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Transformers Purchased in September 2018

September 2018 is full of TF goodies. I bought products of all kinds: official, 3rd party, and 4th party!

  • Power of the Primes Novastar, amazon.com, $16.99

  • Power of the Primes Rodimus Unicronus, Target, $44.99

  • Power of the Primes Quintus Prime, Target, $4.99

  • Power of the Primes Solus Prime, Target, $4.99

  • Power of the Primes Megatronus, Target, $4.99

  • Power of the Primes Punch-Counterpunch, amazon.com, $24.99

  • Bumblebee Bumblebee, Walmart, $4.93

  • Cyberverse Shockwave, Target, $14.99

  • Masterpiece Movie Series Barricade, tfsource.com, $79.99

  • NBK Excavator, eBay seller, $11.81

  • NBK Crane, eBay seller, $12.74

  • MakeToys Downbeat, tfsource.com, $99.99

  • DX9 Richthofen, eBay seller, $62.17

When I first started tracking my monthly purchases, back in Feb of 2012, I pretty much just listed the TFs along with where I got it and for how much. Somewhere along the line, I thought it would be cool to also include pics of each fig opened. Then I kinda went into mini-reviews of each fig. One of the more recent purchase post that I did was for July 2018. These kind of posts take way too long to do. Digging out the figures, taking pictures of them, then writing about them takes a lot longer than one realize. I’m never gonna catch up to where I am currently (July 2020) at this rate.

So today I’m going old school. Much like Feb 2012, I’m just gonna say a few bits about each. These posts are more about what I bought, and not reviews. Here we go.

Novastar

Novastar will always be Firestar for those of us hardcore enough in G1 to know better. I’m guessing the name change is for legal trademark reasons, as I can easily see the term Firestar used elsewhere. Power of the Primes Novastar is a repaint of Moonracer from the same line. And as such, this figure has all the same strengths and weaknesses. The biggest weakness is that giant kibble of a backpack in robot form. She’s also a bit of a shell-former.

Novastar does get a new unique head mold and different weapons, so there are some redeeming features here. Of course G1 enthusiasts like myself will be buying this figure, if purely for G1 nostalgia. Seeing physical manifestation of something designed in the 80s is more than enough reason to reach nerdgasm.

Go to the post for Moonracer for a more detailed discussion of the figure.

Rodimus Unicronus

The 2nd repaint this month is Rodimus Unicronus. This is a repaint of Power of the Primes Evolution Rodimus Prime. I sort of reviewed Evolution Rodimus Prime in that post, but I did kind of skimp on the details. This figure does need a more detailed treatment, but that’s for another day.

Fans seem to be very divided on Evolution Rodimus Prime. There are those that love the figure, like me. And then there are the haters. If you’re like me, you like how the figure has 4 molds, representing all the forms of both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime. The depiction is G1 accurate, and while the figure is not perfect, all forms are more than decent. If you’re a hater, then you don’t like the giant shoulders and giant back kibble in Rodimus Prime robot mode, the long arms of Hot Rod robot mode, and the puzzle-forming.

With Rodimus Unicronus, I thought I was getting the same fig as Evolution Rodimus Prime, just with different colors and a different head mold. That would have been sufficient. I’m sad to point out that Rodimus Unicronus is constructed so poorly that this feels like an entirely different figure. The prime (pun intended) culprit is the super loose hips of the large robot mode. Rodimus Unicronus weighs quite a bit with all pieces attached in robot mode, and the weak hips can barely support it in A-stance. Never mind posing him in any other stance in this mode. In the RV vehicle mode, pieces don’t seem to come together as well, when compared to Evolution Rodimus Prime. Connecting the car to trailer takes more work, and attaching the arms on top of the trailer is literally a chore. Getting everything lined up and flush seems impossible.

I cannot recommend this figure. Bad build has deemed this unplayable. Get Evolution Rodimus Prime, but stay away from this.

Quintus Prime, Solus Prime, Megatronus

This month features 3 more Prime Masters. I normally don’t pay much attention to “Master” figs. I feel like they’re not fully qualified figs, more like accessories. But I love Prime Masters, something I’ve mentioned repeatedly on this blog. I like that they’re both Targetmasters and Pretenders rolled into one. Yes I hate Pretenders, but only for full-sized figs. For accessory figs, I actually think it’s kinda cool.

I gave stellar reviews to Prime Masters in months past (see Jan 2018 and July 2018), and the 3 featured this month is no exception. I love how the shells are homages to G1 Pretenders. Quintus Prime is Bludgeon, Solus Prime is Octopunch, and Megatronus is Bomb-Burst.

Mechanically, these 3 don’t offer anything beyond a painfully simple transformation scheme, similar to all Prime Masters before them. But again, I see them more as accessories. So any transformation is better than none, no matter how simple. And at $4.99 each, you really can’t lose.

Punch-Counterpunch

Power of the Primes Punch-Counterpunch is a fig that I have been waiting for some time. I’m partial to figs that I own, and yes I have G1 Punch-Counterpunch. I still remember the day that I bought him. My parents dropped me off at the mall while they had some business to attend to. They gave me some spending money, which was rare. I ran straight to the toy store (I think it was KB Toys, but not sure anymore). I looked long and hard at all the Transformers, and after about 2 hours I decided to buy Punch-Counterpunch. Even the check-out clerk commented to me about my long decision.

For those that don’t know, Punch-Counterpunch is a “Double Agent”. He has both an Aubobot robot mode and a Decepticon robot mode, named Punch and Counterpunch respectively. And one car alt mode. (Sidebar: The only other fig in the entire TF-verse that has this twin robot feature is TF Animated Shockwave.) Punch is in reality an Autobot, but he transforms into Counterpunch to infiltrate the Decepticon ranks and gather intel. He had a very short appearance in Season 4 Rebirth episode 1. As Counterpunch he stumbled on Pounce and Wingspan up to no good, and tried to take them down as Punch. For that effort, he got his ass handed to him.

PotP Punch-Counterpunch is a fig that was worth the wait. As far as I can tell, he’s a brand new mold, designed specifically to be the character. The overall transformation scheme is similar to G1, but more advanced. The legs have panels that extend and wrap around the car mode. That’s probably the biggest difference.

As Punch, the robot mode looks pretty good. I think the car bits that form the shoulders are too long, and they could have perhaps did a better job to compact them in a bit more. But that’s my only gripe about this mode. The car alt mode is absolutely gorgeous. It feels solid and cohesively formed. There is room under the car to store the weapon, and even with that there’s enough clearance to have the car roll on a flat surface. As Counterpunch, I find no weaknesses in the robot mode. Even the red Autobot hands are flipped in for the blue Decepticon hands to flip out. Very very cool. Of course in G1 he had a completely separate set of forearms, but I like this interpretation equally well.

Punch-Counterpunch comes with another Prime Master, Prima Prime. He also comes with another Combiner War style accessory, that forms either the hand or feet for a Combiner. It’s a mystery to me why Punch-Counterpunch would need such an accessory. It’s possible that Punch-Counterpunch can be used as a limb to a Combiner.

My only gripe about this whole package is that he only comes with one weapon, the yellow pistol. In G1, that was only the weapon for Punch, while Counterpunch had a black rifle. Also, in G1, the yellow pistol was twin-barrel, while this new PotP version is single barrel. A minor gripe, but something to point out to all the G1 purists.

I recommend PotP Punch-Counterpunch with no reservation.

Bumblebee

I only got this Bumblebee because I was looking forward to the movie Bumblebee. And this is the first time in a LONG time that we got a mass retail Bumblebee that transforms into an official VW Bug. Plus at this small size, it reminds me of G1 Bumblebee. To this day, this figure remains the only figure I bought from Bumblebee. Yes I got Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime, but I consider that more Studio Series, and not Bumblebee.

All in all, this is an ok fig. Nothing wrong with fig itself, but nothing to write home about either. How you think this fig would transform is exactly how it does. Purchase of this is fig is completely optional.

Shockwave

The whole Cyberverse line of toys caught me completely by surprise. I was not expecting them at all, then one day at Target I saw Cyberverse Ultimate Class Optimus and Megatron. Warrior Class figs appeared soon after that. Many online reviewers gave glowing reviews to Shockwave, so I bought one.

I already went into this figure in this post. Overall, he’s ok. To summarize, he’s easy to transform. The gimmicks are kinda entertaining. The robot mode is unmistakably Shockwave, but the alt mode could be more G1 if you ask me. I’m not really feeling this walking tank. Cyberverse figs reminds me of Robot in Disguise figs. They feel like cheap plastic held together by even cheaper ball joints. Good for young children to mess with for a few hours, but collectors need not bother.

If you have a thing for Shockwave, then this fig should do you no wrong. For everyone else, this is not a required purchase by any stretch of the imagination.

Barricade

Masterpiece Barricade is a figure worthy of your time. I gave my thoughts in that same post mentioned earlier for Shockwave. Movie Masterpieces are designated MPM. I guess that’s short for MP Movie. To this day, MPM Barricade remains the only fig I have from this line. I am tempted to buy more MPMs, but I’m a G1 guy at heart and MPMs just aren’t a priority.

Truth be told, I only bought MPM Barricade because he was on sale. But I’m glad I did. MPM Barricade is the only Barricade you need in your collection. I have 3 other deluxe Barricades, and none of them are all that good. MPM Barricade fixes all that and more. He feels weighty in your hands, with high quality plastic used throughout the fig. There could be some die-cast, but I’m not sure. The alt mode is a great representation of the Ford Mustang as a police car, and the robot mode is the most screen accurate Barricade that HasTak has produced. The paint job on this figure is superb. Transformation is tad challenging, but nowhere near impossible. He only comes with one accessory, which is that spinning blade thing we see him use in the movie. The arm does need to be transformed a bit to attach the accessory.

MPM Barricade gets a strong recommendation from me. If you love movie figs, this is a required purchase.

Excavator, Crane

Here are two more 4th party NBK Constructicons. The first one I got was Bulldozer, and the next one I got was Scraper. At this point, I think I was buying them more to complete the set. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad figs. Not in the least.

Excavator is another fine addition in this NBK line. He’s not quite as good as Bulldozer, but better than Scraper, in my opinion. Both modes look good and the transformation is fun. The overall transformation scheme is fairly G1 accurate. My only gripe about this figure is that the excavator arm in robot mode is way too big. When attached, the fig becomes back heavy. It can be removed, but I didn’t try it. However it should be noted that this is a common problem among all modern Scavenger figures.

I would say Crane is the weakest figure in this line so far. The alt mode is quite solid, everything coming together with no issues. The crane arm works too, which is a plus. The robot mode is where this thing falls apart. Bad construction hurts this figure. Some parts of the robot becomes a floppy mess. Of note is the crane arm in robot mode. It doesn’t really stay in place on the back, and having it angled over the shoulder is even worse. I do wonder if the genuine article of this figure is better constructed.

Downbeat

As of this writing, if you want a Jazz in your MP collection, then go with Downbeat. There is not a better G1 MP Jazz on the market right now. I sort of featured Downbeat back in this post. Jazz is my favorite TF character of all time. I had to have him in MP form, and I got sick of waiting for HasTak to do it. So it’s MakeToys to the rescue.

Downbeat gets a strong recommendation from me on all counts. He looks good in both modes. Transformation is a pleasure, just challenging enough to be fun yet not frustrating. Overall transformation scheme follows the G1 paradigm, and not something out of left field. The looks of the figure is completely G1 accurate, in both modes. The aesthetics of the robot mode is simple, much like the animation. The door panels in robot mode can be hidden or flipped out, so you get to configure Jazz like the show or the toy. He comes with plenty of accessories (rifle, shoulder rocket launcher, grappling hook, and more). Downbeat is the perfect Jazz package.

Some fans complain about the alt mode, where from the back you can see bits hang down below the rear bumper. Honestly, when you see the figure in hand, it’s not that bad. It looks worse than it is in pictures. Personally I would not let this issue keep you from buying an otherwise great figure.

As of this writing, Fans Toys have announced their plans for Jazz. Fans Toys is generally considered the best in the business for 3P TFs. But FT’s plans for Jazz could literally be years away. FT announced their plans for Blitzwing more than 2 years ago, and so far we only see renders. Only Primus knows how long before FT Jazz really materializes. In the mean time, go with MakeToys Downbeat. I’ve had mine for almost 2 years now. FT Jazz may indeed be better, but Downbeat is already at the party. How long you want to wait for FT Jazz to show up is up to you.

Richthofen

Richthofen is another great 3P MP figure this month. I featured DX9’s Powerglide here and here.

Richthofen is the best MP Powerglide on the market now. And I’m not aware of any future attempts on a MP Powerglide. Richthofen has a fun, intuitive transformation. Both modes look extremely good and very G1 accurate. The build is super solid. Perhaps too solid, as some joints are a bit too tight. On the first run of this figure, some fans complained of loose tail fins. So on the 2nd run (which is what I have), DX9 may have over-corrected. But I rather have joints too tight than too loose.

Richthofen comes with a figure of Astoria, and his chest panel flips up to reveal a molded-on heart pattern. Powerglide is such a playa. He gets a girl on Earth, but still has his piece back on Cybertron (Moonracer).

That’s a lot of figs this month. Sometimes I don’t realize how much I buy in a month, til I do these kind of posts. The must-haves this month are Downbeat, Richthofen, Barricade, and Punch-Counterpunch. Everything else is optional.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

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