Man, I hate the name "Lazerback." Can I just not say that anymore? That Z is like nails on a chalkboard. From now on he's "Dingus," which is less embarrassing.
But now Dingus has two dragon brother buddies, and at least one of their names is incredibly awesome. The yellow dude is Vertebreak, and he's showing up in American stores now. The green dude is... *looks up on the wiki* Gaidora, which apparently means something like "Supernatural Dragon." I don't know Japanese, so I am no judge on how great that wordplay is. But it's probably better than Lazerback unless there's some misspelled acronym in there that I'm unaware of.
I really think there's some sort of name-awesomeness balance that's being kept, like they can't do a really awesome name without first throwing a terrible one out there, because a leap from Lazerback to Vertebreak is pretty stark. There's whiplash.
Vertebreak is a standard redeco of Dingus, going from red and purple and yellow to yellow and orange and brown. The redeco is very autumn. He's like if a dragon were disguising himself as a horn of plenty.
... *looks up name again* Gaidora is in sparkly green and red and black, and he has a new head. It's a very nice-looking head, but I think it's a little too standardly-detailed for the very stylized TF Prime body it sits on. Over in Japan, he features in a series of direct-to-CD-in-your-toy-purchase anime adventures. They take place in Transformers Prime continuity (mostly in the far past, I think), but are rendered in a generic cel-shaded-CGI-robots-with-cel-animated-people anime style.
Toy-wise they're the same solid beastformer as Dingus was. It's forelegs to arms and hindlegs to legs, transformation-wise, but the simplicity results in two satisfying modes.
This is how starved I am for beast Transformers, that I own all three of these guys. Waspinator and Rhinox (and maybe Rattrap????) need to come sooner.Tweet
Man, I still have a huge-ass backlog of toys from BotCon and SDCC which I haven't talked about. I remember when weekend updates were unlocked during the Dumbing of Age Kickstarter, and folks worried I wouldn't have time left to do comics. Oh, I'll have time to do comics! Just... other non-comic things fall through the cracks, is all. Like toy reviews. And so let's try to put a dent in this backlog.
One thing I really really need to talk about is this customized BWX Megatron. Cheetimus painted one up to look like Transmetal Megatron, which is basically the one thing this universe is sorely missing. And I know I talk a big game about Dinobot and Ratchet and Hot Shot, but I assure you that Beast Wars Megatron is, in fact, my favorite Transformers character of all time. And that his Transmetal form is my favorite iteration of him, though I think I like his BWX toy the best.
So obviously, the BWX toy painted up in is Transmetal colors just might be the best thing possible.
My decision was made for me, and now he is mine.
I bet if you wanted one, too, you could commission one from Cheets.Tweet
I really really like Beast Hunters Prowl's robot mode! And since it comes packaged in it, you can just leave it in robot mode forever and never transform it. In fact, I recommend that! Heartily!
There were two reasons why I bothered transforming him. One, I figured I might need a photograph of his car mode for this blog. And two, I forgot how much I hated transforming the Smokescreen version of this toy. Oh, man. It is really the worst. You get the legs transformed, and you sort of get the doors in place, and then the rest of the process is about 45 minutes of trying to get his arms and the piles of car panels on them to line up with the rest of everything. He's like if Beast Wars Neo had cars. ...or, right, that's what Car Robots was, never mind.
But that robot mode! I love it! Smokescreen is retooled to have the Prowl head design from Transformers Universe, the online game that used to be an interesting-sounding game until they removed all the things from it anybody would possibly want or were excited about and also will never ever come out ever at this rate I'm pretty sure. Did you know we "reserved" our in-game names about 30 months ago? It was coming out in a few months then. It's always coming out "in a few months," in perpetuity. It's been coming out soon since Transformers Prime began, but now TF Prime is over, so OH WELL. But Prowl's a really nice design, and so I'm glad it's become plastic. The paint applications try to approximate the design as well, best it can. But the result, regardless, is something I really like.
He's a G1y Prowl in a TF Prime animation style with hints of the TF Animated version of the character, particularly the unified eye-shades. And boy does his light piping work. Oh and they dropped the Beast Hunters net and armor that came with the Smokescreen version. He's only got the missile launcher. The only thing he's really missing is the "Justice Hammer" the Cyberverse version of Prowl comes with, because, come on, JUSTICE HAMMER.
He's just classy.
Just forget he's a Transformer, please.
(The toy version of the comic also removed his alcoholism.)
(Because he's an alcoholic.)
(You see, because his 1984 tech spec said he was inefficient at metabolizing fuel, so...)
Anyway, now that Trailbreaker's out, your roster of 1984 Autobot Cars is complete! He was the last out the door, much like at the bar every night OHHHHHHHH! Ha ha ha, gems like that are why I'm a popular webcartoonist. And once Hoistand Skids come out in the upcoming waves, your 1985 Autobot Cars'll be done, too.
Like Skids (and also like upcoming Legends Class Tailgate and Swerve), Trailbreaker is based on his appearance in the current ongoing More Than Meets The Eye comic book. His robot mode, anyway! Also like Skids and Tailgate and Swerve, the toy gives him an Earth-ish style vehicle mode rather than the wacky-looking Cybertronic vehicle he is in the comic proper. This makes Trailbreaker look less like his comic book robot mode design than he would otherwise, because about 40% of his robot mode is his truck's front end. But make no mistake, the parts of his robot mode that aren't parts of his truck mode are definitely based on Alex Milne's design. Check out those Milne-style forearms (larger box connected to a smaller box with a little tab between them) and the sculpted FOC-style light-stripes Milne put on the thighs. Also, well, the feet. The armored-SUV parts are the only non-Milne stuff to be found on him.
The truck bed cover is removed during transformation to robot mode to become either a shield or be attached to his back to give him his usual double-cannoned silhouette.
His transformation hits that sweet spot between simplicity and complexity. His hood/torso area's multilayered and takes a short while to figure out, but it's not rough to do. The arms fold underneath as you'd expect and his legs collapse in on themselves. The only point of real annoyance for me are his shoulders. Not because they don't functionally work, but because even though the joints are tight enough for his arms to stay in the right place, it's obvious that the grooves which should lock on to the side view mirrors aren't attaching fully. It's a neuroses thing.
He's the size that Deluxes are now. On the smaller end of Deluxes Through History, but still clearly a Deluxe.
I like him. He's fun. And he's an alcoholic except when edited for children. And he's in a comic I like. Tweet
But then Hasbro decided not only to make a toy of it, but to also commission of comics about the toys they were making to include in the packaging. And so we got this amazing comic book both written and illustrated by Nick Roche. I wish Nick Roche would write more. Hell, I wish he would draw more. .... while he writes. He also both wrote and drewSpotlight: Kup, which is another fantastic Transformers story, easily one of the best. The connect between what the story wants to do and what it actually does is strong. Not an inch is wasted.
You might roll your eyes at a "Spotlight: Megatron" issue because, yeah, oh boy, FINALLY, there's gonna be a focus on Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, ABOUT TIME, but the comic book lives up to and exceeds your expectations. We see Megatron returning to life in a new body amidst his crumbling army, and we see how we begins to build that army back up again. He has a way of things, a formula, and center to that formula is Starscream. However, Starscream's as much in shambles as the rest of the Decepticons, and so Megatron literally spends the issue beating Starscream back into his usual self again. And Jesus God, is it slashy, and not in a kind way. By issue's end, you have a perfect idea of how Megatron's brain works. It's brutal, but amazingly executed.
ANYWAY NOW I CARE A BUNCH ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR MEGATRON BODY I GUESS. Thanks, comic. Stupid excellent storytelling.
Stealth Megatron is a Deluxe. This means he's on the small size for towering over much of your collection as he should, but there's a Starscream who's arriving on pegs at the same time who is just about the right size relative to him. Legends Starscream is also an IDW comics design, but a discarded one that was never used for Starscream himself (just Thundercracker). Also, this Starscream comes with a tiny Waspinator partner/weapon. I'm just piling on the reasons to own these things, aren't I. And so I've been having my Deluxe Megatron smack my Legends Starscream around my desk since Megatron arrived in the mail. They're a good pair.
Despite Stealth Megatron's Deluxeness, he's pretty meaty. His arms have a great mass to them, and he just looks like this intimidating chunk of dude who could mess you up... so long as you don't put him next to anybody else in his size class. He transforms by bunching up into this pentagon-shaped thing, and then you tear his arm cannon in half and plug them into the ends for wings. It's a little complicated and messy the first time you try it, but on the second tries and beyond it gets pretty simple. The learning curve is fairly short.
And of course the comic book comes with it. If you don't own the comic book, pick up the toy just to read it, dammit. (Or here it is on Comixology.) Tweet