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!
I was at Target the other day, hunting for TFs as usual. As a seasoned TF hunter, my optics are quick to notice figures that I have never seen before. This holds true even for TFs that I don’t buy, like Flip and Change figs (or Flip n’ Fails as I like to call them). So imagine my surprise when I saw the fig in the pic below, on the left.
At first I was like “Whoa! A new fig!” Then I picked up the box, and I get the feeling I have seen this box before. Sure enough, comparing with some items nearby on the shelf, I realized someone transformed this Optimus into truck mode, put it back in the box, and returned it to Target. A look at the top of the box confirms it, in the pic below.
I guess some fan out there did not fully appreciate the wonders of the Flip n’ Fail. And he was too lazy to even properly put Optimus back in robot mode for the return… hahaha. Though I do give him credit for the thorough re-package work. It could pass for factory if identical new figs weren’t nearby.
And just to be clear, I do not buy Flip n’ Fails. I would stop collecting TFs altogether if Hasbro only made Flip n’ Fails.
Transform and Roll Out.
Continuing with the tradition of this blog, I will still document what I am buying each month. I am now back-posting what I bought per month since the start of 2014.
- Mastermind Creations Fortis, tfsource.com, $89.99
- Generations Thrilling 30 Dreading, Target, $17.99
- FansProject Diesel, tfsource.com, $119.95
I have opened all of these. Fortis (not Headstrong) is almost exactly like Bovis, which I was not expecting. I thought MMC would do more to distinguish between the 2 figures which forms the legs of Predaking. Dreadwing is a redeco of Generations Thrilling 30 Megatron. Only differences between these 2 figs are the paint job and the head mold.
Diesel (not Motormaster) is a complicated piece to say the least. He’s packaged in truck mode like you see in the pic above. In the pics below, I have him transformed to his robot mode, with and without armor.
And for course the real reason we hardcore collectors all get this figure is so we can form the mighty Intimidator (not Menasor)!
So that’s 3 figures for the month, two 3rd party figs and one generations figs. Not a bad way to start the new year.
Transform and Roll Out!
Welcome to the Transformation of this blog! After about a seven month hiatus, I’m back! You are looking at the first post of TFMatrix.com.
I had been blogging on WordPress.com for over 4 years, which was great. But it was time I moved off their site and went to my own self hosted blog. So in January of 2014, I registered for a new domain. I meant to transfer the old content here as soon as I could, but of course life gets in the way. Many things delayed the launch of TF Matrix, including work, going on vacation (multiple times), getting sick (multiple times), researching just exactly how to transfer content off of WordPress.com, and other personal obligations. Before you knew it, half the year has passed. I did not mean to be away from blogging for so long.
But now I’m back and better than ever! In my last post I said I have “big changes planned for this blog in early 2014,” and you are looking at it. It took longer than I thought it would, but better late than never. Moving forward, I have even more planned for TF Matrix. As a lifelong TransFan, I promise to keep the Spark alive for eons to come.
Coincidentally, this is the 200th post of this blog. I’m glad this milestone celebrates the launching of TF Matrix. Transformers are constantly changing and evolving like their namesake, so it’s only fair that my blog emulates this behavior. Look for more great TF content in the future. Long live Transformers! Now and forever… Transform and Roll Out!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Before I say goodbye to 2013, it is time to count up the Transformers for December.
- Generations Thrilling 30 Doubledealer, hasbrotoyshop.com, $15.99
- Generations Thrilling 30 Rhinox, hasbrotoyshop.com, $15.99
- Mech Ideas Apex and Geminus, tfsource.com, $69.95
- Crazy Devy CDMW-34, tfsource.com, $28.00
- Mech Ideas W-01 Longblast Upgrade Kit, tfsource.com, $15.95
- ToyWorld Trace, tfsource.com, $64.95
- Generations Thrilling 30 Ratbat, gift from Gemini
- TF Prime RID Vehicon with custom head, gift from Gemini
2013 ended on a good note with all these TFs! This might be the only month where I had more 3rd party items than offical Hasbro or Takara items. Altogether, there were 8 purchases for 7 figures (Apex and Geminus was one purchase, and add-ons I don’t count as figures). 9 items total, 4 official products and 5 3rd party products.
Doubledealer, Rhinox, and Ratbat I have not opened yet, but will soon. It’s kind of a drag that Doubledealer still has the same mechanical problems as Blitzwing. I was hoping Hasbro would get around to fixing it for Doubledealer, but no such luck. As for Rhinox, I am hearing good things about the figure, so I’m optimistic. Ratbat is a repaint of Generations Scourge. That is a fantastic mold, so I expect this to be good as well.
I haven’t opened the two upgrade kits either, but I plan to do that soon. I need to dig out Hercules, then add this Crazy Devy head to it to check out the LED visor. The Longblast Upgrade Kit is designed to work with RTS Special Ops Jazz. I think I will use this kit on my G2 Jazz of the same mold. But I mostly got this kit for the little Shockwave and Megatron guns. I can’t wait to try those guns with other CHUG figures.
I opened Trace as soon as I got him. I really liked Aurora, so I had to get Trace. ToyWorld did not let me down with this Chase homage. I’m very happy with how Trace turned out. He’s bigger than Aurora. In fact, he’s about the size of standard deluxes that Hasbro used to make in years past, while Aurora is that of the deluxes now in store (which are smaller). Check out pics in my last post for some size comparisons. I like how ToyWorld decided to base Trace on the Lamborghini Urus Concept. He looks pretty accurate to the real thing in alt mode. In robot mode, Trace is nicely proportioned, very poseable, and free of mechanical issues. I highly recommend this figure.
I heard good things about Apex and Geminus from Mech Ideas so I had to get them. At only about 70 bucks for 2 third party figures, they were a really good deal. Anyway, I also give these figures the highest possible recommendation. They are easy to transform and extremely fun to play with. They are obivous homages to G1 Jumpstarters Topspin and Twin Twist. If you need some figures to complete your Wreckers, then look no further. Apex and Geminus are durable and nicely detailed. Obviously they don’t have the original G1 auto transformation gimmick, but as adult TransFans we probably don’t much care for that anyway.
The Vehicon with the custom head is a gift from Gemini. This particular head works great with the Vehicon mold. Since this guy now looks different from the others, I think I’ll make him the Vehicon leader. I now have 6 Vehicons total. Getting a Vehicon as a gift for Christmas appears to be a trend lately. Probably won’t continue for 2014 haha.
OK, now let’s look at some statistics for 2013. Here is the break down:
- 26 figures from Transformers Prime
- 20 figures from Generations Fall of Cybertron (FOC)
- 23 figures from Generations Thrilling 30
- 10 Masterpieces
- 10 3rd Party figures
- 1 Power Core Combiner (PCC)
That’s a grand total of 90 figures for the year. It comes to 7.5 figures a month. This is less than 2012. For me that’s probably a good thing, since I have way too many TFs. I think I have been more selective in what I buy.
Also, I see most of my figs come from Generations. That’s great news, since I love CHUG. Also, Masterpieces and 3rd party figs I choose to buy are all G1 inspired. That means most of my figures are G1 derivatives. What else did you expect from a G1 guy?
And as far as the stats from month to month, I don’t really see a trend of when I buy the most TFs in 2013. Next year this might change, since it will be a movie year.
On a more personal note, I’m a little sad to be saying goodbye to 2013. This year has been good to me, both personally and professionally. I hope this good fortune will continue into 2014. And as for TFs, we know Hasbro will release a whole mess of figures since TF4 will be due out in the summer. Long time readers of this blog knows that I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Bay TFs (notice that for 2013 I did not buy a single movie TF haha). So I’m somewhat skeptical of the kinds of toys that will be put on the shelves. I just hope they don’t disturb the release of Generations.
Oh, and one more thing, I got some big changes planned for this blog in early 2014, so stay tuned. Happy New Year and long live Transformers! Transform and Roll Out!