Archive

Archive for the ‘On The Hunt’ Category

Transformers Purchased in April 2018

July 27th, 2019 No comments

April of 2018 is all Power of the Primes and Studio Series action. And one unexpected purchase for an item that I considered in China, but smart to have waited to find back in the States. No 3rd or 4th party products.

  • Power of the Primes Battleslash, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Roadtrap, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Blackwing, Target, $16.99

  • Power of the Primes Tailgate, Walmart, $9.84

  • Studio Series Bumblebee, amazon.com, $19.99

  • Studio Series Stinger, amazon.com, $19.99

  • Studio Series Optimus Prime, Target, $29.99

  • Studio Series Blackout, amazon.com, $49.99

  • Robots in Disguise Bumblebee and Grimlock 2-pack, entertainmentearth.com, $29.99

Battleslash and Roadtrap

For the very first time since G1 (to my knowledge), Hasbro is updating the Duocons! Only the most hardcore of TransFans know of Duocons. They came around in G1 Season 4. Transformer toys in that season were full of gimmicks, and the Duocons were no exception. The gimmick here is that two vehicles come together to form the robot mode. Or alternatively, the robot splits into two vehicles. I never had the G1 toys, but my understanding is that when you put one vehicle on top of the other, the spring loaded action kicks in and the figure auto transforms. It’s similar to Battle Chargers, or Automorph from the first Bay movie.

Only two Duocons were released. One is Flywheels, a jet and a tank. The other is Battletrap, the figure you see updated here. Battletrap is a helicopter and a jeep. For this Power of the Primes upgrade, Hasbro went one step further and gave each component its own robot mode. The heli is named Battleslash, and the jeep is called Roadtrap. They can still come together to form the bigger robot, Battletrap. Yes even the name is a portmanteau of the two individual components (Battleslash + Roadtrap). The two figures are sold separately. See some pics below.

Combined as Battletrap!

Holding a random weapon. Big prizes to whoever correctly identifies who this weapon belongs to.

Overall, I like these two. Both are more complicated than meets the eye when it comes to transformation. To account for the combining gimmick and individual robot and alt modes, none of the modes are all that good, but it’s not terrible either. Combined as Battletrap, the figure can be a tad unstable, but not too bad if you’re not being overly rough. The figures themselves are more than playable. At only about $10 each, you owe it to yourself to get both of them. They are proper updates to some lesser known characters that true G1-ers will appreciate.

And if you’re wondering where is Flywheels, he will be updated in War For Cybertron Siege in 2019. Why they’re calling him Skytread in the update will be a mystery for the ages.

Blackwing

Blackwing was called Darkwing in G1. Darkwing and his very close cohort Dreadwind were both Decepticon Powermasters introduced in G1 Season 5. Powermasters had this gimmick where the Master figure transforms into the engine, which unlocks the transformation ability of the base figure. The toys were kinda cool, having to plug in the Powermaster and then transform. But from a story perspective, Powermasters are totally lame. I mean, why have someone else unlock an ability you always had before?

Dreadwind and Darkwing also has this unique feature where the two jets can come together to form a super jet, then called Dreadwing (Dreadwind + Darkwing). Yes, all these names that can abbreviate to DW is confusing. In G1 I never got them straight without looking at toy catalogs.

As a figure, PotP Blackwing is nothing we haven’t seen before. He feels like another retooled Combiner Wars figure that’s now released in the Power of the Primes line. The transformation is like so many CW figs before it, so I won’t even describe it.

PotP Blackwing can also combine with PotP Dreadwind to form Dreadwing. See pic below.

So does this also make Blackwing and Dreadwind Duocons, except they combine to form the alt mode instead of the robot mode? And are Dreadwind and Blackwing brothers like Sunstreaker and Sideswipe, or are they unrelated? These and any other questions about this pair will not be answered here. Because, quite frankly, these toys are not that good to be worth the time.

Tailgate

PotP Tailgate is a white repaint of PotP Windcharger, just like how it was in G1. Yes this is a quick cash grab on Hasbro’s part. But at least this repaint has its roots in G1 which makes it somewhat more justifiable. I hate it when repaints are created for the silliest reasons, such as when two characters share similar alt modes. One example that comes to mind is repainting Titans Return Hardhead into Titans Return Quake. There are many other such lame efforts.

I like this Tailgate better than Generations Thrilling 30 Tailgate. Both the robot mode and the alt mode bear stronger resemblance to his G1 self. Pics below.

Bumblebee

The Studio Series (SS) is officially kicking off this month. Technically, my first Studio Series purchase happened last month with SS Thundercracker. But that was a store exclusive, the character never appeared in the movies, and it was a repaint of something that existed prior to SS. So to me it did not feel like an official kick off to the series.

The Studio Series is Hasbro’s latest offerings on figures from the movie-verse. SS will offer characters from every movie, from the 1st Bay movie all the way up to Bumblebee. The main selling point of SS is that they’re “BIG SCREEN INSPIRED”. This means the figures are re-engineered to be much more screen accurate than previous offerings. SS pays close attention to scale, and every SS figure will be scaled accurately to each other in size (or so they claim). Every SS figure comes with a cardboard backdrop of an important scene relating to the character in the movie.

All Studio Series are numbered, along with an indication of the figure’s movie of origin. And of course for 01 it would be Bumblebee. And not just any Bumblebee; for 01, it’s the classic Camaro Bee from the first movie.

The only classic Camaro movie Bumblebee figure I had was from the first movie. And he’s broken. So I very much welcomed this new SS01 Bumblebee.

I’ll start with the pros of the figure. In both modes, Bumblebee looks very very screen accurate. I estimate 90% of all movie Bumblebee figures made are of the new Camaro. So it’s very refreshing when we get a Bumblebee figure of the classic Camaro. The figure comes with an extra arm in the arm cannon mode (see pics above), so you can pose Bumblebee in his iconic fighting stance. When not being used, the arm cannon can be stored on Bumblebee’s butt. It’s a weird placement that would invite all kinds of jokes, but I’ll give Hasbro points for coming up the feature nevertheless.

Unfortunately, there ware way too many cons about SS01, in my opinion. He could have been better constructed. Some joints are way too loose, such as the hip joints. The roof joint and arm socket pops off way too easily during transformation. The right arm is meant to come off so it can be swapped with the gun cannon arm, but neither arm bits stay on well. The transformation scheme we have seen a thousand times before. It really does feel like HasTak took deluxe Last Knight Bumblebee and retrofitted a classic Camaro mode on top of that figure. And while we’re on that point, do we really need any more movie-verse Bumblebees? Strip away the fancy Studio Series packaging, and you get the nagging feeling you’ve played with this figure before. Because, chances are, you have.

Despite these negatives, SS01 Bumblebee is the best mass-produced classic Camaro movie Bumblebee that has been made to date. All previous efforts pale in comparison to what we have here. SS01 Bumblebee is a very good figure that looks great in both modes. So do I recommend him? If you don’t own any other movie-verse classic Camaro Bumblebees, then by all means pick up this one. If you must have a classic Camaro Bumblebee figure with today’s TF engineering, then this figure should fit the bill. If you are generally sick of movie Bumblebees, however, you may want to pass on this figure. It’s really just a rehash of all the deluxe movie Bumblebees that has been released in the last few years.

Stinger

Studio Series 02 is Stinger from Age of Extinction. I don’t think a deluxe version of Stinger was ever released in the United States. There is a Takara version floating around out there, and I know there are legion figures made of Stinger. But a mass produced deluxe version of Stinger aimed at mature collectors was never made available on this side of the Pacific. So I very much welcomed Stinger in the SS line.

And this Stinger delivers! Check out pics below.

The robot mode looks great. He’s very proportionate, and I love the look of all the gears sticking out his back. I’m not a big fan of the arm cannon that is transformed from the roof of the car, but that may have been his design from the movies.

Stinger’s transformation is where this toy truly shines. Stinger has perhaps the most unorthodox robot-to-car transformation scheme of any Transformer in history! Yes you read that right. I cannot think of any other Transformer figure that even slightly resembles how Stinger transforms, across all Transformer lines. And because the transformation is so unorthodox, it’s hard to describe it in words. There are a lot of rotations involved. The chest kind of flips back onto itself, then folds out from the windshield where it was resting. It’s super bizarre, but totally refreshing at the same time. The result is a super cool and sleek alt mode that does the figure justice. Pics below.

I love the look of this car mode. I think Stinger is supposed to be a Pagani, and this alt mode pays good tribute to the overall defining shape of the automobile.

SS02 Stinger is a well-built figure. Way better than the SS01. All joints are the right level of tightness, and the alt mode comes together well with no parts flopping around. There are no issues with standing and posing the robot mode. Articulation fiends should have nothing to complain about here.

In the movie, Stinger is an Earth-made Transformer created by humans. It makes sense that Stinger is radically different from all Transformers before it, and the toy transformation more than reflects that fact.

There are minor issues with the toy that I need to point out. In alt mode, it can be tough to position the four back extrusions properly underneath the vehicle so that the car has enough bottom clearance when rested on a flat surface. The 4 gear accessories also love to fall off. They don’t stay on that well. For these reasons, I actually didn’t like SS Stinger too much when I first played with it. But the awesome transformation eventually grew on me. This toy takes Transformers to new territories, and that’s always a plus in my book.

If you like Transformers that are like nothing before it, then Stinger is a required purchase for you.

Optimus Prime

With every new line of TFs, you can bet that one of the first figures will be Optimus Prime. In Studio Series, SS05 is Optimus.

It’s generally agreed that the hallmark of Optimus Prime figures in the movie-verse is the Leader Class figure from Revenge of the Fallen (or any direct derivation of it). That figure is indeed impressive, with a very difficult but satisfying transformation and high screen accuracy in both modes. RotF Leader Class OP was released about 10 years ago, and no movie OP released since has been able to claim the top spot as the best Movie Optimus.

It’s hard for me to evaluate SS05, because comparisons to RotF leader OP will be unavoidable. And I’ll get straight to it: SS05 is not superior to RotF Leader Class OP. But that doesn’t mean SS05 is a bad figure.

SS05 Optimus is a very playable figure. Out of all the Studio Series figures, I transformed SS05 back and forth the most. The transformation feels very natural. Upon picking it up, you just instinctively know what to do next, assuming you’ve had some experience with Transformers. The figure is well built, so there are no issues with posing, or parts not coming together when they should.

SS figures are supposed to be very screen accurate. In the case of SS05, I feel that the robot mode is just OK as far as how close it looks to the movies. I feel that RotF leader OP is still the more movie accurate of the Primes.

The twin blades are attached on SS05. They don’t flip out like RotF leader OP, another area where the RotF fig is superior.

As for the alt mode, it’s very screen accurate.

This is kind of hard to explain in writing, but SS05 is a very blocky figure. I know it doesn’t look it in the pics, but the blockiness shows through when the figure is transformed. In robot mode, the blockiness is apparent when you try to pose the figure. SS05 is not very poseable, and I think it has more to do with the overall shape, as opposed to not having articulated joints.

I will re-emphasize here that the transformation process is very intuitive, which is perhaps the biggest plus for this figure.

SS05 with KBBMP10-V in alt mode.

As you can see from the pic above, SS05 is definitely closer to voyager class and not leader class. Yes I know they did it for scale reasons, but it’s hard to see the great Autobot leader at less than leader class when RotF did it so well in that class. And on that point, I’m not so sure that Optimus at voyager class is the right scale. More on this in the Blackout section below.

So should you get SS05? I recommend it, based on how playable it is. It’s a solid addition to the SS line. Just don’t expect this to be the best Optimus Prime ever made in the movie-verse.

Blackout

Blackout is the first Leader class figure I got from the SS line. And no, it’s not your imagination. Hasbro is really downsizing these guys. Below I have a pic of Leader class Blackout with Leader class Titans Return Overlord, both in the box. See for yourself. SS Leaders are considerably smaller. Hasbro says they’re doing this for scale reasons. You can choose to believe that, or not.

A voyager class Blackout was released for the first movie. To my knowledge that was the only Blackout figure released. I bought that figure well before the existence of this blog, and it was one of my first figures in the movie-verse. I still have that figure, in a box in a closet somewhere. It hasn’t seen the light of day in over 10 years. I remember that figure being pretty good for its time. If you missed out on that figure, there’s no need to fret, because Studio Series Blackout blows it out of the skies. SS Blackout is the true definitive version of this character that does justice to the very first Transformer that we see in the movies.

SS Blackout is way more screen accurate than what was released for the first movie. See the pics below for yourself. A big selling point of Studio Series figures is screen accuracy, and Blackout has got that in spades.

Blackout does come with Scorponok. For the sake of scale, Scorponok is a tiny figure. That works for me. Scorponok is only supposed to be a bit bigger than humans.

Transformation to helicopter features some of the best engineering in a movie-verse fig. It is quite involved, but I would not put it in the complicated category. It is a refreshing transformation for sure, I can’t think of any other figure in the entire TF universe that transforms like Blackout. The head the chest mechanism deserves special mention. From robot to heli, the head pushes downward and into the body. This moves out the front landing gear at the bottom in one motion, and the front antenna folds out. Very very cool. Arms and legs fold back to form the rest of the heli body. My words don’t do it justice. See the pics for yourselves.

Look at this heli mode. Now is that Blackout or is that Blackout? I totally want to do a side by side comparison of this Blackout with the Movie 1 figure, but I’m too lazy to dig it out. As far as looks, SS Blackout wins in a landslide.

SS Blackout is well built. All joints are at the right tightness. Every part and piece come together when it should, in both robot and alt modes.

Posebility in robot mode can be a tad limited, because of all the kibble. But that is the look of this figure. A kibble-free Blackout would not be Blackout. Kibble will impede articulation. I’m ok sacrificing articulation here for a movie accurate look.

SS Blackout is leader class, which makes total sense because he was supposed to be the biggest character from the first movie. But since we’re on the topic of class, let me get back to something I started in the Optimus section above. Even in SS, where figures are supposed to be scale accurate, Optimus feels too small at voyager class. In my opinion, Optimus should have been at the smaller leader class scale, like SS Blackout. SS Blackout in turn then get the traditional leader class size.

SS Blackout deserves a review of its own. I plan on doing one. But all you really need to know is that Blackout is a required purchase for any Transformer fan.

Here is a pic of all the Studio Series figs in alt mode, assembled for a group photo. They look great together. The scale works for the most part, though as I mentioned already, I feel Optimus is too small.

Bumblebee and Grimlock

I first saw this Robots in Disguise Bumblebee and Grimlock 2-pack when I was in Shanghai in 2016. I wanted to buy this set so badly on that trip. But I didn’t after converting local currency to dollars. I wasn’t gonna put down around $100 for RiD figures. And I’m glad I didn’t. Entertainment Earth had this set this month at a clearance price of $29.99. I wasted no time and bought one.

Now that I have it, I am doubly glad I didn’t spend that kind of money in Shanghai. I’ll be blunt: this Grimlock figure is horrible. This is a reworked figure off of Fall Of Cybertron Grimlock. I knew that before the purchase. But what I didn’t know is how poorly done this figure would be. In robot mode, RiD Grimlock is decent. But in dino mode, the whole thing just doesn’t come together well. RiD Grimlock is shaped differently from FoC Grimlock. The extra kibble on RiD Grimlock interferes with the dino formation. I should have known that having different designs retrofitted on top of an existing frame would be a bad idea. The deluxe version of RiD Grimlock is 10 times superior. That mold was made to be RiD Grimlock, and having something designed exclusively for what it was meant for is always the way to go. I wish HasTak just upscaled dexluxe RiD Grimlock to voyager size. I could see a 4th party company do this, but I’m guessing the 3P market for Robots in Disguise is too small to be worth the trouble.

The saving grace of this 2-pack is the Bumblebee figure. I don’t have any RiD Bumblebee figures, which was another reason for me to get this 2-pack. I like RiD deluxe Bumblebee. Both robot mode and alt mode looks good. The figure is well constructed too, for RiD figure standards. Transformation is nothing we haven’t seen before, but I don’t expect much in this area from RiD.
This 2-pack version looks more gold than the standard deluxe retail version, but I’ll take it. The translucent blue sword looks nice too.

Below is a pic of the two of them in alt mode.

That turned out to be a way longer post than I had intended. I wanted to give each of these figs their 15 minutes. Here is the summary if you just want the Cliff Notes version.

Recommended:

  • Battleslash
  • Roadtrap
  • Tailgate
  • Stinger (SS02)
  • Optimus Prime (SS05)
  • Blackout (SS08)
  • Bumblebee (RiD)

Not Recommended:

  • Blackwing
  • Bumblebee (SS01)
  • Grimlock (RiD)

Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in March 2018

April 11th, 2019 No comments

March of 2018 continues with a random assortment of Transformers. And for the first time in a long time, there are two purchases for the same character! I’m not sure if the last time this happened was February of 2016, when I got two Onslaughts. You can try to guess the lucky Transformer that this happened to, or just scroll down to see who it is.

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

  • Power of the Primes Elita-1, Walmart, $24.97

  • Studio Series Thundercracker, Toys R Us, $29.99

  • Power of the Primes Sludge, Target, $16.99

  • Mech Fans Toys Slurdge, eBay, $20.99

  • Kubianbao MCS-01 KBBMP10-V, eBay, $42.99

Rippersnapper

I went into Rippersnapper and the rest of his Terrorcon cohorts back in this post. But to quickly summarize, all the Terrorcons are pretty good. Terrorcons are the ultimate version of combining figures that started in Combiner Wars and then evolved to peak form in Power of the Primes. Rippersnapper is a required purchase if you collect the combiner teams.

Elita-1

It’s good to see that Hasbro is continuing the trend of properly releasing fembots in the CHUG-verse. What I mean is that these are new molds introduced in CHUG, made specifically for the character they represent, and not repaints of other TF lines. It started with Generations Thrilling 30 Arcee and Chromia, in late 2014 / early 2015.

Elita-1 in PotP is the next fembot to continue this treatment. We got this mold for Starscream, back in December of 2017. It’s debatable if this should be classified as a prepaint. Starscream is the more famous character, but this mold was always meant to Elita-1. Using it first for Starscream was another quick cash grab on Hasbro’s part.

As for the toy itself, I think it’s just ok. None of the three modes are all that good, if you ask me. The jet mode is too bulky. The robot mode has too much kibble. And the combined body mode doesn’t serve the purpose well, when compared with superior body combining figs like Hun-Gurrr or Silverbolt. Transformation between jet mode and robot mode is so simple it’s not even worth describing. Making Elita-1 the body of a combiner seems entirely unnecessary. A superior figure could have been made if the mechanics needed to combine were left out. I suppose the only real reason to get this fig is to have a proper CHUG version of Elita-1. She is a character that only true G1 fans would know about. If you know nothing of the character, then it’s best to leave this figure on the store shelf.

I will point out that this figure has a terrific head mold, which may be its one redeeming feature as a toy. Check out the pic below. This head design is derived directly from the G1 animation. That’s right G1 fans. Hasbro loves you.

Thundercracker

Studio Series Thundercracker is another Hasbro cash grab. I was under the impression that Studio Series were all new movie molds, but that’s simply not the case. This Thundercracker is a repaint of Nitro from The Last Knight. As good as that figure is, I don’t think this repaint is all that relevant. I don’t remember Thundercracker making an appearance anywhere in in the movie-verse.

Still, I got this fig because he is a Toys R Us exclusive. And because I knew this was gonna be the last thing I buy from Toys R Us. If you don’t have Nitro, or if you dig that figure in these blue and grey colors, then go ahead and buy Thundercracker. Otherwise, this purchase is not recommended. I still have not opened Thundercracker to this day. I’ll probably re-sell him someday.

Sludge

Continuing with Dinobots in Power of the Primes, Sludge makes his appearance this month. He is a solid edition to the team. Both modes look good. Transformation is a bit on the simple side, but it’s different enough from the usual way Sludge transforms to make this figure refreshing. PotP Sludge is a great toy to just pick up and play.

Transformation from robot to dino deserves some explaining. There are some key variations from the usual G1 Sludge transformation scheme. Flip up the dino head and neck from the back, but a rotation of the neck is necessary. Close the wings like normal, but the wings form a full closure, and the contact point is where the dino back is. The waist needs to rotate 180, then fold the robot legs. Forearms need to rotate 180 so the fists face the other side. Those are the key differences. If you followed all that, you will see that the back of the dino is where the robot chest is housed. All other transformation mechanics are there to account for that difference. It sounds complicated when I describe it, but it’s really not. Like I said, PotP Sludge is simple for anyone to transform, and that goes double for any TransFan who’s been around since G1.

If you got the other PotP Dinos, then you will get this regardless of what I say. And if you don’t, get Sludge anyway.

Slurdge

From Sludge we go to Slurdge. That’s not a mis-spelling. Slurdge by Mech Fans Toys is 4th party, which means it’s a KO of a 3rd party product. I know next to nothing about Mech Fans Toys. Even their name sounds like a ripoff of Fans Toys.

MFT may think that they can add “r” in there and no one is the wiser, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this is Sludge. And Yes, Sludge the character get the proud distinction of being represented by 2 different figures in the same month. I believe MFT Slurdge is a KO of a DX9 product. Though MFT did give it way better paint. Look at all the bling on Slurdge in the pics below.

The only other MFT product I have is Grmlock. Be prepared for a good workout, because both MFT products will test your hands when transforming. There are some moving pieces on these figures you will have to pry open. Both high strength and high dexterity are required.

Transformation scheme of Slurdge is also unique. It deviates from the standard G1 scheme, even more so than PotP Sludge. What folds up from the robot back to cover the robot head is the dino tail, instead of the dino neck and head. The robot arms become the hind dino legs. The robot chest needs to flip down, then rotate and fold downwards toward the robot legs. The dino front legs and neck and head are all folded inside the robot legs, and they need to come out. Stretch out the robot waist then fold the robot legs unto itself. This is most definitely an original implementation of how Sludge transforms. And the dino mode looks so good. See below for yourself.

Playing with the figure can be a chore. In addition to the tight joints, some bits and pieces need to be angled perfectly to have enough clearance to get to where it needs to be.

Slurdge comes with a black gun (pictured above) and a clear red sword (not pictured).

All in all, I like this MFT figure. Yeah it’s a KO of something else, but they did add nice paint to their offering. At a price point of being in the low 20s, it doesn’t break the bank. Dinobot fans should check this out.

On a related note, most of the modern Sludge figures made have original transformation schemes from G1. The only Sludge that follows the G1 scheme is Fans Toys Stomp. Mech Fans Toys Slurdge, ToyWorld Muddy, and Power of the Prime Sludge described above all implemented a new unique scheme.

So who wore it better? PotP Sludge or MFT Slurdge? I’ll be doing a in-depth analysis of these 2 in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.

KBBMP10-V

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Kubianbao (KBB), they are another KO company. As far as I know, none of their products are original creations. They tend to make KO figures out of official HasTak products. Now that’s not to say what they produce is bad. In fact, many TransFans have stated their figures are superior to what HasTak churns out. A prime example of this is their version of official MP Seekers. HasTak has used that mold so many times now that the later production runs are plagued with build and construction issues. KBB, being KO and all, does not have such problems.

KBBMP10-V is Kubianbao’s KO take on the MP-10 Optimus Prime. However, this figure is now downsized to Voyager scale. KBB didn’t even give this a name, they just called it KBBMP10-V. So let’s break apart this designation: it’s from KBB, a KO of MP10, at Voyager scale. KBBMP10-V. Very apt.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “KO is crap!” Well, let me state this now with no uncertainty: MBBMP10-V SCREAMS QUALITY!!! Everything from the packaging to the figure to the accessories, MBBMP10-V is produced so well that HasTak should be ashamed of themselves for not being up to par. Let’s start by looking at the box.

The box is made of high quality hard cardboard, not unlike the kind used for Warbotron Turbo Ejector. Are you seeing this Hasbro? KO products are doing it better than you.

Paint and finish of the figure is top-notch. Below are some pics of the truck mode.

Transformation of the figure is just like MP-10, so I won’t go into it too much. Below is a pic of the robot mode with a nice rub-on decal on his left shoulder (duplicated from this post).

Look at all these accessories!

  • 3 extra heads: 2 are a different style of Optimus, and 1 is Orion Pax
  • energon axe with energy ball attachment
  • standard Optimus rifle, folds and stores onto the back like the official MP-10
  • Megatron in alt mode with shoulder stock attachment
  • jetpack (only used once in the cartoon, but it’s become an OP accessory staple)
  • sword (used by OP in the movies)
  • Matrix of Leadership; not pictured, can be placed inside KBBMP10-V

I highly recommend KBBMP10-V. Essentially, it’s MP-10 scaled down to voyager size. So if you need a G1 accurate OP to go along with your CHUG figs, this is the toy to get. It may be KO, but it’s so well done. And at only around $40, you’re getting a quality figure in a quality box with tons of accessories.

That’s it for this knock off heavy month. Will I ever buy more KOs in a single month than legit and 3P products? Only time will tell.

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in February 2018

March 22nd, 2019 No comments

February 2018 is another month where the repaints outnumber the new molds, much like May of 2017. I suppose it’s my own fault for willingly buying figures that I know are retreads and retools, but Hasbro and Takara keeps inventing new ways to sucker me in. Woe is me.

  • Titans Return Slugslinger, Amazon seller, $22.99

  • Legends Blurr (LG25), bbts.com, $39.99

  • Power of the Primes Hun-Gurrr, Target, $24.99

  • Titans Return Overlord, Amazon seller, $36.00

  • Fans Toys Sovereign, bbts.com, $154.99

Slugslinger

To be fair, Slugslinger is a good retool of the Triggerhappy and Misfire mold. Read those posts and see that I gushed on and on about how cool these figs are. Slugslinger reworks both of these molds by adding new molds for the head, jet nose cones, and wings. In the end, he does feel like a new figure, and so the purchase is more justified. G1-ers will know that this trio makes the original 3 Decepticon Targetmasters from Season 4. For me, that’s reason enough to buy Slugslinger to complete the set.

Slugslinger is hard to find. Not sure if this is due to Hasbro’s weird distribution patterns or him being a possible store exclusive. Whatever the reason, I resorted to buying Slugslinger from an independent seller on Amazon. At a slight markup of $22.99, I bought with haste. And that was smart, because I have not seen this figure anywhere in store before or after the purchase. Prices on Amazon hovered around my purchase price for a while. But as of this writing, it costs about $40 to get Slugslinger. Glad I got in when I did.

Oh yeah, I also have Metalhawk. So Slugslinger is my 4th figure of this mold. Damn you Hasbro.

Blurr

And speaking of being the 4th figure of a mold, Legends Blurr is also my 4th figure of its mold (after Titans Return Blurr, Walgreens exclusive Brainstorm, and Toys R Us exclusive Arcee). The colors for the American Titans Return Blurr just don’t do it for me. It’s not even remotely close to his G1 colors. I usually don’t buy a Japanese release purely for the colors, but in this case I had to make an exception.

Figure wise, Legends Blurr is just like his American counterpart. Read my post on TR Blurr for my thoughts on this fig.

Hun-Gurrr

Hun-Gurrr is yet another retool. I don’t even know how many figs of this mold I have now. Off the top of my head, there’s Silverbolt, Cyclonus, and Scattershot. So Hun-Gurrr is at least the 4th fig of this scheme. Damn you Hasbro, double damn you.

However I should point out that Hun-Gurrr is an excellent rework off this mold. I did a review of all the PotP Terrorcons, read it for my detailed thoughts. But to summarize, Hun-Gurrr is great in all 3 modes, and super stable as the body of Abominus. Totally worth the repeat purchase.

Overlord

Overlord is yet another retread, but at least I know for sure I only have one other fig of this mold. That would be Sky Shadow. Read that review for my full thoughts on this fig. Sky Shadow is a “prepaint” to Overlord.

To be fair, this mold was always meant for Overlord, because of the separating mechanism. And there are quite a bit of mold differences between Overlord and Sky Shadow. But is buying both figs justified? I would say no, since neither characters are all that famous. If you want to buy one of these for the character, then get Overlord, as he does make some impact in the comics. But I personally like the look and colors of this fig better on Sky Shadow. So it’s your call.

Overlord is another figure where I bought from an independent Amazon seller this month. Much like Slugslinger, I never saw Overlord in store. But unlike Slugslinger, price for Overlord keeps going down! I thought I got a good deal at $36, but as of this writing you can get one on Amazon for $28! TF prices are like stocks, I swear. They go up, down, sideways, and no TF insider or outsider has any freakin’ clue how it’s gonna go.

Sovereign

Finally we have a completely new figure this month, and it comes from every TF fanboy’s favorite 3P company, Fans Toys! Ladies and gents I give you: Sovereign!

Sovereign comes packed in robot mode. G1-ers will undoubtedly recognize him as Galvatron, the Decepticon leader re-formatted from Megatron by Unicron in the G1 Movie. And let me say this with no uncertainty: this is the ultimate MP interpretation of Galvatron that any company has made to date. Titans Return Galvatron is a pretty good figure for CHUG scale, and Sovereign is an even better figure for MP scale. Below is a pic I took of Sovereign when I got some nice rub-on faction decals, but it’s worth re-posting here since he looks so awesome.

Now is that Galvatron or is that Galvatron? Look at that robot mode. Fan Toys always study an animation model down to it’s tiniest detail and produce a figure that is faithful to that appearance. The G1 toy looked nothing like it’s animation counterpart. And it’s anyone’s guess if HasTak will officially bring out a MP Galvatron. If you need a MP scale Galvatron in your collection, look no further than Sovereign.

Transformation to alt mode is on the complicated side. I only did it one time, and I used the instructions. I did not need it on the reverse transformation back to robot, because I did that not too long after the first transformation to cannon. However, if I am to transform Sovereign again to alt mode, I’m not sure if I can do it from memory. There are some tricky details to the overall scheme that is both ingenious and challenging. But it is so satisfying. Check out pics of the cannon mode below if you’re not convinced.

Sovereign is such a well built figure too. There are no loose bits in either mode. All joints are nice, tight, and clicky, the way I like them. I don’t detect any build issues on my copy. My Sovereign comes from the 2nd run, so whatever issues they had with the figure were ironed out in this run.

I don’t remember much about the accessories as I write this, but Sovereign does come with a solid orange cannon (as opposed to the clear orange one as shown in all my pics). Neither one has any LED lights, unfortunately. Also included is the Autobot Matrix of Leadership with gangster chain attached. He can wear it around his neck with the Matrix on his chest, just like in the movie. That Galvatron, he’s so bling.

Below is a pic of Sovereign with some other figures (KBB MP-10V Optimus Prime, PotP Rippersnapper, MakeToys Contactshot), so you can see how they scale.

There are other MP scale Galvatrons out there now, but Sovereign is still the best, IMO.

Do yourself a favor and incorporate Sovereign into your collection if you haven’t already. You know you want to.

That’s it for this repaint-heavy month. Lots more to come. Transform and roll out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in January 2018

February 12th, 2019 No comments

2018 is starting off with a bang. Power of the Primes is in full swing. Some nice 3P products and one Masterpiece figure adds to this month’s collection to start the new year right.

  • Power of the Primes Micronus, Target, $4.99
  • Power of the Primes Liege Maximo, Target, $4.99
  • Power of the Primes Vector Prime, Target, $4.99

  • Power of the Primes Grimlock, amazon.com, $24.99

  • Power of the Primes Slug, Walmart, $16.82

  • Power of the Primes Swoop, Walmart, $16.82

  • Titans Return Arcee, toysrus.com, $24.99
  • Titans Return Grotusque, toysrus.com, $24.99

  • Power of the Primes Evolution Optimus Prime, Target, $44.99

  • Power of the Primes Evolution Rodimus Prime, Target, $44.99

  • Masterpiece Sunstreaker, amiami.com, ¥9959 (about $91.48)

  • Dr. Wu Blue Skybreaker Sword, tfsource.com, $17.99

  • DX9 Gewalt, tfsource.com, $139.99

Micronus, Liege Maximo, Vector Prime

I like the Prime Masters. For those that don’t know, Prime Masters are the master class figures that came released as part of the Power of the Primes line. The master figures can go inside an exo-suit, and the exo-suit transforms into a weapon. G1-ers can think of them as a Targetmaster and Pretender rolled into one.

In my opinion, the Prime Masters are countless times superior to Titan Masters. Titan Masters are the modern day equivalent of Headmasters, but the accessory that comes with them are so lame. With Prime Masters, Hasbro actually made Pretenders cool. Didn’t think I would live to see this day.

The 3 Prime Masters below are Micronus, Liege Maximo, Vector Prime. Though G1-ers will instantly recognize they are using the Pretender shells of Cloudburst, Skullgrin, and Metalhawk. Good to see that Hasbro did not forget their G1 roots. As a sidebar, I still have my Couldburst and Skullgrin from G1, in pretty good shape too.

In the pic below, the Prime Masters are inside the outer shell.

All transformed to weapons, shown in the pic below. Notice the Prime Master of each figure is transformed into a block attached on top of the weapon. You could do this or just leave them inside in weapon mode.

Overall, I highly recommend the Prime Masters. They are fun to play with and their weapon modes serve a real purpose.

Grimlock, Slug, Swoop

Power of the Primes finally gives us some G1-worthy updates of the Dinobots. And I don’t just mean Grimlock. PotP is doing the whole team. Purchased this month are Grimlock, Slug (Slag), and Swoop. Below I have them in their dino modes.

As a whole, these Dinobots are not too shabby. They are true G1 derivatives, updated for this modern era. However, in my last post, I did mention that this PotP Grimlock pales in comparison to the many 3P offerings that are available today. If you have bought any of them, you will find that these PotP Dinobots simply don’t compare in quality or aesthetics. But on the other hand, you can’t get better G1-esque Dinobots for the price. Grimlock is only about $25, the rest about $17. Hasbro is offering a way to get decent upgrades of G1 Dinobot characters without breaking the bank.

The pic above shows off Grimlock, Slug (Slag), and Swoop. They each look solid in their dino mode, and in robot mode (not pictured) they look just as good too. Transformation of each of these is on the simple side, with obvious transformation schemes for anyone familiar with G1 and CHUG. When complete, the 5 figures will combine. I kinda wish they didn’t do this, as implementing the combination mechanics means putting restrictions on other aspects of the figure, such as the dino modes, robot modes, and sizes of the figures. Grimlock at voyager size is fine, but I do with the other Dinobots are bigger than deluxe.

Overall, I recommend these. Sure they’re not as good as the 3P stuff out there, but Hasbro hasn’t done anything this G1 for the Dinobots in, like, never. Do them a solid and show that you appreciate this effort by buying them.

Arcee and Grotusque

Arcee and Grotusque are Toys R Us exclusives. This was the last online purchase I made from Toys R Us, before they went belly up. To this day I still have not opened these. It’s mostly because I love the packaging that they come in, that I don’t want to ruin it. And these are both repaints, so it’s not like I haven’t seen the mold. Arcee is a repaint of TR Brainstorm and TR Blurr. Grotusque is a repaint of Twinferno. I am more inclined to open Grotusque, to complete my Monsterbots (I will have Repugnus in a later month).

I will show off how they look in the cool packaging. Pics below.

Each of these figs come with two Titan Masters. Grotusque comes with Scorponok and Fengul, and Arcee comes with Ultra Magnus and Leinad. What kind of name is Leinad? It’s Daniel spelled backwards. Oh what will these crazy Hasbro writers think of next.

Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime

Toward the end of the month, I started my paternity leave. Having a baby changes your life. The wife sent me to Target for some baby stuff one Saturday night. I welcomed the opportunity as it allowed me to get out of the house. But more importantly, it gave me a chance to hunt for some TFs. I love my daughter, but anyone who’s had a baby will tell you that you need to do some stuff that reminds you of the person you were prior to the baby. For me, hunting for TFs satisfy that requirement. That, and writing in this blog.

But back to the topic at hand. On this trip to Target, I found Evolution Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime. Both are leader class figs, and both have the “Evolution” tag written above their names. This is because both figs include a smaller fig that represents their persona before taking on the mantle of Autobot leadership: Orion Pax for Optimus, and Hot Rod for Rodimus.

Let’s look at Optimus first. He looks great in the box. At Target I was astonished how close he looks to MP-10 Optimus. After I opened the figure and had him side by side with MP-10 (and I should have taken a pic of this), I was amazed at how much Evolution OP resembles MP-10. The two are about the same size. In your hands, MP-10 weights quite a bit more than Evolution OP. But the details and the paint job of Evolution OP is on par with the MP figure. I’m especially impressed with the head mold of Evolution OP, it’s MP quality.

To transform, the smaller figure detaches from the rest through the back. This smaller figure transforms into the cab, while the rest of the body forms the trailer. Think of how G1 Ultra Magnus or Powermaster Optimus Prime does it. Picture below.

Obviously the cab can detached from the trailer. The cab can then transform into Orion Pax by itself. The whole things sounds gimmicky, but Evolution OP implements all this very well. A review is definitely in order and I plan to do one soon.

Rodimus Prime has all the similar features. It’s packed in robot mode just like Optimus. Rodimus is a bit more of a puzzle former, and he does remind of the FansProject Protector upgrade kit designed for Classics Rodimus. To transform, you first detach Hot Rod from the rest of the figure. Hot Rod will transform into the front cab, while the body forms the trailer. Pic below.

The front cab will come out as the Hot Rod race car. And this can transform into Hot Rod. All in all, I like this figure too. I recommend both the Evolution leader figures. They are not perfect, but they offer very good alternatives to buying MP versions of these characters at affordable prices. And for both of them, you get two characters in one package. Oh, and they both come with Matrix holders where you can plug Titan Masters into them.

Sunstreaker

MP Sunstreaker was pre-ordered months ago. During my paternity leave, it finally showed up on my doorstep (or maybe it was in the mailbox). He is packaged in car mode like all the other MP cars. And you would expect this to scale well with all other MP cars, especially Sideswipe.

I looked through all my pics, and I guess I didn’t take any of Sunstreaker by himself in alt mode. I can only find pics of him and Sideswipe, so here they are. Notice how well they scale together.

I cannot be happier with the alt mode of Sunstreaker. The Lamborghini alt mode is just as good as Sideswipe’s, and the scale is so on par. He is in his trademark yellow, and his iconic rear mounted engines is proof of having a “Super Tuning” Lamborghini alt mode.

MP Sunstreaker is VERY VERY IMPRESSIVE from an engineering perspective. The transformation is something to behold. And yes, he is difficult. I used instructions because I’m always worried that I’ll break something for such a complicated piece, but it is possible to do it without them if you’re looking for a challenge. I only transformed him once, from car to robot. So I don’t remember it too well now as I write this. But I do remember there were a lot of steps, and I that the backpack transforming sequence is simultaneously awe-inspiring and demanding. Sunstreaker is definitely not a figure that you actively play often to transform it over and over. But when you are finally done, it is so rewarding. Check out the awesome looking robot mode.

Sunstreaker is well built. All joints are nice and tight. In robot mode he scales well with other MP Autobot cars. He can be put into some nice action poses.

Great face sculpt worthy of the handsome Autobot.

Below are shots of the backpack. A lot goes on to get the backpack in this configuration, and this is a testament to the engineering brilliance of this figure. Those that like to nit-pick could argue there’s a bit of junk here, the backpack is quite thick when viewed from the side. But when you consider how much of the alt mode is folded into this, I can easily overlook this minor distraction. The rest of Sunstreaker is completely kibble-free.

Sunstreaker can store his pistol on the back. He also comes with a Chip Chase figure. MP Sunstreaker is not too playable because of the high difficulty, but as a collector piece he gets my highest possible recommendation.

Blue Skybreaker Sword

I got the Blue Skybreaker Sword to push my order over $150 to get free shipping (the order was this and Gewalt, below). I chose this accessory because I still need a sword to go with my TF Prime Beast Hunter Optimus Prime. The stock sword is broken, and the handle is stuck in his right fist. The story of that incident is documented here. As soon as I can get that handle out, I will consider this figure repaired and using this better sword. See the pic above in all its shiny blue glory. I can’t wait for OP to try this sword in his robot mode.

Gewalt

Last but certainly not least, we have Gewalt, DX9’s homage to Blitzwing. And I’ll get straight to it: Gewalt is awesome! As of this writing, there has been some attempts at a MP Blitzwing by various 3Ps. DX9 Gewalt is by far the best, and the preferred MP Blitzwing by most hard core fans. Fans Toys does have their offering coming up, but that’s been on pre-order for more than 2 years now and to this day still no real pics other than computer renders. FT usually has me impressed, but I got sick of waiting for them. Gewalt is so thoroughly spectacular that FT needs to come up big for me to consider their interpretation of Blitzwing.

Gewalt is German for violence, if any of you are wondering. He comes packed in tank mode, and for good reason. The tank mode is the most compact mode, and thus easy to fit into the box. The tank mode is good, and I should have took a pic. However, I would consider the tank mode the weakest of the 3 modes. Gewalt really shines in his 2 other modes. Consider the jet mode below.

Now that is Blitzwing! This is the MiG-25 that he was meant to be. Yes I know some G1 purists will bash it for not having the thick tank-kibble wings that he had in G1, but c’mon. The wings in that shape was nasty and in no way reflect how a MiG-25 looks. They only looked like that because of the toy limitations in the 80s. Gewalt’s jet mode is a vast improvement and updates this alt mode to modern MP standards.

The colors in this mode are unmistakably Blitzwing. I have a pic above showing off Gewalt in jet mode next to ToyWorld Requiem (or Elegy, as he is sometimes called). Gewalt is a big figure, but scales nicely with other MPs.

Now for his robot mode. Check it out:

Now if that’s not Blitzwing, than I don’t know what is. The way he looks, it’s like he stepped straight out of the G1 Movie. Blitzwing got a decent amount of screen time in the movie, up til the fracas inside Astrotrain after the injured Decepticons were jettisoned.

Articulation for Gewalt is pretty good. And the figure is so well built that he can hold all those poses. Gewalt’s transformation does test your abilities as a TransFan. I won’t say it’s difficult, like say Sunstreaker, but it’s certainly not easy. I only transformed it once from tank to jet, then again from jet to robot. I’m not sure I will be able to go back without looking at the instructions. But that’s a challenge for another day.

For accessories, he comes with his rifle, his sword, the tank cannon (which can be removed), an extra screaming face, and some extra waist parts (I’m not entirely sure that they’re waist parts, and I don’t know if they go on Gewalt or some other DX9 figure).

Here I have a pic of Gewalt with a fabulous rub-on faction decal.

That’s all the items for the month. Again, 2018 started with a bang, with so many figures. And they’re all quality products too. The only two pieces here that I would possibly not recommend is Arcee and Grotusque, and I only say that because they’re repaints. I recommend everything else. It’s a good time to be a TransFan.

Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in December 2017

December 26th, 2018 No comments

We are finally at the end of 2017. Long time coming, but better late than never.

Unlike last month, this month is all official Hasbro products. This month also sees the introduction of the new Hasbro Generations line: Power of the Primes!

  • Power of the Primes Jazz, amazon.com, $15.00

  • Power of the Primes Dreadwind, amazon.com, $15.00

  • Power of the Primes Windcharger, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Slash, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Beachcomber, amazon.com, $12.00

  • Power of the Primes Starscream, amazon.com, $24.99

  • Titans Return Cosmos, Target, $5.14

  • Titans Return Shuffler, Target, $2.48

Power of the Primes is the 3rd arc in the Prime Wars Trilogy, the first 2 being Combiner Wars and Titans Return. This is the current line in the universe of what fans label CHUG (Classics, Henkei, Universe, Generations). I sort of went into the timeline history of Power of the Primes back in this post for the Terrorcons. Anyway, the first Power of the Primes figures appeared this month. I also first previewed Power of the Primes figures back in this post. Now that I have them, how does each of them fare? Here are my grades:

Recommended:

  • Beachcomber – Nice homage to G1 Beachcomber. Fun transformation with good robot and alt modes. Solid construction and nice paint job.
  • Windcharger – This figure is better than Combiner Wars Windcharger. It’s more G1 accurate.
    I like this as much as Reveal the Shield Windcharger.
  • Slash – Good little Dino. Slash was not part of the original 5 G1 Dinobots, but I like that they took a Movie-verse character and made him in G1 style. Since he’s a raptor, a legend size figure makes sense. The toy is well built and has a fun transformation. Both modes are solid.

Not Recommended:

  • Jazz – PotP Jazz is disappointing. Decent robot and alt modes, but nothing spectacular here. Transformation is derivative and lackluster. The panels behind the fists in robot mode really bug me. Construction is poor with some loose joints in robot mode and some REALLY bad connections in combined mode. As a limb Jazz does not connect well to both CW body components and the fist/feet add-on piece.
  • Dreadwind – This is yet another re-work of old figures. He has some new mold bits, but nothing that hides the overall motif of the CW Aerialbot. He does combine with Blackwing (to be released later) in alt mode, but the combined super jet seems forced and tacked-on. As a limb, the connections are poor too.
  • Starscream – Weird body proportions in robot mode, and way too bulky in jet mode. Decent as a body component for a combiner. This mold is really meant for Elita-One (to be released later). Get that figure instead.

I did not open Cosmos and Shuffler. I bought these two only because they were half off. I have Generations Thrilling 30 Comsos, which is the exact same thing with minor paint app differences. See this post for in-depth comparison. I imagine Shuffler is not terribly different from the many Titan Masters out there. There was a G1 Shuffler, in Japan only and supposedly super rare. I know nothing about Shuffler the character.

Some group pics of the opened TFs this month.

This is the last of my purchase posts for 2017. Time to move onto 2018. Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

2018 Black Friday Haul

December 18th, 2018 No comments

Black Friday + Cyber Monday == TF Shopping. Black Fridays represent everything that is wrong with America. Nevertheless, here are my TF acquisitions per this materialistic tradition in 2018.

Some quick blurb about each figure.

Front row, left to right:

Ocular Max Artifex: I never understood the relationship between MMC (Mastermind Creations) and Ocular Max. Are they the same company with a name change? Or did Ocular Max spin off from MMC? Or is Ocular Max a sub-line in MMC’s offerings? Whatever it is, Artifex is their take on a MP-style Hoist. He’s well designed with a interesting transformation. But sub-par manufacturing really hurt this figure. Tolerance issues abound with Artifex. I already broke one accessory. Artifex is OK as a display piece, but not recommended as a toy. Even at a sale price of $49.99, I regret buying Artifex.

Mech Fans Toys Grmlock: I don’t know much about Mech Fans Toys (MFT). They came out of nowhere. As far as I know, all their products are 4th party (read: knock offs of 3rd party products). MFT Grmlock is their knock off version of this figure, though with better paint (I think). He’s not bad, but gives your hands and fingers a good workout when transforming because the joints are so freakin’ tight. Grmlock is my 2nd dino from MFT, the first being Slurdge (you can guess who that is). And Grmlock is not a mis-spelling; it’s purposely spelled that way, this being KO and all. Grmlock was bought at $24.99, it’s usual price.

PotP Optimal Optimus: I found this at Target at its usual MSRP of $44.99, the day after Black Fri. This figure is pretty rare, even as of this writing. I only saw him this one time in store, and online dealers totally jack up his price. I thought long and hard in the store if I really wanted Optimal Optimus. I bought the figure after some nudging from my wife (think she just got sick of waiting for me to make up my mind). He’s okay. Not bad, but not great.

X-Transbots Toro: I got this from a eBay seller. Lately, eBay has been offering 10% or 15% off coupons at fairly regular intervals, and I took advantage. I used one for Toro and it brought the price down to less than $50. Toro is a great figure! He looks good in both modes, comes with a plethora of accessories, has a interesting transformation, scales well with other MPs, is well built, and boasts some of the best paint and finish I have seen in quite some time. Some fans knock Toro for it’s fake chest windows, but it’s something I can easily overlook because everything else is so well done. Highly recommended.

Back row, left to right:

Studio Series Grimlock: The 2nd Grimlock on this Black Fri, SS Grimlock was bought from hasbrotoyshop.com via eBay for $39.99, with another 10% coupon added for good measure. My wife never comments on my Transformers, but even she gave SS Grimlock an endorsement. These are her words: “That dinosaur looks great! Really sharp!” So there you go. Personally I’m not terribly impressed with the robot mode, but you get this figure for the dino mode and it delivers.

PotP Predaking: This is the big enchilada this Black Fri. He’s normally $159.99. ToyDojo was offering this guy at $99.99 for the sale, so I bought one for the win. And I’ll re-iterate what many TransFans have said: you get this for the combined mode! This Predaking looks so good and is so stable, I would rate this combined mode better than Feral Rex by MMC. However, the individual bots range from mediocre to unimpressive. Most of them have really weak beast modes. The leg bots feature giant back kibble (the Predaking thigh parts) in robot mode. Razorclaw feels like the smallest of the 5, despite being the chest and the leader. But again, the Predaking combined form is where this set shines. When displayed in its full combined glory, this set is worth every penny.

PotP Nemesis Prime: Nemesis Prime is an Amazon exclusive. On Cyber Monday, they had a deal for this guy at $32.99. I already had Nemesis Prime in my cart previous to Cyber Monday. I waited to see if there would be a Black Fri deal, but nothing. Then Cyber Monday happened, I saw the sale price, and bought with haste. I like this figure. Yes, he’s a repaint of PotP Evolution Optimus Prime (which I have too), but he comes with more weapons and has re-worked heads that more accurately depict Nemesis Prime. On my copy, his joints don’t feel as tight as the ones on Optimus, especially the hip and ankle joints. But your mileage may vary. Even as a repaint, Nemesis Prime is worthy of your purchase.

Sometimes I wonder if a society like what is on Cybertron would have a Black Friday equivalent. It is often implied that Cybertronians do have a class structure, at least prior to the war. But you don’t ever see Cybertronians shop. What is their system for distribution of goods and resources? For the Autobots, one can only guess. Decepticons just take what they want.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in November 2017

December 7th, 2018 No comments

Much like June 2016 and March 2017, November 2017 is another month where the 3P products outnumber the official products. Well, sort of. In term of figure count, that number is up for debate. But In terms of purchase count, the number of 3P products win hands down. It’s not even close.

Let’s take a look at all the goodies.

  • Titans Return Siege on Cybertron, bbts.com, $99.99

  • Unique Toys Allen, bbts.com, $59.99

  • MakeToys Contactshot, thechosenprime.com, $89.99

  • MakeToys Despotron, thechosenprime.com, $69.99

  • Fans Toys Phoenix, capturedprey.com, $210.00

Siege on Cybertron

The only official product purchased this month is the Siege on Cybertron set. This set is released in the United States as a Big Bad Toy Store exclusive. On the box, the set advertises that it includes 5 figures. They are:

  • Magnus Prime (leader class)
  • Tidal Wave (voyager class)
  • Metalhawk (deluxe class)
  • Pounce (legend class)
  • Thunderwing (master class)

They are packed in the box as shown in the pic below.

Magnus Prime is obviously the big draw here. I missed out on Transformers Legends Super Ginrai (LG-35), a Japanese only release. I wasn’t paying attention, and thought that Super Ginrai is simply a Japanese repaint of Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime. Big mistake. Super Ginrai is generally regarded as a superior figure to TR Powermaster Optimus Prime by most fans. When I came out of my TF stupor and realized that Super Ginrai is something different entirely, it was sold out at everywhere, except for online dealers that were charging crazy markups.

It was around this time that BBTS announced that they would be releasing this Siege on Cybertron set. The set includes Magnus Prime, which is a very slight repaint of Super Ginrai. Furthermore, MSRP of Super Ginrai is $109.99, while Siege of Cybertron is only $99.99 and includes a bunch of other things. So I bought this set with no hesitation.

It’s now almost a year later as I write this, and I still have not opened this set. I took it out of the box (as pictured above), but all figures are still on twist ties. This whole set just looks so damn good in the package that I’m reluctant to take it out. I’ll probably remove Magnus Prime from the twist ties in the future, to check out this mold. And while we’re on that topic, I have no idea who is Magnus Prime. Maybe he was a previous Prime to Optimus, or maybe he’s some kind of enhanced Optimus. I could look it up on TFWiki, but I won’t. I’m gonna regard this figure as Optimus Prime.

The only other new mold in the set is Pounce. And when I say new, I mean that it did not previously have a mass retail release in the United States. Pounce is one part of a clone, the other part being his twin Wingspan. These 2 have not been produced since G1 (to my knowledge), so I’m glad they got a modern update. Unfortunately, this set only includes Pounce and not Wingspan. I would have to get Wingspan elsewhere.

The remaining full-size figures in the set are all repaints of something previously released. Metalhawk is a repaint of Triggerhappy, while Tidal Wave is a repaint of Broadside. They come with Titan Masters that are different from their respective repaints (more on this later). I really like the Triggerhappy mold, but Broadside is just so-so.

Siege on Cybertron advertises 5 figures. The last “figure” here is Thunderwing. I put that in quotes because this is just a Titan Master. It’s debatable if they should count as figures. If you choose to, shouldn’t this set be 8 figures then (the 5 listed, plus the heads for Magnus Prime, Metalhawk, and Tidal Wave)? And if you choose not to, then this set should only be 4 figures. Either way, the 5 figure count is misleading. I know I’m nitpicking here, but I think it’s important to get this right. Anyway, Thunderwing is supposed to be a huge Transformer, in the pages of both Marvel and IDW. All we’re getting here is the head of Thunderwing. I suppose HasTak can make the body later. But including only the head here and then advertising as having Thunderwing feels like a cheap inclusion. I don’t care that this Titan Master is exclusive to this set.

Again, I don’t have any of this open, so I can’t speak to the quality of any of these figs. But assuming they are as good as their repaint counterparts or Japanese versions, Siege on Cybertron is a good set to buy. At only $99.99, you are getting 4 full-fledged figures, plus 4 Titan Masters. As of this writing, the set is a bit marked up now. But it can still be found for around $120, which is still a good deal if you missed out.

Allen

The first 3P figure for this month is Allen, Unique Toys’ tribute to Springer. I did a quick review of Allen, so see that post for all the details. At only $59.99, it was almost a crime to not get this, if only to check it out. And I don’t regret it one bit. Yes, Allen is not the perfect 3P Springer. There are many other options now. And to my knowledge, none are perfect. Most fans seem to elect Fans Toys Apache as the best 3P Springer produced to date. But there are qualities to Allen that makes him worthy of your collection. He’s very robust and very playable. The transformation engineering is impressive, and all modes look good in my opinion.

Allen was purchased in the same order as Siege of Cybertron above. Buying together saves money on shipping. But you all knew that.

Contactshot

Contactshot by MakeToys is the first of three Black Friday purchases that I made from The Chosen Prime. This online dealer will feature MakeToys products at insane discounts every now and then. I’m guessing MakeToys have a close working business relationship with The Chosen Prime, if the figs can be offered at such low prices. I got Contactshot for only $89.99, way less than its MSRP of $139.99.

Contactshot is an homage to Pointblank, a Targetmaster that came around in G1 Season 4. You don’t need to be too hardcore in G1 to know about Pointblank, but at the same time he’s not a character that casual G1 fans would know about. He was one of the better G1 Targetmaster toys produced when this line was first introduced. His Nebulos gun partner is Peacemaker. In the US G1 cartoons for Season 4, Pointblank made some appearances in the three episode arc “Rebirth”. This was such a short season that none of the new characters were given enough screen time. My understanding is that, in the Japanese continuity from Season 4 onwards, Pointblank is given much more detailed treatment. However I know next to nothing about the Japanese continuity, so I cannot confirm nor deny that assertion.

Truth be told, I had a feeling that Contactshot would become a Black Friday sale item. As a character, he’s not that well known. Fans have been saying Contactshot is a quality piece, but nothing that puts it in the groundbreaking territory. The regular price point of $139.99 is a bit much for fans with no familiarity of the character. Contactshot wasn’t exactly flying off the shelves, so I had a hunch he would go on sale for Black Friday. And I was right! When I saw that The Chosen Prime was letting him go for $89.99, I ordered with haste.

I have played with Contactshot for a while now, and transformed him twice to alt mode and twice back to robot mode (including breaking a piece, but more on this later). I agree with the consensus of the TF fandom: Contactshot is a pretty good figure, but not so good that it’s a must get if you don’t know the character. But first let’s take a look at Contactshot in the package.

Contactshot comes in a pretty small box, and he’s sandwiched between standard fitted clear clam shells. It’s a no-frills packaging, and it works. However, if you’ve paid MSRP, you might make a case that the packaging needs to be more elaborate. He comes with his Targetmaster partner Peacemaker, an accessory that doubles as a vehicle top-side spoiler/thruster and robot arm cannon, one extra helmet, and two extra face plates. The extra helmet and face plates are for if you want to create a G1 toy accurate look, or the G1 Japanese continuity look.

In your hands, Contactshot feels solid and weighty. It’s clear that good materials are used for the figure. Most of it is high quality plastic, with bits of diecast added here and there. Articulation is pretty good in robot mode. He can be put into some fairly dynamic poses, and the figure’s construction is solid enough that he can hold the poses. Transformation to alt mode is satisfying. Some of it is fairly straightforward, while other areas can be somewhat frustrating. The leg transformation to alt mode can be a bit annoying. It’s fairly obvious what you need to do, but actually doing it takes some work. I do like the look of the alt mode though. Pic below.

This is a very true representation of Pointblank in alt mode. I don’t remember seeing Pointblank in this mode in the Season 4 US Cartoons. But if you’re comparing to the original G1 Pointblank toy, Contactshot is spot on. The future race car shape and colors are all accurate. Even the iconic wings/spoiler on top of the vehicle is there. The Targetmaster can ride inside the cockpit.

If you have a thing for Pointblank the character, or if you like seeing modern interpretations of Targetmasters, then Contactshot may be for you. This figure is a solid toy. But at it’s usual MSRP, I feel that it does not offer enough as a toy alone.

I mentioned I broke off a piece of Contactshot on my first transform back to robot mode. This was mentioned above, and also in a brief bit back in this post (scroll down to the part highlighted in yellow). It was my mistake entirely. I kinda forgot how to properly do it, and just tried to force it through. Big mistake. One of the red pieces on the side of one chest broke off. This was about 4 months after the purchase. I reached out to thechosenprime.com, and they were able to contact the manufacturer and send me a replacement piece! That made me really happy. I want to give them a big shout out again here. There are other online TF retailers that can’t or won’t do this (I’m looking at you, TFSource!). Thechosenprime.com is now my go to retailer for anything 3rd party or MP.

Despotron

The 2nd Black Friday item acquired from The Chosen Prime is MakeToys Despotron, their stab at a MP Megatron. Despotron was released before the 2nd official release of MP Megatron (MP-36). At the time of Despotron’s release, there were already other 3Ps in the MP Megatron game. Some stiff competition included Apollyon by X-Transbots and Mightron by DX9. It was kind of up to individual taste as to which of these 3P Megs was the right one for you. None of the three were perfect. They each have their pros and cons.

MP-36 was released after all these Megs. It is not the perfect Megatron either. But for the most part, fans seem to agree that MP-36 is slightly superior to all the 3Ps. This may simply be that MP-36 is the official product, and, rightly or wrongly, official products carry more weight in the TF fandom just by being official.

After MP-36 was released, demand for all these 3P Megs went down. I predicted at least one of the 3P Megs would go one sale for Black Friday, and once again my TF hunch was right. Though I didn’t think it would be Despotron, and I certainly didn’t think the price would come down this much. MSRP of Despotron is close to $150, and on this Black Friday it went down to $69.99! I wasted no time getting one, despite the fact I already had MP-36. Despotron was the one I wanted out of the 3Ps, before I knew of MP-36.

I studied many pics online and watched many vids of the 3P Megatrons, and what drawn me to Despotron is the way he looks and the way he transforms. In robot mode, you can see his proportions are somewhat different from the G1 TV cartoons. Despotron is a bit bulkier. Many have said that these proportions more resemble modern Megatron interpretations in the pages of Dreamweave and IDW. And some have said that this is a transforming version of Revoltech Megatron, which I do have. I personally feel that the G1 Movie Megatron had a bulkier frame than his cartoon counterpart. Despotron looks like someone that can go toe to toe with Optimus and then some. Take a look at some pics of Despotron in the box.

If you’re worried about that orange plug, don’t. It comes right out. In fact, it’s kinda loose that having it stay on takes more work.

As for transformation, I think Despotron wins hands down, even if you count MP-36. He has the cleanest transformation of all the MP Megs. He hides the gun bits the best in robot mode. He has the cleanest backside with virtually no gun kibble. And he’s actually fun to transform. This is a MP Megs figure that is not frustrating or overly difficult, and that’s saying a lot for a modern MP Megatron. With instructions, I got him transformed to gun mode pretty quickly on the first go, like less than 20 min.

I think he looks pretty spectacular in the gun mode. For a MP Megatron that’s fun to transform, Despotron is the clear choice.

Despotron does have his faults. The face sculpt is adequate, but I feel it is the weakest of all the modern MP Megs offerings. He comes with very little accessories when compared to the competition. All other figures come with silencer and shoulder stock attachment, which Despotron is glaringly missing. And considering that the MSRP was close to $150, that’s not good value.

All in all, I recommend Despotron, but only if you can find it at way less than MSRP like I did. He offers an alternate interpretation of G1 Megatron that feels very different from MP-36. Despotron is a fun transforming toy, something the MP-36 can make no claim whatsoever. I really want to do a review of this figure in the future.

Phoenix

I have saved the best for last. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… drum roll please… Phoenix!

Let me make this clear: Phoenix is the ultimate interpretation of a MP Jetfire. Other companies have tried, with varying levels of success. I don’t have any of those other figures, and I don’t need to. Fans Toys have outdone themselves again and hit this one way out of the park. Phoenix is G1 Jetfire materialized as a masterpiece figure. I can yap on and on about how great he looks, but I’ll let the pics below do the talking.


FT Phoenix robot mode.


FT Phoenix jet mode.

FT always look very carefully at the G1 animation models and then produces figures that match that look. Phoenix is no exception. In both modes, he looks like he stepped straight out of the G1 cartoons. But what’s more important is that Phoenix bears no semblance whatsoever to the original Takatoku Valkyrie toy that is the original G1 Jetfire figure. In other words, Phoenix is entirely based on the cartoon designs of Skyfire.

Transformation of Phoenix is actually not terribly complicated, for something so massive and easily integrates itself into the MP line. I’m almost tempted to say it’s simple, but there is enough going on in the transformation to keep most TransFans interested. All modern Jetfires have been on the easy side in terms of transformation. Classics Jetfire and Generations Thrilling 30 Jetfire comes to mind.

Construction and build quality of the figure is on par with everything that FT has produced to date. And if you’re wondering what that means, it means that it’s freakin’ awesome! All joints are nice, tight, and clicky. No dangling pieces or loose limbs. A jet mode that feels and plays like a cohesive whole.

Look at the pics below for scale with some other MP Autobots. Some argue he’s a tad too big, and I could see their point. But I just love this figure so much I’m willing to look past it.


FT Phoenix with MP Smokescreen, MP Red Alert, and MP Inferno.


FT Phoenix with MP Sunstreaker, MP Sideswipe, and MakeToys Gundog.

As for accessories, he comes with his gun (also modeled after the G1 animation model and not the Takatoku toy gun). FT gives you two removable chest plates where the faction symbol would go. So you can do one as Autobot and one as Decepticon, and reproduce that famous G1 scene where he switches allegiance. Very, very cool. The jetpack is not removable, and is a permanent (albeit transformable) piece as part of Phoenix. I don’t remember if he comes with other accessories, but I intend to do a full review soon and I’ll revisit this then.

Phoenix gets the highest possible recommendation from this TransFan.

I mentioned that I made 3 Black Fri purchases. The third one is MakeToys Ironwill, their interpretation of Hardhead. He won’t arrive for a while, so he’s not featured here. But he will get his 15 minutes. Until then… Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in October 2017

September 19th, 2018 No comments

October 2017 is a month of 4s in terms of purchase pattern. 4 figs from The Last Knight. 4 figs from Titans Return. 4 Autobots. 4 Decepticons. A very balanced month.

  • The Last Knight Hot Rod, Walmart, $19.99

  • The Last Knight Megatron, amazon.com, $26.86

  • The Last Knight Nitro, Walmart, $26.86

  • The Last Knight Scorn, Walmart, $26.86

  • Titans Return Misfire, Target, $15.29

  • Titans Return Twin Twist, Target, $15.29

  • Titans Return Windblade, Target, $15.29

  • Titans Return Repugnus, Target, $4.99

Hot Rod

Last month there was a Hot Rod purchase, and this month there is one as well. The Last Knight Hot Rod is a Walmart exclusvie. His overall motif is similar to Age of Extinction Lockdown. But make no mistake, Hot Rod is a brand new mold. As far as I can tell, the only parts that are shared between the two figures are the lower legs. Everything else are new molds for Hot Rod.

Again, with the exception of the lower legs, it’s as if Hasbro went back to the drawing board and re-designed every single part of the pieces that make up Lockdown. The result is a brand new figure using a new mold that follows the patterns of a previous figure. This effort yielded a superior figure in many regards. In my opinion, Hot Rod looks better in both modes. He feels more solid and robust. But most importantly, the transformation becomes a much more enjoyable process. Hot Rod’s alt mode comes together way better than Lockdown’s. The re-designed parts and pieces fit congruently in ways that Lockdown never did.

Hot Rod’s Lamborghini alt mode is super well done for a mass produced retail deluxe class toy. I’ll let the pics below speak for themselves.

Here is an alt mode comparison between TLK Hot Rod and AoE Lockdown.

Personally I like the paint job on Hot Rod way more than the one on Lockdown. Lockdown should have been painted black or dark grey, instead of this weird brown/grey color.

Hot Rod is a recommended purchase. Don’t brush this off as another simple repaint. This is how Lockdown should have been. If the Studio Series didn’t already release a brand new Lockdown, I could totally see Hasbro repainting this Hot Rod into Lockdown. Fans of movie figures will undoubtedly want Hot Rod in their collection.

Megatron

TLK Megatron is another figure in the line that deserves your hard-earned dollars. This is is the voyager class version of the figure. There is a leader class version of TLK Megatron, but I opted for this one. The leader class has a weird transformation where the front jet nosecone becomes his fusion cannon. I didn’t particularly like that design, so I bought the voyager class figure instead. Leader class Megatron may well be a nice figure too, but I don’t have it so can’t comment.

Megs is back to being a jet in the 5th movie. As a sidebar, Megatron has a different alt mode in each movie. He goes from being a Cybertronian jet in the first movie, to a Cybertronian tank in RotF, then an earth fuel truck in DotM. He comes back as Galvatron in AoE in as an Optimus Prime type semi-trailer truck, then returns in TLK as this Cybertronian jet that’s different from the first movie. His robot mode kinda differs in each movie too. I don’t even remember how he comes back in TLK since I really wasn’t all that invested in the movie.

But let’s get back to this figure. TLK voyager class Megatron has got one of the best transformations that I have seen in a long time. I touched on this topic back in this post. This Megatron looks dramatically different from previous incarnations, perhaps because he was modified to being Galvatron. But whatever the case, I do like TLK voyager class Megatron. Hasbro is obviously going for a knight motif here. The robot mode appears below.

The figure is well proportioned, with nothing looking too oddly out of place. In the pic above, the sword is stored on the back, but he can wield it fine in either hand. The overall color scheme of the figure is very unique, and the paint job is quite good on a whole. The figure is well built. The joints are at just the right tolerance. All parts that need to be locked down from transformation are tabbed in, so what you have here is a solid robot figure with nothing dangling around. Poseability is decent.

Again, the transformation of TLK Megatron is where this figure hits it out of the park. I have seen plenty of robot to jet transformations among the hundreds of TFs that I own, and yet I still find this one totally refreshing. It doesn’t justify it when I describe it in words. The overall motif is that the jet nosecone is on the back and flips forward. The arms go around the back and folds in the opposite direction, ending up towards the rear of the jet. The wings unfold from the legs, and the legs end up kind of on the side and underneath the wings. Yes I know it sounds like we have seen this all before, but believe me when I say that the implementation of this motif is new and invigorating. When all this is coupled with the solid construction that I mentioned already, the result is a figure that is a pure joy to play with. I think I transformed TLK Megatron at least 10 times, and these days that’s a lot for me. I got way too many TFs and I’m usually too busy with other things. Transforming a figure this many times is a testament to its fun factor.

The jet mode can be seen in the above pic. This is a fantastic looking jet mode. Many TF jets suffer from having too much bulk in jet mode, but Megatron looks nice and sleek. Everything also tabs in where it should in this mode. Again, this figure is so well built that you don’t have to worry about anything dangling around. The tolerance on the wings are perfect and you don’t have to worry about them drooping down.

I give TLK voyager class Megatron the highest recommendation possible. He really deserves a separate review on this blog. Maybe someday.

Nitro

I reviewed the excellent Nitro figure here. See that post for my detailed thoughts. Nitro is one of the best figures that TLK has to offer.

Scorn

The last of the TLK figures this month is voyager class Scorn. Many will point out that we got a deluxe class Scorn in AoE. AoE deluxe Scorn is one of the better Dinobots from that movie. I think I bought all the mass retail Dinobots from AoE, and I ended up selling most of them because I thought they were underwhelming. Deluxe Scorn is one of the few that I kept (along with AoE deluxe Snarl).

TLK Scorn ups the figure to voyager class size. They should have done this back in AoE. All Dinobots need to be voyager class or bigger, in my opinion. The robot mode appears below.

I don’t know how movie accurate TLK Scorn is, and I’m not going to check. The one thing that immediately sticks out with me is that the dino tail becomes the left arm. Beast Wars fans may be thrilled with this design choice, but I’m not so sure. AoE is the same way. I guess this is more of personal taste, but I like my robots having both functional arms (Shockwave may be the lone exception here).

TLK Scorn definitely feels beefier than AoE Scorn. The upgrade to voyager class makes a big difference. This Dinobot now has more of a presence when lined up on the shelf with the Autobots proper from the movie line. This figure weighs quite a bit too. He is the heaviest figure this month. All this is very fitting of his Dinobot pedigree.

Poseability of this figure is more limited, mostly because of all the dino kibble. Most fans will probably have this guy in spinosaurus mode anyway, which we will look at now.

In dino mode, this Scorn looks much better than AoE Scorn. Many pieces on the dino are painted silver, such as the jaws, and claws on both the hands and the feet, and the top of the tail. The bigger scale means a more imposing spinosaurus. And speaking of that, TLK Scorn has three rows of spines on the back, versus just one row on AoE Scorn. This is the Scorn that we should have got all along.

There are some negatives with this figure that I need to mention. TLK Scorn is an unsymmetrical transformer, like most motorcycle figures. This means that parts that may be symmetrical in one mode will have unsymmetrical placements in the other mode. In Scorn’s case, the left arm becomes the tail, while the right arm tabs underneath the neck. This may not bother some, but I prefer my figures symmetrical. Transformation is also not the most intuitive. Going from robot to dino, there are arm rotations at the shoulder that need to happen for proper placement. The instructions does point it out, but doing it on the figure is harder than it looks. This is required on both arms. There are tabs and pegs to help you align them, but I found them to be of little help.

Below is a pic of AoE Scorn and TLK Scorn in their spinosaurus modes.

I should point out that TLK Scorn is not simply an upsize of AoE Scorn. TLK Scorn is a brand new mold. As of this writing, I can’t remember if the two molds transform the same way. I’m tempted to say that the overall motif is the same, but mechanics are different.

I give TLK Scorn a weak recommendation. There are some personal preferences that I don’t like, but you may be ok with them. Transformation to dino mode is more frustrating than it should be, but many will probably leave Scorn in this mode anyway. The upsizing alone may be worth the ticket of admission. Movie Dinobots fans should definitely get this, no question.

Misfire

Misfire is a figure that I have long looked forward to. I have G1 Misfire, and I’m always partial to characters that I owned from G1. Titans Return Triggerhappy was released back in December of 2016. Misfire and Triggerhappy came from the same group (both are Decepticon Targetmasters from Season 4). So if they did Triggerhappy, I knew Misfire couldn’t be far behind.

Sure enough, we get Titans Return Misfire this month. What I didn’t know is that they would re-work the Triggerhappy mold and use that as a base for Misfire. And the result is… quite good, actually. I usually don’t like repaints, and this isn’t one. The overall base mold is the same, but there are enough new or modified moldings on top of the existing framework that the new figure created feels distinct from the parent. The jet mode is where you see the most differences. TR Misfire is definitely an homage to the G1 figure, I’ll attest to that. See the pics for yourself.

Still, Misfire is mechanically similar to Triggerhappy, so read the post on Triggerhappy for more detailed thoughts on the figure. I love this mold and all characters that are derived from it. For G1 fans, purchase of Misfire is required.

Twin Twist

Twin Twist is yet another must purchase item for G1 fans this month. His brother Topspin was acquired back in June of 2017. In that post, I gushed on and on about how nice of a figure Topspin is. All that applies to Twin Twist. He is a virtually identical figure, but that’s how it was in G1.

The only mold differences I can detect between Topspin and Twin Twist is that the wings got replaced with tank treads, the 2 front nosecones are swapped for twin drills, and the front cockpit area went from more of a smooth sports car hood to that of a tough truck grill. The chest mold designs didn’t change, but they are swapped mirror images between the brothers.

Buying Twin Twist should be a no-brainer for those that got Topspin. And if you didn’t, do yourself a favor and go get both of these.

Windblade

Windblade sure has been getting a lot of love lately. How many Windblade figures is Hasbro gonna put out there? For a character that is a relative unknown, it’s impressive that she has had a figure made in most of the current TF lines. It all started with Generations Thrilling 30 Windblade. Then Robots in Disguise Windblade (of which there are two separate versions). Now we get a Titans Return Windblade, with a fully functioning Headmaster gimmick. So how does TR Windblade fare with the rest? Let’s take a look. The toy comes packaged in robot mode.

I like the look and appearance of TR Windblade in robot form. I think she looks better than Thrilling 30 Windblade, but not quite as good as RiD Windblade. Paint apps on the figure is good. TR Windblade gets twin long straight swords this time around, instead of the single curved blade with sheath. As a Headmaster she still has her iconic face design. All of this creates the image of a Japanese geisha girl who happens to be samurai, all represented by a giant fembot. And of course TR Windblade still has the iconic twin rotors on her wings. She would not be Windblade without them.

Poseability of TR Windblade is not too shabby. She’s capable of some dynamic poses.

Transformation to jet mode is laughably simple. She uses all the standard jet transformation mechanics. Nose cone folds back, arms the sides, and fold the legs. The only thing that’s kind of original is you have to pull out the waist, but there’s nothing groundbreaking here as far as transformation goes. Head transformation is standard Headmaster fare.

The jet mode does look nice though. The Titan Master sits nicely in the cockpit. The jet looks nice and sleek with no obvious bulk. The colors are unmistakably Windblade. The twin wing rotors are clearly visible. Everything tabs together nicely to form a cohesive whole, with nothing dangling or flopping around.

I definitely like TR Windblade better than Thrilling 30 Windblade. That figure was too much of a floppy mess, so anything more solid is automatically better in my book. I’m not sure how I would rate TR Windblade when compared with RiD Windblade. I like both figures, and each has its pros and cons. RiD Windblade has a better robot mode and a slightly more involved transformation (though not by much), but TR Windblade has better paint apps, better jet mode, and sturdier construction. I would recommend TR Windblade for fans of the character, but don’t expect any originality here.

Repugnus

I can’t close this post until I mention Repugnus. He’s a Titan Master. To this day, I still haven’t opened him. I got him along with all the other TR figs this month, in a single trip at Target. I only got him because I wanted to push the order over $50. Target was doing this deal for 10% off if the Transformer purchase is over $50. And with my Target Red Card, that adds another 5% off. All the prices listed at the top is MSRP. I think with all the discounts, total for this set of 4 TR figs came to around 40 bucks. Not bad.

But yeah, I chose Repugnus because he’s an actual G1 character. Repugnus is another Monsterbot, in the same group as Twinferno. I would later acquire a deluxe class Repugnus. This Titan Master Repugnus will probably stay unopened til Primus knows when.

Here are some group photos of the figs for this month.

Final Grades for the month:

Strong recommendation

  • TLK Hot Rod
  • TLK Megatron
  • TLK Nitro
  • TR Misfire
  • TR Twin Twist

Weak recommendation

  • TLK Scorn
  • TR Windblade

No opinion

  • TR Repugnus

More to come in later months. Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in September 2017

August 12th, 2018 No comments

A very modest number of TFs were acquired in September of 2017. And none of them were Decepticons. Autobots, roll!

  • Titans Return Hot Rod, amazon.com, $9.99

  • The Last Knight Drift, Walmart, $15.83

  • The Last Knight Bumblebee, Walmart, $15.83

Hot Rod

TR Hot Rod was already first acquired back in Dec of 2016. So why did I buy this a second time? In the post for Dec 2016, I mentioned that I broke off the head connection mechanism while removing Firedrive from Hot Rod on the very first transformation attempt. Read that post for all the details and for my thoughts on the figure. But suffice it to say I don’t like having broken Transformers in my collection. And at less than $10, I felt justified in getting another Hot Rod. He is the star of the G1 Movie, after all. I took care not to break the connection mechanism this time.

The packaging arrived in less than perfect condition, as you can clearly see in the above pic. I would definitely file a complaint with Amazon if my intention was to keep this figure mint on the card. But I planned to open this, and at less than $10, it’s not really worth my time.

Drift

The Last Knight figures continue with Drift. AoE gave us a very good Deluxe class Drift, one of my few favorites from that line. So how does TLK Drift fare? Overall, he’s not bad. In robot mode, he’s got decent articulation and his proportions are well balanced. The iconic twin swords are on full display here. This Drift is colored mostly red in robot mode, and that’s quite a departure from the blue AoE Drift.

TLK Drift in an action pose.

Close up shot. Pretty good face sculpt. Drift has got the full samurai motif going on, from the samurai face plate to the samurai shoulder pads. Notice the Mercedes logo on the center of the chest. Drift is luxury class samurai… no ghetto swordsman here.

Backview of TLK Drift. Notice he has twin shorter swords, stored on his back over the shoulders. So this guy comes with a total of 4 blades. Very, very cool.

In TLK, Drift transforms into a Mercedes, while in AoE he was a Bugatti. Transformation to car mode is completely different from AoE. In AoE, the front of the vehicle transforms into the chest, while in TLK it transforms into the feet. I won’t describe the rest of it too much since the transformation is not that complicated and not terribly original.

In alt mode, he’s mostly black, with just a touch of red on the very bottom of the vehicle. He looks good as a Mercedes, though I still prefer it if he was a Bugatti. Below is a shot of TLK and AoE Drift side by side.

All in all, I like this Drift. I think AoE Drift is still better, but TLK Drift has got some nice features going on too. Recommended.

Bumblebee

We really don’t need any more Movie-verse Bumblebees. But I suppose the execs at Hasbro just love pumping out more of the one Transformer character that even the most casual of fans can identify by name. This is the second Deluxe class Bumblebee figure in the TLK line. I passed on buying the first one, which was just a repaint of AoE Deluxe class Bumblebee. This second one is a brand new mold.

Word has it that this new TLK Bumblebee is a mass retail toy representation of Masterpiece Movie Bumblebee (MPM-3). I can neither confirm nor deny that assertion, since I don’t have MPM-3. And I’m not gonna pay about $100 to find out. From what I know, the overall transformation schema is the same. But TLK Bee is obviously smaller. I will also guess that the materials used are cheaper and the mechanical complexity is toned down.

In robot mode, TLK Bee looks good. I like the details on the figure. Compared to previous deluxe Movie Bumblebees, TLK Bee appears more show accurate.

TLK Bee is capable of some fairly dynamic poses since he’s pretty well articulated. He comes with a gun-arm accessory, which he uses in the shot below. This can be used on either arm. However, the arm does need to be removed to attach the gun-arm.

I should point out that the construction of TLK Bumblebee is not the best. The feet pieces are quite loose. The hip joints are a bit loose too. The result is that it’s difficult to stand the figure. While TLK Bee is capable of a wide range of poses, he cannot hold it because of the weak construction.

Close up shot of TLK Bee. The face sculpt is quite good, and I like that the eyes are painted blue. I believe the Autobot logo on the forehead is painted on. In this pic below it looks a bit sloppy since it’s totally magnified, but under the naked eye it actually looks quite good. I commend Hasbro for including this bit of detail.

Transformation to alt mode is a completely new design. Like I said, I don’t know how much of this is borrowed from MPM-3, but for a deluxe class mass retail toy it’s definitely cool. From a engineering perspective, I rate this deluxe Bumblebee second among all the deluxe Movie Bumblebees. And if you’re wondering who gets first honors, it’s Battle Blade Bumblebee from Revenge of the Fallen, Hunt for the Decepticons subline.

In alt mode, TLK Bee has black coloring painted over the hood and roof. All the Movie deluxe Bumblebees has been pretty good in alt mode, and TLK Bee is no exception.

The gun-arm accessory can be attached in alt mode, but it looks quite silly.

Underside of the vehicle.

All in all, this Bumblebee is good, but just short of great. I would give it much higher recommendation if the build and construction had no issues. But as is, I would still get it. It’s without a doubt one of the better deluxe Bumblebees made. I don’t think you would be missing out on too much if you passed on this, especially if you already have too many Movie Bumblebees taking up precious shelf space. But I would definitely get this Bee over many others that have been made in the Movie-verse.

Here is a pic of Drift, Bumblebee, and Hound, all from The Last Knight.

Autobots, Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in August 2017

August 1st, 2018 No comments

Some very good items were purchased in August of 2017.

  • Optimus Prime Autobot Legacy 2-Pack (Amazon Exclusive), amazon.com, $29.99

  • The Last Knight Hound, Walmart, $26.86

  • ToyWorld Assault, Combuster, Requiem, tfsource.com, $159.99

Optimus Prime and Orion Pax

I’m not sure what is the official name of this 2-Pack. This Amazon exclusive is officially listed on their website as Optimus Prime Autobot Legacy 2-Pack. I have seen it listed elsewhere as the Optimus Prime Evolution Pack. There is also the name of Transformers Tribute written on the upper left corner of the box. And I’m not sure if this falls under Titans Return, Power of the Primes, or something else. But whatever it’s called, it’s a good 2-Pack to have.

Both figures in the set are repaints. As of this writing, I have not opened the set. The Optimus Prime figure is a repaint of War For Cybertron Optimus Prime. I see some minor paint app differences between this release and the WFC figure, and I’m gonna assume everything else is the same. Do not underestimate the complexity of this deluxe figure. If I am to compile a top 10 most difficult Transformers list today, this figure would easily make the list. The Orion Pax figure is a repaint of Titans Return Kup. This is an excellent mold to be re-used as Orion Pax.

Buy this set if you don’t have either of the figures used as the base for the repaint. But even if you do, this set is still worth getting. There has not been that many Orion Pax figures made. Not counting this one, I only recall two others. One in Generations Thrilling 30, and another as the base figure in the Leader Class Evolution Optimus Prime that will be released in the Power of the Primes line. This 2-Pack adds another Orion Pax to your collection and that alone is worth the price of admission.

Hound

This is my second figure from The Last Knight. TLK gave us another excellent Hound figure, after the superb Hound we got from Age of Extinction.

The figure comes packed in robot mode. In this mode, he’s a bit stocky, but that may more accurately reflect his movie proportions. Arm articulation is decent, but there’s not that much going on in the head, chest, or legs. The front wheels of the vehicle mode transforms into the feet. This makes standing the figure somewhat challenging. Not impossible, but you will have to balance Hound just right if you want to get him into any kind of action pose.

He comes with five pieces of weapons: 2 pistols, 2 heavy rifles, and 1 weapons connector type thing. There are many ways to assemble and configure this assortment.

Transformation of TLK Hound is where this figure truly shines. The overall transformation mechanism is one of the most unique I have seen in some time. I mentioned that the feet becomes the front wheels, but worth mentioning are other engineering feats besides the feet (pun intended). The legs collapse in an impressive way too complicated to explain in words. The arms are placed bent in alt mode and it works. The entire package is well constructed. When done right, the alt mode feels like a cohesive whole.

TLK Hound looks a bit different from AoE Hound in alt mode. I don’t know if either is movie accurate, and I won’t bother looking into it because both movies pretty much suck. AoE Hound is more of a van, while TLK Hound is more of a pick-up truck with a scary big missile launcher attached on top of the bed. TLK Hound is in a lighter shade of green, which seems a bit more movie accurate as far as I know.

TLK Hound appears below with other TLK figs Barricade, Drift, and Bumblebee.

Overall, I like TLK Hound. The transformation is unique, and the alt mode comes together well. TLK Hound doesn’t sport as many weapons as his AoE counterpart, but what’s there is more than sufficient.

I should note that the Japanese version of this figure comes with a riot shield. And I’m guessing the shield goes over the bed of the truck in alt mode. But since I don’t have that version, I’m not able to say if that significantly enhances TLK Hound in any way.

Some will inevitably ask which is the better Hound. In my opinion, AoE Hound is superior. AoE Hound is sleeker looking, has more weapons, and a robot mode that is easier to stand on. But these two figures are different enough that comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. If you like movie figures, get them both.

Requiem, Assault, and Combuster

Every once in a while, you find a deal so awesome that you immediately jump on it’s purchase. That was the case with this set of Masterpiece style Conehead Seekers from ToyWorld. They usually retail for a bit over $100 each. So at $159.99 for the set of 3, I wasted no time clicking on that “Buy” button and made sure this online transaction entered the vendor’s system. This was a Labor Day sale. It didn’t take long before this set sold out at this amazing price.

I have documented my long and utter disappointment with the official MP Conehead Seekers, back in this post. So I won’t rant again here. The only thing worth repeating is that they suck, and no self-respecting TransFan should spend any of their hard earned money on such garbage. I have since sold MP Ramjet, and have been looking for 3rd party substitutes for the Coneheads. Thus I’ve had my eye on this set for some time now. Seeing this spectacular deal, I acted with haste.

My fellow TransFans, this is the set of MP Coneheads that you should have in your Decepticon forces. TW gave us a completely new design on MP Coneheads that has far surpassed all my expectations. I touched a bit on the sheer brilliance of these figures in this post about Decepticon air superiority, but some of that is worth repeating here. But before that, let’s take a look at the jet mode, which is what the figures come packed in.

ToyWorld Requiem (Dirge) in his beautiful jet mode.

ToyWorld Assault (Thrust) in his beautiful jet mode.

No scale issues with official MPs in jet mode.

Assault and Combuster in jet mode.

Now let’s look at the robot mode.

All 3 look excellent in robot mode. Nice and slender build, unlike the fat bulky MP Coneheads.

Each figure comes with 2 black display panels that can connect both vertically and horizontally. In these pics I am using all 6. They are also used in the pic above for Hound and the other cars.

In robot mode, the TW Coneheads are quite a bit taller than official MPs.

The TW Coneheads really deserve a review in a separate post, but I’m gonna give some quick thoughts here:

  • Both modes look good – no complaints from me as far as the appearance of both jet and robot modes; see the pics for yourself
  • Amazing build and construction – nice and tight joints, no quality issues here like the MP Seekers
  • Great materials used – these figures feel solid and heft, and by comparison the MP Seekers feel cheap and sloppy
  • Excellent design and engineering – an intuitive and enjoyable transformation that is many times superior to official MPs
  • Each figure comes with 2 black display panels – TW didn’t have to include this but it’s a great addition
  • Front landing gear of each jet and be hard to get out, but that’s a minor complaint
  • Requiem (Dirge) and Combuster (Ramjet) come with firing missiles – and they FIRE! Careful not to lose them, they shoot pretty far
  • Cockpits open in jet mode
  • No scale issues in jet mode with official MPs
  • In robot mode, TW Coneheads don’t scale so well; they are a tad taller than official MPs, which may be a turn off for some (see above pic)
  • When you have all three and assemble the boxes, they form a nice big image

There is much more I should mention about this set, but I’ll reserve that for my review. I give the TW Coneheads the highest possible recommendation, and that’s the bottom line. If you are looking for Masterpiece style Coneheads for your collection, look no further.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics