Transformers Purchased in December 2018

December 20th, 2020 No comments

2018 ends on a high note. There were purchases from official TF lines, 3rd party, and 4th party. A brand new line in the TF CHUG-verse also kicked off this month, which takes us past the Prime Wars Trilogy and into a whole new era. And I think for the first time in the history of this blog, a single character had 3 separate purchases in one month.

That’s a lot to get to. Let’s begin.

  • G1 Bumblebee, Walmart, $7.86

  • Studio Series Grimlock, hasbrotoyshop.com, $39.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Blowpipe, amazon.com, $5.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Firedrive, amazon.com, $5.99

  • Power of the Primes Predaking, toydojo.com, $99.99

  • Ocular Max Artifex, toydojo.com, $49.99

  • x-Transbots Toro, eBay seller, $49.21

  • Mech Fans Toys Grmlock, toydojo.com, $24.99

  • Fans Toys Grinder, eBay seller, $141.09

Many of these figures were covered in the special 2018 Black Friday post. I will give more detailed treatment here.

Bumblebee

This is the Generation 1 Bumblebee toy that started it all. This figure needs no introduction. Here we have a Walmart G1 Commemorative re-issue. The head is styled more like Bumblebee in the G1 cartoons and not the original G1 toy.

I have an original G1 Bumblebee. It was not purchased from a store. If memory serves, some kid at my school (who I can’t recall) didn’t want it anymore, so I took it. The figure was never in the best shape. One arm was already somewhat loose and floppy when the figure became mine. But still, this is Bumblebee, so I kept it all this time. The condition of the figure only got worse with age, but I am happy to say I have an original copy of perhaps the most iconic TF character of all time.

When I found this re-issue at Walmart, I found several other G1 Mini-bot re-issues as part of the same wave. But the other bots were not from Season 1 or 2, they were from Season 3. I remember distinctively I saw Outback, Swerve, and Tailgate. Possibly Pipes too. It’s as if they took the Encore Mini Vehicle 5-pack, reproduced the figs, and released them individually. The Bumblebee in this 5-pack also has the G1 cartoon head, which further supports that notion. Anyways, I don’t really care for any of the Season 3 Mini-bots, so I didn’t buy them this time.

This re-issue of Bumblebee remains unopened. It will probably stay that way.

Blowpipe, Firedrive

Blowpipe and Firedrive are my first entries into a new era of Transformers in the CHUG-verse called War For Cybertron: Siege. Much like the Prime Wars Trilogy, War For Cybertron will also be a trilogy. The first chapter is called Siege. This War For Cybertron has nothing to do with the video game series that was first released in the early 2010s.

I have always said that I like the Targetmasters more than the Headmasters. So it is nice to see Targetmasters officially get some love in this new era. And what better way to kick off Siege than with Targetmasters. In this new era, they are called Battlemasters.

G1 fans know that Blowpipe is the weapon for Triggerhappy. More hardcore G1 fans will recognize that Firedrive is really Firebolt, the weapon for Hot Rod (after he is Rodimus Prime no more and became a Targetmaster).

Blowpipe and Firedrive are technically different molds. They transform differently, but it’s virtually identical to each other. Just like G1, the transformation process is painfully simple. These new Battlemasters do have some limited articulation, which is superior to G1 in which there was no articulation at all. In weapon mode, the arms and legs does peg in to designated spots, giving this mode a more cohesive feel. They each come with blast effects. Not really my thing, but some fans will dig it.

At $5.99 each I think the price is a bit high. In my opinion they should be half that. But I still wholeheartedly recommend them.

Grimlock

Studio Series 08 Grimlock is the first Grimlock that is featured in this post. I bought him when he was first released at full MSRP, in the summer of 2018. Then I debated if I really want him, and came to the conclusion that maybe I didn’t. So I returned him to the store.

On Black Friday week of 2018, Hasbro was letting this guy go at $39.99. I had another 10% off coupon, which was valid on top of that price. I couldn’t resist the temptation a second time, so I bought him again, this time for keeps.

So was he worth buying? Yes and no. The T-Rex mode is great. This is the best looking Movie dinosaur that HasTak has ever produced, across all the TF Movie lines. If there is one positive about this figure that everyone agrees on, it’s the paint job. HasTak spared no expense here and really gave this figure a quality paint application that no one would find fault with. The result is a menacing, movie-accurate T-Rex that does justice to the character. At leader class, he also scales well with other SS figs. SS Grimlock is not the first leader class Movie Grimlock made, but it’s the best looking one, by far.

The robot mode, however, is so-so at best. As of this writing, I really don’t remember it too well anymore. I just remember the robot mode being unimpressive. I transformed him to T-Rex, and Grimlock stayed like that for 2 years. This figure is on top of a shelf, all this time. My wife really likes this figure, so it never got put away.

If you can find this fig at a reasonable price, and you must have an awesome looking Movie Grimlock in your collection, then he is a buy.

Predaking

HasTak has finally decided to give their G1 Predacons team a proper update in the modern era. Plenty of 3Ps have given their attempts already, such as the Feralcons by MMC. It’s about time HasTak gave it a go on their own property. And on a related but separate note, this may be my very last purchase from the Power of the Primes line.

When toy companies do a modern update to combiners, they have to prioritize which mode gets the optimization emphasis. In a perfect world, the individual robot modes, individual alt modes, and the combined mode would all be great. In this world, extra combining parts would not be necessary, and the figures would scale nicely at every mode, to other figs and to themselves. We don’t live in that world.

With Predaking, HasTak has very obviously chose to optimize for the combined mode. And it is awesome! I dare say that no 3P or 4P has produced a better looking Predaking, in the modern era. He’s big and proportionate. The arms and legs look proper scale in relation to the body. Predaking is a very stable figure, no issues standing on it’s own weight. For a gestalt, he’s fairly poseable. If this is the only mode you care for, then this is the toy for you.

From here, things unfortunately go downhill. Let’s talk about the individual robot modes next. Some are ok, but none of them are great. Divebomb has to haul around that giant wing/backpack assembly that has no where else to go in this mode. Tantrum and Headstrong both look horrible when viewed from the back. The thigh part in combined mode simply hangs off their backs.

Things get even worse in beast modes. Most of them don’t look all that great. The 4-legged beasts simply look like boxes with legs. Razorclaw feels like the smallest of the 5, despite being the leader and forming the chest. The thigh part in combined mode tucks underneath the body of Tantrum and Headstrong, making for a really weird look.

Extra combiner parts are necessary to form Predaking. They are accounted for in the individual modes. For example, the feet pieces can be held or attached as weapons. Lots of combiner toys use this tactic so HasTak isn’t the only guilty party here, but it is something I wanted point out.

I know all this sounds really negative. But overall I still give Predaking a recommendation. The combined mode is really just that good to justify the other weaknesses in this set. And honestly, I don’t see HasTak making another Predaking anytinme soon. None of the 3P Predakings are perfect, either. Most fans buy this set for Predaking, and in that purpose, this set delivers.

Artifex

Artifex is MMC’s interpretation of a Masterpiece-style Hoist. And I’ll get straight to it: this is a disappointing figure. The design of the figure itself is solid enough, but where things really go south is in the manufacturing. Artifex’s joints are way too loose. He can kind of hold poses, but only if you position it very carefully. The figure during transformation is one floppy mess. Some of Artifex’s accessories also don’t properly fit where they should. One of his cannons is supposed to rotate, but too much paint made it unmovable. I tried to force it, and it just broke. The seller was nice enough to get replacement parts for me (thank you ToyDojo!).

Going back to alt mode, it is extremely difficult to get the whole unit to assemble back together. The joints are just too damn loose. Nothing holds in place. Aligning multiple floppy parts into a cohesive whole of a truck will test even the most patient. When I decided to put Artifex away, I was never able to fully get Artifex back into truck with everything properly tabbed together. I did the best I could and put him back in the box.

As of this writing, I have sold Artifex. One bright point of this is I actually sold Artifex for more than I bought it for. But you should not buy Artifex. I believe the best MP Hoist on the market right now is X-Transbots Paean. I have X-Transbots Aegis (their homage to Trailbreaker). He’s excellent, so I’m hoping Paean is just as good.

Toro

I bought Toro on eBay from a seller based in China. Yes I used eBay again after I ranted against using the platform. I chose not to take my own advice. But this was from a seller I had used before and the transaction was good. I had enough faith to use them again, and they did not disappoint with Toro.

I touched on Toro in the special 2018 Black Friday post, but a lot of it is worth repeating again because he’s just so awesome. He comes in a small box. To me this is already a pro, because when you have as many TFs as I do, you need the space. Toro is packed in alt mode. He is a beautiful race car in this mode, something that more closely resembles an 80’s Porsche than the toy minicar that he was in G1. Some fans knock this for being G1 inaccurate, but I welcome this update.

Transformation to robot mode is straightforward. The robot mode appearance is spot on to the G1 show. Some fans knock it for having a chest that doesn’t transform into the car’s cabin, but I think it’s fine. Toro is pretty poseable, with superb construction and joints at the right tightness. Quality materials are used. The paint job deserves special mention. Really, it looks that good. If I was to compile a top 10 figures with the best paint job, Toro would be in there.

I can’t talk about Toro without mentioning the accessories. He comes with a lot! Upon opening the box, they’re packed on this sled type thing that doubles has his alt mode water-skis and a weapon storage unit. For weapons, he comes with 3 pistols, and that giant bazooka that we saw him use in the first ep of G1.

If you want an MP Cliffjumper, get Toro. It’s that simple.

