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Archive for October, 2016

Cybertronian Halloween 2016

October 31st, 2016 No comments

Halloween is upon us yet again! I can’t believe it has been two years already since my last Halloween post. Time sure flies when… well, it just flies. No matter what you’re doing.

As per tradition here at TFMatrix, I assemble my orange TFs for a pic with my stuffed pumpkin.

I try to use the orange TFs that I haven’t used before. There has actually been quite a few orange figs acquired in the last two years, a lot of them in 2016. Clockwise from top left:

There are probably a few more orange figures that got left out of the group shot. Smart readers will notice that I included Tigris (Rampage), but left out Talon and Bovis (Divebomb and Tantrum). I really wanted to include the rest of the orange Feralcons (Predacons), but I only had Tigris handy. I will include them in the next Halloween special.

Also of note is that all the deluxe or larger figs in the pic are using twin weapons, one in each hand.

Here are links to previous Halloween posts.
Cybertronian Halloween 2014
Cybertronian Halloween 2012 (scroll down to last pic)

Have a safe and happy Halloween! Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics

Transformers Purchased in January 2016

October 21st, 2016 No comments

It’s 10 months late, but welcome to 2016! I know – I’m behind in documenting my purchases. But I feel like I’m making good progress towards catching up, and I have been putting more effort into this blog. Things are trending in the right direction.

There were some years where January kicked off with a whole bunch of TFs, like 2013 and 2015. And there were years where I only got a handful of TFs in January, like 2012 and 2014. This being 2016, it follows the even number trend. The only acquisitions this month are two Masterpiece figures.

  • Masterpiece Tracks, hlj.com, $50.58

  • Masterpiece Road Rage, hlj.com, $47.76

Tracks and Road Rage are repaints of each other. There are some minor mold differences, such as the head, crotch, and thigh. To this day I still have not opened Road Rage. So the rest of this post will focus on Tracks.

If you were a boy growing up in the 80s, you probably loved Transformers. And if you loved Transformers, you probably loved Tracks. Seriously, Tracks was a absolute fan favorite among every kid in school. I can only guess at the reasons. Maybe it’s that sexy Corvette alt mode. Maybe it’s that he’s so stylish and debonair in his G1 persona, while being an above average warrior for the Autobots.

As for the G1 Tracks toy, I never had the official US G1 version. I had a Diaclone red Tracks. The Autobot cars from the first two seasons were Diaclones localized for the US. Decades later I would buy an official Tracks re-issue, around 2004 when I got back into TFs. Now that I think about it, Road Rage is probably a an homage/retcon for the red Diaclone Tracks.

As much as I loved Tracks the character, I was not that impressed with the toy back in G1. He was ok, but not great. There were many other better Diaclones, such as Sideswipe, Jazz, or Smokescreen (and their respective repaints). The alt mode for Tracks was perfect, no complaints there at all. But the robot mode seemed a bit lacking. Transformation felt too simple even for G1 standards. He also seemed to have less diecast when compared to his brothers.

When I heard that Takara is doing Tracks for the MP line, I was totally thrilled. I love MP Sideswipe, and it would be so awesome for Tracks to get the same treatment. Did Takara succeed? Let’s find out by first taking a look at the alt mode.

Now that is TRACKS! This alt mode is exactly what I envision Tracks to be in MP form. This Corvette looks perfect. I love the shape of the alt mode in this gorgeous blue. Tracks is kinda pompous in the way he behaves, but if I looked like this I might act the same way too. He’s quite durable in this mode, and rolls well on a flat surface. The flames design on the hood comes painted on, so you don’t have to mess with decals or anything. The Autobot symbol on the car’s roof is on a panel that can be flipped. Perfect if Tracks wants to go undercover in alt mode like we have seen him do. Notice the Blaster alt mode mini-figure sitting inside, which comes as part of the package. He can be removed from Tracks. This is so awesome that I don’t have the words.

Below is a size comparison pic. I really wanted to find my Generations Turbo Tracks for the compare, but he’s located in a box at the back of the closet. The only thing I can find handy is Generations Sideswipe, so here they are.

At this point I should also mention that this MP fig can transform into Tracks’ flight mode. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pics when I had Tracks in this mode. Just know that it’s possible and it’s fairly well done. Tracks also comes with a Raoul figure, who appeared in the G1 episodes “Make Tracks” and “Auto-Bop”.

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

This robot mode looks great. You can see that the designers of the figure really looked at the G1 show, and constructed a robot figure modeled after the cartoon. He’s got a fair amount of articulation, you can get some good poses out of him. He’s still got the iconic red face and wings. The missile launchers are incorporated into the toy, as opposed to having extra accessories to attach. That’s always a plus in my book. The gun accessory is clearly modeled after the G1 show and not the G1 toy.

Things are not all gravy, however. My biggest complaint about MP Tracks is that he feels really flimsy. This is true especially in transformation. He’s kind of a jumbled mess when you go from alt mode to robot mode, similar to ROTF leader class Optimus Prime. But ROTF OP comes together well after the transformation is complete. Tracks, not as much. If I remember right, the back section doesn’t peg in anywhere. The car’s rear section kind of just hang off his back. The flimsiness makes transformation more difficult than it should be, and so I don’t see this figure has having that perfect balance of fun and complexity in the transforming mechanism. Tracks’ parts somehow feels lighter when compared to other MP cars. There are no diecast on any of the MP cars, but Sideswipe and Wheeljack feel like they have a nice heft to them, like the plastic is solid and sturdy. Tracks feels light and hollow.

So all in all, I put the Tracks mold behind the Sideswipe and Wheeljack mold, but ahead of the Prowl mold. Despite the negatives, he’s still a recommended purchase. There are way more pros than cons in this figure. It’s just that I was really hoping for a perfect MP like Sideswipe, and in the end the MP toy suffered from some of the same issues that the G1 toy did. I’ll open up Road Rage soon, and see if she (yes, she) is any better or worse than Tracks.

Time to Make Tracks… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

TF Purchase Statistics, 2012 – 2015

October 14th, 2016 No comments

As promised in a earlier post, I am compiling some stats on my TF purchase and spending habits. But before that, let’s take a look at how 2015 breaks down.

A total of 77 figures were purchased in 2015. This is by far the lowest total since I started tracking my TF acquisitions in 2012. The figures in 2015 break down as follows:

  • 2 figures from Age of Extinction
  • 4 Masterpiece figures
  • 3 figures from Generation Thrilling 30, which ended either late 2014 or early 2015
  • 47 Combiner Wars figures (yikes!)
  • 5 figs from Robots in Disguise
  • 1 Generations fig
  • 15 Third Party figures

These numbers are pretty much what I expected. 77 total figs for 2015 is good. I have way too many TFs already, so it’s a good thing to be more selective about what I buy. This number is trending in the right direction, and it comes to about 6.5 figs a month, or about 1.5 figs every week. As for the individual categories, it’s no surprise that Combiner Wars accounted for more than 50% of all purchases. CW was the main thing going in 2015 for hardcore collectors. As a whole I think CW is ok, but could have been better. I probably bought up everything that was put out as CW, and in retrospect some of those I probably should have left on the shelf. Age of Extinction and Generation Thrilling 30 were already on its last legs by the time 2015 rolled around, so the low count here is completely expected. 4 Masterpiece figs seems about on par with all the other years. Robots in Disguise was the major mainstream TF line for 2015. Personally I’m not terribly impressed with this line, which accounts for the modest 5 figs. The 1 fig from Generations was that rare and weird find of Scourage.

As for Third Party items, 15 also feels about on par with how much I buy every year. But since my total purchase count went down, Third Party items now account for a bigger percentage. As a whole, Third Party items are getting better every year. Multiple companies will often now do the same character in the same time frame. Choosy collectors like me have lots of pick from.

OK, now let’s take a look at how things shake out from year to year. Gathering all the stats I have from 2012 to 2015, below is a plot of how many TFs I buy from month to month, in this 4 year span.

The vertical axis is number of TFs bought in the month, while the horizontal axis is the month. Years are coded by color. The obvious thing that sticks out here is that October seems to have the most action. With the exception of 2013, all other years in this period have Oct as a TF heavy month. I have mentioned that several times on this blog already. And looking at the plot as a whole, most purchases seems to be centered around 2 periods, one at Oct-Nov, and the other at Feb-Mar. Oct-Nov I can understand, since it’s right before Christmas. Not sure why there is an increase in activity around Feb-Mar. Also of note are years where there is a TF movie. In this period, 2014 was the only year with a movie (Age of Extinction). So I guess it’s no surprise that 2014 behaved differently from all the other years. Only 2014 had a sharp peak in the summer months, which is probably all the movie toys.

I’m not sure what other conclusions I can draw from this plot. Maybe it will help me in budgeting. But I usually just buy something when I see it, so perhaps not. Ironically enough, the TF heavy months are also when those of us that live in the United States pay property tax (in California anyway). For you foreign readers out there, property tax in the US is super steep. Not a good time to be releasing non-essentials in these months. But it appears I’m still very active in my TF shopping during property tax time, so perhaps this has no impact on the TF community whatsoever.

Now let’s look at some trends from year to year. Below are two bar graphs that summarize my purchase counts and spending totals from 2012 to 2015.

Yearly TF Count

Yearly TF Spending

Again, 2014 seems to be the oddball year in this 4 year period. I guess having a movie in the year really makes that much of a difference. 2014 was the only year where I spend more than $3000 total on TFs. The obvious thing to point at is AoE. But I didn’t like the AoE toys that much, so I would be surprised if the all extra spending really went there. I’m gonna have to look at my detailed stats for 2014. Other than that, the overall trend is I’m buying less TFs. Again, that’s a good thing. I got too many. Which reminds me I really need to start selling off some of these figures.

I will start cataloging my 2016 purchases from this point forward. A bit late since 2016 is almost over, but better late than never. Hopefully soon I catch up to where I am currently, and I can have my purchase posts at the end of every month for that month like I used to.

Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: Uncategorized

TF Matrix Seven Year Anniversary

October 10th, 2016 No comments

Another year has gone by. I totally forgot about the anniversary for this blog until WordPress reminded me. The stats appear below.

Stats wise, this has been a lackluster year at only about 55,000 hits. Last year I vowed to do better, and I didn’t exactly meet that goal. I will say though that we are kind of in a drought as far as overall TF interest. When you go into the toy aisle these days, other franchises such as Marvel and Star Wars totally dominate the store space. There are times that I have to look long and hard at where the TFs are. So this does account for some of the low traffic this past year. But I’m not making excuses. I have not been making enough time for this blog.

I won’t let this die though. I did get a new job recently, and hopefully I will be able to make more time for TF Matrix with this new job.

Next year is a movie year. As much as I hate another Michael Bay crapfest, I will say that it does do favors for my blog 🙂 That alone should increase traffic, but I promise to make more time to writing.

Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Uncategorized

Transformers Purchased in December 2015

October 4th, 2016 No comments

Finally! We have come to the end of 2015. Here are the purchases for the last month of 2015.

  • Combiner Wars Devastator, tfsource.com, $109.99

  • Masterpiece Exhaust, hlj.com, $44.51

  • FansProject Function-X4 Sigma L, tfsource.com, $69.99

  • Warbotron Whirlwind, gift

This may be the first month were I only got Decepticons! Long live Decepticons!

First on the list is Combiner Wars Constructicons and Devastator. This group needs no introduction. The Constructicons were the first combiner group to debut in G1, and I’m glad Hasbro is doing this team justice by giving them unique molds that are completely different from the rest of the Combiner Wars line. I reported on this set back in this post and this post, and at the very last month in 2015 I finally have this awesome set in my hands. For it’s 2015 Black Friday sale, TFSource was letting this go at a very reasonable price. I wasted no time buying these Constructicons as soon as I saw the sale.

Individually, each Constructicon look quite nice their vehicle modes. They are true to their G1 appearance, and build quality is solid and robust. In the individual robot modes, some figures are better than others. Long Haul is one fig that looks quite awful in robot mode. And that is clearly because of the function he serves in combined form. And that combined form is the main attraction of the set. So without further ado, I give you… Devastator!

Now that is an awesome Devastator! He is freakin’ huge! Check out the pic below of him next to a standard deluxe size CHUG Seeker.

Hasbro has done some pretty stupid stuff with combining robots in the past, such as the Movie Devastator and Power Core Combiners. You may be left jaded after buying those products, but believe me, all is forgiven after seeing THIS Devastator in person. I don’t know if this figure is meant to scale with CHUG or MP figs, but it doesn’t matter. He’s so big and tall that his size would be appropriate when displayed next to either set. This combiner is solid. The leg combining mechanism is quite clever. It’s easy to do, and at the same time provides a most solid connection. The body and arm connections are more standard fare when compared to the 3rd party Devastators, such as TFC Hercules and MakeToys Giant.

Much like all the modern Constructicons, Devastator’s head is part of Hook, and no connection pieces are required between any of the six components. The only extraneous pieces are the forearms, fists, chest shield, and Devastator’s gun. Hasbro has designed places for them in alt mode, and they can be used as accessories in robot mode. Glaringly missing are the individual hand held pistols for each figure in robot mode. Not a big deal if you ask me. In G1, it was difficult to remember who had which gun. And this set was meant to be displayed combined in the awesomeness that is Devastator.

Devastator has got some limited poseability. He’s got all the standard articulation points that you would expect, but as a combiner the range of poses would be more limited than a standalone figure. Personally I don’t think that’s an issue. This figure is so big, so solid, and looks so G1 that you have to get it if you call yourself a G1 fan. Sure, there are some 3rd parties out there now that are doing Constructicons that may be superior (such as ToyWorld and Generation Toys), but their sets would cost 6 times as much. For the price, the Hasbro set can’t be beat. Get this now if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.

Next up we have Masterpiece Exhaust. I’m not familiar with this character at all. His origin may have been from the Japanese continuation of G1, but I could be wrong. I got him because I love the MP Wheeljack mold. Plus HLJ was having a pretty good sale on the figure. Exhaust looks absolutely stunning in his alt mode. His flashy and vibrant colors adds a lot to the already beautiful Lancia Stratos Turbo. This alone is worth the price of admission. I like the new head mold in robot mode, and he comes with plenty of extra accessories, including Wheeljack’s “Immobilizer” from the famous G1 episode of the same name. Construction and transformation is just as solid as Wheeljack. I highly recommend this figure even if you already have Wheeljack.

Now onto the 3rd party offerings for the month. Function-X4 Sigma L is by FansProject, and this is their homage to Mindwipe. Function-X is the label that FP uses for all their HeadMaster figures. I was really impressed with Function-X3 Smart Robin (aka Brainstorm). I have G1 Mindwipe from back in the 80s (and still in pretty good shape too), and TFSource had a sale on this Sigma L. For all these reasons, I got the figure. Overall, I say he’s ok. I like the robot mode, and I definitely like the twin shotguns, even though he had nothing of the sort back in G1. In this mode, the wings kinda get in the way, so it becomes difficult to have him posed with the arms raised in any way. He looks fairly cool in bat mode. Construction of the figure is solid. I was hoping that Sigma L would offer some new ingenious mechanisms in transformation like Smart Robin, but that’s not really the case here. It seems like FP decided to give their own spin on this figure. Like they took Dracula and vampires and adapted that whole motif to a HeadMaster robot, the result of that being Sigma L. I applaud them for giving Mindwipe a new spin, but all in all I’m not quite sure it works. There are no obvious shortcomings with the figure, but at the same time it doesn’t wow you either. I guess I give this fig a weak recommendation. If you need a Mindwipe to complete your HeadMaster collection and you find this fig at less than retail, then go for it. Oh, and the name. Why he’s called Sigma L is beyond me. When I see Function and Sigma mentioned in the same phrase, I keep thinking this is some kind of math equation here. Like let’s get the Sum L from this Function X.

Last but not least, there is Whirlwind, Warbotron’s interpretation of Vortex. Whirlwind is a Christmas gift from my wife. This is my 2nd fig in the Warbotron Combaticons, after Sly Strike. I like Whirlwind. I don’t think he’s as good as Sly Strike, but he’s solid nonetheless. He looks great in robot mode. I like all the different ways that the helicopter blades can be configured in this mode. You could leave them on the back, like the Vortex G1 look. Or you could put two on each forearm, and have them point back up the shoulder in rest position, or have them point forward like he’s Wolverine. Or use two in each hand (one up one down), so it looks like he’s wielding 2 twin blades, like if Darth Maul wielded 2 twin-bladed lightsabers. I like his colors in this mode, very G1. Some G1 purists complain about the clear orange canopy on the chest in robot mode, but I think it’s fine. I don’t think it’s distracting at all. In alt mode, the helicopter comes together quite nicely. My biggest gripe in this mode is that, when you spin the main rotors, they would often times make contact with the tail fin rotors. I also don’t like how the front nose cone area of the helicopter is formed by attaching a shield/pistol accessory. Makes me feel like he’s a bit of a parts-former. Constructions wise he’s pretty solid for the most part, but there are more tolerance issues when compared to Sly Strike. Some accessories don’t peg in as well as they should. But overall I still recommend Whirlwind. He’s a worthy addition to your MP-scaled Decepticon lineup.

Below is a pic of some of these figs, in what appears like a bunch of random Decepticons jammed together for one photo shoot. I had these figs scattered about here and there at the time, so I gathered them all up for a pic. Clockwise from top: Sigma L, Scavenger (from CW Devastator), Exhaust, and Megatronus (who snuck in there for no good reason).

Since Whirlwind is not in the pic above, he gets a solo shot.

He also gets a shot of him looking up at Devastator, waiting for the rest of his teammates so Bruticus can devastate Devastator.

Not only was this month all Decepticons, this month was also all on-line purchases. No in-store purchases whatsoever. Not too surprising considering the items acquired. And not counting Whirlwind since he was a gift, all figures were bought on sale. I am the ultimate TF bargain hunter!

That is all for 2015. I’m gonna compile some stats for 2015 and have them ready for the next post. Stay tuned my fellow TransFans. Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics