Thursday, June 25, 2015
That Old Transformin' Mood
Botcon has come and gone, and the recent reveals got me in that old Transformin' mood again! I've still got a lot of recent-to-semi-recent purchases floating around (that never made it into the bin, yet), so I figured I'd photographize them and interblogerate the photographizement for your seeing head balls to inseenerate.
First off: That top pic was an old one meant for the previous Transformers misc post, "An Unnecessarily Long Post About Transformers." I must have missed it. I feel it's important to post, since it is a combiner composed of robot dinosaurs. While I wasn't a big fan of the sort-of combiners series that this guy is from....I had to break for a robot made of robot dinosaurs. I feel like that's some sort of symbol, for me. Like, that would be on the flag of The Independent Nation of Alexx. That, or it would be a robot composed of skeleton robot dinosaurs. If that ever happens, someone please inform me, and catch me when I faint. Take me to the hospital, if it also comes with a sword.
Alright, lets move on to the main course! As I said: The mood has hit me, so I want to take a quick look at some recent Transformers that haven't made it to the bin, yet.
We'll start small, with some Legend's Class figures. These are two of three Insecticons: Bombshell on the left, and Shrapnel on the right (or Skrapnel? I think they changed his name). The third one, Kickback, might be coming in this size at some point. They had better, anyway. One more to go!
I always liked the originals, but mostly because they were originally part of the Diaclone line, and, because of this, they had little opening cockpits. I LOVED that stuff, when I was little. Sadly, none of the newer versions have ever used that as an opening panel, or maybe somewhere to hide a gun or something. I had hoped someone would do a little homage to the opening parts, but it looks like all we get is the yellow on the chest - which ain't bad, honestly.
Beyond that, though: These are awesome little guys!
They still get across all the other stuff I loved about the originals. A major detail is just that they're robot bugs, and that's hard to get wrong! It also helps that they're beetles - those always turn out cool, somehow. Shrapnel was a part of the previous Legends Class line, while Bombshell is part of the current Combiner Wars, leaving him with a sort-of gun mode.
The directions don't say anything about him turning into a gun, but those pegs on his knees are the same size as Transformer gun handles, so you can just leave him as a bug, put his arms forward, and have someone hold one of the pegs. Boom! Bugun. No idea why the directions never mentioned it. I talked to them and everything!
And speaking of gun modes, we have Powerglide, also from Combiner Wars.
He's fun, though I can't help but feel that I'd like him more if I felt something about his character. As a toy, I wish he came with some sort of accessory. Then again, I guess he IS an accessory. So there's that. Regardless, like I said, he's fun! Easy to transform and he's somehow a cute little guy. Scrappy looking.
Legends sized Seekers! Almost. I've got Starscream from the previous line, and Thundercracker from the current Combiner Wars. Acid Storm is from the same line as Starscream, but he's just a stand-in until Skywarp comes out.
This is one of my favorite molds for the Seekers so far. They're small, easy to transform, well articulated, and arm guns are easy to pose (sometimes they sculpt them awkwardly and they get in way when you raise the arms, like the classics ones). If I ever pare down my TF collection, chances are, these will be the Seekers I keep.
I did notice that they're making them all in the BIG size class - the same as Jetfire - but wow man, that is useless to me. Neat, but I don't wana take up a ton of space with gigantic Seekers.
...besides, I already bought that giant Starscream from the Cybertron toyline, awhile back.
This is Cosmos, another one from the line before Combiner Wars. I hope they release him again, for any reason, I don't care. Everyone needs to have this little guy.
He comes with a little space shuttle that can dock on his guns in the front (though it seems to strip the paint off the barrels, so be careful).
And the shuttle can become a big 'ol gun for his tiny hands. He's really articulated and just simple and fun! Love this freakin' thing.
I highly suggest tracking down Cosmos. This little UFO never fails to put a smile on my face.
Alright, that's enough of the little guys! Everything else is mostly stuff from just before Combiner Wars. I REALLY want to go over some Combiner Wars stuff, but things are scarce around here and I kinda wanted Superion's last limb, first. We'll see who decides to stock new things first (or stock at ALL).
First is this weird little set...I think it was a Wal-Mart exclusive? It came with two small figures that I've already forgotten, an Optimus, and this Jazz. They're both G2...ish.
Jazz is more inspired by G2, for some reason. He's using the same color scheme as his G2 version, but all the designs are new. Not that it's bad - I like his style! Just would have been cool to see the actual G2 deco.
Jazz is using a mold from the "Reveal the Shield" line, where they made some new versions of classic figures. He's a little complicated, so I don't transform him often, but has some neat features in the form of speakers that flip out from his doors. They also pop off and attach to his gun so he can kill you softly with his song.
Best part about those speakers is that he can flip 'em out in car mode, too! Don't ever tell Jazz to turn it down...he's got the tools to be a REAL jerk about it.
This is the Optimus Prime in the set: Randomly based on an unreleased G2 figure? Granted, I guess you can't get more G2 than the fact that this mold is a remake of the G2 Laser Optimus.
So they had to come up with another G2 color scheme for him. Personally, I think this would have been hilarious, but they probably wanted to go more with "cool" than "hilarious." And he actually does end up pretty dang cool!
They also used an improved version of this mold, where they shortened this nub on his shoulder that got in the way of his articulation.
...it's kinda hard to see, but it's a good thing! Trust me.
His windshield has the normal Autobot symbol, but the designers decided to grace him with the G2 symbol on his sides, which is neat! I ended up liking this guy a whole lot more than I thought I would, and I end up picking him up more often than the first version.
Lets get a little more current: This is from the "Thrilling 30" line, and is a remake of Starscream in his "Armada" design. Transformers Armada was a whole other universe, so technically this is a different Starscream....but I think they shoehorned the design into the main comics? I dunno; I don't really pay attention, story wise.
Design wise: I LOVE this guy! In fact, I liked his Armada design, back then, but I wasn't big on the Armada toys. Some of them were a little more limited than I liked, and I wasn't totally back in to Transformers, at that point. This figure brings back that design, but makes it more poseable, smaller, and changes up how his swords work.
Now, on the original Armada Starscream, one of his wings popped off and became a sword. This time, these orange swords fold up and store in the wings. These swords are great! Just...ah man, translucent orange. You're the best. Only matched by translucent green.
Starscream also sports pegs on his arms, so he can mount Mini-Cons, which were the gimmick during the Armada days. You popped one on, and it would activate a feature. Starscream's feature were these big guns that flipped over his shoulders. That feature is now a do-it-yourself deal.
They're just standard missile launchers now, with "press missiles", in that you push the back and the missiles fire off. Makes the back of the guns stick WAY out behind him, but the backs are translucent orange, and that makes them cool.
Great figure! Certainly shot up to one of my favorite Starscreams. I mean, how could he not? Lets pull out the Alexx Checklist for Things Alexx Looks for In a Transformer: We've got Planes, Swords, Red and White (or silver), and Is Starscream. Yep! All on the list, and all checked with one figure. He's a keeper.
Now, this mold was used for one other guy, and, since I liked it so much, I ended up getting him as well.
I have to look up his name every time - it's Jhiaxus. I've never heard it said out loud, so I dunno how to pronounce it correctly (unless I am saying it right. Who knows). I mostly bought him because of those sweet guns.
He's as good a figure as Starscream, and the bright orange really pops! He looks a bit different than he does traditionally, so I don't know what fans think of him. Honestly, I like his crazy white-yellow-red color scheme from the comics, so it would be neat to see a repaint in those colors, sometime.
This next one is Tankor, and it is the perfect "drone" kind of robot that my kid self would have used for everything. I love claw hands for my expendable robot badguys, and having visible weapons all over the body only serves to further that "robot solider" look.
He sports missiles in the chest, along with some sort of cannon/launcher, guns in the arms, along with saws underneath, some tiny launchers in the head, and finally, the big honkin' cannon on his shoulder. The cannon is neat, but the missile has such a long stalk that it sticks out awkwardly (I wana cut it down, at some point).
For the life of me, I couldn't remember how to transform him. I seem to remember it being simple, but I got to a point and couldn't figure it out the rest of the way. Doesn't matter! The robot mode is where it's at.
He would have been fighting my superhero figures all the time, back in the day. I find 'em really fun to mess with. I'd pick 'em up if you still find him collecting dust on the shelf (which he may be, for some reason).
Around the same time as the few above, there were two figures who are a part of a Transformers team called "The Wreckers." Turns out the members are mostly figures I cared about for one reason or another! Two of them, one including Whirl (above), were figures I had looked up at some point and just loved. The vintage Whirl looked freakin' awesome, as a toy, and I was eagerly awaiting a remake of him, since all his previous incarnations were just repaints of other helicopter figures (which meant he didn't get his awesome monoeye head).
Thankfully, this one takes a lot of details from his vintage figure! That was all I was ever interested in, though I'll admit, his character sounds hilarious.
Whirl is VERY articulated, though, you have to pull out his shoulders and pull up his head to get the full effect. He's got a great "killing machine" look to him that features a lot of what I like to see in a robot. There's also a nice pile of accessories that you can place just about anywhere, and in multiple configurations.
There's clips and holes and pegs on the weapons, and places to clip and peg them on various points of the figure. You can even take one item and place it over his claw, when you bend it back into the arm.
If I had one gripe, it's the animal-like legs, where they bend backward. I think I've warmed up to them, over time, but you CAN get them kinda like the vintage figure if you turn them around.
His "toes" make it so you have to pose him in very particular ways to get this configuration to work, but I think it looks just as good. It's an option, anyway!
This is just about the exact Whirl I had been waiting for, so I wouldn't hesitate to pick him up! I still see him on the shelves, so you might have a chance at him in stores, for a little while longer.
Now, the other Wrecker and figure I had been looking forward to (for a remake) was Roadbuster. The vintage figure was loaded with weapons, and I just love that orange color mixed with military green. They've repainted some other figures in these colors, in a homage to Roadbuster, but never remade him proper. I still appreciated those recolors, of course, because this color scheme rocks, but I really needed a remake of all the things that made that vintage figure look awesome!
They did that here, though, I'm not super happy with the results.
Like Whirl, Roadbuster comes with a ton of weapons that you can reconfigure and place where you like (just about). He's imposing no matter what you do! He's just a little awkward.
My major gripes are with the articulation. His hips run into his chest, so you have to un-clip the chest from the point where it snaps into the waist to get his legs to allow the pose above. Also, not all TFs have wrist cuts, but Roadbuster could have used some, for some more interesting poses with his military-like rifle. Not to mention the fact that the rifle can be longer, too, when combined with the other guns.
He's not a terrible figure, but something always feels off when I pick him up. His chest is always flapping, so that I can move his legs, he doesn't have many interesting poses with all his guns, his feet are weirdly large but still don't prove good balance, and to top it off, nearly all of his stickers do no fit comfortably in the places they tell you to stick them.
Much like Whirl: Roadbuster feels like THE Roadbuster, for awhile. I don't think they'll take another crack at him until a good amount of time passes. If you really want him, I'd get him - especially since Targets seem to still be sitting on him. Just about any Target I visit has at least one or two Roadbusters. He's not great, but he is the best one so far.
Aw yeah, this one is a classic! I know TF fans love this guy, so I probably don't have to introduce Waspinator. Seems like Beast Wars was a stand-out series for just about everyone - even people not that in to Transformers. I know it was for me! Beast Wars was the first time I had REALLY gotten into Transformers (with me being too young for most of the vintage stuff, and G2 only having a few really well articulated figures that weren't vintage repaints).
Beast Wars was the first to really utilize ball joints for organic transformations, so you ended up with a lot of really well articulated toys. Plus: animals that turn into robots! Some of them were even weirdly nasty, like visible guts on certain weapons that come out of the stomach area.
You'd think I would have a ton of Beast Wars stuff, but I only ended up with a few, and then I never managed to catch much of the cartoon. For the longest time, all I had to go on was this comic that came with an Optimus and Megatron two pack - Optimus was a bat and Megatron was a gator. You can see how my view of the story was pretty crazy for a good while, there. When I caught the toon, I was always confused as to why Optimus and Megatron had changed, and as it turned out, the bat and gator forms were just never mentioned!
Anyway, out of the few figures I had, Waspinator was a favorite.
Something that the vintage figures sported were alternate heads - one robot head and one "beast" head. The cartoon chose one head for each character, which pretty much erased the second head for most of them. I always used the robot head on my Waspinator, so I'm pretty much never gona see that guy again, but that doesn't mean the new one isn't nostalgic as heck.
They key with any new Beast Wars figure is to get it as close to the animation model as possible. As usual, for me: That's kinda the last thing on my list. I've always been a toy man, since that's the actual physical thing in my hands, but many times, the characterization wins out over how a toy may have looked. Thankfully, Waspinator's details are basically the same, with only minor differences that only enhance his look. His head is also ripped RIGHT off the show, and while that's awesome, it really is a headsculpt that can be admired by anyone. You don't have to see the show to know that's awesome. In fact, the sculpting work on his beast is fantastic all around!
I've only got two complaints: His knees bend forward to allow him to transform, which means they don't bend back very far at all. If they fly, I like the knees to bend back for flying poses. It's not a dealbreaker, but it is a particular annoyance, for me. Also: His wings have this crazy "flapping" action feature, which means you can never pose them outward - they'll always be pointing down, unless you shove something into his back to get the wings to stay out. I loved the poseable wings on the original, so this is kinda lacking. It kinda sucks, 'cause a flapping feature can be fun...this one is just kinda boring. There should have been a "kick" to it, allowing the wings to vibrate a little.
I doubt there are many fans out there that are without this figure, but if you don't have him, he's probably gona be one of those expensive after-market figures. I had my buddy Heli pick him up for me, since I never saw him in the stores. He's the best Waspinator you're gona get, though, I think I may still track down one of his vintage repaints.
Alright, last two!
This is Crosscut, and he's got a million weapons because he's a repaint of Skids, who is known for all the weapons. Seems like Crosscut just gets this stuff by default, which is hilarious, because, according to the wiki: Crosscut is an Autobot ambassador who tries his best to make peace. They even go so far as to say that all his weapons are non-lethal! Good 'ol non-lethal missiles.
There's nothing about this guy I don't like, save for transforming him, which I didn't bother to do. He's a car. That's all you need to know, transformation wise.
What you need to know, robot wise, is that he's got two guns on each arm that flip outward, two shoulder cannons that flip up automatically when you lower the car hood on his back, a missile battery on each shoulder that are revealed when you push them down, and two guns that combine into a larger rifle. WHEW! Time to broker some PEACE!
The red and silver color scheme probably tips you off on why I like this guy so much. He's also got the face-obscuring mask thing that a lot of transformers have, which is one of my favorite looks. Add in all the accessories and hidden weapons and you have a top-notch toy! I didn't see him very often, but I'd get 'em if you have the chance.
On to the final figure! I had been meaning to take pictures of this one awhile ago.
It's Windblade! This one was a fan-voted figure, in that Hasbro put out some polls, like "male or female" and "choose a weapon" and "plane or car." The end results of all the polls was Windblade, a female VTOL aircraft with Kabuki Theater designs and an awesome sword! Lets look at the Alexx Checklist again...there's red, she's a plane, and there's a sword! We'll throw on "female" as well, for a general list of things Alexx is looking for in a toy. I didn't have any female figures, when I was a kid, so I tend to seek them out, nowadays. This figure covers a lot of bases!
Windblade is awesome! I should have taken pictures of her when I got her - she poses so well! There are a few things I would change, like the "heel" part of the feet bending inward so easily, but there's so much good here that I can't complain.
First off: I love little secret items, and the "fan" on the back of her head comes off for her to use, somehow. Maybe as a blade?
Next, the sword sheath has a few ways to store: There's a slot on her hip, as you see above, and then a slot on the nose of the plane, so she can store it on her back.
Finally, there's a peg on the back of the sheath so she can hold it! You don't even have to try to get something dynamic out of her. It just happens.
The sword itself is fantastic. It's cast in translucent purple, and it fades to clear at the tip. The handle is painted black (so far there's no problem with paint rubbing off on the hand), while the fan blade in the hilt is clear.
There aren't any reasons to skip this figure - track her down if you can. I'm not sure if she's crazy expensive in the after-market, but hopefully not too much. This one really needs to be in the hands of everyone.
Alright then! Transformers mood sufficiently milked. I got somethin' in the mail to change the mood already, so we'll switch gears with the next post! Until then: Check out whatever you can with the current Combiner Wars line. There's not a single dud in the batch so far, and I'll be certain to show 'em off once some more limbs start getting into the stores.
Lets say I'll be back next Thursday? I'm thinking that might be enough time to finish a post with my new wonky work schedule. Lets see how that works!