Decepticon Air Superiority, 2017 !

October 20th, 2017 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics

TF Matrix Eight Year Anniversary

October 15th, 2017 No comments

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

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

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

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

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Transformers The Last Knight

October 2nd, 2017 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Uncategorized

TF Purchase Statistics 2016

September 22nd, 2017 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Uncategorized

Transformers Purchased in December 2016

September 11th, 2017 No comments

Finally! We have arrived at the end of 2016. Took some time, but better late than never.

When I first started tracking my purchases, back in Feb of 2012, I would usually put my purchases in the order that they were bought within the month. Lately I have been sorting them by category (such as Titans Return, Combiner Wars, or 3P). For this month, I’m going old school. This will be presented in the order that they’re bought.

  • Robots in Disguise Ratchet, Walmart, $14.97

  • Titans Return Triggerhappy, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Hot Rod, Target, $9.99

  • Titans Return Twinferno, Target, $9.99

  • Titans Return Blaster, Amazon seller, $34.95

  • Robots in Disguise Blastwave, Target, $14.99

The year closes with all purchases from either Titans Return or Robots in Disguise. All are deluxe class figures, with the lone exception being Leader class Blaster. Not a single 3P purchase. I feel that third parties are saturating the market a bit much. They’re going to destroy themselves at this rate. Just my opinion. This topic deserves a post of its own. Something I might do in the future.

First purchase of the month is Ratchet from Robots in Disguise. I’ve heard about this figure for a while before finding him. Like I mentioned numerous times in the past, I know nothing about Robots in Disguise. So all I really do for RiD is look at the figure, and/or if it’s a recognizable G1 character. In this case, the figure appears solid in both forms, and you can’t begin to call yourself a TransFan if you don’t recognize Ratchet. So I took this figure to checkout without knowing anything else. He’s an okay figure. Very easy to transform, even for RiD standards. He’s very blocky in alt mode, and almost just as so in robot mode. In alt mode, he could probably use more paint applications. I do like that there are extra storage spaces for the twin weapons (on the back in robot mode, inside and under the van area in alt mode). His head sculpt is excellent. Hardcore RiD fans and Ratchet fans will probably appreciate this figure. But on the whole, RiD Ratchet is not a required purchase by any means.

For this month, Titans Return deluxe figures continue the trend of being only around $10 each. Again, this is no fluke. They would go up in retail price in 2017, but it was great to find them in 2016 at such a bargain.

Now, for my favorite Titans Return deluxe figure thus far: Triggerhappy! Back in G1, Triggerhappy has always been one of my favorite Targetmasters. I never had the toy, but my cousin had one and I played with it quite a bit. For G1 standards, he had both a good robot mode and jet mode. I like the design of the jet with twin guns on both sides, and I like the way he transforms. I also like his name. His rootin’ tootin’ quick trigger persona in the short lived G1 season 4 cartoon does his name proud. Now in 2016, Hasbro does not disappoint. The TR figure is everything I could ask for in a modern deluxe update of Triggerhappy. Well, for the base figure anyway (more on this later). In alt mode, Triggerhappy still holds the overall shape of his iconic jet, but now even more sleek. Overall color palette is blue, with the wing twin guns colored white. Front landing gear is retractable. The Titan Master can sit comfortably inside the cockpit. Guns can be attached under the wings. Transformation to robot mode is one of the best that I have seen in quite some time, for a mass-produced retail deluxe figure. The twin guns and wings fold back on each arm. Fists come out after the twin guns are flipped back. That’s the obvious part. The main body and legs have this clever mechanism of how it’s formed. The body rotates on itself after you unlock the waist and nose cone. In robot mode, Triggerhappy looks completely balanced in body proportions. He’s quite poseable, and I detect no construction issues on my figure. Everything is at the right tolerance. Detail on the head is nice, and the Decepticon logo painted on the chest is spot on. Now for my gripes. The first is that Hasbro made him a Headmaster. This I can kinda live with, but I would prefer it if he wasn’t. Second, he does not come with the Targetmaster gun figure. The Japanese version does, and I feel the US version should have included it too. Maybe Hasbro will release the gun mini-figures later. But for the base figure itself, Triggerhappy is more than worthy of the price of admission at about only $10. He is a must have in your CHUG collection.

Next up in Titans Return is the star of the 1986 G1 Movie: Hot Rod. I mentioned TR Hot Rod before, and in Dec 2016 we finally get this figure. So here’s the burning question: is he better than Classics Rodimus? I’m gonna break it down. For starters, I’m happy Hasbro used the name Hot Rod. They could have used Rodimus like they usually do, but printing Hot Rod on the package is a great nod to those of us old enough to hold the G1 Movie in high regard. They had to go with “Autobot Hot Rod”, but that’s ok. In alt mode, TR Hot Rod looks closer to his animation model, while Classics Rodimus looks closer to the original G1 toy. They each appear sleek, but in different ways. The passenger area appears especially different when compared side by side. The side thrusters go all the way to the back for TR Hot Rod, while Classics Rodimus ends right before where the real wheel is. Looking at the back, Classic Rodimus has the gun pegged into the bottom rear, acting as the main rear thruster in alt mode. TR Hot Rod has this thruster molded into legs, but smaller.


Left to right: Reveal the Shield Rodimus (from Battle in Space 2-pack), Titans Return Hot Rod, Classics Rodimus


Left to right: Titans Return Hot Rod, Classics Rodimus

Transformation to robot mode follows the overall same motif. TR Hot Rod has a slightly simpler transformation. But in my opinion it’s more straightforward, and allows the figure more poseability in robot mode. Chest and arms transformation is more or less the same. TR Hot Rod requires a waist swivel, while Classics Rodimus does not. The lower legs of TR Hot Rod folds back. Back transformation of TR Hot Rod involves only one fold and one swivel, while Classics Rodimus uses one fold and two rotations. And obviously, TR Hot Rod requires the Titan Master to form the head.


Left to right: Reveal the Shield Rodimus (from Battle in Space 2-pack), Titans Return Hot Rod, Classics Rodimus


Left to right: Titans Return Hot Rod, Classics Rodimus

In robot mode, TR Hot Rod is quite a bit taller than Classics Rodimus. Overall, TR Hot Rod is better proportioned. Some argue the arms are too long, but I think they’re fine and it’s not distracting at all. TR Hot Rod is overall a taller and slimmer figure. Classics Hot Rod appears stocky and blocky next to TR Hot Rod. When looking at the figures from the back, TR Hot Rod is leaps and bounds superior. Classics Rodimus has some bulk on the back while TR Hot Rod does not. TR Hot Rod is way more poseable. You can feely move the arms and legs, unlike Classics Rodimus. One particular annoying issue on Classics Rodimus is these side panels on the upper legs that prohibits movement. Similar issues does not exist on TR Hot Rod.

So in my opinion, TR Hot Rod is the superior figure here, if we make a direct comparison side by side. It’s debatable which alt mode is better, but TR Hot Rod has better transformation and a better robot mode. However, there are some other factors to consider. TR Hot Rod is a Headmaster, an idea I’m not too thrilled about. Classics Rodimus is better built. My TR Hot Rod is quite loose in the legs. And worse, I believe I broke the head connection mechanism on my Hot Rod already. When I first opened the figure on my desk, it was impossible to remove Firedrive (Titan Master) from Hot Rod. So I forced it. I think I saw a little orange piece on the desk but didn’t think anything of it at the time. Then when I tried to reconnect Firedrive, I saw that he doesn’t fit too well. It’s still functional, but you don’t get that nice clicked-in feel. That’s when it occurred to me I probably broke it. So be aware when you get one. Classics Rodimus didn’t have such mechanical issues. And I do feel Transformers need to be rated with other figures in the same era. As an example, figures today are obviously going to be better than figures from G1. But that would be an unfair comparison. Classics Rodimus is 10 years old now. And I thought Rodimus was an awesome figure for its time. For TR Hot Rod, I feel it’s only above average when compared with figures of today. So all in all, it’s up for debate which is the better Hot Rod here. But I am going to give a seal of approval to TR Hot Rod. He’s definitely a worthy update of everyone’s favorite punk that would become an Autobot leader. I may even get another TR Hot Rod since I kinda broke mine.

Twinferno was found in the same trip to Target as Hot Rod. Only the most hardcore of G1-ers like myself would know about this character. In season 5, Hasbro released a team of Autobots that would transform to monstrous creatures. This team is appropriately called Monsterbots. Transformers was full of gimmicks by then, so it was kind of unusual for this team of toys to be gimmick free (perhaps transforming to creatures is itself a gimmick, but that’s up for debate). Modern 3P companies have started doing this team in recent years. I’m happy Hasbro is updating Monsterbots, but it does feel a tad like they are reaching for the bottom of the barrel here. Anyways, one original member of the Monsterbots is Doublecross. He transforms into a 2-headed dragon. He is called Twinferno in the modern era. And to be honest, I like this name better. Combining the words twin and inferno is so appropriate for this character.

As for the Titans Return figure Twinferno, he’s not too shabby. I love the monster mode. It’s probably one of the most original modes to be released in some time. Twin-headed dragons are always welcome. I know the Michael Bay movies have explored twin headed beasts for their version of the Dinobots, but the design for Twinferno came before all of them. Transformation of the figure is quite refreshing too. He’s not terribly difficult to transform, which adds to the fun factor. The twin heads and neck obviously form the arms. Legs fold out from the rear and tail section of the dragon. The robot mode looks well balanced. Build of the figure is solid enough. My only gripe with the figure is how the arms are positioned. The elbow joint and dragon hand orientation don’t make much sense. If would be nice if they provided an extra rotation for the hands. Twinferno was not originally a Headmaster, but he’s such an unknown character that I don’t mind if Hasbro wants to update him as such in the modern era. Overall, I recommend this figure. I now hope Hasbro would release updates to the rest of the Monsterbots.

Blaster needs no introduction. At leader class size, he is the only non-deluxe figure this month. I was really looking forward to this figure. But after buying it and playing with it, I think he’s only ok. Blaster is very boxy, but that’s no surprise to anyone that is familiar with the character from its G1 days. He’s technically a triple changer in Titans Return (and to that fact, I think every figure at voyager class or bigger is a triple changer in TR). He has his usual boombox alt mode, the robot mode, and in TR he gets a new base mode. In the base mode, he is able to connect with TR Fortress Maximus and Optimus Prime in their base modes to form some kind of super base. I didn’t try this, but maybe I will one day.

As for the two standard modes that everyone is familiar with, they’re ok. Like I said, both modes are very boxy. In alt mode, I feel that improvements could have been made on how the boombox come together. Everything does tab together, but it doesn’t work that well. Despite the overall simple transformation, a lot of finagling is required to get Blaster to alt mode. And when you get everything just right, it still doesn’t feel too solid. Cohesiveness tend to be a plus for boxy figures, but Blaster’s alt mode fails in this department. There are less such issues in robot mode. He looks like a good homage to his G1 cartoon appearance. Articulation is limited, however, due to the boxy design. The chest/tape deck eject mechanism is included. Blaster’s scale also presents some question marks. He’s probably too big to scale correct with CHUG, so I think he would go better with MPs. However, TR Blaster clearly isn’t up to par with MP quality figures. He will look off if he’s standing with MPs on the shelf. Still, I will use TR Blaster is my MP Blaster for now. Hasbro also reworked this mold as Soundwave. I will probably not get that Soundwave. He’s too big to be CHUG, and there’s already an excellent MP Soundwave.

From Blaster we go to Blastwave. I’m having a blast with two figures in one month having names that begin with “Blast”. I debated if I should buy Blastwave when I first saw him in the store. He’s a minor rework off of Megatronus, of which I already have two. He’s not a recognizable G1 character. So I almost left him on the shelf. But something tugged at me to take a second look. He looks a lot like Bludgeon from G1. I liked his colors. And I felt like Hasbro made enough differences on this mold from Megatronus, especially with Blastwave having twin cannons. Plus this was in that week between Christmas and New Years where I feel like I need to buy some new TFs (though you could argue I always feel that way). So I splurged and bought Blastwave. And I’m very glad I did! I have always felt that Megatronus is one of the best built figures in the RiD line, and Blastwave is built just as well. The legs are virtually identical, but the upper body moldings (chest, arms, and head) are almost completely different. In alt mode, Blastwave has his arms that form the turrets point backwards toward the rear of the tank, while Megatronus has them pointing forwards. In robot mode, the samurai motif becomes obvious. Blastwave comes with a sword as well for some heavy bushido cutting action. My prediction is Hasbro will totally repaint this into Bludegon. Oh, another thing, Blastwave is an Autobot! I keep forgetting that. Maybe this would be more obvious if I actually watched RiD (and assuming he appears in the show). But all in all, I recommend Blastwave. He’s one of the better figures in the RiD line. Worthy of your collection.

Obligatory group photo below.

One interesting factoid of the month: four of the Autobots have the word “Autobot” in front of their names on the package. For example, “Hot Rod” is “Autobot Hot Rod”, like I mentioned already. Hasbro does this when they cannot use the character’s name alone, usually for legal reasons. So this means Hot Rod, Ratchet, Blaster, and Twinferno are all copyrighted, by someone other than Hasbro. I miss the 80s when Hasbro could’ve used whatever name they wanted.

Well folks, that’s it for 2016. I’m going to compile some stats for 2016, like I did here, and make a separate post.

In retrospect, I’m not sure how I feel about 2016. I like that Titans Return have started. But the figures that made up the end of Combiner Wars were lackluster. Robots in Disguise as a whole don’t really keep my interest. There was not a movie to inject new TF interest for the masses. And 3P products are saturating the market and raising prices at the same time. That sounds like a lot of negatives. But I’ll address them in more detail in my 2016 stat post to come.

Stay frosty my fellow TransFans. Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Power of the Primes

August 22nd, 2017 No comments

Hasbro recently released these images of their next batch of figures, after official completion of Titans Return. Apparently the next line will be called Power of the Primes. I don’t know if I care for that name, but these rendered images are looking awesome! Check it out.

These are beautiful renders, and the images are big enough to double as wallpaper at 1920 x 1080. Very nice job Hasbro!

Here are some of my initial thoughts as I look at these:

Beachcomber – looking great. This figure will complete the last of the G1 Season 2 Mini-Bots. Both modes look good, and a Titan Master can ride in alt mode. Must get for me.

Dreadwind – it’s good to see Hasbro bringing back more Powermaster characters. This mold is really just a re-worked Aerialbot fig from Combiner Wars, but they did enough changes to justify this release. Plus they also plan to release Darkwing. And if you’re the G1 purist asking if the jets will combine into a super jet -the answer is YES! Hasbro did not forget their roots. I saw a vid of someone on YouTube doing this. The super jet does look kinda awkward, but I’m not sure the guy did it right. Another must get for me.

Jazz – I love Jazz. Don’t know how many times I mentioned that on this blog, but Jazz was my favorite Autobot growing up in the 80s. Any Jazz figure released in the CHUG-verse is an automatic purchase for me. Now the only question is how he will fare against Reveal the Shield Special Ops Jazz. I know Hasbro can’t call him Jazz on the package for licensing reasons, so they go with Autobot Jazz. I never liked that. Calling him Special Ops Jazz was much better.

Liege Maximo – I normally don’t care for Titan Masters as an individual purchase, but this guy is obviously Skullgrin so I might make an exception here. The name Liege Maximo may have its origins in a Marvel or IDW continuity.

Rodimus Prime – Finally! A worthy update of everyone’s Autobot leader not named Optimus Prime! This is the leader class Rodimus Prime we have been waiting for. This figure is both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime, kind of like the Classics Rodimus figure with the FansProject Protector add-on kit. This is the figure that everyone will be buying. At leader class, I guess he won’t scale so well with TR Galvatron. But maybe that means a leader class Galvatron is coming? I hope so.

StarscreamI love Starscream. At voyager class he is finally the right size. They’ve made voyager class figures for the Movie-verse, but this may be the first in CHUG-verse. And a F-22 Raptor no less! Robot mode looks awesome, but the jet mode may have a lot of bulk underneath. I’ll reserve final thoughts for when I see the figure.

So yeah, all are required purchases for me. Maybe not Liege Maximo, but you never know.

Here’s a good look at these figs at SDCC. Man I wish I could go to SDCC. I will get there one day.

It’s time for Power of the Primes! Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: Pics, TF News

Transformers Purchased in November 2016

July 31st, 2017 No comments

November of 2016 is filled with some TF goodness. Focus your optics on the figures below and observe.

  • Titans Return Brainstorm, Walgreens, $18.99

  • Titans Return Brawn, Target, $4.99
  • Titans Return Nightbeat, Target, $4.99

  • Titans Return Chromedome, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Highbrow, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Mindwipe, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Wolfwire, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Astrotrain, Target, $24.99

  • Combiner Wars Sky Lynx, Ross, $12.99

  • Combiner Wars Skywarp, HasbroToyshop via eBay, $22.49

All purchases in November of 2016 belongs to either Titans Return or Combiner Wars. Not a single third party purchase, which was strange considering how many 3P products I have been buying. There are 10 purchases for the month, for a total of 8 figures and 2 accessories (I don’t count the 2 Titan Masters as full fledged figures). All for less than $130. That’s not bad.

Titans Return is definitely continuing in a good direction with some heavy Headmaster action. First up in the month is Brainstorm. I found this figure early in the month. And as rumors have long confirmed, Brainstorm is a Walgreens exclusive! Yes you read that right. Freakin’ Walgreens. Why Hasbro would enter an exclusivity deal with Walgreens makes no sense whatsoever. But I’m glad I believed the rumors and checked Walgreens with regular attention during that time period. There are several Walgreens within short driving distance of where I work and where I live. I was really happy when I found him at this one particular Walgreens that I never go to. The price tag of $18.99 kinda hurt considering it’s only a deluxe size fig, but he was hard to find so I bit the bullet on this one.

Brainstorm is a minor remold of Blurr. I didn’t realize it early on when I looked at the pics. It was only after repeated viewing of the pics that this finally dawned on me. I already commented on the awesomeness of Blurr, so I won’t repeat all that stuff for Brainstorm. He’s built just as well, and there are enough molding differences that a separate purchase feels justified. The detachable piece at the front of the vehicle is obviously different for Brainstorm in that it’s molded more to look like the front of his iconic jet mode. Blurr’s long hand cover extensions are changed for Brainstorm, and Brainstorm has wings at the shoulders while Blurr has none. Blurr’s iconic piece on top of the alt mode, which usually transforms to the top of his head, is now replaced with a simple tail fin for Brainstorm. Titan Master for the two are obviously different, each made to look like the head of the character. And finally, Brainstorm has different stickers on the legs, placed at different positions. All in all, Hasbro made enough changes off of the same mold that having two characters here is warranted. I’m glad Hasbro didn’t just give us a straight up repaint with only the head change. Below is a pic comparing the two. Get Brainstorm if you see one. You’ll thank me later.

There are other versions of this deluxe Brainstorm that you could get. There is the Japanese Legend version, and there is an exclusive convention version (not sure if it’s SDCC or some other con). They each look different in terms of paint scheme and sticker layout, but they each have their origin in what they are modeled after.

Next up are two Titan Masters which I never opened, even as of this writing: Brawn and Nightbeat. I’m generally not a fan of buying these Titan Masters, as I don’t see why you would want to swap heads with bodies. They never did that in the cartoons. But I got Brawn and Nightbeat because they are famous characters from G1. In fact, some customizers have took this Titan Master Nightbeat head and stuck it on the body of Generations Thrilling 30 Nightbeat. I may attempt that myself, so I’ll get a true Headmaster in the modern era. I’m not sure what I will use Brawn for.

Titans Return continue with more purchases in the month. On one trip to Walmart, I found all wave 2 deluxe figs in one shot: Chromedome, Highbrow, Wolfwire, and Mindwipe. All 4 are must haves for me, because they were all original Headmasters in G1. When I brought these 4 to checkout, they each rang up $9.88. That’s right, only $9.88! I thought for sure Walmart must have messed up. I didn’t want Walmart to have the chance to correct any goofs, so I quickly finished checkout and ran out of the store like a Decepticon in full retreat. Turns out, this “goof” was nationwide. I had friends in other cities reporting the same prices. In retrospect I’m not entirely sure if this was a goof. It’s possible Walmart really were selling these at discounted prices. But as of this writing, all TR deluxe figures are around $15 at Walmart. I have seen these 4 figs before this trip to Walmart. I saw them at Walgreens when I was looking for Brainstorm. But I was not gonna pay $18.99 for each of these at Walgreens.

Let’s start with the Autobots. Chromedome and Highbrow are both pretty good figures. Chromedome has a fun transformation. The chest and arms transformation is fairly standard for a robot-to-car figure, but the leg transformation is pretty unique. It’s kind of got that standard Combiner Wars deluxe fig leg transformation, but Chromedome offers a twist in how the windshield is formed. In robot mode, it’s at the back of the legs, forming the heels. In alt mode, it combines and folds forwards, forming the windshield covering the Titan Master driver. Very cool. Chromedome’s head details is also superbly done. Highbrow is another fun figure. His transformation feels simpler than Chromedome’s. One interesting transformation mechanism is pulling down the waist when you go from robot to helicopter. Then you rotate and inwardly fold up the legs, like some CW deluxe figs. Rest of the transformation is pretty standard fare (arms to the sides, fold out the cockpit from the back). Highbrow also has amazing details to the head mold, making him look like the G1 character. Both Chromedome and Highbrow are well built. Their robot modes look nice, and their alt modes come together well with no issues. Both their alt modes provide space for the driver/pilot. Chromedome and Highbrow are both recommended purchases in the Titans Return line.

With the addition of Brainstorm, Chromedome, and Highbrow, and Hardhead from the last wave, I now have all the original Autobot Headmasters from Season 4. Check out pics below. It’s a dream come true to have modern interpretations to these iconic G1 characters. Kudos to Hasbro.

Now for the Decepticons. The two deluxe figs this month are Wolfwire and Mindwipe. Wolfwire was called Weirdwolf in G1, and I’m gonna guess that the name change is for legal reasons. Weirdwolf is such a better name as it’s a wordplay on werewolf. Anyways, TR Wolfwire is the best of the three Decepticon animal Headmasters so far. He’s got an awesome looking wolf mode that has to be seen to be believed. I love the head mold of the wolf, with jaw biting action that will seriously hurt some Autobots. There are enough articulation in the wolf arms and legs for some good poses. Both the gun and sword accessories have places in alt mode; the sword becomes the tail, and the gun can be placed on top of the wolf’s back near the rear. The Titan Master can sit inside the gun, or can be placed inside the main body cavity, accessible from a hatch on top of the back. Transformation to robot mode is pretty straightforward. The wolf arms and legs become the robot arms and legs. I generally don’t like this motif, because I think it’s a lazy transformation. Wolfwire is certainly guilty of this, but he’s got some clever mechanics for the rest of his transformation that make up for it. The way that the main body transforms deserves special mention. From alt mode to robot mode, Wolfwire has this unqiue lower abdomen mechanism where the body collapses on itself, making for a shorter main body that is more proportionate in robot mode. The Decepticon logo is painted very nicely on the chest. I wish faction logos were done this well all the time. If you only had the funds for one deluxe Decepticon Headmaster in the TR line, get Wolfwire.

The other deluxe Decepticon this month is Mindwipe. I have G1 Mindwipe. It was a birthday gift from my cousin. I still have it to this day, in pretty good shape too. About a year ago, I bought this 3P Mindwipe from FansProject called Sigma L. I love FansProject, but I thought Sigma L is only ok, not bad, not great. So I was kinda hoping that TR Mindwipe would do the character more justice. There are some interesting things going on for TR Mindwipe, but as a whole I would say he’s one of the more lackluster figures in the Titans Return line. Let’s start with the better mode: the robot mode. He looks good in this mode. He’s well proportioned and he’s got plenty of articulation. He’s got a great head sculpt. The joints are at the right tolerance. Even the wings on his back are of the right size. They’re big enough in appearance, but not too big that it’s distracting or get in the way. The Decepticon logo is beautifully painted on the chest. There’s one big weakness in robot mode though, and that’s the back. The bat head has nowhere to go, and kinda just hangs off the back. You can position it so the bat head is hanging off the butt instead, but I think that’s a even worse look. Transformation to bat is quite clever. The arms become the feet, and the legs open up to reveal the wings. The transformation really is quite cool. However, bad construction plague this figure, much like many of the other TR deluxe figures. The right wing is really loose on my figure in alt mode. And the accessory that plugs in to become the tail, it doesn’t plug in too nicely. One slight touch and it comes off. This figure could have been so great if the construction was more solid. And if they designed a place for the bat head in robot mode. Like if it somehow went inside the Headmaster chamber.

Below is a pic of all the original Decepticon Non-Horrorcon Headmsters from Season 4. Skullsmasher (Skullcruncher) was from July of 2016.

Now for the only Triple Changer of the month: Astrotrain. TR Astrotrain is a repaint of TR Sentinel Prime. As of this writing, I have sold my Sentinel Prime, because I felt he’s just too damn orange. And because this mold was meant to be Astrotrain anyway. Yes Hasbro screwed me with their double dip tactics by releasing the more famous character later using the same mold. If only I had more willpower, I would not continue to fall for this.

Let’s take a look at the shuttle mode first. In this mode, Astrotrain is not the standard NASA space shuttle that we’re accustomed to. The overall body is more flat, with a large Titan Master compartment toward the top and rear. It looks more like a Cybertron shuttle, or something from futuristic sci-fi. All the panels tab in securely in this mode, something that worked less well on Sentinel Prime. The retractable landing gears are a nice touch. Astrotrain is decked out in his iconic purple and grey, with touches of black here and there. Transformation from shuttle to robot is super straightforward. It’s almost painfully simple. Astrotrain looks good in this mode. Body proportions are nicely balanced. His head mold is terrific, and looks exactly like Astrotrain should. I should point out that the Japanese version of this figure has better paint apps, though. The US version is light grey, while the Japanese version is dark grey. The dark grey is much more accurate to G1, both in terms of the show and the toy. This fact becomes a lot more obvious in robot mode, when looking at Astrotrain from the front, he is mostly grey. Transformation to train mode from this mode is interesting to say the least. First you pull the legs apart to either side, like if Astrotrain is doing the splits. From there it becomes pretty obvious; arms raise up and attach on top of the legs on either side, some minor panel flaps on the legs, flip over the feet so the train head comes out, and position the back Titan Master compartment on top of the train. This is another mode where TR Astrotrain got an upgrade. He’s no longer the old-school steam locomotive, but now more of a bullet train. Astrotrain looks ok in this mode. Sort of long and skinny, but I guess that’s how a train should be. This is another mode where the Japanese colors look much better than the US version, especially if you had both figures side by side. My overall impression of this figure is that he’s ok. He’s a good modern update. But I think deep down, I still want a Astrotrain with a proper NASA shuttle mode and a true steam locomotive mode. My hardcore G1 preferences is taking over here. I can live with the fact that he’s a Headmaster, but I still prefer him not being one.

This month also has Combiner Wars purchases. Yes I said Combiner Wars. By this time, the CW line has been long dead. But I did miss out on some figures in this line, and I was fortunate enough to find them this month.

The first CW fig this month is Sky Lynx, and he’s the 2nd space shuttle this month. But unlike Astrotrain, he’s still a NASA shuttle, with ground transport. This Sky Lynx looks G1 through and through. However, he only transforms from the space shuttle and ground transport mode to his full on griffin-like robot mode (and combined mode, but more on that later). In other words, he doesn’t separate into two components (the dino-bird/shuttle and lynx/transport) like he did in G1. I had a G1 re-issue of Sky Lynx briefly, for about two years, before I sold it (and actually made a slight profit on this). The G1 toy was kinda gimmicky. It was done by the same company that also did the original toy that would become Omega Supreme. I never had G1 Sky Lynx growing up, so my curiosity prompted me to buy the re-issue as an adult. He’s fun for a while, but the gimmicks wear off fast.

G1 Sky Lynx was not well received at all back in the 80s, both in terms of the character and the toy. However, in the days of CW, fans were singing praises about CW Sky Lynx, and he was probably the hardest figure to find in the line. I pretty much gave up looking for CW Sky Lynx. Until one day in Nov of 2016 when I found him at Ross. That’s right, Ross! Hasbro’s strange distribution rears its ugly head again. There was a time (I think around 2010 and 2011) when I regularly went to Ross and other discount stores, because new figures from Hasbro would go there instead of the usual places.

Combiner Wars Sky Lynx is not a bad figure, but I wouldn’t put him in the must-buy category either. Like all the other body component figures in the CW line, Sky Lynx is not perfect. They all have at least one mode that I consider lacking. I would say the best one in CW is Silverbolt (and his repaints). Sky Lynx would probably be the next best one. I like his alt mode, and he works well as a combiner body. But the griffin mode is just so-so. Still, the real value of this figure is having the ability to form Sky Reign. And that’s worth the price of admission, especially when admission price is only $12.99. Yes Ross is a good place to get TFs when you can find them. Below is a long over due pic of Sky Reign. All the limb components were bought in Feb of 2016.

Final purchase for the month is Leader class Skywarp. I already have the other two repaints of this figure, Leader Thundercracker and Starscream. So I was not gonna get Skywarp at full price. Around the end of Nov of 2016, I was vacationing in Cabo, attending a destination wedding. I think I opened the eBay app on my phone to check on one of my sales, and saw that Skywarp was on sale for half price! I wasted no time and got one. He’s just like the other 2, so I won’t go into detail. With Skywarp I have now completed the trio. Skywarp is my final purchase from the Combiner Wars line.

The pic below is for all the Decepticons this month. Autobots beware!

Whew! That was more TFs than I thought. Next month will wrap up 2016 with more Titans Return action. Til then… Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Decepticon Power!

July 25th, 2017 No comments

Quick post today. I got a bunch of Decepticons out and lying about. So it’s time for Megatron to lead the troops into battle and kick some Autobot ass!

Check the pic below.

This roster of Decepticons won’t take crap from no one:

  • Masterpiece Megatron (MP-36)
  • Masterpiece Starscream (MP-11)
  • Titans Return Octone (Octane)
  • Titans Return Blitzwing
  • Titans Return Sky Shadow
  • Titans Return Kickback
  • Robots in Disguise Soundwave
  • Robots in Disguise Skywarp
  • Last Knight Barricade
  • Warbotron Bruticus – Fierce Attack, Air Burst, Whirlwind, Sly Strike, Heavy Noisy

Autobots everywhere had better beware. This collection reminds me of the time I gathered this group of Decepticons.

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics

I Miss BotCon

July 7th, 2017 No comments

This past 4th of July weekend, I traveled to Southern California, where I grew up. We made a stop in Pasadena for some good ramen. On the way out of Pasadena, I drove past the Pasadena Convention Center. This made me think of BotCon, and how much I miss it.

I’ve been to three BotCons: 2009, 2011, and 2014. All 3 was at the Pasadena Convention Center. Notice all these BotCons coincide with the movie years. I made a post about my BotCon experience for 2009 and 2011. I didn’t make a post for 2014. If I knew that was gonna be my last BotCon, I totally would have.

BotCon is the ultimate Transformers convention. There are several theories as to why it’s called BotCon. Some fans think it stands for Robot Convention, while others say the word is a mesh of Bot and Con, short for Autobots and Decepticons. Whatever the reason, I have thoroughly enjoyed every BotCon I went to. I’m from Southern California, and I have a home near Pasadena. This is why I only been to the Pasadena BotCons. Pasadena is also not far from Hollywood. Around a short 20 min drive when there’s no traffic (but anyone from SoCal can tell you that there’s always traffic). And this probably explains why all the movie years have BotCons in Pasadena; it makes sense for a city close to Hollywood to host the convention of a major Hollywood franchise.

And this brings me to the point of this post: I miss BotCon. This is another movie year (though I have yet to see TF5… not sure if I will see this in theaters or wait for home release… the reviews are not encouraging, but that’s a discussion for a different day). So if BotCon was still running, there would have been another BotCon in Pasadena this year. And of course I would be attending if there was.

I can only guess at why BotCon ceased to be. Here is one link documenting this sad turn of events. The article is real vague, though. My theory is Hasbro wants to directly control and monetize all conventions associated with their intellectual properties. They have come up with something called HasCon. But this convention deals with all Hasbro properties, and not devoted exclusively to Transformers.

BotCon will always be special for me. I remember the first time I entered the dealer room. I reverted back to being a 8 year old again, and got so psyched over all the robots in the room. The surprise visit by Tyrese during the 2009 con had me and all other TransFans freaking out like the fanboys we are. I can’t begin to count how many new and upcoming TF toys, both official and third party, I first saw at BotCon. Seeing customized TF figures by other hardcore fans was always a treat. And I love going to Pasadena. It is the perfect venue for BotCon. In my opinion, BotCon is just the right size too… big enough to have a decent number of fans to support all the activities, and not overly big like AX or SDCC where it’s too crowded and you spend most of your time waiting to do anything.

I will indeed miss BotCon. HasCon is in Rhode Island this year, close to Hasbro headquarters. I’ll check it out if it ever makes it to the west coast, but I have a feeling it won’t be the same. Of all the cons still running now, TFCon probably has the most resemblance to BotCon. I will try to make it to TFCon one day. But until that day… til all are one! Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Before Carly 6

June 20th, 2017 Comments off

Welcome to another edition of Before Carly! It has been about two and a half years since the last installment, so here we go again with this long overdue episode of Before Carly 6! As usual, I will start with what I think was the official description given by Seibertron:

“Spike is quite the ladies man. He eventually married Carly, but she was not the only one to have fun in the backseat of Bumblebee.”

The fictitious name of each girl is made to sound like various characters in the TF universe, and each part of every name is based on real names I’ve seen. See how many TFs you can identify. Spike sure is lucky. How can he keep his mind on saving the Earth from routine Decepticon attacks while he has all these babes to keep him busy? We may never know the truth. What Spike did off camera will be a mystery for the ages.

Hover the mouse over each girl’s name to see the name of the TF. Make Spike proud! Impress all these babes with how much Transformers you know. Or not.

Enjoy the pics!

Riko Shay
Ricochet

 

Rowe D. Byrne
Roadburn

 

Skye Shade Oh
Sky Shadow

 

Astrid O. Train
Astrotrain

 

Bree K. Down
Breakdown

 

Erica Torre
Erector

 

Hedy Strong
Headstrong

 

Goldie Bugg
Goldbug

 

Oak T. Eng
Octane

 

Tripti Khan
Trypticon

 

If you can’t get enough of Before Carly, here are links to the previous installments:
Before Carly
Before Carly 2
Before Carly 3
Before Carly 4
Before Carly 5

Everyone loves Before Carly! Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, Top Ten