Happy St Patrick’s Day 2019! Mean and Green Transformers

March 17th, 2019 No comments

It is that time of year again! St Patrick’s day is upon us, and that means another feature of my green Transformers.

As a rule, I always use green TFs that I have not used in a previous St Patrick’s Day post. Every TF needs their 15 minutes. I actually found quite a few TFs to feature this year.

Back row standing, left to right:

Front row in alt mode, left to right”

  • War For Cybertron Siege Hound – excellent Hound figure from the Siege line
  • Combiner Wars Hound – not the best Hound, but ok
  • Studio Series World War II Bumblebee – interesting fig, but not that good
  • Titans Return Brawn – great modern update of Brawn
  • Titans Return Skullsmasher – modern update of Skullcruncher, ok fig with some construction issues
  • Robots in Disguise Grimlock – this is the voyager fig that I first saw in Shanghai; I bought later from Entertainment Earth, and quite frankly, he sucks; glad I did not pay high prices in Shanghai to get this

Unlike many previous years, March Madness has not started before this year’s St Patrick’s Day. In fact, the Selection Committee will release the bracket sometime today. UCLA will not be selected this year. Woe is me.

Here are links to previous St Patrick’s Day posts:

2018
2015
2013
2012
2011

Have a safe and happy St Patrick’s Day everyone. And let March Madness begin! Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Pics

FansProject Smart Robin Quick Review

February 26th, 2019 No comments

Once in a while, I dig out older figures from their hiding places (read: stored in a closet or garage). I was looking for another figure, when I found FansProject Smart Robin in the same storage box. This figure was purchased back in April of 2014. I played with Smart Robin for a bit before he got stored. He hasn’t seen light since then.

Smart Robin is a 3P homage to Brainstorm, arguably the most famous Headmaster there is. Since it’s release, Hasbro has put out two official Brainstorm figures. One of them was a Walgreens exclusive. I bought Smart Robin before either of those. And yes, I would buy Smart Robin today, even if you already have any of the official figures.

As usual I will start with the mode that it comes packaged in.

Classic A stance.

Back view with and without weapon attachment. Very little back kibble.

Side view.

Smart robin is a well built figure with nice articulation. He can hold some good poses. He comes with twin guns, like he did in G1.

Close up of the face. I like the face mold, but it appears to be modeled more after the G1 toy. There’s a bit of paint smudge near both eyes. Other than that, paint job is nice. Obviously this will detach and transform into a Headmaster figure.

There is no working tech-spec that appears on the chest like G1 Brainstorm. Oh well. That was kinda gimmicky anyway.

With some other modern Brainstorm figures: Generations 30 voyager on the left, Titans Return deluxe (Walgreens exclusive) on the left. Smart Robin is just a bit taller than deluxe size. I think this is a good size to scale with MP class figures.

Transformation to jet mode is some of the most innovative that I have seen in quite a while. Two mechanisms are noteworthy. The first is that the wings are entirely compacted into the legs, and they fold out for jet mode. The other is that the body collapses onto itself from the sides, kind of like an accordion. To go to jet mode, this part is stretched out. It sounds hokey when I describe it in words, but trust me it’s cool. The jet looks a bit different from how Brainstorm looked in G1. But I like this update. The G1 jet shape is too bulky for today’s standards and I applaud FansProject to give him a more sleek look.

Jet mode at a different angle.

Rear view of the jet.

Directly from the front.

Cockpit opens and the Headmaster can sit inside.

Bottom view.

Retractable front landing gear.

Rear landing gear, one retracted and out left out.

With other Brainstorms in jet mode.

All in all, Smart Robin is a solid tribute to Brainstorm. He’s fun to play with and transform. He’s well built. Articulation is great in robot mode, and cohesively tight in alt mode. Scale wise, I would say he’s more MP. Yeah some fans may say this is more CHUG, but I disagree. In robot mode, he’s about the same height as MP Sideswipe or MP Wheeljack, and that’s how tall I imagine Brainstorm to be. Some of the other 3P Headmasters produced (such as MakeToys Hardhead) are way too big, even for MP. Here is a pic from an old post, where I have Smart Robin next to MP Bluestreak and MP G2 Sideswipe. Determine for yourself.

You would be smart to purchase Smart Robin. Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews

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

More of my Grimlock Collection

January 30th, 2019 No comments

Nearly six years ago, I made posts showing off my Grimlock Collection (alt mode and robot mode). I have acquired more Grimlock figures since then, especially in the past year. It’s high time for an update.

For this update I’m only including new G1 and direct derivatives of the character. That means no Grimlocks from the Movie-verse or Robots in Disguise.

These are the 3 Grimlocks I’m feature here:

  • Fans Toys Grinder – This is a 3rd party MP Grimlock by FT. It’s the large one in the group.
  • Mech Fans Toys Grmlock – A 4th party product, by MFT. This is the figure with the really silver paint job.
  • Power of the Primes Grimlock – The only official Grimlock here. It’s the only one in the group with an Autobot symbol.

Dino Mode

Standard dino pose.

Me Grimlock king.

Doing their best Jurassic World impersonation, looking fearsome from the front.

Robot Mode

Grimlocks standing at attention.

Similar shot, different angle.

“Quick guys, look cool! Get into our synchronized action pose.”

Some quick thoughts about each of these Grimlocks:

Grinder: This is a terrific figure. Possibly the best Grimlock ever made. He is larger than MP-8, the official MP Grimlock. And so he scales better with the rest of the Fans Toys Dinos and the rest of the MP Autobots. MP-8 is simply too small by today’s MP scale (in robot mode MP-8 is about the same height as MP-10 Optimus), and Grinder addresses that problem more than adequately. FT made many mechanical improvements over MP-8. The transformation sequence seems much more intuitive. The figure looks good in both modes. Grinder is super solid, no construction issues whatsoever with clicky joints all over the place. My only gripe is that, in T-rex mode, from some angles he looks too much like Barney. I think it’s the dino head mold. Good thing FT does offer an alternate dino head for Grinder (sold separately). I will get it and hopefully that will make this the perfect Grimlock figure.

Grmlock: I touched on this figure back in this post. This figure is 4th party (read: knock offs of 3rd party products). I’m not sure which 3rd party figure they copied, but Grmlock is quite good. I love that silver paint. His transformation scheme is a bit different from the standard Grimlock paradigm that every TransFan is familiar with by now, but that’s not a bad thing. Grmlock hides the T-rex head into the robot chest as opposed to letting it hang on the back, and the way it’s done is actually pretty cool. This figure is super tight in all its joints – almost too tight. Your hands will hurt when transforming this guy. As for Mech Fans Toys, I have no idea who they are. Even this company’s name is a ripoff of Fans Toys (as far as I know FT and MFT are not related whatsoever).

PotP Grimlock: The only official product here, PotP Grimlock kinda pales in quality next to the other 2. He’s decent for a mass produced retail toy. And I’m glad that Hasbro is finally putting out a CHUG Grimlock in voyager scale that G1-ers would consider true enough to the original. But next to the other 2 here, PotP Grimlock very much indeed feels like a toy, while the other 2 are more collector items. I like the robot mode, but some may complain that the arms are too long. And in T-rex mode he appears a bit off, like his tail is too long. Part of the problem is that he is made to combine with the other PotP dinos in which he forms the body. This requirement puts a limitation on what the robot mode and alt mode could look like. Still, I like PotP Grimlock overall. He’s worth buying if you find one.

Go Grimlocks! Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: 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

Transformers Purchased in November 2017

December 7th, 2018 No comments

Much like June 2016 and March 2017, November 2017 is another month where the 3P products outnumber the official products. Well, sort of. In term of figure count, that number is up for debate. But In terms of purchase count, the number of 3P products win hands down. It’s not even close.

Let’s take a look at all the goodies.

  • Titans Return Siege on Cybertron, bbts.com, $99.99

  • Unique Toys Allen, bbts.com, $59.99

  • MakeToys Contactshot, thechosenprime.com, $89.99

  • MakeToys Despotron, thechosenprime.com, $69.99

  • Fans Toys Phoenix, capturedprey.com, $210.00

Siege on Cybertron

The only official product purchased this month is the Siege on Cybertron set. This set is released in the United States as a Big Bad Toy Store exclusive. On the box, the set advertises that it includes 5 figures. They are:

  • Magnus Prime (leader class)
  • Tidal Wave (voyager class)
  • Metalhawk (deluxe class)
  • Pounce (legend class)
  • Thunderwing (master class)

They are packed in the box as shown in the pic below.

Magnus Prime is obviously the big draw here. I missed out on Transformers Legends Super Ginrai (LG-35), a Japanese only release. I wasn’t paying attention, and thought that Super Ginrai is simply a Japanese repaint of Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime. Big mistake. Super Ginrai is generally regarded as a superior figure to TR Powermaster Optimus Prime by most fans. When I came out of my TF stupor and realized that Super Ginrai is something different entirely, it was sold out at everywhere, except for online dealers that were charging crazy markups.

It was around this time that BBTS announced that they would be releasing this Siege on Cybertron set. The set includes Magnus Prime, which is a very slight repaint of Super Ginrai. Furthermore, MSRP of Super Ginrai is $109.99, while Siege of Cybertron is only $99.99 and includes a bunch of other things. So I bought this set with no hesitation.

It’s now almost a year later as I write this, and I still have not opened this set. I took it out of the box (as pictured above), but all figures are still on twist ties. This whole set just looks so damn good in the package that I’m reluctant to take it out. I’ll probably remove Magnus Prime from the twist ties in the future, to check out this mold. And while we’re on that topic, I have no idea who is Magnus Prime. Maybe he was a previous Prime to Optimus, or maybe he’s some kind of enhanced Optimus. I could look it up on TFWiki, but I won’t. I’m gonna regard this figure as Optimus Prime.

The only other new mold in the set is Pounce. And when I say new, I mean that it did not previously have a mass retail release in the United States. Pounce is one part of a clone, the other part being his twin Wingspan. These 2 have not been produced since G1 (to my knowledge), so I’m glad they got a modern update. Unfortunately, this set only includes Pounce and not Wingspan. I would have to get Wingspan elsewhere.

The remaining full-size figures in the set are all repaints of something previously released. Metalhawk is a repaint of Triggerhappy, while Tidal Wave is a repaint of Broadside. They come with Titan Masters that are different from their respective repaints (more on this later). I really like the Triggerhappy mold, but Broadside is just so-so.

Siege on Cybertron advertises 5 figures. The last “figure” here is Thunderwing. I put that in quotes because this is just a Titan Master. It’s debatable if they should count as figures. If you choose to, shouldn’t this set be 8 figures then (the 5 listed, plus the heads for Magnus Prime, Metalhawk, and Tidal Wave)? And if you choose not to, then this set should only be 4 figures. Either way, the 5 figure count is misleading. I know I’m nitpicking here, but I think it’s important to get this right. Anyway, Thunderwing is supposed to be a huge Transformer, in the pages of both Marvel and IDW. All we’re getting here is the head of Thunderwing. I suppose HasTak can make the body later. But including only the head here and then advertising as having Thunderwing feels like a cheap inclusion. I don’t care that this Titan Master is exclusive to this set.

Again, I don’t have any of this open, so I can’t speak to the quality of any of these figs. But assuming they are as good as their repaint counterparts or Japanese versions, Siege on Cybertron is a good set to buy. At only $99.99, you are getting 4 full-fledged figures, plus 4 Titan Masters. As of this writing, the set is a bit marked up now. But it can still be found for around $120, which is still a good deal if you missed out.

