Archive

Archive for December, 2018

Transformers Purchased in December 2017

December 26th, 2018 No comments

We are finally at the end of 2017. Long time coming, but better late than never.

Unlike last month, this month is all official Hasbro products. This month also sees the introduction of the new Hasbro Generations line: Power of the Primes!

  • Power of the Primes Jazz, amazon.com, $15.00

  • Power of the Primes Dreadwind, amazon.com, $15.00

  • Power of the Primes Windcharger, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Slash, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Beachcomber, amazon.com, $12.00

  • Power of the Primes Starscream, amazon.com, $24.99

  • Titans Return Cosmos, Target, $5.14

  • Titans Return Shuffler, Target, $2.48

Power of the Primes is the 3rd arc in the Prime Wars Trilogy, the first 2 being Combiner Wars and Titans Return. This is the current line in the universe of what fans label CHUG (Classics, Henkei, Universe, Generations). I sort of went into the timeline history of Power of the Primes back in this post for the Terrorcons. Anyway, the first Power of the Primes figures appeared this month. I also first previewed Power of the Primes figures back in this post. Now that I have them, how does each of them fare? Here are my grades:

Recommended:

  • Beachcomber – Nice homage to G1 Beachcomber. Fun transformation with good robot and alt modes. Solid construction and nice paint job.
  • Windcharger – This figure is better than Combiner Wars Windcharger. It’s more G1 accurate.
    I like this as much as Reveal the Shield Windcharger.
  • Slash – Good little Dino. Slash was not part of the original 5 G1 Dinobots, but I like that they took a Movie-verse character and made him in G1 style. Since he’s a raptor, a legend size figure makes sense. The toy is well built and has a fun transformation. Both modes are solid.

Not Recommended:

  • Jazz – PotP Jazz is disappointing. Decent robot and alt modes, but nothing spectacular here. Transformation is derivative and lackluster. The panels behind the fists in robot mode really bug me. Construction is poor with some loose joints in robot mode and some REALLY bad connections in combined mode. As a limb Jazz does not connect well to both CW body components and the fist/feet add-on piece.
  • Dreadwind – This is yet another re-work of old figures. He has some new mold bits, but nothing that hides the overall motif of the CW Aerialbot. He does combine with Blackwing (to be released later) in alt mode, but the combined super jet seems forced and tacked-on. As a limb, the connections are poor too.
  • Starscream – Weird body proportions in robot mode, and way too bulky in jet mode. Decent as a body component for a combiner. This mold is really meant for Elita-One (to be released later). Get that figure instead.

I did not open Cosmos and Shuffler. I bought these two only because they were half off. I have Generations Thrilling 30 Comsos, which is the exact same thing with minor paint app differences. See this post for in-depth comparison. I imagine Shuffler is not terribly different from the many Titan Masters out there. There was a G1 Shuffler, in Japan only and supposedly super rare. I know nothing about Shuffler the character.

Some group pics of the opened TFs this month.

This is the last of my purchase posts for 2017. Time to move onto 2018. Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

2018 Black Friday Haul

December 18th, 2018 No comments

Black Friday + Cyber Monday == TF Shopping. Black Fridays represent everything that is wrong with America. Nevertheless, here are my TF acquisitions per this materialistic tradition in 2018.

Some quick blurb about each figure.

Front row, left to right:

Ocular Max Artifex: I never understood the relationship between MMC (Mastermind Creations) and Ocular Max. Are they the same company with a name change? Or did Ocular Max spin off from MMC? Or is Ocular Max a sub-line in MMC’s offerings? Whatever it is, Artifex is their take on a MP-style Hoist. He’s well designed with a interesting transformation. But sub-par manufacturing really hurt this figure. Tolerance issues abound with Artifex. I already broke one accessory. Artifex is OK as a display piece, but not recommended as a toy. Even at a sale price of $49.99, I regret buying Artifex.

Mech Fans Toys Grmlock: I don’t know much about Mech Fans Toys (MFT). They came out of nowhere. As far as I know, all their products are 4th party (read: knock offs of 3rd party products). MFT Grmlock is their knock off version of this figure, though with better paint (I think). He’s not bad, but gives your hands and fingers a good workout when transforming because the joints are so freakin’ tight. Grmlock is my 2nd dino from MFT, the first being Slurdge (you can guess who that is). And Grmlock is not a mis-spelling; it’s purposely spelled that way, this being KO and all. Grmlock was bought at $24.99, it’s usual price.

PotP Optimal Optimus: I found this at Target at its usual MSRP of $44.99, the day after Black Fri. This figure is pretty rare, even as of this writing. I only saw him this one time in store, and online dealers totally jack up his price. I thought long and hard in the store if I really wanted Optimal Optimus. I bought the figure after some nudging from my wife (think she just got sick of waiting for me to make up my mind). He’s okay. Not bad, but not great.

X-Transbots Toro: I got this from a eBay seller. Lately, eBay has been offering 10% or 15% off coupons at fairly regular intervals, and I took advantage. I used one for Toro and it brought the price down to less than $50. Toro is a great figure! He looks good in both modes, comes with a plethora of accessories, has a interesting transformation, scales well with other MPs, is well built, and boasts some of the best paint and finish I have seen in quite some time. Some fans knock Toro for it’s fake chest windows, but it’s something I can easily overlook because everything else is so well done. Highly recommended.

Back row, left to right:

Studio Series Grimlock: The 2nd Grimlock on this Black Fri, SS Grimlock was bought from hasbrotoyshop.com via eBay for $39.99, with another 10% coupon added for good measure. My wife never comments on my Transformers, but even she gave SS Grimlock an endorsement. These are her words: “That dinosaur looks great! Really sharp!” So there you go. Personally I’m not terribly impressed with the robot mode, but you get this figure for the dino mode and it delivers.

PotP Predaking: This is the big enchilada this Black Fri. He’s normally $159.99. ToyDojo was offering this guy at $99.99 for the sale, so I bought one for the win. And I’ll re-iterate what many TransFans have said: you get this for the combined mode! This Predaking looks so good and is so stable, I would rate this combined mode better than Feral Rex by MMC. However, the individual bots range from mediocre to unimpressive. Most of them have really weak beast modes. The leg bots feature giant back kibble (the Predaking thigh parts) in robot mode. Razorclaw feels like the smallest of the 5, despite being the chest and the leader. But again, the Predaking combined form is where this set shines. When displayed in its full combined glory, this set is worth every penny.

PotP Nemesis Prime: Nemesis Prime is an Amazon exclusive. On Cyber Monday, they had a deal for this guy at $32.99. I already had Nemesis Prime in my cart previous to Cyber Monday. I waited to see if there would be a Black Fri deal, but nothing. Then Cyber Monday happened, I saw the sale price, and bought with haste. I like this figure. Yes, he’s a repaint of PotP Evolution Optimus Prime (which I have too), but he comes with more weapons and has re-worked heads that more accurately depict Nemesis Prime. On my copy, his joints don’t feel as tight as the ones on Optimus, especially the hip and ankle joints. But your mileage may vary. Even as a repaint, Nemesis Prime is worthy of your purchase.

Sometimes I wonder if a society like what is on Cybertron would have a Black Friday equivalent. It is often implied that Cybertronians do have a class structure, at least prior to the war. But you don’t ever see Cybertronians shop. What is their system for distribution of goods and resources? For the Autobots, one can only guess. Decepticons just take what they want.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in November 2017

December 7th, 2018 No comments

Much like June 2016 and March 2017, November 2017 is another month where the 3P products outnumber the official products. Well, sort of. In term of figure count, that number is up for debate. But In terms of purchase count, the number of 3P products win hands down. It’s not even close.

Let’s take a look at all the goodies.

  • Titans Return Siege on Cybertron, bbts.com, $99.99

  • Unique Toys Allen, bbts.com, $59.99

  • MakeToys Contactshot, thechosenprime.com, $89.99

  • MakeToys Despotron, thechosenprime.com, $69.99

  • Fans Toys Phoenix, capturedprey.com, $210.00

Siege on Cybertron

The only official product purchased this month is the Siege on Cybertron set. This set is released in the United States as a Big Bad Toy Store exclusive. On the box, the set advertises that it includes 5 figures. They are:

  • Magnus Prime (leader class)
  • Tidal Wave (voyager class)
  • Metalhawk (deluxe class)
  • Pounce (legend class)
  • Thunderwing (master class)

They are packed in the box as shown in the pic below.

Magnus Prime is obviously the big draw here. I missed out on Transformers Legends Super Ginrai (LG-35), a Japanese only release. I wasn’t paying attention, and thought that Super Ginrai is simply a Japanese repaint of Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime. Big mistake. Super Ginrai is generally regarded as a superior figure to TR Powermaster Optimus Prime by most fans. When I came out of my TF stupor and realized that Super Ginrai is something different entirely, it was sold out at everywhere, except for online dealers that were charging crazy markups.

It was around this time that BBTS announced that they would be releasing this Siege on Cybertron set. The set includes Magnus Prime, which is a very slight repaint of Super Ginrai. Furthermore, MSRP of Super Ginrai is $109.99, while Siege of Cybertron is only $99.99 and includes a bunch of other things. So I bought this set with no hesitation.

It’s now almost a year later as I write this, and I still have not opened this set. I took it out of the box (as pictured above), but all figures are still on twist ties. This whole set just looks so damn good in the package that I’m reluctant to take it out. I’ll probably remove Magnus Prime from the twist ties in the future, to check out this mold. And while we’re on that topic, I have no idea who is Magnus Prime. Maybe he was a previous Prime to Optimus, or maybe he’s some kind of enhanced Optimus. I could look it up on TFWiki, but I won’t. I’m gonna regard this figure as Optimus Prime.

The only other new mold in the set is Pounce. And when I say new, I mean that it did not previously have a mass retail release in the United States. Pounce is one part of a clone, the other part being his twin Wingspan. These 2 have not been produced since G1 (to my knowledge), so I’m glad they got a modern update. Unfortunately, this set only includes Pounce and not Wingspan. I would have to get Wingspan elsewhere.

The remaining full-size figures in the set are all repaints of something previously released. Metalhawk is a repaint of Triggerhappy, while Tidal Wave is a repaint of Broadside. They come with Titan Masters that are different from their respective repaints (more on this later). I really like the Triggerhappy mold, but Broadside is just so-so.

Siege on Cybertron advertises 5 figures. The last “figure” here is Thunderwing. I put that in quotes because this is just a Titan Master. It’s debatable if they should count as figures. If you choose to, shouldn’t this set be 8 figures then (the 5 listed, plus the heads for Magnus Prime, Metalhawk, and Tidal Wave)? And if you choose not to, then this set should only be 4 figures. Either way, the 5 figure count is misleading. I know I’m nitpicking here, but I think it’s important to get this right. Anyway, Thunderwing is supposed to be a huge Transformer, in the pages of both Marvel and IDW. All we’re getting here is the head of Thunderwing. I suppose HasTak can make the body later. But including only the head here and then advertising as having Thunderwing feels like a cheap inclusion. I don’t care that this Titan Master is exclusive to this set.

Again, I don’t have any of this open, so I can’t speak to the quality of any of these figs. But assuming they are as good as their repaint counterparts or Japanese versions, Siege on Cybertron is a good set to buy. At only $99.99, you are getting 4 full-fledged figures, plus 4 Titan Masters. As of this writing, the set is a bit marked up now. But it can still be found for around $120, which is still a good deal if you missed out.

Allen

The first 3P figure for this month is Allen, Unique Toys’ tribute to Springer. I did a quick review of Allen, so see that post for all the details. At only $59.99, it was almost a crime to not get this, if only to check it out. And I don’t regret it one bit. Yes, Allen is not the perfect 3P Springer. There are many other options now. And to my knowledge, none are perfect. Most fans seem to elect Fans Toys Apache as the best 3P Springer produced to date. But there are qualities to Allen that makes him worthy of your collection. He’s very robust and very playable. The transformation engineering is impressive, and all modes look good in my opinion.

Allen was purchased in the same order as Siege of Cybertron above. Buying together saves money on shipping. But you all knew that.

Contactshot

Contactshot by MakeToys is the first of three Black Friday purchases that I made from The Chosen Prime. This online dealer will feature MakeToys products at insane discounts every now and then. I’m guessing MakeToys have a close working business relationship with The Chosen Prime, if the figs can be offered at such low prices. I got Contactshot for only $89.99, way less than its MSRP of $139.99.

Contactshot is an homage to Pointblank, a Targetmaster that came around in G1 Season 4. You don’t need to be too hardcore in G1 to know about Pointblank, but at the same time he’s not a character that casual G1 fans would know about. He was one of the better G1 Targetmaster toys produced when this line was first introduced. His Nebulos gun partner is Peacemaker. In the US G1 cartoons for Season 4, Pointblank made some appearances in the three episode arc “Rebirth”. This was such a short season that none of the new characters were given enough screen time. My understanding is that, in the Japanese continuity from Season 4 onwards, Pointblank is given much more detailed treatment. However I know next to nothing about the Japanese continuity, so I cannot confirm nor deny that assertion.

Truth be told, I had a feeling that Contactshot would become a Black Friday sale item. As a character, he’s not that well known. Fans have been saying Contactshot is a quality piece, but nothing that puts it in the groundbreaking territory. The regular price point of $139.99 is a bit much for fans with no familiarity of the character. Contactshot wasn’t exactly flying off the shelves, so I had a hunch he would go on sale for Black Friday. And I was right! When I saw that The Chosen Prime was letting him go for $89.99, I ordered with haste.

I have played with Contactshot for a while now, and transformed him twice to alt mode and twice back to robot mode (including breaking a piece, but more on this later). I agree with the consensus of the TF fandom: Contactshot is a pretty good figure, but not so good that it’s a must get if you don’t know the character. But first let’s take a look at Contactshot in the package.

Contactshot comes in a pretty small box, and he’s sandwiched between standard fitted clear clam shells. It’s a no-frills packaging, and it works. However, if you’ve paid MSRP, you might make a case that the packaging needs to be more elaborate. He comes with his Targetmaster partner Peacemaker, an accessory that doubles as a vehicle top-side spoiler/thruster and robot arm cannon, one extra helmet, and two extra face plates. The extra helmet and face plates are for if you want to create a G1 toy accurate look, or the G1 Japanese continuity look.

In your hands, Contactshot feels solid and weighty. It’s clear that good materials are used for the figure. Most of it is high quality plastic, with bits of diecast added here and there. Articulation is pretty good in robot mode. He can be put into some fairly dynamic poses, and the figure’s construction is solid enough that he can hold the poses. Transformation to alt mode is satisfying. Some of it is fairly straightforward, while other areas can be somewhat frustrating. The leg transformation to alt mode can be a bit annoying. It’s fairly obvious what you need to do, but actually doing it takes some work. I do like the look of the alt mode though. Pic below.

This is a very true representation of Pointblank in alt mode. I don’t remember seeing Pointblank in this mode in the Season 4 US Cartoons. But if you’re comparing to the original G1 Pointblank toy, Contactshot is spot on. The future race car shape and colors are all accurate. Even the iconic wings/spoiler on top of the vehicle is there. The Targetmaster can ride inside the cockpit.

If you have a thing for Pointblank the character, or if you like seeing modern interpretations of Targetmasters, then Contactshot may be for you. This figure is a solid toy. But at it’s usual MSRP, I feel that it does not offer enough as a toy alone.

I mentioned I broke off a piece of Contactshot on my first transform back to robot mode. This was mentioned above, and also in a brief bit back in this post (scroll down to the part highlighted in yellow). It was my mistake entirely. I kinda forgot how to properly do it, and just tried to force it through. Big mistake. One of the red pieces on the side of one chest broke off. This was about 4 months after the purchase. I reached out to thechosenprime.com, and they were able to contact the manufacturer and send me a replacement piece! That made me really happy. I want to give them a big shout out again here. There are other online TF retailers that can’t or won’t do this (I’m looking at you, TFSource!). Thechosenprime.com is now my go to retailer for anything 3rd party or MP.

Despotron

The 2nd Black Friday item acquired from The Chosen Prime is MakeToys Despotron, their stab at a MP Megatron. Despotron was released before the 2nd official release of MP Megatron (MP-36). At the time of Despotron’s release, there were already other 3Ps in the MP Megatron game. Some stiff competition included Apollyon by X-Transbots and Mightron by DX9. It was kind of up to individual taste as to which of these 3P Megs was the right one for you. None of the three were perfect. They each have their pros and cons.

MP-36 was released after all these Megs. It is not the perfect Megatron either. But for the most part, fans seem to agree that MP-36 is slightly superior to all the 3Ps. This may simply be that MP-36 is the official product, and, rightly or wrongly, official products carry more weight in the TF fandom just by being official.

After MP-36 was released, demand for all these 3P Megs went down. I predicted at least one of the 3P Megs would go one sale for Black Friday, and once again my TF hunch was right. Though I didn’t think it would be Despotron, and I certainly didn’t think the price would come down this much. MSRP of Despotron is close to $150, and on this Black Friday it went down to $69.99! I wasted no time getting one, despite the fact I already had MP-36. Despotron was the one I wanted out of the 3Ps, before I knew of MP-36.

