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TF Matrix 14 Year Anniversary

October 10th, 2023 Comments off

One more year! TF Matrix is 14 years old (as of yesterday).

Smart readers will see that, between this year and last year, I did not write a single post. This has got to be my darkest hour, in terms of keeping up with this blog.

I mentioned last year that I moved into a new house right before the 13th year anniversary. What this means is that, after moving in, I only did the 13th and 14th anniversary posts. Maybe this house is bad feng shui for blog work. But in all seriousness, I keep this blog up and running because of my love for Transformers. I’m still very actively buying the figures. Though I find I have less time to spend with them with each passing year.

As far as how the blog performed, it got about another 11,000 hits for the year. So I guess that is the baseline. I could do nothing and count on 11,000 hits per year. Not a great stat but I’ll take it. I can’t do any worse. I gotta write at least one entry between now and next year. Hopefully a lot more than just one. I must use the power of the Matrix to light my darkest hour!

Until that day, ’til all are one! Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: Uncategorized

TF Matrix 13 Year Anniversary

October 12th, 2022 Comments off

The show continues! This blog has been running for 13 years. Oct 9th is the birthday for TF Matrix. I’m 2 days late in writing this.

TF Matrix scored just over 11,000 hits for the year. A bit of a drop from last year, but can’t say I’m surprised considering I’m not devoting as much energy into this blog as I would like. Part of this is due to personal reasons. I changed jobs right after the 12th year anniversary. And I’ve been busy moving the last few months. I only moved 2 blocks away, but don’t let that fool you. When you have as many TFs as I do, there’s no such thing as a easy move. But the good news here is that I have tons more space at the new place. I don’t even need my storage unit anymore for all my TFs, and the new house still has enough space for more.

For this anniversary, the only point I wanted to touch on is the crazy prices that we’ve been seeing from Hasbro. Currently, a standard deluxe cost $24.99. When I got back into collecting TFs in 2004, they were $9.99. I remember buying a lot of deluxe TFs in 2006, and they were still $9.99. So I’m going to use 2006 as a benchmark. Accounting for inflation using this inflation calculator, a deluxe today should be only $14.68! Hasbro keeps saying all this price increase is mostly from inflation. Inflation my boron compressor!

It’s clear Hasbro just wants to make more money by increasing profit margins. I’m not against anyone trying to make money. But the price hikes have just been ridiculous. Not to mention that the figures are getting smaller and the packaging has been more minimal. There’s news that it may increase to $27.49 sometime soon for a deluxe. We as TransFans need to stand firm and not accept these inflated prices. I’m not calling for a boycott, but buy in moderation. Send Hasbro a clear message that this is not OK.

But I don’t want to end on a negative note. I’m happy that this blog is still running after 13 years. And will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Legacy Pointblank Coming Soon !!!

August 31st, 2022 Comments off

I love it when Hasbro hears our demands! More than 2 years ago, when the pandemic first started, I wrote a piece on the top 10 Transformers that needs an update. Hasbro has obviously heard me and responded with my top suggestion: Pointblank! Yours truly has the kind of TF influence that rivals the Autobot Matrix itself.

All joking aside, I obviously think that Pointblank is a great choice to be released in Legacy. Based on the pics, looks like Pointblank will be faithfully reproduced as a Targetmaster as we will get Peacemaker too. And he will be a new mold and not a lazy repaint off of current Battlemasters. Bravo!

I’m posting all the pics below. Images courtesy of Amazon. Though they probably came from Hasbro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so looking forward to this and I have mine pre-ordered. Thank you Hasbro! Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: Pics, TF News

Who Wore It Better? MPM-12 vs SS-38 Optimus Prime

July 14th, 2022 Comments off

Today’s showdown features Optimus Prime from the Bumblebee movie.

On the left: Masterpiece Movie #12 Optimus Prime (MPM-12)
On the right: Studio Series #38 Optimus Prime (SS-38)

Who wore it better? You decide.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

BadCube Piper Quick Review

June 21st, 2022 Comments off

One good Pipes review deserves another. So for today, I proudly give you… Piper! 2 Pipes reviews in less than 2 months. Do I have a thing for Pipes? I may be the only TransFan that does.

Piper is BadCube’s MP style interpretation of Pipes. I love all these 3P naming shenanigans. Maybe another 3P will do Pipe? Or Pips? The names are almost as fun as the figs themselves.

I have over 1000 TFs and Piper is my first BadCube purchase. It was only $44.99 from showZ. I had to buy it at this price. Did BadCube do good? Let’s find out.

Piper box.

Back of the box. A very obvious design homage to G1. I like it.

In addition to the figure itself, these are the other items in the package:

  • The instruction manual
  • Not 1, but 2 bio cards!
  • 2 extra faces, in addition to the one that comes on Piper, for a total of 3 faces
  • The Transforming Cog (we saw Pipes install this in Metroplex at some point in Season 3)

Altogether this is not a crazy amount of accessories, but I think what’s there is sufficient. I’m not an accessories guy by any means. Some fans may find this lacking.

Piper is packed in alt mode, so let’s look at that first.

Not a bad looking truck. It has a classic old school look and feel. Maybe this is what they meant by “Old Timer Series”.

Looking at the alt mode directly from the front. I like the details on the grill, headlights, and side mirrors. From this view it looks like he has two seats in the cab. He actually does not. Those are just holes to accommodate where the arms go in alt mode.

Side view of the truck. At first I felt like the rear wheel section is a bit long. But then I compared Piper to my other semi truck TFs and most of them are about this long. Maybe it feels long because other semis have 2 rear wheels on each side and Piper only has 1.

Back view of the truck. Notice the fifth wheel has 2 slots on it. Scroll down below to see what it’s for.

Bottom view.

Piper and WFC Kingdom Pipes.

Piper and Fans Toys Rig, their interpretation of Huffer. In the above 2 pics, notice that WFC Kingdom Pipes and Rig have the windshield at a slightly slanted angle, while Piper has the windshield completely vertical. WFC Pipes and Rig wins the G1 accuracy here. Also notice that Rig has a much shorter rear section.

Piper and Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime from Bumblebee. These 2 are almost the exact same size in alt mode!

Piper hauling the MP-10 Trailer. It works! The trailer pegs perfectly into the 2 slots on the fifth wheel. I don’t have the MP-44 so it’s unclear to me if this will work.

All in all, Piper’s alt mode is not too shabby. The colors are distinctively Pipes. When transformed correctly, the figure stays cohesive in truck mode without pieces dangling off. He rolls well on a flat surface. Piper does feel a bit light when compared to other 3P MP offerings of this size (FT Rig feels much heavier). BadCube did take some liberties with the design in this mode, but overall it’s not a distraction.

Transformation to robot mode is not too complex. BadCube has a reputation for making some of their figs way too complicated, at least that’s what I’ve been told. I don’t think that applies to Piper. For MP standards I actually think it’s on the easier side. The figure pretty much transforms like you would expect. The only thing worth noting is that the arms are tucked inside the cab in alt mode. This is a deviation from G1 and WFC Pipes in that the pipes are the arms. I have no issue with this change my BadCube. It makes for better looking smokestacks on the alt mode and better looking arms in bot mode.

Piper classic A-stance. Looks good. Pretty toon accurate, but not overly toon accurate. Strikes the perfect balance between show accuracy and modern figure aesthetics.

Piper side view in robot mode. I’m not going to mince words here. That giant kibble of a backpack is very much a negative on this figure. Some say this looks better in person, but I disagree. It’s as bad as it looks. G1 purists might defend this by saying that G1 Pipes had this too. That is kinda true, but I don’t remember it being this big in relation to the figure. That backpack is a fail no matter how you slice it.

Piper robot view from the back. Again, the backpack pretty much trumps over everything else.

Now for some action poses:

Piper has a decent amount of posability. The construction of the figure is good too, so he can hold those poses. Again, the only thing getting in the way of good poses is probably the huge backpack.

Piper comes with 3 faces.

Default G1 animation face. A little bit of paint smear on the face mold, but overall not too bad.

Just like the first face but with red eyes. Not sure if we ever saw this in the G1 cartoons.

G1 toy accurate face. I kinda like this face.

And to get him looking very G1 toy like, see below.

I wish I have my G1 Pipes figure with me, so I could’ve taken pics of Piper and G1 Pipes side by side. Look here for pics of G1 Pipes.

With WFC Kingdom Pipes in bot mode. Notice where the Autobot insignia goes on WFC Pipes, on his left upper corner. G1 Pipes has the Autobot insignia in the same location. It’s a problem if I try to put a customized Autobot logo in the same location for Piper. There’s a piece on the side that actually rotates out in alt mode, as a peg for attaching the smokestacks. I could put a small logo between that and the center rectangular design that seems to serve no purpose, but I don’t think that would look right. I’m going to count this as another minor negative in bot mode.

Piper and MP-53 Skids. Why did I use Skids for the MP size comparison? Because I had him handy. No other reason.

Despite quite a few negatives I listed for Piper (the most obvious being that giant kibble of a backpack), I still give the figure a good solid recommendation. The truck looks good, and the robot mode does too from the front. He’s well constructed. Transformation is fun without being overly complex. Scales well with other MPs. Fun miscellaneous features, such as being able to tow the MP-10 trailer and having the G1 face option. Look and appearance is distinctively Pipes. All in a package that’s reasonably priced. There are way more positives here than negatives.

Go Pipes! Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

Masterpiece Optimus Prime and Season 1 Carbots

May 29th, 2022 Comments off

This is something I wanted to do for a while now. I rounded up Optimus and all my Season 1 Carbots in some kind of MP form and assembled them for a group photo! I had almost all of them in alt mode in pure happenstancce, so I only had to transform a few into their vehicle forms to get them all ready to roll out!

Feast your optics on the pics below.

This is the lineup, in order of purchase:

Some of these characters can be represented by other MP style figs that I have. Such is the case with Optimus and Mirage. For Optimus, I could have used Transform Element OP Leader. But he was in robot mode and I didn’t feel like doing the work to get him in alt mode. I have done one round trip transformation with OP Leader so I know it’s a challenging process. Plus I would’ve had to use the MP-10 trailer anyways. For Mirage, I also have DX-9 Invisible. But Transform Element Phantom is the newer figure, and most would agree it’s the superior figure. So Phantom wins.

I have some new MP figs on pre-order that will update some of these. One figure is Fans Toys Jive, who is their version of Jazz. Another is MP-56, the official MP Trailbreaker. The pics of both of these look excellent, and I’m curious how much superior they will be to Downbeat and Aegis, respectively. I can’t wait to get them.

I like to get all the Season 1 Minibots in some kind of MP form as well, so all my Season 1 Autobots would be complete in MP form. I got Bumblebee, Brawn (Fans Toys Hunk), Huffer (Fans Toys Rig), and Cliffjumper (X-Transbots Toro). I just need Windcharger and Gears. Time to look at some 3P MP options for these 2.

I’m gonna transform them all into their robot selves and then assemble them again for another group photo. That may take a while. But it shall be done.

Autobots… Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: Pics

War For Cybertron Kingdom Pipes Quick Review – with G1

April 27th, 2022 Comments off

I have said many times on this blog that I’m partial to TFs that I have owned during G1. So today I’m going to do another review of a figure updated in the War For Cybertron line with G1 roots. Ladies and gents, I give you… Pipes!

Most TransFans outside of G1 will not have heard of Pipes. He was a mini-bot that came around in Season 3. According to my research, Pipes appeared in the original US Transformers run a whopping 2 times. Pipes had more comic book appearances in both G1 and later incarnations, but that media is reserved for the hardcore. So yeah, this is a very minor G1 character that most just brush off as a Huffer repaint.

But I had Pipes during G1. So he’s getting some love today. And to be fair, Pipes wasn’t simply just a Huffer repaint. They’re based off of the same overall scheme. But they had different head molds, different arm molds, but most importantly, they don’t transform exactly the same. Opposite sides of the truck are used to form the front side of the robot. There’s enough examples of this in today’s figures (Universe Sideswipe and Sunstreaker comes to mind), but for G1, this achievement in variation off a same mold is beyond epic!

In WFC, Huffer came first, and rightly so since he’s the more famous character. It was only a matter of time before they got to Pipes. We all know HasTak is not going to make a mold to release it just once.

WFC Kingdom Pipes in the package.

First let’s take a look at how Pipes appeared in the animation models.

In the pics on the left, Pipes appears with pipe arms and a visor-type face, just like his G1 toy. But then in the pics on the right, he appears with pipes as attachments on his forearms and a face with two separate eyes. This was classic G1… no definitive appearance and lots of discrepancies between animation studios. Whatever the case, the latter interpretation is what WFC Pipes went with. See below.

Pipes in classic A-stance. Notice the pipes attachments on the forearms.

Pipes side profile. A bit of backpack kibble, but not too bad. Very G1 accurate and the size is more than acceptable when viewed from the side.

View from the back. The backpack kibble looks a bit big from this view, but it’s part of Pipes’ defining attribute since G1. Speaking of which, let’s take a look at G1 Pipes.

This is an authentic G1 Pipes that I had since either ’86 or ’87. I believe he was acquired at Lucky. I went shopping one day with my mom, and she was nice enough to buy this for me. If memory serves, he was an item placed on a hanging strip, possibly in the cereal aisle. Lucky didn’t always put toys in the toy aisle back then. This G1 Pipes is not in the best shape today. Nothing broken, but very loose joints. I transformed this guy literally hundreds of times.

G1 Pipes with WFC Pipes – about 35 years between them.

Another shot of this duo.

WFC Pipes is able to use the pipes as twin guns.

Another alternate pose for Pipes, with the pipes attached on the shoulders.

Close-up of WFC Pipes. They obviously used the animation model.

Close-up of G1 Pipes. I have no idea why there’s a smudge on the cab, to the left of the Autobot symbol. Looking at the two pics above, it’s clear they very much kept the chest design intact. Bravo!

Now for some action shots. Pipes is fairly poseable. Lots of articulation points for a $20 figure.

Another action shot.

Same action shot as above, but with the focus on one pipe.

Pipes kick. Hiyah!

Now for some size comparisons. First with Studio Series 86 Perceptor.

With Generation Selects Exhaust. Why did I use Perceptor and Exhaust? Because I had them handy. No other reason.

Transformation to truck is fairly obvious. Detach arms from the shoulders and flip the front wheels out. Rotate cab around the place over the head. Place arms to the back and sides of cab. Angle the fists inwards. Rotate and flip legs in. Very straightforward transformation for a G1 derivative.

Truck side view.

Alternate configuration view from the side, without the pipes.

View from the back. The paint on the rear brake lights is a nice touch.

WFC Pipes bottom view. I could’ve rotated the head so the face is not visible, but whatever.

Now for some pics of G1 Pipes in alt mode. I think there was a rub-on faction label on the top of the cab, but it fell off. Transformation from robot to truck is beyond obvious so I won’t even describe it.

Another shot of G1 Pipes in alt mode.

Below I present G1 and WFC Pipes together in alt mode, in various angles.

In summary, I recommend WFC Kingdom Pipes. They certainly did not forget his G1 roots when he was conceived, the design aesthetics taking cues from both the G1 toy and G1 animation. The figure is well built and very poseable. Transformation is fun, intuitive, and straightforward. Both modes look superb. I like this figure so much, I got this mold 4 times. See below.

Clockwise from upper left: Pipes, Huffer, Road Ranger, Puffer

You certainly don’t need to get them all. But all TransFans should get at least one. All these can still be had at MSRP as of this writing. Pipes is asking you to collect them all – read his tech spec bio if you didn’t get that reference.

Go Pipes. Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

Beelzeboss Heroic Duo Custom Kit with WFC Siege Sideswipe and Red Alert

April 15th, 2022 Comments off

A few days ago, I was browsing old content on this blog. I stumbled on posts regarding the Beelzeboss Heroic Duo Custom Kit version 2. This upgrade kit is designed to enhance Universe Sideswipe and Generations Red Alert for a more G1 accurate look. So this got me thinking… does this set work with War For Cybertron Siege Sideswipe and Red Alert? I love to experiment. So I dug out this set, the 2 WFC figures, and proceeded to weaponize them G1 style.

Box of the set. Nice artwork.

The above pic shows what’s in the set. Included are:

  • 1 grey rifle for Sideswipe
  • 1 red rifle for Red Alert
  • 1 white launcher with white missile for Sideswipe
  • 1 white launcher with red missile for Red Alert
  • 4 shoulder pads for attaching the missile launchers
  • 2 pile drivers for Sideswipe
  • 1 G1 accurate red head for Red Alert

First I’ll go over what’s not usable with WFC Sideswipe and Red Alert. The hands on the WFC figs cannot be detached, so the 2 pile drivers are useless here. The shoulders on the WFC figs are molded completely different from the CHUG figs, so the 4 shoulder pads have no where to go on the WFC figs. And without the shoulder pads, the missile launchers cannot be attached. Total bummer.

It is unclear to me if the G1 accurate Red Alert head can be used. WFC Red Alert’s head does appear to sit on a ball joint, but getting it off could take some work. it’s positioned in between the chest/hood and the back, and getting to it is not easy. So I didn’t try it. WFC Red Alert already has a pretty good looking G1 head that is different from Sideswipe.

This only leaves the rifles. Below is a pic that compares the Heroic Duo rifles with the stock WFC Siege weapons.

So how does it look? See for yourself.

All in all, not too shabby. For WFC Sideswipe, my gripe was always that he didn’t come with good weapons. The stock 2 piece attachment could function as either the missile launcher or the gun, but it doesn’t look G1 enough to really qualify as either. You could take apart the 2 pieces and have a launcher and a gun, but that kinda looks worse. With the Heroic Duo rifle, that obviously becomes his hand weapon, and the stock weapon can now be fully devoted to be the missile launcher. I like this look.

As for WFC Red Alert, he comes with a stock rifle. So I chose to use the red Heroic Duo rifle over his stock black one for a more G1 look. The stock rifle doesn’t look bad, but Heroic Duo is better, in my opinion. I could’ve had him use both rifles, but Red Alert never did that in the G1 cartoons. WFC Red Alert does not come with any pieces that he could use as a shoulder launcher.

I should point out that the fit for the weapons isn’t the best. For Sideswipe, the Heroic Duo rifle feels pretty loose in either fist. It’s ok for posing. But during play it’s sure to fall off. The fit is a bit better on Red Alert, but not by much.

Now for the alt modes. Here are some ways to use the Heroic Duo weapons.

It looks ok. Neither attachment option looks that natural. The fit on Sideswipe with the weapon on the side is not too bad. All other fittings is as loose as the robot mode. Again, ok for posing, but not the best during play.

My final verdict is that the Heroic Duo kit is great for the figs they were designed for. But for Siege Sideswipe and Red Alert, I would only get this set if you can find it cheap. Only the rifles are of any use. They look pretty good, but the fit is only good for posing.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

Transformers Rub On Faction Decals, More Pics ++

March 31st, 2022 Comments off

Today I am going to show off even more of my 3rd party TFs using these awesome decals.

Fans Toys Grenadier – clear backing
 

Fans Toys Hunk – clear backing
 

MakeToys Downbeat – white backing
 

A quick word about Hunk – I’m not sure why the contrast between the decal and chest is so bad on the pic. Must be bad lighting. The contrast of the red decal against the light orange chest is much more evident when looking at the fig in person. Here is a review of Hunk – see the pics there.

Links to previous decals:

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics

Happy St Patrick’s Day 2022! Seen in Green!

March 17th, 2022 Comments off

Welcome to another one of my special St Patrick’s Day posts! This is the time of year when I feature my green Transformers. I always try to look for green figures that I have not featured before. For 2022, I came up with the figures below, all from the War For Cybertron line.

This St Patrick’s Day feels quite different from the last time I did one of these, in 2020. COVID caught the United States by storm at that time, marking an unusual start to the decade to say the least. But we’re now in 2022. It’s debatable if we can say COVID is behind us, but life goes on.

Quick bits about each figure:

  • War For Cybertron Galactic Odyseey Lifeline – I call her the “Green Queen” of this bunch. She’s basically a WFC Earthrise Arcee repaint. Lifeline came packaged with WFC Ratchet in Earth mode. This was an Amazon exclusive, and the only way to get WFC Earth mode Ratchet. So yeah, Lifeline is a totally unnecessary repaint to get us G1 hardcore dummies to buy more figures. I love and hate Hasbro.
  • War For Cybertron Earthrise Allicon – This guy has got enough green on him to qualify for my St Patrick’s Day features. The fact this even got made as a toy is a treat for all G1-ers. The Allicon was another Quintesson foot soldier designed purely for the 1986 TF Movie without a toy origin. In the film, they love the energon goodies, but get seriously hangry when there are no more. The Allicon figure is not bad at all. It’s a fun figure to just pick up and play, transforming between a mechanical humanoid Alligator and robot.
  • War For Cybertron Earthrise Hoist – this character need no introduction. The WFC Earthrise figure is not bad. Good looking robot and alt modes. Not hard to transform and very G1 accurate.
  • War For Cybertron Kingdom Waspinator – Another terrific update to Waspinator. I need to dig out Generations Thrilling 30 Waspinator and compare him to this one. The two seems very similar, but I’m going purely by memory here.

On a separate note, St Patrick’s Day usually means March Madness. In 2020, the NCAA Tournament was cancelled. But in 2022 it’s alive and well. Can my UCLA repeat last year’s surprising appearance in the Final Four? Of course they can. They’re going all the way this year!

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: Pics