There comes a time in a man's life when he's willing to buy limited-edition Linkin Park crossbranded Transformers robots. Generally that time comes after he's drawn a bunch of official comics about tape cassette guys and these new gold tape cassette guys either fill in some blanks or offer potential for the future! See that gold Laserbeak/Buzzsaw? Totally SG Buzzsaw. Collection hole filled. See that gold Ratbat? Totally civilian-mode SG Ratbat. Collection hole filled. See those other guys, including the duplicate Laserbeak/Buzzsaw? I have the ability to make them new characters, though the magic of of a certain corner of canon which I uniquely wield.
Of course, no matter way you slice it, I still have this group of expensive butterscotch-colored Transformers.
Man, what a weird thing this is. Linkin Park got the chance to design their own color scheme for Soundwave and four of his friends, and they went for solid gold plastic. I will never understand them. And because this set comes with both Buzzsaw and Laserbeak, and because everyone is solid gold plastic, it means you get two identical guys. Who's Buzzsaw? Who's Laserbeak? WHO KNOWS!
The whole thing comes in a special packaging that looks like a larger black Soundwave with a cassette player inside that says "LINKIN PARK/TRANSFORMERS MIX" on it. Inside the packaging is the usual plastic tray that the toys sit in, but this plastic tray is flocked in purple so it looks like velvet. Yes, this is that ridiculous.
There's a fold-out instructions booklet that features recolored Soundwave's box art in gold and simple instructions for everybody, because everyone's pretty simple, because these are 1984 and 1986 dudes. I'm guessing the many, many stock image photographers did not get a copy of these instructions, because there is a myriad of hilariously mismatched guys-and-accessories image sets.
My Ratbat came misassembled, with his tippy-toes pointed inside his own cassette mode torso in such a way that you can't flip them out for bat mode. And so I spent the first few minutes of opening this guy unscrewing him open so I could set things right and then screw him back together again. Man, no wonder everyone loses this guy's ears. They are held in by nothing more than teensy-tiny bumps and friction.
Anyway, I already have identities figured out for the non SG Buzzsaw/SG Ratbat guys in this set, so I guess look forward to those, if you're a Transformers Collectors' Club subscriber.
(Can I just unilaterally declare this toy is SG Buzzsaw and have it officially be so, or so I have to do a new strip where he's a little golder than he was previously?)
You might recall from a few months ago my happiness at getting what by all appearances seemed to be some strange Ratchet/Dinobot cyborg fusion as part of the Beast Hunters line. Well, TakaraTomy over in Japan took one look at this mold and apparently thought, okay, no way this is a good guy. Just look at this dude. And they made him a Decepticon.
All the other Japanese releases of the Beast Hunters guys were just done up in colors similar to their appearances on the show, despite their heavily-retooled appearances, but not Ratchet. Ratchet gets to be green like in the movie and a Decepticon and super evil. This is awesome, and so I had to have it.
According to some guy on the Internet, the packaging bio for Hunter Ratchet is about how he tried to sneak into a Decepticon/Predacon/whatevs lab to steal some technology and whatnot, but he got captured and infused with Dark Energon and turned into this green monocled thing. The Autobots managed to bring him back eventually, but Ratchet still struggles with the vestiges of his time as a Decepticon.
Hunter Ratchet is literally the American toy in other colors, so there's nothing new there, but the plastic tolerances on him seem to be a bit more sturdy. So that's nice. Also the green is kind of a glittery plastic, which reminds me of Best Buy's Premium Movie Ratchet a little. That coupled with the white and black and red is a pretty attractive look for him.
Plus, you know, evil Decepticon Ratchet.
G1-style Breakdown was the toy I was least excited about in this year's Transformers Figure Subscription Service. I mean, I've already got a BotCon toy of that guy, and in way better colors! I know at the time, when we were getting this teal-and-magenta G2 Breakdown toy, some folks were clamoring for a white-and-blue G1 version to be one of the at-show surprises, but I do not understand those people. I do not understand them at all. Did they not realize that G2 Breakdown has, like, nonsensical splattered blood on his roof? How is that not the best possible already? Where is the room for improvement?
But those people yet exist, and so I guess this G1-style Breakdown is for them. That's okay. He's the sort of thing these Subscription Service toys should have -- y'know, stuff not everyone wants, so wouldn't have been done otherwise except under cover of a larger spread of toys. Some folks can get their G1 Breakdown if I can get my Circuit. That's how these things work.
Anyway, huge yawn.
UNTIL YOU READ THE FRIGGIN' BIO. Sure, he's the most pointless toy in the world in my eyes, but he's apparently from the best universe. This Breakdown hails from the third issue of Blackthorne's 3D Transformers comics. You know, the "Part one of three" story which never got its second and third parts because Blackthorne quit, in which the Autobots and Decepticons discover an enigmatic third faction called the Detructons, led by Lord Imperious Delirious.
(Well, best universe spin-off, to be precise. The story clearly takes place in original cartoon continuity post-The Rebirth.)
Anyway, that's super awesome. And now I begrudgingly appreciate this lump of otherwise boring plastic. Good show.
Orion Pax toy Number Two! The first one was a redeco of the original Kup, but this new one is his own mold. It's based on a design for Orion Pax seen in the IDW comics. It first appeared in just one story, Spotlight: Blurr, and it was designed by Guido Guidi though illustrated by Casey Coller. However, subsequent appearances of Orion Pax used Optimus Prime's usual pre-Earth design, which is kind of annoying. It's cool when Optimus Prime gets to have a separate Orion Pax body!
And so when it came time to release this toy with a comic book, a new story was commissioned featuring Orion Pax receiving this body for a limited time for the sake of a specific mission. It's kind of hamfisted, but at least some continuity was smoothed out, I guess. In all honesty, I just wish he was always drawn with this Orion Pax body when he while he was Orion Pax to begin with.
The toy itself is fun -- as fun as an Optimus Prime toy gets to be, anyway. The windows become the windows, the long-nose part of the cab is formed from somewhere else, this time piling up on his shins, and his arms sort of poke out the back, but are obscured enough that it doesn't look all Energon Optimus Primey. He comes with both a giant axe and a gun, because why not. They don't integrate into the vehicle mode, but instead peg in whichever 5mm peghole you choose.
The comic story included is the first of two of these new "Spotlight" issues that feature a very conspicuous Nightbeat. PRETTY WEIRD HOW HE'S SHOWING UP IN A LOT OF THESE STORIES SUDDENLY, I WONDER ABOUT THAT
Hold onto your butts. We're about to get painfully nerdy in here. We kind of have to, because I don't know if I have enough words otherwise to bury two photos of a simple and predictable Seeker redeco in. It's Thundercracker. He's a blue and silver Starscream again. Let's move on.
War For Cybertron Starscream is technically a toy of Aligned Starscream, right? Sure, the War for Cybertron aesthetic is blocky and having-a-nose-y enough that he can pass for other version of Starscream, and sure enough a bunch of the WFC designs were borrowed for the ongoing Robots in Disguise comic which is a Generation 1 book. Some folks don't cotton to the idea of stylistic choices varying so widely within a continuity, and so they're happy to ignore the whole Aligned angle and just consider him G1 since he looks G1y enough to them.
There was also a Thundercracker in War for Cybertron, and now there's a toy basically in those colors as Thundercracker. He's being released in the same line as WFC Starscream, but only after the focus of the line shifted from WFC to a G1/Classics approach. And since these toys are being packaged with comics, specifically comics which were written to these toys, thus placing the WFC Thundercracker design in this G1 world as G1 Thundercracker, he isn't even ambiguously a WFC toy, even though he's still sort of repurposed.
OR IS HE???
Here's the wrinkle that I've been mentally picking at. While the Deluxe Class toys in this portion of the Generations line come with IDW comics featuring those characters, the packaging bios mostly ignore the IDW comics' specific interpration of these characters, content instead to rehash the original tech spec bios from the eighties. Swerve is a guy who doesn't drive so good instead of being a insecure bar owner, for example. The packaging presents the "original" version of the character rather than the version currently-appearing-in-fiction. We're getting a new Armada Starscream toy and the Generation 1 comic books are gong to use that design for its G1 Starscream character. However, if the pattern holds, the bio on the package will still talk about Armada Starscream rather than G1 Starscream. The packaging will claim the toy is a different iteration of the character versus the comic inside.
What I wonder is, does this hold true for Thundercracker? And even if this is a question to ask, is it possible to know? WFC Thundercracker's characterization is likely indistinguishable from G1 Thundercracker's. So of course this Thundercracker's bio is just every Thundercracker bio you've ever read before. And it'd be written this way whether it were WFC Thundercracker or G1 Thundercracker being described.
(I wouldn't expect the writer of this bio to know that Takara's Prime Thundercracker toy's bio takes the character in a different direction, nor would I expect him to feel bound by it.)
What I'm getting at is that this is likely a toy that comes in packaging which claims it's two different versions of the same character, much like everything else in the line, but with Thundercracker there's no outward way for us to know that, because of things.
And that fascinates me.
Because I'm a weirdo.