I studied many pics online and watched many vids of the 3P Megatrons, and what drawn me to Despotron is the way he looks and the way he transforms. In robot mode, you can see his proportions are somewhat different from the G1 TV cartoons. Despotron is a bit bulkier. Many have said that these proportions more resemble modern Megatron interpretations in the pages of Dreamweave and IDW. And some have said that this is a transforming version of Revoltech Megatron, which I do have. I personally feel that the G1 Movie Megatron had a bulkier frame than his cartoon counterpart. Despotron looks like someone that can go toe to toe with Optimus and then some. Take a look at some pics of Despotron in the box.

If you’re worried about that orange plug, don’t. It comes right out. In fact, it’s kinda loose that having it stay on takes more work.

As for transformation, I think Despotron wins hands down, even if you count MP-36. He has the cleanest transformation of all the MP Megs. He hides the gun bits the best in robot mode. He has the cleanest backside with virtually no gun kibble. And he’s actually fun to transform. This is a MP Megs figure that is not frustrating or overly difficult, and that’s saying a lot for a modern MP Megatron. With instructions, I got him transformed to gun mode pretty quickly on the first go, like less than 20 min.

I think he looks pretty spectacular in the gun mode. For a MP Megatron that’s fun to transform, Despotron is the clear choice.

Despotron does have his faults. The face sculpt is adequate, but I feel it is the weakest of all the modern MP Megs offerings. He comes with very little accessories when compared to the competition. All other figures come with silencer and shoulder stock attachment, which Despotron is glaringly missing. And considering that the MSRP was close to $150, that’s not good value.

All in all, I recommend Despotron, but only if you can find it at way less than MSRP like I did. He offers an alternate interpretation of G1 Megatron that feels very different from MP-36. Despotron is a fun transforming toy, something the MP-36 can make no claim whatsoever. I really want to do a review of this figure in the future.

Phoenix

I have saved the best for last. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… drum roll please… Phoenix!

Let me make this clear: Phoenix is the ultimate interpretation of a MP Jetfire. Other companies have tried, with varying levels of success. I don’t have any of those other figures, and I don’t need to. Fans Toys have outdone themselves again and hit this one way out of the park. Phoenix is G1 Jetfire materialized as a masterpiece figure. I can yap on and on about how great he looks, but I’ll let the pics below do the talking.


FT Phoenix robot mode.


FT Phoenix jet mode.

FT always look very carefully at the G1 animation models and then produces figures that match that look. Phoenix is no exception. In both modes, he looks like he stepped straight out of the G1 cartoons. But what’s more important is that Phoenix bears no semblance whatsoever to the original Takatoku Valkyrie toy that is the original G1 Jetfire figure. In other words, Phoenix is entirely based on the cartoon designs of Skyfire.

Transformation of Phoenix is actually not terribly complicated, for something so massive and easily integrates itself into the MP line. I’m almost tempted to say it’s simple, but there is enough going on in the transformation to keep most TransFans interested. All modern Jetfires have been on the easy side in terms of transformation. Classics Jetfire and Generations Thrilling 30 Jetfire comes to mind.

Construction and build quality of the figure is on par with everything that FT has produced to date. And if you’re wondering what that means, it means that it’s freakin’ awesome! All joints are nice, tight, and clicky. No dangling pieces or loose limbs. A jet mode that feels and plays like a cohesive whole.

Look at the pics below for scale with some other MP Autobots. Some argue he’s a tad too big, and I could see their point. But I just love this figure so much I’m willing to look past it.


FT Phoenix with MP Smokescreen, MP Red Alert, and MP Inferno.


FT Phoenix with MP Sunstreaker, MP Sideswipe, and MakeToys Gundog.

As for accessories, he comes with his gun (also modeled after the G1 animation model and not the Takatoku toy gun). FT gives you two removable chest plates where the faction symbol would go. So you can do one as Autobot and one as Decepticon, and reproduce that famous G1 scene where he switches allegiance. Very, very cool. The jetpack is not removable, and is a permanent (albeit transformable) piece as part of Phoenix. I don’t remember if he comes with other accessories, but I intend to do a full review soon and I’ll revisit this then.

Phoenix gets the highest possible recommendation from this TransFan.

I mentioned that I made 3 Black Fri purchases. The third one is MakeToys Ironwill, their interpretation of Hardhead. He won’t arrive for a while, so he’s not featured here. But he will get his 15 minutes. Until then… Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics