There's not many Transformers like Sideways! Who could forget that canny servant of Unicron, that crossfactional manipulator who worked both sides against the other in pursuit of his mysterious, personal goals? The way he'd judge you, piercingly, through that glowing slit of a mouthless face, and laugh. And so visually distinctive, with his purple and his yellow and his black, all wrapped around his menacing two-wheeled vehicle mode. And his multiple little helper guys! Who could forget those dudes? And just when you think he's dead, he comes back, more powerful than ever, resurrected through seemingly supernatural forces.
Sideways is definitely one of a kind.
And this is definitely Timelines Sideways, one of this year's Transformers Figure Subscription Service toys! A year ago, we threw a truckload of money down, and then this year, every month for six months we get a different guy in the mail. And, man, have I been waiting for Sideways. A lot of detail has gone into turning the Junkion Scrapheap into our favorite twotiming jerkwad, from flawlessly replicating the iconic yellow-stripes-on-purple decor to including his two Mini-Con friends!
It's a toy that's just so amazingly striking. That bright green he has is so piercing it looks like it might be glow-in-the-dark, but though it is sadly not, it's meserizing all the same. And there's so much paint on him, between the stripes, and the trim, and the little details on his face, and the color choices all just come together so well. I mean, it's hard to go wrong with these colors. It's definitely the best use of the Junkion toy so far. And for what a great character!
The Junkion toy is kind of fiddly, though, so he might not be so fun to put back into vehicle mode. Since their robot modes are designed to ride another of themselves in vehicle mode, the desire to switch them back and forth and have fun with them riding each other is great, but the toy's a little too complicated to facilitate that easily, and so it can be frustrating. (But Sideways doesn't need to ride a Junkion, I guess, so I'm not sure why I'm going off on this tangent.)
He makes me wish I'd picked up the new Combiner Wars (noncombining) Leader Armada Megatron, so I could have Complete Armada Character Reimagining Power! But, honestly, I'd just want it for a group shot to photograph and then put it away forever, so eh. The original Armada Megatron is better.
This Sideways, though, is definitely an improvement.
I've probably mentioned it in this blog before, but when I was a kid, I designed a Transformers combiner. Powermaster Optimus Prime and Pretender Classics had just happened, and I noticed that we were starting to get old guys (Bumblebee, Jazz, Grimlock, Starscream) redone as new toys with current gimmicks, and I hatched a plan to get me other new toys of guys I wanted years earlier but never got toys of. And so, using allll the creativity that a ten-year-old can muster, I designed a Transformers gestalt guy made of Ratchet, Ironhide, Prowl, and Wheejack with Optimus Prime as a torso. It was very creative. So wow.
Anyway, twenty-five years later, the dream is nearly being realized. I've got my Ironhide and Prowl, Wheeljack's coming, and there's some art of a possible Ratchet that leaked, and of course there's Optimus Prime. I am so into this. I want everyone to be a combiner. I want to rebuy my entire Transformers collection as combiner limbs and torsos. Combiner Wars is the shit.
Anyway, all these new limbs here (Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Prowl, and Mirage) are retools of the Stunticons. Ironhide was Offroad, Sunstreaker was Breakdown, Prowl was Dead End (well, okay, he's a retool of Streetwise who's a retool of Dead End), and Mirage was Drag Strip. They all get new heads. They're officially supposed to combine with "Battle Core Optimus," a white redeco of the first wave Optimus Prime torso with a new also-Optimus-Prime head retool, but I'm cool with the first wave Optimus Prime I already have. My childhood combiner guy didn't have a white redeco of Prime in it. Also Legends Class Rodimus forms the chest armor. Sort of. He likes to not stay on so well.
My favorite of the four is Sunstreaker, since his toy incorporates the big fist/foot/cannon accessory into the robot mode itself. Plus Sunstreaker's yellow, and you know me and my yellow.
One thing I don't like is how the fist/foot/cannon accessory on each of these guys is split up between silver-painted plastic and silver plastic. Some of the plastic in these toys are nylon for structural integrity reasons, and nylon won't take factory paint, but it still makes the weapon modes of each toy look even less cohesive than before, like a piece of gun with some fingers in it. It's just more conspicuous. Which, again, is why I'm happiest with Sunstreaker, who can peg his fist/foot/cannon accessory onto his back.
I've seem some folks complain that we're getting new toys of these four guys when we already have toys of them. Well, maybe you do! Those toys came out in 2008! That was a while ago! And, like my childhood self, sometimes you don't get to get everything you want during the first pass, so second chances are nice. And it's even better if these second chances combine into a larger robot.
Now where's my Wheeljack and my Ratchet?
Entertainment Earth had an exclusive set of the pair (plus a fold-together version of the Weekend Update set) on sale at SDCC this year, and I'm not really sure there's anything more I could have wanted. (well, okay, maybe to-scale castmembers from both 30 Rock and Parks & Rec) Each of them has four points of articulation -- shoulders and hips -- and is ... I'd say probably original GIJoe:Real American Hero scale? Old Snake there outsizes them by a bit, but modern GIJoes are relatively huge. Amy Poehler's likeness is uncanny, while Tina Fey's is a little weird. It's probably the glasses. It's hard to sculpt glasses on something that small and not have it look off.
They sit on my VCR/Blu-Ray shelf, and I was dumb and took this photo at night when the light's kinda crummy. Every day I'm like "I'm gonna photograph these guys before it gets dark!" and then every day it gets dark and then it's a month passed and NO MORE GOD DAMMIT, HERE THEY ARE.
Here's the SDCC-exclusive Combiner Hunters three-pack, which I'll showcase 'cuz the remainder of the stock goes up some time today on HasbroToyShop.com. (OH HEY! HERE IT IS!) It comes with redecoes of the three Deluxe Class female Transformers we got last year: Arcee, Windblade, and Chromia, plus a bunch of additional huge-ass weapons and one small bit of retooling.
The retooling is Arcee's hands, which go from slot-holding hands to the usual 5mm peghole hands. She still comes with her swords, and since the slots are 5mm across, she can still hold her swords. She doesn't come with either of her original guns, which means technically you can't really complete her transformation. Her hands grasp either end of her smaller rifle in car mode, and without that rifle, the arms kind of just fold underneath and don't secure. I mean, it's not the worst thing in the world, and it's not like they're visible in car mode, but it still bothers me a little. She comes with a giant toothed cleaver that originally came with the super-large Beast Hunters Optimus Prime toy from a year or so back. She doesn't hold the cleaver super well, what with it being twice her size, but you can still get her into some poses, and a huge-ass cleaver is still fuckin' rad. Her new colors, a dark charcoal with some pink and silver trim, make her the most attractive toy of the set. Plus, you know, Autobot symbol tattoo on her cheek. Booyah.
Windblade and Chromia have fewer changes to them, with no weapon absences or retooling, and their colors kind of feel a little more shuffled-around rather than changed. Chromia is improved, I think, with the facepaint around her eyes, which makes her look pretty fierce and a little terrifying. Which fits Chromia well, hmm? She's still blue and gray, though now she's more gray than blue, while Windblade is now mostly red rather than only a little red. They both come with weapons from those 12-inch "Titan Heroes" figures that collectors hate but kids snatch up like crack. You know, the nontransformable five points of articulation guys? Windblade's weapon is the "Decepticon Hunter" from the Robots in Disguise cartoon, while Chromia's sword is Bumblebee's sword version of the Decepticon Hunter from the same cartoon. But, you know, packed with a Deluxe Class toy, they're huge.
A purchase of either this Combiner Hunters set or the SDCC-exclusive Devastator at Comic-Con got you a bonus Combiner Hunters one-shot comic. That comic's being released to comic book stores on Wednesdays! I read that comic like thirty times at my booth, and so I'm very glad it was a good comic. (It introduces Victorion, the fan-voted lady combiner.)
If you like transforming robot ladies in facepaint and tattoos wielding weapons larger than themselves which they use to cut down giant Transformer combiners, then this set is probably up your alley.
BotCon's been over for a week, but I've been pretty lax in getting some talk up on my site about the stuff I picked up. But hey, here's Galva Convoy! He built him myself, separating all his plastic parts from the sprues, pushing in pins and screwing in screws, and painting/stickering him. I really enjoy the process of putting the BotCon Customization Class toy together, which is why I keep going back every year. It's just calming to sit there and assemble a guy.
Galva Convoy is a redeco of Nova Prime (the super racist) and Lio Convoy (the ... lion.... guy...) who were both offered from the Transformers Collectors' Club this year. He's in homage to the original Galva Lio Convoy, who was an extremely limited (like, 50 of him) version of Beast Wars II Lio Convoy in Beast Wars II Galvatron's colors.
He comes with a fan-made Covenant of Primus book, designed after its appearance in Beast Wars. They were given to you in the class upon completed assembly of your Galva Convoy, as part of an incentive to actually put it together, since a handful of folks take the class just to take their Galva Convoys home unassembled still on the sprues. And, y'know, probably sell it. That's not in the spirit of the class! And also Hasbro's like "dude, we only safety-tested these things assembled, so that kinda leaves us wide open legally" so, yeah, the class gave us this small gift for assembly. It was "handcrafted by Japanese fan Myu" according to the written materals. It opens up to a 90 degree angle and has a 5mm peg at the bottom. The written materials also say the accessory is "neither manufactured by nor endorsed by Hasbro." Does that last bit mean this little thing can even go on TFWiki? I dunno.
Since the toy was mostly black plastic, there was more steps to painting areas of the toy than usual, since some of the colors required a base coat. This is true of the stuff painted lavendar, red, and gold. The black and blue violet got away without needing a base coat. The end result is very pretty, though. Not enough pink guys in Transformers.