Grmlock

That is not a typo. This 4th party figure is Grmlock. They dropped one letter in the name but it’s fooling no one. And I think that’s the intent.

Grmlock got a quick mention in a post about my Grimlock collection, the 2nd one made on this blog. One aspect about this figure that’s worth repeating is that he transforms differently from the standard Grimlock scheme that every TransFan is familiar with. And like all the other MFT products of this line, the paint job is superb and the joints are super tight.

I recommend this figure. It’s one of the better G1 style Grimlocks made. I don’t think Grmlock scales well with any of the official TF lines, like CHUG or MP. He may go well with a smaller scale of G1 style figures that many 3rd parties have been pumping out lately, such as those from Newage, Magic Square, Iron Factory, or DX9. And yes, these MFT figs are KOs of DX9 War in Pocket Dinobots. If that changes your opinion about these MFT figures, don’t buy them. If you don’t care, then these KOs deserve a place on your shelf.

Grinder

This is the third and final Grimlock to be featured this month. In Feb of 2016 I got two Onslaughts, and in March of 2018 I got two Sludges. This is probably the first time that one character had three different figures in a single month, and I’m glad that’s Grimlock. He’s an Autobot worthy of such an honor.

Grinder also got a quick mention, in that same post about my Grimlock collection. In short, he’s fantastic. If you want a Grimlock for your MP collection, then Grinder is a required purchase. He scales nicely with other MPs. Both modes look good. He’s well built. Transforms intuitively and smoothly. My only gripe was that I don’t like the default dino head. Apparently a lot of other fans had the same complaint, and so FT produced a 2nd dino head that can be purchased separately. I have since bought this 2nd dino head, but I haven’t tried it yet. I will be sure to do that soon and report back.

I believe my copy of Grinder was the 2nd batch of this figure released by Fans Toys. I did not buy Grinder when first released, because I felt that the official Masterpiece Grimlock (MP-08) represented the the MP Dinobot Leader in my collection. But all the FT Iron Dibots are so well made, and MP-08 is really too small when scaled with them. So I got Grinder to complete the Iron Dibots set when FT re-released the figure. Here are links to the other 4 Iron Dibots:

I was quite fortunate to find Grinder on eBay at such a good price. This was from an eBay seller in China that I had never used. I was hesitant, and the price seemed a tad too good to be true. But the seller had over 1000 positives, so I took a chance. Glad it all worked out. Grinder arrived on 12/31/2018. Just made to cutoff to be included in my 2018 Transformers.

And that does it for 2018. I’m getting way too lazy writing about these purchase posts. It’s now Dec of 2020, and I’m writing about Dec of 2018. Two years behind. Maybe one of my resolutions for 2021 is to catch up on this stuff.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

DX9 Gewalt Quick Review

December 6th, 2020 No comments

Last week I featured my Blitzwing collection. It started with the robot modes, then jet modes, and ended with tank modes. Thanksgiving week 2020 became Blitzwing week.

I transformed DX9 Gewalt from robot to jet to tank in that span, taking many pictures along the way. This transformation fulfilled one of the goals in my self-imposed Shelter-From-Home Transformer Challenge. (Sidebar: With local COVID cases rising, State authorities where I am have recently imposed an even more strict stay-at-home order. There is a curfew. Some authorities are calling this a lockdown.) And since I just transformed this guy through all his modes, a quick review of this excellent figure is in order.

Let’s start with the box and the goodies packed inside.

Gewalt in the box, packed in tank mode. Notice he comes with his purple rifle and a purple translucent sword. The black accessory is used to help budge certain tight connections during transformation.

Here are Gewalt’s other items and accessories: the instruction book, a bio card, an extra yelling face, one replacement part that looks like it’s for the thighs (not sure if this is for Gewalt or something else), and the rear horizontal stabilizer wings for jet mode. They can be attached in tank mode, but mine came unattached. More on that later.

Also included is this nice poster of Gewalt.

Tank Mode

I always start the review with whatever mode the figure comes packed in.

This is a nice looking tank. Though right off the bat I will say that this looks more like a Cybertronian tank, and not an Earth M1 Abrams tank. The turret and tank treads look Earth mode enough, but the rest of it, not so much. Also, the turret appears too small in relation to the rest of the tank.

The turret can be angled up. Now I just need a MP style Kup to re-create that famous scene from the G1 Movie.

There does seem to be a bit too much purple on Gewalt in tank mode. See those pegs that stick out at the back, near the bottom? That’s where one of the rear wing stabilizers would go, if it was still attached in this mode. The instructions illustrate the entire transformation process with these wings not attached across all 3 modes. But there is room for them, they can be attached and folded in tank mode.

Gewalt directly from the front. Reminds me of the opening sequence in G1 Season 3. Notice you can see where the head is. I know this bothers a lot of fans, but in my opinion it’s not a big deal. More on this later.

Gewalt directly from the back.

A look at the bottom. Most of it cleans up quite well. Again, the one oddity is where the head is situated. I know this appears to be a deal breaker for many fans. But I don’t find myself compulsively looking there, so it’s not a problem for me.

Now for some size comparisons in tank mode.

With MP Thundercracker. These 2 scale quite well in this mode.

With other Blitzwings.

Overall, Gewalt’s tank mode is decent. Personally I think it’s the weakest of the 3 modes, but it’s not bad by any means. My wife actually likes this mode the best.

Jet Mode

Next up is the jet mode. Blitzwing is supposed to be a MiG. In G1, he looks nothing like a MiG, with those thick bulky wings that obviously forms a tank. Gewalt improves upon that in spades.

Now that is a jet that looks way more like a MiG! In G1, I always assumed that Blitzwing’s jet mode is a Cybertronian jet, like Jetfire. I didn’t find out that he’s supposed to be a MiG until the 2000s. With this jet mode, no one will make that mistake.

Another angle of this awesome jet. I love this purple. Totally G1 accurate and looks great too!

An angle from the back. Notice I put on the rear wing stabilizers. You could leave them on for robot mode (more on this later).

Great skinny profile of the jet, looking directly from the front.

Looking directly from the back. Nice looking thrusters.

View from the bottom. Gewalt cleans up quite nicely in jet mode. In this pic the landing gears are retracted, but they easily come out. The tank treads clearly can be seen underneath the wings in this pic. It’s mostly near the body of the jet, so it does not bug me, as the wings themselves are still quite thin.

It is worth noting at this point that the tank turret and main cannon is not seen at the bottom of the jet, like G1 Blitzwing in both the toy and the animation model. Gewalt folds the tank turret into the legs, which forms the back jet area. I think this is pretty cool. But the main cannon has nowhere to go in jet mode. It has to be removed entirely. I wish DX9 made it so the cannon can at least be pegged at the bottom of the jet somewhere. Gewalt’s parts-forming with the main cannon does bother me a bit. I do wish they came up with a way to incorporate it in all 3 modes.

Now for some size comparison pics in jet mode.

With other G1 style Blitzwings.

With MP Thundercracker. These 2 scale amazingly with each other in jet mode. In Transformers: Infiltration, there is a nice overhead panel of Blitzwing and Skywarp in jet mode. Blitzwing is just a tad bigger, like you see in the pic above with Thundercracker. DX9 really got this scale right. Gewalt’s jet mode appearance also looks strikingly similar to how Blitzwing is drawn in Infiltration. Perhaps this was the source material for DX9.

Here I have KFC Kingzilla (aka Snapdragon) with Gewalt in their jet modes. Two big and beefy triple-changers side by side.

Of the 3 modes, Gewalt’s jet mode is my favorite. Now on to the robot mode.

I love the robot mode. This is Blitzwing as he appears in G1. I compared this with some G1 animation models. There are differences here and there, but not nearly enough to say that this is G1 inaccurate. I do wish the nosecone bits that appears on the sides of the waist can be hidden for a cleaner look, but overall it doesn’t bother me too much.

Looking at the side profile, there’s a bit of backpack kibble. But not too bad. In G1 Blitzwing is drawn with a bit of a backpack. Notice the rear wing stabilizers are attached on the legs, on the sides toward the bottom. Again, instructions show them as unattached. This area does look cleaner when the the rear stabilizers are not there. Perhaps that’s why DX9 made them removable. I personally like having all pieces in all modes.

View of the back. Notice the main cannon that is blatantly absent in jet mode can be pegged on to the back. This is too iconic for Blitzwing. Even DX9 would not mess with that look. I don’t really like the look of the heels. They are obviously half of the thrusters on each side. But this is only visible from the back, and in honesty I’m not gonna look there very much. So this gets a pass.

Very nice face sculpt that is unmistakably Blitzwing.

Now for some action poses. Gewalt is kind of a big, bulky figure. There’s also enough kibble on the back and shoulders to limit overall movement. So the poseability gets an average score, at best.

For robot size comparison, Gewalt appears with MP Megatron below.

At first glance it would appear that Gewalt is taller, but Megs is actually taller if you look at where the top of their heads are. Still, I feel Gewalt in robot mode is a bit big to properly scale with official MPs. Blitzwing is good size, but he should still be noticeably shorter than Megatron.

As a whole, I love the Gewalt figure. He’s got his shortcomings, which I outlined throughout this post. If you’re looking for the executive summary of what those are, it’s the mediocre tank mode, parts-forming with the main cannon, limited robot articulation, and robot mode scale issues. But the figure has way more positives. The jet mode is awesome, and the robot mode is solid. He’s very well built. All joints are super tight, some may say even too tight. Transformation is definitely involved, but not impossible.

As of this writing, if you’re looking for a MP style Blitzwing, you can’t go wrong with Gewalt. The only other option available I know of is Ditka by KFC. Ditka is more G1 than Gewalt, but in my opinion it’s too G1. The figure kept a lot of Blitzwing’s G1 weaknesses that should have been improved upon. Also, Ditka has got construction issues galore that I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. Fans Toys has their Blitzwing coming, called Berserk. This figure has been on pre-order for nearly 3 years now, and so far all we’ve seen are black-and-white renders. The renders look terrific. But seriously… is this figure still happening? Your guess is as good as mine.

If you want a MP Blitzwing today, get Gewalt. It’s that simple.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

My Blitzwing Collection, Tank Mode

November 25th, 2020 No comments

And as the third part in this Blitzwing series, here are the tank modes of my Blitzwing figures.

It’s hard for me to say which of these tank modes I like the best. They each have their strengths and weaknesses.

Studio Series Blitzwing does not have a tank mode, so obviously he does not appear here.

Here are the posts for their robot modes and jet modes.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

My Blitzwing Collection, Jet Mode

November 24th, 2020 No comments

Another quick post that follows up the one from yesterday. Here are those same Blitzwing figures in jet mode.

Rating on jet mode alone, my favorite out of these has gotta be DX9 Gewalt. This is exactly how I imagine a modern day triple changing MiG to be, based on updated G1 aesthetics. Most notably, the bulky G1 wings are gone. In my opinion that’s a good thing. Those tank-like G1 wings never did it for me.

Thrilling 30 Blitzwing as a jet mode that resembles Alpha Fighters from Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, like I mentioned in the last post. Titans Return Blitzwing has a jet mode that most resemble G1, out of this bunch.

Studio Series Blitzwing has a jet mode that probably looks closest to how a real MiG looks. I do like this figure. But it doesn’t triple change (no tank mode). Since the figure only has to manage 1 alt mode, I would expect it to look great (and it does).

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

My Blitzwing Collection

November 23rd, 2020 No comments

Quick post today. I have all my Blitzwings out and about, so I gathered them all up for a group photo.

Clockwise, from top left:

Quick blurb about each:

Generations Thrilling 30
This figure has the infamous non-locking shoulder issue that all TransFans are now well aware of. Even repaints of this figure has the same, such as Doubledealer. I do like the jet mode of this Blitzwing. It reminds me of the jet mode of Alpha Fighters (Legios) from Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. Generations Thrilling 30 Blitzwing was also features in these posts.
Transformers On My Shelf, September 2013
Transformers on my Shelf, December 2013
Transformers on my Shelf, August 2015

DX9 Gewalt
As of this writing, DX9 Gewalt is still in my opinion the best 3P MP-style Blitzwing around. All 3 modes look great. The figure is well built. A bit hard to transform, but not frustrating or impossible. Some fans prefer KFC Ditka since it’s more G1 accurate. But that figure has tons of QC issues, and its over G1-ness more hurts than help the figure, in my opinion. Fans Toys Berserk (their version of Blitzwing) has been delayed for an eternity now. That figure may be better, but who knows when it will actually materialize. To this day we have seen nothing but black and white renders.
DX9 Gewalt was also features here.
Transformers Rub On Faction Decals
Shelter From Home Transformer Challenge

Titans Return
Titans Return Blitzwing is the most recently mass produced Blitzwing figure in the G1 CHUG verse. And as such, he is the best all-around Blitzwing figure that is generally available. He’s G1 enough that most hardcore fans will not complain about it straying too far from the source material, other than the fact that they made him a Headmaster in Titans Return. There’s some minor QC issues, but nothing near as bad as the Thrilling 30 version. All 3 modes are solid.
Titans Return Blitzwing can be found here.
Decepticon Power!
War For Cybertron Siege Storm Cloud and Visper Quick Review

Studio Series
This is the only non-G1 style Blitzwing on here. Studio Series Blitzwing appeared in the Bumblebee movie. The figure is not too shabby. He’s not a triple changer, but both robot mode and jet mode does justice to the movie character. Transformation is very refreshing for a jet-to-robot figure. Recommended.

“Destroy first, think later.”

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

Joe Biden vs Optimus Prime

November 10th, 2020 No comments

Four years ago, when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I wrote a WTF piece on this blog about the absurdity.

Now, four years later, I’m glad the Trump era is coming to a close. The Secret Service and US Marshalls may have to drag him out kicking and screaming. That could make for some good reality TV. I would pay to watch that.

Things got interesting on election night. There was a point when it looked like Trump may pull off the upset once again. But then counts for swing states mail-in ballots slowly started to make its way, and from there it was obvious that America does not want someone so Tweet-happy to be the Commander in Chief. It took a few more days to officially declare Joe Biden the winner. Election night became election week.

As of this writing, Trump has not technically conceded. He may just leave the White House without anyone knowing, sometime between now and inauguration of the next President. When Megatron loses a battle and runs (as he so often does in G1), he’s not shy about yelling “retreat”. Trump won’t even give us that satisfaction. He’s just gonna quietly sneak away.

I welcome Joe Biden with open arms. But of course, my top pick for the job is still Optimus Prime.

I like the “Bidenisms”, short quotes of wisdom that Biden would spew out here and there. Joe Biden is funnier than Optimus Prime, I’ll give him that. This country could use more laughs.

But as far as doing the job, can Biden outperform Prime? Let’s compare and see.

Joe Biden Optimus Prime
Healthcare Forms a special task force to deal with COVID-19 with some doctors and scientists that no one has heard of Appoints Ratchet and Perceptor to work on COVID-19 vaccine
Clean Energy Outlined a 9 step clean energy plan that will cost $400 billion Convert all energy to energon, make all human equipment energon compatible
Education Promises more resources for schools and educators The great minds of Cybertron already has much to teach the humans
Travel and Commute Will reverse Trump Travel Ban, and invest in roads, bridges, airports, and transit systems Will build Space Bridges and Land Bridges all over the Earth
Overpopulation Has a climate plan, which may or may not address overpopulation Move humans to Cybertron
National Security Has the backing of the US Military Has the backing of the Autobots

I don’t know about you, but Optimus gets my vote. Next election I’m gonna write his name in. And if I lived in Vermont (I don’t), that would get reported.

Congratulations to Joe Biden. I look forward to what you will achieve for this nation.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Uncategorized

TF Matrix 11 Year Anniversary

October 10th, 2020 No comments

One more year, my fellow TransFans. This blog has been up and running for 11 years now.

This year I got about the same stats as last year. I guess at 12,000 hits a year, it’s as low as it will go. That neatly comes to 1,000 hits a month. I can do better. I know I can. For now, I’m just glad that the blog is still going.

2020 has been a mixed bag. I’ll start with the pros. The War For Cybertron toy line has me impressed. Siege was great, and Earthrise is even better. The Netflix show was awesome to say the least. Too short, but still awesome.

There has been no new movies in the news, and to me that’s a good thing. I also like that the Studio Series is going through all the movies and re-doing figures from each movie. Most of the SS version of a character is leaps and bounds over the original one released at the time of the movie.

Now the cons. HasTak continues to produce more MPs. The price for MP-44 Optimus is just ridiculous. MP-47 Hound is also way more expensive than he should be. The upcoming MP Starscream 2.0 also continues this trend. As if the price wasn’t bad enough, both MP-44 and MP-47 are plagued with construction issues that require fixes. I am losing a bit of faith in the MP line.

As for 3rd and 4th party products, they’re not stopping. Too much in my opinion. I fear they are saturating the market. A market correction may be around the corner.

Finally, let’s not forget the global COVID-19 pandemic and how it has impacted the collectibles landscape. Figures are delayed as factories are shut down, re-opened, then shut down again. Same goes for international shipping. Store exclusives almost require pre-ordering these days if you want one. Personally I’m buying way more online, as opposed to shopping in-store. Not because I’m afraid of going out. Physical stores just don’t seem to get as much inventory anymore. Scalpers and price gouging was already a problem before COVID, and now it’s even worse.

Despite all these negatives I listed, the toys themselves continue to get better and better, whether they’re official or not. Yes they’re expensive, and yes there are delays after delays. But the improvements made to the figures keep me coming back for more. So many times I have considered getting out of this hobby. Then some awesome figures come along that reminds me of why I got into this in the first place.

Long live Transformers, and long live TF Matrix. Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: Uncategorized

Fans Toys Hunk Quick Review

September 24th, 2020 No comments

I first featured Fans Toys Hunk in this post. FT’s version of MP Brawn is getting his 15 minutes today.

He’s packed in robot mode, so let’s start there.

Hunk in classic A-stance.

View from the side. A bit of backpack kibble, but not too bad.

Back view.

Close up of the face. That’s a great sculpt. Good job FT.

Overall I’m very happy with Hunk’s robot mode appearance. This is a robot mode that does Brawn justice. I can nitpick here and there, but I don’t think there is a figure in existence that comes closer to how Brawn look in the G1 cartoons. The face is spot on. The colors are spot on. Brawn is stockier in the animation, so you might say Hunk’s proportions are a bit too slim. But I like it.

Here we see Hunk with his trademark pistol that the G1 animators created for him. As far as I can tell, this gun resembles the cartoon weapon fairly well. Hunk only comes with three accessories: this gun, another face of Hunk yelling (not pictured in this review), and a drill bit he uses in vehicle (more on this later).

Hunk in action.

Hunk celebrating.

Hunk standing around looking cool.

The articulation in robot mode is ok, but some may find it too limiting. The arms are not bad. Shoulder, elbow, and wrist rotations are all there. The legs ain’t too shabby either. Hip swivel, knee bend, and ankle pivots are all accounted for. Head rotation is very limited. There is no up and down, and side to side is extremely limited due to the back flap behind Hunk’s head. I’ve seen pics of Hunk with waist swivel, but I could not get the waist to twist. If possible, it’s really hard to do. I didn’t try it too hard in fear of breaking the toy. All the official FT pics don’t show Hunk with any waist swivel. There’s no ab crunch of any kind.

Here is Hunk next to the famous MP-10 Optimus Prime. They scale together pretty well.

When I took this pic, I had Hunk in one hand and the MP-10 in the other. To my surprise, Hunk weighs more! This is the US Version of the MP-10, and it’s unclear to me if the Japanese version uses any die-cast. But to have Hunk weigh more than the Hasbro MP-10 is still a testament to the fact that FT uses some quality materials. Bravo.

I detect no weaknesses in Hunk’s construction. All joints are at the right tolerance, nothing too loose or too tight.

As far as the robot mode’s appearance, I have next to no gripes. At first I thought the feet looked weird, in that they’re too big and they’re the wrong shape. But then I checked the G1 animation model and the comic book model, and that’s exactly how they look (especially in the US Marvel comics). So again, props to Fans Toys for being so toon accurate, something they never fail to do. I already mentioned about the size of the backpack when viewed from the side. Yes it’s not perfect, but easily forgivable considering how well everything else looks.

Transformation to vehicle mode is more on the complex side for a figure of this size. He’s not impossible like FT Rouge, but he’s also not simple like FT’s earlier offerings (Stomp, Soar, Sever, etc).

The leg transformation deserves special mention. Each leg splits apart, and ends up forming the sides of the vehicle. It sounds hokey on paper, but seeing this transformation implemented in action is kind of cool. G1 purists will bash this for being an unfaithful transformation, but that would fall into the area of hardcore nitpicking.

Going to alt mode, getting the backpack to be formed properly as the vehicle’s top rear section can be a bit frustrating. It takes perfect alignment for the whole assembly to snap into place. There are also a bunch of small transformation pieces on both the waist and legs that, in my opinion, detract from the overall enjoyment of the transformation process.

Hunk looks good in alt mode once the transformation is complete. Check the pics below.

Super accurate alt mode to the cartoon.

Another angle. Hunk comes with rubber tires and rolls well on a flat surface.

Side view.

Front view.

Back view. They did not forget the gas canister.

Bottom view. Notice there is storage for the weapon. Nice.

Here we see Hunk using that alt mode drill that Brawn used in The Ultimate Doom. I see this more as a novelty accessory, but kudos to FT for including it.

Another shot of the drill.

Now for some alt mode size comparisons. Here he is next to MP Bumblebee.

Now next to MP Sideswipe.

Next to both of them. For a mini-bot Hunk does seem a bit big in alt mode. But seeing as he is a Jeep off-road type of vehicle, I think it works.

Hunk is definitely a worthy purchase for your Masterpiece collection. Most of my gripes are transformation related. I think he’s more complicated than he needs to be. Fan of intricate articulation may also find Hunk a bit lacking in this regard. But this figure scores high in all other areas. I recommend Hunk with no reservation. The only other Masterpiece style Brawn that I’m aware of is Bad Cube Brawny. I don’t have that figure. I’m told Brawny is good too, but comes with a very punishing transformation process that is not for the faint of heart.

On a completely separate but related note, this marks my third review of a Brawn figure. The other two are my reviews for Revenge of the Fallen Brawn and Titans Return Brawn. Why am I reviewing so many Brawns? Is he subconsciously my favorite character? Probably not. I hope not.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

Transformers Purchased in November 2018

September 3rd, 2020 No comments

Only 2 figures were purchased for Nov of 2018. Both figures are from the Power of the Primes Evolution series.

  • Power of the Primes Evolution Optimal Optimus, Target, $44.99

  • Power of the Primes Evolution Nemesis Prime, amazon.com, $32.99

Both these figures were presented in this special Black Friday post. There are some minor details that’s worth repeating here. Being that they are both from the Evolution series in Power of the Primes, they each have 4 modes.

Optimal Optimus

When I found this figure at Target, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted him. I enjoyed Beast Wars, but I’m a G1 guy at heart. Figures that come from other TF lines are a lower priority for me. But Optimal Optimus does look cool in the box. And I’ve been mostly impressed with the Evolution series thus far. “Just buy it!”, said my wife, as she got sick of waiting for me to make up my mind while in the store. That was all the nudging I needed. And that was smart, since I never saw this figure in store again.

Optimal Optimus is an entertaining and fun figure. He represents all 3 forms of Optimus that we see in Beast Wars. First we have the base Optimus Primal figure, which is the smaller black and white component in this toy. That’s the first mode. This component transforms into a flying hoverboard (yes you read that right) used by the next form of Optimus Primal, the larger transmetal gorilla figure. Alternatively, the smaller component can transform into a backpack with weapons for the gorilla. This is the 2nd mode. The two components then come together to form Optimal Optimus, the final evolution of this character in Beast Wars. This is the 3rd mode. In this mode, Optimal Optimus can transform into a Cybertronian jet. And that’s the 4th mode. Yes I know on paper this all sounds very hokey and gimmicky. And yes this figure is a bit guilty of all those qualities. But I’m gonna guess that BW fans love this. This is the first time in TF history that we got a single figure who can decently represent Optimus Primal in all his forms in the show. Hasbro should be applauded for even attempting this. The end result is not perfect, but each mode is decent enough on its own.

BW fans should definitely not pass up on this figure. And I do recommend this for all other TransFans that want something different and original. If you don’t fall into either of these 2 groups, then this purchase would be optional. Optional Optimus. Yes, bad puns at their best.

Nemesis Prime

Evolution Nemesis Prime is an Amazon-exclusive repaint of Evolution Optimus Prime, with some minor mold differences and the inclusion of some additional weapons. Checking my TF List, this is only my 3rd Nemesis Prime figure. The other 2 I have is Alternator Nemesis Prime, and the Thrilling 30 legend class Nemesis Prime.

The only mold difference I’m aware of is in the heads. Nemesis Prime’s head is designed to look like that of Optimus, but everything is more triangular. The mouth piece, eyes, crown, and overall shape of the face, all more extremely triangular and angled. Looking directly from the front, the face kind of resembles the Decepticon symbol. I love it! To me this makes sense too, since Nemesis is supposed to be a different character from Optimus. The smaller base figure gets a new head mold too, though I’m not sure what this is supposed to be. I have no idea who “evolves” into Nemesis Prime, or if that even makes sense.

Nemesis Prime gets quite a bit of additional weapons. The first are two large grey twin-cannons, that can be used in the large robot mode and the truck mode. Next is the inclusion of a red sword. Finally, we have a grey sword that can transform into a bird! All the new weapons alone make this set worthy of purchase on its own, even if you already have Optimus.

I need to mention that construction of this figure is not as good as Evolution Optimus Prime. It’s not terrible, and nowhere near as bad as Evolution Rodimus Prime. But I just wanted to point out that there are some joints that feel a tad too loose, and I don’t remember Evolution Optimus Prime having those issues.

I bought this figure for $32.99 on a Cyber Monday sale, from Amazon. Checking the site now, this figure goes for more than $250! Wow. TFs are like stocks. You never know how they’re gonna go. If I can go back in time, I buy a few more of these. Heck, I’ll buy more Amazon stock. Then come back to my own time and retire.

That’s it for this month. One more purchase post left for 2018, and then it’s on to 2019! Yay. Better late than never I always say.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Masterpiece Optimus Prime and Autobots, Team 5

August 27th, 2020 No comments

MP Optimus is back with another team of trusted Autobots to lay waste to some undisciplined Decepticons up to no good.

This is Team 5. Here were the previous teams: Team 1, Team 2, Team 3, Team 4.

With the exception of MP-10 Optimus, all figures here are 3rd party and purchased within the last year. This really shows how far 3rd parties have come.

Fans Toys got 2 representatives here in Hunk and Sheridan. Hunk is a great figure, possibly the best MP Brawn on the market today. Both modes look toon accurate. Transformation to car mode can be a tad frustrating in the final steps. I have yet to transform Sheridan, but he definitely looks good in robot mode.

X-Transbots have undoubtedly improved their status as a 3rd party company of transforming figures in recent years. I’m generally very impressed with their offerings, and I got 3 here to prove it. I chose Neptune after looking through many choices in 3P MPs of Seaspray. He is in my opinion the best MP Seaspray on the market, in terms of cartoon accuracy and figure engineering. (Sidebar: the upcoming Spindrift 2.0 by Fans Toys may change that, but only time will tell.) Klaatu was also chosen among many 3P MP offerings of Cosmos. He looks the most toon accurate in both modes. I went with the metallic version, and I’m oh so glad I did. The picture here does not do this paint job justice, it has to be seen to be fully appreciated. Klaatu is a bit chunky in bot form, and he does present a bit of scale issues with other Mini-bots.

X-Transbots Aegis stars as MP Trailbreaker. In G1, Trailbreaker was my very first Carbot, so I’m extremely partial to Trailbreaker. He was the last Carbot to get any love in CHUG, something that I wasn’t entirely happy about. And now he is the last Carbot to appear in my Autobot MP Teams. I feel kinda bad about that. But better late than never, and in this case I could almost say I saved the best for last. XT Aegis is better than all previous attempts at an MP Trailbreaker. I won’t go into what those are, but if you are in the market for a MP Trailbreaker, you need only consider Aegis.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics