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Transformers Purchased in December 2016

September 11th, 2017 No comments

Finally! We have arrived at the end of 2016. Took some time, but better late than never.

When I first started tracking my purchases, back in Feb of 2012, I would usually put my purchases in the order that they were bought within the month. Lately I have been sorting them by category (such as Titans Return, Combiner Wars, or 3P). For this month, I’m going old school. This will be presented in the order that they’re bought.

  • Robots in Disguise Ratchet, Walmart, $14.97

  • Titans Return Triggerhappy, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Hot Rod, Target, $9.99

  • Titans Return Twinferno, Target, $9.99

  • Titans Return Blaster, Amazon seller, $34.95

  • Robots in Disguise Blastwave, Target, $14.99

The year closes with all purchases from either Titans Return or Robots in Disguise. All are deluxe class figures, with the lone exception being Leader class Blaster. Not a single 3P purchase. I feel that third parties are saturating the market a bit much. They’re going to destroy themselves at this rate. Just my opinion. This topic deserves a post of its own. Something I might do in the future.

First purchase of the month is Ratchet from Robots in Disguise. I’ve heard about this figure for a while before finding him. Like I mentioned numerous times in the past, I know nothing about Robots in Disguise. So all I really do for RiD is look at the figure, and/or if it’s a recognizable G1 character. In this case, the figure appears solid in both forms, and you can’t begin to call yourself a TransFan if you don’t recognize Ratchet. So I took this figure to checkout without knowing anything else. He’s an okay figure. Very easy to transform, even for RiD standards. He’s very blocky in alt mode, and almost just as so in robot mode. In alt mode, he could probably use more paint applications. I do like that there are extra storage spaces for the twin weapons (on the back in robot mode, inside and under the van area in alt mode). His head sculpt is excellent. Hardcore RiD fans and Ratchet fans will probably appreciate this figure. But on the whole, RiD Ratchet is not a required purchase by any means.

For this month, Titans Return deluxe figures continue the trend of being only around $10 each. Again, this is no fluke. They would go up in retail price in 2017, but it was great to find them in 2016 at such a bargain.

Now, for my favorite Titans Return deluxe figure thus far: Triggerhappy! Back in G1, Triggerhappy has always been one of my favorite Targetmasters. I never had the toy, but my cousin had one and I played with it quite a bit. For G1 standards, he had both a good robot mode and jet mode. I like the design of the jet with twin guns on both sides, and I like the way he transforms. I also like his name. His rootin’ tootin’ quick trigger persona in the short lived G1 season 4 cartoon does his name proud. Now in 2016, Hasbro does not disappoint. The TR figure is everything I could ask for in a modern deluxe update of Triggerhappy. Well, for the base figure anyway (more on this later). In alt mode, Triggerhappy still holds the overall shape of his iconic jet, but now even more sleek. Overall color palette is blue, with the wing twin guns colored white. Front landing gear is retractable. The Titan Master can sit comfortably inside the cockpit. Guns can be attached under the wings. Transformation to robot mode is one of the best that I have seen in quite some time, for a mass-produced retail deluxe figure. The twin guns and wings fold back on each arm. Fists come out after the twin guns are flipped back. That’s the obvious part. The main body and legs have this clever mechanism of how it’s formed. The body rotates on itself after you unlock the waist and nose cone. In robot mode, Triggerhappy looks completely balanced in body proportions. He’s quite poseable, and I detect no construction issues on my figure. Everything is at the right tolerance. Detail on the head is nice, and the Decepticon logo painted on the chest is spot on. Now for my gripes. The first is that Hasbro made him a Headmaster. This I can kinda live with, but I would prefer it if he wasn’t. Second, he does not come with the Targetmaster gun figure. The Japanese version does, and I feel the US version should have included it too. Maybe Hasbro will release the gun mini-figures later. But for the base figure itself, Triggerhappy is more than worthy of the price of admission at about only $10. He is a must have in your CHUG collection.

Next up in Titans Return is the star of the 1986 G1 Movie: Hot Rod. I mentioned TR Hot Rod before, and in Dec 2016 we finally get this figure. So here’s the burning question: is he better than Classics Rodimus? I’m gonna break it down. For starters, I’m happy Hasbro used the name Hot Rod. They could have used Rodimus like they usually do, but printing Hot Rod on the package is a great nod to those of us old enough to hold the G1 Movie in high regard. They had to go with “Autobot Hot Rod”, but that’s ok. In alt mode, TR Hot Rod looks closer to his animation model, while Classics Rodimus looks closer to the original G1 toy. They each appear sleek, but in different ways. The passenger area appears especially different when compared side by side. The side thrusters go all the way to the back for TR Hot Rod, while Classics Rodimus ends right before where the real wheel is. Looking at the back, Classic Rodimus has the gun pegged into the bottom rear, acting as the main rear thruster in alt mode. TR Hot Rod has this thruster molded into legs, but smaller.


Left to right: Reveal the Shield Rodimus (from Battle in Space 2-pack), Titans Return Hot Rod, Classics Rodimus


Left to right: Titans Return Hot Rod, Classics Rodimus

Transformation to robot mode follows the overall same motif. TR Hot Rod has a slightly simpler transformation. But in my opinion it’s more straightforward, and allows the figure more poseability in robot mode. Chest and arms transformation is more or less the same. TR Hot Rod requires a waist swivel, while Classics Rodimus does not. The lower legs of TR Hot Rod folds back. Back transformation of TR Hot Rod involves only one fold and one swivel, while Classics Rodimus uses one fold and two rotations. And obviously, TR Hot Rod requires the Titan Master to form the head.


Left to right: Reveal the Shield Rodimus (from Battle in Space 2-pack), Titans Return Hot Rod, Classics Rodimus


Left to right: Titans Return Hot Rod, Classics Rodimus

In robot mode, TR Hot Rod is quite a bit taller than Classics Rodimus. Overall, TR Hot Rod is better proportioned. Some argue the arms are too long, but I think they’re fine and it’s not distracting at all. TR Hot Rod is overall a taller and slimmer figure. Classics Hot Rod appears stocky and blocky next to TR Hot Rod. When looking at the figures from the back, TR Hot Rod is leaps and bounds superior. Classics Rodimus has some bulk on the back while TR Hot Rod does not. TR Hot Rod is way more poseable. You can feely move the arms and legs, unlike Classics Rodimus. One particular annoying issue on Classics Rodimus is these side panels on the upper legs that prohibits movement. Similar issues does not exist on TR Hot Rod.

So in my opinion, TR Hot Rod is the superior figure here, if we make a direct comparison side by side. It’s debatable which alt mode is better, but TR Hot Rod has better transformation and a better robot mode. However, there are some other factors to consider. TR Hot Rod is a Headmaster, an idea I’m not too thrilled about. Classics Rodimus is better built. My TR Hot Rod is quite loose in the legs. And worse, I believe I broke the head connection mechanism on my Hot Rod already. When I first opened the figure on my desk, it was impossible to remove Firedrive (Titan Master) from Hot Rod. So I forced it. I think I saw a little orange piece on the desk but didn’t think anything of it at the time. Then when I tried to reconnect Firedrive, I saw that he doesn’t fit too well. It’s still functional, but you don’t get that nice clicked-in feel. That’s when it occurred to me I probably broke it. So be aware when you get one. Classics Rodimus didn’t have such mechanical issues. And I do feel Transformers need to be rated with other figures in the same era. As an example, figures today are obviously going to be better than figures from G1. But that would be an unfair comparison. Classics Rodimus is 10 years old now. And I thought Rodimus was an awesome figure for its time. For TR Hot Rod, I feel it’s only above average when compared with figures of today. So all in all, it’s up for debate which is the better Hot Rod here. But I am going to give a seal of approval to TR Hot Rod. He’s definitely a worthy update of everyone’s favorite punk that would become an Autobot leader. I may even get another TR Hot Rod since I kinda broke mine.

Twinferno was found in the same trip to Target as Hot Rod. Only the most hardcore of G1-ers like myself would know about this character. In season 5, Hasbro released a team of Autobots that would transform to monstrous creatures. This team is appropriately called Monsterbots. Transformers was full of gimmicks by then, so it was kind of unusual for this team of toys to be gimmick free (perhaps transforming to creatures is itself a gimmick, but that’s up for debate). Modern 3P companies have started doing this team in recent years. I’m happy Hasbro is updating Monsterbots, but it does feel a tad like they are reaching for the bottom of the barrel here. Anyways, one original member of the Monsterbots is Doublecross. He transforms into a 2-headed dragon. He is called Twinferno in the modern era. And to be honest, I like this name better. Combining the words twin and inferno is so appropriate for this character.

As for the Titans Return figure Twinferno, he’s not too shabby. I love the monster mode. It’s probably one of the most original modes to be released in some time. Twin-headed dragons are always welcome. I know the Michael Bay movies have explored twin headed beasts for their version of the Dinobots, but the design for Twinferno came before all of them. Transformation of the figure is quite refreshing too. He’s not terribly difficult to transform, which adds to the fun factor. The twin heads and neck obviously form the arms. Legs fold out from the rear and tail section of the dragon. The robot mode looks well balanced. Build of the figure is solid enough. My only gripe with the figure is how the arms are positioned. The elbow joint and dragon hand orientation don’t make much sense. If would be nice if they provided an extra rotation for the hands. Twinferno was not originally a Headmaster, but he’s such an unknown character that I don’t mind if Hasbro wants to update him as such in the modern era. Overall, I recommend this figure. I now hope Hasbro would release updates to the rest of the Monsterbots.

Blaster needs no introduction. At leader class size, he is the only non-deluxe figure this month. I was really looking forward to this figure. But after buying it and playing with it, I think he’s only ok. Blaster is very boxy, but that’s no surprise to anyone that is familiar with the character from its G1 days. He’s technically a triple changer in Titans Return (and to that fact, I think every figure at voyager class or bigger is a triple changer in TR). He has his usual boombox alt mode, the robot mode, and in TR he gets a new base mode. In the base mode, he is able to connect with TR Fortress Maximus and Optimus Prime in their base modes to form some kind of super base. I didn’t try this, but maybe I will one day.

As for the two standard modes that everyone is familiar with, they’re ok. Like I said, both modes are very boxy. In alt mode, I feel that improvements could have been made on how the boombox come together. Everything does tab together, but it doesn’t work that well. Despite the overall simple transformation, a lot of finagling is required to get Blaster to alt mode. And when you get everything just right, it still doesn’t feel too solid. Cohesiveness tend to be a plus for boxy figures, but Blaster’s alt mode fails in this department. There are less such issues in robot mode. He looks like a good homage to his G1 cartoon appearance. Articulation is limited, however, due to the boxy design. The chest/tape deck eject mechanism is included. Blaster’s scale also presents some question marks. He’s probably too big to scale correct with CHUG, so I think he would go better with MPs. However, TR Blaster clearly isn’t up to par with MP quality figures. He will look off if he’s standing with MPs on the shelf. Still, I will use TR Blaster is my MP Blaster for now. Hasbro also reworked this mold as Soundwave. I will probably not get that Soundwave. He’s too big to be CHUG, and there’s already an excellent MP Soundwave.

From Blaster we go to Blastwave. I’m having a blast with two figures in one month having names that begin with “Blast”. I debated if I should buy Blastwave when I first saw him in the store. He’s a minor rework off of Megatronus, of which I already have two. He’s not a recognizable G1 character. So I almost left him on the shelf. But something tugged at me to take a second look. He looks a lot like Bludgeon from G1. I liked his colors. And I felt like Hasbro made enough differences on this mold from Megatronus, especially with Blastwave having twin cannons. Plus this was in that week between Christmas and New Years where I feel like I need to buy some new TFs (though you could argue I always feel that way). So I splurged and bought Blastwave. And I’m very glad I did! I have always felt that Megatronus is one of the best built figures in the RiD line, and Blastwave is built just as well. The legs are virtually identical, but the upper body moldings (chest, arms, and head) are almost completely different. In alt mode, Blastwave has his arms that form the turrets point backwards toward the rear of the tank, while Megatronus has them pointing forwards. In robot mode, the samurai motif becomes obvious. Blastwave comes with a sword as well for some heavy bushido cutting action. My prediction is Hasbro will totally repaint this into Bludegon. Oh, another thing, Blastwave is an Autobot! I keep forgetting that. Maybe this would be more obvious if I actually watched RiD (and assuming he appears in the show). But all in all, I recommend Blastwave. He’s one of the better figures in the RiD line. Worthy of your collection.

Obligatory group photo below.

One interesting factoid of the month: four of the Autobots have the word “Autobot” in front of their names on the package. For example, “Hot Rod” is “Autobot Hot Rod”, like I mentioned already. Hasbro does this when they cannot use the character’s name alone, usually for legal reasons. So this means Hot Rod, Ratchet, Blaster, and Twinferno are all copyrighted, by someone other than Hasbro. I miss the 80s when Hasbro could’ve used whatever name they wanted.

Well folks, that’s it for 2016. I’m going to compile some stats for 2016, like I did here, and make a separate post.

In retrospect, I’m not sure how I feel about 2016. I like that Titans Return have started. But the figures that made up the end of Combiner Wars were lackluster. Robots in Disguise as a whole don’t really keep my interest. There was not a movie to inject new TF interest for the masses. And 3P products are saturating the market and raising prices at the same time. That sounds like a lot of negatives. But I’ll address them in more detail in my 2016 stat post to come.

Stay frosty my fellow TransFans. Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in November 2016

July 31st, 2017 No comments

November of 2016 is filled with some TF goodness. Focus your optics on the figures below and observe.

  • Titans Return Brainstorm, Walgreens, $18.99

  • Titans Return Brawn, Target, $4.99
  • Titans Return Nightbeat, Target, $4.99

  • Titans Return Chromedome, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Highbrow, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Mindwipe, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Wolfwire, Walmart, $9.88

  • Titans Return Astrotrain, Target, $24.99

  • Combiner Wars Sky Lynx, Ross, $12.99

  • Combiner Wars Skywarp, HasbroToyshop via eBay, $22.49

All purchases in November of 2016 belongs to either Titans Return or Combiner Wars. Not a single third party purchase, which was strange considering how many 3P products I have been buying. There are 10 purchases for the month, for a total of 8 figures and 2 accessories (I don’t count the 2 Titan Masters as full fledged figures). All for less than $130. That’s not bad.

Titans Return is definitely continuing in a good direction with some heavy Headmaster action. First up in the month is Brainstorm. I found this figure early in the month. And as rumors have long confirmed, Brainstorm is a Walgreens exclusive! Yes you read that right. Freakin’ Walgreens. Why Hasbro would enter an exclusivity deal with Walgreens makes no sense whatsoever. But I’m glad I believed the rumors and checked Walgreens with regular attention during that time period. There are several Walgreens within short driving distance of where I work and where I live. I was really happy when I found him at this one particular Walgreens that I never go to. The price tag of $18.99 kinda hurt considering it’s only a deluxe size fig, but he was hard to find so I bit the bullet on this one.

Brainstorm is a minor remold of Blurr. I didn’t realize it early on when I looked at the pics. It was only after repeated viewing of the pics that this finally dawned on me. I already commented on the awesomeness of Blurr, so I won’t repeat all that stuff for Brainstorm. He’s built just as well, and there are enough molding differences that a separate purchase feels justified. The detachable piece at the front of the vehicle is obviously different for Brainstorm in that it’s molded more to look like the front of his iconic jet mode. Blurr’s long hand cover extensions are changed for Brainstorm, and Brainstorm has wings at the shoulders while Blurr has none. Blurr’s iconic piece on top of the alt mode, which usually transforms to the top of his head, is now replaced with a simple tail fin for Brainstorm. Titan Master for the two are obviously different, each made to look like the head of the character. And finally, Brainstorm has different stickers on the legs, placed at different positions. All in all, Hasbro made enough changes off of the same mold that having two characters here is warranted. I’m glad Hasbro didn’t just give us a straight up repaint with only the head change. Below is a pic comparing the two. Get Brainstorm if you see one. You’ll thank me later.

There are other versions of this deluxe Brainstorm that you could get. There is the Japanese Legend version, and there is an exclusive convention version (not sure if it’s SDCC or some other con). They each look different in terms of paint scheme and sticker layout, but they each have their origin in what they are modeled after.

Next up are two Titan Masters which I never opened, even as of this writing: Brawn and Nightbeat. I’m generally not a fan of buying these Titan Masters, as I don’t see why you would want to swap heads with bodies. They never did that in the cartoons. But I got Brawn and Nightbeat because they are famous characters from G1. In fact, some customizers have took this Titan Master Nightbeat head and stuck it on the body of Generations Thrilling 30 Nightbeat. I may attempt that myself, so I’ll get a true Headmaster in the modern era. I’m not sure what I will use Brawn for.

Titans Return continue with more purchases in the month. On one trip to Walmart, I found all wave 2 deluxe figs in one shot: Chromedome, Highbrow, Wolfwire, and Mindwipe. All 4 are must haves for me, because they were all original Headmasters in G1. When I brought these 4 to checkout, they each rang up $9.88. That’s right, only $9.88! I thought for sure Walmart must have messed up. I didn’t want Walmart to have the chance to correct any goofs, so I quickly finished checkout and ran out of the store like a Decepticon in full retreat. Turns out, this “goof” was nationwide. I had friends in other cities reporting the same prices. In retrospect I’m not entirely sure if this was a goof. It’s possible Walmart really were selling these at discounted prices. But as of this writing, all TR deluxe figures are around $15 at Walmart. I have seen these 4 figs before this trip to Walmart. I saw them at Walgreens when I was looking for Brainstorm. But I was not gonna pay $18.99 for each of these at Walgreens.

Let’s start with the Autobots. Chromedome and Highbrow are both pretty good figures. Chromedome has a fun transformation. The chest and arms transformation is fairly standard for a robot-to-car figure, but the leg transformation is pretty unique. It’s kind of got that standard Combiner Wars deluxe fig leg transformation, but Chromedome offers a twist in how the windshield is formed. In robot mode, it’s at the back of the legs, forming the heels. In alt mode, it combines and folds forwards, forming the windshield covering the Titan Master driver. Very cool. Chromedome’s head details is also superbly done. Highbrow is another fun figure. His transformation feels simpler than Chromedome’s. One interesting transformation mechanism is pulling down the waist when you go from robot to helicopter. Then you rotate and inwardly fold up the legs, like some CW deluxe figs. Rest of the transformation is pretty standard fare (arms to the sides, fold out the cockpit from the back). Highbrow also has amazing details to the head mold, making him look like the G1 character. Both Chromedome and Highbrow are well built. Their robot modes look nice, and their alt modes come together well with no issues. Both their alt modes provide space for the driver/pilot. Chromedome and Highbrow are both recommended purchases in the Titans Return line.

With the addition of Brainstorm, Chromedome, and Highbrow, and Hardhead from the last wave, I now have all the original Autobot Headmasters from Season 4. Check out pics below. It’s a dream come true to have modern interpretations to these iconic G1 characters. Kudos to Hasbro.

Now for the Decepticons. The two deluxe figs this month are Wolfwire and Mindwipe. Wolfwire was called Weirdwolf in G1, and I’m gonna guess that the name change is for legal reasons. Weirdwolf is such a better name as it’s a wordplay on werewolf. Anyways, TR Wolfwire is the best of the three Decepticon animal Headmasters so far. He’s got an awesome looking wolf mode that has to be seen to be believed. I love the head mold of the wolf, with jaw biting action that will seriously hurt some Autobots. There are enough articulation in the wolf arms and legs for some good poses. Both the gun and sword accessories have places in alt mode; the sword becomes the tail, and the gun can be placed on top of the wolf’s back near the rear. The Titan Master can sit inside the gun, or can be placed inside the main body cavity, accessible from a hatch on top of the back. Transformation to robot mode is pretty straightforward. The wolf arms and legs become the robot arms and legs. I generally don’t like this motif, because I think it’s a lazy transformation. Wolfwire is certainly guilty of this, but he’s got some clever mechanics for the rest of his transformation that make up for it. The way that the main body transforms deserves special mention. From alt mode to robot mode, Wolfwire has this unqiue lower abdomen mechanism where the body collapses on itself, making for a shorter main body that is more proportionate in robot mode. The Decepticon logo is painted very nicely on the chest. I wish faction logos were done this well all the time. If you only had the funds for one deluxe Decepticon Headmaster in the TR line, get Wolfwire.

The other deluxe Decepticon this month is Mindwipe. I have G1 Mindwipe. It was a birthday gift from my cousin. I still have it to this day, in pretty good shape too. About a year ago, I bought this 3P Mindwipe from FansProject called Sigma L. I love FansProject, but I thought Sigma L is only ok, not bad, not great. So I was kinda hoping that TR Mindwipe would do the character more justice. There are some interesting things going on for TR Mindwipe, but as a whole I would say he’s one of the more lackluster figures in the Titans Return line. Let’s start with the better mode: the robot mode. He looks good in this mode. He’s well proportioned and he’s got plenty of articulation. He’s got a great head sculpt. The joints are at the right tolerance. Even the wings on his back are of the right size. They’re big enough in appearance, but not too big that it’s distracting or get in the way. The Decepticon logo is beautifully painted on the chest. There’s one big weakness in robot mode though, and that’s the back. The bat head has nowhere to go, and kinda just hangs off the back. You can position it so the bat head is hanging off the butt instead, but I think that’s a even worse look. Transformation to bat is quite clever. The arms become the feet, and the legs open up to reveal the wings. The transformation really is quite cool. However, bad construction plague this figure, much like many of the other TR deluxe figures. The right wing is really loose on my figure in alt mode. And the accessory that plugs in to become the tail, it doesn’t plug in too nicely. One slight touch and it comes off. This figure could have been so great if the construction was more solid. And if they designed a place for the bat head in robot mode. Like if it somehow went inside the Headmaster chamber.

Below is a pic of all the original Decepticon Non-Horrorcon Headmsters from Season 4. Skullsmasher (Skullcruncher) was from July of 2016.

Now for the only Triple Changer of the month: Astrotrain. TR Astrotrain is a repaint of TR Sentinel Prime. As of this writing, I have sold my Sentinel Prime, because I felt he’s just too damn orange. And because this mold was meant to be Astrotrain anyway. Yes Hasbro screwed me with their double dip tactics by releasing the more famous character later using the same mold. If only I had more willpower, I would not continue to fall for this.

Let’s take a look at the shuttle mode first. In this mode, Astrotrain is not the standard NASA space shuttle that we’re accustomed to. The overall body is more flat, with a large Titan Master compartment toward the top and rear. It looks more like a Cybertron shuttle, or something from futuristic sci-fi. All the panels tab in securely in this mode, something that worked less well on Sentinel Prime. The retractable landing gears are a nice touch. Astrotrain is decked out in his iconic purple and grey, with touches of black here and there. Transformation from shuttle to robot is super straightforward. It’s almost painfully simple. Astrotrain looks good in this mode. Body proportions are nicely balanced. His head mold is terrific, and looks exactly like Astrotrain should. I should point out that the Japanese version of this figure has better paint apps, though. The US version is light grey, while the Japanese version is dark grey. The dark grey is much more accurate to G1, both in terms of the show and the toy. This fact becomes a lot more obvious in robot mode, when looking at Astrotrain from the front, he is mostly grey. Transformation to train mode from this mode is interesting to say the least. First you pull the legs apart to either side, like if Astrotrain is doing the splits. From there it becomes pretty obvious; arms raise up and attach on top of the legs on either side, some minor panel flaps on the legs, flip over the feet so the train head comes out, and position the back Titan Master compartment on top of the train. This is another mode where TR Astrotrain got an upgrade. He’s no longer the old-school steam locomotive, but now more of a bullet train. Astrotrain looks ok in this mode. Sort of long and skinny, but I guess that’s how a train should be. This is another mode where the Japanese colors look much better than the US version, especially if you had both figures side by side. My overall impression of this figure is that he’s ok. He’s a good modern update. But I think deep down, I still want a Astrotrain with a proper NASA shuttle mode and a true steam locomotive mode. My hardcore G1 preferences is taking over here. I can live with the fact that he’s a Headmaster, but I still prefer him not being one.

This month also has Combiner Wars purchases. Yes I said Combiner Wars. By this time, the CW line has been long dead. But I did miss out on some figures in this line, and I was fortunate enough to find them this month.

The first CW fig this month is Sky Lynx, and he’s the 2nd space shuttle this month. But unlike Astrotrain, he’s still a NASA shuttle, with ground transport. This Sky Lynx looks G1 through and through. However, he only transforms from the space shuttle and ground transport mode to his full on griffin-like robot mode (and combined mode, but more on that later). In other words, he doesn’t separate into two components (the dino-bird/shuttle and lynx/transport) like he did in G1. I had a G1 re-issue of Sky Lynx briefly, for about two years, before I sold it (and actually made a slight profit on this). The G1 toy was kinda gimmicky. It was done by the same company that also did the original toy that would become Omega Supreme. I never had G1 Sky Lynx growing up, so my curiosity prompted me to buy the re-issue as an adult. He’s fun for a while, but the gimmicks wear off fast.

G1 Sky Lynx was not well received at all back in the 80s, both in terms of the character and the toy. However, in the days of CW, fans were singing praises about CW Sky Lynx, and he was probably the hardest figure to find in the line. I pretty much gave up looking for CW Sky Lynx. Until one day in Nov of 2016 when I found him at Ross. That’s right, Ross! Hasbro’s strange distribution rears its ugly head again. There was a time (I think around 2010 and 2011) when I regularly went to Ross and other discount stores, because new figures from Hasbro would go there instead of the usual places.

Combiner Wars Sky Lynx is not a bad figure, but I wouldn’t put him in the must-buy category either. Like all the other body component figures in the CW line, Sky Lynx is not perfect. They all have at least one mode that I consider lacking. I would say the best one in CW is Silverbolt (and his repaints). Sky Lynx would probably be the next best one. I like his alt mode, and he works well as a combiner body. But the griffin mode is just so-so. Still, the real value of this figure is having the ability to form Sky Reign. And that’s worth the price of admission, especially when admission price is only $12.99. Yes Ross is a good place to get TFs when you can find them. Below is a long over due pic of Sky Reign. All the limb components were bought in Feb of 2016.

Final purchase for the month is Leader class Skywarp. I already have the other two repaints of this figure, Leader Thundercracker and Starscream. So I was not gonna get Skywarp at full price. Around the end of Nov of 2016, I was vacationing in Cabo, attending a destination wedding. I think I opened the eBay app on my phone to check on one of my sales, and saw that Skywarp was on sale for half price! I wasted no time and got one. He’s just like the other 2, so I won’t go into detail. With Skywarp I have now completed the trio. Skywarp is my final purchase from the Combiner Wars line.

The pic below is for all the Decepticons this month. Autobots beware!

Whew! That was more TFs than I thought. Next month will wrap up 2016 with more Titans Return action. Til then… Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in October 2016

May 30th, 2017 No comments

October has historically been a month filled with many TF purchases. That is not so in 2016. But there are some cool items this month, and one surprising trend that I didn’t notice before.

  • Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime, amazon.com, $39.99

  • Titans Return Apeface, Target, $4.99
  • Titans Return Skytread, Target, $4.99

  • Robots in Disguise Paralon, Toys R Us, $9.99

  • Fans Toys Soar, capturedprey.com, $180

Like I said, October 2016 does not have a crazy TF purchase count, as was the case in 2012, 2014, and 2015. This October is more on par with 2013 with a modest number of TF purchases.

Let’s take a look first at Powermaster Optimus Prime! Growing up, I really wanted G1 Powermaster Optimus Prime. I know, the concept of a Powermaster is really lame. But all Powermaster figures were good toys, for G1 standards anyway. And back in the 80s, Hasbro was not in the habit of releasing 10 different Optimus Prime figures every year across all toylines and sizes. Believe it or not, Powermaster Optimus Prime was only the 2nd OP figure produced, after the original season 1 toy. It was already Season 5 when Powermasters rolled around, and us fans were all itching for a new figure of OP.

My cousin had G1 Powermaster OP. I played with the figure quite a bit. For G1 standards, this was an awesome figure. I tried to buy one back in the 80s, but didn’t have the money. Now nearly 30 years later, Hasbro is giving us a homage to the original Powermaster OP in the Titans Return line. In this case he’s really a Headmaster, but he’s still got his 80s Powermaster design and aesthetics.

The figure is a heavy retool of the wonderful Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus figure that I went into back in this post. Hasbro took that mold and reconfigured it to resemble G1 Powermaster Optimus Prime with modern stylings and updates. The result is quite nice, and I’m happy that Hasbro took the effort to give us true fans something to homage the Powermasters, even though the figure is not a ture Powermaster. The Titan Master (or Headmaster figure) transforms into Prime’s head in robot mode. The helmet of the head is part of Prime’s body, flipped out from the cab. We’ve seen this mechanism before on TR Galvatron.

Since this technically a repaint, I won’t comment too much more. But he is recommended. Below is a pic of the alt mode. Notice how similar the cab appears when compared with CW Ultra Magnus.

Next up are two Titan Masters figures. Hasbro makes a whole bunch of these. For this month I got Apeface and Skytread. Yes, these are small figures that transform to heads. And FYI, all heads are interchangeable for figures in the TR line. Meaning you can take the head for Blurr and stick it on Scourge, or any other combination you see fit. Why you would wanna do this is beyond me. And with these small Titan Master figures, you get extra heads to swap between figures to your heart’s content. I got Apeface because I liked the original G1 Horrocon (and I’m hoping Hasbor will give him a true modern update). Not sure why I bought Skytread. The small Titan Masters also have another alt mode, in addition to the robot mode and head mode. To this day I still have not opened Apeface and Skytread, but I did open some other ones (purchased in later months). These figures are mostly forgettable in opinion. Oh, in my TF count page, I specifically stated that I don’t count mini-figures, such as Targetmasters and Mini-Cons. So I’m not adding Titan Masters to the figure count either. I truly seem them more as accessories. But they will add to the purchase count, since I did have to buy them separately.

The only RiD purchase this month is Paralon. I dont’ even know who Paralon is, as my knowledge of Robots in Disguise is severely limited. I only bought him because I like the purple scorpion. Supposedly, this is a Toys R Us exclusive. And Paralon was released before Scorponok, a brown repaint of this figure. So this was another case where Hasbro gave a new mold to an unknown secondary character, and released the more famous character later. However, when I saw Paralon, Scorponok was already on the shelve too. I chose Paralon anyway because I liked the purple, and honestly, I don’t much care for Scorponok as a character. Anyways, the toy itself is just ok. Like I said, a giant purple scorpion is very unique. Transformation is kind of unorthodox too. The shoulder mechanism requires that you take parts off, but the part never really completely comes off as it still dangles on the arm. So does this count as parts-forming? Who knows. Get Paralon or Scorponok if you’re partial to either character. Most fans could probably skip these two. They’re not bad figures, but they don’t have much going for them either.

Last but not least… ladies and gentlemen… I give you, Soar! That’s right folks! This month we have yet another outstanding 3P Dinobot from Fans Toys. And this time it is our favorite flyer of the group, Swoop! For trademark reasons, FT can’t call this figure Swoop, so they went with Soar. Gotta give them credit from coming up with these creative names.

Soar is packaged in robot mode, like all the other FT Dinos so far. Right upon getting this guy out of the box, the first thing you will notice is that he weighs quite a bit. I think he’s actually heavier than Scoria or Sever. Size wise, he’s smaller than these 2 when you don’t count the wings, so FT packed a lot of heft into the core frame of the figure. This is already a plus in my book.

The robot mode is a sight to behold. I went with the cartoon accurate blue version (FT also produced a G1 toy accurate red version, and I had G1 Swoop as a kid, all broken today). Check out the pic below. It’s like Swoop stepped straight out of the show!

“Me Swoop no see nothing.”

Seriously, this is so cartoon accurate that I can’t gush enough. Everything from the colors to the proportions, it’s like FT looked very carefully at every single one of Swoop’s show appearance and faithfully constructed a figure out of what they saw. Construction of this figure is absolutely superb. All joints are of the ratchet variety, and every one of them is tight enough to support the weight of this heavy figure. Soar is capable of some nice poses. I had him in several action poses, but unfortunately I didn’t take any pics. Take my word for it. If dynamic posing is your thing, Soar will not let you down.

Soar comes with the two iconic G1 wing missiles, as you can see in the pic. Unfortunately they do not fire. He also comes with his sword, which looks just like what he had with the G1 toy. The sword is attached to his back in the pic above. LED lights are featured in the sword (batteries are not included, however). I can’t remember if I have ever seen Swoop use this sword in the cartoon. All these weapons can be held in his hand, or pegged where they are in the pic in robot mode.

Transformation to pterodactyl is fairly simple. Soar is probably the easiest to transform out of all the FT Dinos so far. The overall transforming paradigm is exactly what it was in G1: bird head and beak flip up from the chest, arms and chest collapse toward the middle, and legs fold up to the back of the bird. Obviously this is all updated with modern mechanical engineering. G1 purists should have nothing to complain about in the design of transformation. Check out the pterodactyl mode below.

This dino bird is absolutely amazing! I took a quick measure of the wingspan, and in the above configuration, the wingspan is close to 18 inches! Soar looks fantastic flying above all your other MPs in this mode. The wings hold their position fairly well. On my figure, one side of the wings is nice and tight, while the other side can be argued to be a bit loose. But it still holds up well in alt mode and it does not droop down, so it works well enough for me. Soar comes with an extra set of wings. The default attached wings are more chrome, while the extra wings are more metallic. I did not try the extra wings yet. Fans Toys have thought of everything. They really love you.

In alt mode, the missiles go where you expect them to go. I detect no storage location for the sword in alt mode, but that’s a minor gripe. The beak opens and closes. The beak joint is tight and I expect no less. The alt mode comes together nicely as one cohesive whole. All parts are tabbed into place where they should be. No dangling parts whatsoever. This is the Dinobot pterodactyl that the Autobots deserve.

Last but not least, Soar comes with this awesome display stand for the figure in alt mode. You can see it in the pic above. This stand is large and robust, with enough support for this heavy figure without any worries. Oh, my figure was missing the vertical piece of the display stand when it was first shipped to me. Props to capturedprey.com for contacting Fans Toys and shipping me the missing part. I have complete faith in this retailer and I will use them more in the future. Minor issues with Fans Toys figures are not uncommon, however. I have been lucky thus far, until Soar. Other fans have complained of missing weapons, missing accessories, non-working LED weapons, batteries that should have been included but are not, etc. These periphery issues seem to plague Fans Toy’s track record. So open your FT figures as soon as you get them. Most respectable retailers will work to make it right within the proper time frame.

I give Soar the highest possible recommendation. If you want a MP Swoop in your collection, look no further than Soar. Get one before they all soar off the shelf (bad pun intended).

The surprising trend that I mentioned at the top of this post is the trend of when I buy the FT dinos. Scoria was purchased in October of 2014, and Sever October of 2015. And now Soar in October of 2016. So it looks like I buy one FT dino every year, and at October. I doubt this trend will last though. I have the 2nd release of Stomp (Sludge) pre-ordered, and he’s set to arrive June or July of 2017. But who knows… maybe he will get delayed til October. I hope not. I heard excellent things about Stomp.

More TFs are to come in the months that will end 2016. Until then, Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in September 2016

May 17th, 2017 No comments

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

  • Titans Return Rumble, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Laserbeak, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Ravage, Target, $10.29

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

  • Robots in Disguise Windblade, Walmart, $14.97

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More TFs to come. Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in August 2016

May 1st, 2017 No comments

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

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

  • Titans Return Wheelie, Target, $10.29

  • Titans Return Rewind, Target, $10.29

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

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

Below is a pic of the three of them.

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

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in July 2016

April 4th, 2017 No comments

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

  • Titans Return Galvatron, Toys R Us, $24.99

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

  • Titans Return Skullsmasher, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Hardhead, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Scourge, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Blurr, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Stripes, Target, $10.29

  • Combiner Wars Starscream, HasbroToyshop via eBay, $35.99

  • Masterpiece Ramjet, tfsource.com, $179.99

  • ToyWorld Muddy, tfsource.com, $80

  • DX9 Carry, tfsource.com, $129.99

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

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

Titans Return

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Combiner Wars

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

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

Masterpiece

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

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

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

With Classic Ramjet

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

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

Third Party

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

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

Arise, Rodimus Prime

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

The Autobots:

The Decepticons:

Titans have returned! Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in June 2016

February 22nd, 2017 No comments

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

  • Combiner Wars Groove, bbts.com, $24.99

  • ToyWorld Iron Dreg, bbts.com, $91.99

  • Fans Toys Grenadier, bbts.com, $82.99

  • Spark Toys Alpha Pack, gift

  • Warbotron Heavy Noisy, gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in May 2016

January 6th, 2017 1 comment

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

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

  • Combiners Wars Wreck-Gar, Walmart, $9.97

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in April 2016

December 28th, 2016 No comments

April 2016 is another month of very little TF retail action.

  • Robots in Disguise Megatronus, Walmart, $14.97

  • Masterpiece Shockwave, amiami.com, ¥12590 (about $115.53)

The Megatronus figure acquired this month is almost exactly the same as the one I bought last year. This new Megatronus is the mass retail version, while the earlier one was a Toys R Us exclusive. There are some minor paint app differences between the two, and this new figure gets a new head mold where Megatronus has his face revealed instead of using the face shield.

I most definitely recommend these 2 figures. However, if you already have one, there’s no need to get the other one. Unless you are a big Megatronus fan, or you are in the middle of a big TF dry spell that you feel compelled to buy something. The latter reason is why I got this second Megatronus. In retrospect I should have left this fig on the shelf. It feels like a waste of money to buys something virtually identical to it’s first release. But between the two, I think I favor the mass retail version a bit more in appearance. So I’ll probably sell the TRU exclusive.

On the heels of the fun little Shockwave that we got last month, this month comes… Masterpiece Shockwave! That’s right my fellow TransFans… Shockwave is getting the Masterpiece treatment. Takara and Hasbro has certainly given us some good Shockwave figures recently. This one perhaps tops them all! Takara has been hitting it out of the park with some of their recent MP offerings, such as Ironhide and Hot Rodimus. I am glad to report that Shockwave continues that trend. Pics below.

The figure comes packaged in alt mode. Note that in this mode, the extra accessory that forms the backpack in robot mode can be used as a stand for posing in the gun mode. Very very cool. I like that the designers have thought of a much needed function for this accessory.

Shockwave’s appearance is dead on to his G1 cartoon self. The package comes with a little Shockwave gun that he can hold, true to the G1 goof. The figure cleans up nicely in robot mode. The front cannon piece in alt mode that is detached in the G1 toy has a place in robot mode. In fact, it is neatly tucked away as part of the transformation.

Above is a pic of MP Shockwave posed next to Hexatron. Shockwave scales nicely to all other offcially released MP figs.

I give MP Shockwave the highest possible recommendation. I know what you are thinking… “I already have Quakewave!” Quakewave is a great figure too, but this Shockwave feels different enough that I think owning both figures are justified. These are two different interpretations of the character in Masterpiece form, and each is cleverly done in modern day standards. MP Shockwave is a quality piece through and through. I must do a review in the future.

More to come soon. Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in March 2016

December 16th, 2016 No comments

Only 3 TFs were acquired in March of 2016.

  • Combiners Wars Shockwave, Walmart, $9.97

  • Combiners Wars Scattershot, Walmart, $24.97

  • Masterpiece Hot Rodimus, amiami.com, ¥6000 (about $54.09)

Hasbro has been doing a lot of figures of Shockwave in recent years. Some notables ones that come to mind include Fall of Cybertron Shockwave, Transformers Prime Shockwave, and Dark of the Moon Shockwave. Fans love Shockwave, and I’m glad to see Combiner Wars get its own version of the character. This legend size figure ain’t too shabby. Vigilant readers will see that he appears in a pic in my last post, with all the Combaticons in their alt modes, on top of Onslaught. He was made to scale with Combaticons in this size. My memory is fuzzy as I write this now, but I think in the instructional manual for Onslaught, it tells you how to use Shockwave with Onslaught. I’m betting this is all a homage to the G1 Episode “The Revenge of Bruticus”. In the ep, Bruticus picks up Shockwave in alt mode and uses him as a weapon, and these CW figs can perfectly reenact that scene. CW Shockwave is fun to play with. He’s little, but his transformation is more substantial than you would think for a figure of this size. Both robot mode and alt mode looks good. I highly recommend this fig, even if you don’t have the CW Combaticons. He’s well enough as a stand alone fig, and if you do have Bruticus then he adds that extra bit of G1 flavor to your collection.

CW Scattershot is a rework of Silverbolt and Cyclonus. I’m not gonna go into this fig too much since he is already the third fig of this mold. Scattershot does look different enough to mildly justify a purchase. In his super high tech jet mode, he looks nothing like Silverbolt or Cyclonus. In robot mode, he gets a new head mold, but his body stylings resemble Silverbolt a bit too much. Also, as the body of Computron, the head mold is disappointingly identical to Superion’s. Scattershot’s paint job could be better too. Some bits and parts look too obviously plastic-ish. To this day I still have not used him in combined form, but both Silverbolt and Cyclonus work really well as the center of the gestalt so I have no doubt that Scattershot does too. If you have no love for the Technobots, then I say go ahead and pass on this fig. But if you dig this Autobot combiner team like I do, you may be better served by getting the CW Technobot boxed set. That way you get all whole team in one convenient purchase. There is both a US and Japanese version of the set (in Japan this line is called Unite Warriors). Based on looking only at the pictures, they each have their pros and cons. UW does appear to be better in terms of having new molds, but CW comes with redesigned hands and feet attachments for Computron. Seribertron has an excellent article comparing the two. My feeling is if you want to get the ultimate Technobot team, you’re gonna have to suck it up and buy both sets. I may get one set (or both) eventually, but for now I am kinda sick of all the CW repaints that Hasbro has thrown our way.

Now onto the Masterpiece of the month: Hot Rodimus! Yes friends, he’s called Hot Rodimus. Not Hot Rod, not simply Rodimus, but Hot Rodimus. I don’t know if that’s his Japanese name, or if Hasbro/Takara simply wanted the best part of both names. Whatever the case, this figure here is the definitive version of a Masterpiece Hot Rod that hardcore G1 fans have been waiting for. Note that I said Hot Rod, not Rodimus Prime. There was already a MP Rodimus figure (MP-09) produced 5 years ago, which I have wrote up two separate reviews (one for the alt mode and one for the robot mode). However, that figure is not without its flaws, as I have stated in the reviews. He looks great, but he’s such a pain in the glutenous maximus to transform that he’s simply not fun. And scale wise, that fig works well as Rodimus Prime in the current MP scale, but not has Hot Rod (Hasbro/Takara has not figured out how to mass shift just yet). MP-09 was probably a bit too ambitious in trying to work as both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime, in each of the alt modes and robot modes.

This time, Takara is simply giving us their ultimate G1 Movie interpretation of the character as Hot Rod only, designated MP-28. And this figure kicks ass! He comes packaged in alt mode, and that mode is a sweet representation of Hot Rod in his sexy futuristic racer mode. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pics, so you’re gonna have to take my word for it, or just online search for some pics. I do have one pic of robot mode below. Check him out!

If that’s not Hot Rod, then I don’t know what is. He comes with the two guns that was also included in the G1 toy, but we have never seen him use in the G1 Movie. He seems to prefer the side blasters on his forearms (which strangely enough he has never used after the G1 Movie). Transformation wise, this figure has got it where it counts. This is a completely different transformation from MP-09. MP Hot Rodimus is complex enough to qualify as MP, but simple enough to be fun. That’s just the right balance in my opinion. Construction wise he is also perfect. No joints that are too loose or overly tight. He can hold his poses well. This Hot Rod scales nicely with other figs in the MP lineup. MP-28 also comes with some fun extra accessories. He’s got his iconic saw blade, but he also has a fishing pole (the one that we saw him use in the early scenes of the G1 Movie).

I know I’m going through all this kind of quick, but that’s because I plan on doing a in-depth review of this figure. Look for it soon. For now, just know that you have to buy this. Every G1 fan needs this figure in their collection.

More TFs to come soon. Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics