Archive

Archive for December, 2009

My TF G2 Collection

December 31st, 2009 3 comments

I am still home for the Holidays, and today I am going to show you all my figures from Transformers Generation 2.

Yes, I admit it, I have G2 TFs. In my “About” page and some other posts, I mentioned that my TF “hiatus” ran from 1988 to 2004. That is not technically accurate. In the summer of 1994 (right after sophomore year in college.. oh how I miss those days) I bought several G2 figures, all of them you see in the pics below. 1994 was also the first year that I attended Anime Expo (and had a blast), and I think that may have helped to get me looking at toys again. But this TF love affair lasted only a few short months, and let’s face it, G2 was a very forgettable era in TF history. So can you blame me when I usually don’t mention G2? Heck, most casual TF fans don’t even know what G2 is.

Back in college I never thought I buy toys again for myself (oh how wrong I was!). I remember the first time I saw them in 1994, I was at Fedco. I kinda miss Fedco. Anyway, I went to the toy section looking for video games for my Sega Genesis. Back then I was not in the habit of going to the TF aisle so I’m not sure how I ended up there, but now looking back, I’m glad I did. I saw the G2 version of Sideswipe and my jaw dropped to the floor. I was under the impression that TFs were dead for good (again how wrong I was), so you can imagine my amazement when I saw them revived. I have always loved the G1 Sideswipe mold and I never had him during G1. I wasn’t really digging the black, but heck, I was beyond thrilled at seeing TFs make a comeback. And so I quickly bought him. I think in that same trip I also saw some G2 Aerialbots and a G2 blue Grimlock. But being the poor college student that I was, Sideswipe was really all I could afford at $14.99.

G2 may have started out as all repaints of G1, but eventually G2 came out with brand new figures of original characters. They were mostly forgettable. G2 certainly had very little impact as a whole, and even I stopped buying them after that summer was over. But it did make one lasting contribution: it indirectly coined the term “Generation 1”. The 80s toy line were retroactively termed G1 to distinguish itself from G2, and are officially referred to as such even though the term was never used during its original run.

Below are pics of all my figures from G2.

G2 figures, like G1, have no articulation whatsoever. About all you can do with them in robot mode is have them stand there with raised arms. All my G2 figures are in pretty good shape still. I would rate them C8 or better. I think I got most of them at either Fedco or K-Mart.

I have a total of 7 figures from G2. I will describe each of them in depth, starting with the G1 repaints.

Sideswipe
He needs no introduction. Mold-wise, the G2 version is identical to G1. I think this mold still holds up well today. He is diecast, something sorely lacking from today’s figures. The black and red colors on this figure appears to be swapped from the G1 version. I don’t like the green stickers that say “Sideswipe”, and instead of his G1 shoulder-mounted launcher, G2 gave us a green hand-held launcher with blue missiles that look completely out of place. It is also possible to mount this launcher on him in alt mode, but having this awkward weapon attached on the car takes away from the sexiness of the Lambo, so I rather leave it off.

Beachcomber
He is the florescent green dune buggy in the front. In G1 he was blue. Another mold where G2 is identical to G1. He’s got rubber tires and he rolls well on a flat surface.

Cliffjumper
Officially, he is Hubcap. But my theory is that Hasbro meant to do Cliffjumper and someone simply messed up when it came time to do the profile. I mean, why do Hubcap? Cliffjumper is much more recognizable. Plus he’s got the red. I think of this figure as Cliffjumper and I’m listing him as such.

The following are unique G2 figures.

Rapido
He’s the red sports car with number 19 on it. He’s part of a group called Axelerators. I guess the gimmick here is that their engines “become” their weapons. Notice I didn’t use the word “transform”, because it doesn’t. I know this sounds silly today, but back then this was a new-ish feature. All the Axelerators have fairly simple transformations, but for the size you can’t really complain. I like Rapido’s alt mode, nice and sleek. He’s the leader of this bunch.

Skram
Another Axelerator, he’s the blue Corvette-looking one. Kinda reminds of Tracks.

Windbreaker
The last Axelerator in the pic, he’s the orange Camaro-looking one. In the pics here he looks more yellow, so he kinda reminds me of Movie Bumblebee.

Jetstorm
The only Decepticon in this post, he’s the larger Dune Buggy in the back. He’s part of a sub-group called Color Changers. The gimmick here is there are parts of him that will change color on contact with water. Not only that, his weapon can be loaded with water. Pushing the pump will squirt it out thru the nozzle. Kind of a crazy gimmick, but entertaining. As for the figure itself, I like his alt mode and his bot mode.

Well, there you have it, my G2 Collection. G2 figures are pretty cheap on Ebay so I may buy more if I see some good deals. They’re not as cool as G1, but can be a fun distraction from time to time.

G2 Transformers… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics

My 80s G1 Transformers Artwork

December 28th, 2009 2 comments

I am home for the holidays, so I once again have access to some of my old stuff. Last time I scanned in a really old Diaclone catalog. Today I’m going to scan in some of my old Transformers artwork from the 80s.

As I look at these now, I can’t help but laugh. I guess I had a lot of time on my hands when I was a kid if I was going to sit there and draw these. I should point out that none of these were traced. I drew them while looking at the box art.

I know I drew more of these, but can’t seem to find them now. If I find them I will scan them in as well.

Until next time, this is Hsunami Prime reminding you to… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics

ROTF Dirge Review

December 26th, 2009 2 comments

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all TransFans out there. I hope your holiday has been as relaxing as mine.

As promised, here is the review of ROTF Dirge. I have had a few days to mess with this figure now, and let me say first that I am very impressed. I’ve been very pleased with some of the new ROTF molds, and I think as a whole, ROTF molds are better than the 2007 Movie molds.

Let me start by doing some size comparisons.

Next to ROTF Thrust

Next to Henkei Dirge

ROTF Dirge in jet mode looks like some kind of VTOL aircraft. The nosecone, intake, and wings of the jet really reminds me of the Harrier, but the tail section looks modified. Maybe the modification is a G1 homage. In G1, Dirge was a modified F-15, so perhaps now he’s a modified Harrier? I certainly have no problem with that.

The first thing you will notice about the jet mode of this figure is that he is NOT bulky, much like ROTF Thrust. This is perhaps the best thing about the jet mode. Let’s face it, most other jet figures, especially those from the first movie, the bottom side is pure bulk. The recent ROTF jet figures have done a really good job of hiding robotic body parts into the transformation, the result being a sleek and sexy looking jet mold. Dirge is no exception. I give high marks to the overall shape of the jet mode.

As for detail, the jet mode is really nice. There are many lines outlining the body and wings. I like his colors as well. My buddy Gemini mentioned that the production colors are really close to the prototype colors, and I agree. He is mostly in a unique shade of blue and parts of yellow on the wings and intake. These colors are another homage to the G1 figure.

Dirge is quite solid in this mode. All parts snap and together nicely. This is another figure where you don’t realize how tightly everything comes together until you transform it back into the jet from the robot mode. The legs become the side and intake of the jet, and they snap nicely into the main body. The wings also fit snugly where they are. No dangling parts in this mode at all.

The missiles on the wings can be removed. They fire pretty far. This seems to be the trend in all the new figures. It’s nice to see Hasbro not afraid to put in powerful springs in the launchers.

Here’s a bottom view of the figure. The landing gears can be extended or retracted.

Now let’s take a look at the robot mode.

“Hi I’m Dirge. Let me shake your hand.”

Dirge has a solid robot mode as well. He’s got one of the most unique transformations from jet to robot that I have ever seen. I already mentioned that the sides of the jet becomes the legs. The main body of the jet form the arms. The nosecone becomes the right arm, while the center of the body becomes the left arm. The tail fin fold up and snaps in nicely into the main body to form the back. I know this sounds goofy on paper, but it works when you see how well the figure turned out.

The first thing most G1 fans will recognize right away in robot mode is his iconic cone head. This is another nice G1 homage on this figure. The transformation of the cone head is unique too. The head mold hides into the body in jet mode, and to make it appear in bot mode, you move up this center back piece that will move the head out. The cones of the head is split in jet mode, and they come together in bot mode. Very cool.

The robot mode looks nicely balanced and none of his body parts look too big or too small or out of place. I like the detail in his chest section. The “fans” and “cockpit” on the chest design does not transform into anything in jet mode, but I suppose they are another G1 homage. Hasbro certainly did not forget us true fans when this figure was designed.

Dirge has got some good articulation in robot mode. He is capable of a wide range of poses. The missiles can be placed on the wings or on the arms. The left arm has a panel piece attached. This becomes the top fuselage cover in jet mode, but I’m guessing it serves as a shield for Dirge in bot mode. Nice touch.

Some size comparison pics in this mode:

Dirge is pretty much standard deluxe size. In robot mode he’s taller than ROTF Thrust, but shorter than Henkei Dirge.

Coming Soon: Dirge On Ice

I highly recommend ROTF Dirge. He’s a cool figure and an excellent addition to your Decepticon air force. He’s got a nice jet mode, nice robot mode, good detail, and is a great homage to the G1 character. And considering the fact that he’s NOT a repaint, this purchase should be a no-brainer.

Once again, Happy Holidays. Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

Hunt Success… ROTF Dirge Found!

December 22nd, 2009 2 comments

Today after work I decided to visit Toys R Us. I’m not entirely sure why I decided to go. It might have been that I have not visited any stores for TFs since I found MP Skywarp, and I was suffering from TF hunting withdrawals. Or maybe because I did most of my Christmas shopping online this year, that I actually missed doing some good old-fashioned physical in-store shopping with the crowds of other xmas shoppers to better get me into the holiday spirit. Or maybe because I knew that ROTF Dirge was recently released, and my TF sense was tingling.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad I stopped by TRU. The Thrust figure from the ROTF line is very impressive, so Dirge is another one I looked forward to. I knew that other fans have spotted him for a while now. As of this writing, there are 12 sightings on Seibertron. I’ve also read other WordPress blogs that reviewed Dirge already. So you could say I had feeling I would find him soon. After I fought my way to the TF aisle, I saw that Dirge was indeed on the shelves.

Check out the pics below. Dirge looks like some kind of VTOL type fighter jet. I think this might better fit Ramjet, but it works for Dirge too.

His G1 motto is “Fear is the element that unites all losers”. And his courage is 2?! I guess he must be talking about himself.

I will open this figure soon and give it a proper review. Stay tuned… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

More Than Meets The Tsunami

December 21st, 2009 No comments

Today I stumbled upon some of the funniest and cutest TF images ever. There is a cat out there called Tsunami that loves playing with Transformers boxes. Check out one sample image below.

Flying off the shelves! Get yours now!

 
Tsunami? Hsunami Prime? No relation. Go to the full gallery here.

All TransFans and cat lovers need to check this out! Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics

FansProject TFX Defender – Springer

December 20th, 2009 No comments

Springer was one of the more recognizable characters from the G1 movie and most of Season 3. He is famous for being the first Autobot Triple Changer introduced in G1, for his decent combat and leadership skills, and for hanging around Arcee all the time (much to the displeasure of Hot Rod). He had a decent figure in G1, but since then this character has not had any toy updates to my knowledge (not counting repaints of other molds). Springer received significant screen time in the G1 movie so you think Hasbro would love to cash in on this character, but the leader of the Wreckers is always overlooked by the toy manufacturer for some strange reason.

Fear not, TransFans! FansProject loves you and they are releasing their own version of the famous Autobot Triple Changer. Of course, FansProject is not tied to Hasbro in any way and does not have licensing rights to any of the Hasbro properties, and so they are releasing this as TFX Defender. This will be their first attempt at a stand-alone transforming figure and it’s shaping up to be very promising. Check out the pics below.

These are prototype pics and it’s too bad we don’t see him in his official colors, but already he’s looking promising. Not sure why he’s called Warbot in some of these pics. FansProject website does not mention Warbot at all, but whatever. BBTS just started taking pres for him. At $78.99, this figure is a tad expensive considering he is only about 6″ tall (about Deluxe size). But word is he will have diecast parts and this will be a limited run. I am thinking long and hard about buying this. Actually, I’ve pretty much made up my mind that I will be buying this. This is simply too cool to pass up.

Go Springer! Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, TF News

I Miss “Before Carly”

December 16th, 2009 4 comments

On Seibertron.com, there used to be a section called “Before Carly”. The official description of the section went something like this:

“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.”

This section is really just a picture gallery of hot women in little or no clothing, to be oogled by TransFans, which by the estimation of many is 95% male. To make this section relevant to Transformers (not that hot women need any reason to appear anywhere), Seibertron did two things. First, it is suggested that Spike got his groove on with all the babes in the picture gallery. Evidently he was quite busy before he married Carly as the picture count at one point surpassed 200 (even Wilt Chamberlain would be proud). Second, the women were all given fictitious names that sounded likes names of various Transformers, and it was kind of a game in figuring out which TF the girl’s name were a reference to. It was a shame that this section disappeared. Licensing issues with the images, coupled with the fact that it was hardly ever updated, forced Seibertron to shut down the gallery.

Never fear, TransFans. Hsunami Prime is here to re-instate “Before Carly”, for this one post anyway. Feast your eyes on even more women that had fun in the backseat of Bumblebee below. All names are based on real people’s names that I have seen. The name of the Transformer is written in white below the name of the girl. Hover the mouse over each name to reveal the answer (or hit Ctrl-A). Enjoy!

Cindy Cyr
Cindersaur

 

Wilde Ryder
Wildrider

 

Buh Lee
Bugly

 

Lana Phil
Landfill

 

Katie La
Catilla

 

Erie Aide
Air Raid

 

Megan Tarn
Megatron

 

Callie Burg
Caliburst

 

Sandy Storm
Sandstorm

 

Joy Ryde
Joyride

 

“Before Carly” rules! Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, Top Ten

Star Wars Transformers Commander Cody Clone Turbo Tank

December 14th, 2009 3 comments

I usually don’t buy Star Wars Transformers. I’m both a Star Wars fan and a TransFan, so you might think I would be all over these. I don’t have anything against this crossover. It’s just that, in Star Wars, vehicles don’t transform, and in Transformers, no characters transform into Star Wars vehicles. These reasons made it easy for me to ignore this line. Back in 06 I bought some SW TFs, never opened them, put them in storage, and then kinda forgot about them.

However, there are many figures released in this line, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. They must be selling pretty well if Hasbro keeps making them. And if they’re selling they can’t be all bad. Moreover, TF customizers have made some pretty good creations with Star Wars TFs. Long time ago I came across an image of a customized Cybertron version Optimus Prime on Seibertron.com. It looked really good and the mold chosen was very fitting of how Prime would look on Cybertron. That Optimus was made using the Commander Cody Clone Turbo Tank figure from the SW line of TFs. It was painted to match Prime’s colors (red body, blue legs) with a customized head mold of Prime. I could totally picture Prime’s Cybertron alt mode as something similar to the Turbo Tank from SW. Unfortunately I can’t find that post anymore, but in the process of googling for it, I came across this equally good cutomized Ultra Magnus, also using the same mold.

And so, I had to get this figure to check it out for myself. This is an awesome figure! I did not expect SW TFs to be of such high quality and I am thoroughly impressed with Commander Cody. Let’s get on with the review.

Front of the package.

Back of the package.

I bought him for $16.95 at Walmart. I think it’s a little pricey, considering that Voyager sized figures only cost a little more (sometimes less) and they are bigger. Maybe Hasbro has to pay licensing fees to George Lucas.


Here is the alt mode. The turbo tank is really solid. It rolls well on a flat surface, and all the parts and pieces come together nicely. In fact, you don’t realize how well everything fits together until you transform it back into this mode from the robot mode. The parts that become the legs, arms, waist, and back all have tabs and grooves to lock the components into place. The tank itself looks accurate to the movie incarnation, except for maybe the color. This figure is kind of a weird gray in alt mode, and I think in the movie the tank is closer to white. The antenna is attached to the back, and the gun to the front. The missile does shoot. To my surprise, that thing fires pretty far! Don’t let that small launcher fool you, this thing packs a punch, and I almost lost the missile twice already from testing the mechanism. The button is kinda small, but you get used to it.

 


As you can see from this shot, the middle wheel on each side can open up. On this side it is the compartment for a small pistol. On the other side it holds missiles (that don’t come out). A nice touch. And I apologize for the bad pic. My photography skills are next to non-existent and my camera is not exactly top of the line.

 

The figure also looks solid in robot mode. He is nicely proportioned and no parts look out of place. The colors in this mode more closely resembles the colors from the movies. I know it’s hard to tell from the pic, but the detail on the figure in bot mode is really nice. The lines on the body, arms, and legs resembles the clone trooper armor very closely. I especially like the head mold. This is exactly the look of the Clone Commander helmets. I like the wings too. It adds a little extra something to his appearance.

 

He’s got a decent level of articulation. The joints at the shoulders, elbows, waits, and knees all bend or rotate fairly well. The only thing is, he’s got a lot of “stuff” on him (wheels, armor, wings) so it can be hard to get him into a specific pose simply because there’s too much in the way. The missile weapon fits nicely into either hand. The antenna is removed from where it is in the alt mode and plugged behind the right shoulder. The connection is a little loose here, but that’s a minor gripe.

 

Check out the wheels on the shoulder. It can be extended out to reveal more missiles. Very cool. He’s also holding the pistol that was mentioned earlier. It’s kinda hard to put the pistol in his hand, but again that’s a minor gripe.

 

Fighting along side Obi-Wan. Go Commander Cody!

The final verdict on this figure is that he’s very, very highly recommended. If all SW TFs are this good, I would definitely buy more.

Maybe the Force be with all Star Wars Transformers. Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

Top 10 Lamest Ideas out of G1

December 10th, 2009 9 comments

Lame!

I love G1 Tranformers. Those that know me as a TransFan know that, even to this day, I consider G1 Transformers to be the greatest TFs of all time. I buy most of the G1 re-issues that come out, both US and Japan. I buy DVD releases of the G1 cartoons. I read comics that tie into the G1 continuity. The Classic/Universe line may be my favorite line of TF toys currently, but even this line is G1 inspired (most of the time). There is just something charming and endearing about the G1 line that no other TF line since has managed to capture. (And yes, that includes the Michael Bay TFs, which IMO are some of the worst ever.)

So with that said, I will also say that there were many, many lame ideas to come out of G1. Some of these ideas are up there with the best (or worst) of all lame ideas in the history of mankind, such as New Coke or the Geico Cavemen TV show. Some of these ideas are G1 specific, and it’s good to see them die with G1. But many of these ideas are carried over into the later lines, and have had a long and lasting legacy of lameness. It’s nice to see G1 have such a deep and profound influence on all TFs onward, but some of these ideas are just so lame, they need to stop.

Below I present my top 10 lame ideas that either started or were made famous in G1.

10. Reflectors
These three gets the proud distinction of having the most inefficient transformation of all time. Think about it. Three powerful Deception Warriors, each having no alt modes of their own, that need to come together and form… a camera?! Is Decepticon technology so limited that a robot cannot transform into a camera by itself?! While we’re on the topic, I think having camera capabilities built into the optic sensors of all TFs should be standard gear for a race that has achieved transformation, mass-shifting, and space travel. And we see from the opening moments of the 1986 Movie that even Lazerbeak has camcorder equipment built into his head. This makes the alt mode of the Reflectors even more useless, and the fact it takes three of them to do it makes it lame. And it looks like they can’t even take pics and send them digitally, they have to print them out like Polaroids for its reader (I can understand if this is done for humans, but for Thundercracker?!). If the camera is more disguise than function, it still makes little sense as to why 3 Decepticons are required. Yeah I know this is how the toy was, but the toy was lame even for 80s standards. Supposedly, Megatron selected some of his best for the mission of tracking the Autobots aboard the Nemesis. I can’t believe he picked these three. Or maybe they had better Cybertron alt modes but Teletran made them stupid. Whatever the case, I’m glad the Reflectors (or any other group with similar inefficiencies) did not make it past G1.

9. Sky Lynx
There’s just something unappealing about Sky Lynx. It’s hard to put your finger on it and give concrete reasons. Maybe it’s the fact that he doesn’t have a robot mode. Maybe it’s his snobby British accent. Maybe it’s because he was introduced in Season 3 and that was such a crappy season. Maybe because the toy offered a transformation that was so unbelievably obvious for a figure of that size. Or maybe I just don’t like the gimmick of him splitting into two components. Whatever the reason, I dare say Sky Lynx is one of the lamest Transformers ever designed. When I was a kid I knew no one that had him (most probably because he was an expensive piece). Sky Lynx was not re-issued at all after G1 until the recent Encore line, and I’m still scratching my head as to why he was chosen to be re-issued over much cooler TFs, such as Dinobots or Constructicons. I think MSRP for the Encore was close to $100, and now most online sites have him at around $40. That alone should be testament to his unpopularity. Heck, I would even buy Encore versions of Reflectors if they made them, but not Sky Lynx.

8. Use of English Expressions in Cybertronian Context
Expressions in one language usually does not translate well into another, usually for cultural reasons. If I wanted to tell a Chinese person that “the devil’s in the details”, I would not literally use those words. This is why it really pains me when I see Transformers use English expressions, and give it a Cybertronian spin. Expressions across different parts of the Earth don’t even translate well, so why would expressions across worlds be any better? Some choice examples: “Five up, five down! It’s like shooting cyber-ducks in a barrel!”, “When are we gonna start bustin deceptachops?”, or “Aint no one calling me a robot chicken!” This is seriously lame. TF writers need to come up with some new material.

7. Parts Appearing Out of Nowhere
I’m sure all G1 fans have noticed this. A TF would transform from one mode to another, and all the parts that you need to attach to the other mode in the toy, they just magically appear out of nowhere. The reverse is true too; some parts simply disappear into thin air. I had the toys of several G1 cars, like Smokescreen, Jazz, and Trailbreaker. None of them can carry their guns and missiles in their alt modes. So where do they come from when they transform into robot mode? Do they just pull it out of their ass? Megatron doesn’t walk around with his attachments, so when he transforms into the gun, where do the silencer and the shoulder mount come from? Omega Supreme would often fly off somewhere and we only see the rocket. When the rocket lands at the destination and the smoke clears, the rest of Omega Supreme magically appears. WTF?! Perhaps the most famous example of this is none other than Optimus Prime. Everytime he transforms into the truck, no matter where he is, the trailer magically comes from behind and attaches itself to his ass. What gives? G1 made no effort to explain any of this. It’s nice to see the modern toys make room for all the accessories in all the modes so we don’t have to wonder if they are hiding stuff in their body cavities.

6. Facial Hair
Tom Selleck. Burt Reynolds. Billy Dee Williams. These are guys that look good with facial hair. Alpha Trion. Scourge. Wreck-Gar. These are guys that DO NOT look good with facial hair. In fact, Transformers should not even have facial hair. I like to remind all character designers working on Transformers… THEY ARE ROBOTS!!! Robots don’t have hair! Period! Maybe beards and mustache looking attachments are given to these characters to convey a look of authority, but it doesn’t work for me. Find some other way to convey the same look. I know I’ve seen facial hair on both Beast Wars and TFA characters. Heck, even Jetfire in ROTF had a beard. This is a trend that needs to stop. Like, now. A young TF needs to transform into a electric razor and shave them all. Whoever does that deserves to inherit the Matrix and become Autobot leader.

5. Killing Optimus Prime
Sometimes you sit on a gold mine and not know it. This was exactly the case when Hasbro approved the idea of killing everyone’s favorite Autobot leader. Word has it that in 1986, kids were walking out of movie theaters crying, and angry parents wrote nasty letters to Hasbro demanding explanations as to why death of a central character was a major theme in a kid’s movie. Personally, I loved the movie because it was mature beyond its years. But from a financial perspective, Prime’s death was a really bad move for Hasbro. Not only does the franchise lose its most recognizable character, Hasbro can no longer sell figures of the iconic Optimus Prime. I think Hasbro has learned its lesson since then. Later in G1, Optimus was revived. Every TF line after G1 featured some form of Optimus Prime. Even in ROTF, Prime was killed about midway thru, only to be revived by film’s end. And of course Hasbro has made a figure for every single one of these Primes, and suckered us fans into wasting our hard earned dollars to acquire them. Damn you, Hasbro.

4. Female Transformers
No offense to all the female readers out there (all 3 of you), but female Transformers… what exactly does that mean? Before the introduction of females, many fans assumed that Transformers were gender neutral. But the writers went ahead and created some female Autobots, perhaps as a way to win more female TF fans. No one really knows if that really worked, but it sure sparked a debate as to why Transformers would even have genders. I know at one point, the US Marvel G1 comics had maintained the position that female Autobots were not really female, the were just Autobots that resembled human females. They also had a reason for Arcee, supposedly “she” was created by the Autobots to be some kind of public relations between the Autobots and Earth’s female population. Whatever the official story was, none of it really made sense. I’m guessing many TF fans don’t really think about this, and just simply accept it as if TFs are like people. This is perhaps what the writers counted on, as I’m pretty sure female TFs have appeared in every TF line after G1. Personally, I feel that female TFs should not have been introduced. They never played a major role in G1 anyway (arguable for Beast Wars). Some ideas are best left unexplored, and this is one of them.

3. Repaints
Repaints. Redecos. Recolors. Whatever you call them, this is an idea that reached new heights (or lows) with G1. This is actually a smart idea on the part of Takara/Hasbro, but it’s lame that they make one mold and then milk us fans over and over with different colors of the same thing. I guess there are other toys lines that do this too. Heck, even anime figures has resorted to this. But I don’t think any other toy line is more guilty of this than Transformers. G1 took this concept to new levels of craziness. Perhaps the most infamous example of this is the Seekers, 6 jets that were essentially the same as each other. Even as a kid I was not fooled, and made a point of buying toys that were different molds before I even considered repaints. But even today, repaints are alive and well. One of these days I should compile a TF repaint database and get some statistics as to how many TF molds have a repaint and how often. I doubt repaints would stop any time soon, though. I don’t mind repaints done in moderation, but it’s excessive when it seems like every mold is repainted. We as fans have to be strong and not buy recolored crap.

2. Actionmasters
I love to meet the geniuses that came up with this idea. Actionmasters appeared in the twilight days of G1, when sales were dwindling. One Hasbro exec probably said, “Transformers sales suck. We gotta do something different. But what?” Another one probably answered, “I know, let’s make Transformers that don’t transform!” The first one responds, “Yeah! Let’s do it!” Then they high five each other. Then G1 Transformers dies for good. There is a story to the “Actionmasters” that don’t transform. Prime and company finds a source of energy called Nucleon that is 10 times better than Energon and makes them much more powerful. But one side effect is they lose their transformation. As for the toys, I’m guessing the figures sucked. I don’t know a single person that has bought these. I read somewhere that Hasbro pursued this idea only because the toys can be easily molded based off of G.I.Joe figures at the time. Non-Transformers are so lame, I was so tempted to put them in the top spot, if not for…

1. Pretenders
Pretenders also came out during the final seasons of G1, after they stopped doing the US G1 cartoons. I think the idea of a Transformer hiding inside a shell is on the same level of lameness as Actionmasters, but Pretenders get the nod for the top spot simply because Hasbro really thought this was a good idea. Many Pretender figures were made, and variations of the Pretender theme were introduced. The basic Pretender is a TF in bot mode hiding inside a humanoid Pretender shell, but then they also made Pretender Vehicles (alt mode inside a vehicle shell), Pretender Beasts (alt mode inside a creature shell), and Mega Pretenders (shells that transform). Some classic characters even got incorporated into the Pretender line, like Jazz, Bumblebee, and Grimlock. I no longer remember the backstory for the Pretenders in the G1 comics. In Stormbringer, Simon Furman came up with a pretty good explanation. Cybertron is completely polluted with radioactive material on the surface from years of the war, so in order to survive, some Decepticons started wearing these shells to protect themselves from the radiation. However we still don’t see any Autobots wearing the human shells, so even Furman can’t explain that one. I was so afraid that Michael Bay would find out about the Pretenders, because I knew he would be all over this. Sure enough, my worst fears were realized in ROTF when Alice was revealed to be a Pretender. But I guess the good news in all this is that Pretenders pretty much died with G1. Rest in pieces.

Until the next lame idea… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Top Ten

TFX-03 City Commander Add-On Set

December 3rd, 2009 2 comments

Ultra Magnus is one of my favorite G1 characters. There’s a reason why the Autobot Matrix of Leadership was left with him when Prime was on his death bed. UM is both an excellent soldier and capable field commander. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if he had become leader instead of that punk Hot Rod. Maybe G1 Transformers never would have died and even today we still be in G1 (ok maybe not, but I can dream).

As a toy, UM usually does not get the love he deserves. In almost all toy lines, he is simply a repaint of the Optimus Prime toy in that line (only exception I can think of is TFA, which has a kick-ass UM toy btw). In the Classic line this was as usual the case. Hasbro repainted Prime into white and blue, packaged him along with Skywarp, and released this 2-pack set as a Target Exclusive in early 2007. Don’t get me wrong, I love this mold. Out of all my Prime toys, I rank this mold in the top 3. I just wish that Hasbro gave UM a unique mold, or make tweaks to the Prime mold to make UM stand out a little more.

Enter FansProject. In 2008 they released the TFX-01 City Commander, an armor set for Classic Ultra Magnus. In alt mode, this set is attached as his trailer. In robot mode, the trailer transforms into his armor that is very reminiscent of the G1 character. I won’t go into the details, but this set is perhaps the greatest TF add-on that has ever been produced. The units quickly sold out. It retailed for about $75. I had to ebay mine sometime later at around $110. 🙁

As great as TFX-01 was, it was not perfect. TF fans, being what they are (read: super picky), were quick to point out that the set did not include his missiles, and still did not address the issue of his very un-G1-like gun. In response to this, FansProject released TFX-03, an add-on set to TFX-01 that includes both the missiles and a new gun that is more in tune with the design of UM’s G1 gun. TFX-03 includes a few more items that I will go into detail for this post.

I bought TFX-03 from BigBadToyStore. I’ve never bought anything from them before, so as a first purchase I felt it was safe to try something cheap. TFX-03 retails for $11.99 only, not a bad item to try BBTS with. Cheapest shipping option was about $7 which made the whole thing close to $20.

The item arrived one whole week before Thanksgiving, but I was not home so I picked this up in person at the UPS office the next day. I knew there wouldn’t be much in the add-on, so imagine my surprise when they handed me this box. I placed it next to a soda can so you get a sense of the size.

I started to wonder if this would be something extraordinary, to have it shipped in such a large box. Imagine my disappointment when I got home and opened the box.

I put this next to the same soda can to show how puny this add-on set is. I guess for the price, this is what you get. But why did BBTS have to use such a large box? I think they could have used smaller packaging which would translate to lower shipping costs for their customers. So already my impression of BBTS is not that favorable. But this post is not about BBTS so I’ll stop ranting now.

As far as the packaging goes for TFX-03, I’m a little disappointed. Yeah I know it’s just accessories, but I still feel it should have come in a box. This thing feels like a cheap lunch bag. Some fans have pointed out that they did this so you can store the whole thing in the box of TFX-01. Maybe. But nevertheless I’m still not impressed.

I was out of town for Thanksgiving, but I finally got around to opening this today. Inside the package there is one cardboard that serves as the instructions and all the items inside bubble wrap. The pic below shows all the items.

There are two shoulder launchers, each with 2 missiles. The missiles do not fire at all, but they can be detached. There is the G1-like gun. I should have took pics of this, but the gun can transform as well. In this pic here, it is in cannon mode. It can transform into rifle mode. It’s not a complex transformation by any means, but it still looks kinda cool. The items inside the bag are extra replacement faces for the City Commander. My understanding is that it is hard to swap these faces, and I already like how UM looks, so I’m not even gonna bother with these. But in case you’re curious, there are three faces here. The top face in the bag is like the face for Shadow Commander. The middle face is like the one that is on TFX-01, but I think this one has the eyes painted white. The bottom face has UM’s mouth open. If you want to give City Commander a OMG look (like when Galvatron and the Sweeps are shooting him good) then you use this face.

Here is the alt mode with the missiles mounted. On the set I got, the launchers on the right side stays on ok, but on the left side they do not stay on that well. They are attached to the trailer by these slots that fit over some tabs toward the upper-front area. Just shaking the unit a little will cause the launchers to fall off, but I guess this is the best they can do when originally missiles were not designed for it. Also, the gun cannot be attached in the the alt mode, which is a disappointment.

At this point I should mention that there is a combined set that includes both TFX-01 and TFX-03 in one package, released in 2009. The items of TFX-03 are exactly the same in the combination set, but the trailer/armor is tweaked slightly from TFX-01 to better accommodate the new accessories. For instance, there are holes carved into the side of the enhanced trailer, and to attach the missiles you just use the pegs on the launchers. On the 09 version it is also possible to attach the gun to the trailer. I don’t know how, but the instructions show that it’s possible. The combination set retails for about $88 at BBTS, and that’s certainly a better deal than buying them separately. If I didn’t already have TFX-01, I definitely get this new set. Seems like it is better and cheaper too.

Here is the City Commander is robot mode. The missile launchers fit nicely in this mode. There are holes already punched into the shoulders, so you simply insert the pegs on the launchers. Some people have complained that these are loose and that they easily fall off, but mine seems to be ok. Seems fairly tight to me. He is holding the gun in cannon mode. I don’t think it is possible to hold it in rifle mode in bot mode, there is too much in the way.

Another shot of UM with all his weapons. Come and get some.

These missiles here are actual G1 missiles launchers on the original Ultra Magnus. They can be attached to TFX-01 as well, using the same holes on the shoulders. FansProject sure thought of everything. I purposely left one missile out so you see the custom spring I engineered into the launchers. These US G1 launchers originally did not come with springs so the missiles don’t fire at all, unlike their Japanese counterparts. When I was a kid, I found some springs and put them in. Now they fire at least 10 feet. An achievement I’m still very proud of to this day.

City Commander with original G1 launchers attached.

City Commander with ROTF Leader Class Optimus. With the armor, UM is only a tad smaller. I like to see some Decepticons try to mess with these two.

Well folks, there you have it. My final verdict is that TFX-03 is a good add-on, but a little disappointing due to the reasons I mentioned. If I was rating the 09 version with TFX-03 I might give it a higher recommendation, but as for those of you that already have TFX-01, only get the add-on if you really want the missiles, the gun, or the extra faces.

Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews