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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

War For Cybertron Siege Autobots

February 13th, 2020 No comments

Quick post today. Below is a pic of some of my Autobots from War For Cybertron Siege.

Included in this group are:

  • Ultra Magnus
  • Chromia
  • Prowl
  • Ironhide

As a whole, I am really impressed with the WFC Siege line. All molds new to the line are well designed. Manufacturing of this line is also above par. There are very little issues that come as a result of bad production runs, unlike some figs in other TF lines.

In my opinion, this is the best Ultra Magnus produced. I like this better than both Combiner Wars and MP Ultra Magnus. I already hold both of those in very high regard. But WFC Siege UM tops them both. He looks more G1 than either of them. Transformation is interesting without being frustrating. And in robot mode, he’s better proportioned. The alt mode is exactly what I expect him to be on Cybertron. Totally recommended.

Prowl and Ironhide are interesting additions to the line. Both are solid figs that are worthy of your purchase, though I don’t put them in the must-have category. HasTak did a good job of re-imagining the two characters as how they would be on Cybertron. Their robot modes heavily resemble their G1 selves, and the alt modes properly reflect what they would be on their home planet. Transformation of both is on the simple side, and neither of these figs break new area as far as offering something we haven’t seen before. But both figs are solid enough on their own, and fans are sure to snatch these two up as they are some of the most famous characters from G1.

Chromia is the only one that is a repaint of something previous. I made peace with the fact that Hasbro is not gonna make a mold for just one character, ever. But this mold was used twice already, once for Moonracer and once for Novastar (Firestar). Still, I chose to buy it. So it’s on me. And personally, I like Thrilling 30 Chromia better than this Chromia.

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics

War For Cybertron Siege Crosshairs Quick Review – with G1

January 13th, 2020 No comments

Happy New Year! Welcome to my first post in 2020. Yes I know it’s been more than 3 months since I posted anything, but I gotta make a post to kick off the new decade.

To kick off the new year right, I am doing another quick review of a figure that’s just released, with the original G1 figure of inspiration. My last such review was for Storm Cloud and Visper (Whisper). Today, I am reviewing Crosshairs.

Crosshairs was one of my favorite Targetmasters from G1. Why you may ask? Well, I had the figure, that’s why. I received G1 Crosshairs as a gift from my cousin for my birthday. I still have the figure to this day, in fairly good shape too. But to be fair, the G1 figure was pretty good for its time. G1 Crosshairs looks good in both modes, has solid construction, and has a Targetmaster figure that is unlike most other similar figures at the time. Crosshair’s Targetmaster partner is called Pinpointer, and he is supposed to be more of a rocket launcher than a pistol. This means he actually requires folding at the waist and at the feel to form the weapon! Yeah 2 whole steps from robot to gun! That’s unheard of for G1.

Crosshairs is now upgraded in the War For Cybertron Siege line. It’s a repaint of the Ironhide and Ratchet figure, but I feel this mold can represent Crosshairs quite well. Below are some pics in the box.

Siege Crosshairs holds poses quite well.

Classic A-Stance.

Ready for some action.

Ready for more action.

Standing around looking cool. Notice the rifle weapon can be attached over the shoulder.

Head mold is modeled after G1 season 4 animation, not the toy.

Siege Crosshairs is about the same size as G1 Crosshairs. When compared side by side, you can see that HasTak took great care to reference the G1 character. A lot of the details is modeled as close to G1 as possible, especially in the legs. Pics below.

For reference, here are some solo pics of G1 Crosshairs in robot mode, with Pinpointer as weapon and robot.

Siege Crosshairs is built well. I detect no construction issues on my copy. All joint are at the right level of tolerance. Pieces tab into place where they should with no problems.

Transformation to vehicle mode is pretty simple. It’s exactly the same as Ironhide and Ratchet, so I won’t describe it too much. In short, flip down the chest piece, fold in the head, then flip the chest piece back up. Raise the arms over the head and combine as one. Rotate the entire chest assembly 180, so that the arms are now pointing in the same direction as the legs. Flip open the lower leg covers, then combine the legs. Position the figure so that the arms are over the legs, and close the leg covers over the arms. Snap the covers together. That’s pretty much covers the transformation.

I like the look of Siege Crosshairs in alt mode. The vehicle shape doesn’t resemble G1 Crosshairs all that much, but I think this alt mode is more fitting of what Crosshairs should have. G1 Crosshairs has an alt mode more like a Cybertronian sports car, while Siege Crosshairs is more like a Cybertronian mobile combat vehicle. As a weapons supervisor, the latter makes more sense to me.

Below are the 2 in alt mode, side by side.

Again, I really like the look of Crosshairs using this mold in Siege.

Alt mode with no weapon attachment.

Alt mode with weapon attachment.

Alt mode rear view.

My only gripe about WFC Siege Crosshairs is that he’s not a Targetmaster. Maybe a third party will release an accessory to make it Targetmaster. Smells like a perfect job for Dr Wu.

I recommend WFC Siege Crosshairs with no reservation. Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

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

Random Decepticons, August 2019

August 3rd, 2019 No comments

Once again, I got a bunch of mostly unrelated Decepticons lying about. I’m gathering a bunch of them together for a feature.

WFC Siege Brunt

I consider myself pretty hardcore G1, and even I had to look up Brunt. In G1, he was a figure that came with Trypticon. Kind of like Six-Gun and Metroplex. However, in G1, Brunt is a tank that transforms into some gun towers for Trypticon. He does not have a robot mode. So it’s a bit debatable if you can even call Brunt an independent figure. But Hasbro did create a profile for him and here we are.

In War For Cybertron Siege, Brunt is upgraded to a modern Cybertronian interpretation. And this figure ain’t too shabby. He gets a full-fledged robot mode. And the original tank mode is still intact. But more importantly, Burnt is what they now call a “Weaponizer” figure in Siege. What this means is that he can separate into bits, and the individual parts can be used as weapons for other figures. It’s kind of a gimmicky feature. Not groundbreaking in my opinion, but marginally cool. Though this does make Brunt very much a parts-former. When transforming from robot to tank, the arms, legs, main gun, and back panel all needs to be removed and reattached. Yikes! The right arm on my copy is also a bit too loose in the elbow.

Still, I like Burnt. Both modes look good. I like the color scheme. The newly designed head mold works great for the character, and the parts-forming transformation actually feels kinda fun. Recommended.

WFC Siege Refraktor

Here is a figure that many hardcore G1 purists like myself have been waiting for. Focus your camera lenses on: Refraktor! Yes all G1 nerds will immediately recognize this as Reflector. I’m assuming the name change was required for trademark reasons.

I have seen the original Diaclone toys in a Diaclone catalog. But they were Japanese only. In the US, I believe these G1 Reflectors were only available through Hasbro’s mail order at the time, using Robots Points that you cut out of the G1 packaging. And they were still in Diaclone colors and not the show colors.

There has been several modern efforts at updating Reflectors. Hasbro has made Mini-Con Reflectors that came packed with Skrapnel, but these Reflectors are hardly G1 accurate. I know there has been a legend size Reflector figure, but those were convention exclusives. And they were simply repaints of Combiner Wars Shockwave, which stunk of Hasbro laziness. There has been many third party efforts as well. But they are not massively accessible, and I’m told none of them are that good. Each set has its issues.

Enter WFC Siege Refractor. This is the most show accurate physical manifestation of an official Refraktor that we have seen to date! This is a brand new mold, designed to be the character. The overall shape and colors of the robot mode screams Reflector. And yes, when you have 3 of them, they will combine to form a camera! G1 TransFans, Hasbro loves you. As of this writing, I only have 2 Refraktors. I got a third one in my Roller’s Stash at The Chosen Prime. I’ll form the camera when I ship the stash. I am told the camera comes together really well.

Build and construction of the figure is extremely solid. No loose bits or dangling parts. All pieces tab in where they should. Joints are of the right tension.

Each Refraktor also has an individual alt mode, that I’m guessing is supposed to be some kind of flying Cybertronian craft. Reminds me a bit of some versions of Shockwave’s alt mode. This mode feels like an afterthought, made up so toy buyers who know nothing about G1’s history don’t feel cheated when buying Refraktor. But you and I know better. The 3 as 1 camera alt mode is where the true action is.

For those of you that remember me saying how lame Reflectors are, this makes them a bit less lame. They almost earned themselves a seat at the cool kids table.

If you’re G1 guy, you already made up your mind that you’re buying 3 Refraktors. And if you’re not a G1 guy, buy them anyway.

Generations Thrilling 30 Skywarp

This Skywarp was purchased back in February of 2014. That was more than 5 years ago. Sometimes I can’t believe how quickly time flies. If I didn’t document the purchase, I would have thought this was only 2 or 3 years ago.

Generations Thrilling 30 Skywarp is based on designs from the Fall of Cybertron game. So he does fit in fairly well with WFC Siege. Though a Skywarp is planned for WFC Siege (as an Amazon exclusive).

This is a solid Skywarp figure. I have written about this mold elsewhere, so I won’t repeat them here. Though, playing with Skywarp after all these years, he does feel dated when compared to the WFC Siege line of figures. TFs as a whole are constantly getting better. And sometimes I need to remind myself of that fact by going back to older figures. It’s a bit like looking at your own children. Sometimes you don’t realize how much they have grown, until you go back and look at old but still recent pictures.

Studio Series Starscream

The last figure here is Studio Series Starscream. I started going into SS figures starting with my last post. Starscream was part of the first wave of SS figures released.

I like this Starscream. Overall, he feels like an up-sized version of Dark of the Moon deluxe Starscream. That figure came around before I started documenting my TF purchases on this blog. And I don’t think I ever featured that figure in anything. I think the closes I came to featuring it somewhere is in this post. Look carefully at the only picture that he’s in. It looks like Skywarp, but it’s really Starscream! Gemini and his wife took a deluxe store DotM Starscream, repainted it like Skywarp, and put it in this Japanese packaging for DotM Skywarp. To my knowledge, a retail deluxe DotM Skywarp was never released in the States. This has got to be one of the best Christmas presents I ever received! I really need to dig out this figure and give it a proper review.

Anyways, back to SS Starscream. This figure is voyager class. That’s a more appropriate size for someone like Starscream. The robot mode appears very close to his movie design. He’s fairly stable when standing on 2 legs on a flat surface. The feet is a feat in engineering (pun intended) considering his overall shape. Starscream has virtually no kibble on the back, which is saying something for the movie seekers. Starscream comes with a weapon that can be attached on either arm, when the hand is flipped in. In jet mode, Starscream looks great. Again, very little kibble on the underside of the jet, and that’s to be commended. There’s some kibble on the wings, but in my opinion it’s not at all distracting. Landing gears flip out easily. The weapon pegs in nicely and securely on the rear of the jet, behind the thrusters.

Again, the transformation scheme is identical to the DotM deluxe figure. SS Starscream is in my opinion the best movie Starscream made to date. The RotF Leader class figure was very good too, but this SS figure is more playable.

I recommend all the figures here.

Other related posts:

Decepticons… Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

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 Pop-Outz! Grab Bag

July 2nd, 2019 No comments

As fan of all things Transformers, every once in a while I would pick up some Transformers related merchandise which are not the figures themselves. I was at Dollar Tree and stumbled upon this wacky item you see before you. A Transformers Pop-Outz! Grab Bag! For only a dollar I can potentially amuse myself for hours. Or not.

So what the heck is in here? Let’s open and find out.

Feast your optics on the contents before you. There’s a sticker sheet, 1 set of 3 markers, a cardboard cut out sheet of Optimus and Bumblebee, and a cardboard cut out sheet of Megatron and Grimlock.

Megatron and Grimlock

Optimus Prime and Bumblebee

Stickers

Markers

If I was to really color the 4 characters here, that would take me hours if not days. The markers that come with the set don’t offer enough colors to really do a good job here. Perhaps it’s possible to do an adequate Bumblebee, with the yellow and black. You are probably better off using your own markers. I like to color one. The characters look like they are from the Cyberverse line.

The cardboard cut outs can be attached to the included stand (also on cardboard).

Kids will most likely love all the stickers here. And some adults too.

This grab bag is probably just something to give out at kids parties, or used as Christmas stocking stuffer. The coloring and stickers should keep the little ones entertained for hours.
Recommended age is 3+.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

War For Cybertron Siege Storm Cloud and Visper Quick Review

June 14th, 2019 No comments

I have a treat for you all today! Recently, I acquired Storm Cloud and Visper, two Micromasters in one package from the War For Cybertron: Siege line. These two are modern updates to two G1 Micromaster characters from the Air Strike Patrol, of which I do have! I will be able to show them side by side.

Storm Cloud kept his name, but Whisper is now Visper. OK Hasbro you’re so creative. Let’s get on with the review.

Robot mode.

Storm Cloud, G1 and Siege.

G1 Whisper and Siege Visper.

As for the robot modes, there is no comparison here. The new Siege Micromasters look way better than their G1 counterparts in robot mode. The G1 guys have no articulation other being able to raise their arms. The Siege guys actually has some decent articulation for toys of this size. Siege Storm Cloud can bend at the hips, knees, arms, and elbows. Visper has all that minus the elbow articulation. No head, waist, or feet articulation on either of the Siege guys.

Hasbro really did the G1 old schoolers a favor and modeled the new characters as faithfully as possible to the G1 characters of origin. Check out the body and head molds of Storm Cloud and Visper. The designs are almost carbon copies of how they were in G1. Smashing.

Storm Cloud and Visper are both solid figures. I detect no weaknesses in the constitution of either fig. Visper can be a tad back heavy if you choose to pose him with knees bent.

And looking at the pics just now, I see that Storm Cloud and Visper (Whisper) are inverted in their color schemes. Storm Cloud has a black body with purple limbs, while Visper (Whisper) has a purple body with black limbs. I never realized this in G1.

Transformation to jet mode is obviously going to be on the simple side here. But the transformation paradigm does differ from G1, and Storm Cloud and Visper do not transform in the same way. Both figs feature a cockpit shift and extend out mechanism from the back, like G1 Aerialbot limb figures. Visper tucks the legs under the front cockpit, while Storm Cloud does the splits and rotate the legs under the wings. Arms stay tucked on the sides for Visper. Storm Cloud has the arms rotated behind while the elbows bend up. Wings fold out from the back for both figs.

Storm Cloud jet mode, G1 and Siege.

G1 Whisper and Siege Visper, jet mode.

For the jet modes, I’m gonna give the edge to the new kids as well. Siege Storm Cloud and Visper look sleeker in their jet modes when compared to their G1 counterparts. But the G1 guys have their charms too in jet mode. In jet mode I find the Siege guys to only be slightly superior, unlike the robot mode where Siege killed it by a wide margin.

Both Siege Storm Cloud and Visper come together well in jet mode. Everything tabs into place where it should to form a cohesive unit. Tabbing everything in perfectly is a bit tougher on Storm Cloud, because the legs need to tab onto the arms and wings, and they’re all moving parts. It’s a tad difficult, but nowhere near impossible.

Siege Micromasters feature this gimmick where the two Micromasters can come together and form weapons for other robots in the Siege line sized deluxe or bigger. So in a way, Siege Micromasters are also kind of like Targetmasters. It’s kind of a lame gimmick if you ask me, but whatever. For Visper and Storm Cloud, the instructions just show you to connect the two once you got each properly transformed. But it’s missing one very important detail: there is a peg on the rear of Visper in jet mode that needs to be rotated out. I didn’t know this, and spent several minutes looking at how these two are supposed to connect. A pic of the peg is below.

The combined jet looks pretty cool. Much better than the PotP Dreadwing combination.

This is supposed to be a weapon. I’m gonna guess this is more like a sword. Here I have Titans Return Blitzwing holding it.

Overall, I like Siege Storm Cloud and Visper. Some will say the original G1s are better, but don’t believe it. At least not for these 2. I have some other Siege Micromasters that are disappointing, but Storm Cloud and Visper are worth your money. Get them.

Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

Masterpiece Optimus Prime and Autobots, Team 4

May 7th, 2019 No comments

MP Optimus returns with a different team of MP Autobots to give the Decepticons some serious beat down.

This is Team 4. Here were the previous teams: Team 1, Team 2, Team 3.

With the exception of Optimus Prime, all other MP figs were acquired in the last two years. Not only that, half these figs are 3rd party. Just goes to show how far the 3Ps have come.

The only one that I will not wholeheartedly recommend here is Artifex (Hoist). He’s a good display piece in both robot and alt modes, but during transformation the figure is somewhat flimsy. I intend to get a different representation of MP Hoist at some point.

I transformed Optimus a bunch of times. Downbeat I transformed several times. Sunstreaker, Grapple, Toro, and Artifex I have only transformed once, from alt mode to robot mode. I need to give these figs more love.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

Warbotron Double Strike Quick Review

April 25th, 2019 No comments

I recently acquired Double Strike. This is Warbotron’s MP interpretation of Technobot Strafe. Since I did a review on Turbo Ejector (Afterburner), I’m gonna do a review on Double Strike as well.

I got Double Strike at a sale price of $51.99 (MSRP is $95.99). That’s almost half off! Since I was so impressed with Turbo Ejector, I had to get Double Strike to check it out for myself. Is he as good as Turbo Ejector? Let’s find out.

We will start with the box.

Double Strike is packed in the same kind of box as Turbo Ejector. And that’s a good thing, because these boxes are so high quality. They are composed of hard cardboard, and there’s a tab on the side for easy pull out. I didn’t include the outer box wrap in the pic above, but Double Strike has one too.

Box flap opens to reveal another good artwork.

In the packaging.

Double Strike is about the same height as Turbo Ejector. That makes sense as they both form the arms. I think Double Strike weighs a bit less than Turbo Ejector, but not my much. The figure is solid, with a nice hefty feel for a toy of this size.

Pic of lower back and legs. Notice how well the wings compact onto the back of the legs.

Ready for battle.

Another action pose.

Close up of the face. Decent sculpt with awesome light-piping.

Watch me balance on 1 leg!

Just like Turbo Ejector, Double Strike is well built. All joints are nice and tight, and some are clicky too. I detect no tolerance issues. All weapons fit where they are supposed to without it being too loose or too tight.

Transformation to jet mode is super straight forward. Just like Turbo Ejector, Double Strike follows the same overall scheme of his G1 predecessor. If you read the instructions, it will seem like the transformation is more complicated than it really is. I suggest just going straight in without looking at the instructions. Anyone familiar with Transformers in general shouldn’t have any problems.

The arms go up and over the back, and sits on top of the jet alt mode, instead of on the sides like G1. Waist rotation is required. Snap legs together and push in toward the waist. Unfold the wings. There is a back assembly with missile that stretched down and pegs in. Attach twin guns at front of the shoulder. That’s about it.

Pics of the jet mode below. It looks good and resembles G1 Strafe quite well. No TransFan will mistake this jet for anyone else.

View from the side.

View directly from the front.

View directly from the back.

Bottom view.

Rear landing gears don’t retract. The front landing gears can be rotated up, but they are still visible from the side. In the pic above, I got one front landing rotated up, and one left out.

An alternate wing configuration is in the pic below. This is actually the official Warbotron configuration. But I prefer a more G1 look, so in all other pics I had the wings configured more like G1.

The missile launcher on top of the jet deserves its 15 minutes. This thing shoots far! Be careful when firing. You’ll shoot your eye out, or worse yet, lose the missile.

Overall, I recommend Double Strike. I don’t think he’s as good as Turbo Ejector, but he’s still another solid addition to the Warbotron Technobot team.

Will I get the rest of the team? Only time will tell. Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews