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Transformers Purchased in October 2016

May 30th, 2017 No comments

October has historically been a month filled with many TF purchases. That is not so in 2016. But there are some cool items this month, and one surprising trend that I didn’t notice before.

  • Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime, amazon.com, $39.99

  • Titans Return Apeface, Target, $4.99
  • Titans Return Skytread, Target, $4.99

  • Robots in Disguise Paralon, Toys R Us, $9.99

  • Fans Toys Soar, capturedprey.com, $180

Like I said, October 2016 does not have a crazy TF purchase count, as was the case in 2012, 2014, and 2015. This October is more on par with 2013 with a modest number of TF purchases.

Let’s take a look first at Powermaster Optimus Prime! Growing up, I really wanted G1 Powermaster Optimus Prime. I know, the concept of a Powermaster is really lame. But all Powermaster figures were good toys, for G1 standards anyway. And back in the 80s, Hasbro was not in the habit of releasing 10 different Optimus Prime figures every year across all toylines and sizes. Believe it or not, Powermaster Optimus Prime was only the 2nd OP figure produced, after the original season 1 toy. It was already Season 5 when Powermasters rolled around, and us fans were all itching for a new figure of OP.

My cousin had G1 Powermaster OP. I played with the figure quite a bit. For G1 standards, this was an awesome figure. I tried to buy one back in the 80s, but didn’t have the money. Now nearly 30 years later, Hasbro is giving us a homage to the original Powermaster OP in the Titans Return line. In this case he’s really a Headmaster, but he’s still got his 80s Powermaster design and aesthetics.

The figure is a heavy retool of the wonderful Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus figure that I went into back in this post. Hasbro took that mold and reconfigured it to resemble G1 Powermaster Optimus Prime with modern stylings and updates. The result is quite nice, and I’m happy that Hasbro took the effort to give us true fans something to homage the Powermasters, even though the figure is not a ture Powermaster. The Titan Master (or Headmaster figure) transforms into Prime’s head in robot mode. The helmet of the head is part of Prime’s body, flipped out from the cab. We’ve seen this mechanism before on TR Galvatron.

Since this technically a repaint, I won’t comment too much more. But he is recommended. Below is a pic of the alt mode. Notice how similar the cab appears when compared with CW Ultra Magnus.

Next up are two Titan Masters figures. Hasbro makes a whole bunch of these. For this month I got Apeface and Skytread. Yes, these are small figures that transform to heads. And FYI, all heads are interchangeable for figures in the TR line. Meaning you can take the head for Blurr and stick it on Scourge, or any other combination you see fit. Why you would wanna do this is beyond me. And with these small Titan Master figures, you get extra heads to swap between figures to your heart’s content. I got Apeface because I liked the original G1 Horrocon (and I’m hoping Hasbor will give him a true modern update). Not sure why I bought Skytread. The small Titan Masters also have another alt mode, in addition to the robot mode and head mode. To this day I still have not opened Apeface and Skytread, but I did open some other ones (purchased in later months). These figures are mostly forgettable in opinion. Oh, in my TF count page, I specifically stated that I don’t count mini-figures, such as Targetmasters and Mini-Cons. So I’m not adding Titan Masters to the figure count either. I truly seem them more as accessories. But they will add to the purchase count, since I did have to buy them separately.

The only RiD purchase this month is Paralon. I dont’ even know who Paralon is, as my knowledge of Robots in Disguise is severely limited. I only bought him because I like the purple scorpion. Supposedly, this is a Toys R Us exclusive. And Paralon was released before Scorponok, a brown repaint of this figure. So this was another case where Hasbro gave a new mold to an unknown secondary character, and released the more famous character later. However, when I saw Paralon, Scorponok was already on the shelve too. I chose Paralon anyway because I liked the purple, and honestly, I don’t much care for Scorponok as a character. Anyways, the toy itself is just ok. Like I said, a giant purple scorpion is very unique. Transformation is kind of unorthodox too. The shoulder mechanism requires that you take parts off, but the part never really completely comes off as it still dangles on the arm. So does this count as parts-forming? Who knows. Get Paralon or Scorponok if you’re partial to either character. Most fans could probably skip these two. They’re not bad figures, but they don’t have much going for them either.

Last but not least… ladies and gentlemen… I give you, Soar! That’s right folks! This month we have yet another outstanding 3P Dinobot from Fans Toys. And this time it is our favorite flyer of the group, Swoop! For trademark reasons, FT can’t call this figure Swoop, so they went with Soar. Gotta give them credit from coming up with these creative names.

Soar is packaged in robot mode, like all the other FT Dinos so far. Right upon getting this guy out of the box, the first thing you will notice is that he weighs quite a bit. I think he’s actually heavier than Scoria or Sever. Size wise, he’s smaller than these 2 when you don’t count the wings, so FT packed a lot of heft into the core frame of the figure. This is already a plus in my book.

The robot mode is a sight to behold. I went with the cartoon accurate blue version (FT also produced a G1 toy accurate red version, and I had G1 Swoop as a kid, all broken today). Check out the pic below. It’s like Swoop stepped straight out of the show!

“Me Swoop no see nothing.”

Seriously, this is so cartoon accurate that I can’t gush enough. Everything from the colors to the proportions, it’s like FT looked very carefully at every single one of Swoop’s show appearance and faithfully constructed a figure out of what they saw. Construction of this figure is absolutely superb. All joints are of the ratchet variety, and every one of them is tight enough to support the weight of this heavy figure. Soar is capable of some nice poses. I had him in several action poses, but unfortunately I didn’t take any pics. Take my word for it. If dynamic posing is your thing, Soar will not let you down.

Soar comes with the two iconic G1 wing missiles, as you can see in the pic. Unfortunately they do not fire. He also comes with his sword, which looks just like what he had with the G1 toy. The sword is attached to his back in the pic above. LED lights are featured in the sword (batteries are not included, however). I can’t remember if I have ever seen Swoop use this sword in the cartoon. All these weapons can be held in his hand, or pegged where they are in the pic in robot mode.

Transformation to pterodactyl is fairly simple. Soar is probably the easiest to transform out of all the FT Dinos so far. The overall transforming paradigm is exactly what it was in G1: bird head and beak flip up from the chest, arms and chest collapse toward the middle, and legs fold up to the back of the bird. Obviously this is all updated with modern mechanical engineering. G1 purists should have nothing to complain about in the design of transformation. Check out the pterodactyl mode below.

This dino bird is absolutely amazing! I took a quick measure of the wingspan, and in the above configuration, the wingspan is close to 18 inches! Soar looks fantastic flying above all your other MPs in this mode. The wings hold their position fairly well. On my figure, one side of the wings is nice and tight, while the other side can be argued to be a bit loose. But it still holds up well in alt mode and it does not droop down, so it works well enough for me. Soar comes with an extra set of wings. The default attached wings are more chrome, while the extra wings are more metallic. I did not try the extra wings yet. Fans Toys have thought of everything. They really love you.

In alt mode, the missiles go where you expect them to go. I detect no storage location for the sword in alt mode, but that’s a minor gripe. The beak opens and closes. The beak joint is tight and I expect no less. The alt mode comes together nicely as one cohesive whole. All parts are tabbed into place where they should be. No dangling parts whatsoever. This is the Dinobot pterodactyl that the Autobots deserve.

Last but not least, Soar comes with this awesome display stand for the figure in alt mode. You can see it in the pic above. This stand is large and robust, with enough support for this heavy figure without any worries. Oh, my figure was missing the vertical piece of the display stand when it was first shipped to me. Props to capturedprey.com for contacting Fans Toys and shipping me the missing part. I have complete faith in this retailer and I will use them more in the future. Minor issues with Fans Toys figures are not uncommon, however. I have been lucky thus far, until Soar. Other fans have complained of missing weapons, missing accessories, non-working LED weapons, batteries that should have been included but are not, etc. These periphery issues seem to plague Fans Toy’s track record. So open your FT figures as soon as you get them. Most respectable retailers will work to make it right within the proper time frame.

I give Soar the highest possible recommendation. If you want a MP Swoop in your collection, look no further than Soar. Get one before they all soar off the shelf (bad pun intended).

The surprising trend that I mentioned at the top of this post is the trend of when I buy the FT dinos. Scoria was purchased in October of 2014, and Sever October of 2015. And now Soar in October of 2016. So it looks like I buy one FT dino every year, and at October. I doubt this trend will last though. I have the 2nd release of Stomp (Sludge) pre-ordered, and he’s set to arrive June or July of 2017. But who knows… maybe he will get delayed til October. I hope not. I heard excellent things about Stomp.

More TFs are to come in the months that will end 2016. Until then, Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in September 2016

May 17th, 2017 No comments

Here are the purchases for Sept of 2016. What kind of goodies did I get? Well… nothing too special. 3 repaints and 2 RiD figs. Nothing to write home about, but better than getting nothing.

  • Titans Return Rumble, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Laserbeak, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Ravage, Target, $10.29

  • Robots in Disguise Starscream, Toys R Us, $14.99

  • Robots in Disguise Windblade, Walmart, $14.97

Let’s start with the Titans Return cassettes first. Actually, in the modern era, they are all tablets. And it hit me just now that all 3 of these are about $10 each. Oh man… there was a time when deluxe class figures were $10. Now all you can get with $10 all super small figs. Sigh. And in retrospect I totally see Hasbro’s “release-the-famous-character-later” tactic for repaints. Double sigh.

Anyways, these are all repaints. Rumble is my favorite out of these three. At least he gets a different head mold from Rewind. Ravage is a repaint from Stripes, and Laserbeak is a repaint from Buzzsaw. You can see Laserbeak’s release coming from a mile away. But in G1 these 2 were also exact repaints of each other, so I guess the trend must continue. I won’t comment any more about these 3, other than they are all famous G1 chracters from Season 1. So as much as you hate Hasbro’s double dip tactics, you still open your wallet and make the obligatory purchase. Damn you Hasbro.

Now onto some new stuff. First up is Robots in Disguise Starscream. I really tried to watch Robots in Disguise now that it’s on Netflix. But it just doesn’t grab me like any of the TF shows before it. I’ve tried starting the show on three separate occasions, starting with Ep 1. I don’t get too far before I lose interest, and before you know it, a few months has gone by and I kinda forgot what happened in Ep 1 and I had to start over. So I really don’t know what’s going on in the RiD story line. But to see Starscream on the shelf, that took me by surprise. I didn’t know if this RiD figure would be any good, but it’s Starscream, and as a hardcore G1-er you always buy Starscream.

RiD Starscream is not too shabby. I like the jet mode. It’s nice and sleek. He’s not a F-15, but some kind of futuristic jet that resembles something out of Macross. The forward wing design is a nice touch. When you look on the underside of the jet, there’s a bit of bulk but not too much. He’s got the iconic Starscream colors of light grey, red, and blue. Canopy is in a cartoon orange, and in this case I think it works. The guns go underneath the tip of the wings. If I got a gripe, it’s that the arms are under the wings in jet mode, and that makes the wing area a bit thick. But all in all I like the alt mode. It’s a familiar yet refreshing Starscream alt mode.

Transformation of RiD Starscream is pretty cool. It’s definitely different from how Starscream usually transforms. To start, the nosecone folds backwards onto the top of the plane and stays there. The arm and chest section are formed by moving it from the rear and wing of the jet and attaching it more forward. The legs fold out from the top. In robot mode, the design is still most certainly Starscream, but with RiD aesthetics. The wings on his back make it look like he’s wearing a cape, and it’s not a bad look for him. His head mold looks like a cross from various Starscreams of the past. And his shoulder design resembles his G1 shoulder ornaments during his short lived coronation in the G1 movie. Construction of the figure is solid. Everything tabs into where it should so nothing flops around. A lot of the figure is cheap ball joints, but that does make for some nice articulation. The right hip joint is a bit loose on my figure, but a little nail polish should fix that right up. To sum up, I like this Starscream figure. I wouldn’t put it in the must get category, but it’s a solid addition to your RiD lineup, or if you just want something extra to play with during a TF dry spell. Oh, I got the exclusive Toys R Us version. There is a mass retail version of this figure, but I don’t know how they’re different.

The last entry for the month is RiD Windblade. Again, I know next to nothing about RiD so I was not expecting this figure at all. And what a sweet surprise she was. Windblade as a character is getting some love in the IDW Transformers comics. Reading the IDW comis is something that’s been on my mind for a long time now, I just can’t find the time for it. And if my understanding is accurate, Windblade is a central character in some of the recent IDW plot lines. Hasbro has already produced a figure of her IDW incarnation. However, I’m not particularly fond of that figure. It looks ok, but it’s too flimsy for my liking. I have been wishing for a better Windblade.

And along comes Robots in Disguise Windblade. In my opinion, this is the Windblade to get. RiD Windblade is mostly decked out in red with patches of black here and there. Her jet mode is fairly unique. She seems to be a hover jet in every continuity, and RiD Windblade is no exception. She’s got the iconic turbines on the wings. In this mode, the figure comes together fairly well as most parts tab into place. A lot of the female figures that Hasbro has produced are flimsy (even in alt mode), but Windblade does not share that problem. There is storage space on the underside of the jet for the sword inside the sheath (more on this later). However, that’s not possible if you want to place the jet nicely on a flat surface. It will get in the way of the landing gear.

Transformation to robot is mostly derivative of what we have seen before. Legs fold out from the rear of the jet, arms untab from the sides, and the jet nosecone and wings folds to the back. Windblade implements a tried and true jet to robot formula, but there are some original mechanics. The jet turbines flips to the other side of the wings in robot mode, and the top of the jet collapses on itself in robot mode. This transformation is more about the execution and it’s done very well.

I love how Windblade looks in robot mode. I’m gonna assume she looks accurate to her RiD appearance, and I like the overall red upper body motif with black legs. The frame and shape of the robot mode makes it obvious that this is a female character. And for a female TF, she feels much more robust than other female TFs that have been done in the past. Windblade comes with her iconic sword. The sword can be placed into the sheath when not in use. There is a peg on the sheath that can be placed on the outer side of either leg for a sword-carrying samurai look.

Windblade has got some great articulation due to liberal use of ball joints. Yes, cheap ball joints again, but I can overlook it when it’s done this well on a $15 figure. She can be posed holding the sword in all kinds of ways. The figure comes with this yellow fan looking piece that I didn’t know what to do with for the longest time. I thought it was some kind of fan-based weapon, like in the old kung-fu movies. Turns out, you insert it to the back of her head. I should have looked at the packaging art more closely.

To sum up, I highly recommend RiD Windblade. Get one if you see one. However, the latest batch of Windblades that I see in the stores appears different. Take a look at pics of mine, then look at this pic I snapped today at Walmart.

At first my thought was Hasbro forgot to paint her face. Then comparing this pic with my figure, I see that the store figure now is quite a bit different. I see bits of yellow on her chest, and bits of blue on her abdomen. Her knees are also painted yellow instead of blue, and the legs are almost entirely black. I guess this is a 2nd version (much like how they did two versions of Megatronus), and she wears a face mask. I don’t know if I like that look.

More TFs to come. Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Toys R Us Paris

May 5th, 2017 No comments

I mentioned in my last post that I just got back from vacation. I traveled to New Zealand and Australia, and those are awesome places to visit! Whenever I come back from a big trip, I start thinking of other big trips that I’ve taken in the past. This made me think of the time I went to Europe, in September of 2015. I made a brief mention about it back in this post.

For this Europe trip, first we hit up Munich. We were there for Oktoberfest, and other things. We spent a few days there before we took the train to Paris. The French capital is a beautiful place. On our last day there, we decided to visit the La Defense District of Paris, just to check out areas that weren’t so touristy. Once I got there, I realized there’s a Toys R Us! And of course I had to go in there and see if I can find any good TFs. In this post I will outline my TF hunting adventures in Paris, like I did for Shanghai.

La Defense

La Defense is the business and financial district of Paris. It is much like the Financial District (FiDi) of San Francisco. During the day you will see many people dressed in business attire walking about. La Defense is located northwest of the central Paris area, just a short subway ride away from Arc de Triomphe.

The distinguishing monument in La Defense is the Grande Arche. And because of that, La Defense is still a bit more touristy than we thought. Still, I’m glad I saw it. Here are some pics of the main area of La Defense.


Standing at La Defense, looking east, across the Historical Axis of Paris. In the distance you can see the Arc de Triomphe.


Similar view as the first pic, but looking more southeast.


Looking south, at the mall where the Toys R Us is.


La Grande Arche de la Défense.


Close up of La Grande Arche.


Right inside and underneath the La Grande Arche, looking up at its ceiling.


Going past La Grande Arche and looking further west.


Back to the main area and looking north.


Back to the main area and looking northeast.

The Mall
Toys R Us is inside this mall at the main area of La Defense, a short walk from La Grande Arche. I don’t know the name of the mall. Sometimes I marvel at how similar malls across the world looks to malls of United States. I guess American consumerism is infectious everywhere.


Right outside the entrance to the mall.


The mall food court.


Another random shot of the inside of this mall.

Toys R Us
The Paris Toys R Us does not look that different than any American Toys R Us. Even the writing in the store is mostly English, and not French. Unfortunately, I did not find any TFs that I couldn’t find before, so I didn’t buy anything. Nevertheless, I’m glad I went there to see the store.


The entrance.


Transformers section!


Some Age of Extinction and Combiner Wars figures.


Same shelf as above, lower angle.


Star Wars section!


More Star Wars figures.


Lego Yoda and Darth Vader!


Lego Eiffel Tower!

Paris was awesome. I want to go back!

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Transformers Purchased in August 2016

May 1st, 2017 No comments

After a short break away, I am back! I was in New Zealand and Australia for about 2 weeks. We were in Auckland, Queenstown, and Sydney. These were all beautiful places, and I had so much fun! I want to go back so badly. Though after so much traveling, I am happy to be back in the States. And I welcome a return to my usual routine so I have time to play with my TFs and blog about them.

Unlike last month where I got a bunch of figures, only two purchases were made in August of 2016. And they’re both small legend size figures.

  • Titans Return Wheelie, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Rewind, Target, $10.29

Last month I mentioned that I got TR Stripes on the last day of the month. I will describe him here with his two other Legend size associates that are part of the same wave. None of these 3 figs will knock your socks off, but they ain’t half bad either. Stripes and Rewind are both triple changers, and both are meant to be compatible with Titans Return leader class Blaster (to be purchased in a few months). They each have an electronic tablet mode, which is the modern equivalent of the tape cassette mode that they had back in the 80s. To be frank, their shape in this mode still looks more like cassettes than tablets because they’re too thick. In addition to this mode, Stripes offers a panther mode and a jet mode, while Rewind has a robot mode and a tank mode. I like Rewind’s robot mode. All in all, these 2 figs are quite mediocre in every way possible. Stripes and Rewind will be painted into Ravage and Rumble, respectively. Frenzy probably won’t be far behind.

The only other figure here is Wheelie. He’s the most famous character out of these 3. Hasbro has not done that many CHUG Wheelies in the modern era. I can only think of 2 others: a legend size fig that came around 2010, and a deluxe version released in 2012 that’s a repaint of Reveal the Shield Jazz. So a new Wheelie figure that can more appropriately scale with new figures is very much welcome. I had high hopes for TR Wheelie, but in the end he’s just ok. Both modes look cartoon accurate to the G1 show, but this figure is just so flimsy. During transformation he can feel like a real mess. I would only recommend this Wheelie to those hardcore G1 purists that has to have a Wheelie in their CHUG lineup.

Below is a pic of the three of them.

This month is all Autobots, and all small legend size Autobots. I guess that’s the theme for the month. Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics