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Transformers Purchased in March 2019

December 30th, 2021 Leave a comment Go to comments

March of 2019 is Siege Month! All figures except for one (and one accessory) are from War From Cybertron: Siege.

  • War For Cybertron Siege Starscream, Walmart, $29.84

  • War For Cybertron Siege Soundwave, Walmart, $29.84

  • War For Cybertron Siege Ultra Magnus and Shockwave, bbts.com, $99.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Chromia, Target, $19.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Prowl, amazon.com, $19.99

  • Warbotron WB03-D Double Strike, bbts.com, $51.99

  • Fans Toys FT-08 Grinder Dinohead, bbts.com, $17.99

Starscream

First up in this WFC Siege month is none other than Starscream. And here we have something truly special! Ladies and gents, for the first time in TF history, HasTak has given us Seekers that transform into their Cybertronian alt mode from the very first G1 episode! We all know how that first episode started. Bumblebee and Wheeljack was looking for some energy conductors. On the way back to Iacon, they were intercepted by Seekers of various colors. The Seekers transformed into what fans dub as tetra-jets, and the chase was on!

The tetra-jet is something completely imagined by the show animators, in that this was the Cybertronian alt mode of robot toys that transformed into F-15s. Of course the transformation sequence from robot to tetra-jet was entirely made up and don’t make much mechanical sense. But as fans we accepted the show’s creativity, and welcomed the fact that Cybertronian robots would not have Earth alt modes when they were on Cybertron. The toys’ alt modes were all Earth in origin, and in the 80s it was never conceived that there would be toys that transform into a mode made up by the cartoon artists.

Fast forward 35 years, and HasTak has made a transforming tetra-jet to robot figure a reality! Having this Voyager-sized Starscream as a tetra-jet is something magnificent to behold. The design of the tetra-jet is slightly modified for the War For Cybertron show, but it still heavily resembles the G1 tetra-jet. The overall triangular scheme is clearly seen. What impresses me most about this figure is how the designers are able to take various design bits of the robot mode and have them transform into mechanical elements of the tetra-jet that makes sense. For example, the side shoulder protrusions of the standard Seekers (formed from the front intake of the F-15) comes together and forms the tip of the tetra-jet. And the circular chest design bits in robot mode forms part of the rear thrusters. The toy designers thought through this transformation, and it shows.

In alt mode, Starscream looks great in his standard grey with bits of blue and red. The tetra-jet is a bit bulky at the bottom where the legs go. But the rest of jet mode is a sleek representation of a Seeker dominance vehicle in the Cybertroian skies. Cockpit of Starscream’s tetra-jet is still orange, though why a Cybertronian jet would need a cockpit is anyone’s guess. Guns are attached under the wings. The alt mode is a solid and cohesive whole with no loose or dangling parts.

In robot mode, the figure heavily resembles the look of the classic Seeker that we all know. This is a spectacular achievement by the HasTak toy design team. This robot mode could easily pass for the robot mode of a classic Earth-style Starscream. This resemblance lends credence to the fact that this is the same character on Cybertron, with a Cybertronian alt mode, and later transcanned to have an Earth alt mode. The cockpit down the center chest area is “fake”, in that the module is purely decorative and doesn’t transform into the cockpit of the jet. All other pieces serve a mechanical purpose.

Construction of the figure is also superb. All joints are at the right tolerance. Pieces come together when they should, and separate when they need to. All in all this is a great figure. G1 fans will undoubtedly not pass this up. I give the figure the highest possible recommendation.

Soundwave

Next up in the WFC Siege lineup is Soundwave. This is another character where I was really looking forward to what HasTak would come up with as the origin Cybertronian interpretation.

I’ll start with the alt mode of WFC Siege Soundwave. I was really hoping this origin alt mode would be that statue looking thing that we saw Soundwave transform into in the very first G1 episode. Unfortunately, that is not the case. HasTak chose to go with something more utilitarian for WFC Seige Soundwave in that he transforms into a Cybertronian aircraft. It’s a bit of a bummer, in that I think they could have easily made a Soundwave figure that is able to transform into the statue/lamppost/highway-callbox thing. And I could be wrong here, but I don’t think Soundwave ever transformed in the WFC show. So this flying alt mode doesn’t do all that much for me. But this what we got. It is what it is.

The alt mode looks ok. It’s a Cybertronian form, so the toy designers could fancy this into any appearance they like. If you imagine how Soundwave would look as a jet based on how he looks in robot mode, it probably would not be too far off from the alt mode of WFC Siege Soundwave. The overall shape is very blocky. The tape deck area in robot mode forms the very back of the vehicle. Two wing/thruster bits that I assume are Cybertronian jet thrusters protrude at an angle, and these are the only major bits not found on Earth mode Soundwave. Overall I’m not too crazy about this alt mode. It feels very retroactively forced on a robot design that was not meant to be a starship.

As for the robot mode, it’s classic Soundwave. The blue and grey colors, overall rectangular proportions, the well-known head design, and the iconic chest tape deck, it’s all there. The colors and shape of the arms and legs look like it’s straight out of G1. The battery-formed shoulder cannon mounted on his right is there as well. All other cassette player bits, on the crotch and legs, are all present and accounted for. The only big difference from the Earth form in robot mode is the back, in that the previously mentioned Cybertronian jet thrusters are placed there. But for a robot mode that has to account for flying apparatus bits, that’s where I would expect them to go. The tape deck ejection mechanism works fine and well. In later months I would purchase his infamous cassette minions (released as Master-sized figures in WFC) and they can be placed inside.

As for weapons, WFC Siege Soundwave comes with his twin iconic battery-shaped modules. In robot mode, one becomes a cannon mounted on his right shoulder, and the other one transforms into a hand-held blaster. Also included is another rifle. This weapon can be unfolded to look like a sniper rifle, or folded to look like another hand-held blaster.

And just like Starscream, I find no issues with the construction of the figure. Despite not having an alt mode that I had hoped for, Soundwave still gets a recommendation.

Ultra Magnus

Ultra Magnus and Shockwave were purchased together as one order item. That’s how they sold it. No discounts were offered when bought this way. It is now Dec 2021, and on Amazon you can still get them both at slightly below regular price. I know I have seen both of these in the $30 range, in 2020. TF prices are like stocks. You never know how they will go.

Ultra Magnus is a terrific update. This character was given a great treatment in Combiner Wars. WFC continues that trend and makes even more improvements on everybody’s favorite City Commander. In alt mode, instead of being a car carrier, Siege Ultra Magnus looks like some kind of Cybertronian armor weapon vehicle. It looks close enough to his Earth alt mode, but at the same time different enough to not simply be an Earth-mode derived mode. While we’re on that topic, Ultra Magnus’ alt mode always looked a bit Cybertronian, even in G1. The front cab looks Earth mode enough, but the trailer section is definitely Cybertronian. So is it possible he only partially transcanned? It’s worth exploring.

Siege Ultra Magnus feels very solid in alt mode. The unit feels like one cohesive whole, despite the entire mode being puzzle-formed together like Ultra Magnus typically is in this mode. 5 weapons are attached in this mode for a very impressive look: 2 black blasters, 2 white missile launchers with red missiles that he’s had since G1, and a large silver rifle, all mounted and ready to intimidate some lowly Decepticon scum. The whole thing rides on a total of 10 wheels, and the unit does sit well on a flat surface. The colors are distinctly Ultra Magnus, with the cab white, the trailer blue, and top section red. The shape of the front cab is distinctly Cybertronian. All in all a very nice alt mode.

In G1, Ultra Magnus had 2 robot modes. There was the smaller robot transformed solely from the cab, a white repaint of the famous G1 Optimus Prime toy. This smaller robot was never seen on-screen in G1. Then there’s the bigger robot formed from both the cab and trailer, the appearance that we’re all familiar with from the cartoons. Siege Ultra Magnus faithfully reproduces this scheme. The cab is capable of forming a smaller robot resembling Optimus Prime. (sidebar: part of this Ultra Magnus mold would indeed be reformatted into WFC Siege Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime, to be released later, but that’s for another day) In this mode, Ultra Magus is well-proportioned. Joints are at the right tolerances. For a blocky figure, the articulation is adequate. Transformation from cab to this robot mode is nothing we haven’t seen before. But this tried and true formula works for this character, and I’m never a proponent of messing with what works. I’m happy this mode is included, but we didn’t pay the $50 price tag to have Ultra Magnus in this mode.

To get Ultra Magnus into the robot mode that we all know and love, the trailer disassembles and acts as armor over and on top of the smaller robot mode. 3Ps have implemented such a mechanism already, most notably the FansProject City Commander Add-On Set. HasTak has explored this scheme too, with Evolution Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime. I believe this is the first time that HasTak has done this for Ultra Magnus. In G1, the trailer isn’t really so much an armor for the cab. The trailer gets transformed into the main body, and then the cab gets attached to it behind the back. All other Ultra Magnus figures in the modern day kind of has the cab and trailer transform as one. So it is indeed a nice treat to see that WFC Siege implemented an armor attachment mechanism for the smaller cab robot to fully form Ultra Magnus.

And what a glorious robot mode this is. Fully armored up, Ultra Magnus is every bit his G1 self. There is no mistaking this character for any other. His entire design aesthetic, down the to the last detail, is based on G1. The colors, the overall blocky shape, the shoulder missiles, all G1 derived. Design of the chest, arms, legs, and head, all taken from G1. With this robot mode, it’s clear that there was very much an Ultra Magnus on Cybertron before coming to Earth. Transformation to this mode is very much a puzzle forming adventure, but you kinda expect that with this character. It’s fairly obvious where each armor piece should go, and the entire package comes together really well. Articulation in the mode suffers a bit because he’s so blocky, but what’s offered is sufficient.

I give this Ultra Magnus figure the highest possible recommendation. Yes by now we all know how he ends up in the Netflix War For Cybertron series, but don’t let that discourage you. And maybe you expected a $50 figure to be true leader size. Don’t let that discourage you either. The figure is made to scale nicely with other cast members from WFC. The cost of admission for this figure is paid in full with the number of modes and accessories. He can deal with that now. I know you can.

Shockwave

Shockwave is another character that got a great update in WFC Siege. He is also leader class. Or more accurately, he is sold as leader class. There is the core figure of Shockwave, which is voyager class size. Then there are the accessories that can be added on top of the core figure, in both robot and alt mode. All this in one package is how Hasbro justifies the $50 price tag.

Let’s take a look at the core figure first. In robot mode, Shockwave is every bit his G1 self. All the classic iconic features of Shockwave are present, from the purple colors, the left-arm blaster, the left-arm hose attached to his backpack, the his cyclops eye. At voyager class, he scales well with other Decepticons in WFC Siege. The figure is well built, no joints too loose or too tight. Ample articulation points gives the figure some great poseability, and solid engineering means he can actually hold those poses. Transformation to alt mode follows the standard Shockwave scheme, with some modern variations. Some aspects of the transformation seems borrowed from both Fans Toys Quakewave and MP-29 Shockwave, but on a CHUG figure the overall scheme is way more playable. WFC Siege Shockwave still transforms into the iconic space gun that we all know and love, and it’s good see HasTak did not butcher this into something different (like a Cyberverse Shockwave, the Fall of Cybertron Shockwave, or the Alternator Shockwave).

Now on to the accessories. In robot mode, the accessories can be attached in a number of different ways. But the default configuration is some large flat gun pieces added onto the bottom of the feet, some wing and gun pieces that are attached to the shoulders, and a backpack cover. Shockwave looks quite menacing in this mode, and the overall feel does reflect a mad scientist that decided to perform Frankenstein-ish experiments on himself. In the space gun mode, the extra accessories are attached so Shockwave looks more like a genuine Cybertronian jet. It does look cool, and give more credence to the fact that Shockwave can fly around in alt mode.

So do I recommend this figure? The short answer is yes. The core Shockwave figure without the accessories is a terrific modern day CHUG update of the Decepticon mad scientist. This is probably the first real update of Shockwave in CHUG, and the core figure does not disappoint in any way. Now for the long answer. The extra accessories are kind of unnecessary, in my opinion. They’re cool, but don’t really add that much to the character. In fact, I think it sort of turns Shockwave into a different character, one that wasn’t explored very much in the G1 cartoons or the WFC Netflix series. And speaking of the WFC series, we never saw Shockwave in any of these enhanced modes. It feels like HasTak made these extra things to justify Shockwave being a $50 figure. I would have much rather they released a $30 figure of just the core Shockwave minus all the extras. But like I said already, this is the ultimate CHUG Shockwave that has been produced. So if you want one, you have to buy it with all the extra baggage. And as of this writing, I will emphasize again that you can buy this for less than MSRP on Amazon. Logic dictates you buy this now if you haven’t already.

Chromia

Here we have another rework off of the now famous Fembot deluxe mold. We got Moonracer and Novastar in Power of the Primes, so it’s no surprise that we would get Chromia in WFC Siege. Personally, I would have been ok if they didn’t make WFC Siege Chromia. I would have simply used Thrilling 30 Chromia to complete the Fembots. I think I like Thrilling 30 Chromia better anyways, if only for the variety.

WFC Siege Chromia is a rework because it’s not an exact repaint. The head mold is different. She gets different weapons. Chromia gets something that more resembles a sniper rifle, and we saw her use this several times in the WFC Siege show. Some pieces in alt mode are molded differently too. Chromia gets back pieces that covers the rear wheels, the cockpit piece clearly looks different, and she gets 4 molded-on front headlights. I commend HasTak for providing these variations to the same mold, to counter what would otherwise be a quick cash-grab. WFC Siege Chromia does not come with that Combiner Wars attachment.

G1 purists will undoubtedly get this Chromia to complete all 4 of the original Fembots (along with this Elita-1 or the upcoming Netflix Elita-1). For everyone else, this Chromia is an optional purchase if you already have Moonracer or Novastar. But buy this rework if you want. No judging here.

Prowl

WFC Siege Prowl follows that “Prowl” formula that all TransFans since G1 have come to memorize by heart. By “Prowl” formula, I mean that the transformation is tried and true for this character, the figure is deluxe size, Prowl colors of black and white are used, the alt mode is a police sports car of some sort, and HasTak will undoubtedly repaint this mold into Bluestreak and Smokescreen. WFC Siege Prowl certainly offers no deviation from this formula, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

WFC Siege Prowl is deluxe size, as you would expect. The alt mode, while Cybertronian, doesn’t offer much originality when compared to his Earth alt mode of a Nissan Z throughout the different decades. In fact, if you told me that this alt mode is a concept Nissan Z, I would have believed it. The writing of “POLICE” that are usually on Prowl’s doors are now replaced with Cybertronian font. The wheels are clear instead of black. The police sirens on the car’s roof is found here as well, but they look at bit too Earth mode if you ask me. The alt mode comes together well as one cohesive whole. All in all, a solid alt mode, but not much originality in that this is supposed to be in Cybertronian form.

Transformation is classic Prowl so I won’t describe it too much. Car hood becomes the chest, arms come out from the sides, rotation at the waist, car back becomes the legs and feet, car doors swing out to form the wings. You’ve seen this script many times.

In robot mode, WFC Siege Prowl is iconic Prowl. No one would mistake this bot mode for any other. I really don’t have much to say about the robot mode, because this is Prowl through and through. That’s a good thing, as this Prowl is supposed to represent the G1 version of this character on Cybertron. This figure does not come with shoulder rockets, and that’s a shame, probably the only aspect that make this less Prowl than usual. The roof sirens in alt mode can be detached and placed on his rifle, or be attached to his forearms to be used as a shield.

If you collect the WFC Siege line, you will undoubtedly buy Prowl regardless of what I say. He’s an iconic G1 character that no true G1-er would pass up. The WFC Siege version does Prowl very well, in that it’s G1 in all the right ways. The only critique I can offer here is that it may be too G1. The alt mode looks too close to what he would be on Earth, and I just can’t imagine Cybertronian vehicles resembling Earth vehicles that much. But as far as having a CHUG Cybertronian Prowl, this fits the bill.

Double Strike

Warbotron Double Strike got a dedicated review already, so go check out that post for all the details. Double Strike is Warbotron’s homage to Strafe from the Technobots. In short, this is a good figure, but not as good as Turbo Ejector (Afterburner).

As of this writing, Double Strike and Turbo Ejector are the only Warbotron Technobots I have. I really want to get the rest. I was overall not terribly impressed with MakeToys Quantron, so I sold that set and re-invested in the Warbotron set. I never got the official Combiner War Technobots set, just Scattershot by his lonesome. That is bizarre, considering how much I love the Technobots. Perhaps another 3P will attempt the Technobots. Would Fans Toys be brave enough to do this? Let’s hope so.

Grinder Dinohead

The last item featured this month is an accessory for Grinder. More specifically, this alternate dino head replaces the default dino head that comes with Grinder. I have mentioned repeatedly on this blog that I feel Grinder’s T-Rex mode make me think of Barney. The problem is the head. Fans Toys has heard your complaints and released this alternate Dino head.

In short, this head is much, much better. I didn’t really look at what is changed on this head, but it certainly doesn’t make me think of Barney anymore when I see Grinder in T-Rex mode. See for yourself. With the alternate head attached, Grinder resembles Grimlock from the G1 movie much more closely. This accessory piece goes for $17.99. At this price, every Grinder owner should get this. However I have seen this marked up to about $100, in this era of global shortages of just about everything. Fans Toys items always gets marked up these days, but this is just crazy! I can’t say if FT will make more of these, but I personally would not pay $100 to get one.

More TFs are to come in the months that follow. This is my last post for 2021. Happy New Year! Transform and Roll Out!
 

EDIT 2021/12/30:

I later found that I took some pics of all the Siege TFs this month. Here they are. Enjoy!

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