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Transformers Purchased in June 2017

June 9th, 2018 1 comment

The purchases for June 2017 were all part of a single wave.

  • Titans Return Sergeant Kup, Target, $15.29

  • Titans Return Perceptor, Target, $15.29

  • Titans Return Topspin, Target, $15.29

  • Titans Return Quake, Target, $15.29

All figures are deluxe class, from Titans Return. All have Titan Masters that transform into the head (or Headmasters, if you prefer G1 terminology).

Kup

The last time we got a Kup figure in the CHUG-verse was back in 2011, so we are long overdue for an update. We already got updates to Hot Rod and Blurr in Titans Return, so Kup should come as no surprise.

I like TR Kup. For starters, this Kup has an alt mode that is most G1 accurate since the original G1 figure. I like the 2011 Generations Kup, but that figure’s alt mode did not resemble G1 Kup’s alt mode in the least. TR Kup has ample room up front to fit the Titan Master in vehicle mode, and the twin weapons can be stored on the bed of the pickup.

TR Kup offers one of the more refreshing transformations that we got in recent years for a retail deluxe figure. The leg transformation is worth mentioning. The truck side panels open up, and folds upward to form the legs. It’s very cool and very original. Arms are tucked behind the cab in alt mode. The cab area collapses on itself to form the torso in robot mode.

Fans will undoubtedly compare this Kup to 2011 Generations Kup. It’s hard to say which is superior. They each have their pros and cons. TR Kup has a more show accurate alt mode and an overall cleaner design. Generations Kup has a more show accurate head mold (since he’s not a Headmaster). Other aspects are up for debate. I would keep both Kups in my collection.

Perceptor

I think this may be the first time we got a Perceptor that transforms into a microscope since G1 (not counting G1 re-issues). In TR, Perceptor too is a Headmaster, but it doesn’t bother me.

I like the microscope alt mode. It doesn’t really look like a real microscope in my opinion, but the G1 toy had the same issue as well. I believe TR Perceptor has another alt mode where he’s a tank, with seat area for the Titan Master. I didn’t try this though.

Transformation to robot mode is fairly simple. If you look at the two pics, you can kinda see how he would transform. And you would be right. There aren’t any hidden surprises to this transformation. And that’s not a bad thing. Not every Transformer needs to have original engineering mechanisms. Sometimes sticking to the tried and true is best, if it’s executed well. Perceptor comes with a long rifle type weapon, complete with built-in gun rest. I think this totally works. In battle, I see Perceptor as the type that would stay back and pick off his enemies from long distance with extreme precision.

I would say this is the most show accurate G1-style Perceptor that we have got. For that reason, I recommend TR Perceptor. He is a bit flimsy in construction in my opinion, but nothing here is so bad that it’s a deal breaker. Fans would undoubtedly compare TR Perceptor with Generations Perceptor (who also was released at the same time as Generations Kup). TR Perceptor is way more show accurate, but there are things I like about Generations Perceptor too. They both have a place in your collection.

Topspin

TR Topspin is my favorite figure this month. I am not sure if Hasbro has released any direct updates to this character since G1. This may be the first time, and that’s a treat. Topspin and his near-identical clone Twin Twist were Jumpstarters in G1. The gimmick of this little known subgroup is that they have pull-back motors and they auto-transform. You start in alt mode, lay them on a flat surface, pull back, release, then watch them roll forward and automatically “jump” and transform into their robot modes. Yeah, it’s a crazy gimmick that only kids would dig, but it represents toy technology that was popular back in the 80s.

Because of this gimmick, the Jumpstarters had very simple transformations, even for G1 standards. There are really only two steps to the transformation: legs rotate forward by 180 degrees, and stand the figure. That’s it. Transformation is achieved automatically through the gimmick. I imagine modern day 2-Step Changers are highly similar, but I don’t have them so I can’t say for sure.

The Jumpstarters never got any love in the G1 cartoons. I imagine they were last minute additions in Season 2 in the toy line, so they got left out in the cartoon planning. The toys themselves were also forgettable to the more mature collectors. I’m gonna guess that, for these reasons, Hasbro never saw fit to update them. Until now.

And what a update it is. Using toy technology available today, Topspin is a very impressive figure from a engineering perspective. Yet he still retains that 80s futuristic and blocky robot aesthetics. This is definitely a figure catered to fans that grew up with robots in the 80s, and I commend Hasbro for giving us something so advanced and so nostalgic at the same time.

The Jumpstarters are supposed to be futuristic or Cybertronian in their alt modes. Topspin is a jet, while Twin Twist is a drill tank. The G1 toys were near clones of each other (think G1 Bumblebee and Cliffjumper), and in TR that still applies. I like Topspin’s alt mode. It’s unmistakably Topspin, there are no other alt modes that resemble this in the entire TF Universe. Colors and paint job are superb. A Titan Master can sit comfortably in the cockpit. The twin guns can be stored underneath the wings.

Transformation is where this figure truly shines. In G1 it was super simple, but in TR it is 10 times more advanced. The legs come apart where they are in alt mode, and then they are extended Combiners Wars style. Flip out the feet and collapse the rear leg panels. Fold the knee panels forward. Arms come out from the sides of the vehicle alt mode. Extend the arms and flip out the fists. Rotate the wings back. And here’s the part where it’s really cool: rotate the entire chest assembly 180 degrees, so the legs are now directed the other way. Open the cockpit and remove the Titan Master, then fold the front nose assembly into the cockpit area. Then close the cockpit. Rotate figure at the waist. Transform the Titan Master to head and insert. I’m glossing over the process very quickly, but you can already see it’s a pretty involved transformation for a retail deluxe figure. I wouldn’t say that it’s difficult by any means, but the number of steps required does surprise you. In some way I say this is the best kind of Transformer as a toy: involved enough for the mature collector, but not difficult or frustrating.

In robot mode, TR Topspin is a perfect homage to G1 Topspin. His overall appearance is trademark Topspin. Articulation of the figure is decent, and overall construction is solid. Topspin and Twin Twist both had very blocky heads in G1, so as Headmasters, it works. I cannot recommend this figure enough. Get yours now. You may have purchased Apex and Geminus by Mech Ideas. I like those figures too, but I would still get TR Topspin and Twin Twist if you got those 2. Mech Ideas and TR are separate efforts on updating the Jumpstarters, and both efforts have produced quality figures worthy of inclusion in your collection.

Quake

Kup, Perceptor, and Topspin were bought from Target on the same trip. I initially did not wanna buy Quake, because he’s a repaint of Titans Return Hardhead. And Quake is one of those repaints that make little sense. In G1, Quake’s tank mode is that of a modern day battle tank (Leopard 2), and this TR futuristic/Cybertronian tank mold used for Quake is unique to Hardhead. Plus Quake was a Targetmaster, not a Headmaster. Using this mold for Quake reeks of cash-grab desperation.

Still, the G1 purist in me got to me. I have G1 Quake, so I figured what the hell. One more repaint won’t hurt. So I went back to Target a few weeks later and obtained Quake. See my review of Titans Return Hardhead for my thoughts on this figure. I think Quake is a bit better constructed than Hardhead, at least on my copy. He doesn’t feel as flimsy.

I give Quake a mediocre rating. If you didn’t get Hardhead, or if you simply have a thing for Quake, then go ahead and buy this figure. Otherwise this is an optional purchase.

Below are group photos of all the purchases this month.

I should mention that there is another deluxe figure as part of this wave. That figure is Krok, a repaint of Skullsmasher. I was not terribly impressed with Skullsmasher, and I never even heard of Krok the character, so I left this on the shelf.

Grades for the month.

Recommended:

  • Topspin
  • Kup
  • Perceptor

Mediocre:

  • Quake

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in May 2017

May 26th, 2018 No comments

Repaints and more repaints! That is the theme this month. There were 7 TFs purchased in May of 2017, and 5 of them were repaints.

I never kept stats on how many repaints there are in a month, but I can’t remember one that was this high. 5 out of 7… that’s more than 70%. Hasbro is being plenty lazy here, but perhaps I’m the sucker for buying so many.

Below I proudly present the TFs where most of these molds has been previously used on a different figure.

  • Titans Return Blitzwing, Target, $24.99

  • Titans Return Octone, Target, $24.99

  • Titans Return Brawn, amazon.com, $9.99

  • Titans Return Roadburn, Toys R Us, $9.99

  • Robots in Disguise Skywarp, Walmart, $14.97

  • Masterpiece Megatron MP-36, amiami.com, ¥17280 (about $159.09)

  • Masterpiece Starscream MP-31, amiami.com, ¥9770 (about $89.95)

Blitzwing and Octone

Blitzwing needs no introduction. As perhaps the most famous Triple Changer in TF history, Blitzwing saw plenty of action in G1, including the G1 Movie. Even casual TransFans could identify both his alt modes: a MiG-25 jet fighter and a Type 74 battle tank. Titans Return Blitzwing is a repaint of Titans Return Megatron. Or to be more precise, Megatron is a “prepaint” of Blitzwing.

In my opinion, TR Blitzwing is way better than Generations 30 Blitzwing. I enjoy the transformation of TR Blitzwing. All 3 modes look pretty good, and it doesn’t have the famous construction issue that Gen 30 Blitzwing had.

It feels weird to write Octone. His name should really be Octane, the fuel truck and fuel jet Triple Changer that came about in G1 Season 3. Titans Return Optimus Prime is a prepaint of Octone.

In the early years of the Generations line, Hasbro released a deluxe version of Octane called Tankor. That figure was really not that good. TR Octone is leaps and bounds superior to Tankor. And just like Blitzwing, all 3 modes are pretty good. There isn’t one mode that is obviously inferior to the rest, like many other attempts at Triple Changers. I commend Hasbro for coming up with modern Triple Changers where all the modes are properly represented.

G1 purists will no doubt argue that Blitzwing and Octane were never Headmasters. They would be right, but I don’t think it’s such a big deal.

Hasbro did make enough mold changes to Blitzwing and Octone that buying these repaints feels a bit more justified. If you didn’t purchase TR Optimus or Megatron, then there is no reason to not buy these 2. But even if you did, I still recommend them. The molds here were always meant for these 2 characters. Sell off Prime and Megs and put Octone and Blitzwing in your collection if you have a no-repaint rule.

Brawn

Brawn is one figure that uses a brand new mold this month. I have a quick review for him here. He is most definitely recommended.

Roadburn

I don’t think there was a character named Roadburn in G1 (though it won’t surprise me if I’m wrong on this). Instead, I think this character is meant to be Chase, a member of the Throttlebots. Roadburn’s color scheme and head mold is a dead on for Chase. I have G1 Throttlebot Chase. I also have ToyWorld’s MP scale interpretation of Chase, called Trace. My Chase collection is now complete with the acquisition of Roadburn. This totally unknown character deserves his 15 minutes of fame. Maybe I will do a separate collection post dedicated to Chase.

Anyways, Roadburn is a repaint of Titans Return Bumblebee. Roadburn has a different head mold, but that’s the only mold difference. Read the post on Bumblebee for my thoughts on this figure. If Chase the character means something to you, then go ahead and get this figure. Otherwise it is a skip. This figure really doesn’t offer anything that hasn’t been done before.

It should also be noted that Roadburn is one of my last in-store Transformer purchase from Toys R Us before the giant toy chain went under in early 2018. I started to write about my thoughts on TRU here, but then it got so long I realized it should get its own post. So that’s what I’ll do. A “farewell to TRU” post is coming soon.

Skywarp

Robots in Disguise Skywarp is a figure I debated about buying. I saw him on the shelves in late April or early May and decided to skip it. He is an exact repaint of RiD Starscream, which I have. I like the figure, but it’s not worth buying again in a different color.

About a week or two goes by, and I gave in to my urges and bought Skywarp. I guess it’s because I like Skywarp the character, I like the figure in the black and purple color scheme, and there was really nothing else to buy (I was not counting on the two MP figs to arrive later in the month). Read the RiD Starscream post for a more detailed discussion about the figure. Skywarp is solid, but not a required purchase by any means.

Starscream

What can I say about MP Starscream that hasn’t already been said? The mold used for this figure has been around for so long and Takara is still abusing it. What I have here is the official 2017 re-issue of MP-11. I’m fortunate enough that my Starscream doesn’t seem too bad, but it comes as no surprise that many fans report inferior construction quality with this figure (loose joints, weak tabs, etc).

I got this re-issue because, up until this point, I don’t have the famous Decepticon Aerial Commander in the newer MP Seeker mold. I have MP-3 Starscream, but that was done in the older MP Seeker mold (with the side skirts, among other things). It’s a crime not to have Starscream updated, so when I saw this re-issue, I bought it. Though, now in 2018 as I write this, 3Ps are doing their own MP style Starscream that appears to be superior (one example is MakeToys Meteor). So in retrospect, maybe I should not have bought this MP-11 re-issue, especially considering the questionable build quality.

MP-11 with MP Thundercracker and MP Skywarp. MP Thundercracker is in the new Seeker mold like the MP-11, while MP Skywarp is in the old Seeker mold like MP-3.

MP-11 in full coronation gear.

It should be noted that having the figure stand with the coronation gear is pretty difficult. It takes forever to position it so Starscream doesn’t fall ass backwards when wearing the full gear. Another reason to not get MP-11.

Megatron

I saved the best for last. Here we have the big prize of the month – Masterpiece Megatron, designation MP-36! This is the other figure having a new mold this month. Much like MP Optimus Prime that was first released as MP-1, then later got an improved but smaller version of MP-10, Megatron first received the MP treatment back in 2007 with MP-5. Now 10 years later, he is getting an updated version as MP-36, and he is meant to scale with MP-10.

MP-36 Megatron is a fantastic looking figure. Imagine if Megatron stepped out of the G1 cartoons and became a solid, tangible figure. That is how MP-36 looks. Take a look at the pics below. I cannot say enough about the show accuracy of this Megatron. He really is something to behold.

Back view. The upper back is a bit messy, but nothing I can’t live with.

Construction of MP-36 is superb. All joints are tight and clicky. No cosmic rust syndrome here.

MP Megs with the famous MP-10. Look how well they scale together.

MP Megs with his top MP lieutenant.

MP Megs up close and personal.

Look at all these accessories!

Obviously I never even took these out of the box. There’s a lot here to accessorize the Decepticon leader with. Other than the scope / fusion cannon, included are:

  • The silencer
  • The stock
  • 3 alternate face plates
  • Key to Vector Sigma
  • Energy sword (appears in the epic fight with Optimus Prime in the G1 Movie)
  • Pistol (also in the same fight)
  • Damaged chest plate (as a result of same fight with Prime)
  • Energy ball and chain (during fight with Optimus Prime, in Ep2 of More Than Meets The Eye, which he only used once ever)
  • Helmet (used in some Ep in G1 that I no longer recall)

I’m ashamed to say that, even after having this figure for about a year, I still not have transformed it. It’s not that I don’t want to. I took a quick look at the instructions, and it is more than daunting. This figure could very well make it into a top most-difficult list (btw, I really need to update that post and make a 2018 edition). I promise I will transform MP-36 soon.

Grades for the month:

Recommended:

  • TR Blitzwing
  • TR Octone
  • TR Brawn
  • MP Megatron

Mediocre:

  • TR Roadburn
  • RiD Skywarp

Not recommended:

  • MP Starscream

Again, TR Brawn and MP-36 Megatron are the only new molds in this list of Transformers. All others are repaints, and their purchase is at your discretion.

The Decepticons far outnumber the Autobots this month. Poor Brawn and Roadburn… these 2 tiny Autobots had better get back to headquarters and rustle up a few more friends (G1-ers will recognize this reference from Fire on the Mountain).

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in April 2017

May 6th, 2018 No comments

There was no shortage of purchases in April of 2017. Figures from every TF line of the time was represented this month, including Titans Return, Robots in Disguise, and for the first time, The Last Knight. Even third party products were not left out. Some of these figures are pretty darn good. And some of them, not so much. If you just want to get to my final thoughts about a figure, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

There’s a lot to get through, so let’s get to it.

  • Robots in Disguise Soundwave, Walmart, $14.97

  • Robots in Disguise Blurr, Walmart, $14.97

  • The Last Knight Barricade, Walmart, $15.83

  • Titans Return Broadside, Target, $24.99

  • Titans Return Sky Shadow, Target, $40.99

  • Titans Return Bumblebee, Kickback, Gnaw, tfsource.com, $32.99

  • Keiths Fantasy Club E-Nergeon Cubes, tfsource.com, $9.99

  • FansProject Function-XV MADLAW, tfsource.com, $39.99

  • Warbotron WB03-A Turbo Ejector, tfsource.com, $79.99

Soundwave and Blurr

The two Robots in Disguise figures this month are Soundwave and Blurr. I found these two very early in the month.

I could never get enough Soundwave figures. I love the character, and I’m pleased he has a figure in the RiD line (though I don’t watch the show so I don’t know if he makes an appearance). RiD Soundwave takes design cues from many previous incarnations of the character. In robot mode, he’s got the iconic Soundwave colors and right-shoulder mounted cannon. Overall body shape takes design aesthetics from War For Cybertron Soundwave, and the head mold is an obvious homage of Transformers Prime Soundwave. I dig Soundwave’s overall appearance in robot mode. The red featureless face is a good fit for the character, and works well as a light piping feature. The figure is capable of some good poses in robot form, though most of it is achieved through cheap plastic ball joints. Transformation of RiD Soundwave is not difficult by any means. But unless you do it all time, there are some minor twists to an overall familiar motif that could have you very slightly stumped during the process. I don’t transform the figure that much, and every time I do it, I find myself asking silently, “How do I do that again?” RiD Soundwave’s alt mode is most certainly taken from War For Cybertron. But that’s not a bad thing. The Cybertronian car/SUV works well for the character. In my opinion, there are not that many good figures from Robots in Disguise, but Soundwave is one of them. This is a recommended figure. Get it.

Let’s look at Blurr next. The figure features the iconic Blurr colors that we have grown accustomed to. His head mold is an unique take on Blurr. It looks like he’s wearing a helmet with a visor, something Blurr would use if he was a human race car driver. I dunno, I think it’s design gimmicks like these that turns me off on Robots in Disguise. The show heavily attempts to humanize every Transformer, and I think they’re forgetting that they’re robots, not humans. Blurr is super easy to transform, just like every other figure in the RiD line. His transformation motif features nothing that we haven’t seen before. Arms to the sides, snap the legs together, and fold the back assembly over to the top of the vehicle. Flip in the feet pieces and line up the spoilers. That pretty much describes the entire transformation. It’s painfully simple, even by RiD standards. Granted, the alt mode does look cool. This futuristic race car reminds of me Crasher from the GoBots. I bet a customizer has already made a Crasher using this figure. Blurr’s weapon is in a translucent blue, and it comes with 2 pegs so you can position the weapon in two different orientations. All in all, this is not a bad figure, but offers nothing new for the mature collector.

Barricade

I am pleased to introduce my very first figure from The Last Knight: Barricade. There has been many deluxe movie Barricades made, and none of them are that good. I have the very first Barricade, from the 1st movie, as part of “First Encounter” 2 pack. And I have deluxe Barricade from Dark of the Moon. DotM Barricade is slightly better than the first Barricade, but neither one set the world on fire.

Hasbro used the term “Premier Edition” to label TLK toys that are more geared towards collectors, kind of like how Age of Extinction used the “Generations” banner. I started seeing the Premier Edition figs at Walmart in early April. Right away I liked the packaging. Even for the deluxe size figs, they are packed in boxes and not on cardboard. That’s always a plus in my book. In addition to Barricade, there was Bumblebee, Berserker, and Slash in the first wave of Premier Edition deluxe figs. I’m pretty sure Bumblebee and Slash are repaints from AoE. Berserker didn’t look all that interesting. That only leaves Barricade. Out of these 4, he does look the best in the box. And since I was never satisfied with the previous Barricades, I was really hoping this figure would be better. So I left the store with only Barricade.

I’m gonna go over the alt mode first. Barricade’s police car paint job is quite good. This Barricade is more of a dark blue, and not black. The Decepticon logo and the “POLICE” markings are painted very sharply on both sides. Front headlights and the police siren lights on the grill are also nicely painted. Same goes for the rear brake lights. This Barricade still has the phrase “To Punish and Enslave” written in cursive right above the rear wheels, and this application looks better than ever. What I find most impressive about this alt mode is that it’s got room for all his accessories. There are peg holes for the pistol and the night stick underneath the vehicle. And with those attached, there is still plenty of clearance for the police car to roll well on a flat surface. But what’s really impressive is how the arm cannon is placed in alt mode. The round arm cannon fold apart to form 2 semi-circles, and in this form the cannon is pegged in on the rear windshield. It’s a very cool effect and I commend Hasbro for this design. Barricade feels cohesive in this mode, nothing dangling or flopping around. If I was only judging this by alt mode, this is the best Barricade ever made.

Transformation to robot mode is pretty simple. That seems to be the trend for movie figures these days, even the ones made for collectors. It’s nothing we haven’t seen from the movie line, so I won’t describe it too much. In robot mode, Barricade looks ok, not great. I feel that his proportions are off. The legs appear a bit short in my opinion, giving more of a stocky look. The big weakness of the robot mode is that there is way too much back kibble. The roof of the car is draped over almost the entire back side. In fact, the roof of the car accounts for about 70% of the height in robot mode. It’s not AoE Crosshairs bad, but pretty close. Articulation is decent for a fig in this class, though I gotta point out there is no waist articulation and the head only moves from side to side, not up and down. The pistol and nightstick can be held in either hand. The same peg holes for their storage in alt mode is now positioned to the side of the thighs, so he can store them there in bot mode for kind of a cool look. The arm cannon can be wrapped around either arm. In my opinion, the robot mode is mediocre at best.

So should you get Barricade? I do feel this is the best Barricade made to date, but that’s not saying too much. Alt mode is excellent, but bot mode is so-so. If you’re not crazy about the character, then perhaps wait for the MP Barricade that is due out sometime this year.

Below is a pic of Barricade with some other TLK figures, that will come in later months.

I mentioned in earlier entries that I made a visit to New Zealand and Australia in 2017. That was a great trip! And I wanna go back there so bad. Anyways, that happened in April of 2017. The 3 figures featured so far were found before the trip. All other figures this month were acquired after the trip. And believe me, I tried hunting for Transformers in Australia. I did locate some Toys R Us stores on Google Maps, but they were too far out of the way from where we stayed and where we went for attractions. Bummer. I would have liked to see Toys R Us in Australia, like I did for Paris and Shanghai. And now that Toys R Us is officially closing all stores here in the United States (and in the U.K.), I wonder if the international stores will survive.

Broadside

TR Broadside is one of the last figures I found in April, but I’m gonna talk about him now. For a long time, I was really hoping Hasbro would make a Broadside. I featured my CHUG Wreckers a while back, in this post. Look on the 3rd shelf, and I got all the original Wreckers updated in modern day form. Except for Broadside. So now having Broadside is a dream come true. That is, until I opened the figure.

Broadside is one of the original Autobot Triple Changers, along with Springer and Sandstorm. His 2 alt modes is a jet and an aircraft carrier. The concept of such a figure already boggles the mind. From a story perspective, Broadside has to be doing some crazy mass shifting to go from a regular sized bot to an aircraft carrier. And as for the toy, it’s very, very had to implement in physical form, because the shape of an aircraft carrier is very different from the shape of a jet. I never had the G1 toy, but I understand it’s not the best.

Titans Return is taking a stab at doing this difficult figure to please the hardcore completist fans, and I do appreciate them trying. But the end result is less than stellar. The aircraft carrier mode is decent, the robot mode is passable, but the jet mode is horrendous. The front of the jet looks ok, but the rear of the jet looks like something a fan would make up out of a toy as another mode. It’s as if the toy designers did not know what to do with the robot legs, so they kinda just stuck it in an awkward configuration for the rear of the jet called it a day. There is so much bulk at the back that this can’t be considered a good jet mode by any means. I don’t recommend this figure. Here are some pics.

Sky Shadow

Another figure I got towards the end of the month is Sky Shadow. He’s the last TR figure for the month. I did a quick review for him already, so read all the juicy details here. Sky Shadow is a recommended figure for this month.

Bumblebee, Kickback, Gnaw

The 3 TR legend class figures were bought as a set, for $32.99. I did find them all individually later in store for cheaper, but I wanted to lock them in early since legend figures always go fast when they first come out.

TR Bumblebee is not bad, but not great. Transformation uses the tried and true Bumblebee formula. Poseability is decent and construction is solid. I love the head and face sculpt, it’s done really well for a $10 figure. The Autobot logo is also nicely painted on and not a cheap sticker. The alt mode, while not a G1 bug, resembles something that Bumblebee would choose to be today. This figure doesn’t do anything that previous CHUG legend Bumblebees haven’t done, with the exception of one thing: A Titan Master can ride inside him in alt mode. You read that right. Most figures first released under the Titans Return line can have a Titan Master ride somewhere in their alt modes. And legend figures are no exception (if the alt mode is a vehicle). In Bumblebee’s case, the chest cavity is made hollow enough that a Titan Master can be squeezed in there in alt mode. However, this does mean that getting the car mode to clean up nicely after transformation is a bit tougher. The panel pieces surrounding the hollow cabin can collapse on itself inwards. My final verdict is that TR Bumblebee is a nice offering. Worth picking up if you have no other CHUG Bumblebees, or if you dig the the Titan Master riding feature. As for everyone else, this is an optional purchase.

TR Kickback is the last of the 3 famous Insecticons to be released in legend scale, in some kind of Generations line. We already got Thrilling 30 Skrapnel (Shrapnel) and Combiner Wars Bombshell (glad they could keep the name and not use Bombshock). Titans Return Kickback completes the trio. Overall, I like this Insecticon less than the other 2. The figure is ok, but he’s more flimsy than his Insecticon brothers. Construction of the figure feels cheap. He’s got parts dangling about in both modes, but that’s more of an issue with the initial character design. The insect mode is the weakest of the 3, by far. The mechanics of the transformation seems rushed and lazy. All TR legend figures use cheap ball joints, but Kickback’s implementation of them appear really obvious. If you got the other 2, than by all means pick up this figure to assemble the trio. But if you don’t, Kickback can be a skip. Or better yet, get one of the other ones first. My favorite out of these 3 is Bombshell, and it’s not because I’m partial to the character. He’s the most robust and solid out of the 3 Insecticons.

The last in this set of threesome is Gnaw. Anyone who has seen the G1 Movie knows that Gnaw makes up the drone soldiers of the Sharkticon army, under direction of the Quintessons. A G1 figure of Gnaw was made, and I think his allegiance was Sharkticon on the Tech Spec Bio. However, they still put a Decepticon logo on the toy, and I don’t recall if the name Gnaw was ever used in the G1 Movie or Cartoons. So was a figure made after the Movie designed this character, or did they take this toy and then make up the whole Quintesson backstory? We may never know. But what I do know is that TR Gnaw is pretty cool. He is one of the most unique figures that I have purchased in some time. His colors are unmistakably Gnaw. In robot mode he’s kinda stocky, but that actually reflects how he looked in the G1 Movie. Transformation to the metal shark creature is one of the most unique I have seen, and mechanically it actually works quite well. Robot head folds back, and the legs go backwards and form the shark back and head. Robot arms become the shark legs. The weapon becomes the shark tail. It doesn’t do justice when I describe it in words, but trust me it’s cool. I love how Gnaw looks as the shark creature. He’s got nice clear yellow eyes and a working lower jaw. Shark arms can be rotated, and the shark legs has a decent level of articulation. The alt mode also comes together well, forming a solid cohesive piece despite the fact that he’s got arms and legs. My only gripe is that he’s only legend class. In the Movie he’s actually a tad bigger than Hot Rod and Kup, so a deluxe or voyager class figure would have made more sense. But as legend class, I suppose some hardcore fan out there can get a bunch of these and assemble a Sharkticon army. I give Gnaw the highest level of recommendation. This figure is a required purchase for G1 fans.

E-Nergeon Cubes

I made quick post about these cubes here. See that post for a more in depth look at this high quality 3P accessory made to scale with your MP figures. Highly recommended.

MADLAW

Sixshot is not the only Six-Changer in the TF Universe. There is also an Autobot Six-Changer: Quickswitch. Only the most hardcore of G1-ers know about Quickswitch, and that’s for good reason. The toy came about way too late in G1 to matter. And, to be quite frank, G1 Quickswitch is not the best figure by any standards. In robot mode he looks like he’s wearing diapers, the puma mode is a mess, and his weird color palette of red and green is worthy of arrest by the Cybertron fashion police.

MADLAW is FansProject’s attempt at a modern Quickswitch, much like Hexatron is to Sixhot. Upon first hearing about MADLAW, I was quite excited. When he was finally released, there wasn’t much fanfare or fan buzz. Then the figure faded into obscurity, buried among the many 3P products that we are now saturated with today. Now I know why. Unlike the awesome Hexatron, Quickswitch is not a figure that will knock your socks off.

I purchased MADLAW sometime in late 2016. Tfsource.com had a sale for it at $39.99. I figured you can’t go wrong at this price. I didn’t have anything else to ship with MADLAW so I waited til now. And MADLAW did not make this worth the wait. He’s packed in robot mode. He looks alright in this mode, not great but not bad. He’s significantly smaller than Hexatron. So I guess MADLAW is meant to scale with CHUG.

The first mode I tried to transform him to is the boat mode. I didn’t get very far before I noticed something weird. On one side, the foot piece wouldn’t rotate and line up correctly to go into this alt mode no matter how hard I tried. Turns out, I got left foot pieces on both legs! At this point I gave up on trying to transform the figure and MADLAW stayed in robot mode all this time.

I contacted Tfsource.com to have the situation remedied. Tfsource made me take pictures of the issue, so I did and sent it to them. Then they come back saying I contacted them after 30 days, and per their policy they can’t do anything after 30 days. I got two problems here. One: why did they make me take pictures if all they are gonna say is this is past 30 days? That was a total waste of my time. Two: quoting a policy to not remedy the problem is simply hiding behind policy to do nothing. Real good here, tfsouce. Aren’t you the one that makes the policies? There is no faster way to alienate customers than hiding behind stupid policies. I have since given tfsource way less business. Both capturedprey.com and thechosenprime.com have gone to much greater lengths to take care of me. I mentioned how capturedprey.com got a replacement stand piece for me for Soar. And more recently, thechosenprime.com got me a replacement piece for Contactshot. On a part that I broke! And I broke it about 4 months after the purchase! I now give these 2 much more business. Screw Tfsource!

Anyways, back to MADLAW. Even without the foot piece issue, I don’t think he’s such a great figure. He is kinda small for today’s standards. The only alt mode I tried to get him to didn’t look all that good, even if there was not a wrong foot piece getting in the way. Transformation for that one mode also didn’t feel that smooth. I realize I didn’t fully give the figure a chance here, but if FansProject had better QA, I would have. I blame FP for including the wrong part to begin with, and tfsouce for not fixing the problem. As it stands, I do not recommend this figure. For that reason, I’m not gonna include any pics of MADLAW out of the box. My thoughts about the figure may change, if I choose to dig out this figure and play with it more. But that seems highly unlikely.

If you’re wondering why this figure is called MADLAW, it’s because each letter in the name is also the first letter for each of the modes. For example, W stands for Wood Runner (the puma mode).

All this reminds me of the time I got two left hands for the TF Animated Rodimus figure. How do errors like these happen? Sometimes I really wonder what goes on at a transforming figure toy factory. I have a feeling I might not wanna know. I hope it’s not as bad as what I read about Apple factories.

Is another 3P going to take a stab at their own Quickswitch? Only time will tell.

Turbo Ejector

Last but certainly not least, I have to mention Turbo Ejector. This awesome figure is Warbotron’s interpretation of Technobot Afterburner in MP scale. I did a quick review of the figure. Go read that for all the details, or just trust me and go buy this figure now.

To summarize, these are the grades for the figures this month:

Recommended:

  • RiD Soundwave
  • TR Gnaw
  • TR Sky Shadow
  • E-Nergeon Cubes
  • Warbotron Turbo Ejector

Mediocre:

  • TR Bumblebee
  • TR Kickback
  • RiD Blurr
  • TLK Barricade

Not Recommended:

  • TR Broadside
  • FansProject Function-XV MADLAW (though this may change)

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in March 2017

February 20th, 2018 No comments

Some impressive figures arrived in March. And like June of last year, this is another month where 3P products outnumber official products. Is this a new trend among hardcore TF collectors? Only time will tell. But for now let’s focus our optics on the goodies below.

  • Titans Return Sixshot, Toys R Us, $46.99

  • Masterpiece Grapple, hlj.com, ¥11200 (about $102.72)

  • MakeToys Gundog, thechosenprime.com, $79.99

  • Fans Toys Mercenary, thechosenprime.com, $82.99

  • Warbotron Air Burst, bbts.com, $71.19

Sixshot

Let’s first take a look at Sixshot. This is an official Hasbro update of the character. There was a time when I was really hoping for Hasbro or Takara to do their modern interpretation of Sixshot, something I have expressed all in way back in 2009. This became reality 8 years later in 2017. However, one third party beat them to the punch. I featured MMC Hexatron in a previous post. I bought the figure in 2014, but I believe he was released in 2013. So Hasbro/Takara is late to the party. That kind of took some of the hoopla out of Sixshot’s release now. And fans will undoubtedly compare Sixshot to Hexatron.

I will say this now: Sixshot is not as good as Hexatron. If you want a MP scaled Sixshot with better construction quality, more detail, and superior transformation, Hexatron is the way to go. When the two are compared side by side, Sixshot feels like the toy while Hexatron feels like the collector’s piece. But this doesn’t mean that Sixshot is a bad figure in any way, shape, or form. I will outline some of the pros and cons of Sixshot below.

Pros:

  • At only $46.99, better value over Hexatron
  • There are some specific areas of Sixshot where the engineering has pleasantly surprised me, not many of these areas though
  • Comes with a Titan Master (or Headmaster) figure, though hardcore G1 purists will argue this is a con
  • In each of the six modes, there is a different place to store the Titan Master

Cons:

  • Detail not as good as Hexatron
  • Engineering not as good as Hexatron
  • Scale may be an issue; too big for CHUG, and too small to be MP

I would say that if you already have Hexatron, you may want to skip Sixshot. But if you don’t collect 3P products, or if you’re just a completist, then by all means pick up Sixshot. He’s a perfectly solid figure with no severe shortcomings.

Grapple

The only other official product this month is MP Grapple. Grapple is a repaint of MP Inferno, which was purchased last month. To this day I still have not opened Grapple. I have been meaning to, but I just haven’t got around to it. I’m gonna trust that he’s as good as Inferno. In fact, some fans have said that he’s better. I’m told that Takara reworked enough bits on Grapple that he feels like a different figure. I can’t confirm nor deny that. I will open him soon and see for myself.

Gundog

Let’s now turn our attention to the 3P products of the month. But first, I want to mention a new online TF retailer that I decided to try: The Chosen Prime. I have bought from them before, though it was through Amazon, for a legend class Acid Storm. This month is the first time I ordered from them direct. And let me say this: they have surpassed all my expectations! The items were carefully packed and delivered on time. There was a mix-up about how I wanted the items shipped, but a short email to their customer service quickly resolved the issue. Since then, they have become one of my trusted go-to stores online for collector grade TFs. Bravo Chosen Prime!

First item from Chosen Prime is MakeToys Gundog, their tribute to G1 Hound. Hound needs no introduction. He got significant screen time in the first 3 eps of G1, “More Than Meets The Eye”. It looks like he was gonna be best friends with Spike, until later Bumblebee took that role. Hound is perhaps best known for his hologram projections, which he used to fool Decepticons time and time again. As a G1 toy, Hound is memorable as only one of a few Jeep type vehicles in all of G1. As of this writing, there is still not an official Masterpiece update of Hound. So it’s left up to third parties to step up to the plate.

There are currently two flavors of 3P Hound: MakeToys Gundog and Fans Toys Willis. I looked at the pictures over and over, and considered which one I wanted to represent my Hound. In the end I went with Gundog. I won’t bore you all with what went into this selection process, but suffice it to say it was not an easy decision. They both have their pros and cons. It comes down to mostly aesthetics. Gundog represented the G1 toy a bit more and that won me over.

I am very happy with Gundog. I opted for the cartoon accurate green version (over the toy accurate dark green version). He comes packed in robot mode. The details in the head mold is excellent, and the design is unmistakably Hound. He’s got enough articulation to satisfy those fans who like dynamic poses in their figures. I do have two small gripes about the robot mode. The legs can appear a bit thick. And the upper portion of the figure does not appear to be able to snap in with the lower half, resulting in a figure that like to bend forward at the waist when it’s being handled.

Gundog’s transformation is one of the most ingenious that I have seen in recent years. The arms have this very original unfolding mechanism that flats out into the base of the Jeep. I love Gundog in the alt mode and I find no weaknesses in this mode whatsoever. He rolls fine on a flat surface. Gundog comes with many accessories, and in alt mode is where all these accessories truly make an impact. Below I have some Minions cruising around in Gundog.

Mercenary

Next up is Fans Toys Mercenary, also purchased from The Chosen Prime. I had already committed to the Fans Toys Insections, starting with Grenadier (Bombshell). By March of 2017, it was getting difficult to secure purchases of the Fans Toys Insecticons. Most hardcore fans seem to agree that FT does the best 3P MP-style Insecticons, and these figures were selling fast. When I saw that Chosen Prime had a copy of Mercenary remaining, I quickly jumped at it.

As you can no doubt see, Mercenary is Shrapnel, unofficial leader of our favorite robotic insect pests. Fans Toys did a remarkable job with this figure. He looks cartoon accurate in both modes, and in bug mode he feels G1 toy accurate as well. These FT insects may be small, but they got some heft to them. The weight and feel seem to suggest that some diecast parts are used. Transformation follows the same overall G1 motif for Sharpnel. However, there are some minor mechanics that you should watch for if you decide to get this figure and transform it. Also, since there are diecast parts, transformation can be more difficult than you might expect. It’s hard for me to explain this in words, but transforming and manipulating diecast takes more effort than plastic. But don’t let these annoyances stop you if you want MP style Insecticons in your collection. Shrapnel looks fantastic. The beetle horns are painted an excellent silver chrome (unlike the FansProject Insecticons, which came with a dull grey and had to be custom painted silver). He scales accurately with other MP Decepticons. Construction of the figure is solid. All these positives are wrapped up in a package of around $80. You will not be disappointed with Mercenary.

Air Burst

The final entry of the month is Air Burst. It’s also the final piece that I needed to complete my Warbotron Combaticons. Ironically, Air Burst (aka Blast Off) was the first figure released in the Warbotron line. Back in G1, Blast Off was my first Combaticon purchased. So why did I get all the other Warbotron figs first? All the Warbotron figs were already released when I started buying them. I was recommended to go with Sly Strike (aka Swindle) first, since many fans have voiced that he’s the best one of the bunch. And also because I found him at a good sale. Then my wife got me Whirlwind (aka Vortex) and Heavy Noisy (aka Brawl) as gifts. Fierce Attack (aka Onslaught) was found at a sale shortly after. And this leaves only Air Burst. I actually found him at a sale too, and got him sometime late in 2016. I held back on shipping him because I thought I was gonna get more items. As it turns out, I didn’t. So I waited to ship him all the way til March of 2017 for nothing. Super bad planning on my part.

I thought I was going to be disappointed with Air Burst, since many fans have expressed dissatisfaction of sorts. I’m not sure what everyone’s complaining about, because I love the figure! Just to be clear, I got V1 of this figure, and not the supposedly fixed V2. (Sidebar: Earlier releases of Fierce Attack comes with V2 parts, but unfortunately I was not aware of that and got a later release that doesn’t 🙁 ) I don’t detect any issues to have a crying fit. I love both the alt mode and the robot mode. I love the way he transforms – simple enough to be fun but complex enough to be satisfying. I have no issues with his appearance. He’s very G1 accurate as far as I’m concerned. Warbotron figs are known to have minor tolerance issues, but I detect nothing of the sort on my Air Burst. The arm connection mechanism for the combined mode is what is supposedly fixed for V2. I dunno, I combined Bruticus with my V1 Air Burst and everything seems fine. I guess my only gripe about Air Burst is that there’s a bit of puzzle forming, in that the rear thrusters form the arm cannons. I would have liked to see the thrusters incorporated into the transformation and be parts in robot mode, but it’s something I can live with.

Now for some group pics. Air Burst looks great with his fellow Combaticon cohorts. Check it out!

Now that the team is complete, it’s time combine! Combaticons, transform and merge into Bruticus!

I love this combiner set. Warbotron did justice to my favorite combiner team from G1. I have absolutely no regrets with buying this set for my MP styled Combaticons. I know there are some newer 3P offerings coming for the Combaticons. But only time will tell if any of the newer sets are hands down superior to Warbotron. For now, these are my MP Combaticons.

One last thing: the boxes for each Warbotron fig can combine and form a giant piece of artwork. It’s kinda cool. Check out the pic below.

Below are some extra pics of the three 3P figs this month in their alt modes.

That wraps it up for March of 2017. Until next time, Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in February 2017

January 27th, 2018 No comments

Titans Return continue in Feb of 2017. This month also includes one MP fig that I’ve been eagerly awaiting for some time.

  • Titans Return Megatron, Walmart, $24.86

  • Titans Return Optimus Prime, Walmart, $24.86

  • Masterpiece Inferno, hlj.com, ¥11200 (about $101.62)

Both TR Megatron and TR Optimus Prime are solid offerings. These 2 are quite fun to play with. Both of them continue the trend of being Triple Changers for all Voyager class figures in the TR line. And as Triple Changers, all 3 modes for each figure are decent. There are no modes that look immediately out of place. Megatron has a jet mode and a tank mode, while Optimus has a fuel truck mode and a jet mode. Does this sound familiar? That’s right… Hasbro’s real motives are to use these modes as Blitzwing and Octane. Once again, they issued the repaint of the mold first, and saved the real character for later. But this time they used such famous characters for the repaint. Oh Hasbro… will their shenanigans ever cease?

Anyways, if you just want one character each of this mold, then get Blitzwing and Octane. However, if you need more figures to add to your Megatron or Optimus collection, by all means pick these up. Hasbro did make several minor mold changes for each character, so it feels like you’re not getting the exact same thing.

And as Titans Return figures, they both come with a Titan Master which forms the head (aka Headmasters in G1). The Titan Masters can sit comfortably inside the cockpit in alt modes.

Now for the big prize of the month… Masterpiece Inferno! Many fans have waited for this figure for a long time. And he does not disappoint. There are some 3P variants of Inferno out there already, such as MakeToys Hellfire and MMC Backdraft. I don’t have these figs so I can’t attest to how good they are. But what I can attest to is the brilliance of MP Inferno.

MP Inferno comes packaged in fire engine mode. Takara did a good job with this mode. It looks show accurate to me, and the whole piece feels cohesive and solid. Though to be honest, I think every interpretation of a MP styled Inferno has a pretty good alt mode. This official MP is not any better or worse.

Transformation wise, Inferno has one particular feature that has all TransFans wetting themselves… the ladder hiding mechanism. This feature has to be seen to be believed. The ladder collapses on itself and folds into the back. Writing about it doesn’t do it justice… it’s times like these that I wish I did video reviews. I may start doing that one of these days. But yeah, this transformation mechanism alone gets Inferno a score of awesome for engineering.

In robot mode, Inferno looks like he stepped straight out of the G1 cartoons. No gripes about the appearance from me whatsoever. Compared to Hellfire or Backdraft, he as a more simplistic look. But that also makes Inferno more G1 show accurate. Construction of the figure is also superb. The joints are all solid and clicky. Add some nice detailing to all this and you really have a winning package.

Inferno with his good buddy Red Alert.

Check out all the accessories that come included with Inferno! Accessories fiends will find nothing to complain about here.

I don’t even know what all the accessories are, but in here I see:

  • 1 hand pistol
  • 1 alternate color grill/chest
  • 1 alternate color hand cannon
  • 1 alternate grill/chest for having Inferno hold Red Alert
  • 1 extra helmet, possibly for more G1 toy accuracy
  • 3 extra faces
  • 1 pipe and water attachment, to make Inferno look like he’s fighting fires

All in all, I highly recommend MP Inferno. If you need a MP scale Inferno in your collection, look no further.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in January 2017

December 3rd, 2017 No comments

Welcome to 2017! The year continues where 2016 left off, with more figures from Titans Return and Robots in Disguise.

  • Robots in Disguise Stormshot, Toys R Us, $16.99

  • Titans Return Breakaway, gift

  • Titans Return Fangry, Target, $4.99

  • Titans Return Fortress Maximus and Cerebros, entertainmentearth.com, $75

First let’s take a look at Stormshot. I know nothing about this character, and I know next to nothing about Robots in Disguise. So why did I buy this figure? He evokes heavy 80s nostalgia of a time when transforming robots were fun and simple. I took one took of his overall motif, and I’m immediately reminded of Transformers (Diaclones) and GoBots (Machine Robo) in their early days. Stormshot’s mechanical design borrows heavily from G1 Aerialbots, and perhaps even some GoBot figures, like Fitor.

While looking through Transformers Wiki one night, I stumbled upon Armada Red Alert. I know nothing about Transformers Armada or this Red Alert, since they came around during my TF hiatus. But take a look at Armada Red Alert, and you can bet your boron compressor that Stormshot’s design aesthetics is based on this Red Alert. This can’t be a coincidence. The head design and overall color scheme is near identical.

In both mechanics and design, Stormshot is a throwback to the Transformers of yore. And he transforms exactly like you would expect, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The legs extend out Combiner Wars style. Arms simply rest on the sides in alt mode. Feet and hands flip out from where they usually are like so many TFs before. The only original mechanics here is how the nose cone and wings form the back. They go through many folds, then collapses on itself. A very simple transformation overall. And that’s good for playability. Stormshot comes with two weapons, a handgun and a medium size rifle. The two can be combined into a super rifle. All in all, I like Stormshot. I recommend this figure for kids due to the ease of play, and I highly recommend this to collectors that grew up playing with transforming robots in the 80s.

Fangry is another Titan Master that I consider more of an accessory than a full-fledged figure. I only got him because he’s a direct homage to G1 Fangry. I never had G1 Fangry. He’s a winged wolf kind of creature. His name is a mash up of fang and angry, and I’ll give Hasbro credit for coming up with something so clever. The Titan Master figure here is kind of a fail. This thing is advertised as transforming, but it’s really just some pieces rotating back and forth.

The only value to these Titan Master figures is they can become the head of the character they’re supposed to be, and you can use them on any Titans Return figure. Here I have Fangry on the body of Misfire. This combination kind of works. See for yourself.

Breakaway is a Christmas gift from my buddy Gemini. This character means something to me, as I had G1 Getaway. The G1 toy was excellent for its time. It’s a shame that Hasbro had to rename this character, and it’s more of a shame that Titans Return Breakaway is a Headmaster and not a Powermaster. To make matters even worse, TR Breakaway is an exact repaint of TR Chromedome. I compared the two side by side and there no mold differences whatsoever between the two base figures. For the Titan Master, the face plate in head mode is different, but the rest of the figure is identical. Even the accessories are exactly the same. And to add insult to injury on top of all this, Breakaway was a pain in the butt to find during the 2016 Holidays. Breakaway is in the same wave as Hot Rod, Triggerhappy, and Twinferno. But Hasbro’s weird distribution issues rears its ugly head again, and Breakaway didn’t come distributed with the other 3 for whatever reason. Even the 3rd party online TF retailers (you know who they are) were price gouging for sets that included Breakaway. Luckily Gemini was able to find one for me. As of this writing, Breakaway is no longer hard to find. But that should not have been an issue to begin with.

Anyways, Breakaway is exactly the same as Chromedome, so I won’t go in depth. Check out some pics below.

Now, for the big enchilada of the month: Titans Return Fortress Maximus! Yes my fellow TransFans. To see Fort Max reproduced in the modern era is a dream come true. As a kid growing up in the 80s, owning something like Fortress Maximus is entirely out of reach. G1 Fort Max is the biggest G1 figure produced, and for a long time it was the most expensive Transformer ever made. It was re-issued some years ago. I considered buying it, but deep down I wanted something made to be up to par with today’s toy standards. Metroplex was made in 2013, so we all knew Fort Max couldn’t be far behind. And it really happened. TR Fort Max was produced in 2016. It is indeed a rework off of the Metroplex mold. TR Fort Max retails for $149.99. Expensive TFs will usually go on sale after some time. And sure enough, at the end of 2016, in that week between Christmas and New Years, entertainmentearth.com had a sale of this figure at half price! I was able to pick up this city-sized Headmaster at $75! Merry Christmas!

The pic above has all the decals applied. And believe me, he looks so much better after putting on all the decals. It took me about 1 hour and 30 min to put them all on, but it’s worth it.

Fort Max is a Headmaster, which is one big difference from Metroplex. For a city sized robot, the head needs to be a regular deluxe sized Transformer. That’s where Cerebros comes in. He forms the head of Fort Max. I think it’s a shame that Cerebros does not have an alt mode of his own. Cerebros himself is a Headmaster. His Titan Master is Emissary (though all hardcore G1ers know that in Season 4, it was Spike). Emissary is sitting in the gun pod on Fort Max’s left shoulder in the pic above. Below is a pic of Cerebros.

That does it for January of 2017. This month would have been all Autobots, if it wasn’t for Fangry. And I usually don’t even buy Titan Masters individually. Decepticons represent – barely!

Transform and Roll Out.

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

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