Archive

Archive for the ‘On The Hunt’ Category

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

Transformers Purchased in March 2018

April 11th, 2019 No comments

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

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

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

  • Studio Series Thundercracker, Toys R Us, $29.99

  • Power of the Primes Sludge, Target, $16.99

  • Mech Fans Toys Slurdge, eBay, $20.99

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

Rippersnapper

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

Elita-1

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

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

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

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

Thundercracker

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

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

Sludge

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

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

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

Slurdge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KBBMP10-V

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look at all these accessories!

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

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

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

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in February 2018

March 22nd, 2019 No comments

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

  • Titans Return Slugslinger, Amazon seller, $22.99

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

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

  • Titans Return Overlord, Amazon seller, $36.00

  • Fans Toys Sovereign, bbts.com, $154.99

Slugslinger

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

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

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

Blurr

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

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

Hun-Gurrr

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

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

Overlord

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

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

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

Sovereign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in January 2018

February 12th, 2019 No comments

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

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

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

  • Power of the Primes Slug, Walmart, $16.82

  • Power of the Primes Swoop, Walmart, $16.82

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

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

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

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

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

  • DX9 Gewalt, tfsource.com, $139.99

Micronus, Liege Maximo, Vector Prime

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grimlock, Slug, Swoop

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

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

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

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

Arcee and Grotusque

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

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

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

Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunstreaker

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

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

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

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

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

Great face sculpt worthy of the handsome Autobot.

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

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

Blue Skybreaker Sword

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

Gewalt

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

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

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

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

Now for his robot mode. Check it out:

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

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

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

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

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

Transform and Roll Out!

 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Transformers Purchased in December 2017

December 26th, 2018 No comments

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

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

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

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

  • Power of the Primes Windcharger, Walmart, $9.84

  • Power of the Primes Slash, Walmart, $9.84

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

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

  • Titans Return Cosmos, Target, $5.14

  • Titans Return Shuffler, Target, $2.48

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

Recommended:

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

Not Recommended:

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

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

Some group pics of the opened TFs this month.

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

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

2018 Black Friday Haul

December 18th, 2018 No comments

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

Some quick blurb about each figure.

Front row, left to right:

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

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

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

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

Back row, left to right:

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

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

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

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

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics