November 2015 is back to buying only a handful of Transformers. The 3 figures appear below.
- Age of Extinction Chainsaw Thrash Vehicon, Ross, $5.99
- Combiner Wars Battle Core Optimus Prime, Target, $24.99
- Combiner Wars Motormaster, Target, $24.99
Chainsaw Thrash Vehicon is yet another budget impulse buy. I was semi-impressed with Spinning Grinder Galvatron, and at $5.99 there’s no real reason to be conservative. The TF Movie universe took a cue from TF Prime and adopted the concept of a drone robot army made up of Vehicons. In AoE, Vehicons are man-made Transformers used by Cemetery Wind, as opposed to the non-sentient but self-operating drones in TF Prime. As far as I know, there is not a Generations version of Vehicon in the AoE toys, so this Chainsaw Thrash Vehicon will have to do. I like this figure. His alt mode is unique. I don’t know of any other TF (official or otherwise) that transforms into a Rally Fighter. In robot mode, the chainsaw gimmick is semi entertaining, but adds only marginal value for the adult collector. Kids of today would probably enjoy the gimmick for a good 10 minutes before their super short attention span turns them elsewhere. Transformation is painfully simple. Overall, this Vehicon is a nice distraction on a dry TF month, but not a required purchase by any means.
Battle Core Optimus Prime and Motormaster are repaints of each other. In fact, they are repaints of my purchases from January and March of 2015, respectively. By now, most fans are aware of the hip problems that earlier versions of these figures have. This is why I bought Motormaster again. As for Battle Core Optimus, I got him only because I like his head mold so much more over the standard Optimus fig. So the million dollar question is: are the new figs better than the old ones? Yes and no. In robot mode, the figure now looks better when standing in a neutral pose. And in combined form, the fixed ratchets help to stabilize the gestalt in the legs and hips. This is the biggest improvement in the new figures. However, the truck mode does not come together as nicely. This figure compacts itself quite a bit when going to alt mode, and the slight ratchet tweak somehow made it much more difficult to collapse all the pieces and panels properly. This is the case with both Battle Core OP and Motormaster, so I’m convinced this phenomenon is present on all the new figures (I did not detect this on the older figures). Also, they still did not fix the poorly fitted connection pegs located on the chest (for Rodimus or Blackjack). So is it worth it to buy these figs again? I dunno. If you really must have a more stable combined mode, then go for it. Otherwise, I would suggest you save your money if you already have the older figures.
We are almost at the end of 2015. One more month to go, then onto 2016.
Transform and Roll Out.
Since I started tracking my purchases on this blog, October has provided no shortage of TF action in either figure count and/or spending. October 2012 holds the record for highest TF count in a single calendar month (at 24 figures), and October 2014 holds the record for most TF spending in a single calendar month (at $885.90.. yikes!).
In true October fashion, this month is also filled with TF purchases that are way above my average monthly tally. I don’t think October 2015 sets any new personal records, but there are a lot of figures here nonetheless.
- Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus and Minimus Ambus, amazon.com, $40
- Combiner Wars Ironhide, Target, $14.99
- Combiner Wars Prowl, Target, $14.99
- Combiner Wars Sunstreaker, Target, $14.99
- Combiner Wars Mirage, Target, $14.99
- Combiner Wars Cyclonus, amazon.com, $17.89
- Masterpiece Bumble G-2 Ver., hlj.com, $36.47
- Perfect Effect Perfect Combiner PC-05 Upgrade Set, tfsource.com, $32.99
- Before & After Omega Launcher for MP-17 Prowl, tfsource.com, $14.95
- ToyWorld Devil Star, tfsource.com, $119.99
- Warbotron Sly Strike, tfsource.com, $75.99
- Fans Toys Sever, tfsource.com, $179.95
Let’s start with Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus. This is hands down my favorite Ultra Magnus figure of all time! That’s a strong statement, considering I own almost all of them. I like this figure even better than Masterpiece UM, because the CW fig is less blocky and more playable. I have gone into details about this figure back in the post, so I won’t do it again. Minimus Ambus is a character I know nothing about. I believe he’s from the IDW-verse of comics, but I could be totally wrong here. The Minimus Ambus figure in this package is completely forgettable and adds nothing to the Ultra Magnus toy.
Below is pic of my two favorite Ultra Magnus figs of all time.
Combiner Wars continue with more figures that are very minor reworks of what’s already out there. In this month we get Ironhide, Prowl, Sunstreaker and Mirage. Hasbro really knows how to milk us hardcore G1 fans by tweaking existing molds very slightly and then releasing them as popular G1 characters. I probably could have skipped this foursome altogether, but I’m a total sucker for G1 characters from the first 2 seasons. And I needed figures that would make sense to combine with CW Optimus. Ironhide, Sunstreaker, and Mirage are reworks of existing Stunticons (Offroad, Breakdown, and Drag Strip, respectively). Prowl is a rework of Streetwise. I won’t go into detail since the rework here is so minor that we may as well just call them repaints.
Cyclonus is yet another rework in the CW line. But this is one rework that feels truly like a rework, and not a repaint with different colors and a different head. A rework of CW Silverbolt, I really dig this Cyclonus figure. He looks absolutely fabulous in the stunning purple paint. Robot mode is nicely proportioned, and the jet mode looks fast and sleek. In addition to the different head mold, Cyclonus offers different wing molds and different nosecone mode in jet mode. And of all the CW body figures, the Silverbolt/Cyclonus mold offers the best combining mechanism, in both function and appearance. The combined head mold is also different, as it is a good representation of Galvatron and not Superion. It’s too bad Cyclonus’s weapon is an exact repaint of the Silverbolt’s weapon, but in this case that’s a minor nitpick. I highly recommend Cyclonus. There are enough difference here from Silverbolt that it feels like you are buying a brand new figure.
Galvatronus is the name of the combined form when Cyclonus is the body. Supposedly CW Cyclonus has the power to mind control other limb components and have them merge with him. That’s kind of a hokey backstory, but whatever. I wish they made Scourge and Sweeps as limb components to form Galvatronus, which makes way more sense. That’s actually a pretty awesome combination now that I think about it. Maybe some TF modder out there has done this already. Anyways, below is a pic of Galvatronus using the 4 CW limb Autobots acquired this month.
The only official Masterpice figure this month is G-2 Ver Bumble. I already stated many, many times about how I love MP G1 Bumblebee. The G2 Ver of the figure is the exact same mold, except he’s covered with shiny gold paint that I initially thought this would be Goldbug. And instead of the Spike figure, we get a second face plate that more resembles the original G1 toy, and a nice rocket pack that we have seen Sideswipe or Optimus use (it’s unclear to me if Bumblebee ever used the rocket pack). If you already have the first MP Bumble, then it’s not necessary to get this figure. But I did anyway, because I love this mold, the new shiny paint job, and all the extra accessories.
Perfect Effect Perfect Combiner PC-05 Upgrade Set and Before & After Omega Launcher for MP-17 Prowl are two upgrade kits that are similar to the upgrade sets that I bought back in June of this year. Specifically, they are repaints of Perfect Combiner PC-02 and Alpha Launcher for MP-18, respectively. Perfect Combiner PC-05 is meant to be used with Combiner Wars Superion, but technically you can use them with any of the CW figs in combined form. Omega Launcher are non-firing shoulder missile enhancements for MP Prowl. Again, they are exact repaints of what came before, so I won’t go into them too much. Actually, I have not even had the chance to put Omega Launcher on Prowl. But in theory it should look just as awesome as Alpha Launcher on Bluestreak.
Devil Star is ToyWorld’s interpretation of Astrotrain. I love ToyWorld, and I love Astrotrain, which is why I pre-ordered this figure as soon as I learned that they are doing a G1 cartoon accurate version (TW had another version of this figure prior to this called Evila Star, with colors that are more similar to the original Takara toy). I have so much faith in ToyWorld that I knew they would do Triple Changers justice. However, I later watched some reviews of Devil Star (and Evila Star), and learned that this guy is an absolute pain to transform. He’s very much a panel former, which doesn’t bother me that much. But it’s excruciatingly unpleasant to get all the panels to line up in both alt modes. I wanted to cancel the pre-order as soon as I found out, but I was a little too late on the trigger and the pre-order came in before I knew it. So now I have it stuck in my possession. To this day, the figure is brand new, never opened. And I don’t plan to. Maybe one day he will be worth big bucks and I’ll resell it. Devil Star is a limited edition figure. In the pic above, the big box is the figure itself, but the little box on top are these exclusive train tracks that are produced in very limited quantities. I am looking to sell the figure. If you’re reading this and want to make me an offer, contact me.
It took some time, but it finally happened… I got a figure from Warbotron! I wrote about Warbotron more than 2 years ago before this month, and I’m ashamed to say that it took a sale for me to finally buy something from them. My buddy Gemini has the entire Warbotron Combaticon set, and he thinks Sly Strike (aka Swindle) is the best of the bunch. So I have been eyeing Sly Strike for quite some time now. I almost bought the figure at regular price, and I’m glad I didn’t when I saw that TFSource was selling them at $14 off from MSRP. I wasted no time getting one. Gemini did not let me down – Sly Strike is awesome! He comes packaged in robot mode. The body stylings is modeled more after the G1 toy and not the show, but body proportions is definitely updated to modern standards (old G1 body proportions would be awful). His face and head mold looks like it jumped straight out of the G1 cartoon, as its got the famous purple eyes and that discriminant black-market salesman grin that only Swindle can possess. Chest area has a similar purple molding like the G1 toy, though fans have come up with an alternate configuration for the robot mode where the jeep hood area can form over the chest for a more Binaltech/Alternator appearance. The figure is also designed so the wheels over the shoulders and the back area can be transformed differently to suit your taste. Warbotron took more liberties with the alt mode, and in my opinion that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In G1, Swindle transforms into a FMC XR311 combat support vehicle. Munitioner by FansProject uses a military Humvee as the alt mode. Warbotron decided to use a Jeep type vehicle, like the Jeep Wrangler Commando. Some fans may complain this is not G1 enough, but I think it’s a good modern update. The detail, colors, and moldings of the alt mode is terrific as well. Transformation of the figure is fairly straightforward. It’s not overly complicated, but at the same time complex enough to satisfy collectors of 3rd party items. Construction wise, Sly Strike does suffer from some slight tolerance issues, but nothing so glaringly bad that it would distract from the enjoyment of the figure. As for his weapons, the hand held pistol is almost an exact replica of G1, updated to MP scale and modern detail standards. Warbotron took more liberties with the cannon and gave it a translucent pink barrel, and personally I think it’s a nice touch. All in all I highly recommend Sly Strike as the MP scale figure for Swindle. I thought I got a good price for Sly Strike at $75.99, but TFSource has been clearing them out at $66.99 for the past few months! Get them while they last!
Last but certainly not least, we have Sever, Fans Toys’ interpretation of Snarl in MP scale. Sever is the 2nd figure that I got in the Fans Toys line of MP Dinobots. The first one was Scoria (aka Slag). FT released Soar (aka Swoop) in between Scoria and Sever, but I didn’t have a chance to buy that one. Scoria is generally considered a good figure, but he’s not without his faults. He’s got the now famous loose shoulder issues that many fans complain about. Surprisingly, mine is fine in the shoulders (I did buy the repair parts for $4 just in case). However, my Scoria is quite loose in the hips. If I pick up Scoria, the legs would definitely droop down at the crotch, and he won’t be able to hold any cool poses. Part if this is because there’s so much weight in the legs. Other fans have complained about some other minor construction issues. Overall I like Scoria, but he was not the perfect MP dino that I thought he would be, because of the loose hips. So when Sever came out, I was a little nervous that he would also share similar issues. But I chose to buy him anyway, because of the $20 early bird discount. I am happy to report that Sever is absolutely perfect! I detect no construction issues whatsoever. All joints are just the right amount of tightness. Some fans complain the joints are too tight, but I think they’re fine. He can hold some terrific poses, and the figure has enough articulation to take full advantage of the solid construction. In both mode, Sever looks like he jumped straight out of the G1 show. Transformation is also superb. He’s not terribly difficult to transform, but at the same time there’s enough going on in the mechanics that hardcore collectors of this line would not find him too simple. The details on this figure would satisfy even the most picky. The weapons for Sever are awesome as well. They both have light up LED capabilities, though batteries are not included. Check the LED operation of the weapons as soon as you get Sever, as I heard some fans complain about them not working. And if I have to make one small nitpick, it’s that there’s no place for the weapons in Dino mode. But that aside, it really feels like Fans Toys is taking all their lessons learned with Scoria, and they have implemented them in Sever. (They may have done that with Soar as well, as I have heard nothing but praises.) This is 3rd party MP Dinobot at it’s best. To this day I still have Sever out for display, because I like him that much. I highly, highly recommend Sever. Fans Toys have fully restored my faith in their line of MP Dinos. I am now looking forward to getting both Soar and Stomp (aka Sludge), the latter of which came out after Sever.
That ended up being a way longer post than I meant for it to be. October of 2015 had 12 purchases, for a total of 11 figures and 2 upgrade sets. This is the last month in 2015 with a high number of purchases. This month was also a lot of repaints. By my count, only 4 purchases are not repaints or reworks. Even the 2 upgrade sets are repaints. Sometimes I buy TFs purely based on if I like the character; I think in the future I need to be more mold conscious. I am very happy about Sly Strike and Sever, two of the more expensive purchases this month. A bit regretful that I should have cancelled Devil Star when I had the chance.
Til next time… Transform and Roll Out.
September of 2015 is another month of only 2 TFs.
- Generations Thrilling 30 Acid Storm and Venin, amazon.com, $8.13
- Robots in Disguise Megatronus, Toys R Us, $14.99
Acid Storm is yet another repaint of the legend class Seeker mold. As if having Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp is not already enough. I could have easily passed on Acid Storm (and you should too if you’re on the fence about buying), but at about $8 I figured why not. Plus I never saw him in store before. I got this through Amazon, but it was a 3rd party seller. The seller was The Chosen Prime. This was my only experience with them. I have heard good things about them, but to this day I have not ever made a direct order. I’m gonna have to try them soon. Anyway, Acid Storm does not feel as sturdy as the others Seekers of this mold. I guess they used the mold one too many times. Venin is an exact of repaint of Waspinator that came with Starscream. I have said before that Arcee and Chromia are the last of the Thrilling 30 figs. I totally forgot about Acid Storm. He really is the last of the Thrililng 30. And now as I write this, I realize he’s packaged a bit different from Starscream. Weird. Compare pics here and here.
The only other purchase this month is Megatronus from Robots in Disguise. Megatronus is definitely one of the better figures from RiD. His robot mode and alt mode looks good. Transformation is fun. Hasbro managed to make him feel solid and robust despite the cheap plastic. His joints are the right amount of tightness for some nice poses. I got here the Toys R Us exclusive version, which hit stores first. This version has the head of Megatronus in some kind of battle helmet. A mass retail version would come out later (which I also have). Overall I highly recommend this figure. I think he’s my 2nd favorite of the RiD figs, right behind Drift.
Below are some pics of the 2 figs.
2 figs last month, and 2 figs this month. That is very unlike me. But there was a good reason. I went to Europe at the end of September of 2015. I will make a post soon about my TF hunting experience there, much like I did for when I went to Shanghai. Til next time… Transform and Roll Out!
August of 2015 continues with Combiner Wars. Both figs this month come from CW, though neither one realistically combines. More on that later.
- Combiner Wars Rodimus, Target, $9.78
- Combiner Wars Thundercracker, amazon.com, $40.58
CW legend class Rodimus is a repaint of Blackjack, with your classic Hot Rod color scheme and a new head mold. Technically he does combine to be the chest plate, when Optimus or Motormaster is used as the body component. But this feature feels tacked-on like an afterthought or gimmick. I mentioned before that Blackjack has got some poorly fitted connection ports when trying to be attached as the chest plate, and Rodimus shares this same problem. Shame to see that Hasbro did not fix this. The weapon/wing accessory has a right place when Rodimus is in alt mode or chest plate mode. But in robot mode he can only hold the weapon, and not have them attached to his back as wings to have that classic Hot Rod look. For Blackjack this is a non-issue, but I expected more for Rodimus. I can only recommend this figure if you’re a completist or if you are dying of TF thirst. Pass otherwise.
This is the 2nd Thundercracker to be released in the CW line. The first one was a legend size figure. This figure is Leader class, and he is a minor rework of the awesome Jetfire from Generations Thrilling 30. I like this figure. He feels different enough from Jetfire to warrant a re-release of this mold. In addition to the different color scheme and head mold, Thundercracker has a different chest mold, different shoulder molds, and differently styled wings that resemble more like an F-15. He also has extra twin guns for the wings, instead of the the Jetfire thrusters pack. I love the sleek blue jet that is Thundercracker in alt mode. The one knock against this figure is the size. At Leader class, Thundercracker is the same size as Ultra Magnus, Megatron, and Jetfire, and that is just is too big to scale well with the rest of your CHUG lineup. A Voyager class Seeker mold would work better here, such as Cyber Battalion Starscream.
August was a light month in terms of TFs. More will come soon… Transform and Roll Out.
For July of 2015 it is back to Combiner Wars figures. All but 2 purchases this month are CW. Not only that, more than half the figs here are Protectobots. This may as well be Protectobot month.
- Combiner Wars Warpath, Toys R Us, $9.99
- Combiner Wars Viper, Toys R Us, $9.99
- Combiner Wars Skywarp, Toys R Us, $9.99
- Combiner Wars Groove, Target, $10.99
- Combiner Wars Rook, Walmart, $14.96
- Combiner Wars Streetwise, Walmart, $14.96
- Combiner Wars First Aid, Walmart, $14.96
- Combiner Wars Blades, Walmart, $14.96
- Combiner Wars Hot Spot, Toys R Us, $24.99
- Age of Extinction Spinning Grinder Galvatron, Ross, $5.99
- DX9 Invisible, eBay, $82.99
First let’s take a look at the Combiner Wars legend class figs. CW Skywarp is the last repaint of these legend size Seekers. We’ve seen this mold many times already. Warpath is a repaint of Megatron, while Viper is a repaint of Powerglide. So I won’t describe these too much, other than say that they have different head molds and different color schemes. This Warpath probably scales better with other CHUG characters, if you want to faithfully represent G1 scale ratios. Viper has gotta be a homage to the Cobra Rattler from G.I.Joe. His alt mode and color scheme looks just like the Rattler. And his name of Viper is an homage to the famous foot soldiers of the Cobra infantry. Fitting too that he is a Decepticon. I am very happy that Hasbro created this homage character. On a side note, I wonder why Hasbro doesn’t make some figures of G.I.Joe vs Transformers characters. That would be totally awesome. I think there would be demand for it, and licensing should not be an issue considering both are Hasbro properties. Maybe some third party out there will attempt this.
Last one of the legend size figs here is Groove, which is a good segue-way into the Protectobots. Of all the G1 combiners to appear in the first 4 seasons, the Protectobots are the only group where I have never played with any of the G1 toys. That is true even to this day. But getting all these CW Protectobots in one month more than makes up for it. Hot Spot is the voyager sized body figure. Blades, First Aid, and Streetwise are deluxe size figs for the limbs. The last limb figure should be Groove, but in this case Hasbro released a legend size fig that can transform into a weapon for Defensor. To make up for the last limb, Hasbro made Rook, who transforms into kind of a SWAT armored vehicle. All six are new molds (Blades being the only repaint, though really Hasbro should have not released Alpha Bravo and went straight to Blades). My favorites out of this group is probably Blades and Streetwise. As Defensor, the combined mode looks kinda boxy, and poseability is not that good when compared to CW Superion. Overall I’m fairly satisfied with this set. They certainly don’t blow my socks off, but they’re a fun distraction to have around. Up to this point, the only Protectobot I have in my CHUG lineup is Hot Spot. But those figs always seem to be an afterthought, as the figure is always a repaint of either Inferno or Grapple. This is the first time we got all new Protectobot molds since G1 (again, Blades should have been a new mold). This group more than adequately represent the Protectobots in my CHUG collection. Below is a pic of Defensor.
For the G1 purists out there, Hasbro would later release a deluxe size Groove that can transform into a limb for Defensor. This Groove would be released as a shared exclusive between Amazon and some 3rd party TF retailers. Asia got this Groove first, and I sort of went into my Asia hunting excursion for Groove in this post.
Spinning Grinder Galvatron was a pure impulse buy. I spotted this figure at Ross. As a hardcore TransFan, I don’t pay close attention to gimmicky Transformers that are made for the general public or young kids. But I hunt for Transformers so often that I can’t help but see what’s out there. So it’s not often that I spot a figure that I have never seen before, such as this Galvatron. So I bought the figure. His truck mode is not too shabby. In robot mode, the poseability is extremely limited. Transformation is super simple. The spinning grinder gimmick is kidna cool, but as an adult collector, that kind of thing gets old real fast. I would only recommend this figure for the young fans out there, or if you’re experiencing such a TF dry spell that you need to buy something to tide you over.
Last but not least, we have Invisible by DX9. Invisible is a Masterpiece style homage to G1 Mirage. Up to this point, I only have one product by DX9, and I was pretty impressed. But that was an upgrade set and not a standalone figure. I read and watched many reviews online for Invisible, and everyone was singing high praises. So I bought Invisible from a seller on eBay. And I’m glad I did! This is a beautiful figure. I like both modes, the transformation is fun, and the figure is well constructed. He scales well with official MPs. I really like the box too. It sort of reminds me of old style toy boxes from the 80s. Invisible is mostly sold out as of this writing, but if you can find one I would recommend you snatch him up quick. Mastermind Creations has a competing product dubbed Sphinx. I have not seen that figure, but lots of fans recommend Sphinx as well. Personally, I like the look of Invisible better.
Below are some more pics of of this awesome figure.
Go Protectobots! Go Mirage! Transform and Roll Out!
June of 2015 is Robots in Disguise month! Check out all the RiD figs below. There are some third party items here too.
- Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime, Walmart, $14.97
- Robots in Disguise Drift, amazon.com, $12.80
- Robots in Disguise Jazz, Target, $14.99
- Perfect Effect Perfect Combiner PC-02 Upgrade Set, tfsource.com, $32.99
- Before & After Alpha Launcher for MP-18 Bluestreak, tfsource.com, $14.95
- ToyWorld Grimshell (Corelock), tfsource.com, $149.95
Before this month, I only bought one RiD figure. That was Grimlock from back in January. I was not terribly impressed with RiD Grimlock. So you might be wondering why I bought all these RiD figs here. Truth be told, I only bought them because there wasn’t a whole lot of other TFs on the shelves. Combiner Wars was in a slight retail pause, and my 3rd party orders haven’t come in yet. But I’m glad I got the RiD figs here. Drift is a great one. If you can only get one RiD fig here, get Drift. Both modes are good, transformation is fun, and build construction of the toy is solid. I love his twin swords. Jazz is a nice one too. I don’t know if I’m feeling that spear/gun weapon, but the figure itself is a worthy addition to Jazz. The Optimus Prime figure is not great, but not bad. There’s some fun stuff going on here, but overall he’s too simple and too small. It’s kind of the same gripes that I have for Grimlock. Though Grimlock is getting (or has gotten) a bigger, beefier version for the collectors. I hope OP gets the same treatment.
Now onto those 3rd party accessories. Perfect Combiner PC-02 Upgrade Set is meant to enhance Combiner Wars Menasor. I got some picks from back in this post. Most fans seem to be gushing over these sets, which is why I got them. I don’t know. I think they’re ok, but in my opinion they don’t add that much to the combined form. Maybe I’m expecting too much. Alpha Launcher for MP-18 Bluestreak by Before & After is an excellent upgrade! I got one pic below that shows it off. I like how the MP toy designers incorporated launchers as part of the transformation. But they are more reflective of Bluestreak’s cartoon look, and they look a tad small. With these Alpha Launchers, Bluestreak now has the firepower to be the true gunner that he’s meant to be. This upgrade set also comes with decals for the MP that are much like the decals of the original G1 toy. I did’t put them on. But know that it’s an option for those that like their figures all decked out with decals.
I have written about ToyWorld Grimlock several times already. He’s officially listed as Grimshell on the box, but sometimes he is listed as Corelock on store sites. Anyway, I have raved on and on about this figure here and here. So I won’t repeat my G1 fanboy praises yet again. Just go read those.
Below is a group photo of the bunch (minus the upgrade set for Menasor).
Transform and Roll Out.
May of 2015 continues with more Combiner Wars, and one unexpected finding.
- Combiner Wars Brake-Neck, amazon.com, $16.99
- Combiner Wars Quickslinger, amazon.com, $16.99
- Generations Scourge, Target, $17.09
I ranted before in previous posts about how it’s so lame that Hasbro don’t release all Aeiralbots or Stunticons in a single wave. And how they are adding new unheard of Aeiralbot or Stunticon characters, which replaces the legendary G1 characters that hardcore fans like myself would demand for. Hasbro has heard your screams and appropriately released the two Combiner Wars figs here. Seeing as they are for the hardcore fans, they came out as a limited release, a shared exclusive between Amazon and some of the bigger 3rd party dealers devoted to TFs. If you’re reading this blog, then you must know that Brake-Neck is really Wildrider, and Quickslinger is really Slingshot. Now with these 2, you can complete your Aeiralbots or Stunticons in full G1 glory. Brake-Neck is pretty much just a repaint of Dead End with a different head mold, while Quickslinger a repaint of Firefly. So I won’t go into them too much. Hasbro probably decided to go with the new characters (Offroad and Alpha Bravo) to minimize repaints. That’s probably a good decision for the general public, now that I think about it. But for hardcore G1 guys like me, getting Brake-Neck and Quickslinger is still a must.
The only other purchase this month is… drum roll please… Generations Scourge! When I saw this on the shelf, I was like WTF?!?!?! This figure was released all the way back in 2011. So what in Primus’s name is this figure doing on the shelf in 2015? I don’t know. Maybe they had an extra one in the back storeroom all this time that was left unsold. Or maybe someone returned one back to Target, after about 4 years. We may never know what really happened here. But I was pleasantly awestruck as to finding another Scourge, so I bought it. I may already have 3 of these, but one more wouldn’t hurt to add to my Sweep army. Oh, this was found at a Target in an expensive area where they always have a markup for unnecessary goods such as toys. Oh well.
This was a light month, only 3 figs. That’s a good thing. A little break from the TF madness that will ensue in the later months.
Transform and Roll Out.
Behold my fellow TransFans… ToyWorld Dinobots!!! This set looks so good together, I had to make a post on this topic alone. Focus your optics on the pic below.
For those that don’t know, this set of Dinobots is made by 3rd party ToyWorld. Obviously they have to use their own names for the characters since they have no rights to any Hasbro properties. None of them come with any Autobot symbols for the same reason. I bought some TF faction stickers last year, and I applied one to each figure with the exception of Grimlock. The faction stickers are applied to the area that would become the chest in robot mode, so you don’t really see them in this pic (except for Slag, if you look carefully). Here is the name mapping for each character to figure:
- Grimlock – Grimshell (or Corelock)
- Slag – Iron Dreg
- Sludge – Muddy
- Snarl – Roar
I assembled this set together when I received Sludge last week. I actually bought Sludge months ago, back in March. TF Source had a weekend sale so I was able to snag Sludge at $80. But I had nothing else to ship with Sludge, til now. Slag I received about a month ago. Much like Sludge, BBTS had a daily sale on Slag for a tad over $90, and so I snagged him quick. I already kind of went into Grimlock and Snarl. And so here’s the four of them together. I know what you’re thinking… where’s Swoop?! Don’t worry TransFans, I will get him. I’ll take a another pic with the full force when I do.
From a transformation perspective, I like Sludge the best. His transformation is fun and intuitive, and at the same time complex enough to satisfy the mature TransFan without being overly complicated or frustrating. Snarl is good too, but I don’t like how his tail keeps coming off during transformation. It makes me feel like he’s puzzle forming. It is possible to have it stay on, but you would have to be super delicate. Slag is a little too simple transformation wise when going from Dino to Robot. Going back, there is something that’s kinda frustrating with the legs, to have it positioned exactly so it would align with the back. Grimlock has a cool transformation, but in my opinion his T-Rex mode is so much better than the robot mode, so most of the time I just don’t bother. Don’t get me wrong, I think his robot mode is solid. But the T-Rex kicks ass!
I might also take a pic of them all in robot mode. And maybe even the combined mode after I get Swoop! But that’s for another post.
Me Grimlock say… Dinobots kick butt!
Me Grimlock say too… Transform and Roll Out!
I’m back from Asia! Actually, I got back at the beginning of the month. I was just being a little lazy in updating this blog. But now I got some free time.
I was in Asia for some personal business. Altogether I was in Shanghai (China), Siem Reap (Cambodia), and Taipei (Taiwan). For the purpose of this blog I will only go into the toy hunting aspect of the trip. Gemini accompanied me on the Shanghai leg of the trip. This is the first time that Gemini and I have traveled together internationally. Being the collectors that we are, of course we are gonna go hunting for TFs and other goodies. But enough background info. Let’s get into what we uncovered!
Shanghai Anime Street
On Friday, May 27th, we decided to hit Shanghai Anime Street. Gemini discovered this area from someone’s blog post. Friday we had a driver in Shanghai, and so we asked him to take us here. It’s a good thing we had a driver for this. This area is really hard to get to. We came here in a van, and anyone that has seen Shanghai traffic will tell you that traveling in a van is ill-advised. When the driver got to this area, I was thinking we are gonna have to go in on foot since the streets are really small. Then the driver drove the van into the area! I was half freaking out. I seriously thought he was gonna hit something for sure. But these professional drivers in China have gotten navigating big vehicles in small spaces down to an art. Needless to say I was amazed.
We got out once we got to Shanghai Anime Street. I only have pics of the outside, since most stores do not allow photography of any kind inside. I never really understood that rule.
I think we went into about 8 or 9 stores total, looking for various things. Only 2 stores carried enough TF of interest. One store had a set of the Prometheus Combiner by TFC Toys, Gundog by MakeToys, some figures of Nero Rex by MMC, and some other stuff that I don’t remember. The other store had some figures of Gravity Builder by Generation Toy (GT). Looking at these figures, I was really impressed. The amount of detail on them is amazing. Looking at these figs and comparing them with TFC Toys Hercules, it’s mind blowing to see how far 3rd party transforming figures have come. I was talking with the store owner there, and he really liked the GT set of Constructicons. Doing the conversion of RMB to Dollar, I saw that it was a little cheaper to buy in China. And so I tried to buy GT Scavenger. But then I find out those were for display only and he wasn’t selling them. Bummer. In the end I left Shanghai Anime Street with nothing, but Gemini was able to find some nice Gundam sets.
On Sunday, May 29th, Gemini and I roamed around Shanghai during the day. The Shanghai Metro is totally cool; very fast and very easy to use. We looked up places that have toys and went to Isetan. (Sidebar: China blocks Google, including Google Maps. So using some other site for map navigation is preferred, such as Baidu.) Isetan is basically a huge department store. Shanghai has tons and tons of department stores. But Isetan is one of the few that has a dedicated toy section. And of course department stores allow photography, so I was able to capture some pics below.
There were some TFs, but nothing that I can’t get here in the States for cheaper. The store had lots of the G1 Platinum reissues, including Trypticon, the Blaster and Perceptor set, the Insecticons set, and others. On the shelves were also the Combiner Wars G2 color Aerialbots and Stunticons sets. Again, all these can be purchased cheaper in the States for less. So we left without buying anything. It was cool to see all the toys though. Isetan had a really impressive Lego section.
On the way back from Isetan to our hotel, we stopped by Jing’an Temple again. Last time I was here I saw a nice display for Age of Extinction. This time Hasbro/Takara had another booth, but not for TFs. It was their new robot building toy line. I didn’t get the name of this line, so just check out pics below.
Toys R Us
On Monday, May 30th, we had another driver to take us around. We went all over Shanghai on this day. While we were in the Pudong district, we stopped by Toys R Us. Now here we hit the mother lode! Lots of TFs here! And lots of other toys too. I was able to find stuff here that I never saw in the States! Check out pics below.
Most of the figures on the shelves are from Transformers Robots in Disguise. But they had Cominber Wars stuff too. Gemini and I looked hard through the CW section for Groove, since we know this to be an Asian exclusive. We didn’t have any luck finding Groove. But looking at the Takara version of CW figs, it’s clear that the paint job is much better.
See the pic above. In the lower right corner, there is a voyager sized green Grimlock from TF RiD. This is something I never seen before. Looking at it close, this Grimlock is a repaint/rework of Generations Fall of Cybertron Grimlock, with a new color scheme, new head mold, and some minor mold reworks. Very very cool! I have the deluxe size version of this fig, and I feel that’s just too small to be Grimlock. I wanted to get this at the store, but the price wasn’t worth it. I later saw a online retailer here taking orders, at a much more reasonable price. I may get this later.
See the last pic above. They had a whole section of approximately Voyager class figs that I never even knew of! And believe me when I say I’m on top of everything that will come out. At first glance I thought they must be from the TF RiD Line, but the packaging more suggests the Generations line. There are 5 figs in all: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, and two kinds of Bumblebees (a G1-styled version and a movie-styled version). Gemini has never seen these before either, so we both stood there for a long time to examine these closely. We came to the conclusion that these are basically bigger versions of Generations legend size figs, particularly Starscream. I would find out later, after returning to the States, that these are part of the Cyber Battalion line. But at the time I was beyond thrilled of finding something new, and so I bought Starscream. I wanted to buy them all, but didn’t know if these would be any good. I picked Starscream because he would scale well in the Generations line of figs. Legend and Deluxe Generations Starscream are much too small in CHUG, and the leader class way too big. This one is just right.
And so here is Cyber Battalion Starscream, my only TF purchase for this Asian trip. I won’t review this too much. He is very much like the legend figure, but bigger and slightly more intricate.
The last two pics above show him next to legend Starscream. Cyber Battalion Starscream has feet transformation that’s slightly different, and the wing edges can be folded back. The figure only cost about $15 US, so I don’t expect perfection here. He’s a nice figure to pick up and play since he’s so easy to transform, but at the same time he scales nicely with the rest of my CHUG line-up. I like to pick up the rest of the Cyber Battalion figs when they arrive here in the States.
So that’s the re-cap of the toy-hunting aspects of this Asian trip. I had a blast! I want to go back there soon.
Transform and Roll Out!
April of 2015 continues with more Combiner Wars and 2 third party figs.
- Combiner Wars Breakdown, hasbrotoyshop.com, $14.81
- Combiner Wars Dead End, hasbrotoyshop.com, $14.81
- Combiner Wars Offroad, hasbrotoyshop.com, $14.81
- Combiner Wars Air Raid, hasbrotoyshop.com, $14.81
- Combiner Wars Blackjack, Target, $9.49
- Combiner Wars Megatron and Armada Megatron, tfsource.com, $89.99
- Mastermind Creations Felisaber, tfsource.com, $75.95
- ToyWorld Roar, gift
The 4 deluxe figures are all from Combiner Wars Wave 2. They are not that different from the Wave 1 figures in the way they are constructed. Individually, I definitely like the CW Stunticons better than the CW Aeiralbots, because there is more variety for the limb figures. Air Raid is cut from the same cloth as Skydive and Firefly. Breakdown and Dead End are different enough from Dragstrip and from each other that it doesn’t feel like buying the same figures over and over. Hasbro came up with another figure called Offroad for the Stunticons, just like they did Alpha Bravo for the Aerialbots. Wildrider would be released later, so there is no reason to buy Offroad just to complete Menasor.
Blackjack is a fun little figure. I like his transformation from car to robot. Both modes look good. He’s not bad for a figure of this size. In combined form, he is meant to attach onto Menasor’s chest like a shield. I mentioned before in another post that he doesn’t connect that well in this form. This can be fixed, however. I will mention this again when I go into the 2nd Motormaster that will come out later (with fixed hips). But even the 2nd Motormaster has the peg problems for attaching Blackjack, so it will require this fix. Sometimes I feel Hasbro really should test these things before they put the figures on the shelves.
Next up are the 2 Megatrons. I love these Megatrons! The G1 version of the figure is especially sweet for a G1 purist such as myself. This is probably the best G1 inspired Megatron that Hasbro has made in quite some time. In robot mode, this is unmistakably Megatron. The head mold, body stylings, and colors are pure G1. Transformation to tank mode is actually fairly simple for a figure of this size, but there is enough to do here that should satisfy even the most hardcore of TransFans. Tank mode is superb as well. Construction of this figure is super solid. This Megatron will easily withstand some rough play. The Armada version of this figure is exactly the same mold-wise, but has different colors and a different had mold.
Next up is MMC Felisaber. I already went into Felisaber back in this post, so I won’t go into detail again here. Felisaber is meant to be Catilla. Catilla has the privilege of being among the first TFs to be named in a Before Carly post on this blog, so check it out.
Finally, there is Roar, TW’s homage to Snarl. I mentioned Roar here, so read that post for more info of Roar’s awesomeness. Roar was a gift from my wife (my fiancee at the time). I put a bunch of figures on my wishlist at TFSource, and she picked Roar. She has good taste!
I will be out of the country for the next 2 weeks, so I won’t be posting. I will be in Asia. Hopefully I will find some good TFs on the trip! Transform and Roll Out!