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Transformers Purchased in April 2018

July 27th, 2019 No comments

April of 2018 is all Power of the Primes and Studio Series action. And one unexpected purchase for an item that I considered in China, but smart to have waited to find back in the States. No 3rd or 4th party products.

  • Power of the Primes Battleslash, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Roadtrap, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Blackwing, Target, $16.99

  • Power of the Primes Tailgate, Walmart, $9.84

  • Studio Series Bumblebee, amazon.com, $19.99

  • Studio Series Stinger, amazon.com, $19.99

  • Studio Series Optimus Prime, Target, $29.99

  • Studio Series Blackout, amazon.com, $49.99

  • Robots in Disguise Bumblebee and Grimlock 2-pack, entertainmentearth.com, $29.99

Battleslash and Roadtrap

For the very first time since G1 (to my knowledge), Hasbro is updating the Duocons! Only the most hardcore of TransFans know of Duocons. They came around in G1 Season 4. Transformer toys in that season were full of gimmicks, and the Duocons were no exception. The gimmick here is that two vehicles come together to form the robot mode. Or alternatively, the robot splits into two vehicles. I never had the G1 toys, but my understanding is that when you put one vehicle on top of the other, the spring loaded action kicks in and the figure auto transforms. It’s similar to Battle Chargers, or Automorph from the first Bay movie.

Only two Duocons were released. One is Flywheels, a jet and a tank. The other is Battletrap, the figure you see updated here. Battletrap is a helicopter and a jeep. For this Power of the Primes upgrade, Hasbro went one step further and gave each component its own robot mode. The heli is named Battleslash, and the jeep is called Roadtrap. They can still come together to form the bigger robot, Battletrap. Yes even the name is a portmanteau of the two individual components (Battleslash + Roadtrap). The two figures are sold separately. See some pics below.

Combined as Battletrap!

Holding a random weapon. Big prizes to whoever correctly identifies who this weapon belongs to.

Overall, I like these two. Both are more complicated than meets the eye when it comes to transformation. To account for the combining gimmick and individual robot and alt modes, none of the modes are all that good, but it’s not terrible either. Combined as Battletrap, the figure can be a tad unstable, but not too bad if you’re not being overly rough. The figures themselves are more than playable. At only about $10 each, you owe it to yourself to get both of them. They are proper updates to some lesser known characters that true G1-ers will appreciate.

And if you’re wondering where is Flywheels, he will be updated in War For Cybertron Siege in 2019. Why they’re calling him Skytread in the update will be a mystery for the ages.

Blackwing

Blackwing was called Darkwing in G1. Darkwing and his very close cohort Dreadwind were both Decepticon Powermasters introduced in G1 Season 5. Powermasters had this gimmick where the Master figure transforms into the engine, which unlocks the transformation ability of the base figure. The toys were kinda cool, having to plug in the Powermaster and then transform. But from a story perspective, Powermasters are totally lame. I mean, why have someone else unlock an ability you always had before?

Dreadwind and Darkwing also has this unique feature where the two jets can come together to form a super jet, then called Dreadwing (Dreadwind + Darkwing). Yes, all these names that can abbreviate to DW is confusing. In G1 I never got them straight without looking at toy catalogs.

As a figure, PotP Blackwing is nothing we haven’t seen before. He feels like another retooled Combiner Wars figure that’s now released in the Power of the Primes line. The transformation is like so many CW figs before it, so I won’t even describe it.

PotP Blackwing can also combine with PotP Dreadwind to form Dreadwing. See pic below.

So does this also make Blackwing and Dreadwind Duocons, except they combine to form the alt mode instead of the robot mode? And are Dreadwind and Blackwing brothers like Sunstreaker and Sideswipe, or are they unrelated? These and any other questions about this pair will not be answered here. Because, quite frankly, these toys are not that good to be worth the time.

Tailgate

PotP Tailgate is a white repaint of PotP Windcharger, just like how it was in G1. Yes this is a quick cash grab on Hasbro’s part. But at least this repaint has its roots in G1 which makes it somewhat more justifiable. I hate it when repaints are created for the silliest reasons, such as when two characters share similar alt modes. One example that comes to mind is repainting Titans Return Hardhead into Titans Return Quake. There are many other such lame efforts.

I like this Tailgate better than Generations Thrilling 30 Tailgate. Both the robot mode and the alt mode bear stronger resemblance to his G1 self. Pics below.

Bumblebee

The Studio Series (SS) is officially kicking off this month. Technically, my first Studio Series purchase happened last month with SS Thundercracker. But that was a store exclusive, the character never appeared in the movies, and it was a repaint of something that existed prior to SS. So to me it did not feel like an official kick off to the series.

The Studio Series is Hasbro’s latest offerings on figures from the movie-verse. SS will offer characters from every movie, from the 1st Bay movie all the way up to Bumblebee. The main selling point of SS is that they’re “BIG SCREEN INSPIRED”. This means the figures are re-engineered to be much more screen accurate than previous offerings. SS pays close attention to scale, and every SS figure will be scaled accurately to each other in size (or so they claim). Every SS figure comes with a cardboard backdrop of an important scene relating to the character in the movie.

All Studio Series are numbered, along with an indication of the figure’s movie of origin. And of course for 01 it would be Bumblebee. And not just any Bumblebee; for 01, it’s the classic Camaro Bee from the first movie.

The only classic Camaro movie Bumblebee figure I had was from the first movie. And he’s broken. So I very much welcomed this new SS01 Bumblebee.

I’ll start with the pros of the figure. In both modes, Bumblebee looks very very screen accurate. I estimate 90% of all movie Bumblebee figures made are of the new Camaro. So it’s very refreshing when we get a Bumblebee figure of the classic Camaro. The figure comes with an extra arm in the arm cannon mode (see pics above), so you can pose Bumblebee in his iconic fighting stance. When not being used, the arm cannon can be stored on Bumblebee’s butt. It’s a weird placement that would invite all kinds of jokes, but I’ll give Hasbro points for coming up the feature nevertheless.

Unfortunately, there ware way too many cons about SS01, in my opinion. He could have been better constructed. Some joints are way too loose, such as the hip joints. The roof joint and arm socket pops off way too easily during transformation. The right arm is meant to come off so it can be swapped with the gun cannon arm, but neither arm bits stay on well. The transformation scheme we have seen a thousand times before. It really does feel like HasTak took deluxe Last Knight Bumblebee and retrofitted a classic Camaro mode on top of that figure. And while we’re on that point, do we really need any more movie-verse Bumblebees? Strip away the fancy Studio Series packaging, and you get the nagging feeling you’ve played with this figure before. Because, chances are, you have.

Despite these negatives, SS01 Bumblebee is the best mass-produced classic Camaro movie Bumblebee that has been made to date. All previous efforts pale in comparison to what we have here. SS01 Bumblebee is a very good figure that looks great in both modes. So do I recommend him? If you don’t own any other movie-verse classic Camaro Bumblebees, then by all means pick up this one. If you must have a classic Camaro Bumblebee figure with today’s TF engineering, then this figure should fit the bill. If you are generally sick of movie Bumblebees, however, you may want to pass on this figure. It’s really just a rehash of all the deluxe movie Bumblebees that has been released in the last few years.

Stinger

Studio Series 02 is Stinger from Age of Extinction. I don’t think a deluxe version of Stinger was ever released in the United States. There is a Takara version floating around out there, and I know there are legion figures made of Stinger. But a mass produced deluxe version of Stinger aimed at mature collectors was never made available on this side of the Pacific. So I very much welcomed Stinger in the SS line.

And this Stinger delivers! Check out pics below.

The robot mode looks great. He’s very proportionate, and I love the look of all the gears sticking out his back. I’m not a big fan of the arm cannon that is transformed from the roof of the car, but that may have been his design from the movies.

Stinger’s transformation is where this toy truly shines. Stinger has perhaps the most unorthodox robot-to-car transformation scheme of any Transformer in history! Yes you read that right. I cannot think of any other Transformer figure that even slightly resembles how Stinger transforms, across all Transformer lines. And because the transformation is so unorthodox, it’s hard to describe it in words. There are a lot of rotations involved. The chest kind of flips back onto itself, then folds out from the windshield where it was resting. It’s super bizarre, but totally refreshing at the same time. The result is a super cool and sleek alt mode that does the figure justice. Pics below.

I love the look of this car mode. I think Stinger is supposed to be a Pagani, and this alt mode pays good tribute to the overall defining shape of the automobile.

SS02 Stinger is a well-built figure. Way better than the SS01. All joints are the right level of tightness, and the alt mode comes together well with no parts flopping around. There are no issues with standing and posing the robot mode. Articulation fiends should have nothing to complain about here.

In the movie, Stinger is an Earth-made Transformer created by humans. It makes sense that Stinger is radically different from all Transformers before it, and the toy transformation more than reflects that fact.

There are minor issues with the toy that I need to point out. In alt mode, it can be tough to position the four back extrusions properly underneath the vehicle so that the car has enough bottom clearance when rested on a flat surface. The 4 gear accessories also love to fall off. They don’t stay on that well. For these reasons, I actually didn’t like SS Stinger too much when I first played with it. But the awesome transformation eventually grew on me. This toy takes Transformers to new territories, and that’s always a plus in my book.

If you like Transformers that are like nothing before it, then Stinger is a required purchase for you.

Optimus Prime

With every new line of TFs, you can bet that one of the first figures will be Optimus Prime. In Studio Series, SS05 is Optimus.

It’s generally agreed that the hallmark of Optimus Prime figures in the movie-verse is the Leader Class figure from Revenge of the Fallen (or any direct derivation of it). That figure is indeed impressive, with a very difficult but satisfying transformation and high screen accuracy in both modes. RotF Leader Class OP was released about 10 years ago, and no movie OP released since has been able to claim the top spot as the best Movie Optimus.

It’s hard for me to evaluate SS05, because comparisons to RotF leader OP will be unavoidable. And I’ll get straight to it: SS05 is not superior to RotF Leader Class OP. But that doesn’t mean SS05 is a bad figure.

SS05 Optimus is a very playable figure. Out of all the Studio Series figures, I transformed SS05 back and forth the most. The transformation feels very natural. Upon picking it up, you just instinctively know what to do next, assuming you’ve had some experience with Transformers. The figure is well built, so there are no issues with posing, or parts not coming together when they should.

SS figures are supposed to be very screen accurate. In the case of SS05, I feel that the robot mode is just OK as far as how close it looks to the movies. I feel that RotF leader OP is still the more movie accurate of the Primes.

The twin blades are attached on SS05. They don’t flip out like RotF leader OP, another area where the RotF fig is superior.

As for the alt mode, it’s very screen accurate.

This is kind of hard to explain in writing, but SS05 is a very blocky figure. I know it doesn’t look it in the pics, but the blockiness shows through when the figure is transformed. In robot mode, the blockiness is apparent when you try to pose the figure. SS05 is not very poseable, and I think it has more to do with the overall shape, as opposed to not having articulated joints.

I will re-emphasize here that the transformation process is very intuitive, which is perhaps the biggest plus for this figure.

SS05 with KBBMP10-V in alt mode.

As you can see from the pic above, SS05 is definitely closer to voyager class and not leader class. Yes I know they did it for scale reasons, but it’s hard to see the great Autobot leader at less than leader class when RotF did it so well in that class. And on that point, I’m not so sure that Optimus at voyager class is the right scale. More on this in the Blackout section below.

So should you get SS05? I recommend it, based on how playable it is. It’s a solid addition to the SS line. Just don’t expect this to be the best Optimus Prime ever made in the movie-verse.

Blackout

Blackout is the first Leader class figure I got from the SS line. And no, it’s not your imagination. Hasbro is really downsizing these guys. Below I have a pic of Leader class Blackout with Leader class Titans Return Overlord, both in the box. See for yourself. SS Leaders are considerably smaller. Hasbro says they’re doing this for scale reasons. You can choose to believe that, or not.

A voyager class Blackout was released for the first movie. To my knowledge that was the only Blackout figure released. I bought that figure well before the existence of this blog, and it was one of my first figures in the movie-verse. I still have that figure, in a box in a closet somewhere. It hasn’t seen the light of day in over 10 years. I remember that figure being pretty good for its time. If you missed out on that figure, there’s no need to fret, because Studio Series Blackout blows it out of the skies. SS Blackout is the true definitive version of this character that does justice to the very first Transformer that we see in the movies.

SS Blackout is way more screen accurate than what was released for the first movie. See the pics below for yourself. A big selling point of Studio Series figures is screen accuracy, and Blackout has got that in spades.

Blackout does come with Scorponok. For the sake of scale, Scorponok is a tiny figure. That works for me. Scorponok is only supposed to be a bit bigger than humans.

Transformation to helicopter features some of the best engineering in a movie-verse fig. It is quite involved, but I would not put it in the complicated category. It is a refreshing transformation for sure, I can’t think of any other figure in the entire TF universe that transforms like Blackout. The head the chest mechanism deserves special mention. From robot to heli, the head pushes downward and into the body. This moves out the front landing gear at the bottom in one motion, and the front antenna folds out. Very very cool. Arms and legs fold back to form the rest of the heli body. My words don’t do it justice. See the pics for yourselves.

Look at this heli mode. Now is that Blackout or is that Blackout? I totally want to do a side by side comparison of this Blackout with the Movie 1 figure, but I’m too lazy to dig it out. As far as looks, SS Blackout wins in a landslide.

SS Blackout is well built. All joints are at the right tightness. Every part and piece come together when it should, in both robot and alt modes.

Posebility in robot mode can be a tad limited, because of all the kibble. But that is the look of this figure. A kibble-free Blackout would not be Blackout. Kibble will impede articulation. I’m ok sacrificing articulation here for a movie accurate look.

SS Blackout is leader class, which makes total sense because he was supposed to be the biggest character from the first movie. But since we’re on the topic of class, let me get back to something I started in the Optimus section above. Even in SS, where figures are supposed to be scale accurate, Optimus feels too small at voyager class. In my opinion, Optimus should have been at the smaller leader class scale, like SS Blackout. SS Blackout in turn then get the traditional leader class size.

SS Blackout deserves a review of its own. I plan on doing one. But all you really need to know is that Blackout is a required purchase for any Transformer fan.

Here is a pic of all the Studio Series figs in alt mode, assembled for a group photo. They look great together. The scale works for the most part, though as I mentioned already, I feel Optimus is too small.

Bumblebee and Grimlock

I first saw this Robots in Disguise Bumblebee and Grimlock 2-pack when I was in Shanghai in 2016. I wanted to buy this set so badly on that trip. But I didn’t after converting local currency to dollars. I wasn’t gonna put down around $100 for RiD figures. And I’m glad I didn’t. Entertainment Earth had this set this month at a clearance price of $29.99. I wasted no time and bought one.

Now that I have it, I am doubly glad I didn’t spend that kind of money in Shanghai. I’ll be blunt: this Grimlock figure is horrible. This is a reworked figure off of Fall Of Cybertron Grimlock. I knew that before the purchase. But what I didn’t know is how poorly done this figure would be. In robot mode, RiD Grimlock is decent. But in dino mode, the whole thing just doesn’t come together well. RiD Grimlock is shaped differently from FoC Grimlock. The extra kibble on RiD Grimlock interferes with the dino formation. I should have known that having different designs retrofitted on top of an existing frame would be a bad idea. The deluxe version of RiD Grimlock is 10 times superior. That mold was made to be RiD Grimlock, and having something designed exclusively for what it was meant for is always the way to go. I wish HasTak just upscaled dexluxe RiD Grimlock to voyager size. I could see a 4th party company do this, but I’m guessing the 3P market for Robots in Disguise is too small to be worth the trouble.

The saving grace of this 2-pack is the Bumblebee figure. I don’t have any RiD Bumblebee figures, which was another reason for me to get this 2-pack. I like RiD deluxe Bumblebee. Both robot mode and alt mode looks good. The figure is well constructed too, for RiD figure standards. Transformation is nothing we haven’t seen before, but I don’t expect much in this area from RiD.
This 2-pack version looks more gold than the standard deluxe retail version, but I’ll take it. The translucent blue sword looks nice too.

Below is a pic of the two of them in alt mode.

That turned out to be a way longer post than I had intended. I wanted to give each of these figs their 15 minutes. Here is the summary if you just want the Cliff Notes version.

Recommended:

  • Battleslash
  • Roadtrap
  • Tailgate
  • Stinger (SS02)
  • Optimus Prime (SS05)
  • Blackout (SS08)
  • Bumblebee (RiD)

Not Recommended:

  • Blackwing
  • Bumblebee (SS01)
  • Grimlock (RiD)

Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Pop-Outz! Grab Bag

July 2nd, 2019 No comments

As fan of all things Transformers, every once in a while I would pick up some Transformers related merchandise which are not the figures themselves. I was at Dollar Tree and stumbled upon this wacky item you see before you. A Transformers Pop-Outz! Grab Bag! For only a dollar I can potentially amuse myself for hours. Or not.

So what the heck is in here? Let’s open and find out.

Feast your optics on the contents before you. There’s a sticker sheet, 1 set of 3 markers, a cardboard cut out sheet of Optimus and Bumblebee, and a cardboard cut out sheet of Megatron and Grimlock.

Megatron and Grimlock

Optimus Prime and Bumblebee

Stickers

Markers

If I was to really color the 4 characters here, that would take me hours if not days. The markers that come with the set don’t offer enough colors to really do a good job here. Perhaps it’s possible to do an adequate Bumblebee, with the yellow and black. You are probably better off using your own markers. I like to color one. The characters look like they are from the Cyberverse line.

The cardboard cut outs can be attached to the included stand (also on cardboard).

Kids will most likely love all the stickers here. And some adults too.

This grab bag is probably just something to give out at kids parties, or used as Christmas stocking stuffer. The coloring and stickers should keep the little ones entertained for hours.
Recommended age is 3+.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews