Some interesting purchases were made in May of 2016. All the TFs that appear below come from different toylines in the TF-verse. And each was acquired from a different source. Let’s take a look.
- Platinum Edition Autobot Intel Ops, Amazon seller, $51.99
- Combiners Wars Wreck-Gar, Walmart, $9.97
- Cyber Battalion Starscream, Toys R Us Shanghai, 99 RMB (about $15.15)
- Masterpiece Ratchet, amiami.com, ¥7500 (about $69.17)
Blaster and Perceptor are two figures I have always wanted back at the height of G1. They made frequent appearances in the show, and they both had enough personality to establish themselves as popular characters in the TF fandom. Both characters also had significant supporting roles in the G1 Movie (and they both lived through the G1 Movie, which is saying something). Growing up, I have only seen the Perceptor toy in pictures. Neither myself nor any of my friends had the figure. As for Blaster, I knew one kid that had the toy, so I have played with it a bit. As an adult collector, I already have two Perceptor re-issues, both a US version and a Japanese version. As for Blaster, I have one re-issue as well, the 2010 SDCC Exclusive version. All of these re-issues I have in mint condition, never opened. And because of that, they are worth quite a bit of money. I’m never going to open them now. And so I bought this Autobot Intel Ops set with the intention of actually opening them and playing with them. However, once I have this set in my hands, I’m thinking I won’t open this either. Seriously, this set looks so awesome in the box! With the front box flap raised up and looking at the entire set of goodies inside, it is quite an impressive sight to behold! Both Blaster and Perceptor are in their robot modes, along with 3 cassettes (Eject, Ramhorn, and Steeljaw) and all their accessories, all sitting perfectly packaged in the box. And what a deal! I got all this goodness for a mere $52 from an Amazon seller. I first saw this set back in Oct of 2015 at Target, but it was being sold at retail so I passed on it. I should have took a pic of this goodness. Maybe for another post.
Combiner Wars Wreck-Gar is a repaint of the Protectobot legend Groove figure. He may have a new head mold, but my memory on this fig is iffy. For the most part, he’s a straight up repaint. He’s quite rare, which is the only reason I got him. I think I only saw him one other time after this purchase. The fig itself is OK, not great. Buy him if you are a fan of Wreck-Gar, but pass otherwise.
Poor Starscream. He’s the lone Decepticon this month. I outlined my purchase of Cyber Battalion Starscream back in this post, so I won’t repeat it here. At the time of purchase, I did not know about this Cyber Battalion line. It appears this line never made it to the States. That’s a shame. I wish I bought the other figs in this line when I got CB Starscream in Shanghai.
Last but not certainly not least, we have Masterpiece Ratchet. This is the 4th Masterpiece figure in as many months. I have opened the box, but to this day I still not have taken the figure out of the box. I only opened the package to make sure all the contents are inside. My buddy Gemini got one where once piece was missing. Take a look at MP Ratchet in the package below.
I’m gonna assume MP Ratchet is every bit as impressive as MP Ironhide. I give the Ironhide the highest possible recommendation, and I expect Ratchet to be just as good. I plan to spend some time with Ratchet real soon, and I will give my final thoughts in a future post. But seriously, I will be real surprised is he’s somehow inferior to Ironhide in any way, shape, or form.
No third party items were acquired this month, but some good ones will be presented next month. So stay tuned. Transform and Roll Out.
April 2016 is another month of very little TF retail action.
- Robots in Disguise Megatronus, Walmart, $14.97
- Masterpiece Shockwave, amiami.com, ¥12590 (about $115.53)
The Megatronus figure acquired this month is almost exactly the same as the one I bought last year. This new Megatronus is the mass retail version, while the earlier one was a Toys R Us exclusive. There are some minor paint app differences between the two, and this new figure gets a new head mold where Megatronus has his face revealed instead of using the face shield.
I most definitely recommend these 2 figures. However, if you already have one, there’s no need to get the other one. Unless you are a big Megatronus fan, or you are in the middle of a big TF dry spell that you feel compelled to buy something. The latter reason is why I got this second Megatronus. In retrospect I should have left this fig on the shelf. It feels like a waste of money to buys something virtually identical to it’s first release. But between the two, I think I favor the mass retail version a bit more in appearance. So I’ll probably sell the TRU exclusive.
On the heels of the fun little Shockwave that we got last month, this month comes… Masterpiece Shockwave! That’s right my fellow TransFans… Shockwave is getting the Masterpiece treatment. Takara and Hasbro has certainly given us some good Shockwave figures recently. This one perhaps tops them all! Takara has been hitting it out of the park with some of their recent MP offerings, such as Ironhide and Hot Rodimus. I am glad to report that Shockwave continues that trend. Pics below.
The figure comes packaged in alt mode. Note that in this mode, the extra accessory that forms the backpack in robot mode can be used as a stand for posing in the gun mode. Very very cool. I like that the designers have thought of a much needed function for this accessory.
Shockwave’s appearance is dead on to his G1 cartoon self. The package comes with a little Shockwave gun that he can hold, true to the G1 goof. The figure cleans up nicely in robot mode. The front cannon piece in alt mode that is detached in the G1 toy has a place in robot mode. In fact, it is neatly tucked away as part of the transformation.
Above is a pic of MP Shockwave posed next to Hexatron. Shockwave scales nicely to all other offcially released MP figs.
I give MP Shockwave the highest possible recommendation. I know what you are thinking… “I already have Quakewave!” Quakewave is a great figure too, but this Shockwave feels different enough that I think owning both figures are justified. These are two different interpretations of the character in Masterpiece form, and each is cleverly done in modern day standards. MP Shockwave is a quality piece through and through. I must do a review in the future.
More to come soon. Transform and Roll Out.
Only 3 TFs were acquired in March of 2016.
- Combiners Wars Shockwave, Walmart, $9.97
- Combiners Wars Scattershot, Walmart, $24.97
- Masterpiece Hot Rodimus, amiami.com, ¥6000 (about $54.09)
Hasbro has been doing a lot of figures of Shockwave in recent years. Some notables ones that come to mind include Fall of Cybertron Shockwave, Transformers Prime Shockwave, and Dark of the Moon Shockwave. Fans love Shockwave, and I’m glad to see Combiner Wars get its own version of the character. This legend size figure ain’t too shabby. Vigilant readers will see that he appears in a pic in my last post, with all the Combaticons in their alt modes, on top of Onslaught. He was made to scale with Combaticons in this size. My memory is fuzzy as I write this now, but I think in the instructional manual for Onslaught, it tells you how to use Shockwave with Onslaught. I’m betting this is all a homage to the G1 Episode “The Revenge of Bruticus”. In the ep, Bruticus picks up Shockwave in alt mode and uses him as a weapon, and these CW figs can perfectly reenact that scene. CW Shockwave is fun to play with. He’s little, but his transformation is more substantial than you would think for a figure of this size. Both robot mode and alt mode looks good. I highly recommend this fig, even if you don’t have the CW Combaticons. He’s well enough as a stand alone fig, and if you do have Bruticus then he adds that extra bit of G1 flavor to your collection.
CW Scattershot is a rework of Silverbolt and Cyclonus. I’m not gonna go into this fig too much since he is already the third fig of this mold. Scattershot does look different enough to mildly justify a purchase. In his super high tech jet mode, he looks nothing like Silverbolt or Cyclonus. In robot mode, he gets a new head mold, but his body stylings resemble Silverbolt a bit too much. Also, as the body of Computron, the head mold is disappointingly identical to Superion’s. Scattershot’s paint job could be better too. Some bits and parts look too obviously plastic-ish. To this day I still have not used him in combined form, but both Silverbolt and Cyclonus work really well as the center of the gestalt so I have no doubt that Scattershot does too. If you have no love for the Technobots, then I say go ahead and pass on this fig. But if you dig this Autobot combiner team like I do, you may be better served by getting the CW Technobot boxed set. That way you get all whole team in one convenient purchase. There is both a US and Japanese version of the set (in Japan this line is called Unite Warriors). Based on looking only at the pictures, they each have their pros and cons. UW does appear to be better in terms of having new molds, but CW comes with redesigned hands and feet attachments for Computron. Seribertron has an excellent article comparing the two. My feeling is if you want to get the ultimate Technobot team, you’re gonna have to suck it up and buy both sets. I may get one set (or both) eventually, but for now I am kinda sick of all the CW repaints that Hasbro has thrown our way.
Now onto the Masterpiece of the month: Hot Rodimus! Yes friends, he’s called Hot Rodimus. Not Hot Rod, not simply Rodimus, but Hot Rodimus. I don’t know if that’s his Japanese name, or if Hasbro/Takara simply wanted the best part of both names. Whatever the case, this figure here is the definitive version of a Masterpiece Hot Rod that hardcore G1 fans have been waiting for. Note that I said Hot Rod, not Rodimus Prime. There was already a MP Rodimus figure (MP-09) produced 5 years ago, which I have wrote up two separate reviews (one for the alt mode and one for the robot mode). However, that figure is not without its flaws, as I have stated in the reviews. He looks great, but he’s such a pain in the glutenous maximus to transform that he’s simply not fun. And scale wise, that fig works well as Rodimus Prime in the current MP scale, but not has Hot Rod (Hasbro/Takara has not figured out how to mass shift just yet). MP-09 was probably a bit too ambitious in trying to work as both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime, in each of the alt modes and robot modes.
This time, Takara is simply giving us their ultimate G1 Movie interpretation of the character as Hot Rod only, designated MP-28. And this figure kicks ass! He comes packaged in alt mode, and that mode is a sweet representation of Hot Rod in his sexy futuristic racer mode. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pics, so you’re gonna have to take my word for it, or just online search for some pics. I do have one pic of robot mode below. Check him out!
If that’s not Hot Rod, then I don’t know what is. He comes with the two guns that was also included in the G1 toy, but we have never seen him use in the G1 Movie. He seems to prefer the side blasters on his forearms (which strangely enough he has never used after the G1 Movie). Transformation wise, this figure has got it where it counts. This is a completely different transformation from MP-09. MP Hot Rodimus is complex enough to qualify as MP, but simple enough to be fun. That’s just the right balance in my opinion. Construction wise he is also perfect. No joints that are too loose or overly tight. He can hold his poses well. This Hot Rod scales nicely with other figs in the MP lineup. MP-28 also comes with some fun extra accessories. He’s got his iconic saw blade, but he also has a fishing pole (the one that we saw him use in the early scenes of the G1 Movie).
I know I’m going through all this kind of quick, but that’s because I plan on doing a in-depth review of this figure. Look for it soon. For now, just know that you have to buy this. Every G1 fan needs this figure in their collection.
More TFs to come soon. Transform and Roll Out.
- Robots in Disguise Fracture, Toys R Us, $16.99
- Combiner Wars Vortex, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Swindle, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Brawl, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Blast Off, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Onslaught, capturedprey.com, $24
- Combiner Wars Smokescreen, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Trailbreaker, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Hound, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Wheeljack, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Pipes, capturedprey.com, $10
- Combiner Wars Chop Shop, capturedprey.com, $12
- Combiner Wars Buzzsaw, capturedprey.com, $12
- Masterpiece Ironhide, amiami.com, ¥7490 (about $65.37)
- Warbotron Fierce Attack, capturedprey.com, $100
As the first order of business, let’s get the lone Robots in Disguise fig out of the way. I’ve said many times already that I’m not a big fan of RiD offerings, but Fracture is not too shabby. I found him when me and the wife took a long Valentines weekend trip to Santa Barbara. He was located at a Toys R Us, not in Santa Barbara, but at a nearby town. I don’t watch the RiD show, so I generally don’t buy the RiD toys based on any knowledge or impressions of the character. I look strictly at the toy. Fracture got my attention because I have never seen him before this, and he genuinely looked like a solid fig in the box. The alt mode also looked interesting. The figure does not disappoint. Both modes are solid, and the figure is well built. No figure in RiD is ever difficult to transform, and Fracture is no exception. But I do like some of the transforming mechanisms implemented here. Hasbro and Takara has in recent years really improved upon motorcycle Transformers. In years past, the robot mode would either look too skinny, or the motorcycle mode would look too fat. Fracture shares none of these faults. I also like the kick-ass rifle he comes with. Fracture is definitely one of the better figs in the RiD line. Recommended.
February is a return to Combiner Wars figures, and this sub-category accounts for most of the figs this month. Last year we saw the Aerialbots, Stunticons, Protectobots, and some random Autobot cars reworked in CW fashion. The Constructicons got a awesome unique set all on their own in the CW lineup. This leaves the Combaticons as the only combiner team before the G1 Movie to not receive Combiner War treatment. I mentioned so many times that Combaticons are my favorite combiner team that I’m starting to sound like a broken record, so needless to say I was very excited about CW Combaticons.
I found the 4 limb Combaticons on the same Valentines trip (but at Target). Onslaught was bought online. In the end, I wasn’t too surprised by what’s produced. 3 of the figs are reworks of existing molds. Blast Off is repainted from Quickslinger (Slingshot), Vortex is cloned from Alpha Bravo, and Onslaught is reworked from Hot Spot. Blast Off and Vortex are pure repaints from pre-existing figs without any kind of mold changes.
Warning! I am going into rant mode. Skip to bottom to avoid the rant.
Blast Off – there is no excuse for Blast Off. His head design is nothing like Slingshot’s, but that’s what we have in this toy. You might think Hasbro is just being lazy here (which they are), but there is a Japanese version of this figure where Blast Off is in a new distinct mold. That figure transforms into a space shuttle and has the right head mold. I don’t understand Hasbro’s decisions sometimes. I know they like to produce molds that can be repainted numerous times to be a variety of figures, so they do the work once and make money repeatedly afterwards. I totally get that. But a true Blast Off is already produced! So why not just bring that over?! Their stupidity dumbfounds me. Some fans have made an argument that a jet fighter better fits into what should comprise of the Combaticons, and that a jet scales better than a shuttle. That argument is sound. But the head mold is still an issue. Hasbro could have at least took the head off of the Japanese mold and stuck it on the US figure.
Vortex – I should have realized this sooner, but Alpha Bravo’s head is exactly like that of Vortex. So this mold was always meant to be Vortex. Hasbro tactically released Alpha Bravo first so G1 chumps like me would buy both figures; I bought Alpha Bravo because he was a new mold at the time, and then I bought Vortex because he comes from the famous Combaticons. If the order was reversed, I would have ignored Alpha Bravo altogether. This seems to be Hasbro’s strategy recently. Some other recent examples include releasing Titans Return Sentinel Prime before Astrotrain, and Robots in Disguise Paralon before Scorponok. Notice the more famous character of the same mold is released last, while other less famous or even newly made up characters are released first. Damn you Hasbro! This is such a cheap trick that I feel stupid for not recognizing it sooner. I need to be more vigilant on what Hasbro plans to produce.
End of rant
As for Onslaught, he’s a tweak off of Hot Spot. Hasbro made enough differences here that Onslaught feels like a distinct figure. He’s fine enough on his own in alt mode and robot mode, but he suffers from the same issues that Hot Spot has in combined form. As the gestalt’s center, this figure in combined mode has issues with weight distribution and figure cohesiveness. CW Silverbolt is still the best mold for a standard CW gestalt.
The new molds for the Combaticons are Swindle and Brawl. I like them. Both figs are good modern updates and accurately capture Swindle and Brawl in their G1 persona. Of course Hasbro would waste no time repainting these molds. In fact, Swindle would be repainted into Hound in this same month (more on this later). And I believe Brawl is reworked into Nosecone of the CW Technobots.
Like I said, this CW Combaticons team is pretty much what I expected. They repainted these figures so many times now that it wouldn’t be hard to envision any combiner team in these molds. Unless you are partial to Combaticons like me, there isn’t a whole lot of good reasons to buy this set. Just get Swindle and Brawl if you feel you need the new molds. Below are some pics of Combaticons.
The next 4 CW figs are Smokescreen, Trailbreaker, Hound, and Wheeljack. These are ALL repaints. What can I say? I’m a sucker for G1 characters. I buy them in almost any form that Hasbro will make them. Smokescreen is an exact repaint of Prowl, but this is okay since that’s how it was back in G1. Trailbreaker and Hound are cloned from Ironhide and Swindle, respectively, but with new head molds. Wheeljack, while technically a repaint, is the most reworked mold here. In addition to the new head mold, he gets some molding differences in alt mode that makes him feel quite different from Sunstreaker. I won’t go in depth for this group since they’re so similar to figures that have already come before them. Below are pics of this Combiner Wars foursome, not combined.
It’s a good thing these Combiner Wars repaints stopped here. If Hasbro really wanted to, they could do another foursome: Bluestreak from Smokescreen, Sideswipe from Sunstreaker, Hoist from Trailbreaker, and Ratchet from First Aid. I should stop writing here. Don’t want to give Hasbro any more ideas.
Now let’s take a look at the legend size CW figs this month: Pipes, Chop Shop, and Buzzsaw. In G1, Pipes is a Minibot that appeared in Season 3. He might have had cartoon appearances, but I honestly don’t know since Season 3 was so forgettable. I am kinda partial to the character though, because I had the G1 toy. I got him at Lucky, of all places. Mom took me shopping for groceries and she was kind enough to buy it for me. So yeah, that’s why I even bought CW Pipes. Pipes is the 4th character of this mold (after Optimus Prime, Nemesis Prime, and Huffer). Normally that would be a total skip, but I added Pipes to my collection out of pure nostalgia. Chop Shop was a Deluxe Insecticon during G1. His toy appeared in Season 2, but he never made an animated appearance. CW Chop Shop is a repaint of Skrapnel (Shrapnel). In G1 he was not a repaint of anything. I probably could have skipped this purchase as well, but these little bugs are just too cool. Buzzsaw is a brand new mold. Buzzsaw needs on introduction, but everyone just thinks of him as that repaint of Laserbeak. So here is another example of releasing the less known character first, like stated in my rant above. Damn you Hasbro! CW Buzzsaw is a triple changer. He still has his iconic condor mode. For modern day standards, the tape cassette mode is now replaced by a tablet mode. And he gets a new vehicle mode that’s like a car or armored truck kind of thing. Overall, Buzzsaw is a neat little figure, but not a must-buy by any means. Actually, none of these legend figs are must-buys by any stretch of the imagination. Below is a pic of the three of them.
Next on the agenda is a figure that many of us, including myself, have been waiting for: Masterpiece Ironhide! If you are a G1 fan, then you know that Ironhide is one of the most iconic Autobots, behind perhaps only Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. You would also know that in G1, his toy did not really have a robot mode. His cartoon robot mode appearance is something totally made up by the animation creators (same goes for Ratchet, his ambulance repaint). I am glad to report that MP Ironhide is an awesome figure! Both robot and alt mode are faithfully reproduced from the show. Check out a pic of the very cartoon accurate robot mode below!
Now that is Ironhide! Takara has outdone themselves with this figure. I can’t get over how good he looks; it’s like he stepped straight out of the cartoon. Transformation wise, this figure hits it out of the park. He comes packaged in alt mode (see below), and as of this writing I only transformed him once to robot mode. But I remember the transformation being pure genius. Difficulty is just right too for a MP fig. There’s enough complexity going on to satisfy the most hardcore of TransFans, and at the same time not overly difficult or frustrating. In fact this figure is fun to transform. And that’s saying a lot considering both modes look so good. Below is a pic of the back of Ironhide. He’s so kibble free too! Check it out.
In the pic above he’s wearing the rocket boost backpack. If I took that off, he would look even more kibble free. Construction of the figure is perfect. All joints and transformation points are just the right amount of tightness. He also comes with accessories galore. And he comes with a tray to hold those accessories when they’re not in use. The shape of the tray kind of resembles the base of his G1 robot mode. That’s too cool! See the pics below.
I can’t recommend MP Ironhide enough. All G1 TransFans need this in their collection. No excuses.
Last but not least, the only 3rd party figure this month is Fierce Attack. This is Warbotron’s homage to Onslaught. That makes this the 2nd Onslaught figure this month. I’m not sure if I have ever bought two of the same character in a single month (not counting if I buy doubles of the same thing)! As of this writing, I haven’t had the chance to spend that much time with Fierce Attack. I transformed him once from alt mode to robot mode, and that’s it. But what I can say is that I like both modes. He’s well built and I don’t detect any obvious weaknesses in construction. Poseability is somewhat limited, but I need to spend more time with the figure to fully verify that assertion. I will report more on Fierce Attack after I get all 5 Warbotron Combaticons. I really liked Sly Strike (Swindle) and Whirlwind (Vortex), and I like what I see so far on Fierce Attack. Below is a pic.
Whew! Last was a long post. I didn’t know there were so many TFs this month until I counted them up. Here are the stats breakdown for the month:
- 1 fig from Robots in Disguise
- 12 figs from Combiner Wars
- 1 Masterpiece fig
- 1 3rd party fig
I am obviously buying way too many Combiner Wars figures. A lot of them are repaints too. By my count, out of the 15 figures total, 9 of them are repaints! That’s way too many. The repaints outnumber the non-repaints 3 to 2. The only non-repaints are Fracture, Swindle, Brawl, Buzzsaw, Ironhide, and Fierce Attack. I seriously need to be more selective about which TFs I buy. I see myself selling some of these figures in the near future. Not because they’re bad, but because I really don’t need repaints of the same thing.
Until next time… Transform and Roll Out.
Michael Bay blow stuff up crapfest #5 will soon be upon us. The teaser trailer was released yesterday. Check it out.
I dunno. I have been excited and jaded by the past 3 movies. This article sums up how I feel. Still, that one shot of Unicron has me all giddy like I’m 12 again. Maybe… just maybe… this will be good. But in the end this movie will suck. And I will have paid to watch it in the theaters.
Every TF movie thus far has had an older white guy in a position of authority. Jon Voight in the original movie. Rainn Wilson in Revenge of the Fallen. John Malkovich in Dark of the Moon. Kelsey Grammer in Age of Extinction. And now we have Anthony Hopkins in The Last Knight??!! What’s with this weird trend? I do give credit to Michael Bay for attracting some big Hollywood talent. And it also looks like Megan Fox begged her way back to Bay’s good graces. I guess that’s not news considering she was in TMNT.
Let’s hope we at least get some good toys for TF5. Transform and Roll Out.
Back in 1984, the creators of The Transformers were tasked with giving identities to the disjointed robot toy figures of Japanese origin. They created Autobots and Decepticons, gave them interesting names and personalities, and assigned scores to various attributes that would make up the unique character behind the toy. All of this was captured in a Tech Spec bio on the back of the package box or card. One of the most clever things that would appear in a Tech Spec is the character’s motto. One little clever line of the motto, and you get a world of insight into the character’s persona. Pure genius.
However as the years went on, creators of Transformer characters had to write more and more mottos as Hasbro produced more and more toys. It was inevitable that some of the more forgettable characters in later years (and even some famous ones) would share mottos that are almost identical with another character.
They say being quoted is the ultimate honor. Perhaps some characters below are simply paying homage to someone else. Or Hasbro is just too lazy to fact check if a motto is already used, or they think no one would notice. Whatever the case, below I present 10 sets of similar mottos shared by more than one character. The sets are presented from highly similar to virtually identical.
“Truth is revealed
“The smallest details reveal
Here we have two characters that are unknown to all but the most hardcore G1-ers like myself. Nightbeat is a detective Headmaster that appeared in G1 Season 5. Sparkstalker is a Firecon that appeared in the same season. Neither character made a cartoon appearance. This motto makes sense for Nightbeat, as attention to detail is of utmost importance for successful detectives. But as for the Firecon, this is a strange motto to have. Firecons are a sub-group of transforming Decepticon monsters that like to set everything ablaze. So a detail-oriented pyromaniac almost seems like a oxymoron. I’m sure his tech spec bio explained this strange juxtaposition, but I doubt any of you reading this care much about Sparkstalker, so I’m not even looking into it. You would think Hasbro would not come up with two mottos that are so similar in the same season. Maybe they only paid for one tech spec writer and he cut corners here.
“Leaders are for fools
I have mentioned many times that Technobots are my favorite Autobot combiner group. And Afterburner is my favorite Technobot. The first time I saw him on TV was in the G1 Season 3 episode “Money Is Everything” (I must have missed “Grimlock’s New Brain” the first time it aired). In the episode, I loved Afterburner’s persona, rebelling against his team and doing whatever he wants. I also loved his cool futuristic motorcycle alt mode. His motto makes perfect sense, and captures his essence well.
Before millenials made up hangry (hunger + angry, or so hungry you’re angry), there was Fangry (fangs + angry). I gotta give Hasbro props for coming up with these clever names. I don’t know much about Fangry, other than he’s a Decepticon Headmaster that came out in Season 5. Apparently he transforms into a winged wolf, and he’s just as much a rebel (if not more so) as Afterburner. Fangry’s personally is basically that of your average Decepticon; all about war and destruction and little else.
“Don’t shoot until you see
“Don’t fire ’til you see
Crosshairs is a Targetmaster that appeared in G1 Season 4. I had the toy, and even today he’s in pretty good shape. I don’t remember if I bought him, or if he was a birthday gift. Dogfight is a Triggerbot that appeared in Season 5. I didn’t have any Triggerbots or Triggercons, their gimmick being that the figures have guns that flip out at the touch of a switch. The above mottos are so similar I think Hasbro plagiarized themselves. Crosshairs says shoot, while Dogfight says fire. Crosshairs searches for wires, while Dogfight looks for lights. Tomato, tomahto.
“War’s a dirty game – and I’m
“War is a dirty business … and I’m
Blades appeared late in Season 2 in the G1 cartoons. But his toy didn’t hit the shelves until Season 3. Roadbuster‘s toy appeared in Season 2, but he never made a cartoon appearance. So it’s a bit unclear to me which of these characters came first. These two Autobot soldiers are obviously cut from the same cloth. They both express an intention of doing whatever needs doing to win the war, including activities that may be seen as unsavory. But the teams they’re on appears to be polar opposites. Blades is a Protectobot, a combiner sub-group united by their passion of protecting all life. Roadbuster is a Wrecker, an Autobot black-ops unit that handles morally disreputable missions too dangerous for the Autobots proper. It boggles my mind why they’re mottos would be so similar. Maybe Hasbro simply ran out of material here. If I was a TF story writer, I would retcon it so that Blades may have been a former Wrecker. Then he became disillusioned with their morally questionable activities and joined up with the Protectobots. That would explain his motto. Damn, Hasbro should pay me to write this stuff.
“If it flies, crash it!”
“If it moves, crush it!”
Either the same guy wrote these mottos, or someone copied an existing motto from 5 years earlier in a desperate attempt to come up with a new motto. Ramjet needs no introduction. He’s the most famous character in this post so far. [Sidebar: A quick search for Ramjet on this blog yielded no results directly related to Ramjet. That’s shameful! So he’s getting his 15 minutes of fame here.] Growl is a character that even I had to look up. He technically belongs with G1, but his appearance came so late it’s no longer relevant. But in case you’re curious, Growl is a Micromaster that was part of the Military Patrol. These two mottos are so similar it’s just embarrassing. The sentence structure is exactly the same. The action of crash vs crush differs only by one letter. And both mottos end on an emphasis with exclamation marks. If G1 didn’t already end 25 years ago, I ask that these tech spec writers be fired.
“The road to conquest is paved
“The road to victory is paved
Here we have two characters that just love to wreck havoc to Autobots. And the way they express that excitement is near identical. One cares more about conquest, while the other expresses more enthusiasm for victory (with a exclamation mark ! ). As one of the most powerful combiners among the Decepticon ranks, this motto makes sense for Bruticus. But for Blackjack? I dunno. He’s another Micromaster. I doubt he can cause any kind of damage that would hurt the Autobots. Maybe he’s like Rumble; small, talks tough, and can back it up sometimes. Or maybe Hasbro can’t come up with anything interesting after all the bios they’ve written by the time Blackjack rolled around that they resorted to rehashing old bios and mottos.
“You can’t tell a bot by his cover!”
“You can’t tell a Decepticon by its cover.”
I hate Pretenders. I have made that perfectly clear. It’s such a stupid gimmick that even Hasbro has not tried to revive any likeness thereof after G1. None of the modern third parties, who have produced some awesome stuff in recent years, would go close to Pretenders. Its stupidity is further validated by the fact that Michael Bay jumped all over it in Revenge of the Fallen. And so here we have a pair of lame mottos uttered by two lame Pretenders. I guess this is a play on words, a variation of the famous “you can’t tell a book by its cover.” It’s really not that clever, but what makes it more moronic is that Hasbro saw fit to use this twice! First time by Cloudburst, one of the first Pretender Autobots (and I’m ashamed to admit I have the G1 toy) from Season 5. Then the following Season by Bristleback, a Decepticon Pretender Monster. In this case it really doesn’t matter who came first. It’s the exact same motto given the faction switch. I hate Pretenders so I’m not even gonna research why these two characters love to use their shells to hide whatever it is they’re hiding. Just know this: these shells cannot hide how dumb these toys are. Almost as dumb as this pair of mottos.
“Destroy first, think later.”
“Act first, ask questions later.”
“Destroy first, ask questions later.”
Here I present three mottos that form a collection. First we have Blitzwing, often considered the most famous triple changer in Transformer history. Then we have Siren, an Autobot Headmaster that came along when G1 is no longer relevant. Their mottos don’t look that bad when compared side by side. Sure the sentence structure is near identical, and the notion of acting first and cleaning up later may be similar, but the expressed actions are different enough that I’m tempted to give Hasbro a pass here. That is until I saw the motto for Predaking. The combined form of the Predacons is perhaps to most powerful combiner in Transformers lore. Predaking is a merging of 5 components, and his motto is merging of 2 other mottos! That’s right folks. Take the first part of Blitzwing’s motto, combine that with the latter part of Siren’s motto, and you get Predaking’s motto. Booya! Predaking is a combiner in more ways than one. If Blitzwing and Siren had a baby, it be Predaking.
“Either you’re out of my way
“Either you’re out of my way
They say imitation is the ultimate form of flattery. But dropping one word out of a motto and claiming it as new is just plain lazy. Here we have a pair of characters that love to rev it up on the streets. Wildrider, perhaps the most famous of the popular Stunticons, is a psychotic speed demon with absolutely no regard for anything else on the road. Fastlane, an Autobot clone with a very minor appearance in Season 4 of US G1 cartoons, is a thrill-seeking but sane Autobot warrior. I guess this motto makes sense for both of them, but it’s obviously rehashed. Still, now I wonder what would go down in a race between Wildrider and Fastlane. Not only would they be racing for road supremacy, they would be facing off to claim rights to this cloned motto. Oh wait… Fastlane is a clone. So there you go. He cloned this motto from Wildrider. That must be the explanation.
“The faster it is, the better I like it.”
“The faster it is, the better I like it.”
Hasbro is not even trying here. When I was looking through all the mottos for this post, I didn’t think I would find any that are identical to each other. Yet here they are. First we have Blurr, the fast talking Autobot made famous in the G1 Movie. Then we have Quickmix, a Targetmaster that came way too late to matter. So they both like it fast, but apparently in very different ways. Hasbro must be pleased with themselves for recycling this motto verbatim. Did they really think no one would discover this? Ok, maybe nobody noticed back in the 80s. But I am exposing this lazy effort, 28 years later. There is no statute of limitations on blatant copying of another Transformer’s motto. I find you… Innocent! (cue Quintesson creepy judgmental voice)
It’s kind of a shame that TFs produced today don’t have mottos on their profiles. But here is one motto that never grows old:
“Transform and Roll Out!”
And in true Hasbro fashion, let’s clone that again:
“Transform and Roll Out!”
Here in the United States, we just had our Presidential Election of 2016. It was one WTF of a election. Donald Trump was elected President. Not in a million Cybertron eons would I have believed it if I didn’t witness this crazy outcome with my own eyes. Many are calling this the US version of Brexit.
Early Tue morning on Election Day, the Donald was only projected to get 212 Electoral Votes, well short of the 270 necessary to become President. Around 5pm Pacific time the tally started. Trump started slow and behind, like predicted. But as the night went on, the counts for the Donald slowly went up, like the water level steadily going up in a clogged toilet. And around midnight, that water would flow over the bowl, and the floor that is America would be drenched in all the poop outcome of this wacky historic election. The whole thing unfolded like a reality show. And speaking of reality shows, this is not the first time on this blog that I wrote about Trump. Back in this post, I mentioned that I don’t think Trump is in the business of war, but he might look into it. Well, he has to now. It will be interesting to see how our Commander in Chief deals with the Middle East. Sometimes I think I’m scarily prophetic.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m a fan of Hilary. I don’t like either candidates, so I voted third party (because I love third party Transformers.. j/k). It really feels like this election is about who you hate less, and America has clearly indicated that we hate Hilary. Myself included.
So what is the point of this post? Nothing really. I think I’m still in shock at the outcome, so blogging about it seems like a good distraction. I would not be happy if Hilary had won, but at least that would be normal. Sometimes you keep doing the same things even though it makes you miserable, but you keep doing it because you’re familiar with it, you’re used to that misery, and you know how to deal with it. That’s what it would be like if Hilary was elected. Trump in charge turns everything upside down, in the same manner that he won this election. He might turn out to be a crappy President, but he has already transformed the US political landscape. His election forces us to deal with change. In a way, that’s a good thing. Optimus Prime would not want us to live continuously in a comfort zone. He would want us to transform for the better. He knows we have the potential. “Like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye.” — Optimus Prime
But just for kicks, let’s imagine if Trump ran against Optimus Prime. The great Autobot Leader would win in a landslide. It wouldn’t even be close. Here’s how Optimus would deal with the issues of our day.
Appoint Ratchet Chief Medical Officer. Use all that Cybertron technology to research cures to common human illnesses. Cures would be cheap and effective. Even those near death can still be saved (like how Starscream saved Dr. Arkeville by turning him into a cyborg).
Convert all of Earth’s resources to energon, the most advanced form of energy. Have Grapple build Solar Energy towers all over the Earth. Clean and cheap.
The great minds of Cybertron would have much to teach the humans. There are no better instructors anywhere.
Travel and Commute
Build Space Bridges and Land Bridges all over the Earth.
We have seen Spike visit Cybertron without wearing any kind of space suit. So apparently Cybertron can sustain human life. Humans can go live there.
Seriously, would anyone mess with the US if Autobots are in charge?
I can go on and on, but those are just some bullet points. Yes, we need Optimus Prime for President. I’ve seen those T-shirts around.
But for now, we gotta live with Trump. It’s strange, but life goes on. Onward and upward, which is the same thing as… Transform and Roll Out!
Halloween is upon us yet again! I can’t believe it has been two years already since my last Halloween post. Time sure flies when… well, it just flies. No matter what you’re doing.
As per tradition here at TFMatrix, I assemble my orange TFs for a pic with my stuffed pumpkin.
I try to use the orange TFs that I haven’t used before. There has actually been quite a few orange figs acquired in the last two years, a lot of them in 2016. Clockwise from top left:
- Combiner Wars Wheelie
- Combiner Wars Wreck-Gar
- Titans Return Sentinel Prime
- Mastermind Creations Tigris (Rampage)
- Robots in Disguise Drift
- Thrilling 30 Jhiaxus
- Titans Return Stripes
- Combiner Wars Huffer
There are probably a few more orange figures that got left out of the group shot. Smart readers will notice that I included Tigris (Rampage), but left out Talon and Bovis (Divebomb and Tantrum). I really wanted to include the rest of the orange Feralcons (Predacons), but I only had Tigris handy. I will include them in the next Halloween special.
Also of note is that all the deluxe or larger figs in the pic are using twin weapons, one in each hand.
Have a safe and happy Halloween! Transform and Roll Out!
It’s 10 months late, but welcome to 2016! I know – I’m behind in documenting my purchases. But I feel like I’m making good progress towards catching up, and I have been putting more effort into this blog. Things are trending in the right direction.
There were some years where January kicked off with a whole bunch of TFs, like 2013 and 2015. And there were years where I only got a handful of TFs in January, like 2012 and 2014. This being 2016, it follows the even number trend. The only acquisitions this month are two Masterpiece figures.
- Masterpiece Tracks, hlj.com, $50.58
- Masterpiece Road Rage, hlj.com, $47.76
Tracks and Road Rage are repaints of each other. There are some minor mold differences, such as the head, crotch, and thigh. To this day I still have not opened Road Rage. So the rest of this post will focus on Tracks.
If you were a boy growing up in the 80s, you probably loved Transformers. And if you loved Transformers, you probably loved Tracks. Seriously, Tracks was a absolute fan favorite among every kid in school. I can only guess at the reasons. Maybe it’s that sexy Corvette alt mode. Maybe it’s that he’s so stylish and debonair in his G1 persona, while being an above average warrior for the Autobots.
As for the G1 Tracks toy, I never had the official US G1 version. I had a Diaclone red Tracks. The Autobot cars from the first two seasons were Diaclones localized for the US. Decades later I would buy an official Tracks re-issue, around 2004 when I got back into TFs. Now that I think about it, Road Rage is probably a an homage/retcon for the red Diaclone Tracks.
As much as I loved Tracks the character, I was not that impressed with the toy back in G1. He was ok, but not great. There were many other better Diaclones, such as Sideswipe, Jazz, or Smokescreen (and their respective repaints). The alt mode for Tracks was perfect, no complaints there at all. But the robot mode seemed a bit lacking. Transformation felt too simple even for G1 standards. He also seemed to have less diecast when compared to his brothers.
When I heard that Takara is doing Tracks for the MP line, I was totally thrilled. I love MP Sideswipe, and it would be so awesome for Tracks to get the same treatment. Did Takara succeed? Let’s find out by first taking a look at the alt mode.
Now that is TRACKS! This alt mode is exactly what I envision Tracks to be in MP form. This Corvette looks perfect. I love the shape of the alt mode in this gorgeous blue. Tracks is kinda pompous in the way he behaves, but if I looked like this I might act the same way too. He’s quite durable in this mode, and rolls well on a flat surface. The flames design on the hood comes painted on, so you don’t have to mess with decals or anything. The Autobot symbol on the car’s roof is on a panel that can be flipped. Perfect if Tracks wants to go undercover in alt mode like we have seen him do. Notice the Blaster alt mode mini-figure sitting inside, which comes as part of the package. He can be removed from Tracks. This is so awesome that I don’t have the words.
Below is a size comparison pic. I really wanted to find my Generations Turbo Tracks for the compare, but he’s located in a box at the back of the closet. The only thing I can find handy is Generations Sideswipe, so here they are.
At this point I should also mention that this MP fig can transform into Tracks’ flight mode. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pics when I had Tracks in this mode. Just know that it’s possible and it’s fairly well done. Tracks also comes with a Raoul figure, who appeared in the G1 episodes “Make Tracks” and “Auto-Bop”.
Now let’s take a look at the robot mode.
This robot mode looks great. You can see that the designers of the figure really looked at the G1 show, and constructed a robot figure modeled after the cartoon. He’s got a fair amount of articulation, you can get some good poses out of him. He’s still got the iconic red face and wings. The missile launchers are incorporated into the toy, as opposed to having extra accessories to attach. That’s always a plus in my book. The gun accessory is clearly modeled after the G1 show and not the G1 toy.
Things are not all gravy, however. My biggest complaint about MP Tracks is that he feels really flimsy. This is true especially in transformation. He’s kind of a jumbled mess when you go from alt mode to robot mode, similar to ROTF leader class Optimus Prime. But ROTF OP comes together well after the transformation is complete. Tracks, not as much. If I remember right, the back section doesn’t peg in anywhere. The car’s rear section kind of just hang off his back. The flimsiness makes transformation more difficult than it should be, and so I don’t see this figure has having that perfect balance of fun and complexity in the transforming mechanism. Tracks’ parts somehow feels lighter when compared to other MP cars. There are no diecast on any of the MP cars, but Sideswipe and Wheeljack feel like they have a nice heft to them, like the plastic is solid and sturdy. Tracks feels light and hollow.
So all in all, I put the Tracks mold behind the Sideswipe and Wheeljack mold, but ahead of the Prowl mold. Despite the negatives, he’s still a recommended purchase. There are way more pros than cons in this figure. It’s just that I was really hoping for a perfect MP like Sideswipe, and in the end the MP toy suffered from some of the same issues that the G1 toy did. I’ll open up Road Rage soon, and see if she (yes, she) is any better or worse than Tracks.
Time to Make Tracks… Transform and Roll Out!
As promised in a earlier post, I am compiling some stats on my TF purchase and spending habits. But before that, let’s take a look at how 2015 breaks down.
A total of 77 figures were purchased in 2015. This is by far the lowest total since I started tracking my TF acquisitions in 2012. The figures in 2015 break down as follows:
- 2 figures from Age of Extinction
- 4 Masterpiece figures
- 3 figures from Generation Thrilling 30, which ended either late 2014 or early 2015
- 47 Combiner Wars figures (yikes!)
- 5 figs from Robots in Disguise
- 1 Generations fig
- 15 Third Party figures
These numbers are pretty much what I expected. 77 total figs for 2015 is good. I have way too many TFs already, so it’s a good thing to be more selective about what I buy. This number is trending in the right direction, and it comes to about 6.5 figs a month, or about 1.5 figs every week. As for the individual categories, it’s no surprise that Combiner Wars accounted for more than 50% of all purchases. CW was the main thing going in 2015 for hardcore collectors. As a whole I think CW is ok, but could have been better. I probably bought up everything that was put out as CW, and in retrospect some of those I probably should have left on the shelf. Age of Extinction and Generation Thrilling 30 were already on its last legs by the time 2015 rolled around, so the low count here is completely expected. 4 Masterpiece figs seems about on par with all the other years. Robots in Disguise was the major mainstream TF line for 2015. Personally I’m not terribly impressed with this line, which accounts for the modest 5 figs. The 1 fig from Generations was that rare and weird find of Scourage.
As for Third Party items, 15 also feels about on par with how much I buy every year. But since my total purchase count went down, Third Party items now account for a bigger percentage. As a whole, Third Party items are getting better every year. Multiple companies will often now do the same character in the same time frame. Choosy collectors like me have lots of pick from.
OK, now let’s take a look at how things shake out from year to year. Gathering all the stats I have from 2012 to 2015, below is a plot of how many TFs I buy from month to month, in this 4 year span.
The vertical axis is number of TFs bought in the month, while the horizontal axis is the month. Years are coded by color. The obvious thing that sticks out here is that October seems to have the most action. With the exception of 2013, all other years in this period have Oct as a TF heavy month. I have mentioned that several times on this blog already. And looking at the plot as a whole, most purchases seems to be centered around 2 periods, one at Oct-Nov, and the other at Feb-Mar. Oct-Nov I can understand, since it’s right before Christmas. Not sure why there is an increase in activity around Feb-Mar. Also of note are years where there is a TF movie. In this period, 2014 was the only year with a movie (Age of Extinction). So I guess it’s no surprise that 2014 behaved differently from all the other years. Only 2014 had a sharp peak in the summer months, which is probably all the movie toys.
I’m not sure what other conclusions I can draw from this plot. Maybe it will help me in budgeting. But I usually just buy something when I see it, so perhaps not. Ironically enough, the TF heavy months are also when those of us that live in the United States pay property tax (in California anyway). For you foreign readers out there, property tax in the US is super steep. Not a good time to be releasing non-essentials in these months. But it appears I’m still very active in my TF shopping during property tax time, so perhaps this has no impact on the TF community whatsoever.
Now let’s look at some trends from year to year. Below are two bar graphs that summarize my purchase counts and spending totals from 2012 to 2015.
Again, 2014 seems to be the oddball year in this 4 year period. I guess having a movie in the year really makes that much of a difference. 2014 was the only year where I spend more than $3000 total on TFs. The obvious thing to point at is AoE. But I didn’t like the AoE toys that much, so I would be surprised if the all extra spending really went there. I’m gonna have to look at my detailed stats for 2014. Other than that, the overall trend is I’m buying less TFs. Again, that’s a good thing. I got too many. Which reminds me I really need to start selling off some of these figures.
I will start cataloging my 2016 purchases from this point forward. A bit late since 2016 is almost over, but better late than never. Hopefully soon I catch up to where I am currently, and I can have my purchase posts at the end of every month for that month like I used to.
Transform and Roll Out.