Nova Prime is an artifact of Cybertron's past. He merged the ancient thirteen tribes into a united society, bringing about a new golden age... or, well, at least a new golden age for the folks Nova Prime liked best. If you were a sweet battleready humanoid-type person like him, you didn't fare so bad. But if you were, like, a beast dude or whatever, then you were probably not gonna like Nova Prime's new caste system. History regarded Nova Prime as pretty awesome because of all the stuff he did, because folks who were happy with Nova Prime got to write history. And so it came as a surprise to a few people when Nova Prime returned in the modern day and was amazingly evil, with a dark Matrix and everything and also he was calling himself Nemesis Prime. You know how it is. It'd be like if Andrew Jackson, that friendly dude from the twenty dollar bill, suddenly showed up, tried to destroy the universe, and changed his name to Jerkwad Jackson. Some folks would be all "dude what the hell" but the rest would be all "yeah that makes sense."
Shortly, Nemesis Prime is a supremacist. Some would say, looking at him, that he could be accurately described as a white supremacist.
So this is super racist white supremacist Transformers Collectors' Club Nova Prime. He's the Orion Pax toy from Generations a few years back, but in white and black and with a new head. This toy was announced around while Dark Cybertron was going on last year, literally the day after I was looking at my display of Deluxe Shockwave and Deluxe Galvatron and an open spot waiting for Deluxe Jhiaxus, and wishing that there'd be some kinda Deluxe Nova Prime to fit in that spot. I make things happen just by wanting them to happen hard enough, apparently.
Now, as of two days ago, I don't draw Recordicons nor do I do anything else for the back page of the TCC magazine anymore. I totes quit. So I'm gonna really tell you what I think about this toy, for reals. No holding back, no hemming or hawing. I am free to be completely honest with you, no strings attached.
I really like it. It's a pretty toy and the concept was executed well. Some of the joints are a little loose, but I dunno if that's just mine or if it's everybody's. The white with black and gold and a dash of translucent blue is engaging, plus it's a toy of a character who's never gotten a toy before.
There are rumblings that this Nova Prime toy is actually a stealth Shattered Glass figure. Conjecture is floating around that at the end of this year's magazine comic, SG Optimus Prime will have been rebuilt into "Nova Prime" by SG Unicron, mirroring how Megatron became Galvatron in the animated film. I will be a little pissy if that happens. I'm an ornery nerd and I want my toys to actually be the characters I thought they were when I bought them, because I guess that matters to my nerd brain. I mean, we'd have to move this toy off the Nova Prime TFwiki page, and that'd be super ornerifying.
Though a switch to being SG Optimus Prime would downgrade this Nova Prime toy from representing Super Racist Genocidal Monster to something a little more cartoonishly benign, like Accidentally Thumb-Mash-Favoriting Racist Tweets Somehow. I guess in some respects that's better, but it still leaves a bitter taste.
They don't make a lot of First Aids. If Hasbro wants a white and red ambulance guy, Ratchet tends to have that covered, and if you're looking to make a First Aid out of some pre-existing ambulance guy toy, it's a hard sell to make a white and red ambulance guy into another white and red ambulance guy. You already have that toy as a white and red ambulance guy.
That's why, out of all the Protectobots, First Aid is among the least to be revisited. There are occasional Hot Spots because he's a blue fire truck and so that's a less redundant deco to go to on a red firetruck toy. There are new Blades redecoed out of helicopter toys constantly. Even Streetwise got a new toy at BotCon a few years ago, a Prowl in black and red to echo Streetwise's Generation 2 toy. Only Groove feels as left out as First Aid, and it's not a conflict of toys problem with him, it's just that nobody friggin' cares about Groove.
So bam, it's 2015, and here's your First Aid toy. He's sort of a retool of Offroad, the new Stunticon pickup truck, but in his case the word "retool" is pretty insufficient to describe what's going on. A fan term for toys like him is "reshell," since First Aid really only shares his connector peg, his thighs, and some internal jointing with Offroad. Most of the actual robot parts and the entirety of the vehicle is a new sculpt. He transforms entirely the same as Offroad -- they share engineering, that is -- but the sculpt is almost completely different. So that's actually pretty cool. It also results in some kinda uncanny deja vu as you transform him.
Despite this seemingly being First Aid's first victory over Ratchet in the toy aisle since like 1986, he's, uh, still gonna be retooled as Ratchet, apparently. His comic book has an "oops" where it shows the toy with a Ratchet head. It's probably why his chest looks like a van window bisected by his connector peg, rather than First Aid's segregated dual vent pecs. (And, likewise, Ironhide is gonna be the head retool from Offroad.) A Ratchet hasn't been solicited yet, so this is just a potential release and might just be a head that never gets used, but even when First Aid gets his day, his day is still partially Ratchet's. Poor First Aid.
Two of the three Autobot Small Headmasters differed between North America and Japan -- Hosehead was no different from Cab, Nightbeat was drastically different from Minerva, and Siren was... sort of different from Goshooter. While Siren's toy was a gray and blue fire chief car, Goshooter was a white and blue police car. Thing is, when Siren appeared in the Marvel Comics back in the 80s, his grays were rendered as white, so in my brain there is very little difference between the two. Marvel Comics Siren is what inhabits me, and so when I see Goshooter, I think "oh, hey, Siren."
So I was all over this new Japan-exclusive version of Goshooter made from Generations Nightbeat. (Another wrinkle in all this is that the Marvel comics swapped head designs for Nightbeat and Siren, meaning Nightbeat's head is pretty damn appropriate for a Goshooter toy.) Goshooter was the winner of a magazine poll that offered ten redeco concepts -- other possibilities included Alpha Trion from Scourge, the Omnibots from various Universe/Generations toys, Beast Wars Silverbolt from Beast Hunters Grimwing, and crazily enough The Fallen from Fall of Cybertron Onslaught. All of these concepts showed up in the magazine's manga, including The Fallen, who combined with and controlled the Fall of Cybertron Wreckers. Of all of these, I was hoping for Goshooter the most, so I could use him as Siren, and the universe ultimately smiled upon me. I mean, I wouldn't have turned down another The Fallen, but I have plenty of The Fallens and only the original Siren, who is an immobile giant thing.
Goshooter comes with Shuta Go, a redeco of Blazemaster meant to represent Goshooter's human pilot. I figure he can hang out with Daniel and Stylor.
Goshooter is extravagently decoed, though it has some trouble dealing with the unpaintable nylon plastic that makes up part of the car shell, resulting in some incongruous blue patches. Also, my particular Goshooter is pretty floppy in the ankles, and so at times he has trouble standing. Otherwise, he completes my desire for new toys of the Small Headmasters, along with my Nightbeat (with new chest I got from Shapeways) and Hosehead (who's really a Hot Spot with an altered head). All three are on the Lost Light in More Than Meets The Eye, so that's more crewmembers for that display, too.
Hooray! Goshooter and/or Siren!
Finally the second wave of BTAS and TNBA-inspired 6-inch figures from DC Collectibles is out, delayed a month or two to address concerns about quality control. Apparently DC Collectibles discovered a few years later than everyone else that translucent plastic isn't the best choice for joints. Poison Ivy is being held back even more, since she has more stuff to be fixed.
But here's Man-Bat! He came in a huge box, rather than being carded, with his gigantic outspread wingspan in full display. Despite this, he costs the same as the other guys, 25 bucks. It'll all even out when you pay that much for TNBA Robin.
Sure enough, nothing on him seems fragile! He feels much less breaky. However, dang are his shoulder joints loose! Man-Bat comes with two sets of arm/wings -- unfurled and furled -- and when I first looked at him in the box I worried I might break him just trying to yank his shoulders out to swap parts. THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF THE PROBLEM, IT SEEMS. His shoulders just fall out whenever. So he's kind of annoying to play with and pose. I'll have to look into this Clear Nail Polish solution I've heard about over the years. Y'know, tighten up those joints with some clearcoat.
Other than that, I am strongly enamored with him. But then, it's hard to hate a toy that LOOKS like this, even if it falls apart when you touch him. Also, he comes with a cassette tape and three prescription pill bottles, the latter of which I'm sure will get some hilarious use in conjunxion with other toys. (It has to be with other toys, since Man-Bat himself is not sculpted to hold any of them.) I am also darkly amused at my sweet new cassette tape accessory. I like to jokingly mock it for being a toy of a cassette tape while sitting in full view of all my Ravages and Buzzsaws.
I've had enough of these Combiner Wars guys to make a full combiner since Christmas, but I didn't have the right components to make an official team until Thursday. And so I figured I'd wait to talk about the combined forms until then, when I could show off a completed group. The first two waves of Combiner Wars staggered the teams, with one or two missing members of the two completable teams held off until the second wave. (Optimus Prime being a third wheel.)
Here are the Stunticons! There are four of the original members here, with two new members of the team. Wildrider has been replaced by Offroad, partially for "we lost the trademark" reasons and partially for "wouldn't it be nice if one of these guys weren't a sports car" reasons. You gotta vary up your allotted retail space. Offroad himself is sculpted to be a new Ruckus, a Triggercon from the late Eighties, but it was determined for one reason or another that his toy would instead become a new guy in colors that would look like Wildrider when in combined mode. (I think "Ruckus" itself is another lost trademark, but I'm not sure.)
The other new member of the team is Blackjack, who was originally a Micromaster from the Sports Car Patrol, but is now the guy who forms Menasor's chest. The original Menasor had a little black car-like drone on his chest that came with Motormaster, the semi truck torso guy, and Blackjack is the new approximation of that. The new Blackjack toy itself, like Offroad, was sculpted to be a different guy, Runabout, the Battlecharger. But they didn't have the trademark to that guy the last time a Runabout toy was made (he was a Transformers Collectors' Club exclusive renamed Over-Run), so that toy became another small black car, Blackjack. S'just as well, since I'm not ready to replace my Over-Run yet, and am happy to have a new Blackjack.
Wildrider won't be completely forgotten, as he's getting a limited release through online retailers(?) as a Dead End head-retool named Brake-Neck.
Like the Aerialbot limbs, the Stunticons share some engineering ideas. Offroad transforms the way most Combiner Wars limbs do so far, with the head placed at the far end of the combiner connector piece, the front of the vehicle folding over onto the back of the robot, the arms splitting off from the sides of the vehicle, and the legs pulling out from the rear. Dead End and Breakdown differ similarly from this formula in that their heads are not attached to the connector piece at all, but are hidden under the hood of the car during vehicle mode, attached to the front of the torso which wraps over the tops of the shoulders and over the connector piece in robot mode. Drag Strip's head is done similarly, but without the chest wrapping part.
Breakdown is super obviously going to be Sunstreaker eventually. He looks like Breakdown, sure enough, and there aren't really any compromises on Sunstreaker's behalf, but Breakdown's foot/hand/gun is Sunstreaker's car engine thruster dealio, and it can peg onto Breakdown's back appropriately, as well as slot into Breakdown's car mode in a way that better approximates Sunstreaker's vehicle mode than the usual orientation. Breakdown will likely get some new parts, like a head and chest, and some new colors and be a pretty good Sunstreaker.
The highlight of these guys, however, is the combination engineering, The connection points are a dream. There's no shoving or excessive force, and yet it's incredibly sturdy and poseable. I'm in awe of its simplicity. You really can play with the larger combined robot as if it were a single entity, without fear of anything falling off. (With the exception of Blackjack for some people, as mentioned above.)
This is probably pretty good, since this is a line titled Combiner Wars, so the combining should probably work.