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Transformers Purchased in November 2016

November of 2016 is filled with some TF goodness. Focus your optics on the figures below and observe.

  • Titans Return Brainstorm, Walgreens, $18.99

  • Titans Return Brawn, Target, $4.99
  • Titans Return Nightbeat, Target, $4.99

  • Titans Return Chromedome, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Highbrow, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Mindwipe, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Wolfwire, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Astrotrain, Target, $24.99

  • Combiner Wars Sky Lynx, Ross, $12.99

  • Combiner Wars Skywarp, HasbroToyshop via eBay, $22.49

All purchases in November of 2016 belongs to either Titans Return or Combiner Wars. Not a single third party purchase, which was strange considering how many 3P products I have been buying. There are 10 purchases for the month, for a total of 8 figures and 2 accessories (I don’t count the 2 Titan Masters as full fledged figures). All for less than $130. That’s not bad.

Titans Return is definitely continuing in a good direction with some heavy Headmaster action. First up in the month is Brainstorm. I found this figure early in the month. And as rumors have long confirmed, Brainstorm is a Walgreens exclusive! Yes you read that right. Freakin’ Walgreens. Why Hasbro would enter an exclusivity deal with Walgreens makes no sense whatsoever. But I’m glad I believed the rumors and checked Walgreens with regular attention during that time period. There are several Walgreens within short driving distance of where I work and where I live. I was really happy when I found him at this one particular Walgreens that I never go to. The price tag of $18.99 kinda hurt considering it’s only a deluxe size fig, but he was hard to find so I bit the bullet on this one.

Brainstorm is a minor remold of Blurr. I didn’t realize it early on when I looked at the pics. It was only after repeated viewing of the pics that this finally dawned on me. I already commented on the awesomeness of Blurr, so I won’t repeat all that stuff for Brainstorm. He’s built just as well, and there are enough molding differences that a separate purchase feels justified. The detachable piece at the front of the vehicle is obviously different for Brainstorm in that it’s molded more to look like the front of his iconic jet mode. Blurr’s long hand cover extensions are changed for Brainstorm, and Brainstorm has wings at the shoulders while Blurr has none. Blurr’s iconic piece on top of the alt mode, which usually transforms to the top of his head, is now replaced with a simple tail fin for Brainstorm. Titan Master for the two are obviously different, each made to look like the head of the character. And finally, Brainstorm has different stickers on the legs, placed at different positions. All in all, Hasbro made enough changes off of the same mold that having two characters here is warranted. I’m glad Hasbro didn’t just give us a straight up repaint with only the head change. Below is a pic comparing the two. Get Brainstorm if you see one. You’ll thank me later.

There are other versions of this deluxe Brainstorm that you could get. There is the Japanese Legend version, and there is an exclusive convention version (not sure if it’s SDCC or some other con). They each look different in terms of paint scheme and sticker layout, but they each have their origin in what they are modeled after.

Next up are two Titan Masters which I never opened, even as of this writing: Brawn and Nightbeat. I’m generally not a fan of buying these Titan Masters, as I don’t see why you would want to swap heads with bodies. They never did that in the cartoons. But I got Brawn and Nightbeat because they are famous characters from G1. In fact, some customizers have took this Titan Master Nightbeat head and stuck it on the body of Generations Thrilling 30 Nightbeat. I may attempt that myself, so I’ll get a true Headmaster in the modern era. I’m not sure what I will use Brawn for.

Titans Return continue with more purchases in the month. On one trip to Walmart, I found all wave 2 deluxe figs in one shot: Chromedome, Highbrow, Wolfwire, and Mindwipe. All 4 are must haves for me, because they were all original Headmasters in G1. When I brought these 4 to checkout, they each rang up $9.88. That’s right, only $9.88! I thought for sure Walmart must have messed up. I didn’t want Walmart to have the chance to correct any goofs, so I quickly finished checkout and ran out of the store like a Decepticon in full retreat. Turns out, this “goof” was nationwide. I had friends in other cities reporting the same prices. In retrospect I’m not entirely sure if this was a goof. It’s possible Walmart really were selling these at discounted prices. But as of this writing, all TR deluxe figures are around $15 at Walmart. I have seen these 4 figs before this trip to Walmart. I saw them at Walgreens when I was looking for Brainstorm. But I was not gonna pay $18.99 for each of these at Walgreens.

Let’s start with the Autobots. Chromedome and Highbrow are both pretty good figures. Chromedome has a fun transformation. The chest and arms transformation is fairly standard for a robot-to-car figure, but the leg transformation is pretty unique. It’s kind of got that standard Combiner Wars deluxe fig leg transformation, but Chromedome offers a twist in how the windshield is formed. In robot mode, it’s at the back of the legs, forming the heels. In alt mode, it combines and folds forwards, forming the windshield covering the Titan Master driver. Very cool. Chromedome’s head details is also superbly done. Highbrow is another fun figure. His transformation feels simpler than Chromedome’s. One interesting transformation mechanism is pulling down the waist when you go from robot to helicopter. Then you rotate and inwardly fold up the legs, like some CW deluxe figs. Rest of the transformation is pretty standard fare (arms to the sides, fold out the cockpit from the back). Highbrow also has amazing details to the head mold, making him look like the G1 character. Both Chromedome and Highbrow are well built. Their robot modes look nice, and their alt modes come together well with no issues. Both their alt modes provide space for the driver/pilot. Chromedome and Highbrow are both recommended purchases in the Titans Return line.

With the addition of Brainstorm, Chromedome, and Highbrow, and Hardhead from the last wave, I now have all the original Autobot Headmasters from Season 4. Check out pics below. It’s a dream come true to have modern interpretations to these iconic G1 characters. Kudos to Hasbro.

Now for the Decepticons. The two deluxe figs this month are Wolfwire and Mindwipe. Wolfwire was called Weirdwolf in G1, and I’m gonna guess that the name change is for legal reasons. Weirdwolf is such a better name as it’s a wordplay on werewolf. Anyways, TR Wolfwire is the best of the three Decepticon animal Headmasters so far. He’s got an awesome looking wolf mode that has to be seen to be believed. I love the head mold of the wolf, with jaw biting action that will seriously hurt some Autobots. There are enough articulation in the wolf arms and legs for some good poses. Both the gun and sword accessories have places in alt mode; the sword becomes the tail, and the gun can be placed on top of the wolf’s back near the rear. The Titan Master can sit inside the gun, or can be placed inside the main body cavity, accessible from a hatch on top of the back. Transformation to robot mode is pretty straightforward. The wolf arms and legs become the robot arms and legs. I generally don’t like this motif, because I think it’s a lazy transformation. Wolfwire is certainly guilty of this, but he’s got some clever mechanics for the rest of his transformation that make up for it. The way that the main body transforms deserves special mention. From alt mode to robot mode, Wolfwire has this unqiue lower abdomen mechanism where the body collapses on itself, making for a shorter main body that is more proportionate in robot mode. The Decepticon logo is painted very nicely on the chest. I wish faction logos were done this well all the time. If you only had the funds for one deluxe Decepticon Headmaster in the TR line, get Wolfwire.

The other deluxe Decepticon this month is Mindwipe. I have G1 Mindwipe. It was a birthday gift from my cousin. I still have it to this day, in pretty good shape too. About a year ago, I bought this 3P Mindwipe from FansProject called Sigma L. I love FansProject, but I thought Sigma L is only ok, not bad, not great. So I was kinda hoping that TR Mindwipe would do the character more justice. There are some interesting things going on for TR Mindwipe, but as a whole I would say he’s one of the more lackluster figures in the Titans Return line. Let’s start with the better mode: the robot mode. He looks good in this mode. He’s well proportioned and he’s got plenty of articulation. He’s got a great head sculpt. The joints are at the right tolerance. Even the wings on his back are of the right size. They’re big enough in appearance, but not too big that it’s distracting or get in the way. The Decepticon logo is beautifully painted on the chest. There’s one big weakness in robot mode though, and that’s the back. The bat head has nowhere to go, and kinda just hangs off the back. You can position it so the bat head is hanging off the butt instead, but I think that’s a even worse look. Transformation to bat is quite clever. The arms become the feet, and the legs open up to reveal the wings. The transformation really is quite cool. However, bad construction plague this figure, much like many of the other TR deluxe figures. The right wing is really loose on my figure in alt mode. And the accessory that plugs in to become the tail, it doesn’t plug in too nicely. One slight touch and it comes off. This figure could have been so great if the construction was more solid. And if they designed a place for the bat head in robot mode. Like if it somehow went inside the Headmaster chamber.

Below is a pic of all the original Decepticon Non-Horrorcon Headmsters from Season 4. Skullsmasher (Skullcruncher) was from July of 2016.

Now for the only Triple Changer of the month: Astrotrain. TR Astrotrain is a repaint of TR Sentinel Prime. As of this writing, I have sold my Sentinel Prime, because I felt he’s just too damn orange. And because this mold was meant to be Astrotrain anyway. Yes Hasbro screwed me with their double dip tactics by releasing the more famous character later using the same mold. If only I had more willpower, I would not continue to fall for this.

Let’s take a look at the shuttle mode first. In this mode, Astrotrain is not the standard NASA space shuttle that we’re accustomed to. The overall body is more flat, with a large Titan Master compartment toward the top and rear. It looks more like a Cybertron shuttle, or something from futuristic sci-fi. All the panels tab in securely in this mode, something that worked less well on Sentinel Prime. The retractable landing gears are a nice touch. Astrotrain is decked out in his iconic purple and grey, with touches of black here and there. Transformation from shuttle to robot is super straightforward. It’s almost painfully simple. Astrotrain looks good in this mode. Body proportions are nicely balanced. His head mold is terrific, and looks exactly like Astrotrain should. I should point out that the Japanese version of this figure has better paint apps, though. The US version is light grey, while the Japanese version is dark grey. The dark grey is much more accurate to G1, both in terms of the show and the toy. This fact becomes a lot more obvious in robot mode, when looking at Astrotrain from the front, he is mostly grey. Transformation to train mode from this mode is interesting to say the least. First you pull the legs apart to either side, like if Astrotrain is doing the splits. From there it becomes pretty obvious; arms raise up and attach on top of the legs on either side, some minor panel flaps on the legs, flip over the feet so the train head comes out, and position the back Titan Master compartment on top of the train. This is another mode where TR Astrotrain got an upgrade. He’s no longer the old-school steam locomotive, but now more of a bullet train. Astrotrain looks ok in this mode. Sort of long and skinny, but I guess that’s how a train should be. This is another mode where the Japanese colors look much better than the US version, especially if you had both figures side by side. My overall impression of this figure is that he’s ok. He’s a good modern update. But I think deep down, I still want a Astrotrain with a proper NASA shuttle mode and a true steam locomotive mode. My hardcore G1 preferences is taking over here. I can live with the fact that he’s a Headmaster, but I still prefer him not being one.

This month also has Combiner Wars purchases. Yes I said Combiner Wars. By this time, the CW line has been long dead. But I did miss out on some figures in this line, and I was fortunate enough to find them this month.

The first CW fig this month is Sky Lynx, and he’s the 2nd space shuttle this month. But unlike Astrotrain, he’s still a NASA shuttle, with ground transport. This Sky Lynx looks G1 through and through. However, he only transforms from the space shuttle and ground transport mode to his full on griffin-like robot mode (and combined mode, but more on that later). In other words, he doesn’t separate into two components (the dino-bird/shuttle and lynx/transport) like he did in G1. I had a G1 re-issue of Sky Lynx briefly, for about two years, before I sold it (and actually made a slight profit on this). The G1 toy was kinda gimmicky. It was done by the same company that also did the original toy that would become Omega Supreme. I never had G1 Sky Lynx growing up, so my curiosity prompted me to buy the re-issue as an adult. He’s fun for a while, but the gimmicks wear off fast.

G1 Sky Lynx was not well received at all back in the 80s, both in terms of the character and the toy. However, in the days of CW, fans were singing praises about CW Sky Lynx, and he was probably the hardest figure to find in the line. I pretty much gave up looking for CW Sky Lynx. Until one day in Nov of 2016 when I found him at Ross. That’s right, Ross! Hasbro’s strange distribution rears its ugly head again. There was a time (I think around 2010 and 2011) when I regularly went to Ross and other discount stores, because new figures from Hasbro would go there instead of the usual places.

Combiner Wars Sky Lynx is not a bad figure, but I wouldn’t put him in the must-buy category either. Like all the other body component figures in the CW line, Sky Lynx is not perfect. They all have at least one mode that I consider lacking. I would say the best one in CW is Silverbolt (and his repaints). Sky Lynx would probably be the next best one. I like his alt mode, and he works well as a combiner body. But the griffin mode is just so-so. Still, the real value of this figure is having the ability to form Sky Reign. And that’s worth the price of admission, especially when admission price is only $12.99. Yes Ross is a good place to get TFs when you can find them. Below is a long over due pic of Sky Reign. All the limb components were bought in Feb of 2016.

Final purchase for the month is Leader class Skywarp. I already have the other two repaints of this figure, Leader Thundercracker and Starscream. So I was not gonna get Skywarp at full price. Around the end of Nov of 2016, I was vacationing in Cabo, attending a destination wedding. I think I opened the eBay app on my phone to check on one of my sales, and saw that Skywarp was on sale for half price! I wasted no time and got one. He’s just like the other 2, so I won’t go into detail. With Skywarp I have now completed the trio. Skywarp is my final purchase from the Combiner Wars line.

The pic below is for all the Decepticons this month. Autobots beware!

Whew! That was more TFs than I thought. Next month will wrap up 2016 with more Titans Return action. Til then… Transform and Roll Out.

 

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