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Transformers Purchased in April 2017

There was no shortage of purchases in April of 2017. Figures from every TF line of the time was represented this month, including Titans Return, Robots in Disguise, and for the first time, The Last Knight. Even third party products were not left out. Some of these figures are pretty darn good. And some of them, not so much. If you just want to get to my final thoughts about a figure, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

There’s a lot to get through, so let’s get to it.

  • Robots in Disguise Soundwave, Walmart, $14.97

  • Robots in Disguise Blurr, Walmart, $14.97

  • The Last Knight Barricade, Walmart, $15.83

  • Titans Return Broadside, Target, $24.99

  • Titans Return Sky Shadow, Target, $40.99

  • Titans Return Bumblebee, Kickback, Gnaw, tfsource.com, $32.99

  • Keiths Fantasy Club E-Nergeon Cubes, tfsource.com, $9.99

  • FansProject Function-XV MADLAW, tfsource.com, $39.99

  • Warbotron WB03-A Turbo Ejector, tfsource.com, $79.99

Soundwave and Blurr

The two Robots in Disguise figures this month are Soundwave and Blurr. I found these two very early in the month.

I could never get enough Soundwave figures. I love the character, and I’m pleased he has a figure in the RiD line (though I don’t watch the show so I don’t know if he makes an appearance). RiD Soundwave takes design cues from many previous incarnations of the character. In robot mode, he’s got the iconic Soundwave colors and right-shoulder mounted cannon. Overall body shape takes design aesthetics from War For Cybertron Soundwave, and the head mold is an obvious homage of Transformers Prime Soundwave. I dig Soundwave’s overall appearance in robot mode. The red featureless face is a good fit for the character, and works well as a light piping feature. The figure is capable of some good poses in robot form, though most of it is achieved through cheap plastic ball joints. Transformation of RiD Soundwave is not difficult by any means. But unless you do it all time, there are some minor twists to an overall familiar motif that could have you very slightly stumped during the process. I don’t transform the figure that much, and every time I do it, I find myself asking silently, “How do I do that again?” RiD Soundwave’s alt mode is most certainly taken from War For Cybertron. But that’s not a bad thing. The Cybertronian car/SUV works well for the character. In my opinion, there are not that many good figures from Robots in Disguise, but Soundwave is one of them. This is a recommended figure. Get it.

Let’s look at Blurr next. The figure features the iconic Blurr colors that we have grown accustomed to. His head mold is an unique take on Blurr. It looks like he’s wearing a helmet with a visor, something Blurr would use if he was a human race car driver. I dunno, I think it’s design gimmicks like these that turns me off on Robots in Disguise. The show heavily attempts to humanize every Transformer, and I think they’re forgetting that they’re robots, not humans. Blurr is super easy to transform, just like every other figure in the RiD line. His transformation motif features nothing that we haven’t seen before. Arms to the sides, snap the legs together, and fold the back assembly over to the top of the vehicle. Flip in the feet pieces and line up the spoilers. That pretty much describes the entire transformation. It’s painfully simple, even by RiD standards. Granted, the alt mode does look cool. This futuristic race car reminds of me Crasher from the GoBots. I bet a customizer has already made a Crasher using this figure. Blurr’s weapon is in a translucent blue, and it comes with 2 pegs so you can position the weapon in two different orientations. All in all, this is not a bad figure, but offers nothing new for the mature collector.

Barricade

I am pleased to introduce my very first figure from The Last Knight: Barricade. There has been many deluxe movie Barricades made, and none of them are that good. I have the very first Barricade, from the 1st movie, as part of “First Encounter” 2 pack. And I have deluxe Barricade from Dark of the Moon. DotM Barricade is slightly better than the first Barricade, but neither one set the world on fire.

Hasbro used the term “Premier Edition” to label TLK toys that are more geared towards collectors, kind of like how Age of Extinction used the “Generations” banner. I started seeing the Premier Edition figs at Walmart in early April. Right away I liked the packaging. Even for the deluxe size figs, they are packed in boxes and not on cardboard. That’s always a plus in my book. In addition to Barricade, there was Bumblebee, Berserker, and Slash in the first wave of Premier Edition deluxe figs. I’m pretty sure Bumblebee and Slash are repaints from AoE. Berserker didn’t look all that interesting. That only leaves Barricade. Out of these 4, he does look the best in the box. And since I was never satisfied with the previous Barricades, I was really hoping this figure would be better. So I left the store with only Barricade.

I’m gonna go over the alt mode first. Barricade’s police car paint job is quite good. This Barricade is more of a dark blue, and not black. The Decepticon logo and the “POLICE” markings are painted very sharply on both sides. Front headlights and the police siren lights on the grill are also nicely painted. Same goes for the rear brake lights. This Barricade still has the phrase “To Punish and Enslave” written in cursive right above the rear wheels, and this application looks better than ever. What I find most impressive about this alt mode is that it’s got room for all his accessories. There are peg holes for the pistol and the night stick underneath the vehicle. And with those attached, there is still plenty of clearance for the police car to roll well on a flat surface. But what’s really impressive is how the arm cannon is placed in alt mode. The round arm cannon fold apart to form 2 semi-circles, and in this form the cannon is pegged in on the rear windshield. It’s a very cool effect and I commend Hasbro for this design. Barricade feels cohesive in this mode, nothing dangling or flopping around. If I was only judging this by alt mode, this is the best Barricade ever made.

Transformation to robot mode is pretty simple. That seems to be the trend for movie figures these days, even the ones made for collectors. It’s nothing we haven’t seen from the movie line, so I won’t describe it too much. In robot mode, Barricade looks ok, not great. I feel that his proportions are off. The legs appear a bit short in my opinion, giving more of a stocky look. The big weakness of the robot mode is that there is way too much back kibble. The roof of the car is draped over almost the entire back side. In fact, the roof of the car accounts for about 70% of the height in robot mode. It’s not AoE Crosshairs bad, but pretty close. Articulation is decent for a fig in this class, though I gotta point out there is no waist articulation and the head only moves from side to side, not up and down. The pistol and nightstick can be held in either hand. The same peg holes for their storage in alt mode is now positioned to the side of the thighs, so he can store them there in bot mode for kind of a cool look. The arm cannon can be wrapped around either arm. In my opinion, the robot mode is mediocre at best.

So should you get Barricade? I do feel this is the best Barricade made to date, but that’s not saying too much. Alt mode is excellent, but bot mode is so-so. If you’re not crazy about the character, then perhaps wait for the MP Barricade that is due out sometime this year.

Below is a pic of Barricade with some other TLK figures, that will come in later months.

I mentioned in earlier entries that I made a visit to New Zealand and Australia in 2017. That was a great trip! And I wanna go back there so bad. Anyways, that happened in April of 2017. The 3 figures featured so far were found before the trip. All other figures this month were acquired after the trip. And believe me, I tried hunting for Transformers in Australia. I did locate some Toys R Us stores on Google Maps, but they were too far out of the way from where we stayed and where we went for attractions. Bummer. I would have liked to see Toys R Us in Australia, like I did for Paris and Shanghai. And now that Toys R Us is officially closing all stores here in the United States (and in the U.K.), I wonder if the international stores will survive.

Broadside

TR Broadside is one of the last figures I found in April, but I’m gonna talk about him now. For a long time, I was really hoping Hasbro would make a Broadside. I featured my CHUG Wreckers a while back, in this post. Look on the 3rd shelf, and I got all the original Wreckers updated in modern day form. Except for Broadside. So now having Broadside is a dream come true. That is, until I opened the figure.

Broadside is one of the original Autobot Triple Changers, along with Springer and Sandstorm. His 2 alt modes is a jet and an aircraft carrier. The concept of such a figure already boggles the mind. From a story perspective, Broadside has to be doing some crazy mass shifting to go from a regular sized bot to an aircraft carrier. And as for the toy, it’s very, very had to implement in physical form, because the shape of an aircraft carrier is very different from the shape of a jet. I never had the G1 toy, but I understand it’s not the best.

Titans Return is taking a stab at doing this difficult figure to please the hardcore completist fans, and I do appreciate them trying. But the end result is less than stellar. The aircraft carrier mode is decent, the robot mode is passable, but the jet mode is horrendous. The front of the jet looks ok, but the rear of the jet looks like something a fan would make up out of a toy as another mode. It’s as if the toy designers did not know what to do with the robot legs, so they kinda just stuck it in an awkward configuration for the rear of the jet called it a day. There is so much bulk at the back that this can’t be considered a good jet mode by any means. I don’t recommend this figure. Here are some pics.

Sky Shadow

Another figure I got towards the end of the month is Sky Shadow. He’s the last TR figure for the month. I did a quick review for him already, so read all the juicy details here. Sky Shadow is a recommended figure for this month.

Bumblebee, Kickback, Gnaw

The 3 TR legend class figures were bought as a set, for $32.99. I did find them all individually later in store for cheaper, but I wanted to lock them in early since legend figures always go fast when they first come out.

TR Bumblebee is not bad, but not great. Transformation uses the tried and true Bumblebee formula. Poseability is decent and construction is solid. I love the head and face sculpt, it’s done really well for a $10 figure. The Autobot logo is also nicely painted on and not a cheap sticker. The alt mode, while not a G1 bug, resembles something that Bumblebee would choose to be today. This figure doesn’t do anything that previous CHUG legend Bumblebees haven’t done, with the exception of one thing: A Titan Master can ride inside him in alt mode. You read that right. Most figures first released under the Titans Return line can have a Titan Master ride somewhere in their alt modes. And legend figures are no exception (if the alt mode is a vehicle). In Bumblebee’s case, the chest cavity is made hollow enough that a Titan Master can be squeezed in there in alt mode. However, this does mean that getting the car mode to clean up nicely after transformation is a bit tougher. The panel pieces surrounding the hollow cabin can collapse on itself inwards. My final verdict is that TR Bumblebee is a nice offering. Worth picking up if you have no other CHUG Bumblebees, or if you dig the the Titan Master riding feature. As for everyone else, this is an optional purchase.

TR Kickback is the last of the 3 famous Insecticons to be released in legend scale, in some kind of Generations line. We already got Thrilling 30 Skrapnel (Shrapnel) and Combiner Wars Bombshell (glad they could keep the name and not use Bombshock). Titans Return Kickback completes the trio. Overall, I like this Insecticon less than the other 2. The figure is ok, but he’s more flimsy than his Insecticon brothers. Construction of the figure feels cheap. He’s got parts dangling about in both modes, but that’s more of an issue with the initial character design. The insect mode is the weakest of the 3, by far. The mechanics of the transformation seems rushed and lazy. All TR legend figures use cheap ball joints, but Kickback’s implementation of them appear really obvious. If you got the other 2, than by all means pick up this figure to assemble the trio. But if you don’t, Kickback can be a skip. Or better yet, get one of the other ones first. My favorite out of these 3 is Bombshell, and it’s not because I’m partial to the character. He’s the most robust and solid out of the 3 Insecticons.

The last in this set of threesome is Gnaw. Anyone who has seen the G1 Movie knows that Gnaw makes up the drone soldiers of the Sharkticon army, under direction of the Quintessons. A G1 figure of Gnaw was made, and I think his allegiance was Sharkticon on the Tech Spec Bio. However, they still put a Decepticon logo on the toy, and I don’t recall if the name Gnaw was ever used in the G1 Movie or Cartoons. So was a figure made after the Movie designed this character, or did they take this toy and then make up the whole Quintesson backstory? We may never know. But what I do know is that TR Gnaw is pretty cool. He is one of the most unique figures that I have purchased in some time. His colors are unmistakably Gnaw. In robot mode he’s kinda stocky, but that actually reflects how he looked in the G1 Movie. Transformation to the metal shark creature is one of the most unique I have seen, and mechanically it actually works quite well. Robot head folds back, and the legs go backwards and form the shark back and head. Robot arms become the shark legs. The weapon becomes the shark tail. It doesn’t do justice when I describe it in words, but trust me it’s cool. I love how Gnaw looks as the shark creature. He’s got nice clear yellow eyes and a working lower jaw. Shark arms can be rotated, and the shark legs has a decent level of articulation. The alt mode also comes together well, forming a solid cohesive piece despite the fact that he’s got arms and legs. My only gripe is that he’s only legend class. In the Movie he’s actually a tad bigger than Hot Rod and Kup, so a deluxe or voyager class figure would have made more sense. But as legend class, I suppose some hardcore fan out there can get a bunch of these and assemble a Sharkticon army. I give Gnaw the highest level of recommendation. This figure is a required purchase for G1 fans.

E-Nergeon Cubes

I made quick post about these cubes here. See that post for a more in depth look at this high quality 3P accessory made to scale with your MP figures. Highly recommended.

MADLAW

Sixshot is not the only Six-Changer in the TF Universe. There is also an Autobot Six-Changer: Quickswitch. Only the most hardcore of G1-ers know about Quickswitch, and that’s for good reason. The toy came about way too late in G1 to matter. And, to be quite frank, G1 Quickswitch is not the best figure by any standards. In robot mode he looks like he’s wearing diapers, the puma mode is a mess, and his weird color palette of red and green is worthy of arrest by the Cybertron fashion police.

MADLAW is FansProject’s attempt at a modern Quickswitch, much like Hexatron is to Sixhot. Upon first hearing about MADLAW, I was quite excited. When he was finally released, there wasn’t much fanfare or fan buzz. Then the figure faded into obscurity, buried among the many 3P products that we are now saturated with today. Now I know why. Unlike the awesome Hexatron, Quickswitch is not a figure that will knock your socks off.

I purchased MADLAW sometime in late 2016. Tfsource.com had a sale for it at $39.99. I figured you can’t go wrong at this price. I didn’t have anything else to ship with MADLAW so I waited til now. And MADLAW did not make this worth the wait. He’s packed in robot mode. He looks alright in this mode, not great but not bad. He’s significantly smaller than Hexatron. So I guess MADLAW is meant to scale with CHUG.

The first mode I tried to transform him to is the boat mode. I didn’t get very far before I noticed something weird. On one side, the foot piece wouldn’t rotate and line up correctly to go into this alt mode no matter how hard I tried. Turns out, I got left foot pieces on both legs! At this point I gave up on trying to transform the figure and MADLAW stayed in robot mode all this time.

I contacted Tfsource.com to have the situation remedied. Tfsource made me take pictures of the issue, so I did and sent it to them. Then they come back saying I contacted them after 30 days, and per their policy they can’t do anything after 30 days. I got two problems here. One: why did they make me take pictures if all they are gonna say is this is past 30 days? That was a total waste of my time. Two: quoting a policy to not remedy the problem is simply hiding behind policy to do nothing. Real good here, tfsouce. Aren’t you the one that makes the policies? There is no faster way to alienate customers than hiding behind stupid policies. I have since given tfsource way less business. Both capturedprey.com and thechosenprime.com have gone to much greater lengths to take care of me. I mentioned how capturedprey.com got a replacement stand piece for me for Soar. And more recently, thechosenprime.com got me a replacement piece for Contactshot. On a part that I broke! And I broke it about 4 months after the purchase! I now give these 2 much more business. Screw Tfsource!

Anyways, back to MADLAW. Even without the foot piece issue, I don’t think he’s such a great figure. He is kinda small for today’s standards. The only alt mode I tried to get him to didn’t look all that good, even if there was not a wrong foot piece getting in the way. Transformation for that one mode also didn’t feel that smooth. I realize I didn’t fully give the figure a chance here, but if FansProject had better QA, I would have. I blame FP for including the wrong part to begin with, and tfsouce for not fixing the problem. As it stands, I do not recommend this figure. For that reason, I’m not gonna include any pics of MADLAW out of the box. My thoughts about the figure may change, if I choose to dig out this figure and play with it more. But that seems highly unlikely.

If you’re wondering why this figure is called MADLAW, it’s because each letter in the name is also the first letter for each of the modes. For example, W stands for Wood Runner (the puma mode).

All this reminds me of the time I got two left hands for the TF Animated Rodimus figure. How do errors like these happen? Sometimes I really wonder what goes on at a transforming figure toy factory. I have a feeling I might not wanna know. I hope it’s not as bad as what I read about Apple factories.

Is another 3P going to take a stab at their own Quickswitch? Only time will tell.

Turbo Ejector

Last but certainly not least, I have to mention Turbo Ejector. This awesome figure is Warbotron’s interpretation of Technobot Afterburner in MP scale. I did a quick review of the figure. Go read that for all the details, or just trust me and go buy this figure now.

To summarize, these are the grades for the figures this month:

Recommended:

  • RiD Soundwave
  • TR Gnaw
  • TR Sky Shadow
  • E-Nergeon Cubes
  • Warbotron Turbo Ejector

Mediocre:

  • TR Bumblebee
  • TR Kickback
  • RiD Blurr
  • TLK Barricade

Not Recommended:

  • TR Broadside
  • FansProject Function-XV MADLAW (though this may change)

Transform and Roll Out.

 

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