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Transformers Purchased in January 2019

February 21st, 2021 No comments

2019 started off with a bang. War For Cybertron: Siege is now available in full force. Last month we got a taste of it with Battlemasters, which is the modern term for Targetmasters. 2019 begins with the full-fledged figures in WFC Siege.

No 3P or 4P products this month.

  • War For Cybertron Siege Hound, amazon.com, $19.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Sideswipe, amazon.com, $19.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Cog, Walmart, $19.96

  • War For Cybertron Siege Megatron, amazon.com, $29.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Optimus Prime, amazon.com, $29.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Roadhandler and Swindler, Target, $9.99

  • Power of the Primes Wreck-Gar, Walgreens, $17.99

  • Studio Series Dropkick, Walmart, $18.84

Hound

Hound was one of my favorite characters from G1, so I am happy that 2019 kicks off with Hound as the very first figure.

The WFC Siege figure does justice to Hound. The alt mode is tough and rugged. The vehicle rolls well on a flat surface, and the whole thing comes together as a solid cohesive unit. The green paint job is nice, with painted-on decals of the Autobot symbol and the star that pays good homage to G1 Hound. The are peg holes for all the accessories.

Transformation to robot mode is nothing we haven’t seen before, but for Hound that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The only thing worth noting that’s a bit different is the leg transformation. The side panels of the vehicle unpegs, and the whole unit wraps around inwards to form the legs. We have seen this mechanism before on other figs, but it’s refreshing to see this on Hound. The hood of the car forms the chest and arms come out from underneath the sides. Overall, a very straightforward transformation.

In robot mode, WFC Hound does not disappoint. He’s iconic Hound in all the right ways. From the colors, the overall shape, and his trademark face sculpt, no TransFan will mistake this character for any other. The figure is well built with the right joint tolerances. Most fans should be happy with the level of articulation for a $20 toy.

Hound comes with 3 accessories. He still has his trademark shoulder-mounted missile launcher that is highly reminiscent of G1 (no missiles, unfortunately). He comes with a rifle that bears little resemblance to what he had in G1. And he has a circular accessory that can be pegged behind the rifle as a cartridge. In alt mode, this round accessory can be positioned to look like the spare tire he had in G1.

I recommend WFC Hound without reservations.

Sideswipe

WFC Sideswipe is the next figure acquired in 2019. Sideswipe is another one of my favorites, 2019 is starting off on the right foot.

In alt mode, WFC Sideswipe is a nice and sleek looking Cybertronian car. The paint job is superb, and the painted-on Autobot logo on the hood is sharp and spot-on. All parts of the figure come together well in alt mode with no loose or dangling bits. The gun and shoulder cannon accessories can be combined together as a super cannon and pegged on top of the car. A nice alt mode all in all.

Just like Hound, transformation of Sideswipe from alt to robot is pretty standard fare. It follows the tried-and-true Sideswipe transformation formula that we’ve known since G1 without too much deviation. A 180 degree waist rotation is required for WFC Sideswipe, but that in itself is nothing revolutionary. WFC Siege Sideswipe is a fun figure to just pick up and play.

The robot mode of this figure is pure classic Sideswipe in terms of appearance and design. The face sculpt, the car-hood chest, and the shape of the arms and legs, all scream G1 Sideswipe. Articulation is decent enough for a toy of this class. I detect no construction issues on my copy, all joints operate flawlessly.

Sideswipe comes with 2 accessories: a gun and a shoulder cannon. As mentioned already, they can be combined into a super cannon, for use in both robot and alt modes. G1 purists will probably bash these weapons as being non G1 accurate, but that falls into hardcore nitpicking.

If I was to mention one negative about both Hound and Sideswipe, it’s that their Cybertronian alt modes look too much like Earth alt modes. Hound is basically a Jeep with some Cybertronian modifications here and there, while Sideswipe’s Cybertronian sports car could pass as a Lamborghini concept. From a story perspective, I find it hard to believe that their alt modes would resemble their Earth alt modes to such a high degree. But that’s me nitpicking on the design. Rating purely on the merit of the figure, both Hound and Sideswipe are exceptional. No true G1 fan would pass on these figures. Get them.

Cog

Cog is a character with G1 origin. He was the combined robot form of Gasket and Grommet, accessory vehicles that came with G1 Fortress Maximus. Titans Return Fortress Maximus was released without the vehicles or Cog, so it’s good to see him made as part of the WFC Siege line.

A gimmick of the WFC Siege line are Weaponizer figures. This means they transform between robot and alt modes by mostly detaching and re-attaching parts of the figure. And more importantly, since the parts detach, they can be used as weapons for other WFC Siege figs. Cog is a Weaponizer. This role fits this character really well, since in G1 he was assembled from two vehicles (sort of like Duocons).

The robot and alt modes of WFC Siege Cog is solid. I’ve only seen pictures of G1 Cog, but as far as I can tell, Siege Cog pays good homage to its G1 roots. Transformation, as described already, is mostly puzzle forming. Personally I’m not a big fan of puzzle forming. But I understand the role that Weaponizers serve, and Cog does have parts forming G1 roots.

This figure truly shines when he is used as weapons and accessories to enhance other figures. Most WFC Siege figs have peg holes all over the place. As a Weaponizer, Cog can be disassembled and attached to other Siege figures in all kinds of ways. The instructions will give some official configurations as to how Cog can be used. But some TransFans have came up with some very creative ways for Cog to shore up other Siege figs to make them look extra ready for battle. Weaponizers really add a lot of replay value to the WFC Siege line. The whole thing still feels a tad too gimmicky for me, but it’s a good gimmick.

Megatron

WFC Siege Megatron is the first Voyager class figure this month. The Decepticon leader needs no introduction. In terms of design, this figure is completely based on G1 Megatron aesthetics in the 80s cartoon. The head, chest, and abdomen designs scream G1 Megatron. The arms and legs are also heavily G1 based, the designs retooled from the Earth mode appearance for a Cybertronian look. There are small bits on the shoulders that retains the G1 gun hammer protrusions. And of course the fusion cannon, the most iconic thing about Megatron, is well intact. I mean that both figuratively and literally, as the cannon cannot be detached from the figure. WFC Siege Megatron is well-proportioned. No weird G1 Megatron toy proportions here. He comes with a sword accessory, which I feel is kind of unnecessary. All in all, there’s a lot to be liked about the robot mode.

Transformation from robot to tank feels rehashed from, most notably, Generations Thrilling 30 Megatron and Combiner Wars Megatron. The arms come together over the back and squeezes the fusion cannon between them, collectively forming the turret. The legs rotate and fold to form the rear tank treads. The front tank treads that is stored on the back in robot mode folds outwards and rotates down for alt mode. And if you’re saying you have seen this movie before, I don’t blame you.

In tank mode, Megatron is distinctively Cybertronian. Other than the colors, he does not resemble his G1 Earth mode. In my opinion that’s a good thing, since all the other WFC Siege figs this month have their alt modes resemble their Earth forms a bit too much. The main turret does rotate a full 180, but the main cannon cannot be angled up or down. Tank treads are obviously non-working, and plastic wheels are present under each tread for actual movement. My biggest gripe about this mode is that the tank does not feel cohesive enough. The tabs that peg the front treads to the main body don’t seem to work that well. There is nothing pegging the front and rear tread together. The alt mode could have been much more stabilized if these few shortcomings were corrected.

Of all the WFC Siege figures acquired this month, I recommend Megatron the least. Overall he’s still fairly solid, and TF diehards will of course get a Megatron for their collection so what I say here probably won’t stop anybody from buying one. But if for some reason you had to cut one figure this month, Megatron gets my vote. Besides, in the months that follow, HasTak will repaint this numerous times. You will have many more opportunities to get one.

Optimus Prime

It’s no surprise that an Optimus Prime figure would be part of the first wave. Besides Megatron, the iconic Autobot leader is the other Voyager class figure we get in WFC Siege in the first wave. And this figure does not disappoint.

In robot mode, there’s no mistaking this character for anyone else. Prime’s iconic head and truck cab body are in full display. The colors and proportions of the figure are everything that you’ve come to expect from a G1-based Optimus Prime figure in the modern era. The included rifle unmistakably belongs to Prime. The figure also comes with an axe, and it never ceases to amaze me that Optimus only used the axe in one scene in G1 and all these toys accessories have been made for it for the past 25 years. Siege Optimus is quite poseable, with articulation points at all the places you expect.

Transformation to alt mode utilizes the standard overall scheme that’s been in place for Optimus since G1. There are some slight variations here and there, but there should be no surprises here for the seasoned TransFan. In this case it’s not a bad thing, and Optimus in any G1 reincarnation is too iconic for experimentation. The alt mode comes together nicely. Everything tabs into place where it should, with nothing dangling around. Prime rolls well on a flat surface. There are peg holes aplenty for both accessories. The axe blade and handle can both be compacted and tucked away. Much like Hound and Sideswipe, my only gripe is that his Cybertronian alt mode resembles way too closely to the cab of an Earth semi-trailer truck. I actually prefer his Cybertronian designs from the War For Cybertron video games or the War Within comics published by Dreamweave.

Hasbro has another winner with WFC Siege Optimus. Construction of the figure is solid all throughout. Everything is at the right tolerance. This figure does not take the Autobot Leader into uncharted toy territory, but it doesn’t need to. What this figure does, it does very well. Recommended.

Roadhandler and Swindler

Roadhandler and Swindler are the first Micromasters that I bought in the modern era. I have some G1 Micromasters, that I reviewed here. And just like G1, WFC Micromasters are released in packs and not individually. Roadhandler and Swindler make up the Autobot Race Car Patrol. Roadhandler is the red one, and Swindler (not to be confused with the infamous Swindle of Combaticons) is the grey one. I had to Google which is which.

In alt mode, these 2 figures ain’t too shabby. They each tab together well to form a cohesive unit. You can also easily tell what the alt modes are supposed to be. Roadhandler looks like a 80s Trans Am, while Swindler looks like a DeLorean (of Back to the Future fame). They are small, but you knew that going in.

Transformation is super obvious so I won’t even describe it. If you have played with any transforming robots at any time in your life, you know how these 2 transforms. The robot modes are mediocre at best. Because the transformation is so limited, the robot modes themselves are limited. All joints are cheap plastic ball joints, and parts love to pop off during transformation. For robots this small, I don’t know why they bother with articulation. It’s not like there’s much there to begin with. I much rather they sacrifice leg articulation for more stability. Roadhandler’s car hood ends up on his back, creating a back-heavy robot mode that doesn’t stand well.

A gimmick of these 2-pack WFC Siege Micromasters is that they will combine with each other to form a super weapon, for use with bigger WFC Siege figs (like Hound or Sideswipe). Roadhandler and Swindler will combine to form a cannon. But it’s so awful looking, like 2 half transformed cars stacked on top of one another. If you get this 2 pack, don’t even bother with this mode. I would later get Storm Cloud and Visper, and they do the weapon combination thing much, much better.

Roadhandler and Swindler retails for $10. I don’t think they are entirely worth it at this price. If you can find them for $5 or less, go for it. At more than that, you should stop and check yourself. There’s no shame in walking away from these 2.

Wreck-Gar

Last month I mentioned that Predaking was my final purchase from Power of the Primes. I was mistaken. The final purchase from that line is Wreck-Gar. I totally forgot about this purchase. It was never opened, and went straight to a box in my storage unit after purchase.

PotP Wreck-Gar is essentially a minor rework off of Protectobot Groove, from Combiner Wars. Hardcore TransFans like myself bought this store exclusive figure to complete the Protectobots and form Defensor in its proper G1 configuration. On its own, Combiner Wars Groove is ok at best.

I was travelling for work when I found Wreck-Far. I stopped into Walgreens for some essentials, and stumbled upon the figure. Wreck-Gar was probably a Walgreens exclusive, since I have not seen this figure anywhere else. I bought this figure for that reason alone. This will probably never get opened.

Dropkick

The only non WFC Siege purchase this month is Dropkick from the Bumblebee movie. Dropkick and his commander Shatter were two Decepticons sent to Earth in pursuit of Bumblebee. Shatter and Dropkick are both triple changers in the movie. To my knowledge, there exist no triple changing figures of these two characters, official or otherwise. It’s much like how they never made an Age of Extinction Drift that will transform into both a car and a helicopter, just one or the other. And in that tradition, Hasbro made figures that will only transform to one alt mode. Studio Series figure 22 is Dropkick that will transform into the chopper.

Dropkick is not half bad in chopper alt mode. The main body feels kinda skinny, but it reflects the look of this vehicle in real life. The details on the figure is more than sufficient for a figure at this price point. Painted logos of the US Air Force, the Jolly Roger, and caution signs provide some nice accents to the overall look. The main and tail rotors are both working. The canopy uses a separate clear piece. Dropkick sits well on his landing skids on a flat surface. There may be a tendency to fall back on the tail, but can be easily made to balance correctly.

Transformation of SS Dropkick is actually quite unique. The lower portion of the chopper body form the legs, while the tail boom become the arms. Cockpit folds down to form the chest, and during this process the head is revealed as well. Upper portion of the chopper body rotates 180. There’s a bit more transformation detail that I’m not describing, but that’s the high level summary. The overall transformation is not difficult by any means, but it’s not super intuitive either if you haven’t touched the figure for quite some time.

How I feel about the robot mode is a mixed bag. I can’t get over the fact that it’s such a skinny figure, a look that doesn’t quite resemble his movie appearance. The arms are weird too, being that it’s the chopper tail boom folded. The tail end doesn’t fold onto the arms completely, and are just left dangling to the sides. Articulation is not half bad, but in my opinion uses too many ball joints to achieve this result. The figure in robot mode is relatively proportionate, and balances well on a flat surface. Construction is decent. Some joints are a tad loose, but still offers enough support.

I don’t entirely recommend SS Dropkick, but I don’t hate it either. The alt mode is good and the transformation is refreshing. The robot mode is a bit too skinny and does not accurately resemble how he looks in the movie. And I know this may be unfair, but Bumblebee Dropkick has gotta be a triple changer. Having just one mode feels incomplete.

That will do it for the TFs in January of 2019. Here is the summary if you just want the Cliff Notes version.

Recommended:

  • Hound
  • Sideswipe
  • Cog
  • Optimus Prime

Not Recommended

  • Roadhandler and Swindler
  • Wreck-Gar

You Decide:

  • Megatron
  • Dropkick

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in December 2018

December 20th, 2020 No comments

2018 ends on a high note. There were purchases from official TF lines, 3rd party, and 4th party. A brand new line in the TF CHUG-verse also kicked off this month, which takes us past the Prime Wars Trilogy and into a whole new era. And I think for the first time in the history of this blog, a single character had 3 separate purchases in one month.

That’s a lot to get to. Let’s begin.

  • G1 Bumblebee, Walmart, $7.86

  • Studio Series Grimlock, hasbrotoyshop.com, $39.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Blowpipe, amazon.com, $5.99

  • War For Cybertron Siege Firedrive, amazon.com, $5.99

  • Power of the Primes Predaking, toydojo.com, $99.99

  • Ocular Max Artifex, toydojo.com, $49.99

  • x-Transbots Toro, eBay seller, $49.21

  • Mech Fans Toys Grmlock, toydojo.com, $24.99

  • Fans Toys Grinder, eBay seller, $141.09

Many of these figures were covered in the special 2018 Black Friday post. I will give more detailed treatment here.

Bumblebee

This is the Generation 1 Bumblebee toy that started it all. This figure needs no introduction. Here we have a Walmart G1 Commemorative re-issue. The head is styled more like Bumblebee in the G1 cartoons and not the original G1 toy.

I have an original G1 Bumblebee. It was not purchased from a store. If memory serves, some kid at my school (who I can’t recall) didn’t want it anymore, so I took it. The figure was never in the best shape. One arm was already somewhat loose and floppy when the figure became mine. But still, this is Bumblebee, so I kept it all this time. The condition of the figure only got worse with age, but I am happy to say I have an original copy of perhaps the most iconic TF character of all time.

When I found this re-issue at Walmart, I found several other G1 Mini-bot re-issues as part of the same wave. But the other bots were not from Season 1 or 2, they were from Season 3. I remember distinctively I saw Outback, Swerve, and Tailgate. Possibly Pipes too. It’s as if they took the Encore Mini Vehicle 5-pack, reproduced the figs, and released them individually. The Bumblebee in this 5-pack also has the G1 cartoon head, which further supports that notion. Anyways, I don’t really care for any of the Season 3 Mini-bots, so I didn’t buy them this time.

This re-issue of Bumblebee remains unopened. It will probably stay that way.

Blowpipe, Firedrive

Blowpipe and Firedrive are my first entries into a new era of Transformers in the CHUG-verse called War For Cybertron: Siege. Much like the Prime Wars Trilogy, War For Cybertron will also be a trilogy. The first chapter is called Siege. This War For Cybertron has nothing to do with the video game series that was first released in the early 2010s.

I have always said that I like the Targetmasters more than the Headmasters. So it is nice to see Targetmasters officially get some love in this new era. And what better way to kick off Siege than with Targetmasters. In this new era, they are called Battlemasters.

G1 fans know that Blowpipe is the weapon for Triggerhappy. More hardcore G1 fans will recognize that Firedrive is really Firebolt, the weapon for Hot Rod (after he is Rodimus Prime no more and became a Targetmaster).

Blowpipe and Firedrive are technically different molds. They transform differently, but it’s virtually identical to each other. Just like G1, the transformation process is painfully simple. These new Battlemasters do have some limited articulation, which is superior to G1 in which there was no articulation at all. In weapon mode, the arms and legs does peg in to designated spots, giving this mode a more cohesive feel. They each come with blast effects. Not really my thing, but some fans will dig it.

At $5.99 each I think the price is a bit high. In my opinion they should be half that. But I still wholeheartedly recommend them.

Grimlock

Studio Series 08 Grimlock is the first Grimlock that is featured in this post. I bought him when he was first released at full MSRP, in the summer of 2018. Then I debated if I really want him, and came to the conclusion that maybe I didn’t. So I returned him to the store.

On Black Friday week of 2018, Hasbro was letting this guy go at $39.99. I had another 10% off coupon, which was valid on top of that price. I couldn’t resist the temptation a second time, so I bought him again, this time for keeps.

So was he worth buying? Yes and no. The T-Rex mode is great. This is the best looking Movie dinosaur that HasTak has ever produced, across all the TF Movie lines. If there is one positive about this figure that everyone agrees on, it’s the paint job. HasTak spared no expense here and really gave this figure a quality paint application that no one would find fault with. The result is a menacing, movie-accurate T-Rex that does justice to the character. At leader class, he also scales well with other SS figs. SS Grimlock is not the first leader class Movie Grimlock made, but it’s the best looking one, by far.

The robot mode, however, is so-so at best. As of this writing, I really don’t remember it too well anymore. I just remember the robot mode being unimpressive. I transformed him to T-Rex, and Grimlock stayed like that for 2 years. This figure is on top of a shelf, all this time. My wife really likes this figure, so it never got put away.

If you can find this fig at a reasonable price, and you must have an awesome looking Movie Grimlock in your collection, then he is a buy.

Predaking

HasTak has finally decided to give their G1 Predacons team a proper update in the modern era. Plenty of 3Ps have given their attempts already, such as the Feralcons by MMC. It’s about time HasTak gave it a go on their own property. And on a related but separate note, this may be my very last purchase from the Power of the Primes line.

When toy companies do a modern update to combiners, they have to prioritize which mode gets the optimization emphasis. In a perfect world, the individual robot modes, individual alt modes, and the combined mode would all be great. In this world, extra combining parts would not be necessary, and the figures would scale nicely at every mode, to other figs and to themselves. We don’t live in that world.

With Predaking, HasTak has very obviously chose to optimize for the combined mode. And it is awesome! I dare say that no 3P or 4P has produced a better looking Predaking, in the modern era. He’s big and proportionate. The arms and legs look proper scale in relation to the body. Predaking is a very stable figure, no issues standing on it’s own weight. For a gestalt, he’s fairly poseable. If this is the only mode you care for, then this is the toy for you.

From here, things unfortunately go downhill. Let’s talk about the individual robot modes next. Some are ok, but none of them are great. Divebomb has to haul around that giant wing/backpack assembly that has no where else to go in this mode. Tantrum and Headstrong both look horrible when viewed from the back. The thigh part in combined mode simply hangs off their backs.

Things get even worse in beast modes. Most of them don’t look all that great. The 4-legged beasts simply look like boxes with legs. Razorclaw feels like the smallest of the 5, despite being the leader and forming the chest. The thigh part in combined mode tucks underneath the body of Tantrum and Headstrong, making for a really weird look.

Extra combiner parts are necessary to form Predaking. They are accounted for in the individual modes. For example, the feet pieces can be held or attached as weapons. Lots of combiner toys use this tactic so HasTak isn’t the only guilty party here, but it is something I wanted point out.

I know all this sounds really negative. But overall I still give Predaking a recommendation. The combined mode is really just that good to justify the other weaknesses in this set. And honestly, I don’t see HasTak making another Predaking anytinme soon. None of the 3P Predakings are perfect, either. Most fans buy this set for Predaking, and in that purpose, this set delivers.

Artifex

Artifex is MMC’s interpretation of a Masterpiece-style Hoist. And I’ll get straight to it: this is a disappointing figure. The design of the figure itself is solid enough, but where things really go south is in the manufacturing. Artifex’s joints are way too loose. He can kind of hold poses, but only if you position it very carefully. The figure during transformation is one floppy mess. Some of Artifex’s accessories also don’t properly fit where they should. One of his cannons is supposed to rotate, but too much paint made it unmovable. I tried to force it, and it just broke. The seller was nice enough to get replacement parts for me (thank you ToyDojo!).

Going back to alt mode, it is extremely difficult to get the whole unit to assemble back together. The joints are just too damn loose. Nothing holds in place. Aligning multiple floppy parts into a cohesive whole of a truck will test even the most patient. When I decided to put Artifex away, I was never able to fully get Artifex back into truck with everything properly tabbed together. I did the best I could and put him back in the box.

As of this writing, I have sold Artifex. One bright point of this is I actually sold Artifex for more than I bought it for. But you should not buy Artifex. I believe the best MP Hoist on the market right now is X-Transbots Paean. I have X-Transbots Aegis (their homage to Trailbreaker). He’s excellent, so I’m hoping Paean is just as good.

Toro

I bought Toro on eBay from a seller based in China. Yes I used eBay again after I ranted against using the platform. I chose not to take my own advice. But this was from a seller I had used before and the transaction was good. I had enough faith to use them again, and they did not disappoint with Toro.

I touched on Toro in the special 2018 Black Friday post, but a lot of it is worth repeating again because he’s just so awesome. He comes in a small box. To me this is already a pro, because when you have as many TFs as I do, you need the space. Toro is packed in alt mode. He is a beautiful race car in this mode, something that more closely resembles an 80’s Porsche than the toy minicar that he was in G1. Some fans knock this for being G1 inaccurate, but I welcome this update.

Transformation to robot mode is straightforward. The robot mode appearance is spot on to the G1 show. Some fans knock it for having a chest that doesn’t transform into the car’s cabin, but I think it’s fine. Toro is pretty poseable, with superb construction and joints at the right tightness. Quality materials are used. The paint job deserves special mention. Really, it looks that good. If I was to compile a top 10 figures with the best paint job, Toro would be in there.

I can’t talk about Toro without mentioning the accessories. He comes with a lot! Upon opening the box, they’re packed on this sled type thing that doubles has his alt mode water-skis and a weapon storage unit. For weapons, he comes with 3 pistols, and that giant bazooka that we saw him use in the first ep of G1.

If you want an MP Cliffjumper, get Toro. It’s that simple.

Grmlock

That is not a typo. This 4th party figure is Grmlock. They dropped one letter in the name but it’s fooling no one. And I think that’s the intent.

Grmlock got a quick mention in a post about my Grimlock collection, the 2nd one made on this blog. One aspect about this figure that’s worth repeating is that he transforms differently from the standard Grimlock scheme that every TransFan is familiar with. And like all the other MFT products of this line, the paint job is superb and the joints are super tight.

I recommend this figure. It’s one of the better G1 style Grimlocks made. I don’t think Grmlock scales well with any of the official TF lines, like CHUG or MP. He may go well with a smaller scale of G1 style figures that many 3rd parties have been pumping out lately, such as those from Newage, Magic Square, Iron Factory, or DX9. And yes, these MFT figs are KOs of DX9 War in Pocket Dinobots. If that changes your opinion about these MFT figures, don’t buy them. If you don’t care, then these KOs deserve a place on your shelf.

Grinder

This is the third and final Grimlock to be featured this month. In Feb of 2016 I got two Onslaughts, and in March of 2018 I got two Sludges. This is probably the first time that one character had three different figures in a single month, and I’m glad that’s Grimlock. He’s an Autobot worthy of such an honor.

Grinder also got a quick mention, in that same post about my Grimlock collection. In short, he’s fantastic. If you want a Grimlock for your MP collection, then Grinder is a required purchase. He scales nicely with other MPs. Both modes look good. He’s well built. Transforms intuitively and smoothly. My only gripe was that I don’t like the default dino head. Apparently a lot of other fans had the same complaint, and so FT produced a 2nd dino head that can be purchased separately. I have since bought this 2nd dino head, but I haven’t tried it yet. I will be sure to do that soon and report back.

I believe my copy of Grinder was the 2nd batch of this figure released by Fans Toys. I did not buy Grinder when first released, because I felt that the official Masterpiece Grimlock (MP-08) represented the the MP Dinobot Leader in my collection. But all the FT Iron Dibots are so well made, and MP-08 is really too small when scaled with them. So I got Grinder to complete the Iron Dibots set when FT re-released the figure. Here are links to the other 4 Iron Dibots:

I was quite fortunate to find Grinder on eBay at such a good price. This was from an eBay seller in China that I had never used. I was hesitant, and the price seemed a tad too good to be true. But the seller had over 1000 positives, so I took a chance. Glad it all worked out. Grinder arrived on 12/31/2018. Just made to cutoff to be included in my 2018 Transformers.

And that does it for 2018. I’m getting way too lazy writing about these purchase posts. It’s now Dec of 2020, and I’m writing about Dec of 2018. Two years behind. Maybe one of my resolutions for 2021 is to catch up on this stuff.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in November 2018

September 3rd, 2020 No comments

Only 2 figures were purchased for Nov of 2018. Both figures are from the Power of the Primes Evolution series.

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

  • Power of the Primes Evolution Nemesis Prime, amazon.com, $32.99

Both these figures were presented in this special Black Friday post. There are some minor details that’s worth repeating here. Being that they are both from the Evolution series in Power of the Primes, they each have 4 modes.

Optimal Optimus

When I found this figure at Target, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted him. I enjoyed Beast Wars, but I’m a G1 guy at heart. Figures that come from other TF lines are a lower priority for me. But Optimal Optimus does look cool in the box. And I’ve been mostly impressed with the Evolution series thus far. “Just buy it!”, said my wife, as she got sick of waiting for me to make up my mind while in the store. That was all the nudging I needed. And that was smart, since I never saw this figure in store again.

Optimal Optimus is an entertaining and fun figure. He represents all 3 forms of Optimus that we see in Beast Wars. First we have the base Optimus Primal figure, which is the smaller black and white component in this toy. That’s the first mode. This component transforms into a flying hoverboard (yes you read that right) used by the next form of Optimus Primal, the larger transmetal gorilla figure. Alternatively, the smaller component can transform into a backpack with weapons for the gorilla. This is the 2nd mode. The two components then come together to form Optimal Optimus, the final evolution of this character in Beast Wars. This is the 3rd mode. In this mode, Optimal Optimus can transform into a Cybertronian jet. And that’s the 4th mode. Yes I know on paper this all sounds very hokey and gimmicky. And yes this figure is a bit guilty of all those qualities. But I’m gonna guess that BW fans love this. This is the first time in TF history that we got a single figure who can decently represent Optimus Primal in all his forms in the show. Hasbro should be applauded for even attempting this. The end result is not perfect, but each mode is decent enough on its own.

BW fans should definitely not pass up on this figure. And I do recommend this for all other TransFans that want something different and original. If you don’t fall into either of these 2 groups, then this purchase would be optional. Optional Optimus. Yes, bad puns at their best.

Nemesis Prime

Evolution Nemesis Prime is an Amazon-exclusive repaint of Evolution Optimus Prime, with some minor mold differences and the inclusion of some additional weapons. Checking my TF List, this is only my 3rd Nemesis Prime figure. The other 2 I have is Alternator Nemesis Prime, and the Thrilling 30 legend class Nemesis Prime.

The only mold difference I’m aware of is in the heads. Nemesis Prime’s head is designed to look like that of Optimus, but everything is more triangular. The mouth piece, eyes, crown, and overall shape of the face, all more extremely triangular and angled. Looking directly from the front, the face kind of resembles the Decepticon symbol. I love it! To me this makes sense too, since Nemesis is supposed to be a different character from Optimus. The smaller base figure gets a new head mold too, though I’m not sure what this is supposed to be. I have no idea who “evolves” into Nemesis Prime, or if that even makes sense.

Nemesis Prime gets quite a bit of additional weapons. The first are two large grey twin-cannons, that can be used in the large robot mode and the truck mode. Next is the inclusion of a red sword. Finally, we have a grey sword that can transform into a bird! All the new weapons alone make this set worthy of purchase on its own, even if you already have Optimus.

I need to mention that construction of this figure is not as good as Evolution Optimus Prime. It’s not terrible, and nowhere near as bad as Evolution Rodimus Prime. But I just wanted to point out that there are some joints that feel a tad too loose, and I don’t remember Evolution Optimus Prime having those issues.

I bought this figure for $32.99 on a Cyber Monday sale, from Amazon. Checking the site now, this figure goes for more than $250! Wow. TFs are like stocks. You never know how they’re gonna go. If I can go back in time, I buy a few more of these. Heck, I’ll buy more Amazon stock. Then come back to my own time and retire.

That’s it for this month. One more purchase post left for 2018, and then it’s on to 2019! Yay. Better late than never I always say.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in October 2018

July 31st, 2020 No comments

2018 continues with more TF goodies. Surprisingly, nothing from Power of the Primes (which was the current CHUG line at the time) and nothing from trusted 3Ps. Everything this month is Studio Series, G1 reissues, or 4P products.

  • Studio Series Shadow Raider, amazon.com, $19.99

  • Studio Series Bumblebee, amazon.com, $19.99

  • Studio Series Ironhide, amazon.com, $29.99

  • G1 Hot Rod, Walmart, $29.84

  • NBK Drump Truck, eBay seller, $12.74

  • NBK Mixer, eBay seller, $12.74

  • Kubianbao MP10-V Tactical Container, eBay, $34.76

Shadow Raider

Shadow Raider is a repaint of Studio Series 11 Lockdown. Overall, I like Shadow Raider better. I dig the orange colors. And I like his head mold. It’s as if Lockdown is wearing that green night vision helmet that we see him sport in Age of Extinction. I also like that Shadow Raider comes with an awesome looking gun, as opposed to that claw or hook thing that Lockdown has. If you already have SS Lockdown, then you may not want to buy essentially the same figure again. But if you don’t, then I recommend SS Shadow Raider over SS Lockdown, for the reasons I listed.

And now that I think on it, this orange Lamborghini reminds me of Revenge of the Fallen Oil Pan. The only pic I have of Oil Pan on this blog is this Halloween 2012 Pic (scroll to the most bottom pic, Oil Pan is the orange Lamborghini). I probably still have Oil Pan somewhere. Shadow Raider was featured in a Halloween post here.

Bumblebee

And here we have yet another movie Bumblebee. I swear, I’m so sick of writing about movie Bumblebees. Hasbro churned these out over and over and really forced this character down our throats. But this Studio Series Bumblebee transforms into a VW Bug, so I felt obligated to get one.

G1 purists will get this figure for the VW alt mode, but that’s about all this figure as going for it. Mechanically, this feels like all movie Bumblebees before it. The figure offers nothing new as far as transformation scheme. Take any deluxe movie Bumblebee made in the last 5 years, and imagine that it transforms into a VW Bug and not a Camaro. That’s how this figure feels.

Construction wise, this figure is also not the best. The joints are tolerable, but a bit too loose for my liking. Going to alt mode, SS 18 Bumblebee feels very much like a panel former. And the panels don’t come together that easily, because of the sub-par construction. Trying to combine panels when the build is too loose is not a fun exercise. Everything does come together in the end, but getting there is not pleasant.

Hasbro does sometimes improve their figures, then release the improved mold as a new figure. Case in point, SS 01 Bumblebee was later improved and released as SS 27 Clunker Bumblebee. I don’t have SS 27, but supposedly it fixed some stability problems. Will SS 18 also get an improvement sometime in the future? Only time will tell. In the mean time, get SS 18 Bumblebee if you must have a movie representation of everyone’s favorite hero as the VW Bug. Just don’t expect any originality here. You’ve seen this before.

Ironhide

Studio Series 14 Ironhide is a figure that I still have not opened to this day. I’m not sure why that is. I had every intention of opening this, but life gets in the way, other stuff happens. And before you know it, nearly 2 years go by and it’s still sitting in a box in the closet, unopened and collecting dust.

And I doubt I will open it now. A quick search on Amazon tells me that a new copy of SS 14 Ironhide goes for nearly $150! Yikes! Why is this figure is so valuable? Did they not make that many? Looking through the Amazon reviews, SS 14 appears to be a terrific figure. Some even prefer this over the MPM version.

I am really tempted to open SS 14 to check it out for myself. But on the other hand I don’t want to intentionally destroy $150 of value. What am I gonna do? Woe is me.

Hot Rod

This G1 Hot Rod reissue is a Walmart Exclusive. In G1, I had the Targetmaster version, so this is a figure I know well. Hot Rod is definitely one of the better figures from G1 Season 3. Of course, he is the star of the G1 Movie, so it makes sense for Hasbro to construct a figure worthy of our hero.

I normally don’t purchase G1 reissues from Walmart that they have released in the last several years. I feel weird saying that, since I re-started my TF collecting 16 years ago with G1 reissues. Looking at my TF List, I certainly have bought a lot of G1 reissues over the years. This means I have most of the figures being released now. And these new reissues are kind of pricey, for what they are. Perhaps that’s why I don’t feel the love for G1 reissues anymore.

But with all that being said, I bought this reissue of Hot Rod. I did that for 4 reasons: 1) I had the Targetmaster version, not the Season 3 version, which is what this is, 2) I don’t have Hot Rod as a reissue, 3) this is a good toy for G1 standards, and 4) he is the star of the G1 Movie.

My only regret is that I bought him way too soon. I got him at regular MSRP of close to $30. Walmart apparently had way too many of these, and within a month started dropping prices at my local store. At first they dropped to $25. At that price they still sat on the shelves. Then they were slashed to $15. Even at this price, they weren’t exactly moving. My local store even put them in the clearance section. I thought they would go down to $10, and at that price I’ll buy another one. But that never happened. It was pushing up against the holiday season, and at $15 many parents probably jumped on this. Either that, or some scalper came in and bought them all. I should have got another one when it was $15. If I did, I would open up one of them, and compare to my G1 Targetmaster fig. Oh well.

Dump Truck, Mixer

Here we have 2 more NBK Constructicons. After buying the first 4, I had to get these last 2 to complete this famous sextet in my collection. Dump Truck and Mixer is obviously Long Haul and Mixmaster, respectively. I love how NBK is just using their alt mode as their names. Actually, these may be the names that Generation Toy is using for the genuine article, and NBK is too lazy to come up with their own.

I like Dump Truck. I like the look of both of his molds. Transformation is not hard, but feels complex enough for a figure of his size. Speaking of size, all the NBK Constructicons are about voyager size. Many other modern Constructicon teams absolutely butcher Long Haul. Some of them make him way too big or too bulky, being out of scale of with the other team members (I’m looking at you). Some of them have production problems, being that Long Haul fails to be stable enough to be Devastator’s center. NBK Dump Truck shares none of these faults. Alt mode looks good, robot mode is just a tad bulky (as he should be, from the design), and overall he’s stable enough to provide adequate center of gravity for the gestalt. There are some panels that are difficult to tab together when transforming back to alt mode. It’s a slight distraction and does reduce my overall satisfaction with the piece. But, on a whole, Dump Truck is still a recommended 4th party figure.

Mixer is my final addition to this team. Unfortunately, much like Crane, my feelings for this figure is not as positive. Mixer is another piece where shoddy construction ruins a figure. Going from alt to robot, as soon as you un-peg the arms, the giant mixer barrel falls out. I don’t think this is intended, as the instructions never show it removed for any purpose. Alt mode looks pretty good. Robot mode could be better. I don’t like the large side panels on the arms, near the shoulders. Having the mixer barrel stay on in robot mode is not easy (again, don’t think it’s supposed to come off). In their defense, I don’t think any of the modern Constructicon teams does Mixmaster that well. None of them have figured out what to properly do with the mixer barrel in robot mode. It’s possible that the genuine article from Generation Toys does have the barrel stay on. The NBK figure is a floppy, frustrating mess.

With all 6 NBK Constructicons complete, they can combine and form Devastator. That deserves a review of its own, but I’ll just say quickly here that the combined form is impressive. Many will undoubtedly compare this to ToyWorld Constructor. I don’t think it’s fair to say here which is better. A lot of it will depend on what you value as a TransFan. But I will review NBK Devastator. A discussion on comparisons will be offered in that review.

MP10-V Tactical Container

In March of 2018, I acquired KBBMP10-V by Kubianbao. Yes, we all know what this is, a KO voyager size figure of perhaps the most famous MP to date. And Yes, KBBMP10-V is the name of this figure. Any true TransFans should be able to easily decipher it. It’s original, humorous, and lazy. I can’t get enough of 4th party shenanigans.

MP10-V Tactical Container is the trailer to that figure. And I’ll get straight to it: this is good! KBBMP10-V screamed high production values, and its trailer is no different. KBB is 4th party. When 4th companies can produce products that are superior in quality to the originals, it’s high time HasTak take a look in the mirror and do some serious soul searching.

Everyone already knows what modern Optimus trailers needs to feature today. So I’ll just quickly point out the pros and features of MP10-V Tactical Container in bullet points:

  • Beautiful paint job
  • Rubber tires on trailer
  • Spike figure included
  • Roller included (silver color)
  • Retractable ramp
  • Extendable drone module
  • Extendable antenna and claw on drone module
  • Trailer also functions as repair bay
  • Storage for all of KBBMP10-V’s weapons
  • Spike can sit in Roller, drone module, and a control unit inside the trailer
  • Drone module can be extended outside in trailer mode
  • Gap covers for hole used for drone module extension in trailer mode
  • Automatic down deployment of stabilizers when side supports move outward
  • Roller’s rear top can be transformed to allow for towing of trailer

Look at all the features above – this thing is just awesome! I’m probably forgetting some features too.

MP10-V Tactical Container is totally worth the money. I recommend this purchase with no hesitation.

That’s it for this month. Stats for the month:

  • 3 Studio Series figs
  • 1 G1 reissue
  • 3 4th party items

Until next time… Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in September 2018

July 16th, 2020 No comments

September 2018 is full of TF goodies. I bought products of all kinds: official, 3rd party, and 4th party!

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

  • Power of the Primes Rodimus Unicronus, Target, $44.99

  • Power of the Primes Quintus Prime, Target, $4.99

  • Power of the Primes Solus Prime, Target, $4.99

  • Power of the Primes Megatronus, Target, $4.99

  • Power of the Primes Punch-Counterpunch, amazon.com, $24.99

  • Bumblebee Bumblebee, Walmart, $4.93

  • Cyberverse Shockwave, Target, $14.99

  • Masterpiece Movie Series Barricade, tfsource.com, $79.99

  • NBK Excavator, eBay seller, $11.81

  • NBK Crane, eBay seller, $12.74

  • MakeToys Downbeat, tfsource.com, $99.99

  • DX9 Richthofen, eBay seller, $62.17

When I first started tracking my monthly purchases, back in Feb of 2012, I pretty much just listed the TFs along with where I got it and for how much. Somewhere along the line, I thought it would be cool to also include pics of each fig opened. Then I kinda went into mini-reviews of each fig. One of the more recent purchase post that I did was for July 2018. These kind of posts take way too long to do. Digging out the figures, taking pictures of them, then writing about them takes a lot longer than one realize. I’m never gonna catch up to where I am currently (July 2020) at this rate.

So today I’m going old school. Much like Feb 2012, I’m just gonna say a few bits about each. These posts are more about what I bought, and not reviews. Here we go.

Novastar

Novastar will always be Firestar for those of us hardcore enough in G1 to know better. I’m guessing the name change is for legal trademark reasons, as I can easily see the term Firestar used elsewhere. Power of the Primes Novastar is a repaint of Moonracer from the same line. And as such, this figure has all the same strengths and weaknesses. The biggest weakness is that giant kibble of a backpack in robot form. She’s also a bit of a shell-former.

Novastar does get a new unique head mold and different weapons, so there are some redeeming features here. Of course G1 enthusiasts like myself will be buying this figure, if purely for G1 nostalgia. Seeing physical manifestation of something designed in the 80s is more than enough reason to reach nerdgasm.

Go to the post for Moonracer for a more detailed discussion of the figure.

Rodimus Unicronus

The 2nd repaint this month is Rodimus Unicronus. This is a repaint of Power of the Primes Evolution Rodimus Prime. I sort of reviewed Evolution Rodimus Prime in that post, but I did kind of skimp on the details. This figure does need a more detailed treatment, but that’s for another day.

Fans seem to be very divided on Evolution Rodimus Prime. There are those that love the figure, like me. And then there are the haters. If you’re like me, you like how the figure has 4 molds, representing all the forms of both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime. The depiction is G1 accurate, and while the figure is not perfect, all forms are more than decent. If you’re a hater, then you don’t like the giant shoulders and giant back kibble in Rodimus Prime robot mode, the long arms of Hot Rod robot mode, and the puzzle-forming.

With Rodimus Unicronus, I thought I was getting the same fig as Evolution Rodimus Prime, just with different colors and a different head mold. That would have been sufficient. I’m sad to point out that Rodimus Unicronus is constructed so poorly that this feels like an entirely different figure. The prime (pun intended) culprit is the super loose hips of the large robot mode. Rodimus Unicronus weighs quite a bit with all pieces attached in robot mode, and the weak hips can barely support it in A-stance. Never mind posing him in any other stance in this mode. In the RV vehicle mode, pieces don’t seem to come together as well, when compared to Evolution Rodimus Prime. Connecting the car to trailer takes more work, and attaching the arms on top of the trailer is literally a chore. Getting everything lined up and flush seems impossible.

I cannot recommend this figure. Bad build has deemed this unplayable. Get Evolution Rodimus Prime, but stay away from this.

Quintus Prime, Solus Prime, Megatronus

This month features 3 more Prime Masters. I normally don’t pay much attention to “Master” figs. I feel like they’re not fully qualified figs, more like accessories. But I love Prime Masters, something I’ve mentioned repeatedly on this blog. I like that they’re both Targetmasters and Pretenders rolled into one. Yes I hate Pretenders, but only for full-sized figs. For accessory figs, I actually think it’s kinda cool.

I gave stellar reviews to Prime Masters in months past (see Jan 2018 and July 2018), and the 3 featured this month is no exception. I love how the shells are homages to G1 Pretenders. Quintus Prime is Bludgeon, Solus Prime is Octopunch, and Megatronus is Bomb-Burst.

Mechanically, these 3 don’t offer anything beyond a painfully simple transformation scheme, similar to all Prime Masters before them. But again, I see them more as accessories. So any transformation is better than none, no matter how simple. And at $4.99 each, you really can’t lose.

Punch-Counterpunch

Power of the Primes Punch-Counterpunch is a fig that I have been waiting for some time. I’m partial to figs that I own, and yes I have G1 Punch-Counterpunch. I still remember the day that I bought him. My parents dropped me off at the mall while they had some business to attend to. They gave me some spending money, which was rare. I ran straight to the toy store (I think it was KB Toys, but not sure anymore). I looked long and hard at all the Transformers, and after about 2 hours I decided to buy Punch-Counterpunch. Even the check-out clerk commented to me about my long decision.

For those that don’t know, Punch-Counterpunch is a “Double Agent”. He has both an Aubobot robot mode and a Decepticon robot mode, named Punch and Counterpunch respectively. And one car alt mode. (Sidebar: The only other fig in the entire TF-verse that has this twin robot feature is TF Animated Shockwave.) Punch is in reality an Autobot, but he transforms into Counterpunch to infiltrate the Decepticon ranks and gather intel. He had a very short appearance in Season 4 Rebirth episode 1. As Counterpunch he stumbled on Pounce and Wingspan up to no good, and tried to take them down as Punch. For that effort, he got his ass handed to him.

PotP Punch-Counterpunch is a fig that was worth the wait. As far as I can tell, he’s a brand new mold, designed specifically to be the character. The overall transformation scheme is similar to G1, but more advanced. The legs have panels that extend and wrap around the car mode. That’s probably the biggest difference.

As Punch, the robot mode looks pretty good. I think the car bits that form the shoulders are too long, and they could have perhaps did a better job to compact them in a bit more. But that’s my only gripe about this mode. The car alt mode is absolutely gorgeous. It feels solid and cohesively formed. There is room under the car to store the weapon, and even with that there’s enough clearance to have the car roll on a flat surface. As Counterpunch, I find no weaknesses in the robot mode. Even the red Autobot hands are flipped in for the blue Decepticon hands to flip out. Very very cool. Of course in G1 he had a completely separate set of forearms, but I like this interpretation equally well.

Punch-Counterpunch comes with another Prime Master, Prima Prime. He also comes with another Combiner War style accessory, that forms either the hand or feet for a Combiner. It’s a mystery to me why Punch-Counterpunch would need such an accessory. It’s possible that Punch-Counterpunch can be used as a limb to a Combiner.

My only gripe about this whole package is that he only comes with one weapon, the yellow pistol. In G1, that was only the weapon for Punch, while Counterpunch had a black rifle. Also, in G1, the yellow pistol was twin-barrel, while this new PotP version is single barrel. A minor gripe, but something to point out to all the G1 purists.

I recommend PotP Punch-Counterpunch with no reservation.

Bumblebee

I only got this Bumblebee because I was looking forward to the movie Bumblebee. And this is the first time in a LONG time that we got a mass retail Bumblebee that transforms into an official VW Bug. Plus at this small size, it reminds me of G1 Bumblebee. To this day, this figure remains the only figure I bought from Bumblebee. Yes I got Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime, but I consider that more Studio Series, and not Bumblebee.

All in all, this is an ok fig. Nothing wrong with fig itself, but nothing to write home about either. How you think this fig would transform is exactly how it does. Purchase of this is fig is completely optional.

Shockwave

The whole Cyberverse line of toys caught me completely by surprise. I was not expecting them at all, then one day at Target I saw Cyberverse Ultimate Class Optimus and Megatron. Warrior Class figs appeared soon after that. Many online reviewers gave glowing reviews to Shockwave, so I bought one.

I already went into this figure in this post. Overall, he’s ok. To summarize, he’s easy to transform. The gimmicks are kinda entertaining. The robot mode is unmistakably Shockwave, but the alt mode could be more G1 if you ask me. I’m not really feeling this walking tank. Cyberverse figs reminds me of Robot in Disguise figs. They feel like cheap plastic held together by even cheaper ball joints. Good for young children to mess with for a few hours, but collectors need not bother.

If you have a thing for Shockwave, then this fig should do you no wrong. For everyone else, this is not a required purchase by any stretch of the imagination.

Barricade

Masterpiece Barricade is a figure worthy of your time. I gave my thoughts in that same post mentioned earlier for Shockwave. Movie Masterpieces are designated MPM. I guess that’s short for MP Movie. To this day, MPM Barricade remains the only fig I have from this line. I am tempted to buy more MPMs, but I’m a G1 guy at heart and MPMs just aren’t a priority.

Truth be told, I only bought MPM Barricade because he was on sale. But I’m glad I did. MPM Barricade is the only Barricade you need in your collection. I have 3 other deluxe Barricades, and none of them are all that good. MPM Barricade fixes all that and more. He feels weighty in your hands, with high quality plastic used throughout the fig. There could be some die-cast, but I’m not sure. The alt mode is a great representation of the Ford Mustang as a police car, and the robot mode is the most screen accurate Barricade that HasTak has produced. The paint job on this figure is superb. Transformation is tad challenging, but nowhere near impossible. He only comes with one accessory, which is that spinning blade thing we see him use in the movie. The arm does need to be transformed a bit to attach the accessory.

MPM Barricade gets a strong recommendation from me. If you love movie figs, this is a required purchase.

Excavator, Crane

Here are two more 4th party NBK Constructicons. The first one I got was Bulldozer, and the next one I got was Scraper. At this point, I think I was buying them more to complete the set. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad figs. Not in the least.

Excavator is another fine addition in this NBK line. He’s not quite as good as Bulldozer, but better than Scraper, in my opinion. Both modes look good and the transformation is fun. The overall transformation scheme is fairly G1 accurate. My only gripe about this figure is that the excavator arm in robot mode is way too big. When attached, the fig becomes back heavy. It can be removed, but I didn’t try it. However it should be noted that this is a common problem among all modern Scavenger figures.

I would say Crane is the weakest figure in this line so far. The alt mode is quite solid, everything coming together with no issues. The crane arm works too, which is a plus. The robot mode is where this thing falls apart. Bad construction hurts this figure. Some parts of the robot becomes a floppy mess. Of note is the crane arm in robot mode. It doesn’t really stay in place on the back, and having it angled over the shoulder is even worse. I do wonder if the genuine article of this figure is better constructed.

Downbeat

As of this writing, if you want a Jazz in your MP collection, then go with Downbeat. There is not a better G1 MP Jazz on the market right now. I sort of featured Downbeat back in this post. Jazz is my favorite TF character of all time. I had to have him in MP form, and I got sick of waiting for HasTak to do it. So it’s MakeToys to the rescue.

Downbeat gets a strong recommendation from me on all counts. He looks good in both modes. Transformation is a pleasure, just challenging enough to be fun yet not frustrating. Overall transformation scheme follows the G1 paradigm, and not something out of left field. The looks of the figure is completely G1 accurate, in both modes. The aesthetics of the robot mode is simple, much like the animation. The door panels in robot mode can be hidden or flipped out, so you get to configure Jazz like the show or the toy. He comes with plenty of accessories (rifle, shoulder rocket launcher, grappling hook, and more). Downbeat is the perfect Jazz package.

Some fans complain about the alt mode, where from the back you can see bits hang down below the rear bumper. Honestly, when you see the figure in hand, it’s not that bad. It looks worse than it is in pictures. Personally I would not let this issue keep you from buying an otherwise great figure.

As of this writing, Fans Toys have announced their plans for Jazz. Fans Toys is generally considered the best in the business for 3P TFs. But FT’s plans for Jazz could literally be years away. FT announced their plans for Blitzwing more than 2 years ago, and so far we only see renders. Only Primus knows how long before FT Jazz really materializes. In the mean time, go with MakeToys Downbeat. I’ve had mine for almost 2 years now. FT Jazz may indeed be better, but Downbeat is already at the party. How long you want to wait for FT Jazz to show up is up to you.

Richthofen

Richthofen is another great 3P MP figure this month. I featured DX9’s Powerglide here and here.

Richthofen is the best MP Powerglide on the market now. And I’m not aware of any future attempts on a MP Powerglide. Richthofen has a fun, intuitive transformation. Both modes look extremely good and very G1 accurate. The build is super solid. Perhaps too solid, as some joints are a bit too tight. On the first run of this figure, some fans complained of loose tail fins. So on the 2nd run (which is what I have), DX9 may have over-corrected. But I rather have joints too tight than too loose.

Richthofen comes with a figure of Astoria, and his chest panel flips up to reveal a molded-on heart pattern. Powerglide is such a playa. He gets a girl on Earth, but still has his piece back on Cybertron (Moonracer).

That’s a lot of figs this month. Sometimes I don’t realize how much I buy in a month, til I do these kind of posts. The must-haves this month are Downbeat, Richthofen, Barricade, and Punch-Counterpunch. Everything else is optional.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in August 2018

March 11th, 2020 No comments

Only 3 figures were purchased in August of 2018.

  • Power of the Primes Blast Off, amazon.com, $24.99

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

  • NBK Scraper, eBay seller, $13.89

Blast Off

I mentioned this Blast Off figure back in this post. Go there for all the details. In short, this was the Blast Off that should have been released in the United States all along. In that post, I listed him as being in Combiner Wars. Realistically that’s not wrong, since the rest of his Combaticon cohorts were from Combiner Wars. But technically Blast Off is released in the Power of the Primes line (written on the side of the box).

Power of the Primes Blast Off is completely representative of G1 Blast Off. He transforms into a space shuttle, has a head mold that resembles his G1 cartoon looks, and has a paint scheme that his G1 toy brother would be proud of. This Blast Off is an Amazon exclusive, much like what they did for Quickslinger (Slingshot) and Brake-Neck (Wildrider).

Here is a pic of him in the box.

As of this writing, I still haven’t tried combining this Blast Off as part of Bruticus. I’ll get to that someday, promise.

Repugnus

In G1, Repugnus is part of a little known Autobot sub-group called the Monsterbots. This was a trio of Autobots that transformed into monsters. They came around in Season 4 of the toys. I don’t remember them appearing in the limited 3-episode arc “Rebirth” that made up the entirety of US Season 4 cartoons. They may have had more of an impact in the comics and the Japanese continuity, but I don’t care enough about the group to look it up.

All 3 Monsterbots are now released in the Prime Wars Trilogy. Both Twinferno and Grotusque were relesaed in Titans Return. In Power of the Primes we get Repugnus. This is yet another Amazon exclusive. I guess Hasbro figured there would be a limited audience for this guy. For once I agree with them.

As of this writing, I still have not opened Repugnus. Based on pics I’ve seen, he’s a slight re-work off the Twinferno mold. The same goes for Grotusque too. In Prime Wars Trilogy, all 3 Monsterbots share the same overall motif and base mold, but HasTak did add or modify enough mold bits to make each unique. I am glad this trio has an update in this modern era for Transformers. But no biggie if you missed out on any of these 3.

Pic of Repugnus in the box below.

Oh, I also have a Titan Master Repugnus. This is still unopened. It may never get opened.

Scraper

Here we have another NBK knock-off product. NBK Scraper is a knock-off of Generation Toy Scraper, who is an homage to Scrapper. You gotta love the names of 3rd party and 4th party products. In this case they dropped one p; the name still works, everyone still knows who this is supposed to be. NBK is too lazy to even come up with their own knock-off name.

Scraper is my 2nd NBK knock-off, after Bulldozer. Scraper is packed in alt mode, and he is constructed just as well.

I really like the look of Scraper in alt mode. This is unmistakably Scrapper. In this mode, everything tabs together nicely. The giant shovel is at the right tolerance, and can be lifted up to stay up if so desired. Scraper rolls well on a flat surface.

Scraper comes with only 1 accessory, his pistol. In alt mode, it can be attached underneath the vehicle. Pic below.

Transformation to robot mode follows the usual Scrapper scheme. Two features are worthy of note, however. One is the arm transformation. They rotate to the reverse direction for robot mode. And in turn, the ladders on them needs to be rotated and flipped. Very cool. The other feature is with the driver area piece that sits on the back in robot mode. This piece is attached to a folding mechanism, allowing for different placement of it in alt, robot, and combined mode.

Like I said already, construction of the figure is good. So this transformation is not frustrating to do at all. Couple that with a familiar scheme, Scraper’s transformation is completely intuitive. But at the same time, Generation Toy incorporated some refreshing design choices. This is a fun toy.

Robot mode is pretty good for the most part. The joints work well, and figure construction is good enough to have him hold poses. Articulation is limited, mostly because of the giant back kibble of a shovel, and the two huge wheels on the shoulders. But this is part of his G1 design. He appears a bit stocky from how Scrapper should look, and that’s unfortunate. I do wish his proportions are more in tune with Scrapper’s lean G1 look. Bulldozer does not have such proportion issues, and for that reason alone I think Bulldozer has the better robot mode.

Transformation to leg mode for the combined form is pretty straightfoward. Looking at the pics alone is enough to see how it goes, so here they are.

All in all, I’m very impressed with how everything tabs together for this leg mode. This is great engineering design by Generation Toys. Of special mention is that the robot arms come around the back and tab together to form the heel (see above pic). The arms tab in to each other, and tab onto the body. There is ankle pivot for the leg mode, and which translates to waist pivot in robot mode. This is a very effective transformation to the combined form.

I’m so impressed with Bulldozer and Scraper already, that at this point I have made a conscious decision to buy the rest of this set. The other 4 figs will come in later months.

Much more to come next month. Til then… Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in July 2018

March 3rd, 2020 No comments

Only official products were purchased in July of 2018. No 3rd or 4th party products. Most figs come from the Power of the Primes line. That’s the flavor of the month.

Also, with the exception of the Terrorcons, everything came in pairs. Read on below.

  • Power of the Primes Blot, Walmart, $16.82

  • Power of the Primes Sinnertwin, Walmart, $16.82

  • Power of the Primes Cutthroat, Walmart, $16.82

  • Power of the Primes Alchemist Prime, Target, $4.99

  • Power of the Primes Alpha Trion, Target, $4.99

  • Power of the Primes Outback, Target, $9.99

  • Power of the Primes Cindersaur, Target, $9.99

  • Studio Series Jazz, Walmart, $19.87

  • Studio Series Lockdown, Walmart, $19.87

  • Cyber Battalion Jetfire, Walgreens, $17.99

  • Cyber Battalion Sideswipe, Walgreens, $17.99

Blot, Sinnertwin, Cutthroat

Power of the Primes Terrorcons were featured back in this post. Read all about them there. In short, I highly recommend them. If you can only get one combiner team from the Prime Wars Trilogy, get this team.

Alchemist Prime and Alpha Trion

I have mentioned that I really like Prime Masters. They are inexpensive, fun, adds play value to other TFs, and is a great homage to their G1 roots. Alchemist Prime and Alpha Trion continues this trend. G1 purists will immediately recognize their shells as Submarauder and Landmine. Sidebar: the only other time I have mentioned Submarauder is in this post. Landmine was never mentioned on this blog, til now.

There’s really not a whole lot to say about Prime Masters, because they’re all kind of the same. I’ll just let the pics below do the talking.

Outback

Power of the Primes Outback is a repaint of Titans Return Brawn. Read that review for all the details. As for mold variations, the only difference is the head.

In G1, Outback was also a repaint of Brawn. Outback appeared in G1 Season 3. I personally don’t remember him all that much. Get this toy if you don’t have TR Brawn, is a G1 completist, or if you feel for the character. I’ll present some pics of Outback here, in robot and alt modes.

Cindersaur

Power of the Primes Cindersaur is a repaint of Power of the Primes Slash, which I sort of reviewed here. I recommend Slash, and so I recommend Cindersaur as well. Cindersaur gets a new head mold. Other than that, these 2 molds are exactly the same. This smells like another Hasbro cash-grab repaint. The raptor alt mode bears no resemblance to his G1 monster form, other than being a bipedal beast. I can’t comment on the G1 accuracy of the new head mold.

If you already have Slash, then should you skip Cindersaur? That may be a wise choice if you are basing this purely on the toy. Keep in mind, however, that Cindersaur was a G1 character, while Slash was not. Though Cindersaur never made it to the G1 US cartoons. Cindersaur is part of a little known sub-group called the Firecons. The only other time I even mentioned Firecons on this blog is in this post. Will Hasbro release updates to the other 2 Firecons? That all depends on what else they can find to repaint.

Pics below.

Jazz

I have already reviewed Studio Series Jazz, so I won’t repeat any of that here. To summarize, I give him a weak recommendation: this is a fun figure with a nice paint job and an awesome alt mode, but ruined by a robot mode with way too much back-kibble and small size. Read that review to get all the details.

Here I will show off SS Jazz with the cardboard movie backdrop.

Lockdown

At first glance, Studio Series Lockdown looks like he may be a slight tweak off of The Last Knight Hot Rod. But comparing the two side by side, it’s obvious that SS Lockdown is a brand new mold. In fact, I wrote that Hot Rod post after I received SS Lockdown already, and in the post I mentioned that this is brand new.

In robot mode, SS Lockdown resembles his movie designs. He’s not that poseable, and I don’t like that the hands are molded onto the forearms/car-side-panels. But he makes up for it with the amount of detail. He also comes with two weapons: a sword, and a retractable claw type thing. He’s got very little kibble. The side robot profile below shows that the back cleans up very nicely.

Transformation to alt mode follows the same scheme that TLK Hot Rod does, so I won’t go into too much detail. I like the way the alt mode comes together though. This figure works just as well as TLK Hot Rod does in alt mode. Below are some comparison pics: SS Lockdown on the left, TLK Hot Rod on the right.

In short, I recommend SS Lockdown. This figure is several times better than Age of Extinction Lockdown. If you already have AoE Lockdown, sell that figure and get this one.

Jetfire and Sideswipe

I was first introduced to Cyber Battalion when I was in Shanghai. Me and Gemini were exploring the city, when we found a Toys R Us inside one mall. Of course we had to stop by. I purchased Cyber Battalion Starscream on the trip.

I opened the figure after I got back to the States. Cyber Battalion Starscream is definitely on the simple side, but I thought the figure wasn’t too shabby. He’s fun to play with, is very durable, and most importantly, scales nicely with other CHUGs. It’s possible that last point only applies to Starscream (and other Cyber Battalion Seekers, if they exist). For CHUG, he’s too small as a deluxe. But he would be the same size as Megatron at voyager. So this Cyber Battalion size is perfect. I looked forward to possible Cyber Battalion releases in the US.

As it turns out, Cyber Battalion figures would be released in the States as Walgreens exclusives. Why Walgreens is getting into exclusive TF action is beyond me. And the term Cyber Battalion is never used in the US; the boxes simply say Transformers with a Generations logo in the corner.

I bought Jetfire and Sideswipe from Walgreens, because my impression from Starscream is positive. I hate to say it, but Jetfire and Sideswipe aren’t very good. Jetfire is a slight remold of Starscream. This mold as Jetfire just doesn’t work. It makes Jetfire way too simplistic. And the scale is completely off; Jetfire should be much, much bigger. And as for Sideswipe, he feels too big to be in Cyber Battalion scale. This is a very simple Transformer, even more so than Jetfire and Starscream. At this size, with this minimal complexity, I feel like I’m playing a Fisher Price Transformer. Also, he does not come with any weapons. Articulation for both is a non-priority. Maybe the target audience of these figs is preschool to 1st grade. Mature collectors need not bother.

As of this writing, I have already sold these 2 on eBay, so I’m not adding them to my TF Count. Gemini has Jetfire. He agrees it sucks, but he kept it for his son to play with. I’m thinking I should have kept these for my baby girl. On well.

I mentioned that all TFs came in pairs, other than the Terrorcons (which came in 3). All pairs were bought on the same trip to their respective store. In case it wasn’t obvious enough, these are the pairs:

  • Alchemist Prime and Alpha Trion – Target
  • Outback and Cindersaur – Target
  • Jazz and Lockdown – Walmart
  • Jetfire and Sideswipe – Walgreens

Will this ever happen again? Who knows. Everything was actually bought in store this month. That’s becoming more and more rare, given the internet shopping age that we live in.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in June 2018

February 21st, 2020 No comments

After a LONG hiatus from me documenting my monthly TF purchases, I’m gonna continue here. There’s a lot of TF purchase action in June. Let’s get started.

  • Studio Series Brawl, amazon.com, $29.99

  • Studio Series Megatron, amazon.com, $29.99

  • Power of the Primes Snarl, Target, $16.99

  • Power of the Primes Moonracer, Target, $16.99

  • Titans Return Trypticon, Amazon seller, $103.65

  • Zeta Toys Flyfire, gift

  • NBK Bulldozer, showz.com, $9.99

  • ToyWorld Constructor, chosenprime.com, $469.99

Brawl

SS 12 Brawl is my third movie Brawl figure. The first one is the original leader class figure that made 2 of my top ten lists (most difficult and broken). The 2nd one is the original deluxe figure, which I never opened. I really don’t have too much recollection of leader class Brawl. It’s a big figure, sitting at the bottom of a box in a closet somewhere. That’s the problem when you have too many Transformers; you just don’t have enough time for all of them.

It’s inevitable that there will be comparisons of this SS 12 Brawl to leader class Brawl from the first movie. And I can’t do that compare here. All I can do is rate SS 12 Brawl on its own.

Like all offerings in the Studio Series line, Brawl is packaged in robot mode, and comes with cardboard backing that may be used as the movie backdrop. In Brawl’s case, he gets a very fitting graphic of the battle in Mission City from the first movie.

Brawl’s robot mode much resembles his movie appearance. He only appeared in the first movie, but the toy designers captured his look in this figure quite well. Construction of the figure feels good. Joints are at the right tolerance, nothing too tight or too loose. There is a lot going on in this figure as far as weapons, but nothing feels out of place as the solid construction is able to keep it all together. Most of the fiddly bits clean up quite well in robot mode. And if something is dangling around, it is more intended as part of the design and not a production flaw. The back of the robot cleans up nicely too (which I should have took a pic). There’s not a lot of unwanted kibble on the back, so kudos to HasTak.

Brawl is a bit limited in the articulation category. Part of it is because of his design; he’s very bulky with lots of kibble, and that in itself limits articulation. The design of the feet, while movie accurate, don’t allow for any ankle tilt, which hinders poses. The hands are molded directly into the forearms, and don’t come out. Arm articulation as a whole suffers from all the weapons and extra kibble present all around.

Transformation to tank mode is fun. I don’t remember any other figure quite like SS 12 Brawl, not even the original leader class figure. The leg transformation is fairly straightforward. Arms form the tank turret, and they come together in an interesting and unique way. The hardest part to describe is the chest. This section folds on itself several times, and there are other minor pieces that complement this scheme to produce a robot to tank transformation unlike anything else we’ve seen before. SS 12 definitely gets points for transformation originality.

In my opinion, the thank mode looks really good. This is on par to the looks of the leader class Brawl figure in alt mode. In the movie, I think there is only one scene of Brawl in tank mode. It was when he was first summoned along with the rest of the Decepticons. This tank mode looks extremely close to that tank on screen. There are no working tank treads here, but I wasn’t expecting that for a $30 toy. With all weapons attached in tank mode, Brawl really looks like the menacing ground assault Decepticon that he is.

Brawl comes with 2 accessories: a missile launcher with 4 missiles, and a claw type weapon. Add to that all the molded-in weapons (the main cannon, 2 sub cannons, and 2 4-set missiles, all on the turret), he will give Age of Extinction Hound a run for his money as the TF with the most arsenal. I recommend SS 12 Brawl with no reservations.

Megatron

I never realized something until I started doing this post, and I had to confirm by looking at my TF List: I only have 2 movie Megatrons! Considering how many movie Optimus Primes I have, that’s almost a crime. The two movie Megatrons I have is Dark of the Moon voyager fuel truck Megatron, and The Last Knight voyager jet Megatron.

I never got the original jet leader class Megatron from the first movie, or the ROTF leader class tank Megatron. I didn’t want them as a silent protest to how Michael Bay completely butchered the G1 roots of Megatron and created this weird amalgamation that is supposed to represent the Decepticon leader. In retrospect, I kind of regret not buying them. From a pure toy perspective, they were unique, and Hasbro never released anything like them again.

So when I heard that the Studio Series are coming out with a new take on ROTF Megatron, I had to look into it. Here is the figure in robot mode.

I’m never gonna warm up to the looks of movie Megatron. I’m a G1 die-hard that will never recognize this as Megatron. But that being said, and rating purely on the toy’s representation of the movie depiction, I love the look of SS 13 Megatron in robot mode. His proportions are very balanced, and HasTak captured that alien bug-like appearance of Megatron really well. I like the giant sword weapon that he has in the right arm. All the mechanical tentacles on the left arm gives me a satisfying yet creepy conception of what could happen if they got hold of unsuspecting Autobots (or any other kind of prey).

Construction of the figure is solid. Megatron has the articulation chops for a variety of poses, and the solid construction allows him to hold those poses. For the most part, he’s a kibble-free figure. That’s not easily done with a design like his. Much credit to HasTak here.

SS 13 ROTF Megatron is not too shabby in alt mode, either. I like the look of this alien tank. I’m not sure how close it looks to the movie, though I will admit that my recollection of ROTF the movie is faint at best. I honestly don’t even remember Megatron in alt mode, but I’m sure there are fans out there that will correct me.

I do feel like SS 13 Megatron is one of those figures that, if you haven’t transformed it for some time, it will throw you for a loop. That’s especially true for robot to alt mode. This Megatron tank is alien, so there’s not the usual earth mode cues to go on. Everthing does tab into place, however, so you know you didn’t do something right if the resulting alt mode feels more floppy than solid. I think for that reason, I didn’t like this piece at first. But he grew on me, and on subsequent transformations, I regard SS 13 Megatron as one of the better figures in the Studio Series line. This figure gets my recommendation.

Snarl

Continuing the trend of the Power of the Primes Dinobots, this month we get Snarl. Grimlock, Slug (aka Slag), and Swoop were released in January, while Sludge came around in March. Snarl completes everybody’s favorite quintet of dinos.

He comes in robot mode, like all the other PotP dinos.

I really like Snarl, and I am happy that HasTak has finally given him some official love by updating the G1 version of this character. But PotP Snarl is a mediocre figure in every sense of the word. Overall transformation is the same standard scheme that every G1 fan is familiar with, albeit updated with some modern mechanics. He comes with his classic sword, but no blaster. Poseability is sort of there, not great yet not bad. Construction of the figure is adequate. Some parts are a bit too loose in my opinion, but not so horrible that the figure can’t hold any poses on its own. The figure is somewhat playable. You think he would be easy to transform, and that’s true for the most part. But PotP Snarl is one of those figures that, if you haven’t touched it for a while, it will surprise you with transformation impediments here and there. Not because it’s hard, but because there are little mechanical details that you are supposed to remember, but you don’t because you either forgot or didn’t think it’s important.

The one good thing about PotP Snarl is that he looks good in both modes. Here he is in dino mode.

For a retail deluxe class figure, I think the detail on PotP Snarl is more than adequate. You won’t confuse this character with any other.

The 5 Dinobots will combine. I never tried this, but I might if I get bored enough. I have mentioned before that I wish they didn’t, because implementing combination mechanics means putting restrictions on other aspects of the figure, such as the dino modes, robot modes, and sizes of the figures. Grimlock at voyager size is fine, but I do wish the other Dinobots are bigger than deluxe.

If you got the other 4 dinos, then you will get this regardless of what I say. It’s hard to see anyone buying just Snarl and none of the others. But if that happens to be you, then you are indeed an original. Bravo.

Moonracer

HasTak has been releasing many Fembots in recent years. The female Autobots was something completely made up by the G1 show creators in a desperate attempt to win over more girls to the toyline. Whether that worked is anyone’s guess. But what it did do is create demand for toys of the Fembots among the hardcore G1 TF nerds.

HasTak loves you and has started creating toys of the Fembots in CHUG. In January of 2015, Generations Thrilling 30 Arcee and Chromia were introduced. Then PotP Elita-1 was released in March of this year. This month we get Moonracer, one of the original 4 Fembots in the G1 episode “The Search for Alpha Trion”.

First let’s take a look at Moonracer in robot mode. Looking from the front, the figure is not half bad. She’s got a distinctive female body shape, and the head mold resembles her cartoon design fairly well.

But looking at Moonracer from the side, this figure becomes a total fail. Look at that huge backpack. Moonracer has got some serious back junk. Maybe that’s how Powerglide likes it.

Transformation to alt mode is pretty easy and intuitive, so I’m won’t describe it too much. Moonracer is a bit guilty of being a shell-former. Not G1 Scourge bad, but still a shell-former nonetheless. That huge backpack should have clued you in.

The alt mode itself is not badly done. I don’t remember how Moonracer really looked in alt mode, and I’m not going to look it up for the purpose of this post. Power of the Primes Moonracer has a vehicle mode that looks truly Cybertronian, and that works well enough in my book.

So do I recommend Moonracer? If it wasn’t for that giant backpack issue, I would classify this figure as good. But as it stands, Moonracer is still a decent toy. The robot mode is not half bad, as long as you’re only looking at it from the front. Poseability of the figure in this mode is solid. I have no complaints about the alt mode. But if you’re even remotely thinking about buying Moonracer, you are probably a G1 fan that grew up with the cartoons. If that’s the case, you will go buy this figure no matter what I say. Having these characters come to life 30+ years later is a G1ers dream come true. Go buy the figure and fully engage yourself in the TF nerdgasm that is Moonracer.

Trypticon

I first reported on the news of a Trypticon release back in March of 2017. I think in the fall of 2017, Titans Return Trypticon was released. It’s generally agreed that this is a good fig, though reports of hips breaking from the super tight hip ratchets put a damper on things. There are many proposed fixes out there; Google the topic and you’re bound to find some good ones.

With Metroplex and Fortress Maximus, the prices quickly dropped after only a few months of its release. I’m not sure why that is. My theory is that there are only so much demand for such figures. Titans class figures that are clearly G1 inspired would only appeal to the most hardcore G1 enthusiasts, willing to part with hundreds of dollars on a single Transformer figure. The average Transformer fan would take a look in store, stare at the figure in awe, and walk away. Little kids who happened on these figs in the toy aisle would have a hard time convincing their parents to buy such items, and that’s if they even took an interest in the first place.

MSRP for Trypticon is $149.99. Not surprisingly, the fig was going for around that much upon first release. But I was expecting this to follow the pattern of both Metroplex and Fort Max, and have the price reduced soon. I got Metroplex for a bit over $100, and Fort Max for $75. The 2017 Holidays rolled around, and Trypticon was still close to MSRP. I think the lowest I saw at the time was around $120 on Amazon, and after adding in tax it would go over $130. I thought it could go lower so I waited, but then the stock dried up and no more Trypticons would go on sale for a while.

Fast forward to June of 2018, and I saw one third party seller offering this at $103.65. This was a third party seller on Amazon, and not in the same state as me, which means no sales tax. So I quickly jumped on this and got me Trypticon.

I am disappointed to report that, to this day, my Trypticon still sits in the closet, unopened. I don’t know why I’m so hesitant. Maybe it’s because I know of the hip ratchets issue. Maybe I was always more of a fan of Metroplex. Or maybe I’m just too busy, with a 2 year old baby girl in the house.

But I’ll get to this one day. And if you’re reading and think you missed out, don’t. I just checked. Amazon has Trypicon at $109.99, while bbts has it at $99. Value of Trypticon has not gone up at all. Maybe the hip ratchets thing really hurt it. Compare that to Metroplex, which third party sellers on Amazon list at about $650.

Flyfire

I first mentioned Zeta Flyfire back in this post. And in the purchase post for last month (May 2018), I went into Air Strike. So I won’t repeat all that stuff here. Just know that these 2 Zeta Aerialbots are highly similar, definitely cut from the same cloth.

In the pic below, you see that Flyfire uses the exact same kind of packaging as Air Strike. And just like Air Strike, Flyfire comes with the same number and kind of accessories: a rifle, 4 missiles, instructions, and bio-card. Very minimalist, and in my opinion not a bad thing.

Flyfire in bot mode below.

Overall, I would say that Flyfire is about the same as Air Strike in robot mode, but comes together better in jet mode. I mentioned that, for Air Strike, there’s this weird issue with the front landing gear in jet mode. Flyfire has no such issue. It seems like Zeta fixed these minor annoying things this time around. Flyfire is the sophomore release in this series and it shows.

As of this writing, all 5 Zeta Aerialbots are released. My friend Gemini has all 5, and pics of the combined mode into Zeta Superion is impressive. However, Fans Toys have come out with their own set of Aerialbots. I have not yet decided if I want to stick with Zeta, or change direction mid-course and go with Fans Toys. I have a hunch that I will make this decision based on how I feel about Roadking, FT’s version of Motormaster. I received Roadking a few weeks ago, but have not had a chance to open the fig yet.

Bulldozer

By the end of 2015, there already exist several modern interpretations of Constructicons. Two were done by 3rd party: TFC Toys Hercules, and MakeToys Giant. Hasbro also released it’s own update on this popular combiner group. None of these sets are perfect, each with its pros and cons. But all of them can be considered good, and you can make a case for each as to which is the best. Instead of being forced to choose just one and suffer analysis paralysis, I got all 3. And if you were to point a fusion cannon to my head right now and force me to choose the winner among these 3, I probably go with Hercules by TFC Toys.

As if all these options weren’t already enough, in 2017 two more 3rd party companies decided to enter the fray and do their own take on Constructicons. One is Constructor by ToyWorld, which is the next entry (scroll down below). The other is ReBuilder by Generation Toy.

For those that don’t know, NBK is 4th party (read: knock-offs of 3rd party). I have no idea what NBK stands for. In this case, NBK Bulldozer is a knock-off of Generation Toy ReBuilder GT-99D Bulldozer. NBK didn’t even bother giving this figure a new name and just stuck with Bulldozer. And we all know this is supposed to represent Bonecrusher.

So is NBK Bulldozer any good? For a knock-off, it is surprisingly good! It’s packed in alt mode. The box is very minimal, but I will stress again I consider that to be a plus. As for accessories, he comes with a pistol, and the attachment that will become the forearm.

In alt mode, all pieces come together to form a nice cohesive whole.

There is placement for the forearm attachment in alt mode. It can be hooked up to the rear, like a trailer.

The pistol can be folded and tucked underneath the vehicle. See if you can identify where it is in this pic.

I’m guessing Generation Toy took some liberties with the design of Bulldozer, but to me he still seems very G1 for the most part. For color issues, the giant one that immediately pops up is why is the bulldozer blade purple. That’s probably a question that only NBK can answer. Knock-offs are notorious for botching color schemes, and whether or not that’s intentional is anyone’s guess.

Transformation is fun. And I will emphasize that again… FUN! That’s something I feel is often missing from today’s Transformers. 3rd party will often make something that is impressive in how it transforms, but transforming it becomes a chore. And as for HasTak, sometimes the figure is so simple, there is no fun. Sometimes bad construction issues ruin an otherwise well designed piece that would have been fun. NBK Constructor suffers from none of these pitfalls. The superb design is probably more a credit to Generation Toy, but NBK has built a piece that feels more than solid enough to be played with. All joints are at the right tolerance. Things snap together when they need to, and come apart when they should.

The transformation process itself should be familiar enough to anyone who has played with enough G1 style TFs in the modern era. But it’s not super-obvious either, with enough challenge to offer mature fans something to marvel at. Some G1 diehards will complain about transformational design changes, such as the 180 turning at the chest and how the bulldozer blade splits and ends up on the shoulders. I personally feel these are refreshing changes that offer a different yet familiar take on an old and tired scheme.

Below are some pics of the robot mode. I’ll let them do the talking.

Again, G1 diehards will complain about the non-G1-ness. But I like it. Bulldozer is well proportioned in robot mode. He looks different enough from G1 Bonecrusher, but still similar enough to be Bonecrusher. The figure is pretty poseable. And again, I don’t know if the purple bits are by design, this being knock-off and all.

The head mold should satisfy all G1 requirements.

The designers of this mold did account for storage of the arm attachment in robot mode. I guess this is supposed to be a giant backpack thruster kind of thing. It’s kind of hokey, but hey, they tried. Points for effort.

As for the arm attachment in combined mode, the fist flips out from inside the forearm. I like this. I’m not a fan of using extra combining pieces, and GT really minimized this in the design.

Overall I really recommend this toy. Get the Generation Toy version if you don’t mind spending the money. Or get this NBK KO version if you’re on a budget. Speaking of being on a budget, this is the first and only time I got something from ShowZ. I heard about the store, prior to this. At only $9.99 for NBK Bulldozer, I had to try it. That’s $9.99 from China, no extra shipping fees and no taxes! The figure arrived in reasonable time. So if you’re hesitant about the store, don’t be. ShowZ is legit. It’s not one of the China scammers that I have wrote about.

As of this writing, I do have all 6 of the NBK knock-off Constructicons. But I’ll save my thoughts about this NBK set for another day. Because we have something extraordinary to get to. And that is…

Constructor

I saved the best for last. Ladies and gentlemen… I give you… (drum roll)… Constructor!

I will say this right now, so you don’t have to read through all the details: if you want the best Devastator in this modern era, then pick up ToyWorld Constructor. This is hands down the best team in the combined form! If you care nothing for the individual robot or alt modes, then this is the set for you. ToyWorld Devastator is truly worthy of the name, and will put all other Devastators to shame.

But just to be complete, I will show pics of the other modes. Below is each fig in alt mode.

Individually in robot mode.

And now the pics you have been waiting for… the combined mode! Behold the awesomeness that is ToyWorld Constructor.

I spent $469.99 buying this set, and in this form, he’s worth every penny. Constructor is at the size he needs to be to properly scale with MPs. ToyWorld really hit it out of the park with this awesome set.

Doing a full review here won’t pay enough homage to group, so I intend to do a separate review later. So I will quickly list some pros and cons in bullet points.

Pros:

  • Awesome Devastator! (I can’t say that enough)
  • Solid build and construction
  • Nice individual robot and alt modes
  • G1 accurate – TW took very little liberties in the design
  • Fun transformation that’s intuitive and not frustrating

Cons:

  • Uses combining parts – and many of the parts have nowhere to go when in individual mode
  • Individual modes do not scale well in MP – way too big

The bullets in Cons are points you kinda would expect, for Constructor to be so good. Unless someone really figures out show to mass shift, either the combined mode would be too small, or the individual bots would be too big. TW took the latter approach, but that’s to give us a Devastator that is truly representative of what we see in G1. As for using combined parts, I will concur with the naysayers and agree that it’s kinda cheating. Especially when the parts have nowhere else to go in the individual modes. But the proportions of Constructor is so good, I’m almost willing to forgive this. Almost. How you feel about using combiner parts is up to you, but I still see it as a negative.

When this set was first released, each bot had to be purchased separately, costing about $100 each. TW has gone away from that and now only release the complete set as one. The edition that I have here is the regular edition. It’s a very minimal set that only comes with the essentials. I don’t even remember if I have the Devastator gun, I’ll have to check. Other editions come with extra heads and different color thigh parts. TW knew they had a winner here, and kinda went crazy and released all sorts of different versions of Constructor. There’s a yellow one, an orange one, a clear green one, a clear orange one, a limited edition metallic one, and some more that I don’t remember. As of this writing, this regular edition that I feature here is on longer available. But there is a limited ultimate edition that costs about $500. I’m not sure what’s exactly in this ultimate version, but I see that it has more realistic paint. Some minor tweaks to the molds were made, probably after getting fan criticism on certain issues. It might come with all the extras. For only $30 more on top of what I paid, I wish I waited for this version. Oh well. Am I hardcore enough to get this version too? Most likely not. Probably not. I hope not.

And another quick FYI… sometimes the other color sets may go for crazy cheap. I think I have seen the clear orange one go for $299. It might have been ShowZ. Or maybe one of the other dealers on a weekend sale.

Whew… that was a WAY longer post than I had intended. Sometimes when the writing mood hits me, I don’t stop. This may have been my longest post ever. Longer post equals more proof reading, something I hate doing. It takes time away from playing with the awesome figs featured here.

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in May 2018

September 11th, 2019 No comments

A recent trend I see among my monthly purchases is that I buy more 3rd and 4th party figures than official products. Some recent examples were June 2016, March 2017, and November 2017. May 2018 further contributes to this trend.

You see that Hasbro? Release quality products, and people will buy. It’s not rocket science.

  • Studio Series Starscream, Target, $29.99

  • Mech Planet Big Yellow Bee, chosenprime.com, $17.99
  • Zeta Toys Air Strike, chosenprime.com, $59.99
  • MakeToys Ironwill, chosenprime.com, $79.99

Starscream

I went briefly into Starscream in my last post, so I won’t repeat all that here. Just know that he’s an awesome figure from the Studio Series. I’ll let the pics below speak for themselves.

With Nitro from The Last Knight, another excellent figure.

Big Yellow Bee

HasTak gave us a marvelous rendition of G1 Bumblebee in the Masterpiece line. However, if you always felt that you needed a CHUG Bumblebee that is G1 accurate in both robot and alt modes, which HasTak is unwilling or unable to do, then you need look no further than Big Yellow Bee by Mech Planet.

Big Yellow Bee is an excellent 3rd party take on everyone’s favorite yellow VW bug from G1. He transforms exactly like you think he would, so I won’t describe it too much. The build quality is superb for a $17.99 third party toy. I don’t have any other offerings from Mech Planet. Big Yellow Bee was my first one, and I was quite pleased.

Check the pics below. The faction symbol is after market, obviously.

Big Yellow Bee scales nicely with his mini-bot friends in the CHUG line.

The way that Big Yellow Bee compacts into his alt mode is actually very impressive. Arms, legs, and head all compact into the body area. It does take some cues from MP Bumblebee, but this is quite a feat nevertheless. If he got any smaller from robot to vehicle, you would think he’s mass shifting.

Scale in alt mode.

Big Yellow Bee comes with some accessories. Again, considering the price, this isn’t bad at all. He comes with a pistol, the spare tire wheel cover, and a chest plate type thing that I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. And in the poly bag, there’s the instructions, a bio card, and some mystery accessory labeled “HOT”. That’s a lot of stuff in the package. Great value here.

I recommend Big Yellow Bee without hesitation.

Air Strike

Air Strike by newcomer Zeta Toys is their interpretation of Air Raid. I first mentioned Zeta back in this post, when I featured their figure for Fireflight called Flyfire. Zeta Toys is an offshoot of ToyWorld. Or more specifically, toy engineers at ToyWorld felt cheated, so they left the company and formed Zeta. Power to the employees!

As of this writing, I only have two items from Zeta. Air Strike was the first one, and Flyfire was the second. They were released in that order, too.

First let’s take a look at Air Strike in the box.

He comes packaged in a nice soft polystyrene box. I prefer this kind of package. I hate Styrofoam, because you’re bound to have little white bits fall off the box and it gets everywhere. I also don’t like plastic clam shells, because it’s hard to put the figures back into them. This kind of packaging is perfect, for what it is. It’s durable enough to protect the figure, while at the same time being easy to handle. I’m sure this is not environmentally friendly either, but none of them are. All in all, this is a no-frills type of packaging, and that’s how I like it. Some companies like to do extra special type boxes to give the items more of a collector status. I’ve never been into that sort of thing.

As far as accessories, Air Strike comes with 4 missiles and his rifle. Included also are the instructions and a bio card. It’s pretty minimalist for a figure of this size. But considering that the price is only $59.99, I feel it’s more than sufficient.

Air Strike looks great in robot mode. See the two pics above. As far as looks, he feels like a combination of the toy and the animation model. I still have my G1 Air Raid. He’s in pretty good shape. The design of Air Strike’s head feels more like the G1 toy, with the blocky shape and visor eyes. The rest of figure takes aesthetics from both the toy and the show. Overall, no one will mistake this figure for any other character besides Air Raid. The iconic black jet on the back, white body, and red chest all screams Air Raid.

Air Strike is a large figure. Below is a pic of how he scales next to War For Cybertron Siege Galaxy Optimus.

Siege Galaxy Optimus is a leader class figure. And Air Strike is taller than him, if you look at where the top of their heads are. In this pic I forgot to flip out the nosecone of Air Strike. If I did, he would be even taller. Air Strike is this size so we would get an accurately scaled MP Kronos (Superion). But individually, the Zeta Aerialbots are probably too fig for standard MP scale. Zeta is betting that most fans want Kronos to scale well with the rest of their MP collection. To that end, this Zeta team should fit the bill. As of this writing, I only have Air Strike and Flyfire, but I’m told that Kronos is very, very impressive when combined.

Transformation to jet mode follows the standard Aerialbot scheme. It’s more complicated than G1 of course, but nothing that would trip up any experienced TransFan.

That is a great looking Air Raid. Zeta did a marvelous job in capturing the look of this iconic black F-15. I probably should have took a pic of Air Strike next to the standard MP Seekers. They’re about the same size in jet mode. In the above pic, I don’t have the 4 missiles attached, but they go under the wings like you expect them to.

I do want to point out that there’s something weird about the front landing gear. On my copy, it’s not possible to get it out without detaching some other pieces first. It’s a minor annoyance for sure. Also, the figure as a whole feels light. I went into this too when I briefly covered Flyfire. My guess is that the materials used for the Zeta figures is not as high quality as the ToyWorld offerings. At only $59.99, they had to cut corners somewhere. Zeta decided to save on using higher quality plastics. And it goes without saying that there are no die-cast on Air Strike to speak of.

So do I recommend Air Strike? That’s a difficult question. Hardcore G1 TransFans, of which Air Strike is catered to, would look to get the entire Aerialbot team. So I almost need to look at the entire set, and see how they combine, before making a recommendation. Also, as of this writing, Fans Toys have come out with their own team of 3P Aerialbots. To this date they have only released Maverick (Silverbolt), and I have not seen any of the limb components. By itself, Air Strike is not a bad figure by any means. He looks great in both robot and jet modes. The transformation is fun, the engineering is solid. However, individual bot size can be an issue (too large). The plastics used does feel inferior to other 3P figures of this caliber, and there’s the front landing gear issue I mentioned. As it stands, I will refrain from making any recommendation, until I have seen the whole team.

Ironwill

The last figure this month is Ironwill, MakeToys’ 3P homage to Hardhead. I bought Ironwill back in November of 2017 during a Black Friday sale. In this same sale, I got Contactshot and Despotron, all by MakeToys. Chosen Prime must have some kind of working relationship with MakeToys, to be able to offer their figs at such a discount. Anyways, Ironwill was bought back then, but did not become in stock til this month.

Ironwill comes with two rifles, his iconic should-mounted cannon, an extra toy-accurate face plate, and instructions. Surprisingly, he does not come with a bio card. That’s almost standard for 3P MP figs these days. Personally I don’t think it’s a big deal to not have one, but just wanted to point it out for those of you that are expecting it.

In robot mode, Ironwill looks good. MakeToys did a fantastic job in updating the look of this character in MP form. The figure feels solid and hefty, befitting of someone whose name is Hardhead.

The figure has tight and clicky joints, just the way I like them. He’s capable of some good poses, and he can stand vertically just fine without leaning too forward or back.

I do have some gripes about Ironwill in robot mode. I don’t like the way that the main shoulder cannon is attached. It just clicks into place, using the most rudimentary rotation joint. It’s weird, but sometimes the joint feels too tight, while other times it feels too loose. Maybe it’s based on the weather (or the phases of the Cybertron moons). The up-and-down swivel of this cannon also feels a tad too loose. I suspect that, over time, pointing the cannon up and holding it there would no longer be possible.

The back pieces of Ironwill also do not hold too well in place in robot mode. When handling the figure, and especially when transforming, the back assembly can become undone when you don’t want it to. I wish there was more of a click-into-place mechanism here.

Ironwill’s transformation hits all the right notes, and is fun for the most part. Again, where I found it frustrating is the main cannon and the back assembly. They don’t stay in place well during the transformation. It’s probably easier to remove the cannon and re-attach after transforming is done. But that feels like parts-forming, and totally unnecessary given that the cannon doesn’t switch position. If the engineering was better on the cannon attachment, this won’t be an issue.

Here is Ironwill in alt mode. The Cybertronian tank looks great. The Headmaster figure can ride inside.

Fans will undoubtedly compare Ironwill to ToyWorld Hardbone. Honestly, I’m not sure which is the better figure here. Most fans will probably choose Ironwill. But there are a bunch of things I like better about Hardbone. Hardbone scales better with other MPs, in my opinion. Ironwill is too big to scale well with anything (should have taken a pic here). Hardbone does have a superior shoulder cannon attachment, and he comes with some cool accessories.

My final verdict on Ironwill is get it if you can find it at the price that I did. Regular MSPR is over $100, and at that price there needs to be less issues with the figure.

That does it for May. Some awesome stuff is coming next month, so stay tuned. Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in April 2018

July 27th, 2019 No comments

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

  • Power of the Primes Battleslash, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Roadtrap, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Blackwing, Target, $16.99

  • Power of the Primes Tailgate, Walmart, $9.84

  • Studio Series Bumblebee, amazon.com, $19.99

  • Studio Series Stinger, amazon.com, $19.99

  • Studio Series Optimus Prime, Target, $29.99

  • Studio Series Blackout, amazon.com, $49.99

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

Battleslash and Roadtrap

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

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

Combined as Battletrap!

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

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

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

Blackwing

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

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

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

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

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

Tailgate

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

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

Bumblebee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stinger

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

And this Stinger delivers! Check out pics below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Optimus Prime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SS05 with KBBMP10-V in alt mode.

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

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

Blackout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bumblebee and Grimlock

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended:

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

Not Recommended:

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

Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics