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Transformers Purchased in December 2018

December 20th, 2020 Leave a comment Go to comments

2018 ends on a high note. There were purchases from official TF lines, 3rd party, and 4th party. A brand new line in the TF CHUG-verse also kicked off this month, which takes us past the Prime Wars Trilogy and into a whole new era. And I think for the first time in the history of this blog, a single character had 3 separate purchases in one month.

That’s a lot to get to. Let’s begin.

  • G1 Bumblebee, Walmart, $7.86

  • Studio Series Grimlock, hasbrotoyshop.com, $39.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Blowpipe, amazon.com, $5.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Firedrive, amazon.com, $5.99

  • Power of the Primes Predaking, toydojo.com, $99.99

  • Ocular Max Artifex, toydojo.com, $49.99

  • x-Transbots Toro, eBay seller, $49.21

  • Mech Fans Toys Grmlock, toydojo.com, $24.99

  • Fans Toys Grinder, eBay seller, $141.09

Many of these figures were covered in the special 2018 Black Friday post. I will give more detailed treatment here.

Bumblebee

This is the Generation 1 Bumblebee toy that started it all. This figure needs no introduction. Here we have a Walmart G1 Commemorative re-issue. The head is styled more like Bumblebee in the G1 cartoons and not the original G1 toy.

I have an original G1 Bumblebee. It was not purchased from a store. If memory serves, some kid at my school (who I can’t recall) didn’t want it anymore, so I took it. The figure was never in the best shape. One arm was already somewhat loose and floppy when the figure became mine. But still, this is Bumblebee, so I kept it all this time. The condition of the figure only got worse with age, but I am happy to say I have an original copy of perhaps the most iconic TF character of all time.

When I found this re-issue at Walmart, I found several other G1 Mini-bot re-issues as part of the same wave. But the other bots were not from Season 1 or 2, they were from Season 3. I remember distinctively I saw Outback, Swerve, and Tailgate. Possibly Pipes too. It’s as if they took the Encore Mini Vehicle 5-pack, reproduced the figs, and released them individually. The Bumblebee in this 5-pack also has the G1 cartoon head, which further supports that notion. Anyways, I don’t really care for any of the Season 3 Mini-bots, so I didn’t buy them this time.

This re-issue of Bumblebee remains unopened. It will probably stay that way.

Blowpipe, Firedrive

Blowpipe and Firedrive are my first entries into a new era of Transformers in the CHUG-verse called War For Cybertron: Siege. Much like the Prime Wars Trilogy, War For Cybertron will also be a trilogy. The first chapter is called Siege. This War For Cybertron has nothing to do with the video game series that was first released in the early 2010s.

I have always said that I like the Targetmasters more than the Headmasters. So it is nice to see Targetmasters officially get some love in this new era. And what better way to kick off Siege than with Targetmasters. In this new era, they are called Battlemasters.

G1 fans know that Blowpipe is the weapon for Triggerhappy. More hardcore G1 fans will recognize that Firedrive is really Firebolt, the weapon for Hot Rod (after he is Rodimus Prime no more and became a Targetmaster).

Blowpipe and Firedrive are technically different molds. They transform differently, but it’s virtually identical to each other. Just like G1, the transformation process is painfully simple. These new Battlemasters do have some limited articulation, which is superior to G1 in which there was no articulation at all. In weapon mode, the arms and legs does peg in to designated spots, giving this mode a more cohesive feel. They each come with blast effects. Not really my thing, but some fans will dig it.

At $5.99 each I think the price is a bit high. In my opinion they should be half that. But I still wholeheartedly recommend them.

Grimlock

Studio Series 08 Grimlock is the first Grimlock that is featured in this post. I bought him when he was first released at full MSRP, in the summer of 2018. Then I debated if I really want him, and came to the conclusion that maybe I didn’t. So I returned him to the store.

On Black Friday week of 2018, Hasbro was letting this guy go at $39.99. I had another 10% off coupon, which was valid on top of that price. I couldn’t resist the temptation a second time, so I bought him again, this time for keeps.

So was he worth buying? Yes and no. The T-Rex mode is great. This is the best looking Movie dinosaur that HasTak has ever produced, across all the TF Movie lines. If there is one positive about this figure that everyone agrees on, it’s the paint job. HasTak spared no expense here and really gave this figure a quality paint application that no one would find fault with. The result is a menacing, movie-accurate T-Rex that does justice to the character. At leader class, he also scales well with other SS figs. SS Grimlock is not the first leader class Movie Grimlock made, but it’s the best looking one, by far.

The robot mode, however, is so-so at best. As of this writing, I really don’t remember it too well anymore. I just remember the robot mode being unimpressive. I transformed him to T-Rex, and Grimlock stayed like that for 2 years. This figure is on top of a shelf, all this time. My wife really likes this figure, so it never got put away.

If you can find this fig at a reasonable price, and you must have an awesome looking Movie Grimlock in your collection, then he is a buy.

Predaking

HasTak has finally decided to give their G1 Predacons team a proper update in the modern era. Plenty of 3Ps have given their attempts already, such as the Feralcons by MMC. It’s about time HasTak gave it a go on their own property. And on a related but separate note, this may be my very last purchase from the Power of the Primes line.

When toy companies do a modern update to combiners, they have to prioritize which mode gets the optimization emphasis. In a perfect world, the individual robot modes, individual alt modes, and the combined mode would all be great. In this world, extra combining parts would not be necessary, and the figures would scale nicely at every mode, to other figs and to themselves. We don’t live in that world.

With Predaking, HasTak has very obviously chose to optimize for the combined mode. And it is awesome! I dare say that no 3P or 4P has produced a better looking Predaking, in the modern era. He’s big and proportionate. The arms and legs look proper scale in relation to the body. Predaking is a very stable figure, no issues standing on it’s own weight. For a gestalt, he’s fairly poseable. If this is the only mode you care for, then this is the toy for you.

From here, things unfortunately go downhill. Let’s talk about the individual robot modes next. Some are ok, but none of them are great. Divebomb has to haul around that giant wing/backpack assembly that has no where else to go in this mode. Tantrum and Headstrong both look horrible when viewed from the back. The thigh part in combined mode simply hangs off their backs.

Things get even worse in beast modes. Most of them don’t look all that great. The 4-legged beasts simply look like boxes with legs. Razorclaw feels like the smallest of the 5, despite being the leader and forming the chest. The thigh part in combined mode tucks underneath the body of Tantrum and Headstrong, making for a really weird look.

Extra combiner parts are necessary to form Predaking. They are accounted for in the individual modes. For example, the feet pieces can be held or attached as weapons. Lots of combiner toys use this tactic so HasTak isn’t the only guilty party here, but it is something I wanted point out.

I know all this sounds really negative. But overall I still give Predaking a recommendation. The combined mode is really just that good to justify the other weaknesses in this set. And honestly, I don’t see HasTak making another Predaking anytinme soon. None of the 3P Predakings are perfect, either. Most fans buy this set for Predaking, and in that purpose, this set delivers.

Artifex

Artifex is MMC’s interpretation of a Masterpiece-style Hoist. And I’ll get straight to it: this is a disappointing figure. The design of the figure itself is solid enough, but where things really go south is in the manufacturing. Artifex’s joints are way too loose. He can kind of hold poses, but only if you position it very carefully. The figure during transformation is one floppy mess. Some of Artifex’s accessories also don’t properly fit where they should. One of his cannons is supposed to rotate, but too much paint made it unmovable. I tried to force it, and it just broke. The seller was nice enough to get replacement parts for me (thank you ToyDojo!).

Going back to alt mode, it is extremely difficult to get the whole unit to assemble back together. The joints are just too damn loose. Nothing holds in place. Aligning multiple floppy parts into a cohesive whole of a truck will test even the most patient. When I decided to put Artifex away, I was never able to fully get Artifex back into truck with everything properly tabbed together. I did the best I could and put him back in the box.

As of this writing, I have sold Artifex. One bright point of this is I actually sold Artifex for more than I bought it for. But you should not buy Artifex. I believe the best MP Hoist on the market right now is X-Transbots Paean. I have X-Transbots Aegis (their homage to Trailbreaker). He’s excellent, so I’m hoping Paean is just as good.

Toro

I bought Toro on eBay from a seller based in China. Yes I used eBay again after I ranted against using the platform. I chose not to take my own advice. But this was from a seller I had used before and the transaction was good. I had enough faith to use them again, and they did not disappoint with Toro.

I touched on Toro in the special 2018 Black Friday post, but a lot of it is worth repeating again because he’s just so awesome. He comes in a small box. To me this is already a pro, because when you have as many TFs as I do, you need the space. Toro is packed in alt mode. He is a beautiful race car in this mode, something that more closely resembles an 80’s Porsche than the toy minicar that he was in G1. Some fans knock this for being G1 inaccurate, but I welcome this update.

Transformation to robot mode is straightforward. The robot mode appearance is spot on to the G1 show. Some fans knock it for having a chest that doesn’t transform into the car’s cabin, but I think it’s fine. Toro is pretty poseable, with superb construction and joints at the right tightness. Quality materials are used. The paint job deserves special mention. Really, it looks that good. If I was to compile a top 10 figures with the best paint job, Toro would be in there.

I can’t talk about Toro without mentioning the accessories. He comes with a lot! Upon opening the box, they’re packed on this sled type thing that doubles has his alt mode water-skis and a weapon storage unit. For weapons, he comes with 3 pistols, and that giant bazooka that we saw him use in the first ep of G1.

If you want an MP Cliffjumper, get Toro. It’s that simple.

Grmlock

That is not a typo. This 4th party figure is Grmlock. They dropped one letter in the name but it’s fooling no one. And I think that’s the intent.

Grmlock got a quick mention in a post about my Grimlock collection, the 2nd one made on this blog. One aspect about this figure that’s worth repeating is that he transforms differently from the standard Grimlock scheme that every TransFan is familiar with. And like all the other MFT products of this line, the paint job is superb and the joints are super tight.

I recommend this figure. It’s one of the better G1 style Grimlocks made. I don’t think Grmlock scales well with any of the official TF lines, like CHUG or MP. He may go well with a smaller scale of G1 style figures that many 3rd parties have been pumping out lately, such as those from Newage, Magic Square, Iron Factory, or DX9. And yes, these MFT figs are KOs of DX9 War in Pocket Dinobots. If that changes your opinion about these MFT figures, don’t buy them. If you don’t care, then these KOs deserve a place on your shelf.

Grinder

This is the third and final Grimlock to be featured this month. In Feb of 2016 I got two Onslaughts, and in March of 2018 I got two Sludges. This is probably the first time that one character had three different figures in a single month, and I’m glad that’s Grimlock. He’s an Autobot worthy of such an honor.

Grinder also got a quick mention, in that same post about my Grimlock collection. In short, he’s fantastic. If you want a Grimlock for your MP collection, then Grinder is a required purchase. He scales nicely with other MPs. Both modes look good. He’s well built. Transforms intuitively and smoothly. My only gripe was that I don’t like the default dino head. Apparently a lot of other fans had the same complaint, and so FT produced a 2nd dino head that can be purchased separately. I have since bought this 2nd dino head, but I haven’t tried it yet. I will be sure to do that soon and report back.

I believe my copy of Grinder was the 2nd batch of this figure released by Fans Toys. I did not buy Grinder when first released, because I felt that the official Masterpiece Grimlock (MP-08) represented the the MP Dinobot Leader in my collection. But all the FT Iron Dibots are so well made, and MP-08 is really too small when scaled with them. So I got Grinder to complete the Iron Dibots set when FT re-released the figure. Here are links to the other 4 Iron Dibots:

I was quite fortunate to find Grinder on eBay at such a good price. This was from an eBay seller in China that I had never used. I was hesitant, and the price seemed a tad too good to be true. But the seller had over 1000 positives, so I took a chance. Glad it all worked out. Grinder arrived on 12/31/2018. Just made to cutoff to be included in my 2018 Transformers.

And that does it for 2018. I’m getting way too lazy writing about these purchase posts. It’s now Dec of 2020, and I’m writing about Dec of 2018. Two years behind. Maybe one of my resolutions for 2021 is to catch up on this stuff.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

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