Allen

The first 3P figure for this month is Allen, Unique Toys’ tribute to Springer. I did a quick review of Allen, so see that post for all the details. At only $59.99, it was almost a crime to not get this, if only to check it out. And I don’t regret it one bit. Yes, Allen is not the perfect 3P Springer. There are many other options now. And to my knowledge, none are perfect. Most fans seem to elect Fans Toys Apache as the best 3P Springer produced to date. But there are qualities to Allen that makes him worthy of your collection. He’s very robust and very playable. The transformation engineering is impressive, and all modes look good in my opinion.

Allen was purchased in the same order as Siege of Cybertron above. Buying together saves money on shipping. But you all knew that.

Contactshot

Contactshot by MakeToys is the first of three Black Friday purchases that I made from The Chosen Prime. This online dealer will feature MakeToys products at insane discounts every now and then. I’m guessing MakeToys have a close working business relationship with The Chosen Prime, if the figs can be offered at such low prices. I got Contactshot for only $89.99, way less than its MSRP of $139.99.

Contactshot is an homage to Pointblank, a Targetmaster that came around in G1 Season 4. You don’t need to be too hardcore in G1 to know about Pointblank, but at the same time he’s not a character that casual G1 fans would know about. He was one of the better G1 Targetmaster toys produced when this line was first introduced. His Nebulos gun partner is Peacemaker. In the US G1 cartoons for Season 4, Pointblank made some appearances in the three episode arc “Rebirth”. This was such a short season that none of the new characters were given enough screen time. My understanding is that, in the Japanese continuity from Season 4 onwards, Pointblank is given much more detailed treatment. However I know next to nothing about the Japanese continuity, so I cannot confirm nor deny that assertion.

Truth be told, I had a feeling that Contactshot would become a Black Friday sale item. As a character, he’s not that well known. Fans have been saying Contactshot is a quality piece, but nothing that puts it in the groundbreaking territory. The regular price point of $139.99 is a bit much for fans with no familiarity of the character. Contactshot wasn’t exactly flying off the shelves, so I had a hunch he would go on sale for Black Friday. And I was right! When I saw that The Chosen Prime was letting him go for $89.99, I ordered with haste.

I have played with Contactshot for a while now, and transformed him twice to alt mode and twice back to robot mode (including breaking a piece, but more on this later). I agree with the consensus of the TF fandom: Contactshot is a pretty good figure, but not so good that it’s a must get if you don’t know the character. But first let’s take a look at Contactshot in the package.

Contactshot comes in a pretty small box, and he’s sandwiched between standard fitted clear clam shells. It’s a no-frills packaging, and it works. However, if you’ve paid MSRP, you might make a case that the packaging needs to be more elaborate. He comes with his Targetmaster partner Peacemaker, an accessory that doubles as a vehicle top-side spoiler/thruster and robot arm cannon, one extra helmet, and two extra face plates. The extra helmet and face plates are for if you want to create a G1 toy accurate look, or the G1 Japanese continuity look.

In your hands, Contactshot feels solid and weighty. It’s clear that good materials are used for the figure. Most of it is high quality plastic, with bits of diecast added here and there. Articulation is pretty good in robot mode. He can be put into some fairly dynamic poses, and the figure’s construction is solid enough that he can hold the poses. Transformation to alt mode is satisfying. Some of it is fairly straightforward, while other areas can be somewhat frustrating. The leg transformation to alt mode can be a bit annoying. It’s fairly obvious what you need to do, but actually doing it takes some work. I do like the look of the alt mode though. Pic below.

This is a very true representation of Pointblank in alt mode. I don’t remember seeing Pointblank in this mode in the Season 4 US Cartoons. But if you’re comparing to the original G1 Pointblank toy, Contactshot is spot on. The future race car shape and colors are all accurate. Even the iconic wings/spoiler on top of the vehicle is there. The Targetmaster can ride inside the cockpit.

If you have a thing for Pointblank the character, or if you like seeing modern interpretations of Targetmasters, then Contactshot may be for you. This figure is a solid toy. But at it’s usual MSRP, I feel that it does not offer enough as a toy alone.

I mentioned I broke off a piece of Contactshot on my first transform back to robot mode. This was mentioned above, and also in a brief bit back in this post (scroll down to the part highlighted in yellow). It was my mistake entirely. I kinda forgot how to properly do it, and just tried to force it through. Big mistake. One of the red pieces on the side of one chest broke off. This was about 4 months after the purchase. I reached out to thechosenprime.com, and they were able to contact the manufacturer and send me a replacement piece! That made me really happy. I want to give them a big shout out again here. There are other online TF retailers that can’t or won’t do this (I’m looking at you, TFSource!). Thechosenprime.com is now my go to retailer for anything 3rd party or MP.

Despotron

The 2nd Black Friday item acquired from The Chosen Prime is MakeToys Despotron, their stab at a MP Megatron. Despotron was released before the 2nd official release of MP Megatron (MP-36). At the time of Despotron’s release, there were already other 3Ps in the MP Megatron game. Some stiff competition included Apollyon by X-Transbots and Mightron by DX9. It was kind of up to individual taste as to which of these 3P Megs was the right one for you. None of the three were perfect. They each have their pros and cons.

MP-36 was released after all these Megs. It is not the perfect Megatron either. But for the most part, fans seem to agree that MP-36 is slightly superior to all the 3Ps. This may simply be that MP-36 is the official product, and, rightly or wrongly, official products carry more weight in the TF fandom just by being official.

After MP-36 was released, demand for all these 3P Megs went down. I predicted at least one of the 3P Megs would go one sale for Black Friday, and once again my TF hunch was right. Though I didn’t think it would be Despotron, and I certainly didn’t think the price would come down this much. MSRP of Despotron is close to $150, and on this Black Friday it went down to $69.99! I wasted no time getting one, despite the fact I already had MP-36. Despotron was the one I wanted out of the 3Ps, before I knew of MP-36.

I studied many pics online and watched many vids of the 3P Megatrons, and what drawn me to Despotron is the way he looks and the way he transforms. In robot mode, you can see his proportions are somewhat different from the G1 TV cartoons. Despotron is a bit bulkier. Many have said that these proportions more resemble modern Megatron interpretations in the pages of Dreamweave and IDW. And some have said that this is a transforming version of Revoltech Megatron, which I do have. I personally feel that the G1 Movie Megatron had a bulkier frame than his cartoon counterpart. Despotron looks like someone that can go toe to toe with Optimus and then some. Take a look at some pics of Despotron in the box.

If you’re worried about that orange plug, don’t. It comes right out. In fact, it’s kinda loose that having it stay on takes more work.

As for transformation, I think Despotron wins hands down, even if you count MP-36. He has the cleanest transformation of all the MP Megs. He hides the gun bits the best in robot mode. He has the cleanest backside with virtually no gun kibble. And he’s actually fun to transform. This is a MP Megs figure that is not frustrating or overly difficult, and that’s saying a lot for a modern MP Megatron. With instructions, I got him transformed to gun mode pretty quickly on the first go, like less than 20 min.

I think he looks pretty spectacular in the gun mode. For a MP Megatron that’s fun to transform, Despotron is the clear choice.

Despotron does have his faults. The face sculpt is adequate, but I feel it is the weakest of all the modern MP Megs offerings. He comes with very little accessories when compared to the competition. All other figures come with silencer and shoulder stock attachment, which Despotron is glaringly missing. And considering that the MSRP was close to $150, that’s not good value.

All in all, I recommend Despotron, but only if you can find it at way less than MSRP like I did. He offers an alternate interpretation of G1 Megatron that feels very different from MP-36. Despotron is a fun transforming toy, something the MP-36 can make no claim whatsoever. I really want to do a review of this figure in the future.

Phoenix

I have saved the best for last. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… drum roll please… Phoenix!

Let me make this clear: Phoenix is the ultimate interpretation of a MP Jetfire. Other companies have tried, with varying levels of success. I don’t have any of those other figures, and I don’t need to. Fans Toys have outdone themselves again and hit this one way out of the park. Phoenix is G1 Jetfire materialized as a masterpiece figure. I can yap on and on about how great he looks, but I’ll let the pics below do the talking.


FT Phoenix robot mode.


FT Phoenix jet mode.

FT always look very carefully at the G1 animation models and then produces figures that match that look. Phoenix is no exception. In both modes, he looks like he stepped straight out of the G1 cartoons. But what’s more important is that Phoenix bears no semblance whatsoever to the original Takatoku Valkyrie toy that is the original G1 Jetfire figure. In other words, Phoenix is entirely based on the cartoon designs of Skyfire.

Transformation of Phoenix is actually not terribly complicated, for something so massive and easily integrates itself into the MP line. I’m almost tempted to say it’s simple, but there is enough going on in the transformation to keep most TransFans interested. All modern Jetfires have been on the easy side in terms of transformation. Classics Jetfire and Generations Thrilling 30 Jetfire comes to mind.

Construction and build quality of the figure is on par with everything that FT has produced to date. And if you’re wondering what that means, it means that it’s freakin’ awesome! All joints are nice, tight, and clicky. No dangling pieces or loose limbs. A jet mode that feels and plays like a cohesive whole.

Look at the pics below for scale with some other MP Autobots. Some argue he’s a tad too big, and I could see their point. But I just love this figure so much I’m willing to look past it.


FT Phoenix with MP Smokescreen, MP Red Alert, and MP Inferno.


FT Phoenix with MP Sunstreaker, MP Sideswipe, and MakeToys Gundog.

As for accessories, he comes with his gun (also modeled after the G1 animation model and not the Takatoku toy gun). FT gives you two removable chest plates where the faction symbol would go. So you can do one as Autobot and one as Decepticon, and reproduce that famous G1 scene where he switches allegiance. Very, very cool. The jetpack is not removable, and is a permanent (albeit transformable) piece as part of Phoenix. I don’t remember if he comes with other accessories, but I intend to do a full review soon and I’ll revisit this then.

Phoenix gets the highest possible recommendation from this TransFan.

I mentioned that I made 3 Black Fri purchases. The third one is MakeToys Ironwill, their interpretation of Hardhead. He won’t arrive for a while, so he’s not featured here. But he will get his 15 minutes. Until then… Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: On The Hunt, Pics

Random Decepticon Pic

November 18th, 2018 No comments

Quick post today. Much like when I gathered a group of Autobots at random or a collection of Decepticons lying about, today I feature another random assortment of Decepticons scattered around the house. Most of these figs are from unrelated continuities, but they make up a decent Decepticon force that the Autobots should not underestimate.

Masterpiece Barricade

Barricade is the police car of the bunch, but if you’re a fan of Movie TFs then you already knew that. Barricade made his appearance way back in the first Movie, being one of the first Decepticons introduced and having that memorable chase scene with Bumblebee. I have mentioned before that I am impressed by none of the Barricades made thus far. Well, that all changes with this Masterpiece Barricade. This Barricade is the real deal, worthy of the Masterpiece designation. He’s made from high quality plastic, and the toy feels solid and weighty in your hands. The details of the figure are top-notch. Transformation is nothing short of superb. It’s not overly difficult, but it does pose a decent challenge for even the experienced TF veteran. This is a figure I should review, but I’ll just state real quickly here that this is the only Barricade you need in your collection.

Studio Series Brawl

Continuing with Movie figs, this Brawl is from the Studio Series line of figures. Brawl does belong in the same TF continuity as Barricade, but these two figs are from different toy lines. For those that don’t know, Brawl is the tank. This Brawl figure is not bad. I like both his modes. He has enough weapons to accurately represent his on-screen persona. The engineering put into this figure is to be commended. Transformation is refreshing. Not terribly difficult, but definitely not for the faint of heart or for the impatient. Size wise, I feel he’s a tad too small. I know they are going for a different scale int he Studio Series figures, but even by that standard he’s too small in my opinion. SS Brawl should have been bigger like Leader Class Brawl from the first Movie. I should dig out that Brawl and compare the two figures.

Combiner Wars Blast Off
This is the Blast Off figure that we should have got in Combiner Wars. CW Combaticons was released some years ago, but the Blast Off figure released was just a repaint of Aerialbot Slingshot. That Blast Off transformed into a jet, and not a space shuttle. I ranted about Hasbro’s strange decision in this post, so I won’t do it again here. I’m just glad that Amazon stepped up and gave us the Blast Off that was Japan only up til now. Yep, it’s Amazon to the rescue again, much like they did Quickslinger (Slingshot) and Brake-Neck (Wildrider). This Blast Off is a nice figure. He is very G1 show accurate, in terms of his aesthetics. The paint job is impressive for a mass retail release. There are some new engineering in this figure not seen in other CW figs, such as the feet and shuttle nosecone transformations. But of course the best feature of this figure is that he transforms into a space shuttle. I have not tried to combine him with his fellow Combaticons, but I don’t expect there to be any issues.

Cyberverse Shockwave

The bright purple figure here is Shockwave. But he needs no introduction for anyone even remotely familiar with TFs. As of this writing, this is my first and only figure from Cyberverse. This Cyberverse is based on the new show, and have nothing to do with the subline of figures that appeared under Transformers Prime. The new Cyberverse line of figures caught me totally by surprise. I was not expecting them at all, then one day out of the blue I just saw them at Target. Ultimate class Optimus Prime and Megatron were the first two figs I saw. Then slowly, the Warrior class figs appeared. Many fans recommended this Warrior class Shockwave, so I got one. This is a very playable figure. I have probably transformed him like 10 times now. I dig the robot mode. His looks are very G1. I actually really like the shoulder mounted cannon gimmick. The “lasers” flip out from inside the launcher when the assembly is rotated from the back to the shoulder. Shockwave doesn’t have any head articulation, something sorely lacking by today’s standards, even in this basic class. I don’t like this alt mode all that much, I wish he was still his G1 style cannon. All in all, this Warrior class figure feels very much like a Robots in Disguise figure. It’s a light-weight figure made from cheap plastic and cobbled together with ball joints. Luckily for Shockwave, the design of the figure is decent, which saves it from being a total fail. I am however hesitant on buying more Cyberverse figs. They’re meant to be toys and not meant for the mature collector.

Decepticons, Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics

Cybertronian Halloween 2018

October 31st, 2018 No comments

Halloween is here again! And you know what that means here at TFMatrix! The new orange TFs make their special appearance for a group photo with my plush pumpkin.

I always try to use orange TFs that I haven’t used before. And seriously, there has not been that many orange TFs since last time. I only found 4 figs that I would qualify as orange. And 3 of them are not even new, they were just forgotten or left out in previous Halloween posts. But better late than never. They now appear for 2018.

From left to right:

Here are links to previous Halloween posts.
Cybertronian Halloween 2016
Cybertronian Halloween 2014
Cybertronian Halloween 2012 (scroll down to last pic)

For the robots in disguise, everyday is Halloween! Transform and Roll Out!
 

Categories: Pics

Masterpiece Optimus Prime and Autobots, Team 3

October 23rd, 2018 No comments

The Masterpiece Autobots are back to kick more Decepticon Ass. This time, Optimus returns with some of my favs from Season 2, all in MP glory!

This is Team 3. Team 1 and 2 were featured here.

First figure released in this team is obviously Optimus Prime, back in 2012. The most recent figure acquired here is Richthofen. It’s amazing how far MP Transformers, both official and third party, have come.

The most played-with pieces here are Optimus and Red Alert, simply because they have been around the longest. The least played-with are Smokescreen and Inferno.

This team is ready to man-handle some Decepticons, or maybe I should say robot-handle.

Transform and Roll Out.
 

Categories: Pics