February in a even year is a month that is typically loaded with TF purchases. This was the case in 2012 and 2014. 2016 follows this trend. Focus your optics on all the figures below.
- Robots in Disguise Fracture, Toys R Us, $16.99
- Combiner Wars Vortex, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Swindle, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Brawl, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Blast Off, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Onslaught, capturedprey.com, $24
- Combiner Wars Smokescreen, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Trailbreaker, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Hound, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Wheeljack, Target, $15.29
- Combiner Wars Pipes, capturedprey.com, $10
- Combiner Wars Chop Shop, capturedprey.com, $12
- Combiner Wars Buzzsaw, capturedprey.com, $12
- Masterpiece Ironhide, amiami.com, ¥7490 (about $65.37)
- Warbotron Fierce Attack, capturedprey.com, $100
As the first order of business, let’s get the lone Robots in Disguise fig out of the way. I’ve said many times already that I’m not a big fan of RiD offerings, but Fracture is not too shabby. I found him when me and the wife took a long Valentines weekend trip to Santa Barbara. He was located at a Toys R Us, not in Santa Barbara, but at a nearby town. I don’t watch the RiD show, so I generally don’t buy the RiD toys based on any knowledge or impressions of the character. I look strictly at the toy. Fracture got my attention because I have never seen him before this, and he genuinely looked like a solid fig in the box. The alt mode also looked interesting. The figure does not disappoint. Both modes are solid, and the figure is well built. No figure in RiD is ever difficult to transform, and Fracture is no exception. But I do like some of the transforming mechanisms implemented here. Hasbro and Takara has in recent years really improved upon motorcycle Transformers. In years past, the robot mode would either look too skinny, or the motorcycle mode would look too fat. Fracture shares none of these faults. I also like the kick-ass rifle he comes with. Fracture is definitely one of the better figs in the RiD line. Recommended.
February is a return to Combiner Wars figures, and this sub-category accounts for most of the figs this month. Last year we saw the Aerialbots, Stunticons, Protectobots, and some random Autobot cars reworked in CW fashion. The Constructicons got a awesome unique set all on their own in the CW lineup. This leaves the Combaticons as the only combiner team before the G1 Movie to not receive Combiner War treatment. I mentioned so many times that Combaticons are my favorite combiner team that I’m starting to sound like a broken record, so needless to say I was very excited about CW Combaticons.
I found the 4 limb Combaticons on the same Valentines trip (but at Target). Onslaught was bought online. In the end, I wasn’t too surprised by what’s produced. 3 of the figs are reworks of existing molds. Blast Off is repainted from Quickslinger (Slingshot), Vortex is cloned from Alpha Bravo, and Onslaught is reworked from Hot Spot. Blast Off and Vortex are pure repaints from pre-existing figs without any kind of mold changes.
Warning! I am going into rant mode. Skip to bottom to avoid the rant.
Blast Off – there is no excuse for Blast Off. His head design is nothing like Slingshot’s, but that’s what we have in this toy. You might think Hasbro is just being lazy here (which they are), but there is a Japanese version of this figure where Blast Off is in a new distinct mold. That figure transforms into a space shuttle and has the right head mold. I don’t understand Hasbro’s decisions sometimes. I know they like to produce molds that can be repainted numerous times to be a variety of figures, so they do the work once and make money repeatedly afterwards. I totally get that. But a true Blast Off is already produced! So why not just bring that over?! Their stupidity dumbfounds me. Some fans have made an argument that a jet fighter better fits into what should comprise of the Combaticons, and that a jet scales better than a shuttle. That argument is sound. But the head mold is still an issue. Hasbro could have at least took the head off of the Japanese mold and stuck it on the US figure.
Vortex – I should have realized this sooner, but Alpha Bravo’s head is exactly like that of Vortex. So this mold was always meant to be Vortex. Hasbro tactically released Alpha Bravo first so G1 chumps like me would buy both figures; I bought Alpha Bravo because he was a new mold at the time, and then I bought Vortex because he comes from the famous Combaticons. If the order was reversed, I would have ignored Alpha Bravo altogether. This seems to be Hasbro’s strategy recently. Some other recent examples include releasing Titans Return Sentinel Prime before Astrotrain, and Robots in Disguise Paralon before Scorponok. Notice the more famous character of the same mold is released last, while other less famous or even newly made up characters are released first. Damn you Hasbro! This is such a cheap trick that I feel stupid for not recognizing it sooner. I need to be more vigilant on what Hasbro plans to produce.
End of rant
As for Onslaught, he’s a tweak off of Hot Spot. Hasbro made enough differences here that Onslaught feels like a distinct figure. He’s fine enough on his own in alt mode and robot mode, but he suffers from the same issues that Hot Spot has in combined form. As the gestalt’s center, this figure in combined mode has issues with weight distribution and figure cohesiveness. CW Silverbolt is still the best mold for a standard CW gestalt.
The new molds for the Combaticons are Swindle and Brawl. I like them. Both figs are good modern updates and accurately capture Swindle and Brawl in their G1 persona. Of course Hasbro would waste no time repainting these molds. In fact, Swindle would be repainted into Hound in this same month (more on this later). And I believe Brawl is reworked into Nosecone of the CW Technobots.
Like I said, this CW Combaticons team is pretty much what I expected. They repainted these figures so many times now that it wouldn’t be hard to envision any combiner team in these molds. Unless you are partial to Combaticons like me, there isn’t a whole lot of good reasons to buy this set. Just get Swindle and Brawl if you feel you need the new molds. Below are some pics of Combaticons.
The next 4 CW figs are Smokescreen, Trailbreaker, Hound, and Wheeljack. These are ALL repaints. What can I say? I’m a sucker for G1 characters. I buy them in almost any form that Hasbro will make them. Smokescreen is an exact repaint of Prowl, but this is okay since that’s how it was back in G1. Trailbreaker and Hound are cloned from Ironhide and Swindle, respectively, but with new head molds. Wheeljack, while technically a repaint, is the most reworked mold here. In addition to the new head mold, he gets some molding differences in alt mode that makes him feel quite different from Sunstreaker. I won’t go in depth for this group since they’re so similar to figures that have already come before them. Below are pics of this Combiner Wars foursome, not combined.
It’s a good thing these Combiner Wars repaints stopped here. If Hasbro really wanted to, they could do another foursome: Bluestreak from Smokescreen, Sideswipe from Sunstreaker, Hoist from Trailbreaker, and Ratchet from First Aid. I should stop writing here. Don’t want to give Hasbro any more ideas.
Now let’s take a look at the legend size CW figs this month: Pipes, Chop Shop, and Buzzsaw. In G1, Pipes is a Minibot that appeared in Season 3. He might have had cartoon appearances, but I honestly don’t know since Season 3 was so forgettable. I am kinda partial to the character though, because I had the G1 toy. I got him at Lucky, of all places. Mom took me shopping for groceries and she was kind enough to buy it for me. So yeah, that’s why I even bought CW Pipes. Pipes is the 4th character of this mold (after Optimus Prime, Nemesis Prime, and Huffer). Normally that would be a total skip, but I added Pipes to my collection out of pure nostalgia. Chop Shop was a Deluxe Insecticon during G1. His toy appeared in Season 2, but he never made an animated appearance. CW Chop Shop is a repaint of Skrapnel (Shrapnel). In G1 he was not a repaint of anything. I probably could have skipped this purchase as well, but these little bugs are just too cool. Buzzsaw is a brand new mold. Buzzsaw needs on introduction, but everyone just thinks of him as that repaint of Laserbeak. So here is another example of releasing the less known character first, like stated in my rant above. Damn you Hasbro! CW Buzzsaw is a triple changer. He still has his iconic condor mode. For modern day standards, the tape cassette mode is now replaced by a tablet mode. And he gets a new vehicle mode that’s like a car or armored truck kind of thing. Overall, Buzzsaw is a neat little figure, but not a must-buy by any means. Actually, none of these legend figs are must-buys by any stretch of the imagination. Below is a pic of the three of them.
Next on the agenda is a figure that many of us, including myself, have been waiting for: Masterpiece Ironhide! If you are a G1 fan, then you know that Ironhide is one of the most iconic Autobots, behind perhaps only Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. You would also know that in G1, his toy did not really have a robot mode. His cartoon robot mode appearance is something totally made up by the animation creators (same goes for Ratchet, his ambulance repaint). I am glad to report that MP Ironhide is an awesome figure! Both robot and alt mode are faithfully reproduced from the show. Check out a pic of the very cartoon accurate robot mode below!
Now that is Ironhide! Takara has outdone themselves with this figure. I can’t get over how good he looks; it’s like he stepped straight out of the cartoon. Transformation wise, this figure hits it out of the park. He comes packaged in alt mode (see below), and as of this writing I only transformed him once to robot mode. But I remember the transformation being pure genius. Difficulty is just right too for a MP fig. There’s enough complexity going on to satisfy the most hardcore of TransFans, and at the same time not overly difficult or frustrating. In fact this figure is fun to transform. And that’s saying a lot considering both modes look so good. Below is a pic of the back of Ironhide. He’s so kibble free too! Check it out.
In the pic above he’s wearing the rocket boost backpack. If I took that off, he would look even more kibble free. Construction of the figure is perfect. All joints and transformation points are just the right amount of tightness. He also comes with accessories galore. And he comes with a tray to hold those accessories when they’re not in use. The shape of the tray kind of resembles the base of his G1 robot mode. That’s too cool! See the pics below.
MP Ironhide scales nicely with other MPs. Below is a pic of him next to MP Optimus Prime, Streak (aka Bluestreak), Wheeljack, G2 Bumble (aka Bumblebee), and Invisible (aka Mirage).
I can’t recommend MP Ironhide enough. All G1 TransFans need this in their collection. No excuses.
Last but not least, the only 3rd party figure this month is Fierce Attack. This is Warbotron’s homage to Onslaught. That makes this the 2nd Onslaught figure this month. I’m not sure if I have ever bought two of the same character in a single month (not counting if I buy doubles of the same thing)! As of this writing, I haven’t had the chance to spend that much time with Fierce Attack. I transformed him once from alt mode to robot mode, and that’s it. But what I can say is that I like both modes. He’s well built and I don’t detect any obvious weaknesses in construction. Poseability is somewhat limited, but I need to spend more time with the figure to fully verify that assertion. I will report more on Fierce Attack after I get all 5 Warbotron Combaticons. I really liked Sly Strike (Swindle) and Whirlwind (Vortex), and I like what I see so far on Fierce Attack. Below is a pic.
Whew! Last was a long post. I didn’t know there were so many TFs this month until I counted them up. Here are the stats breakdown for the month:
- 1 fig from Robots in Disguise
- 12 figs from Combiner Wars
- 1 Masterpiece fig
- 1 3rd party fig
I am obviously buying way too many Combiner Wars figures. A lot of them are repaints too. By my count, out of the 15 figures total, 9 of them are repaints! That’s way too many. The repaints outnumber the non-repaints 3 to 2. The only non-repaints are Fracture, Swindle, Brawl, Buzzsaw, Ironhide, and Fierce Attack. I seriously need to be more selective about which TFs I buy. I see myself selling some of these figures in the near future. Not because they’re bad, but because I really don’t need repaints of the same thing.
Until next time… Transform and Roll Out.