I very very very very very rarely buy non-Hasbro/Takara transforming robots. As such, I am kind of... entrenched, I think the best might be, in certain expectations. And I don't even know what those expectations are, really, since I so incredibly seldomly travel outside that box. There might be all sorts of things, small things, that I take for granted. Again, what are these things that I take for granted? I don't know! It is a strange world out there outside of my little world of robots from only one property. It's like traveling to Canada. Generally, our civilizations kinda work 99.999% the same, but there's always a surprise at what little stuff is different. Like, their Taco Bells have fries, man. Fries.
Anyway, this is Eagle Robo from Machine Robo, or as most folks here would know him better, Leader-1 from Go-Bots. I may SHOCK you by revealing that Japan didn't get "Challenge of the Gobots." They got Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos instead, a 47-episode anime series with anime peoples and anime robots and whatnot. There's no Guardians, no Renegades, just a buncha humans and robots fighting bad guys. And everyone looks like their toys, because why wouldn't they? "Leader-1" doesn't have a face with a mouth, "Cy-Kill" doesn't have a five-o'clock shadow, and they're actually both good guy robot mech folks. You know how in all the Pre-Transformers stuff, all of the toys were good guys, even "Megatron" and "Soundwave"? Same approach here.
There's now some new toys based on this old anime, and I thought, sure, I wouldn't mind having a modern-technology Leader-1-ish guy, and so now I have an Eagle Robo. Size-wise relative to Transformers, he's essentially a large Deluxe Class toy. He's got some die-cast parts. And how intricate he is varies very wildly, depending on what part of him we're talking about.
He transforms very similarly to how the original Leader-1 did it: Back 2/3 of the jet pulls down for legs, arms pull out from the sides, nosecone folks onto the back. However, Eagle Robo tries to make this a little more complicated, but not all over. The legs? Still giant chunks you easily pull down from 2/3 of the jet, easy-peasy. Nosecone folks back easy, too. But, damn, this torso. Someone spent a long time designing that part of the toy, and they had quite a few clever ideas, but it's all very small panels and flipping and flopping and cramming and it's definitely not very fun. It pegs very nicely into place in either mode, but that middle part of the journey is not particularly rewarding.
The result of your work is a great-looking jet, though. A great-looking jet with Leader-1 chest vents piggy-backing on the middle of the jet's back, but a great-looking jet nonetheless. There's not a lot of undercarriage junk, if any. The bottom is a series of folded robot panels, sure, but they're flat folded robot panels that tuck up into the jet itself. The jet has a narrow profile, as a jet should.
The robot's weapon separates into missiles and... extra wing chunks? Sure. But they have a place to go, which is good.
The robot is less exciting. The arms' jointing is kind of awkward, and the knees are so tight it's hard to bend them without getting lots of leverage. There's less range of movement than one'd like from a product like this.
Frankly, the part that might excite me the most is the modular display stand that Eagle Robo and apparently everyone else in the line comes with. You can assemble the display stand parts in countless ways, and the extendo arm that holds the figure over the ground is strongly ratcheted so you don't have to worry about the arm collapsing under any weight. Which is good, because of the die-cast. The more Machine Robo guys you get, the bigger and more intricate display stand you can build, in theory, since the parts are all modular. But I only have the one right now. Very unfortunately, the pegs are too large to be compatible with the toy-stand pegholes appearing on Transformers these days.
Eagle Robo, to me, exists in some strange Transformer uncanny valley. There are many of the same principles that govern Transformers toys, but there's just enough that's off that I feel a little detached and wary as I go through its motions. Not the toy's fault, obviously, but that feeling is there. The choice of what kind of joints and where to use them, the structure of the toy itself, the general aesthetic... so much is close to familiarity, but just shy of it. And you never know what the tolerance for roughhousing is on a toy that is 100% for collectors and doesn't have to withstand any child playtesting. Am I going to break this if I force it? is a question you have to keep yourself guarded with. Things did come off as I've tried to transform Eagle Robo, usually the head and nosecone, but thankfully not in a way that they couldn't go back on. Phew.
there, see, i tried something different, MOM
While I enjoyed the absurdity of Combiner Wars Cyclonus being a combiner torso for a giant Galvatron robot, there were a few things I disliked about the execution. He was made by heavily resculpting Silverbolt, meaning the toy works from a foundation of a pretty stiff-looking robot. Additionally, his reddish-purple -- nay, magenta -- color turned me off a little. But he was rightfully huge enough to be Cyclonus, particularly for my More Than Meets The Eye shelf, and so I ignored these perceived flaws.
Unite Warriors Cyclonus fixes one of these problems! TakaraTomy's extravagant redeco of that toy tosses out the magenta and returns to a more desaturated yet metallic lavender. Indeed, TakaraTomy does their best to duplicate the colors Cyclonus has in the cartoon, and so their Cyclonus has a buttload of paint. What's not paint is sparkly-fleck metallic plastic, and so he's kind of surprisingly pretty. He's not exactly More Than Meets The Eye colors, but this is closer in many more ways than it departs.
And what was already a great spaceship mode is moreso now, thanks to the hue shift and extra paint detail. You wanna fly him around and make wooosh noises rather than use him to calibrate your CGA monitor.
The deco on the parts of Cyclonus that become the combiner Galvatron super robot guy is interesting to me as well, but I'll save talk of that for a later blogpost.
Today is yesterday was May 15! That's the street date for Victorion, sorta. I mean, a lotta online retailers were allowed by Hasbro to start sell their Victorion stock, like Big Bad Toy Store and Entertainment Earth and TFSource and other places, but I got mine off eBay a few weeks ago from a seller who jumped the gun, and Amazon.com seems to have yet put up theirs properly. I mean, you can still buy it from Amazon.com from various sellers, but there's no proper "actual $99.99 suggested retail price from Hasbro-the-seller" option yet like there was G2 Superion. But, y'know, she's out there.
And she's damn pretty! I mean, she's not AS pretty as she would be if they'd kept the bright teal, but the red and sea-green is still fantastic. As I've said, Combiner Wars has been pretty heavy on the white-with-red, so something that's solid red-and-green is a breath of fresh air. Victorion is like the similarly red-and-teal Perceptor, if Perceptor were a big combiner lady made out of six smaller ladies.
Since Victorion was created to be sold as a boxset, Hasbro's done away with the hand-foot-gun weapons and tooled her some individualized parts. She has new giant feet parts with ratcheted ankles so she can stand with her feet at a splayed angle. She also has new not-so-giant hands which have articulated fingers at the knuckle. (same as the standard Combiner Wars hands, weapons peg through a stigmaga-hole on her wrist) These weapons do stow when not in Victorion mode! The feet are supposed to peg into Pyra Magna's ladder assembly, and the fists are supposed to slot into the feet. There are little grooves on the feet that are super easy to miss, and I had trouble finding them even after being told they were there. But they keep the fists snug in place, so they do their job.
You could also give the fists to somebody else, like Rust Dust the motorcycle girl who I haven't really reviewed individually since she has no retoolings unlike everyone else in the set. But once she is granted Victorion's fists, she becomes... The Tickler!
Also, all the individual components' weapons combine into a giant, very ornate sword. These parts are also new!
And, of course, the head is new. It's very tall, very detailed, and very meticulously painted. I like it.
Since the limbs are interchangeable, there are multiple ways of going about doing it. You can have the helicopters as arms and the cars as legs, or vice versa. You could also make her not symmetrical, I GUESS, but why??? Personally, I prefer using the helicopters as arms and the cars as legs. Since the new hands are so much smaller, they kinda look a little ridiculous attached to the ends of the cars-as-arms. Like she's wearing giant, flowing sleeves. Plus, with cars as legs, it means she can do tough stompin'.
She's pretty amazing. I recommend her.
Needlenose showed up in mailboxes two weeks ago, and we're starting to get the second Figure Subscription Guy in mailboxes today, so I figure that means he's free game to talk about now. (The order of delivery is supposed to be kept hush so to allow folks a small surprise when theirs arrives.)
Anyway, Needlenose (and all the other guys in his "wave" of subscription service guys) was created out of one of my wet dreams, I'm pretty sure. A buncha 1988 Decepticons who combine into a larger robot? Heck yeah. It's weird that Fun Publications keeps on making these toys that are clearly just for me, given how prone I am to talking shit about them. I'm starting to think all my actions are consequence-free! What an awful thing to learn.
Needlenose is a straight redeco of Combiner Wars Firefly. (well not THAT straight, 'cuz Needlenose has a husband) It's a redeco that works pretty damn well, probably because of how distinctive Needlenose's color scheme is. If you have a gray jet guy with a yellow face and lavender arms, you've probably got a dead ringer for Needlenose.
Nearly the whole toy is gray plastic. Only one sprue is not gray plastic, and that's where he gets his blue elbows, knees, and crotch from. Everything else is gray plastic painted over. The blue nosecone? Paint! The blue legs? Paint! The entirely lavender arms? Paint! This is some strong dedication to making Needlenose look as much like his original toy as possible. Plus the green stripes? Metallic. It's pretty.
Needlenose was a Double Targetmaster, and so he comes with redecoes of Generations Scoop's Double Targetmaster guys. I understand why this is so, and I suppose it would be worse if they weren't included here, but... man, I hate this tooling with a passion, whether it be with Scoop or Adventure Roadblock or the BotCon 2015 versions. Why? The plastic tolerances are always such that the 5mm peg piece is 300% more likely to pop out of joint than fit into anybody's fisthole. It is an extreme annoyance.
And good news, we're getting these guys again with Spinister in some number of weeks!
The inclusion of these guys also means he's got twice as many weapons as he has hands. The toy already comes with two weapons -- the Fist/Foot dealie for combined mode and the smaller weapon -- and now there's these two other guys. The two guys can combine into a single weapon, but he's still packing way more heat than is convenient.
I shouldn't spend so much time talking about my hatred for the Double Targetmaster dudes. I do really like this toy.
There was a lotta bellyaching about there being two reuses of the Alpha Bravo helicopter mode in this set, generally the the tune of "how is hasbro so stupid to use this mold twice," but, like, that's what people voted for. Clearly the helicopter was desired a bunch, since it won the vote on two of the limb's respective polls. I'm cool with it, even beyond the YAY TWINS! aspect, because the helicopter's one of the better toys in the Combiner Wars moldset. Probably why it got a lot of votes.
The helicopter twins are Stormclash and Skyburst. Stormclash is the one with the shades or goggles or whatever you want to call them. The one with the nonseparated eyes. That's one of the nice things about this set is the face diversity. Some have goggles, some have masks, it's nice. We don't get a lotta girl Transformers with goggles or masks.
Beyond the different heads, the two have a mirrored sculpt and deco. They're kinda like Tomax and Xamot that way. (they also finish each other's sentences) One has a patch of red on one side and the other has a patch of red on the other side, and so on. Like the cars and Pyra Magna, both have new forearms and chestpieces, the latter of which is where the mirrored sculpt is actualized.
They both have big feather-like swords that become the two halves of the combined weapon's blade.
One downside is that since the Hand/Foot/Guns are not included in Victorion, as she has newly tooled hands feet, and weaponry, the helicopter twins in helicopter mode don't have any landing gear. I mean, I guess they don't have any landing gear regardless, since an HFG isn't a landing gear, but I was kind of using them as that with my other versions of the mold. Without them, they kinda just lay there on the ground, like a flopping fish on land. Oh well.