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Generations Dirge Quick Review

December 26th, 2010 No comments

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! I spent most of today watching all 5 NBA games and opening some TF figures. My beloved Lakers got embarrased by the Heat. No effort and thus no holiday cheer for the Lake Show.

On this day exactly a year ago, I reviewed ROTF Dirge. So in keeping with that strange holiday tradition, today I will review Generations Dirge.

There’s been so many figures made out of this mold already, so I think by this time everyone already knows what the CHUG Seekers are all about. So I’m just gonna point out some differences between Generations Dirge and Henkei Dirge.

First some background info. The first CHUG Dirge produced was the Botcon 2007 exclusive Dirge, which is really just a repaint of Classic Ramjet. This was extremely limited and online dealers wasted no time asking $150+ for the figure. Then in 2009, the Japanese only Henkei line released a new Dirge that had a more G1 accurate wing mold. This was also a limited release so most likely you would’ve paid between $60 to $70 for one, but getting one from an importer was not difficult. Generations Dirge is the first CHUG Dirge produced for mass retail, MSRP at $12.99, though usually you can find him at around $9 at Target or Walmart.

The following compares Henkei with Generations Dirge. I apologize for not taking pics of the two Dirge side by side. I am home for the Holidays and I left Henkei Dirge in my apt, so the following comparisons come from me looking at the Generations toy and old pics of Henkei dirge on this blog.

JET MODE:

  • Generations Dirge has red and white stripes in a pattern that is more G1 accurate on the wings, as opposed to Henkei’s blue and white stripe patterns.
  • Generations shade of blue seems a little more G1 accurate. The blue on the Henkei figure looks too bright.
  • The Henkei figure has a nice Decepticon logo on the nose cone. Generations does not.
  • The grey bits on the Henkei figure is painted black on the Generations figure. I think grey is more G1 accurate here.
  • The wing Deception logos are painted closer to the body and in one orientation on the Henkei figure (crown towards the nose) whereas the Generations figure has it farther out and in the opposite orientation (crown towards the rear). Honestly, half the time they go one way and half the time they go the other way, so I really don’t know which orientation is the right one. However, Henkei Dirge has a smaller Decepticon logo on the nose, and it doesn’t match the orientation on the wings.

ROBOT MODE:

  • Henkei Dirge has some nice chrome bits on this guns. Generations Dirge gets no love on the bling.
  • Again, most of the grey bits on Henkei Dirge is painted black on Generations Dirge. I think grey is more G1 accurate.
  • Generations Dirge has a small Decepticon logo on the chest that Henkei Dirge does not.
  • The Henkei figure has stripes painted on both sides of the wing so in robot mode you can still see the pattern from the front. Generations figure has stripes painted on one side only.
  • There are other minor color scheme variations between the two figures, such as the locations of the blue, red, and black/grey. These are two separate interpretations of the character. Generations Dirge has black forearms which is accurate to the G1 toy but not the G1 show (grey forearms). Henkei Dirge has blue forearms.

So which one of these is better? I really can’t say. Construction wise, I think the Henkei figure is a little better, though the Generations toy is also very good. Neither of these is like Henkei Thundercracker in terms of mold quality so it’s a non-issue here.

If you can only get one, I definitely recommend you get the Generations figure since it’s so much cheaper and they’re really about the same. If you already have the Generations toy, then I would not recommend getting the Henkei because spending $60 for something so similar is not a good investment in my opinion. Conversely, if you got the Henkei and is considering getting Generations, I say go for it since its so cheap. But you won’t lose either way. Both figures are great interpretations of the character.

On a related note, I think I have a total of 13 figures of this mold if my count is right. They are: Classic Starscream, Classic Ramjet, Classic Skywarp x 2, Universe Starscream (G1 color) x 2, Universe Acid Storm x 2, Henkei Thundercracker, Henkei Thrust, Henkei Dirge, Generations Thrust, and now Generations Dirge.

That’s all for now. I hope all TransFans got all the TFs they wanted for Christmas. Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

My Recent Hasbrotoyshop.com Order

December 23rd, 2010 1 comment

Earlier this month I decided to make an order with Hasbrotoyshop.com. Seibertron will usually post when new figures are available for purchase. They made the announcement that Jazz and Tracks are out and HTS had them. I had a feeling I was not going to find them before Christmas in the stores. And being the G1 guy that I am, I had to have them during the Holidays, so I made the order.

Usually I prefer to hunt for figures in the stores. I find it fun to hunt for them, I like to save on shipping, and I can usually find it cheaper than what HTS wants, which is MSRP. But like I said, I must have Jazz and Tracks now, so I made an exception. Plus HTS was doing free shipping for orders over $50. In this order I got Jazz, Tracks, Dirge, Skullgrin, and Cybertronian Cliffjumper. Dirge was $12.99, while the rest of them was $11.99 each.

HTS divided this order into 2 separate shipments. Dirge, Skullgrin, and Cliffjumper came first. I guess those were in stock and ready to ship. Actually, I found these 3 when I found Thunderwing at Target, each for less at $9.04. So in some ways I was kicking myself for the HTS order. But I just kept reminding myself that I did it for Jazz and Tracks and it’ll be worth it. These 2 finally arrived yesterday and I now have them all in hand!

I opened Dirge before Jazz and Tracks arrived, so he’s all by his lonesome.

HTS used boxes not at all appropriate for what they were shipping. The backing was Jazz and Tracks was bent when they arrived. They were stuffed into a box not long enough for the backing.

On the other hand, the box used for the other 3 was way too big. Again, I already opened Dirge when I took this pic, but just imagine him in the box below and there’s still way too much space. Length and width of the box is about right for 3 deluxe figs, but the box is way too deep.

I guess I should be grateful that the shipping was free. Shipping for something this large would not be fun to pay for.

There’s certainly enough TFs here to make for a fun Cybertronian Christmas. I still haven’t opened the Power Core Combiners that I got from Thanksgiving, so I still got those to mess with. I’ll be doing reviews of some of these, so stay tuned. Have a safe and happy holiday my fellow TransFans. Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Generations Thunderwing Review

December 16th, 2010 7 comments

As I mentioned in my last post, I was in the process of moving. Moving is such a pain in the butt, especially when you have a lot of collectibles. It pretty much took up all my time for the last 2 weeks so I haven’t really had time to hunt for TFs or write in this blog. I finally got done with the move last Friday, so on Sat I had some time to do a hunt. I went to Target and I was lucky enough to find Thunderwing. He is a rare find as of this writing. There are 28 sightings on Seibertron currently, but only one of them is in California. He’s also all sold out on Hasbrotoyshop.com.

I’m done moving, but a lot of my stuff is still unpacked at the new place. I need a break from unpacking so I’m gonna do a review. Here we go.

Below is Thunderwing in the package.

For those that are not familiar with the character, Thunderwing was a G1 Pretender. Pretenders came around after the US G1 cartoons officially stopped. Thunderwing was a Mega Pretender (the shells transform), and they appeared even later. So yeah, he arrived just in time to see G1 come to an end. I’m only aware of the character because he played a fairly significant role in the comics. He is also the lead villain in Stormbringer, where he is depicted as being huge and very powerful.

This Generations figure seems to take cues from both the G1 and Stormbringer versions of the character. His alt mode seems to be some kind of stealth jet fighter. I really like the look of this jet. His appearance in this mode is sleek to say the least. Hasbro has been really good about hiding the bulk for their jet figures as of late, unlike earlier figures (especially from the first Movie) where the bottom is pure bulk. Thunderwing is no exception. I also like the shape of the wings, the canards, and the tail fins. There’s some nice detailing all over the jet.

The colors are a pure homage to G1, where he is mostly white with stripes of blue here and there. I don’t remember what was the color of the cockpit in G1, but in this version I like the bright orange. It kinda gives the colors that little extra something. The missiles are also the same orange to match. The thrusters and missile launchers are purple, and I think that was the color of his G1 weapons. The Decepticon logo is printed on the end of both wings. A very nice color scheme overall.

Thunderwing has enough guns in jet mode to seriously take out some Autobots that dare get in his way. He’s got two black guns near the intake. These can be rotated to shoot to the side. The missiles on the wings do fire and they can also be rotated. Oh, these are probably some of the most powerful launchers I’ve tested in all my TFs.

The shot above shows the bottom of the jet. He’s got landing gears at the usual positions that you would expect. Obviously they can be retracted. It is not hard to get these landing gears out.

As you can see from the pic above, the front nosecone area can be detached to form a mini-drone. I think this feature is a pure homage to G1. The G1 figure, as far as I know, also had some kind of drone, so it’s nice to see Hasbro not forget us older fans. I don’t think this drone serves any real purpose on this figure, but it’s still kind of a nice feature. You can simply ignore it and leave it on the main figure if you find it useless.

I do have one gripe about the jet mode, and it is best illustrated with the pic above. In this shot, I purposely left the wings extended to the side. This is what you do when you transform him to robot mode. My issue is that it is really easy to accidentally misshape the jet into this configuration. This is because there is nothing locking the blue pieces of the wings in place where it needs to be. So if you’re trying to rotate or remove the missiles, or if you’re just being a little too rough with the figure, the wings will come apart as shown above. I think the easiest thing that Hasbro could have done here is put a tab on the arms somewhere, and that can stick into a slot on the underside of the wings. This way, both the wings and arms are locked in place.

But other than the issue mentioned above, Thunderwing in jet mode is still well made and well engineered. I find no other weaknesses with the jet mode.

Thundering is only rated a 2 on the new transformation scale of 0 to 5. This ranks him as easy, and I agree with this score. He’s about the same difficulty as Generations WFC Megatron (who is rated a 3 but I think it should have been a 2). Hasbro came up with some very clever and new twists on the jet to robot transformation. When I describe it here in words, it will sound like the same tried and true formula for a jet transformation (ex: nose and wings form the back, sides become the arms, back of jet form the legs, etc). However, there are refreshing implementations to how all this is done, and the result is a transformation that feels like nothing we’ve seen before. For example, the waist and upper legs have a mechanism that folds outwards in robot mode to extend the legs, instead of the usual method of pulling the legs out. However, I should point out that the transformation is pretty easy. Fans that found issues with the simplicity of Universe Silverbolt may also find issues here, though Thunderwing is not that bad. Personally, I think this is a nice change from all the more difficult TFs we’ve been getting recently. You can really have fun with this figure and transforming him won’t feel like work.

I mentioned that in G1 Thunderwing is a Pretender. In this version, his robot mode resembles the Pretender shell and not his G1 robot mode. ROTF Bludgeon started this trend for G1 Pretender characters and I’m happy to see it continued.

Thunderwing looks quite cool in robot form. His appearance is without a doubt G1 inspired. His head mold, color scheme, and overall body styling resembles the shell closely. However, since this robot mode is not a shell, Hasbro is able to make him appear nice and lean, unlike G1 shell toys where they’re all clunky and bulky. In the comics, Thunderwing is almost always inside the shell, so this is the robot form that we are used to. It’s awesome to see this figure represent that interpretation faithfully.

This figure can be put into a wide array of poses. He’s got no waist articulation and the knees are not on a ball joint, but I think those are the only limitations. I’m sure there are fans out there that will cry and whine over this, but it’s something I can easily live with. Construction-wise, I see no issues. Thunderwing hold his poses well. All his joints are just right, not too tight and not too loose. I don’t detect any paint or assembly goofs on my figure. Some might say he’s got too much kibble on his back, but I like the way it looks. Kinda reminds me of the design of the Aerialbots, having a mini-jet on the back. Besides, I think this is how he looked in the comics.

Thunderwing is able to hold a weapon in each hand for some serious twin gun action, or you can combine the two guns into one giant rifle for some heavy fire power. There are tabs and holes on the launchers designed to do this, though you won’t see that anywhere on the instruction manual. I saw someone point this out on YouTube. Oh, btw, I want to take this time to commend Hasbro for printing transformation instructions to go forward and back, instead of simply saying to reverse the process to go back. They’ve been doing this in the latest batch of figures. Personally I don’t need it, but I know it’s been a complaint by the more casual fans, such as parents trying to transform it for their kids.

I do want to gripe about the scale of this figure, and I guess just with Generations figures in general. They are all deluxe class, meaning they’re all the same size. Scale wise, that’s just wrong. Bumblebee cannot be the same size as Megatron. Thunderwing is supposed to be HUGE in the comics. Don’t get me wrong, having a figure is better than not having one at all, but Hasbro could improve on the size. I understand that Deluxe is their best selling class. But the Generations figures are really aimed at a more seasoned audience, who in my opinion would spend the extra dollars if some of these characters are released as Voyager or Leader class figures.

But that aside, I highly recommend the Thunderwing figure. He is a great update of the character. Don’t let the wing and scale issues that I mentioned discourage you. He’s got way more positives than those minor negatives. Do not hesitate to get one if you spot one at your favorite retailer.

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

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews