Archive

Author Archive

Transformers Purchased in September 2016

May 17th, 2017 No comments

Here are the purchases for Sept of 2016. What kind of goodies did I get? Well… nothing too special. 3 repaints and 2 RiD figs. Nothing to write home about, but better than getting nothing.

  • Titans Return Rumble, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Laserbeak, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Ravage, Target, $10.29

  • Robots in Disguise Starscream, Toys R Us, $14.99

  • Robots in Disguise Windblade, Walmart, $14.97

Let’s start with the Titans Return cassettes first. Actually, in the modern era, they are all tablets. And it hit me just now that all 3 of these are about $10 each. Oh man… there was a time when deluxe class figures were $10. Now all you can get with $10 all super small figs. Sigh. And in retrospect I totally see Hasbro’s “release-the-famous-character-later” tactic for repaints. Double sigh.

Anyways, these are all repaints. Rumble is my favorite out of these three. At least he gets a different head mold from Rewind. Ravage is a repaint from Stripes, and Laserbeak is a repaint from Buzzsaw. You can see Laserbeak’s release coming from a mile away. But in G1 these 2 were also exact repaints of each other, so I guess the trend must continue. I won’t comment any more about these 3, other than they are all famous G1 chracters from Season 1. So as much as you hate Hasbro’s double dip tactics, you still open your wallet and make the obligatory purchase. Damn you Hasbro.

Now onto some new stuff. First up is Robots in Disguise Starscream. I really tried to watch Robots in Disguise now that it’s on Netflix. But it just doesn’t grab me like any of the TF shows before it. I’ve tried starting the show on three separate occasions, starting with Ep 1. I don’t get too far before I lose interest, and before you know it, a few months has gone by and I kinda forgot what happened in Ep 1 and I had to start over. So I really don’t know what’s going on in the RiD story line. But to see Starscream on the shelf, that took me by surprise. I didn’t know if this RiD figure would be any good, but it’s Starscream, and as a hardcore G1-er you always buy Starscream.

RiD Starscream is not too shabby. I like the jet mode. It’s nice and sleek. He’s not a F-15, but some kind of futuristic jet that resembles something out of Macross. The forward wing design is a nice touch. When you look on the underside of the jet, there’s a bit of bulk but not too much. He’s got the iconic Starscream colors of light grey, red, and blue. Canopy is in a cartoon orange, and in this case I think it works. The guns go underneath the tip of the wings. If I got a gripe, it’s that the arms are under the wings in jet mode, and that makes the wing area a bit thick. But all in all I like the alt mode. It’s a familiar yet refreshing Starscream alt mode.

Transformation of RiD Starscream is pretty cool. It’s definitely different from how Starscream usually transforms. To start, the nosecone folds backwards onto the top of the plane and stays there. The arm and chest section are formed by moving it from the rear and wing of the jet and attaching it more forward. The legs fold out from the top. In robot mode, the design is still most certainly Starscream, but with RiD aesthetics. The wings on his back make it look like he’s wearing a cape, and it’s not a bad look for him. His head mold looks like a cross from various Starscreams of the past. And his shoulder design resembles his G1 shoulder ornaments during his short lived coronation in the G1 movie. Construction of the figure is solid. Everything tabs into where it should so nothing flops around. A lot of the figure is cheap ball joints, but that does make for some nice articulation. The right hip joint is a bit loose on my figure, but a little nail polish should fix that right up. To sum up, I like this Starscream figure. I wouldn’t put it in the must get category, but it’s a solid addition to your RiD lineup, or if you just want something extra to play with during a TF dry spell. Oh, I got the exclusive Toys R Us version. There is a mass retail version of this figure, but I don’t know how they’re different.

The last entry for the month is RiD Windblade. Again, I know next to nothing about RiD so I was not expecting this figure at all. And what a sweet surprise she was. Windblade as a character is getting some love in the IDW Transformers comics. Reading the IDW comis is something that’s been on my mind for a long time now, I just can’t find the time for it. And if my understanding is accurate, Windblade is a central character in some of the recent IDW plot lines. Hasbro has already produced a figure of her IDW incarnation. However, I’m not particularly fond of that figure. It looks ok, but it’s too flimsy for my liking. I have been wishing for a better Windblade.

And along comes Robots in Disguise Windblade. In my opinion, this is the Windblade to get. RiD Windblade is mostly decked out in red with patches of black here and there. Her jet mode is fairly unique. She seems to be a hover jet in every continuity, and RiD Windblade is no exception. She’s got the iconic turbines on the wings. In this mode, the figure comes together fairly well as most parts tab into place. A lot of the female figures that Hasbro has produced are flimsy (even in alt mode), but Windblade does not share that problem. There is storage space on the underside of the jet for the sword inside the sheath (more on this later). However, that’s not possible if you want to place the jet nicely on a flat surface. It will get in the way of the landing gear.

Transformation to robot is mostly derivative of what we have seen before. Legs fold out from the rear of the jet, arms untab from the sides, and the jet nosecone and wings folds to the back. Windblade implements a tried and true jet to robot formula, but there are some original mechanics. The jet turbines flips to the other side of the wings in robot mode, and the top of the jet collapses on itself in robot mode. This transformation is more about the execution and it’s done very well.

I love how Windblade looks in robot mode. I’m gonna assume she looks accurate to her RiD appearance, and I like the overall red upper body motif with black legs. The frame and shape of the robot mode makes it obvious that this is a female character. And for a female TF, she feels much more robust than other female TFs that have been done in the past. Windblade comes with her iconic sword. The sword can be placed into the sheath when not in use. There is a peg on the sheath that can be placed on the outer side of either leg for a sword-carrying samurai look.

Windblade has got some great articulation due to liberal use of ball joints. Yes, cheap ball joints again, but I can overlook it when it’s done this well on a $15 figure. She can be posed holding the sword in all kinds of ways. The figure comes with this yellow fan looking piece that I didn’t know what to do with for the longest time. I thought it was some kind of fan-based weapon, like in the old kung-fu movies. Turns out, you insert it to the back of her head. I should have looked at the packaging art more closely.

To sum up, I highly recommend RiD Windblade. Get one if you see one. However, the latest batch of Windblades that I see in the stores appears different. Take a look at pics of mine, then look at this pic I snapped today at Walmart.

At first my thought was Hasbro forgot to paint her face. Then comparing this pic with my figure, I see that the store figure now is quite a bit different. I see bits of yellow on her chest, and bits of blue on her abdomen. Her knees are also painted yellow instead of blue, and the legs are almost entirely black. I guess this is a 2nd version (much like how they did two versions of Megatronus), and she wears a face mask. I don’t know if I like that look.

More TFs to come. Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Toys R Us Paris

May 5th, 2017 No comments

I mentioned in my last post that I just got back from vacation. I traveled to New Zealand and Australia, and those are awesome places to visit! Whenever I come back from a big trip, I start thinking of other big trips that I’ve taken in the past. This made me think of the time I went to Europe, in September of 2015. I made a brief mention about it back in this post.

For this Europe trip, first we hit up Munich. We were there for Oktoberfest, and other things. We spent a few days there before we took the train to Paris. The French capital is a beautiful place. On our last day there, we decided to visit the La Defense District of Paris, just to check out areas that weren’t so touristy. Once I got there, I realized there’s a Toys R Us! And of course I had to go in there and see if I can find any good TFs. In this post I will outline my TF hunting adventures in Paris, like I did for Shanghai.

La Defense

La Defense is the business and financial district of Paris. It is much like the Financial District (FiDi) of San Francisco. During the day you will see many people dressed in business attire walking about. La Defense is located northwest of the central Paris area, just a short subway ride away from Arc de Triomphe.

The distinguishing monument in La Defense is the Grande Arche. And because of that, La Defense is still a bit more touristy than we thought. Still, I’m glad I saw it. Here are some pics of the main area of La Defense.


Standing at La Defense, looking east, across the Historical Axis of Paris. In the distance you can see the Arc de Triomphe.


Similar view as the first pic, but looking more southeast.


Looking south, at the mall where the Toys R Us is.


La Grande Arche de la Défense.


Close up of La Grande Arche.


Right inside and underneath the La Grande Arche, looking up at its ceiling.


Going past La Grande Arche and looking further west.


Back to the main area and looking north.


Back to the main area and looking northeast.

The Mall
Toys R Us is inside this mall at the main area of La Defense, a short walk from La Grande Arche. I don’t know the name of the mall. Sometimes I marvel at how similar malls across the world looks to malls of United States. I guess American consumerism is infectious everywhere.


Right outside the entrance to the mall.


The mall food court.


Another random shot of the inside of this mall.

Toys R Us
The Paris Toys R Us does not look that different than any American Toys R Us. Even the writing in the store is mostly English, and not French. Unfortunately, I did not find any TFs that I couldn’t find before, so I didn’t buy anything. Nevertheless, I’m glad I went there to see the store.


The entrance.


Transformers section!


Some Age of Extinction and Combiner Wars figures.


Same shelf as above, lower angle.


Star Wars section!


More Star Wars figures.


Lego Yoda and Darth Vader!


Lego Eiffel Tower!

Paris was awesome. I want to go back!

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Transformers Purchased in August 2016

May 1st, 2017 No comments

After a short break away, I am back! I was in New Zealand and Australia for about 2 weeks. We were in Auckland, Queenstown, and Sydney. These were all beautiful places, and I had so much fun! I want to go back so badly. Though after so much traveling, I am happy to be back in the States. And I welcome a return to my usual routine so I have time to play with my TFs and blog about them.

Unlike last month where I got a bunch of figures, only two purchases were made in August of 2016. And they’re both small legend size figures.

  • Titans Return Wheelie, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Rewind, Target, $10.29

Last month I mentioned that I got TR Stripes on the last day of the month. I will describe him here with his two other Legend size associates that are part of the same wave. None of these 3 figs will knock your socks off, but they ain’t half bad either. Stripes and Rewind are both triple changers, and both are meant to be compatible with Titans Return leader class Blaster (to be purchased in a few months). They each have an electronic tablet mode, which is the modern equivalent of the tape cassette mode that they had back in the 80s. To be frank, their shape in this mode still looks more like cassettes than tablets because they’re too thick. In addition to this mode, Stripes offers a panther mode and a jet mode, while Rewind has a robot mode and a tank mode. I like Rewind’s robot mode. All in all, these 2 figs are quite mediocre in every way possible. Stripes and Rewind will be painted into Ravage and Rumble, respectively. Frenzy probably won’t be far behind.

The only other figure here is Wheelie. He’s the most famous character out of these 3. Hasbro has not done that many CHUG Wheelies in the modern era. I can only think of 2 others: a legend size fig that came around 2010, and a deluxe version released in 2012 that’s a repaint of Reveal the Shield Jazz. So a new Wheelie figure that can more appropriately scale with new figures is very much welcome. I had high hopes for TR Wheelie, but in the end he’s just ok. Both modes look cartoon accurate to the G1 show, but this figure is just so flimsy. During transformation he can feel like a real mess. I would only recommend this Wheelie to those hardcore G1 purists that has to have a Wheelie in their CHUG lineup.

Below is a pic of the three of them.

This month is all Autobots, and all small legend size Autobots. I guess that’s the theme for the month. Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in July 2016

April 4th, 2017 No comments

July 2016 is blessed with a heavy dose of TF goodness. This month marks the start of a new TF line – Titans Return! TR is Hasbro’s official update of Headmasters, and I have been looking forward to this series of figures for quite some time now. July also includes some excellent third party acquisitions.

  • Titans Return Galvatron, Toys R Us, $24.99

  • Titans Return Sentinel Prime, Toys R Us, $24.99

  • Titans Return Skullsmasher, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Hardhead, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Scourge, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Blurr, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Stripes, Target, $10.29

  • Combiner Wars Starscream, HasbroToyshop via eBay, $35.99

  • Masterpiece Ramjet, tfsource.com, $179.99

  • ToyWorld Muddy, tfsource.com, $80

  • DX9 Carry, tfsource.com, $129.99

Quick sidebar: I started a new job in July. It was bittersweet to leave my last job, after 9 and a half years there. For reasons that I won’t go into, it became obvious that I should no longer stay at that job. I like my new job. I won’t say that it’s better than my old job in all aspects, but I’m playing the long game, and I’m confident that this new position will work out better for me in the long run. Besides, my new job allows me more time to dedicate to this blog. This was the first post after starting the new job. I have been more consistent in making new posts since then.

Those of you that read this blog regularly know that I like to hit up stores at lunch time and hunt for TFs. And just like my old job, there is also a TRU near my new job. The very first week on this new job (I think it was Day 2), I found the Titans Return figures at the TRU! I say this is a clear sign that I made the right decision in taking this job.

Titans Return

So let’s go over these TR figures first. I found all the Wave 1 deluxe and voyager figures in one shot. The 4 deluxe figs are Blurr, Scourge, Hardhead, and Skullsmasher. And I like them in that order, from best to worst.

Blurr is an awesome fig. The alt mode is extremely cartoon accurate in appearance. The robot mode is nice and proportionate. Transformation is smooth and intuitive, complex enough to feel like it’s not made for kids, but not too complicated that it distracts from the fun. Construction of the figure is superb, no joints too loose or too tight, and no tolerance issues. My only gripe is the color. The US version of TR Blurr is like this dark turquoise color. Why they decided to go with this color scheme is beyond me. Especially since the Japanese version (called Transformers Legends) has G1 accurate colors. For that reason, many hardcore G1-ers have decided to import the Japanese version. I may do that myself at some point. Blurr was never a Headmaster in G1. In TR, his Headmaster partner (now called Titan Masters) can fit comfortably inside the vehicle in alt mode, and attaches nicely in robot mode. All in all, TR Blurr is highly recommended, despite my gripe with the colors.

TR Scourge is a solid fig. Like Blurr, G1 Scourge was never a Headmaster. And like TR Blurr, the Japanese version of TR Scourge has a color scheme more similar to G1. TR Scourge has a much more accurate cartoon alt mode appearance over the Generations figure that was released around 2011. Sometimes in the cartoons, you see Scourge fly around in alt mode with his head exposed, on top of the spaceship. With TR Scourge, you can reproduce that look. All you need to so is stick the Titan Master in head mode on top of Scourge in alt mode. I like the robot mode as well. When compared to the robot mode of the Generations fig, it’s debatable which is more toon accrurate. They each have their pros and cons. But in my opinion there are no obvious weaknesses with TR Scourge in robot mode. He’s fun to transform, and he’s well built. Scourge became a Targetmaster in Season 4, so I guess making him a Headmaster is not that far-fetched.

Hardhead was one figure that I was really looking forward to in TR. I always regretted not buying the G1 figure, and I had many opportunities to. As a kid in the 80s with a very limited allowance, G1 Hardhead was a bit out of my price range. But I always liked his alt mode, and the robot mode wasn’t too shabby for G1 standards. I do have Hardbone, ToyWorld’s take on Hardhead. I highly recommend that figure, though as of this writing, you may want to consider Iron Will by MakeToys if you are in the market for a 3P Hardhead. Anyway, back to TR Hardhead. He’s only ok. I like the alt mode and the robot mode, but the figure feels a bit flimsy. During transformation, the figure feels extremely hollow. I think the reason for that is equal parts design and construction. And speaking of construction, Hardhead is not the best. He’s ok, but some parts are too loose for my liking, especially in the legs and hips. This figure could have turned out so good if they made some design tweaks, and if the build was improved to have better tolerances. His floppiness is so not worthy of the name Hardhead. As is, I can only recommend Hardhead to hardcore G1 devotees like myself. Casual TransFans should invest their money elsewhere.

Last of the deluxe TR figs is Skullsmasher. In G1 he was called Skullcruncher. I can only assume Hasbro renamed him for license reasons. This alligator Headmaster is probably one of the most unique in the world of TF. I mean, what other figure transforms into an alligator? And on that point, Skullsmasher is awesome. I love his alt mode. The toy designers really hit it out of the park with the look of the mechanical alligator. That alligator head mold has to be seen to be believed. Even the paint job is superb for a $15 toy. Some parts of Skullsmasher have this shiny, metallic finish that you only find in MP or 3P figures, and I commend Hasbro in this application. However, I mentioned that this is my least favorite of the 4 deluxe figs. Transformation and robot mode is where this figure falls apart, literally. Construction of the figure is beyond poor. Many joints are way too loose, and I guarantee you some limbs will fall off the first time you transform the figure. Holding action poses for Skullsmasher in robot mode is difficult if not impossible, due to the weak joints. Some glue or nail polish application in the ball joints should address this, but it’s not something I should have to do. Skullsmasher is recommend for hardcore G1 fans only.

Hasbro, IDW, Paramount, and whoever else is behind the Transformers have been super inconsistent with Sentinel Prime’s appearance. He’s a large and pinkish-red modern fire engine in the Movie-verse, a medium size blue pick-up truck in TF Animated, and (mostly) various shades of orange and yellow in different CHUG lines. Even when focused strictly on CHUG, it’s hard to pin down Sentinel’s appearance. And due to that reason, he’s the perfect character for a first lease of a new mold. Hasbro does this because hardcore fans like me would buy anything when it’s a new mold, then they repaint this mold with a more famous character later and I’ll buy it again (damn you Hasbro). In this case, TR Sentinel Prime is using a mold designed for Astrotrain, which they intend to release later. The body styling resembles Astrotrain, and he’s got a space shuttle alt mode and a train alt mode. All Hasbro had to do is repaint the mold and give the figure a new Titan Master for a different head design. Personally, I think this mold is not half bad. But it’s more appropriate to look at this mold in more detail when Astrotrain is released, so I’ll reserve final thoughts til then. But I will say this now… Sentinel Prime is way too orange. It kind of makes for a goofy looking Transformer.

Last in this TR lineup, but certainly not least… behold… Galvatron! Hasbro has not made that many direct G1 updates of Galvatron in the modern era. The only one I can think of is the deluxe Generations fig that was released in 2008, which was way too hard to transform to be any fun, and no Galvatron fig should be smaller than voyager class. Age of Extinction Galvatron doesn’t count as a real Galvatron. Combiner Wars had Galvatronus (formed with Cyclonus as the main body), but that’s not a standalone figure. So a real voyager sized, G1 inspired, and standalone Galvatron figure is a real treat! And Hasbro did not disappoint. TR Galvatron is the definitive CHUG Galvatron that we have been waiting for. The figure comes packaged in robot mode. This is hands down the most show accurate looking Galvatron produced to date (not counting 3P products). The figure in robot mode is well built and nicely proportioned. I don’t detect any construction issues, and he’s got enough articulation for some nice poses. He’s voyager size, so he scales well with other leaders of this size, such as Optimus and Cyclonus (quick sidebar: I hope Hasbro will one day make a CHUG voyager size Rodimus Prime, but that’s for another day). This Galvatron is both a Headmaster and a Triple Changer. I can see some G1 purists scoff at this change, but I personally don’t see it as a big deal. One alt mode of TR Galvatron is the futuristic Howitzer-like cannon first made famous in the G1 Movie, and the other alt mode is a jet with the huge orange cannon attached in the front. Both alt modes are pretty cool. The transformation mechanism is well designed and superbly implemented. Some parts in certain configurations could probably have been better tabbed in, but it’s a minor gripe. The Titan Master feature is ok. Hasbro chose a weird implementation where there is a helmet that flips out over Galvatron’s chest and it covers the head. I guess this was done so you can use any Titan Master figure with Galvatron. It looks ok, but I still wish he had a non-Headmaster head. I’m hoping that some third party will make a separate, G1 accurate head for TR Galvatron. I highly recommend this figure. Despite some minor negatives, it is the best official Galvatron figure made. Go out and get yours if you haven’t already.

Oh, I should mention that I also got Stripes this month. I found Stripes on the very last day of the month. Seriously, I took all the pics for the figures I got this month earlier, thinking I won’t find anymore. Then Stripes sneaks in on me on the last day! I think Stripes is a totally made up character. This mold is meant to be for Ravage, and the release of Stripes is just another quick cash grab for Hasbro (like Sentinel Prime before Astrotrain). I should have just left him on the shelf at Target, but the TF collector in me won’t let me. I’ll go more into Stripes when I do my purchase post for next month. I found the other 2 figures in the same wave as Stripes next month, so it makes more sense to mention him then.

Combiner Wars

By the middle of 2016, the number of CW figs have dwindled. TR is now in full swing, and that is now the active line considered to be CHUG, catered to mature, adult collectors of TF. Nevertheless, some CW figs are still out there. And here is one that I did not purchase during it’s initial release: Leader class Starscream.

I love Starscream. There is no other character like him in the entire TF universe. I try to get all Starscream figures produced in MP or CHUG form. I bought CW Leader class Starscream one day before I started my new job (on Hasbrotoyshop via eBay). This Starscream is an exact repaint of Leader Thundercracker that came before it. And for that reason, I won’t go into too much detail. I don’t like paying full price for something so similar, so I waited for a bit of a sale before committing to buy. But know that he does come with the bling-bling crown he wore during his gaudy coronation ceremony, shortly before being vaporized by Galvatron, in the 1986 movie.

Masterpiece

The lone MP figure this month is Ramjet. And I’ll get right to it… he’s disappointing. I wanted to like this figure, I really did. Hasbro and Takara have pumped out so many repaints of the 2nd generation MP seeker, and like an addict I bought all the US versions (including Thundercracker, Acid Storm, and Sunstorm). And I think that’s part of the problem… Hasbro/Takara has used this mold way too many times. I have been told that, when a mold gets used for manufacturing repeatedly, the later batches of figures comes out vastly inferior in quality to the early batches. I don’t exactly understand the specifics of why that is. But many industry insiders have assured me that this is a common problem. In the case of Ramjet, I understand that he’s reworked quite a bit off the standard MP Seekers. But most of it is still the same, and I’m betting this mold is getting seriously old and worn down that the end product is just one lousy mess.

The real problem with the figure is in the construction (probably from the bad mold I just described). It’s most evident in the robot mode. Most of the joints are way too loose, especially in the legs. The arms ain’t much better. Supposedly, this figure was already delayed because of serious issues with the shoulder joints. Takara recalled the figure from the retailers, and they went back to the factory to be repaired. I don’t know, in the end they’re still kinda bad. I would hate to see how this was before the repairs. In robot mode, this figure does not feel like a cohesive whole in the least. The overall design also don’t help matters. This mold was meant to be for the standard Seekers, and modifying it for Conehead Seekers feels like a tacked on design choice. The head transformation is bizarre. The jet nosecone kind of just hangs off the back of the robot mode, and there’s nowhere to plug it like the standard Seekers. Coneheads have their wings on their legs, and doing that in this mode, the robot mode looks too bulky below the waist. Combine that with the awful construction and you get one jumbled disarray of a figure. Takara took the cheap route and decided to rework an existing mold. They should have re-designed the Coneheads from the ground up.

I do like MP Ramjet’s alt mode. It looks show accurate. Some of the transforming mechanism is worthy of recognition. I like how the missiles cover over the guns. Some of the wing and thrusters additions are quite neat. Everything else is what you have seen before. Below are some pics of the alt mode, since this is the better mode.

With Classic Ramjet

MP Ramjet is not at all recommended. The nice alt mode is not enough to save it from the painfully crappy robot mode. And when I think that I paid $179.99, it really hurts. You may want to consider ToyWorld Combuster (or Jets) if you are in the market for a MP sized Ramjet.

To this day I still don’t have a 2nd generation MP Starscream. I missed out on MP-11 when it was first released, and I never found the TRU exclusive US version in store. But I got a MP-11 re-issue on pre-order. I sincerely hope that this re-issue will be better built. Though I have heard that the TRU version is horribly flawed in construction… so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Third Party

The first of two awesome 3P figures this month is ToyWorld Muddy, their homage to Sludge. Just like Iron Dreg last month, I also bought Muddy on sale, and he was shipped to me this month. Out of the 4 TW dinos that I now have, Muddy is my favorite. This may be because I never had a Sludge figure. But Muddy is genuinely impressive. The dino mode is fantastic. I love how he looks as a brontosaurus. In robot mode he looks cool too. I had reservations at first, because I thought having the dino front legs hiding in the wings in robot mode would look weird. But having the figure in hand, it really doesn’t look bad at all. And because of that design, the transformation from dino to robot works really well. He’s fun to pick up and play. The transformation is not difficult by any means, but at the same time complex enough for older collectors. One common gripe among fans is that his sword is too small. Yes that is a legitimate complaint, but seeing as how it’s made to compact itself into the neck in dino mode, I’m willing to give TW a pass. Having room to account for all accessories in every mode is always a plus in my book. Like I said already, I think Muddy is the best TW Dinobot out of the 4 that I have. Corelock (Grimlock) has an awesome T-Rex mode, but his robot mode leaves a bit to be desired. Roar (Snarl) is a good figure, but his tail keeps coming off during transformation. And as for Iron Dreg (Slag), it feels like TW didn’t update him enough for today’s standards. Muddy is the only one out of the four where I don’t detect any obvious weaknesses. I like both his modes, he’s well built, transformation is fun, and he’s a good modern update that will do Sludge proud. Muddy is a figure that belongs in your collection.

I reserved the best for last. My fellow TransFans… I am proud to give you (drum roll please)… Carry! Yeah, that name doesn’t do it for me either. But this figure takes 3P TF engineering to new levels. Carry is a homage to Rodimus Prime by DX9. I touched on this figure when I did my purchase post for June 2016 (pictured with Alpha Pack). Hasbro/Takara has given us only one Masterpiece Rodimus Prime figure (MP-09). That figure was met with mixed reactions from fans. Earlier in 2016 there was a MP release for Hot Rod. This figure is awesome, but it’s Hot Rod and not Rodimus Prime. So there is certainly room on my shelf for a 3P Rodimus Prime in MP scale. DX9 answered the call… and the result is amazing. Both modes are great representations of Rodimus in Prime form. He scales nicely with other MPs. Construction of the figure is nothing short of superb. And the transformation engineering of this figure is where DX9 Carry really shines. It is times like these that I wish I did video reviews, because writing about the transformation really does not do it justice. DX9 implemented some very clever mechanisms in the way that Carry converts from vehicle to robot and back. The process is smooth and fluid. The mechanics proceed logically from one step to the next. The transformation is complex yet intuitive. There are lots of steps in the process, but you really don’t feel stuck at any one time in the overall paradigm. He’s a great figure to just pick up and play, and at the same time there’s enough going on that this figure easily classifies as MP. And unlike MP Rodimus Prime, Carry is able to transform from robot to truck without external attachments. The entire truck is wholly contained within the figure. And what’s more amazing is the size differential between robot and alt mode. Carry in alt mode is only about voyager size, but in robot mode he is fully MP size. Some fans have complained that he’s too small in alt mode, but I see this more as testament to the great engineering of the figure. Another minor nitpick from some fans is how his wings appear in robot mode. Personally it doesn’t bother me. Carry comes with a Targetmaster figure. This fig is ok, but in gun mode he can be too heavy for Carry to hold properly. I don’t think of Rodimus Prime as a Targetmaster anyway, so I usually have Carry use some other weapon. The rifle from CW Silverbolt is a good substitute. I got Carry on sale at $129.99, but even at the full retail of $169.99, he’s worth every penny. I give Carry the highest possible recommendations.

Arise, Rodimus Prime

Since there are so many TFs this month, I thought it would be fun to take some group pics. Check them out below! (And like I mentioned already above, no pics of Stripes. He’s coming next month… promise.)

The Autobots:

The Decepticons:

Titans have returned! Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Do Not Buy From eBay Sellers in China!

March 31st, 2017 No comments

Today I’m going to share some of my recent eBay experiences. Specifically, I’m talking about buying from eBay sellers located in China. The title pretty much says it all. But if you’re curious and want to learn more details, read on.

I usually buy from respectable online TF retailers that specialize in Transformers and it’s third party variants. Most of them are based in the United States. Some based in Japan. If you’re reading this post, you know who they are and I don’t need to list them. Every once in a while, I find out about a good figure after it’s been all sold out at my usual online retailers. It is times like these that I turn to eBay.

I’ve been an eBay user since the late 90s. Sure, I recall several times when I had an issue buying. One time I didn’t receive a $10 video game that I won (FYI… this seller had excellent communication, and he swears he sent it… it was only $10 so I chalked it up to bad luck). And there was another time where the seller possibly shipped it to the wrong address (which I got a full refund from eBay). But out of the hundreds of times I bought items on eBay, those were the only 2 complications. Neither of them felt like scams, and more like honest mistakes. My hundreds of transactions include both US and international, including China. No issues whatsoever, other than the 2 I just listed. I have come to trust eBay as a reliable source. That is, until recently.

In Oct of 2016, I decided to get a knock off MP Starscream, I think from KBB. I heard that the official MP-11 Starscream is extremely poor in terms of build quality, and that a KBB knock off might actually be better. I found a eBay seller from China selling this buy-it-now for about $58. The seller has perfect 100% positive ratings, with about 200+ ratings. So I buy it. In a few days I received a tracking number. When I try to track it, the site says “waiting for the item to reach our warehouse”, or something to that effect. The site will state too that it’s a valid tracking number. About a month goes by, and the tracking is stuck in that state. Contacts with the seller went ignored. That’s when I contact eBay. And looking at the seller ratings at a month later, it is now filled with negatives for the month before. This seller is now banned from eBay. I got a full refund.

I figured that was just bad luck, so around Feb this year I tried again. This time I was looking for Unique Toys Buzzing/Runman (their homage to Blurr). It’s sold out on all my usual sites. And once again, I found a different eBay seller in China, asking buy-it-now for about $84. Again, this guy has all 100% positive ratings, with close to 200 ratings. I buy it and get a tracking number. This time, the tracking seemed legit (initially anyway). It tracked its location in China, and that it got onto a flight headed towards the US. After nearly 2 weeks, tracking shows that it arrived at an airport in the US. But that’s where things got stuck. 3 weeks go by, and it’s still the same status. And once again, contacts with the seller goes ignored. So I contact eBay and get my full refund. This seller is still active on eBay. Seller ID: wanli-chengke. eBay hasn’t banned him yet, but he’s racked up close to 40 negatives in the past month.

So this seems to be a trend. Buying from China on eBay used to be ok. eBay sellers in China dealing in TF products are not to be trusted today. This post is not a commentary against eBay, but sellers doing business on eBay in China. I won’t buy from them again until I see hard evidence that this trend is reversed. And I do think eBay could do more to police this.

In summary, I urge everyone to not use eBay to buy items based in China. These scams can only go on for so long before buyers wise up. Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Titans Return Trypticon with Metroplex

March 17th, 2017 No comments

Quick post today. A few weeks ago I made a post about the upcoming Titans Return Trypticon. If you’re wondering how he scales with Metroplex, here’s a pic.

If you ask me, that’s pretty darn good. Can’t wait for Trypticon to be released.

In other unrelated news, today is St Patrick’s Day. This is usually the day I take some shots of my green Transformers. Last time I did this was in 2015. I flaked on this last year, and unfortunately, I’m also too busy this year. I was gonna do it, and I made a list of my green TFs and everything. But life happens and other priorities got in the way.

Still, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy St Patrick’s Day. Celebrate responsibly! Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics, TF News

10 Starscream Quotes Useful in the Workplace

March 7th, 2017 No comments

Starscream is perhaps the most eloquent Transformer to ever grace the world of Cybertron. His combat abilities are near the top of the Decepticon ranks, but it’s his oratory skills that truly cement his place among the upper Deception echelon. Starscream could easily manipulate his way to leadership if Megatron wasn’t around.

The cunning Deception air commander has a bunch of famous quotes that you can use in your everyday work life, especially if you want to play the game of office politics. I have compiled 10 such lines and they appear below in no particular order. Use them to your advantage.
 

“It’s time for action, not words! I am the leader of the future!”
Source: Transformers (1984), More Than Meets the Eye Part 3
Context: Starscream calls for a change in Decepticon leadership. But of course Megatron would have none of it.
When to use: Management loves to promote employees who appear to be proactive. Remember, they keyword here is appear. When the opportunity presents itself, show your enthusiasm and utter this line, loud and clear. Let your superiors know that you can take charge, and that everything will get done when you’re on top of it. Management loves that, because now they think they don’t have to do a thing, like they lazy asses that they are.
 

“Faster, you malingering peasants!”
Source: Transformers (1984), A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur’s Court
Context: Starscream orders his human slaves to work faster on a electric dynamo.
When to use: Your slacker subordinates are working too slowly and making you look bad for being in charge. Now is the time for this quote. Crack that whip hard to get these good-for-nothings back to productivity.
 

“Do I have a second on that?”
Source: Transformers the Movie (1986)
Context: Starscream, being the opportunistic weasel that he is, saw a chance to overthrow a seriously injured Megatron by suggesting all near-death Decepticons be jettisoned into space so the healthy Decepticons can save themselves. He then proceeds to lobby for agreement, knowing full well he would get the support he needs.
When to use: Office politics is all about timing and alliances. When the opportunity is right, suggest something that will advance your position, whatever the situation. Then use this quote to get your office allies to back up said suggestion and carry the motion forward. Or you can just use the line to help yourself to a second helping of paid office lunches.
 

“You scratch my back, I scratch yours.”
Source: Transformers Prime (2011), Sick Mind
Context: Starscream approves of a plan where he and Knockout will mutually benefit. Megatron is stuck in stasis, and Starscream wants nothing more than to permanently deactivate him. Knockout, using his position as chief surgeon, will make a false recommendation that Megatron cannot be saved. When Starscream becomes leader, he agrees to promote Knockout as his second-in-command.
When to use: Having allies in the office is of extreme importance, as suggested in the last quote. The best way to build allies is to do something mutually beneficial. When the opportunity arises, take an action that will help your ally, or elicit help now for a returned favor in the future. Then use this line to seal the deal, ensuring that this action does not go overlooked.
 

“You would be supreme!”
Source: Transformers (1984), Auto Berserk
Context: A circuit-crossed Red Alert becomes super paranoid and thinks the Autobots are out to get him. Starscream saw this as an opportunity to advance is own personal gain. He would temporarily ally with Red Alert, and to do that Starscream told Red Alert everything he wanted to hear.
When to use: Kissing a little ass never hurts anyone. There are many perks to being well liked in the office, and the key to popularity is to let everyone else presume you think they’re wonderful, even if in fact you don’t. Flattery would get you everywhere. Unless of course someone is sucking up to you, in which case you should…
 

“Ah, flattery will get you flattened, vermin…”
Source: Beast Wars (1997), Possession
Context: Starscream’s ghost has possessed Waspinator. Starscream/Waspinator cleverly retorts an insult made by Rattrap.
When to use: Office workers that do no work but excel at kissing ass needs to be put in their place. When slacking brown nosers pay you any kind of bogus compliment, offer up this quote and then proceed to double down on their workload.
 

“You’re supposed to know everything. What are those?!”
Source: Transformers (1984), S.O.S. Dinobots
Context: Dinobots make their debut for the first time and surprises the Decepticons. Starscream mockingly asks Megatron for the identity of their new enemy.
When to use: Sometimes, to make yourself look good, you have to make others look bad. This line could be directed at anyone, including your boss, another authority figure, or simply a co-worker you hate. When your target is caught in a moment of weakness in front of a group, deliver this quote to sting that person good. For example, let’s say your boss is giving a presentation, and someone asked a question that s/he cannot answer. Quickly spew out this line to shine light on their stupidity and inflict maximum damage.
 

“I hear this is where all the idiots hangout.”
Source: Transformers Fall of Cybertron (2012), Chapter 11 Starscream’s Betrayal
Context: A group of Decepticon drone soldiers are talking smack about Starscream behind his back. Of course Starscream is hiding and heard everything. He mocks them before he effortlessly destroys them all.
When to use: This is the perfect line to use when you have caught a bunch of lazy co-workers gathered somewhere, slacking off on company time. Alternatively, offer up this quote next time you enter a board meeting. Make it clear to the useless board members what you really think of them, before you take over the company and fire all their sorry asses.
 

“Don’t start with me, woman!”
Source: Transformers Animated (2008), A Bridge Too Close Part 1
Context: Starscream is addressing Seekers cloned from himself. Slipstream, the only female clone, continuously barrages the original host with sarcastic and witty comments. Starscream has had enough and he makes his dissatisfaction perfectly clear.
When to use: When a female coworker causes you office displeasure by belittling you, such as questioning your authority or second guessing your decisions, it is time to let this quote fly. If you are of the fairer sex, then using this shouldn’t cause any issues, other than hurt feelings. The rest of you needs to tread carefully, however. Make sure no one else is within earshot, and that you’re not recorded. You could face possible HR disciplinary action at best, and a sexual harassment suit at worst.
 

“I’m stupid! I’m stupid!”
Source: Transformers (1984), Triple Takeover
Context: Megatron was about to destroy Starscream for his treachery. A humbled Starscream begs for mercy while admitting stupidity.
When to use: If/When you are about to be fired for using any of these quotes in the manner suggested (especially that last one), quickly whip out this line to feign inferiority to your superiors. A little groveling never hurts anyone. Get on your hands and knees and bow down repeatedly for full effect.
 

Here are usable workplace quotes by other famous Transformers:

Lord Starscream commands you to… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Top Ten

Titans Return Trypticon

February 28th, 2017 No comments

OMG! News recently broke that Hasbro will release a new Trypticon figure in the Titans Return line! The Decepticons now finally have a city-sized bot to counter Metroplex. Early pics look nothing short of spectacular! Check it out for yourself.

Dino Mode

City Mode

Spaceship Mode

MSRP will be $149.99. Planned release is Fall 2017. I can’t wait!

Based on early pics, it’s nice to see that this new figure is so G1 accurate. The Dino mode and City mode are pure G1 homages, but updated to modern standards. I’m really diggin’ that new spaceship mode too. Modern G1 origin stories portray Trypticon as capable of space travel. In Fall of Cybertron, Trypticon was permanently reformatted to be Nemesis. So the spaceship mode makes perfect sense.

However, I always felt that, if Trypticon was gonna trans-scan to have an Earth mode, then one of his modes should be an aircraft carrier! Think about it. He would definitely have the size for it. And with all the Decepticon planes that make up the bulk of their army, having all these jets land on the carrier would be way too cool. Maybe a third party will attempt this.

Click here for more details.

Decepticons… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, TF News

Transformers Purchased in June 2016

February 22nd, 2017 No comments

My fellow TransFans, June of 2016 is a historic month! For the first time in the history of this blog, I have acquired more 3rd party items than official Takara/Hasbro items! I think something like this phenomenon was brewing for a long time now. And it finally happened. I’ll comment more on this later, but for now let’s take a look at the figs for the month.

  • Combiner Wars Groove, bbts.com, $24.99

  • ToyWorld Iron Dreg, bbts.com, $91.99

  • Fans Toys Grenadier, bbts.com, $82.99

  • Spark Toys Alpha Pack, gift

  • Warbotron Heavy Noisy, gift

First let’s look at the lone offical Hasbro purchase and get that out of the way. Combiner Wars deluxe Protectobot Groove is a shared exclusive between Amazon and some of the bigger online TF retailers. This figure is not to be confused with the legend size Groove released in 2015, which is available in mass retail. I have wrote about this before, and it’s worth stating again. For the Protectobots, Hasbro gave us deluxe Rook instead of deluxe Groove. I can only guess that this is a cheap ploy to sell more figures. Those of us that are hardcore G1 had to buy deluxe Groove the hard way. Boo Hasbro.

Deluxe Groove on its own is not a bad figure. Both modes look solid, and at first glance there’s not much to complain about. I’m fairly certain he’s a new unique mold, but he feels awfully similar to the other CW limb components. The toy itself feels quite cheap, but all CW deluxe figs share that flaw. The only real reason to get this fig is for hardcore G1-ers to complete the Protectobots with the right characters in the right scale. Below is a pic of CW Defensor formed in the proper G1 configuration.

Now onto the good stuff. First on the agenda is ToyWorld Iron Dreg, their tribute to Dinobot Slag. I believe this figure was bought back in the March of 2016. At the time, I already had Roar (Snarl) and Corelock (Grimlock), and I was so thoroughly impressed with those two that I vowed to complete the TW Dino set. So when I saw Iron Dreg at a discount in March, its purchase was a no-brainer. He wasn’t shipped and received til this month, because I wanted to ship the stack out along with Grenadier and Groove.

As of this writing now in February of 2017, I have 4 of these Dinos, the only missing one being Spear (Swoop). Though I gotta say, out of these 4, Iron Dreg is the weakest figure. I love the dino mode. It is a good modern update of Slag as a powerful metallic triceratops. The transformation and robot mode is where this figure falls a bit short in my opinion. The overall transformation schema is very close to how Slag transformed in the G1 toy. The only noticeable difference is having the rear dino legs fold inside into the lower legs in robot mode, a common motif among all modern interpretations of Dinobots. There are other minor differences, but nothing that really sticks out as a significant mechanical enhancement to the figure. Hardcore G1-ers would probably appreciate this close resemblance to what came before and see this as a plus. Normally I would wholeheartedly agree, but in the case of Iron Dreg, I feel there’s not enough updated from the G1 toy. As a CHUG update, I feel like a modern figure needs to move the toy forward in terms of engineering. It’s one thing to update aesthetics (something that fans passionately debate over), but it’s quite another to update mechanics. Everything feels too familiar. Don’t get me wrong, Iron Dreg is still a decent update of how Slag would be today. But when compared to ToyWorld’s efforts on Corelock, Roar, and Muddy (Sludge), Iron Dreg feels lazy. I guess it’s no accident that Iron Dreg was the 2nd to the last figure released in this team of 5. While we’re on that note, Spear is the last TW Dinobot released. I have read reviews that Spear is not that great of a figure, so I am debating if I want to spend around $100 to buy a bad figure, just to complete the set. First world problems – woe is me 🙁

As for Iron Dreg’s robot mode, I got the same gripe as its engineering – it feels too similar to G1. Again, Iron Dreg is still leaps and bounds superior to the G1 figure. It’s just that there’s nothing that wows me about this robot mode. All the updates that you expect to be there is there, but that’s all. TW most definitely did not go above and beyond with Iron Dreg, and the result feels like a minimally done update to Slag by 2016 standards.

I know I sound really harsh here, but I still recommend Iron Dreg if your aim is to complete the TW Dinobot set. As part of a team, he is solid enough of a figure that he warrants a purchase to occupy a space on your shelf. But as a standalone figure, I would say pass. There are other Dinos from TW that are way better. If you only wanted to get one Dinobot, you would probably get Grimlock anyway. Below is a pic of Iron Dreg in robot form.

Here is a link to the 4 TW Dinos I have thus far, in their dino modes. I love how the team looks together.

Let’s now take a look at a character that’s very dear to me: Bombshell. I have outlined how Bombshell is my very first official Transformer. And for that reason, I try to buy all the modern updates to the character. I have one set of G1 reissues, the FansProject update (as Stormbomb), and the recent Combiner Wars legend figure. I even have Hardshell, a spiritual update of the character in the TF Prime Beast Hunters line.

By the middle of 2016, many third parties have attempted MP interpretations of everyone’s favorite robotic insect pests. I read and watched some reviews, and the general consensus is that Fans Toys make the best MP Insecticons. And since Bombshell is my favorite of the 3, I bought Fans Toys Grenadier. I know many fans prefer the grey chest toon version of this figure. But I elected for the toy version with the purple chest, because that’s how the G1 toy was. I played with this figure over and over as a kid, and transformed him countless number of times that today this figure is in fairly poor condition. The G1 figure had a purple chest, and that’s what I remember, so I went for purple in Grenadier. And honestly, I didn’t even notice that Bombshell had a grey chest in the cartoon until very recently, when third parties started doing their MP Insecticons.

FT Grenadier comes packaged in robot mode. The first thing that you will notice about this figure upon taking it out of the box is that it’s got some decent heft to it! Seriously, Grenadier weighs more than most figures I own, and that’s saying a lot! Below is a pic. This figure is a wonderful representation of Bombshell in MP scale.

FT was smart enough to mold a design on Grenadier’s chest that’s a perfect fit for third party Decepticon stickers. Notice on my Grenadier I have a faction symbol on his chest, using stickers by Ocean Designs that I bought sometime in 2015. I love the look of Grenadier in robot mode. Appearance wise, he’s a perfect homage to Bombshell, and in my opinion he strikes the perfect balance between how he appears in the cartoon and how he should appear as a toy figure. He scales nicely with other MPs on the shelf. Grenadier has got some decent articulation, capable of some dynamic poses if you want to re-enact scenes of Bombshell in action.

Transformation to bug mode can be a mediocre challenge, but not for the reasons you think. As a rule, I think transforming plastic pieces is usually easier than transforming metal pieces. Transforming Grenadier, it feels like the whole figure is metal. I know that’s not true, but the figure has a fair amount of die-cast, and the plastic used is super high quality. While I applaud the materials used, transforming the figure becomes difficult. There’s very little wiggle room for error when such hard pieces on the figure are used, and thus the process becomes unforgiving. The tight joints also do not lend to an easy transformation process. However, all this is balanced out by the transformation mechanism being on the simple side, resulting in a figure of average difficulty on the challenge scale. In a nut shell, not a whole lot of steps in the transformation, and it’s obvious what the next steps should be. But performing the steps could take some work.

In beetle mode, Grenadier does not disappoint. He’s got the same weighty feel and robust construction that he has in robot mode. The appearance of the bug is tremendously faithful to his show likeness. Fans Toys even included a set of alternate legs for the bug mode. I’m not sure what they are for entirely. It’s possible that, in some episodes, Bombshell had legs that looked more like the alternate legs. I should have took a pic of Grenadier alone in beetle mode. Scroll down to the bottom of this post of Grenadier in alt mode in a group shot.

I highly recommend Grenadier. Here is a pic of Grenadier in robot mode with some of his Decepticon cohorts.

The next two figures are gifts from my wife. I have wishlists set up on my favorite TF retail sites, and she just looks at these when she buys me TFs as gifts. It’s always kind of a surprise which figs she would choose.

The first of these is from a new company called Spark Toys. They decided to do their take on a War Within Optimus Prime. Back in 2006, when it was only 2 years after I started collecting TFs again, Hasbro partnered with Galoob to release the Titanium line. The very first figure released in this line is a War Within Optimus Prime. In all fairness, that figure wasn’t bad. I liked both modes of that figure. The transformation, while simple, captured how a Optimus Prime figure should transform. The paint applications of the figure was solid. Where that figure fell apart is in the construction. The selling feature of the Titanium line is that they include die-cast parts. But they say die-cast construction is a lost art, and in the case of Titanium figures, it’s very true. Titanium OP had some of the worst joints imaginable in a TF. They could not support the weight of the die-cast pieces. The result is a figure that can’t hold any kind of pose, and picking up the figure yields a floppy mess of a Transformer.

Well, that was then. 10 years later in 2016, Spark Toys makes their attempt to do justice to War Within Optimus Prime, in MP scale no less. And since they are third party, the name they are calling OP is Alpha Pack. I’m glad to report that Spark Toys’ efforts is a success! The first thing you will notice about getting this guy out of the box is the spectacular paint job! I think of all the TFs that I have acquired, this guy may have the best paint job ever. The reds, blues, and silvers have this shiny and glossy metallic property to its appearance, and it’s great to see that the application is uniform across the figure. Front head lights and rear tail lights are all accented in bright yellow paint. The tires a made of rubber, and in vehicle mode, Alpha Pack rolls well on a flat surface.

Alpha Pack comes with 3 accessories: the famous OP rifle, an axe (not the energon variety), and their take on the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. In alt mode, Alpha Pack can carry the rifle in the top rear area of the truck. To do this, there is a nice little attachment handle that flips out of the rifle, and this can be hidden when Alpha Pack is using the rifle in robot mode. Very very cool. The Matrix can be comfortably stored in the front grill area (which becomes the chest in robot mode). But there is no room for the axe in alt mode.

Below are some pics of the alt mode of Alpha Pack. I love the look of Alpha Pack in this mode – he looks like he jumped straight out of the comics. I applied an Ocean Designs decal to him as well.

Below is a pic of Alpha Pack next to the awesome DX9 Carry (which I will go into next month).

Transformation to robot mode is not difficult at all. I’m going by all memory here, but in terms of the transformation paradigm and overall number of steps, it feels like the Alpha Pack is only slightly upgraded from the Titanium figure. The mechanics of how that’s achieved, however, is a vast improvement. Alpha Pack does not have any die-cast pieces as far as I can tell, but in opinion that’s a good thing. It makes for a more playable figure. And as far as transformation and poseability, not having die-cast poses less issues in these areas. Alpha Pack has nice joints to support the figure, but not having die-cast means it doesn’t need extra joint reinforcement to begin with.

Alpha Pack looks great in robot mode. The figure feels true to his War Within appearance. Look at the top banner of this blog for a pic of War Within OP if you are not familiar with that incarnation. The outstanding paint job shines in this mode as well. Some fans have mentioned that he looks a tad too bulky in robot mode. When standing next to MP-10, it’s hard to argue against that complaint. But personally, I kind of dig this bulky look. This is how a lot of the comic book artists choose to stylize Optimus Prime in his Cybertron days, and I am glad to see Spark Toys hold true to this design. Below is a pic of Alpha Pack next to the US Version of MP-10.

One gripe I have about Alpha Pack is the poseability. Because he is a bit on the bulky side, his range of poses are more limited. This is something to note if you are one of those collectors that love to display your figures in dynamic poses. But despite this weakness, I still highly recommend Alpha Pack. This figure has way more pluses than minuses, and if you are a fan of War Within or any of the modern G1 Transformer origin stories of their era prior to Earth, you should pick up this figure.

The other figure that I got as a gift from my wife this month is Heavy Noisy, which is Warbotron’s rendition of Brawl. This is the 2nd time that my wife has chosen to get me something from the Warbotron Combaticons (the first being Whirlwind, or Vortex). My wife knows nothing about Transformers. She picks out the figures on my wishlist based on appearance alone. She has always joked that she identifies more with the Decepticons, so perhaps she knows more than she’s letting on.

Heavy Noisy is the 4th figure I have in the Warbotron Combaticon line. I gotta say though, this one feels like the weakest out of the four so far. He’s still a decent figure, but something about him just don’t feel quite up to par with the other team members. Both modes are satisfactory. Transforming the arms into tank mode is a bit of a pain because they are so tight, and it’s even worse when you try to get them back to robot mode. I’m also not thrilled about the tank turret becoming a shield. It feels too much like puzzle forming in my book. But Heavy Noisy is not a bad figure by any means. He is solid enough to earn a place in your collection, and you still need him to form Bruticus. I’ll reserve my final thoughts for when I have all 5 members of Warbotron. As of this writing, I have purchased Air Burst (Blast Off). I should have him in hand soon.

Below I have a pic of all the 3rd party figures acquired this month in a group shot.

It’s quite a sight to see how far 3rd party products have come. I still remember my very first 3rd party figure, which was Defender by FansProject. Third parties have really stepped up their game since then. Most of the figures produced recently seem to be in really high quality. They rival anything that Hasbro/Takara has produced in the MP line, and blows away anything that you would find in retail store shelves. Third party products are not getting any cheaper, though. So many companies are getting into this game that I can’t count them anymore. Very often, multiple companies will produce their version of a particular character. As fans, I am glad I have so many options on something that Hasbro will not produce, but I also feel handicapped by all these options. Many studies have been done on the paradox of choice; that too many options can actually make a person unhappy. As for third party TFs, is too much of it presented to the buyer that decision paralysis is now an issue? I was gonna sum up my thoughts on this topic in a short paragraph here, but now I think this may deserve it’s own post.

June 2016 was a great month. So many great figures, by so many different companies. More to come soon… Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in May 2016

January 6th, 2017 1 comment

Some interesting purchases were made in May of 2016. All the TFs that appear below come from different toylines in the TF-verse. And each was acquired from a different source. Let’s take a look.

  • Platinum Edition Autobot Intel Ops, Amazon seller, $51.99

  • Combiners Wars Wreck-Gar, Walmart, $9.97

  • Cyber Battalion Starscream, Toys R Us Shanghai, 99 RMB (about $15.15)

  • Masterpiece Ratchet, amiami.com, ¥7500 (about $69.17)

Blaster and Perceptor are two figures I have always wanted back at the height of G1. They made frequent appearances in the show, and they both had enough personality to establish themselves as popular characters in the TF fandom. Both characters also had significant supporting roles in the G1 Movie (and they both lived through the G1 Movie, which is saying something). Growing up, I have only seen the Perceptor toy in pictures. Neither myself nor any of my friends had the figure. As for Blaster, I knew one kid that had the toy, so I have played with it a bit. As an adult collector, I already have two Perceptor re-issues, both a US version and a Japanese version. As for Blaster, I have one re-issue as well, the 2010 SDCC Exclusive version. All of these re-issues I have in mint condition, never opened. And because of that, they are worth quite a bit of money. I’m never going to open them now. And so I bought this Autobot Intel Ops set with the intention of actually opening them and playing with them. However, once I have this set in my hands, I’m thinking I won’t open this either. Seriously, this set looks so awesome in the box! With the front box flap raised up and looking at the entire set of goodies inside, it is quite an impressive sight to behold! Both Blaster and Perceptor are in their robot modes, along with 3 cassettes (Eject, Ramhorn, and Steeljaw) and all their accessories, all sitting perfectly packaged in the box. And what a deal! I got all this goodness for a mere $52 from an Amazon seller. I first saw this set back in Oct of 2015 at Target, but it was being sold at retail so I passed on it. I should have took a pic of this goodness. Maybe for another post.

Combiner Wars Wreck-Gar is a repaint of the Protectobot legend Groove figure. He may have a new head mold, but my memory on this fig is iffy. For the most part, he’s a straight up repaint. He’s quite rare, which is the only reason I got him. I think I only saw him one other time after this purchase. The fig itself is OK, not great. Buy him if you are a fan of Wreck-Gar, but pass otherwise.

Poor Starscream. He’s the lone Decepticon this month. I outlined my purchase of Cyber Battalion Starscream back in this post, so I won’t repeat it here. At the time of purchase, I did not know about this Cyber Battalion line. It appears this line never made it to the States. That’s a shame. I wish I bought the other figs in this line when I got CB Starscream in Shanghai.

Last but not certainly not least, we have Masterpiece Ratchet. This is the 4th Masterpiece figure in as many months. I have opened the box, but to this day I still not have taken the figure out of the box. I only opened the package to make sure all the contents are inside. My buddy Gemini got one where once piece was missing. Take a look at MP Ratchet in the package below.

I’m gonna assume MP Ratchet is every bit as impressive as MP Ironhide. I give the Ironhide the highest possible recommendation, and I expect Ratchet to be just as good. I plan to spend some time with Ratchet real soon, and I will give my final thoughts in a future post. But seriously, I will be real surprised is he’s somehow inferior to Ironhide in any way, shape, or form.

No third party items were acquired this month, but some good ones will be presented next month. So stay tuned. Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics