It has been more than 3 years since the last edition of Before Carly! So here we go with this long overdue installment of Before Carly 5! On Thanksgiving no less! As always, 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. If a douche like Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) can score with babes like Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) and Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), then Spike hooking up with all these cuties below is not so far-fetched.
Hover the mouse over each girl’s name to see the name of the TF. You win nothing by correctly identifying them all, but you can take pride in the fact you know so many Transformer names.
Enjoy the pics!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Transform and Roll Out!
This past summer, me and the GF took a trip to Asia. First we went to Japan. We hit several cities while in Japan, including Tokyo, Koyto, Nara, and Kobe. Then we went to Shanghai, China (where the GF is from). After that I went to Taipei, Taiwan by myself (where I’m from). The entire trip was a little over 2 weeks. I had the time of my life! This was the best trip I have taken in quite some time.
While we were in Shanghai, the GF had to show me Jing’an Temple. Actually, we stayed pretty close to the Temple, within walking distance. Jing’an Temple is right in the heart of the city, and it is a must visit if you are in Shanghai.
I was there around June 1st, and wouldn’t you know it, they were doing a Transformers Age of Extinction promotion right next to the Temple! They had a booth set up right beside the Temple. It’s like they knew I was coming! Look at the first pic below and you will see the booth, and parts of the Temple right behind it. In the booth were many TF figures, not limited to AoE toys. I was seeing many of the AoE figs for the first time. Prices weren’t that good though. TFs in Asia are typically double the cost, and this particular location is a total tourist trap. So I didn’t buy anything til I got back to the States. But seeing the AoE booth with a large Grimlock display was still quite cool. Check out pics below.
After seeing Age of Extinction, it becomes obvious why promotion in China is absolutely necessary. I won’t explain it. See TF4 for yourself. And after seeing the movie, check out this Honest Trailer for TF4.
Shanghai is so cool! Transform and Roll Out!
Around May of this year was when Age of Extinction toys started to appear. I started to see them in early May, but I wasn’t able to purchase any until late May. More on this later in the post. Here are my acquisitions for May.
- ToyWorld Hardbone, bbts.com, $69.99
- Age of Extinction High Octane Bumblebee, TRU, $14.99
- Age of Extinction Slug, Target, $14.24
- Age of Extinction Scorn, Target, $14.24
- Age of Extinction Evasion Mode Optimus Prime, Target, $23.74
Other than Hardbone, all figures are from Age of Extinction. The release of AoE toys finally ends a long retail TF drought that lasted for much of the year. I was happy to see some new figs on the shelves, but at the same time I knew that Hasbro’s focus on AoE figures would also equate to less attention on the Generations line, my favorite TF line from Hasbro. Still, seeing something I want on the shelf is always better than seeing nothing.
But before I get into AoE, let’s talk about Hardbone, ToyWorld’s homage to G1 Hardhead. I actually bought this figure late last year, around Thanksgiving I believe. BBTS was doing their Black Friday sale. Only thing I wanted from the sale is Hardbone. As a whole, I’m very impressed with figures from ToyWorld as I think they all have solid construction, nice design, good value, and G1-inspired aesthetics. And I saw good reviews of Hardbone on YouTube, so I wasted no time to buy one at the sale. I always use the Loot feature at BBTS, to save on shipping. However, between then and May, I bought nothing else from BBTS. Any item in the loot can only be held for 6 months, so in May I had to ship Hardbone. I was not disappointed when I received the figure. Both modes look nice and the figure is well built. Transformation is not anything revolutionary, but in this case the tried and true formula works. Hardbone has weapons galore. Obviously he’s got his big shoulder cannon, but the twin guns that he had in G1 are here as well. And TW included some extra weapon accessories for good measure. The Headmaster gimmick itself is not really improved upon for G1, but suffice to say that it’s there. Overall I think this figure is an excellent modern update of G1 Hardhead.
OK, now onto the Age of Extinction figures. In early May I first saw them at K-Mart. I found the first 4 deluxe figs from Wave 1, which are High Octane Bumblebee, Crosshairs (not pictured), Slug, and Scorn. I tried to buy Slug and Scorn, but at checkout they would not ring up a price. So they wouldn’t sell them! K-Mart said they were put on the shelves by mistake. Lame! Anyway, less than 2 weeks later I found them elsewhere (and pretty much everywhere).
When I first saw the AoE figs, I definitely wanted the Dinobots. Robots transforming into Dinosaurs are some of the best ideas Takara has came up with, and the G1 creators were smart enough to personify them as the bad asses that they are. So I’m kinda surprised that Hasbro doesn’t milk this more by making Dinobots all the time, in whatever is the active TF continuity. At least for the 4th movie, Michael Bay was smart enough to include them (minor SPOILER ALERT, highlight over the next sentence to see: they only appear at the very end, for about 15 minutes. LAME!). Anyway, as for the figures themselves, I like Scorn. He’s my favorite of all the deluxe Dinos released so far. I like both the dino mode and the robot mode. Slug is ok. He’s obviously a homage to G1 Slag, being a triceratops and having a oh-so-clever name change. These movie dinos sure are colorful, like Power Rangers. In the movie they are more metallic looking, like G1 Dinobots. I bet in the future Hasbro will make limited editions of these guys in movie colors.
I like the Bumblebee figure. At the core, he’s not anything that we haven’t seen before in a movie Bumblebee. But I’m digging the classic muscle car (it could be a classic Camaro, but I could be wrong). The only other time they made a classic car movie Bee was in the first movie (which I have and broke), so it’s good to see him in this form again after all the modern Camaro Bees.
Last but not least, there’s Evasion Mode Optimus Prime. When I first saw preview pics of this figure, I was beyond thrilled. That alt mode is so G1 it would be illegal for me to not get one. The robot mode is still has the signature Michael Bay look, but with more G1 aesthetics and colors (though in the movie he does not appear in these colors). The transformation of this piece is actually very refreshing. The legs are kinda the same as always for Prime figs, but the upper body transformation utilizes quite a interesting twist. It’s as if the cab folds inside out on all sides to form the upper torso. The result is a nice movie-verse figure that mixes well with G1. I recommend this Prime, and with this upcoming aftermarket accessory to make him look like Powermaster Optimus, I say all G1-ers should get this fig.
That’s all for now. Age of Extinction has arrived… Transform and Roll Out.
It is that time again my friends! Halloween is upon us. Do Tranformers celebrate Halloween? Probably not, since they can transcan and transform, it’s like everyday is Halloween.
Here is another pic where I take my orange plush pumpkin with some orange Transformers.
Click here for the 2012 version. Scroll to the bottom for the pic.
Honestly, there just ain’t that many orange TFs. I tried to find some other than ones I already used in 2012. What you see in the pic is all I can come up with: Generations Scoop, Generations Sandstorm, G1 Wideload, and Prime Voyager Predaking. Some of these are even questionable as orange. Sandstorm is actually mostly yellow, but with enough orange bits. Predaking is probably about half orange and half black.
And of course I gotta mention that the San Francisco Giants is once again world champs! The Angry Bird plush with the Giants cap is to help celebrate that fact. In the last 5 years, Giants win the whole thing every time on the even number years. So are they gonna be champs again in 2016? And it’s always so fitting they win it around Halloween. The Orange and Black is oh so fitting!
Happy Halloween! Transform and Roll Out!
The next Transformers TV show is Transformers: Robots in Disguise. If memory serves, Transformers Animated first came out in 2008, and Transformers Prime was released in late 2011. So a new show now follows this trend where Hasbro presents a TF reboot once every three or so years.
The season 1 trailer appears below.
At first glance the character designs look awfully close to TF Animated. Though looking at it closer, you also see hints of TF Prime. The appearance of Optimus and Bumblebee always seem to include a few designs from the immediate past. At this point, I don’t know if I like these designs. But I know I’ve said that about both TF Animated and TF Prime, and over time they kinda grew on me. Maybe I just need time to digest this new look.
The animation style appears to be cel shading. So I guess the animators are using 3D models, but rendered to have a more cartoony look. Kind of a mix between 2D and 3D. This could work. Another example of a fusion between Animated (2D) and Prime (3D).
Hasbro seems to be continuing the trend of having a small team for the Autobots, like in Animated and Prime. There’s Optimus, who acts like his usual Peter Cullen self. No surprises here. Then there’s Bumblebee. This Bee is back to being able to talk, which I like. The movie blips Bee never really did it for me. His characterization is also reminiscent of G1, but physically he appears tougher. Next in the group is Sideswipe (the red one). His persona reminds me of Hot Rod. I guess he’s the bad boy of the group. Strongarm is the tough and no non-sense fembot of the bunch. She acts like Arcee but has the looks of a female Wheeljack. The Dino muscle on the team is Grimlock, though his colors and behavior more closely resembles Bulkhead. Rounding out the team is Fixit, the small and spunky orange bot who appears to handle medic duties. I dunno, right now I feel like this cast is ripped straight out of a stock character manual. Hopefully I’ll find them more interesting once the show gets going.
Of course with every new show, Hasbro will be making more toys. I’m not aware of any toy info at the moment, but you can bet your boron compressor they will be making their way to store shelves in 2015.
Robots in Disguise… Transform and Roll Out!
April has traditionally been a slow month as far as Transformers purchases go. This year was no exception.
- Generations Thrilling 30 Whirl, TRU, $24.99
- FansProject Smart Robin, toyarena.com, $68.95
- Masterpiece G-2 Ver. Lambor, hlj.com, $50.85
The only figure here that was found at retail was Whirl. I remember I was pretty excited when I saw him, since it has been some time since I saw any TF that I wanted in store. I didn’t know this before I bought it, but Whirl has a third mode. You would only know this if you looked at the instructions (or if you looked at the box carefully where it says 3 modes – duh). Hasbro calls this the Heloped Mode, which is a half-way mode between robot and helicopter, kinda like a GERWALK in Macross. I have not transformed the figure to this mode, since I really don’t see the point. Still, Whirl is a good figure. I like both the robot mode and the helicopter mode. And I’m glad that Hasbro is giving us all the Wreckers. Here’s to hoping they will someday make Broadside.
Smart Robin is a FansProject homage to Brainstorm, a Headmaster from G1 Season 4. As of this writing, it is confirmed that Hasbro is making an official Voyager sized Brainstorm, set to be released in about a month. But back in April I don’t think anyone really knew this. I had a chance to play with Smart Robin last Dec, and back then I knew I had to have one. The transformation of this figure is ingenious. It’s hard to describe in words, but this figure utilizes some transformation mechanisms that are both clever and functional. The end result is a figure that looks good in both modes, and at the same time fun to play with. I would recommend this figure wholeheartedly if I didn’t know about the Hasbro figure that will come out soon, since the official Brainstorm will be larger, cheaper, and potentially awesome. Though at this point it’s hard to say if the Hasbro figure will be better than Smart Robin. I’ll reserve final judgement until I have the Hasbro Brainstorm. Oh, this is the first and only time I have used ToyArena. I was forced to try them for this figure since my usual vendors were all sold out of Smart Robin. ToyArena is a good store. I don’t use them as much since they are based in CA, which means I gotta pay sales tax. But I’ll keep them in mind for the future as a backup store.
Last but not least is the Masterpiece G2 Sideswipe (or Lambor in Japan). This a Takara import figure, and a US release is not likely. I have done reviews of both Sideswipe and Red Alert so I won’t go too deep into it. Imagine taking G1 Sideswipe and reversing the colors of black and red where they are, and you have G2 Sidewipe. Fr MP G2 Sideswipe, Takara gave him a new face mold, 2 different looking guns, some spiked wheels for the shoulder attachment, and a nice looking sword. For the decals, you have the option of using the G1 or G2 Autobot insignia. Very cool! I still have my original G2 Sideswipe from back in the 90s. Maybe someday I’ll put these 2 figs side by side for a past and present shot.
All 3 figures appear for display in this post.
Transform and Roll Out.
Here we are again! Five years ago this day, I started this blog. On the last anniversary post, I mentioned some “tentative future plans”. What I was referring to was moving off of WordPress and into a self-hosted blog. If you are looking at this now, then you see the fruit of that effort. The transition took longer than I thought it would, but better late than never.
I registered the domain in January 2014, but did not cut over the content til July. The stats appear below. The first pic is total hits up til the conversion, and the 2nd pic shows the hits on TF Matrix since.
The big spike in hits in June 2014 is due to Age of Extinction. Adding up the hits in July from the 2 graphs, the number is pretty close to June’s. As always, anytime a Michael Bay movie is out in the theaters, this blog soars in activity. It does appear that after the transfer to the self-hosted blog, the hits are going down. I think this is just things returning to normal, after the movie.
Total hits of this blog is 407,722. As of the 4 year anniversary, total hits were 283,018. That means in a year’s time, my blog got about 120,000 hits. Not bad. Traffic seems to be increasing every year, which is always a good sign.
As long as there are fans reading, I will keep blogging. TFs will never go extinct! The evolution continues… and fans will forever heed this call… Transform and Roll Out!
I only bought one Transformer in March of 2014.
- Masterpiece Smokescreen (MP-19), hlj.com, about $50.72
To this day I still have not opened MP Smokescreen, but I opened both MP Prowl and Streak so I’m gonna assume he’s just as awesome as these 2. In robot mode, the obvious differences for Smokescreen are the missile launchers, and possibly some minor mold alterations for the head and crotch area. In alt mode, Smokescreen gets an enhanced front bumper/grill and larger rear spoilers.
But yeah, that’s it for March. There was a real drought of TFs at that time. Things pick up later in the year when Age of Extinction is released.
More to come. Transform and Roll Out!
Here are the TFs I bought back in Feb of 2014.
- Generations Thrilling 30 Armada Starscream, TRU, $12.99
- Generations Thrilling 30 Skywarp, Target, $14.24
- Generations Thrilling 30 Scoop, Target, $14.24
- Generations Thrilling 30 Mini-Con Assault Team, Target, $14.24
- Transformers Prime Leader Class Predaking, Target, $16.61
- Maketoys Giant, tfsource.com, $379.99
I opened all the Deluxe Generations Thrilling 30 figures. I highly recommend Armada Starscream. This particular version of Starscream is a welcome addition to the Generations line. I have the original Armada Starscream also (with Swindle Mini-Con), and it’s amazing to see how much this figure as evolved. Release of Fall of Cybertron Skywarp is no surprise, given how much Hasbro likes to repaint the Seekers. Still, this is a great mold, and in my opinion the trio of Starscream, Thundercraker, and Skywarp must be completed in every line. Scoop is an odd choice for inclusion. In G1, he was a Targetmaster that didn’t appear until Season 5, by which time the US cartoons had already ended. I have Scoop from G1, and he’s still in really good shape. This new Scoop is a direct homage to that figure, but with way better toy engineering and way, way better poseability. He remains a Targetmaster and that is a welcome feature. The Mini-Con Assault Team is something totally unexpected for me. I’m not sure what their origins are. Still, the figure itself is decent. I didn’t like it at first, but over some time it grew on me. But I should point out that this figure does not have the best construction. There are lots of parts that love to fall off, and during transformation it’s more likely that bits and pieces will unintentionally detach.
I have not opened Leader Class Predaking yet. Target was clearing these out at such a low price that I had to buy one, however.
Last but not least, there’s MakeToys Giant. I missed out on buying this set when he was first released. This set I purchased is the 2nd release of the green version. There are many reviews on this set already, so I won’t go into it. But I will say that if you like the Constructicons, then this set is a required purchase. MakeToys pays an incredible homage to the original G1 Devastator with this amazing update. Fans love to compare this with TFC Toys Hercules and try to determine which is better. Now that I have both, I will say that they each have their pros and cons. I can’t decide so I just got both.
Below is a pic of Intimidator, Giant, and Hercules all appearing together. Autobots beware! Bumblebee is already feeling the pain.
Transform and Roll Out.
Earlier this year I bought a glass display case for all my TFs. I have a small shelf in my bedroom for such a purpose, but there are too many robots I want to display. So I got the Detolf case from Ikea.
It took some effort to put this case together. But in the end the display looks quite nice. Here is what I currently have displayed.
Here on the top shelf is a random collection of Autobots. On display is CHUG Sideswipe with the Beelzeboss Heroic Duo Custom Kit (v2) upgrade, MP Streak, MP Prowl (hiding in the back in alt mode), MP G2 Sideswipe, FansProject Smart Robin, TF Prime Voyager Ultra Magnus, and a Mega Bloks minifig from their Battleship line.
On the 2nd shelf is Maketoys Giant in the combined form, PCC Heavytread with Maketoys Mobine Armor Marine upgrade kit, Generations Thrilling 30 Dreadwing (hiding in the back in alt mode), and another Mega Bloks minifig from the same Battleship set (the GF insists I put these here).
Here on the 3rd shelf is my Wreckers team! I’m so glad Hasbro is taking the time to please us true fans, as most figures here are official products. On display here are Generations Thrilling 30 Springer, Sandstorm, Whirl, and Roadbuster. And from Mech Ideas are Apex and Geminus.
And here on the bottom shelf are some random stuff. FansProject Intimidator appears here in combined form. Other figures include a Samus Aran Figma, Nickelodeon TMNT Donatello riding a a Maisto motorcycle, and a Diarobo figure that transforms into a Japanese garbage truck. The teddy bear and shot glasses are random contributions from the GF.
I will probably rotate out the figures in here every so often, when I want some new stuff to look at. Til next time… Transform and Roll Out!