of fang and angry, and I’ll give Hasbro credit for coming up with something so clever. The Titan Master figure here is kind of a fail. This thing is advertised as transforming, but it’s really just some pieces rotating back and forth.

The only value to these Titan Master figures is they can become the head of the character they’re supposed to be, and you can use them on any Titans Return figure. Here I have Fangry on the body of Misfire. This combination kind of works. See for yourself.

Breakaway is a Christmas gift from my buddy Gemini. This character means something to me, as I had G1 Getaway. The G1 toy was excellent for its time. It’s a shame that Hasbro had to rename this character, and it’s more of a shame that Titans Return Breakaway is a Headmaster and not a Powermaster. To make matters even worse, TR Breakaway is an exact repaint of TR Chromedome. I compared the two side by side and there no mold differences whatsoever between the two base figures. For the Titan Master, the face plate in head mode is different, but the rest of the figure is identical. Even the accessories are exactly the same. And to add insult to injury on top of all this, Breakaway was a pain in the butt to find during the 2016 Holidays. Breakaway is in the same wave as Hot Rod, Triggerhappy, and Twinferno. But Hasbro’s weird distribution issues rears its ugly head again, and Breakaway didn’t come distributed with the other 3 for whatever reason. Even the 3rd party online TF retailers (you know who they are) were price gouging for sets that included Breakaway. Luckily Gemini was able to find one for me. As of this writing, Breakaway is no longer hard to find. But that should not have been an issue to begin with.

Anyways, Breakaway is exactly the same as Chromedome, so I won’t go in depth. Check out some pics below.

Now, for the big enchilada of the month: Titans Return Fortress Maximus! Yes my fellow TransFans. To see Fort Max reproduced in the modern era is a dream come true. As a kid growing up in the 80s, owning something like Fortress Maximus is entirely out of reach. G1 Fort Max is the biggest G1 figure produced, and for a long time it was the most expensive Transformer ever made. It was re-issued some years ago. I considered buying it, but deep down I wanted something made to be up to par with today’s toy standards. Metroplex was made in 2013, so we all knew Fort Max couldn’t be far behind. And it really happened. TR Fort Max was produced in 2016. It is indeed a rework off of the Metroplex mold. TR Fort Max retails for $149.99. Expensive TFs will usually go on sale after some time. And sure enough, at the end of 2016, in that week between Christmas and New Years, entertainmentearth.com had a sale of this figure at half price! I was able to pick up this city-sized Headmaster at $75! Merry Christmas!

The pic above has all the decals applied. And believe me, he looks so much better after putting on all the decals. It took me about 1 hour and 30 min to put them all on, but it’s worth it.

Fort Max is a Headmaster, which is one big difference from Metroplex. For a city sized robot, the head needs to be a regular deluxe sized Transformer. That’s where Cerebros comes in. He forms the head of Fort Max. I think it’s a shame that Cerebros does not have an alt mode of his own. Cerebros himself is a Headmaster. His Titan Master is Emissary (though all hardcore G1ers know that in Season 4, it was Spike). Emissary is sitting in the gun pod on Fort Max’s left shoulder in the pic above. Below is a pic of Cerebros.

That does it for January of 2017. This month would have been all Autobots, if it wasn’t for Fangry. And I usually don’t even buy Titan Masters individually. Decepticons represent – barely!

Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Decepticon Air Superiority, 2017 !

October 20th, 2017 No comments

Exactly 5 years ago on this day, I presented a short post about Decepticon Air Superiority. Well, 5 years later, I also find myself with lots of Decepticons jets lying about here and there. So it’s time for another post that will remind the Autobots of Decepticons’ sheer and utter dominance in the not-so-friendly skies.

The 5 jets presented here are all very nice figs that represents how far transforming toys have come. All of them have clever engineering mechanisms that showcase how well a transforming jet can be made today. The oldest figure here, in terms of when the mold was first released, is Masterpiece Starscream. What I have here is a 2017 re-issue of the MP-11. I missed out on the MP-11 when first released. But I have enough other characters that utilize this mode, including MP Thundercracker (picutred 5 years ago), MP Acid Storm, and MP Sunstorm. This mold is the 2nd one used in the official MP line from Takara. The design feels a little dated today, and the mold’s poor durability after all this time is well documented. But I’m glad to finally have a Starscream in this mold in 2017. And the copy of I have feels ok in terms of build quality.

The two jets in front are some of my most recent acquisitions from The Last Knight: Voyager class Megatron and Nitro. Megatron is the dark grey futuristic looking jet, and Nitro is the light grey F-16 with the black nose cone. Both figures are excellent additions to the LK line. Megatron is a pure joy to transform and play with. Both modes look good, the figure is well built, and the transformation is fun, intuitive, and refreshing. Nitro is one of the more difficult figures in the LK line. But he’s a testament to modern TF engineering. He’s a non-symmetrical transformer, like many of the motorcycle figs. In jet mode, when done right, he comes together so well that the difficult and frustrating transformation sequence is easily forgiven. Both figs were acquired in the past 2 weeks.

The black jet in the center is Combiner Wars Skywarp. I acquired him in November of 2016, and left him out in the open all this time.

Last but not least, we have ToyWorld Requiem, their MP styled homage to Dirge. He’s the blue jet with brown wings. And let me tell you: this is an amazing figure! A lot of other TransFans are turned off by these TW Coneheads because of their scale. Yes in robot mode they are a bit tall. But seriously, don’t let that discourage you! These Coneheads are so well built and designed that they put official MP Seekers to shame. The TW Coneheads have a nice heft to them, and in your hands they feel more like the real deal and make official Takara products feel like knock offs. The Takara Seeker mold is so used now that figures produced feel cheap and sloppy. My Starscream (mentioned above) feels ok, but some fans have not been so fortunate. I have outlined how poorly my official MP Ramjet is in terms of build quality. TW Coneheads have no build issues whatsoever. All joints feel nice and tight. But what ultimately impressed me about TW Requiem is the design and engineering. The transformation is many times superior to Takara MPs. It’s enjoyable and intuitive, and the nice and solid construction means that everything properly tabs into place. In robot mode, Requiem looks slender and sleek instead of wide and bulky. I got the set of 3 TW Coneheads for only $159.99 from TF Source on a sale in August. This is probably the best TF purchase I have made this year.

So who is leading this bunch? LK Megatron? Or MP Starscream? You decide.

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics

TF Matrix Eight Year Anniversary

October 15th, 2017 No comments

One more year, one more anniversary. This blog has been around for 8 years now. Here are the most current stats.

I only got about 51,000 hits in the past year. That’s not good. I really thought that the Last Knight would inject some life into Transformers. But that proved to be short-lived, and overall TF interest seem to have hit an all time low after The Last Knight ended its run in the theaters. TF toy sales have been lackluster. Robots in Disguise don’t seem to be generating much TF buzz. 3P companies are producing some good stuff, but I’m worried that they may be over-saturating the hardcore TransFan market, which is already pretty limited to begin with.

It’s the long time fans that are now carrying the franchise. Hopefully Hasbro realizes this and have something planned moving forward.

As for me, I need to pay more attention to this blog. I love Transformers and I will blog about it as long as I live. Long live TF Matrix, and long live Transformers! Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Transformers The Last Knight

October 2nd, 2017 No comments

So I finally watched this movie. And I’ll get straight to it: I was entertained, but this is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination.

I watched Transformers the Last Knight with several others. We probably had more fun making fun of the movie than really trying to follow what’s going on. The Last Knight is filled with humorous and ridiculous sequences. One example is a scene where Cade Yeager had to jump off a building and onto some TFR automatons as if they’re platforms, like if he was playing Frogger or Pitfall. The Last Knight is the least successful of the 5 films, financially speaking. That’s no surprise. I watched the first 4 movies in the theater, but passed on this one. We rented the movie from iTunes, but only because we had free credits. So technically we spent no money on LK (not counting some figures I bought).

The Last Knight is going for a Arthurian knight motif. That’s obvious by looking at the trailers. Both Prime and Megs look more like knights in this one, and personally I think it’s kinda silly. Mark Wahlberg returns from the previous installment. Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, and Stanley Tucci come back for more as well (though Tucci as a different character). Anthony Hopkins joins the cast. Why someone of his caliber wants to lend his talents to this hot mess of a movie is beyond me. Tyrese wanted to come back, but he obviously wanted to spend his time in a superior franchise (FF8). Early reports were that Megan Fox would be back, but I’m guessing people got confused since Laura Haddock looks so similar in some early leaked shots. Good thing Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are both back as Prime and Megs.

LK is full of your usual Michael Bay movie mayhem. Big explosions, check. Bad editing that jumps for scene A to F to M, check. Immature, racist, and juvenile dialogue, check. Robots that all look the same, check. Uber male objectification of women, check. Plot that you can’t follow, check. And even if you could follow it you see that it makes no sense, check.

But believe it or not, I don’t think LK is the worst film in the franchise. Here’s how I rate the 5, from best to worst:

  • Transformers
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • Transformers: The Last Knight
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

As for the toys, LK is below average when compared to other movies. As of this writing I have bought 6 figures total from LK, and I feel like I have enough to rate the line as a whole. Here’s how I rate them, from best to worst:

  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • Transformers
  • Transformers: The Last Knight
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction

Both Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg have said they are not coming back for more. I suppose that’s the good news in all of this. Bay must be sick of this franchise after 5 outings. Personally I feel like he never really cared for what Transformers represents to long-time fans that have supported it all these years through thick and thin. After the first movie, Bay has so thoroughly twisted the Transformers mythos that anything moving forward bear only a shallow semblance to the original source material. I actually like Mark Wahlberg as an actor, but I think he’s got better things to do. Wahlberg has complained about this franchise after LK hit theaters, including that he doesn’t like his haircut in part 5. I agree. Time for a new leading man.

It will be interesting to see how things wrap up in part 6, which is already confirmed for Summer 2019. I’m curious how the movie would feel without Bay’s influence. But before this, a Bumblebee spin off is slated for late 2018. I’m not sure where or when the story would take place in the TF Movie-verse. Hailee Steinfeld is confirmed to be in the movie.

I hope the Bumblebee movie will be better. New blood will be good for the franchise. Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Uncategorized

TF Purchase Statistics 2016

September 22nd, 2017 No comments

Now that I’m done chronicling my purchases for 2016, it’s time to count them up and compile some statics. 2016 breakdown as follows:

  • 7 Masterpiece (MP) figures
  • 19 Combiner Wars (CW) figures
  • 23 Titans Return (TW) figures
  • 5 G1-reissue figures
  • 7 Robots in Disguise (RiD) figures
  • 1 Cyber Battalion (CB) figure
  • 8 Third Party (3P) figures

That makes the grand total 70 figures for 2016. Not bad. Since I started tracking my purchases at the start of 2012, this has been the lowest in a single calendar year.

Total spending for the year is $2126.10. This is also the lowest in a calendar year since 2012.

All this tells me that I’m more selective about what I buy. Which is good. I got way too many TFs already. Only the best makes it into my collection.

And as I look at my stats, some things stand out. Here are some random thoughts:

  • All MP figures were bought at the first half of the year. From Jan to July, I got at least one MP figure each month (except for June). Not sure why they all came so early in the year. Maybe Takara was starting to make time for toys for The Last Knight towards the later half of 2016.
  • Most of my purchases came from Titans Return, and they all came from the latter half of 2016. Not surprising. That is the active CHUG line currently, even as I write this in 2017. Though TR is winding down and Hasbro is starting to make room for Power of the Primes.
  • The next most purchases for the year is from Combiner Wars. Again, not surprising. CW was winding down at the start of 2016, and I guess I bought the last waves early in the year.
  • 7 RiD figs is more than I thought. As a whole I’m not too impressed with this line, so I’m surprised I bought that many. I guess I buy them when I don’t see anything else worth buying.
  • The lone CP figure was bought in Shanghai. I should have bought the rest in that wave, which was an Optimus Prime, a Megatron, and two Bumblebees (a G1 version and a Movie version). I thought for sure they would make it to the States, but they didn’t. Oh well. Maybe I’ll find them online later.
  • 8 3P figures is way less than last year. In 2015 I bought 15 3P figures. I wonder why there is a drop off. 3P offerings get better every year, so I actually expect to buy more every year. I need to take a closer look at what I bought for 2015 and 2016 and make some comparison. It’s possible that I spent about the same money in these 2 years, but each figure in 2016 is more expensive.

Now for some year over year stats. This first graph shows the number of purchases by month, from 2012 to 2016. Each color represents a different year.

Looking at the overall trend, 2016 follows the usual pattern within the year. There was a spike in February, like many of the previous years. A small spike in summer, which also follows the pattern. There was no spike in October of 2016.

The following two graphs are yearly totals from 2012 to 2016. In terms of both TFs purchased and money spent, 2016 represents all time lows. For me, that’s good. Although, it appears my blog stats are at all time lows as well in this period. Maybe there’s a correlation here. More on this next month.

It’s time for 2017! Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: Uncategorized