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.
Short break from the Victorion folks because I have an embarrassment of Combiny Guy riches and I wanna skip around a bit. So here's "Wandering Roller"!
TakaraTomy didn't release the new Protectobot, Rook, with their Defensor box set 'cuz they wanted to make a new Groove leg for their market. Which is pretty sad for Japan, because Rook is one of the best Combiner Wars guys. Well, that absence is fixed now, I guess! TakaraTomy was like, okay, so there's all this extra tooling we haven't used yet because it wasn't G1 enough, so we gotta find a way to repurpose it all into a single combiner team guy we can sell. Waste not, want not, and all that. Using all the parts of the Combiner Wars buffalo.
So TakaraTomy grabbed our Cyclonus/Galvatron torso dude and decided, hey, this guy is nabbing dudes from across all the various Transformers timelines to be his limbs. Which is a solid idea, A+, much approve. And one of these guys is our Rook mold as IDW Publishing's Roller. Now, Rook's sculpt actually doesn't really look much like IDW Roller, who is a distinct entity from that little nontransforming Roller guy that Optimus Prime keeps in his trailer, but Rook does transform into a six-wheeled armored vehicle like that nontransforming Roller guy, so I think that's where that connection was made. In IDW, nontransforming trailer-pet Roller was named in honor of character Roller after the latter went missing. (Hence the name, "Wandering Roller.")
Out of all the other limbs in this set, I'm talking about Roller first because he's got such an interesting conglomeration of colors. He's mostly silver in vehicle mode, which makes sense if he's supposed to be emulating the other Roller's vehicle mode, but in addition to that silver, in robot mode is added a rich dark brown, some striking Chef Boyardeeish orange, some metallic blue, and some dark forest green. That mix of silver, brown, orange, blue, and green is not really a mix you see on many Transformers, if on any other Transformers, and it's a welcome diversion from the sea of white and red that most of Combiner Wars/Unite Warriors has been. I heart it.
I'm not really sure where the green comes? IDW Roller has all those colors except the green. In fact, it should be more of the teal if it were being accurate to IDW Roller's design. It's kind of odd. I mean, I'm not saying not to use the green, since I like how it looks, I just wonder what its inspiration is.
Sadly, Wandering Roller does not come with any Kremzeek juiceboxes.
Back when we were doing all our online voting to determine Victorion's attributes, I guess folks voted for cars! So here's two cars, one made from each of the Combiner Wars car toolings. But, you know, with retoolings.
Jumpstream is the one with a face! She was originally Breakdown/Sunstreaker/etc, but now she has a new head, a new chest/tummy, and new forearms. Oh, and she comes with that new shield, too, which attaches with the rest of everybody's new accessories to form a new giant sword. Jumpstream is here to be the cute one, I guess. Look at those large, wide-set eyes.
Dustup is the one with a ninja mask! She was originally Dead End/Streetwise/etc, but now she also has a new head, a new chest, and new hands. Apparently the new tooling budget thought it was very important that everyone have smaller, thinner hands. Dustup comes with a... blade weapon thingy, like maybe what the Klingon use? Don't look at me, I get all my Star Trek information second- or third-hand. That thingermabobber also helps form the giant Victorion sword. Take a look at that vehicle mode of hers (the one without the spoiler) -- all that red? That's paint. Dustup's got a shitload of paint.
(okay fine the tall, thin strip of unpaintable nylon plastic down the middle of the doors isn't paint)
Jumpstream's red in vehicle mode is also all paint, but hers is a less impressive amount.
I like these two well enough, but Pyra Magna is a tough act to follow.
Is this... is this the first Voyager Class-sized lady Transformer since TM2 Arcee in 2001? I must be forgetting somebody, right? Being a dad uses up a lot of your braincells.
It shouldn't be too surprising that I find her to be the stand-out among the set, 'cuz the base Hot Spot mold she was retooled from is pretty swell. Hot Spot's OTHER retool, Onslaught, is a little better than Hot Spot, and Pyra Magna steals from one of his helpful retools, the heels in the back of the feet which aid stability. (Not, like, high heels, but just long-ass rods that jut out from the back of the foot.)
But because Pyra Magna is mostly Hot Spot, that means she's large and awesome and can do all sorts of crazy poses. She comes with an axe (made out of two of the parts that become the combined robot form's sword) and that kind of helps you want to pose her doing more things, like swinging and double-handed holding and whatnot, which is kind of a bonus over the original tooling's guns.
New parts include new forearms and hands, a new head, a new chestplate, new combiner mode chest parts that also feature in vehicle mode, and of course the new combiner mode's head. Between all those and the new red and sea-green color scheme, she looks like her own bot.
Tell you what, I miss that teal that the sea-green was back in early production. Every toy should have teal. And orange. Every toy should be teal and orange. And this toy was like halfway there, but then they decided teal and red were too bright together and took away my teal. They should have desaturated the red if they had to neuter one of the colors! Teal is the best. I was robbed.
According to an image in the instructions, you should peg the combiner mode's new feet into the ladder stuff on her back. So that's a place to put those. I didn't see anywhere in the instructions that say where to put the combiner mode's new hands. Dang, I guess someone's gonna hafta hold those.
There is a misassembly problem, though! An oft-forgotten step in transformation to robot mode is zig-zagging the knee struts into a configuration that locks into the top of the shins. Part of the knee struts were assembled upside-down in both legs, which makes a little nob point in the wrong direction and keep this locking in from working. Kind of annoying. Not, like, a dealbreaker, but definitely annoying. At worst, since the toy's knees are stiff enough that the locking in isn't terribly necessary, the misassembly makes her taller, which is actually kind of a neat feature in itself. She can go look down her nose at Hot Spot and Onslaught and (soon) Bludgeon. At best, you can just snip those nubs, I guess, and transform her the way she was engineered to be. Or maybe you're supercool and can remove rivets, i dunno.
I bet Pyra Magna could remove rivets. She looks capable of things.