Transformers Purchased in December 2017

December 26th, 2018 No comments

We are finally at the end of 2017. Long time coming, but better late than never.

Unlike last month, this month is all official Hasbro products. This month also sees the introduction of the new Hasbro Generations line: Power of the Primes!

  • Power of the Primes Jazz, amazon.com, $15.00

  • Power of the Primes Dreadwind, amazon.com, $15.00

  • Power of the Primes Windcharger, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Slash, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Beachcomber, amazon.com, $12.00

  • Power of the Primes Starscream, amazon.com, $24.99

  • Titans Return Cosmos, Target, $5.14

  • Titans Return Shuffler, Target, $2.48

Power of the Primes is the 3rd arc in the Prime Wars Trilogy, the first 2 being Combiner Wars and Titans Return. This is the current line in the universe of what fans label CHUG (Classics, Henkei, Universe, Generations). I sort of went into the timeline history of Power of the Primes back in this post for the Terrorcons. Anyway, the first Power of the Primes figures appeared this month. I also first previewed Power of the Primes figures back in this post. Now that I have them, how does each of them fare? Here are my grades:

Recommended:

  • Beachcomber – Nice homage to G1 Beachcomber. Fun transformation with good robot and alt modes. Solid construction and nice paint job.
  • Windcharger – This figure is better than Combiner Wars Windcharger. It’s more G1 accurate.
    I like this as much as Reveal the Shield Windcharger.
  • Slash – Good little Dino. Slash was not part of the original 5 G1 Dinobots, but I like that they took a Movie-verse character and made him in G1 style. Since he’s a raptor, a legend size figure makes sense. The toy is well built and has a fun transformation. Both modes are solid.

Not Recommended:

  • Jazz – PotP Jazz is disappointing. Decent robot and alt modes, but nothing spectacular here. Transformation is derivative and lackluster. The panels behind the fists in robot mode really bug me. Construction is poor with some loose joints in robot mode and some REALLY bad connections in combined mode. As a limb Jazz does not connect well to both CW body components and the fist/feet add-on piece.
  • Dreadwind – This is yet another re-work of old figures. He has some new mold bits, but nothing that hides the overall motif of the CW Aerialbot. He does combine with Blackwing (to be released later) in alt mode, but the combined super jet seems forced and tacked-on. As a limb, the connections are poor too.
  • Starscream – Weird body proportions in robot mode, and way too bulky in jet mode. Decent as a body component for a combiner. This mold is really meant for Elita-One (to be released later). Get that figure instead.

I did not open Cosmos and Shuffler. I bought these two only because they were half off. I have Generations Thrilling 30 Comsos, which is the exact same thing with minor paint app differences. See this post for in-depth comparison. I imagine Shuffler is not terribly different from the many Titan Masters out there. There was a G1 Shuffler, in Japan only and supposedly super rare. I know nothing about Shuffler the character.

Some group pics of the opened TFs this month.

This is the last of my purchase posts for 2017. Time to move onto 2018. Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

2018 Black Friday Haul

December 18th, 2018 No comments

Black Friday + Cyber Monday == TF Shopping. Black Fridays represent everything that is wrong with America. Nevertheless, here are my TF acquisitions per this materialistic tradition in 2018.

Some quick blurb about each figure.

Front row, left to right:

Ocular Max Artifex: I never understood the relationship between MMC (Mastermind Creations) and Ocular Max. Are they the same company with a name change? Or did Ocular Max spin off from MMC? Or is Ocular Max a sub-line in MMC’s offerings? Whatever it is, Artifex is their take on a MP-style Hoist. He’s well designed with a interesting transformation. But sub-par manufacturing really hurt this figure. Tolerance issues abound with Artifex. I already broke one accessory. Artifex is OK as a display piece, but not recommended as a toy. Even at a sale price of $49.99, I regret buying Artifex.

Mech Fans Toys Grmlock: I don’t know much about Mech Fans Toys (MFT). They came out of nowhere. As far as I know, all their products are 4th party (read: knock offs of 3rd party products). MFT Grmlock is their knock off version of this figure, though with better paint (I think). He’s not bad, but gives your hands and fingers a good workout when transforming because the joints are so freakin’ tight. Grmlock is my 2nd dino from MFT, the first being Slurdge (you can guess who that is). And Grmlock is not a mis-spelling; it’s purposely spelled that way, this being KO and all. Grmlock was bought at $24.99, it’s usual price.

PotP Optimal Optimus: I found this at Target at its usual MSRP of $44.99, the day after Black Fri. This figure is pretty rare, even as of this writing. I only saw him this one time in store, and online dealers totally jack up his price. I thought long and hard in the store if I really wanted Optimal Optimus. I bought the figure after some nudging from my wife (think she just got sick of waiting for me to make up my mind). He’s okay. Not bad, but not great.

X-Transbots Toro: I got this from a eBay seller. Lately, eBay has been offering 10% or 15% off coupons at fairly regular intervals, and I took advantage. I used one for Toro and it brought the price down to less than $50. Toro is a great figure! He looks good in both modes, comes with a plethora of accessories, has a interesting transformation, scales well with other MPs, is well built, and boasts some of the best paint and finish I have seen in quite some time. Some fans knock Toro for it’s fake chest windows, but it’s something I can easily overlook because everything else is so well done. Highly recommended.

Back row, left to right:

Studio Series Grimlock: The 2nd Grimlock on this Black Fri, SS Grimlock was bought from hasbrotoyshop.com via eBay for $39.99, with another 10% coupon added for good measure. My wife never comments on my Transformers, but even she gave SS Grimlock an endorsement. These are her words: “That dinosaur looks great! Really sharp!” So there you go. Personally I’m not terribly impressed with the robot mode, but you get this figure for the dino mode and it delivers.

PotP Predaking: This is the big enchilada this Black Fri. He’s normally $159.99. ToyDojo was offering this guy at $99.99 for the sale, so I bought one for the win. And I’ll re-iterate what many TransFans have said: you get this for the combined mode! This Predaking looks so good and is so stable, I would rate this combined mode better than Feral Rex by MMC. However, the individual bots range from mediocre to unimpressive. Most of them have really weak beast modes. The leg bots feature giant back kibble (the Predaking thigh parts) in robot mode. Razorclaw feels like the smallest of the 5, despite being the chest and the leader. But again, the Predaking combined form is where this set shines. When displayed in its full combined glory, this set is worth every penny.

PotP Nemesis Prime: Nemesis Prime is an Amazon exclusive. On Cyber Monday, they had a deal for this guy at $32.99. I already had Nemesis Prime in my cart previous to Cyber Monday. I waited to see if there would be a Black Fri deal, but nothing. Then Cyber Monday happened, I saw the sale price, and bought with haste. I like this figure. Yes, he’s a repaint of PotP Evolution Optimus Prime (which I have too), but he comes with more weapons and has re-worked heads that more accurately depict Nemesis Prime. On my copy, his joints don’t feel as tight as the ones on Optimus, especially the hip and ankle joints. But your mileage may vary. Even as a repaint, Nemesis Prime is worthy of your purchase.

Sometimes I wonder if a society like what is on Cybertron would have a Black Friday equivalent. It is often implied that Cybertronians do have a class structure, at least prior to the war. But you don’t ever see Cybertronians shop. What is their system for distribution of goods and resources? For the Autobots, one can only guess. Decepticons just take what they want.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in November 2017

December 7th, 2018 No comments

Much like June 2016 and March 2017, November 2017 is another month where the 3P products outnumber the official products. Well, sort of. In term of figure count, that number is up for debate. But In terms of purchase count, the number of 3P products win hands down. It’s not even close.

Let’s take a look at all the goodies.

  • Titans Return Siege on Cybertron, bbts.com, $99.99

  • Unique Toys Allen, bbts.com, $59.99

  • MakeToys Contactshot, thechosenprime.com, $89.99

  • MakeToys Despotron, thechosenprime.com, $69.99

  • Fans Toys Phoenix, capturedprey.com, $210.00

Siege on Cybertron

The only official product purchased this month is the Siege on Cybertron set. This set is released in the United States as a Big Bad Toy Store exclusive. On the box, the set advertises that it includes 5 figures. They are:

  • Magnus Prime (leader class)
  • Tidal Wave (voyager class)
  • Metalhawk (deluxe class)
  • Pounce (legend class)
  • Thunderwing (master class)

They are packed in the box as shown in the pic below.

Magnus Prime is obviously the big draw here. I missed out on Transformers Legends Super Ginrai (LG-35), a Japanese only release. I wasn’t paying attention, and thought that Super Ginrai is simply a Japanese repaint of Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime. Big mistake. Super Ginrai is generally regarded as a superior figure to TR Powermaster Optimus Prime by most fans. When I came out of my TF stupor and realized that Super Ginrai is something different entirely, it was sold out at everywhere, except for online dealers that were charging crazy markups.

It was around this time that BBTS announced that they would be releasing this Siege on Cybertron set. The set includes Magnus Prime, which is a very slight repaint of Super Ginrai. Furthermore, MSRP of Super Ginrai is $109.99, while Siege of Cybertron is only $99.99 and includes a bunch of other things. So I bought this set with no hesitation.

It’s now almost a year later as I write this, and I still have not opened this set. I took it out of the box (as pictured above), but all figures are still on twist ties. This whole set just looks so damn good in the package that I’m reluctant to take it out. I’ll probably remove Magnus Prime from the twist ties in the future, to check out this mold. And while we’re on that topic, I have no idea who is Magnus Prime. Maybe he was a previous Prime to Optimus, or maybe he’s some kind of enhanced Optimus. I could look it up on TFWiki, but I won’t. I’m gonna regard this figure as Optimus Prime.

The only other new mold in the set is Pounce. And when I say new, I mean that it did not previously have a mass retail release in the United States. Pounce is one part of a clone, the other part being his twin Wingspan. These 2 have not been produced since G1 (to my knowledge), so I’m glad they got a modern update. Unfortunately, this set only includes Pounce and not Wingspan. I would have to get Wingspan elsewhere.

The remaining full-size figures in the set are all repaints of something previously released. Metalhawk is a repaint of Triggerhappy, while Tidal Wave is a repaint of Broadside. They come with Titan Masters that are different from their respective repaints (more on this later). I really like the Triggerhappy mold, but Broadside is just so-so.

Siege on Cybertron advertises 5 figures. The last “figure” here is Thunderwing. I put that in quotes because this is just a Titan Master. It’s debatable if they should count as figures. If you choose to, shouldn’t this set be 8 figures then (the 5 listed, plus the heads for Magnus Prime, Metalhawk, and Tidal Wave)? And if you choose not to, then this set should only be 4 figures. Either way, the 5 figure count is misleading. I know I’m nitpicking here, but I think it’s important to get this right. Anyway, Thunderwing is supposed to be a huge Transformer, in the pages of both Marvel and IDW. All we’re getting here is the head of Thunderwing. I suppose HasTak can make the body later. But including only the head here and then advertising as having Thunderwing feels like a cheap inclusion. I don’t care that this Titan Master is exclusive to this set.

Again, I don’t have any of this open, so I can’t speak to the quality of any of these figs. But assuming they are as good as their repaint counterparts or Japanese versions, Siege on Cybertron is a good set to buy. At only $99.99, you are getting 4 full-fledged figures, plus 4 Titan Masters. As of this writing, the set is a bit marked up now. But it can still be found for around $120, which is still a good deal if you missed out.

Allen

The first 3P figure for this month is Allen, Unique Toys’ tribute to Springer. I did a quick review of Allen, so see that post for all the details. At only $59.99, it was almost a crime to not get this, if only to check it out. And I don’t regret it one bit. Yes, Allen is not the perfect 3P Springer. There are many other options now. And to my knowledge, none are perfect. Most fans seem to elect Fans Toys Apache as the best 3P Springer produced to date. But there are qualities to Allen that makes him worthy of your collection. He’s very robust and very playable. The transformation engineering is impressive, and all modes look good in my opinion.

Allen was purchased in the same order as Siege of Cybertron above. Buying together saves money on shipping. But you all knew that.

Contactshot

Contactshot by MakeToys is the first of three Black Friday purchases that I made from The Chosen Prime. This online dealer will feature MakeToys products at insane discounts every now and then. I’m guessing MakeToys have a close working business relationship with The Chosen Prime, if the figs can be offered at such low prices. I got Contactshot for only $89.99, way less than its MSRP of $139.99.

Contactshot is an homage to Pointblank, a Targetmaster that came around in G1 Season 4. You don’t need to be too hardcore in G1 to know about Pointblank, but at the same time he’s not a character that casual G1 fans would know about. He was one of the better G1 Targetmaster toys produced when this line was first introduced. His Nebulos gun partner is Peacemaker. In the US G1 cartoons for Season 4, Pointblank made some appearances in the three episode arc “Rebirth”. This was such a short season that none of the new characters were given enough screen time. My understanding is that, in the Japanese continuity from Season 4 onwards, Pointblank is given much more detailed treatment. However I know next to nothing about the Japanese continuity, so I cannot confirm nor deny that assertion.

Truth be told, I had a feeling that Contactshot would become a Black Friday sale item. As a character, he’s not that well known. Fans have been saying Contactshot is a quality piece, but nothing that puts it in the groundbreaking territory. The regular price point of $139.99 is a bit much for fans with no familiarity of the character. Contactshot wasn’t exactly flying off the shelves, so I had a hunch he would go on sale for Black Friday. And I was right! When I saw that The Chosen Prime was letting him go for $89.99, I ordered with haste.

I have played with Contactshot for a while now, and transformed him twice to alt mode and twice back to robot mode (including breaking a piece, but more on this later). I agree with the consensus of the TF fandom: Contactshot is a pretty good figure, but not so good that it’s a must get if you don’t know the character. But first let’s take a look at Contactshot in the package.

Contactshot comes in a pretty small box, and he’s sandwiched between standard fitted clear clam shells. It’s a no-frills packaging, and it works. However, if you’ve paid MSRP, you might make a case that the packaging needs to be more elaborate. He comes with his Targetmaster partner Peacemaker, an accessory that doubles as a vehicle top-side spoiler/thruster and robot arm cannon, one extra helmet, and two extra face plates. The extra helmet and face plates are for if you want to create a G1 toy accurate look, or the G1 Japanese continuity look.

In your hands, Contactshot feels solid and weighty. It’s clear that good materials are used for the figure. Most of it is high quality plastic, with bits of diecast added here and there. Articulation is pretty good in robot mode. He can be put into some fairly dynamic poses, and the figure’s construction is solid enough that he can hold the poses. Transformation to alt mode is satisfying. Some of it is fairly straightforward, while other areas can be somewhat frustrating. The leg transformation to alt mode can be a bit annoying. It’s fairly obvious what you need to do, but actually doing it takes some work. I do like the look of the alt mode though. Pic below.

This is a very true representation of Pointblank in alt mode. I don’t remember seeing Pointblank in this mode in the Season 4 US Cartoons. But if you’re comparing to the original G1 Pointblank toy, Contactshot is spot on. The future race car shape and colors are all accurate. Even the iconic wings/spoiler on top of the vehicle is there. The Targetmaster can ride inside the cockpit.

If you have a thing for Pointblank the character, or if you like seeing modern interpretations of Targetmasters, then Contactshot may be for you. This figure is a solid toy. But at it’s usual MSRP, I feel that it does not offer enough as a toy alone.

I mentioned I broke off a piece of Contactshot on my first transform back to robot mode. This was mentioned above, and also in a brief bit back in this post (scroll down to the part highlighted in yellow). It was my mistake entirely. I kinda forgot how to properly do it, and just tried to force it through. Big mistake. One of the red pieces on the side of one chest broke off. This was about 4 months after the purchase. I reached out to thechosenprime.com, and they were able to contact the manufacturer and send me a replacement piece! That made me really happy. I want to give them a big shout out again here. There are other online TF retailers that can’t or won’t do this (I’m looking at you, TFSource!). Thechosenprime.com is now my go to retailer for anything 3rd party or MP.

Despotron

The 2nd Black Friday item acquired from The Chosen Prime is MakeToys Despotron, their stab at a MP Megatron. Despotron was released before the 2nd official release of MP Megatron (MP-36). At the time of Despotron’s release, there were already other 3Ps in the MP Megatron game. Some stiff competition included Apollyon by X-Transbots and Mightron by DX9. It was kind of up to individual taste as to which of these 3P Megs was the right one for you. None of the three were perfect. They each have their pros and cons.

MP-36 was released after all these Megs. It is not the perfect Megatron either. But for the most part, fans seem to agree that MP-36 is slightly superior to all the 3Ps. This may simply be that MP-36 is the official product, and, rightly or wrongly, official products carry more weight in the TF fandom just by being official.

After MP-36 was released, demand for all these 3P Megs went down. I predicted at least one of the 3P Megs would go one sale for Black Friday, and once again my TF hunch was right. Though I didn’t think it would be Despotron, and I certainly didn’t think the price would come down this much. MSRP of Despotron is close to $150, and on this Black Friday it went down to $69.99! I wasted no time getting one, despite the fact I already had MP-36. Despotron was the one I wanted out of the 3Ps, before I knew of MP-36.

I studied many pics online and watched many vids of the 3P Megatrons, and what drawn me to Despotron is the way he looks and the way he transforms. In robot mode, you can see his proportions are somewhat different from the G1 TV cartoons. Despotron is a bit bulkier. Many have said that these proportions more resemble modern Megatron interpretations in the pages of Dreamweave and IDW. And some have said that this is a transforming version of Revoltech Megatron, which I do have. I personally feel that the G1 Movie Megatron had a bulkier frame than his cartoon counterpart. Despotron looks like someone that can go toe to toe with Optimus and then some. Take a look at some pics of Despotron in the box.

If you’re worried about that orange plug, don’t. It comes right out. In fact, it’s kinda loose that having it stay on takes more work.

As for transformation, I think Despotron wins hands down, even if you count MP-36. He has the cleanest transformation of all the MP Megs. He hides the gun bits the best in robot mode. He has the cleanest backside with virtually no gun kibble. And he’s actually fun to transform. This is a MP Megs figure that is not frustrating or overly difficult, and that’s saying a lot for a modern MP Megatron. With instructions, I got him transformed to gun mode pretty quickly on the first go, like less than 20 min.

I think he looks pretty spectacular in the gun mode. For a MP Megatron that’s fun to transform, Despotron is the clear choice.

Despotron does have his faults. The face sculpt is adequate, but I feel it is the weakest of all the modern MP Megs offerings. He comes with very little accessories when compared to the competition. All other figures come with silencer and shoulder stock attachment, which Despotron is glaringly missing. And considering that the MSRP was close to $150, that’s not good value.

All in all, I recommend Despotron, but only if you can find it at way less than MSRP like I did. He offers an alternate interpretation of G1 Megatron that feels very different from MP-36. Despotron is a fun transforming toy, something the MP-36 can make no claim whatsoever. I really want to do a review of this figure in the future.

Phoenix

I have saved the best for last. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… drum roll please… Phoenix!

Let me make this clear: Phoenix is the ultimate interpretation of a MP Jetfire. Other companies have tried, with varying levels of success. I don’t have any of those other figures, and I don’t need to. Fans Toys have outdone themselves again and hit this one way out of the park. Phoenix is G1 Jetfire materialized as a masterpiece figure. I can yap on and on about how great he looks, but I’ll let the pics below do the talking.


FT Phoenix robot mode.


FT Phoenix jet mode.

FT always look very carefully at the G1 animation models and then produces figures that match that look. Phoenix is no exception. In both modes, he looks like he stepped straight out of the G1 cartoons. But what’s more important is that Phoenix bears no semblance whatsoever to the original Takatoku Valkyrie toy that is the original G1 Jetfire figure. In other words, Phoenix is entirely based on the cartoon designs of Skyfire.

Transformation of Phoenix is actually not terribly complicated, for something so massive and easily integrates itself into the MP line. I’m almost tempted to say it’s simple, but there is enough going on in the transformation to keep most TransFans interested. All modern Jetfires have been on the easy side in terms of transformation. Classics Jetfire and Generations Thrilling 30 Jetfire comes to mind.

Construction and build quality of the figure is on par with everything that FT has produced to date. And if you’re wondering what that means, it means that it’s freakin’ awesome! All joints are nice, tight, and clicky. No dangling pieces or loose limbs. A jet mode that feels and plays like a cohesive whole.

Look at the pics below for scale with some other MP Autobots. Some argue he’s a tad too big, and I could see their point. But I just love this figure so much I’m willing to look past it.


FT Phoenix with MP Smokescreen, MP Red Alert, and MP Inferno.


FT Phoenix with MP Sunstreaker, MP Sideswipe, and MakeToys Gundog.

As for accessories, he comes with his gun (also modeled after the G1 animation model and not the Takatoku toy gun). FT gives you two removable chest plates where the faction symbol would go. So you can do one as Autobot and one as Decepticon, and reproduce that famous G1 scene where he switches allegiance. Very, very cool. The jetpack is not removable, and is a permanent (albeit transformable) piece as part of Phoenix. I don’t remember if he comes with other accessories, but I intend to do a full review soon and I’ll revisit this then.

Phoenix gets the highest possible recommendation from this TransFan.

I mentioned that I made 3 Black Fri purchases. The third one is MakeToys Ironwill, their interpretation of Hardhead. He won’t arrive for a while, so he’s not featured here. But he will get his 15 minutes. Until then… Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Random Decepticon Pic

November 18th, 2018 No comments

Quick post today. Much like when I gathered a group of Autobots at random or a collection of Decepticons lying about, today I feature another random assortment of Decepticons scattered around the house. Most of these figs are from unrelated continuities, but they make up a decent Decepticon force that the Autobots should not underestimate.

Masterpiece Barricade

Barricade is the police car of the bunch, but if you’re a fan of Movie TFs then you already knew that. Barricade made his appearance way back in the first Movie, being one of the first Decepticons introduced and having that memorable chase scene with Bumblebee. I have mentioned before that I am impressed by none of the Barricades made thus far. Well, that all changes with this Masterpiece Barricade. This Barricade is the real deal, worthy of the Masterpiece designation. He’s made from high quality plastic, and the toy feels solid and weighty in your hands. The details of the figure are top-notch. Transformation is nothing short of superb. It’s not overly difficult, but it does pose a decent challenge for even the experienced TF veteran. This is a figure I should review, but I’ll just state real quickly here that this is the only Barricade you need in your collection.

Studio Series Brawl

Continuing with Movie figs, this Brawl is from the Studio Series line of figures. Brawl does belong in the same TF continuity as Barricade, but these two figs are from different toy lines. For those that don’t know, Brawl is the tank. This Brawl figure is not bad. I like both his modes. He has enough weapons to accurately represent his on-screen persona. The engineering put into this figure is to be commended. Transformation is refreshing. Not terribly difficult, but definitely not for the faint of heart or for the impatient. Size wise, I feel he’s a tad too small. I know they are going for a different scale int he Studio Series figures, but even by that standard he’s too small in my opinion. SS Brawl should have been bigger like Leader Class Brawl from the first Movie. I should dig out that Brawl and compare the two figures.

Combiner Wars Blast Off
This is the Blast Off figure that we should have got in Combiner Wars. CW Combaticons was released some years ago, but the Blast Off figure released was just a repaint of Aerialbot Slingshot. That Blast Off transformed into a jet, and not a space shuttle. I ranted about Hasbro’s strange decision in this post, so I won’t do it again here. I’m just glad that Amazon stepped up and gave us the Blast Off that was Japan only up til now. Yep, it’s Amazon to the rescue again, much like they did Quickslinger (Slingshot) and Brake-Neck (Wildrider). This Blast Off is a nice figure. He is very G1 show accurate, in terms of his aesthetics. The paint job is impressive for a mass retail release. There are some new engineering in this figure not seen in other CW figs, such as the feet and shuttle nosecone transformations. But of course the best feature of this figure is that he transforms into a space shuttle. I have not tried to combine him with his fellow Combaticons, but I don’t expect there to be any issues.

Cyberverse Shockwave

The bright purple figure here is Shockwave. But he needs no introduction for anyone even remotely familiar with TFs. As of this writing, this is my first and only figure from Cyberverse. This Cyberverse is based on the new show, and have nothing to do with the subline of figures that appeared under Transformers Prime. The new Cyberverse line of figures caught me totally by surprise. I was not expecting them at all, then one day out of the blue I just saw them at Target. Ultimate class Optimus Prime and Megatron were the first two figs I saw. Then slowly, the Warrior class figs appeared. Many fans recommended this Warrior class Shockwave, so I got one. This is a very playable figure. I have probably transformed him like 10 times now. I dig the robot mode. His looks are very G1. I actually really like the shoulder mounted cannon gimmick. The “lasers” flip out from inside the launcher when the assembly is rotated from the back to the shoulder. Shockwave doesn’t have any head articulation, something sorely lacking by today’s standards, even in this basic class. I don’t like this alt mode all that much, I wish he was still his G1 style cannon. All in all, this Warrior class figure feels very much like a Robots in Disguise figure. It’s a light-weight figure made from cheap plastic and cobbled together with ball joints. Luckily for Shockwave, the design of the figure is decent, which saves it from being a total fail. I am however hesitant on buying more Cyberverse figs. They’re meant to be toys and not meant for the mature collector.

Decepticons, Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

Cybertronian Halloween 2018

October 31st, 2018 No comments

Halloween is here again! And you know what that means here at TFMatrix! The new orange TFs make their special appearance for a group photo with my plush pumpkin.

I always try to use orange TFs that I haven’t used before. And seriously, there has not been that many orange TFs since last time. I only found 4 figs that I would qualify as orange. And 3 of them are not even new, they were just forgotten or left out in previous Halloween posts. But better late than never. They now appear for 2018.

From left to right:

Here are links to previous Halloween posts.
Cybertronian Halloween 2016
Cybertronian Halloween 2014
Cybertronian Halloween 2012 (scroll down to last pic)

For the robots in disguise, everyday is Halloween! Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: Pics

Masterpiece Optimus Prime and Autobots, Team 3

October 23rd, 2018 No comments

The Masterpiece Autobots are back to kick more Decepticon Ass. This time, Optimus returns with some of my favs from Season 2, all in MP glory!

This is Team 3. Team 1 and 2 were featured here.

First figure released in this team is obviously Optimus Prime, back in 2012. The most recent figure acquired here is Richthofen. It’s amazing how far MP Transformers, both official and third party, have come.

The most played-with pieces here are Optimus and Red Alert, simply because they have been around the longest. The least played-with are Smokescreen and Inferno.

This team is ready to man-handle some Decepticons, or maybe I should say robot-handle.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

Power of the Primes Terrorcons

October 15th, 2018 No comments

First came Combiner Wars. Then came Titans Return. Now we are at Power of the Primes, the third and final installment of this toyline. Collectively, the three arcs form Transformers: Prime Wars Trilogy.

There is a backstory to each of the toy arcs. The link above to the Wiki page explains more. Toy-wise, Combiner Wars focused on Combiners (duh) and Titans Return put an emphasis on Headmasters (called Titan Masters). Power of the Primes kind of merged both of these gimmicks. This toyline features Prime Masters that are similar to Headmasters, but at the same time many combining figures are also introduced.

The Terrorcons are one of the last Combiner Team that Hasbro would release as part of the Prime Wars Trilogy. I was kind of waiting for HasTak to release this group, since they did release their opposite number, the Technobots. And it was worth the wait! HasTak has obviously learned their lessons from doing all the previous Combiner Teams. In my opinion, the Terrorcons are the best Combiner Team that uses the standard Combiner Wars mold (Aerialbots, Combatcions, etc). I say this for many reasons. Let’s start the review.

Each Terrorcon is sold separately. They are packed in their robot modes.

Hun-Gurrr

The awesomeness starts with Hun-Gurrr. This is the leader of the Terrorcons, and he forms the body. Hun-Gurrr is famous for saying “Hun-Gurrr hungry” in the G1 episode “Money is Everything”. I never tire of hearing him say that. So dumb yet so direct.

Hun-Gurrr is a heavily modified remold of Combiner Wars Silverbolt (who was also reworked into Cyclonus and Scattershot). But seriously, so much is reworked for Hun-Gurrr that you can argue this is a unique mold of it’s own. All the jet pieces you would find in any of the previous molds are gone, and are now replaced with new monster bits. He gets a new head mold for his robot form, and also a new head for the combined mode.

Both modes look good. Transformation from robot to two-headed monster is on the simple side, but that’s always been the case with Silverbolt and any of the derivatives. The main difference here is that the feet and legs form the twin heads with long necks. So instead of tucking them under where the wings would normally go, you leave them out and about to gobble up unfortunate Autobots.

I have said before that of all the Prime Wars Trilogy combining body figs, the Silverbolt mold provides the best stability in combined form. That is still true here. But Hun-gurrr ups the game even more. Everything properly tabs into place. I’ll go into this more later in the combined form. But in its individual modes, Hun-Gurrr provides tab connectors where there should be. Not only does this provide stability, it’s a confirmation that you’re doing the transformation right. Hun-Gurrr is hands down the best Prime Wars combiner body fig produced, because all 3 modes work.

Blot

Blot is the stinky foot soldier of the group that the other Terrorcons try their best to avoid. He transforms into some kind of big purple bipedal type monster.

Of all the PotP Terrorcon limbs, Blot is my favorite. For starters, I think he has the best looking robot mode, because all the monster bits are best hidden when compared to the other limb Terrorcons. I also like his color scheme of purple and dark blue.

All the limb components share similar transformation motifs. But within that same framework, Blot is the most unique. His legs fold backwards to form the monster back, instead of simply collapsing into the body. I love his fist-to-claw transformation. You flip the fist backwards, and that would rotate out the middle claw. Very very cool. In robot form, the monster head is neatly hidden on the robot back. For transformation to alt mode, the monster head comes up and out, while the robot head goes underneath.

I think this is the most unique looking monster in the group, so I like him. The placement of the over-the-shoulder weapon in monster form is also G1 accurate.

Cutthroat

Cutthroat is the bloodthirsty one of group, with a crazy and barbaric fighting style that even other Decepticons find disturbing. As a sidebar, why is it that every beast subgroup has to have a flyer? Dinobots have Swoop. Predacons have Divebomb. Pretender Monsters have Wildfly. And Terrorcons have Cutthroat. In sitcoms and dramedies of eras gone by, there is often a token black guy. Cutthroat is the token flyer.

PotP Cutthroat is an ok fig. I say that because he could have been great, if not for one flaw. And it’s that the bird head piece (and sometimes also the bird mouth piece) will unavoidably come off during transformation. I have transformed this guy back and forth 5 or 6 times now, and that head will come off each time. This is because the side pegs that hold in the bird head is super loose, while the assembly that the head sits on is super tight to rotate up or down during transformation. I have come to just take the bird head off during transformation, then re-attach.

Other than this flaw, the fig is not too shabby. The face sculpt is amazing. I think this is pretty accurate to either the G1 animation model or the G1 toy box art. I also think this face sculpt would work great for Thunderwing, if they wanted to make a figure of him in PotP. The rest of the fig in robot form is well-proportioned.

Transformation to bird beast is fairly obvious, so I won’t describe it. Again, the bird head coming off is an issue. Other than that the fig is solid. The wings transform well and has no tolerance issues.

There’s nothing too surprising about the alt mode. It’s pretty much the kind of bird monster alt mode you would expect from a $15 toy. It’s functional and it works.

Rippersnapper

Rippersnapper is some kind of amphibious mechanical fish monster with arms and legs. His Tech Spec Bio mentions a massive inferiority complex, but I’m quite sure neither the cartoon nor the comics went into that.

I like PotP Rippersnapper. Overall he reminds me of Blot, but he’s different enough to not feel like buying a repeat figure just to complete the group. Both his modes seem very G1 accurate, and I like his overall color scheme. In robot mode, I like how he still has the monster claws on the back of his hands. Very Wolverine like.

There are no surprises to the transformation. If you look at both modes and mentally imagine how the transformation would be, that’s how it is. The only unexpected piece is the monster’s tail that hides into the legs, which needs to be flipped out for alt mode. An obvious transformation does not mean that it’s not fun or it’s poorly done. Rippersnapper is a well constructed figure. Both modes look good.

I really like the design of Rippersnapper’s alt mode. I think out of all the limb components, this is my favorite monster in terms of appearance. The twin guns on the monster shoulders is very G1 accurate. The mouthpiece can be opened, and unlike Cutthroat, it does not constantly fall off. The monster mode is surprisingly articulate. Balancing the monster on two legs is not hard at all.

Overall, Rippersnapper is another fine addition to the Terrorcon group.

Sinnertwin

Sinnertwin is the second two-headed monster of the group. His Tech Spec bio mentions he likes to patrol the Terrorcons’ lair in the hopes of finding something unwelcome then killing them. Feels like another garden variety Decepticon. Strangely, nothing is mentioned in the Tech Spec Bio about the twin heads. I guess after Hun-Gurrr and Twinferno, another two-headed monster is not such a big deal.

PotP Sinnertwin is okay all around. He’s not bad, but not great either. This wacky green and yellow color combo warrants a visit by the Cybertron fashion police. In robot mode, there’s not much that stands out for Sinnertwin, other than the colors.

Transformation to monster mode is also pretty straightforward. However, he doesn’t seem to be constructed as well as the other Terrorcons. Blot and Rippersnapper are constructed well. Cutthroat has the one construction flaw of the bird head, but other than that, the rest of the fig is solid. Sinnertwin feels slightly off, for the entire fig. What I mean is that there are parts that should snap together or tab into place, but the pieces fall just short of coming in sync with each other. On my copy, the monster head won’t completely rotate and snap into place on the body, the legs don’t completely snap together, the tail has the same problem, and I can’t seem to fully rotate the robot legs to align completely with the body. There are tabs and grooves to help you locate where the pieces should go, but I can’t seem to fully get them there. Overall it doesn’t impair the functionality of the figure, but it does present itself as a minor distraction.

In alt mode, Sinnertwin is another monster with a cool design. I like the twin heads. They each have a working jaw, though getting them open takes some prying. The color scheme in monster mode works better than it does in robot mode.

Most buyers of PotP Terrorcons are looking to buy the whole set. But if for some reason you’re not, and is making purchase decisions on the individual merit of each figure, then I would recommend Sinnertwin as the last one to buy. The minor build issues irk me, and that color scheme is not doing it for me.

Below I present all the Terrorcons in their hideous monster forms.

Terrorcons, transform and merge into… Abominus!

Abominus

This is one awesome looking Combiner. Check it out!

It all starts with Hun-Gurrr. He is based off of the best Prime Wars Trilogy combiner body, so the combined form has the best stability. Not only that, HasTak improved on it by providing proper tabbing for all pieces of the body transformation. This gives the combined body extra support. The result is a stable Abominus that stands up well in the classic A-stance. Not only that, he is actually somewhat posebale in action stances.

Transformation to Abominus requires no extra pieces, other than the hands and feet. Hun-Gurrr comes with the two feet pieces, or you can elect to use the individual combiner pieces that comes with the limb Terrorcons. For the hands you must use the individual combiner pieces. The Abominus chest shield is built into the Hun-Gurrr figure, and will be wholly formed through the transformation to body mode. I cannot commend HasTak enough for the engineering designs on Hun-Gurrr.

The limb components are on par with other Prime Wars Combiners that have come before it, but the superior body figure means they can be better connected in the combined form. Also, there are no tolerance issues for attaching the hands or feet to the limb Terrorcons, as there were for some of the previous Combiners.

Abominus has got a great new head mold that pays homage to the G1 figure.

If you can only get one Combiner Team in the Prime Wars Trilogy, the Terrorcons are the team to get! This is the final evolution of the Prime Wars Combiners, and HasTak has corrected many of the flaws that plagued the previous Combiner teams. The Terrorcons may not be the most recognizable of the G1 Combiners, but if you’re reading this blog, the Terrorcons must mean something to you.

Terrorcons… Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

TF Matrix Nine Year Anniversary

October 9th, 2018 No comments

Well, this blog is still going. I’m not getting the hits that I used to. But keeping this blog alive has got to count for something.

9 Years

Looking at the stats, it looks like everything went down hill after The Last Knight. Can’t say I blame the fans. I am betting Hasbro and Paramount are seeing similar numbers when they do their analysis, just on a much larger scale. Maybe that’s why they are finally ok with letting Michael Bay go. Perhaps that’s the silver lining here.

Though I’m not gonna blame everything on The Last Knight. I will admit I’m not spending enough time on this blog. I have big things planned, but until then… Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Masterpiece Style Red Jets

October 2nd, 2018 No comments

I got a bunch of third party Masterpiece-styled red jets lying here and there, so I thought I compile them and make a post. Here they are.

From left to right: ToyWorld Assault, Zeta Toys Flyfire, DX9 Richthofen

Assault

This 3P homage to Thrust by ToyWorld is an incredible figure. I kinda went into their awesomeness back in this post, see that for all the details. Lots of TransFans give these TW Coneheads a hard time, and I say they’re totally trippin’. Don’t believe them. Subscribe to my TF authority and go get these while you can.

Flyfire

Newcomer Zeta Toys is responsible for this 3P MP homage to Aerialbot Fireflight. Fireflight is probably my least favorite Aerialbot. His alt mode as a F-4 Phantom is one of the worst of the jets. And he has no personality whatsoever. Honestly, I can’t really say anything else about him. Other than he was mysteriously missing when all the other Aerialbots were fighting that giant purple robot griffin in “Aerial Assault“, one of my favorite eps from G1.

Zeta Toys is supposedly a split-off from ToyWorld. Well, split-off may be too professional a term here. What I heard is that the design engineers at ToyWorld didn’t feel they were getting what they deserved and had a falling out with management. So they took their designs, left ToyWorld, and formed their own company. The result is Zeta Toys. This is evidenced by how some products overlap between ToyWorld and Zeta.

Anyway, back to Flyfire. I like the figure. He looks good in both alt mode and robot mode. The engineering is top-notch, and I wouldn’t have expected any less from the designers behind some of ToyWorld’s best offerings. The transformation is satisfying, striking a good balance between complexity and fun. Flyfire is Zeta’s second Aerialbot, the first being Airstrike (Air Raid). I liked Airstrike as well, but there were some minor construction hiccups here and there. Zeta has obviously learned their lesson from that first offering, and as the sophomore figure Flyfire is much more polished. At only $65.99, Zeta is making these extremely affordable. However, that does come at a price. The materials used for both Flyfire and Airstrike feels incredibly cheap for something that is supposed to be MP quality. That’s pretty much my only complaint about these figures. Next to TW Assault, the cheap plastic become more than obvious. I wonder if TW planned to make these with superior materials, but now we’ll never know. But as it is, Flyfire is still a recommended figure. These are currently the best MP styled Aerialbots you can buy on the market.

ZT is getting quite clever with the naming. Hasbro can no longer use the term Fireflight, so modern productions of this character go with Firefly. ZT just reversed it and call it Flyfire. What will these crazy Chinese engineers think of next.

Richthofen

The last of these 3P MP red jets is DX9 Richthofen. I had to Google what is Richthofen. Apparently that was the last name of the Red Baron. Anyway, this figure is obviously Powerglide. And what a figure this is. I have been really enjoying all my purchases from DX9, such as Invisible, Carry, and Gewalt. I hold DX9 in the highest regard possible, and they did not let me down with Richthofen. This is an amazing figure.

Both alt mode and robot mode looks good. DX9 really studied the G1 animation models and produced a figure faithful to the show’s appearance. Unlike Flyfire, nice quality materials are used for the figure. Construction of Richthofen is superb. In fact, it may be too good, as all the joints are super tight. My hands hurt when trying to transform this guy. This may be due to the fact that some productions runs of Richthofen had a manufacturing problem, where there was a loose tail fin. DX9 corrected this in later runs, but the result is all the joints became way too tight. I got one such figure. Still, I rather have joints that are too tight than too loose.

Other than the tight joints, Richthofen is a blast to transform. It’s just the right amount of complexity and challenge. I’m hoping the joints will soften after a few transformations. He even comes with a Astoria figure, from “The Girl Who Loved Powerglide“. And when you open his chest panel, there is a heart shaped mold engraved there. Gotta give DX9 points for show accuracy, as cheesy as this feature is.

Richthofen has a place in your collection.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

Transformers Bumblebee New Trailer

September 27th, 2018 No comments

A new trailer for the upcoming Bumblebee movie was just released 2 days ago! Check it out!

I gotta say, after seeing this trailer, I am once again excited about Transformers on the big screen! I got so many random thoughts in my head after seeing this. I’m gonna try to capture them all in bullet points.

  • Transformers needed a new director and bring new life into the franchise, something I’ve said over and over on this blog. Bumblebee is directed by Travis Knight, best known for directing Kubo and the Two Strings. I didn’t see that movie, but everyone I talked to who saw it says it’s good. Personally, I’m just glad Michael Bay is not at the helm. His absence is already making a difference.
  • Bumblebee is back to being a VW Bug! Yeah this is old news, but it’s worth repeating. I do like the concept of the modern Camaro Bumblebee, but we need to get back to the roots and have perhaps the most iconic Transformer return to his original alt mode.
  • I like both Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena for this movie. I don’t know much about Hailee, other than seeing her in Edge of Seventeen. And I know some of her songs, such as “Love Myself” and “Most Girls”. OK maybe I know more about her than I thought. I think it’s about time we got a human female lead for a TF movie. John Cena as some military guy works for me. He is way more suited to be a solider than Josh Duhamel.
  • And now for the one big reason I look forward to this movie – all characters on Cybertron look like their G1 selves! From Optimus Prime to Soundwave to Shockwave, this is how to translate these beloved characters to the big screen! And this is how they should have looked all this time, instead of the machinations that Michael Bay morphed them into.
  • It’s worth pointing out that the characters only look G1 when they’re on Cybertron, and they look more like typical Bay-formers when they’re on Earth. Is that by design? Are they saying that the G1 look only applies to TFs on Cybertron, and coming to Earth and transcanning they look more like Bay-formers? It will be interesting to see if the movie offers any interpretation here. And while we’re on that topic, the Cybertron TFs does look more like cartoony CG, while the TFs on Earth look more realistic. That may also be an artistic choice.
  • When Prime first appeared in the hologram, I didn’t think much of it, since that’s how I am accustomed to seeing Optimus. But then I had to remind myself that this is a live action movie. And then it hits me that I’m looking at a G1-styled Prime! This movie will be such a good G1 homage I can practically wet myself. Peter Cullen is obviously back as the great Autobot leader.
  • Soundwave! If that’s not a G1 homage Soundwave, I don’t know what is. And Ravage ejecting out of him! Though that’s still on Cybertron, and Ravage is already some kind of jaguar or panther type animal. How is that gonna be explained? Are there animals like that on Cybertron?
  • That scene with Shockwave with a army of Seekers behind him is amazing. The one standing mostly in the foreground is probably Starscream. There are some other various colored ones, think I see a purple one and a green one. Are they supposed to be the Rainmakers? The green one is a Conehead too. That will be interesting. The Seeker Cybertronian alt mode is taken directly from the very first episode of G1. Very very cool! They obviously did their homework here.
  • When Bee is going through a tunnel, there is a green repair truck. Is that Hoist? Or just a homage to Hoist?
  • We still get a non-talking Bee in this movie. I guess that’s one Michael Bay contribution to the TF franchise that just won’t die.
  • This movie is set in 1986, pretty close to the date that the Transformers entity came to be, in 1984. It doesn’t really look that 80s to me, though. Maybe I’m expecting that stereotypical 80s look and this movie is trying to avoid that. That may be a good thing.
  • Bumblebee is supposed to be a prequel to the Bay movies. If this movie is well-received, maybe the studio will just consider this a reboot and then continue off of this. I’m hoping that happens. As it is, there will probably be so many continuity issues if this movie is really just a prequel.

 
I can’t wait for Bumblebee. This will be a great Christmas gift to the hardcore G1 Transfans that have been with the franchise through thick and thin. Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: TF News