Posted November 16, 2018 at 11:00 pm

Here's a toy which I own because TFSource wasn't selling Stege Megatron separately and reviews on his casemate Optimus Prime were pretty strong.  I'd been pretty underwhelmed with Stege Optimus just from promotional materials, partly because, well, it's Optimus Prime.  We get a lot of those!  And the only new thing he brings to the table is his half-assed Cybertronian altmode.

Yeah, it's very partially assed.  It literally looks like a licensed Freightliner cab but with some boxes tacked on last-minute, like the Earth truck underneath was a stash of weed you needed to disguise from your parents who barged in unexpectedly.  This vehicle mode is the Standing Up Against A Billboard Pretending To Be A Part Of It of preEarth forms.  

Having the toy in-person doesn't change that a whole lot.  What does help partially is that you can rotate the wheels facing down as if they were, like, hoverpods or something.  Then, suspended by a display stand (sold separately), Prime looks more like a floating Tetris piece than a badly-disguised Earth truck at first glance.  Second-through-eleventy glances he looks like a badly-disguised Earth truck again, though.

But I can see why he's been getting positive reviews.  Though his robot mode is Just Optimus Prime again, it's a great robot mode to fiddle with.  It's well-proportioned and has all that Stege-level articulation you expect (ankle tilts!).  His head has a greater range of motion than Megatron, though, plus his elbows are able to bend at a little more than 90 degrees, which gives him a more natural "holding gun up" stance.  

What really strikes me about him (and Megatron and to a lesser extent Sideswipe) is the little things they can do with his transformation now that they're not allocating budget and parts to making him a combiner torso or a little guy which turns into his head.  Stege Optimus has so many little panels here and there that "complete" his transformation and make the robot mode feel more "finished" than there would be otherwise.  Hell, there's tiny little flaps on his knees that fold out in truck mode just to cover up his thighs more.  There's no real super need to do this, but it's nice that the toy has the bandwidth to spend on this kind of small stuff.  

Optimus comes with an axe that folds up into... into something that plugs onto the back of his truck mode, and he comes with his signature ion cannon.  

It's the first Classics-style Optimus that Just Transforms since... well, Classics Optimus in 2006.  So if you weren't around then, or if you feel like 12 years is plenty time to justify an upgrade, then this toy's your dude.  This toy's like that one in a few ways but easily better, though its altmode may make you roll your eyes.  

Posted November 15, 2018 at 12:10 am

Honestly, from initial photos, I was kind of meh on this guy until I mentally envisioned what he'd look like with a darker helmet like Marvel Comics Megatron and suddenly dang I needed him.  I haven't painted it yet, as of this writing, but it will be very soon.  

I was initially kinda meh because, like, it's another G1-style Megatron.  I have a few of those!  And Combiner Wars Leader Class Megatron is pretty great already.  I use him on my Lost Light shelf, since he's properly Magnus-sized.  And my regular ol' Decepticon shelf has Classics Megatron, who is an amazing toy.... but is severely yellowing.  But is still an amazing toy!  It would hurt to replace him.  He transforms into a Nerf Gun.  It's hard to beat that. 

I didn't think I needed yet another Megatron.  I already skipped the regular Titans Return Megatron for the same reason.  (I later ended up getting the purple Takara Tomy redeco of him because, well, he's really Beast Wars Megatron and comes with a tiny Savage Noble.)  

But here I am with another Megatron again anyway.  And, you know what?  This is a pretty solid Megatron toy.  He's just trying to be a really good Megatron, The Way You Remember Him.  And he generally succeeds.  Sure, he transforms into a Cybertronian-style tank and not a gun, but the latter isn't gonna happen again and Megatrons transform into nonEarth stuff all the time now.  Megatron's been a Cybertronian vehicle for three out of his four movie appearances.  He was a Cybertronian jet for all of Transformers Prime.  He was a Cybertronian tank for all of More Than Meets The Eye/Lost Light.  And so, like, Megatron not being an Abrams tank or a Walther-P38 but some kind of space tank doesn't really register on the Not Megatron scale anymore.  He could be exactly this toy in a toyline full of otherwise licensed Earthy guys and you wouldn't blink an eye.

If you're a fan of 1984 Megatron, other than a gun transformation, this toy has basically everything you want.  He's obviously cribbing a lot from the original cartoon/comic book character model.  He's got an arm-mounted cannon that looks like a gun scope instead of a tank barrel.  His head is incredibly buckety.  And he even comes with a big sword, if you pine for the original Megatron accessory Japan got but we didn't.  You can peel the blade away and attach the tank cannon inside the sword on his back, if you want to duplicate the barrel placement of the original Megatron model.  (It may take some Cog pieces to get it to attach around his hip like the original toy.  I haven't tried, but it might be possible.)

Again, Stege emphasizes articulation.  There's that ankle tilting again, though you can lock those ankles in place completely vertically if you want.  Megatrons rarely have rotating waists, due to their transformations, but this Megatron manages.  His head really only turns left and right, but it's on a panel that rotates forwards and backwards a little before you rotate it too much and it looks kinda dippy.  

The transformation is more involved than you'd think.  I mean, he's a Cybertronian tank, so he could look more like a pile of Megatron parts if Hasbro wanted him to be.  But his chest tucks away underneath, and the hull of the tank folds out of his back and wraps around the front.  Like Sideswipe, a panel opens up on his legs to give room for his thighs to hide inside, though Megatron's thighs do some 90 degree bendery to make it more interesting.  The arm-mounted cannon pegs onto the arm via the usual 5mm peg, but it doesn't remove for transformation; it rotates around, pointing backwards in the middle of the turret that the arms fold.  The sword transforms into the tank's barrel and plugs into the back of the arm-mounted cannon.  The sword halves themselves tuck under the turret.  The turret can rotate in tank mode, which is always a welcome feature as it's not always possible.  The feet, uh, stick out the back.

The feet sticking out the back is really the toy's only visual downside.  

If you want a good, no-nonsense Megatron that gives you a good feel for the classic iteration of the character, you can't really go wrong with this guy.  Again, I think that's essentially what they were going for.  

Posted November 13, 2018 at 12:44 am

Sideswipe is not an interesting character!  I can think of, like, one good Sideswipe story out of all three decades of Transformers fiction, and he dies in it.  Even his design is kind of the Default Transformers Look.  You fold down the hood, yank the arms from the sides, and pull out the legs.  The end!  But he was the Red Sportscar Guy in 1984, and that's always given him an artificial sense of importance.  

And so when War for Cybertron: Siege (aka Stege) was first unveiled, and Sideswipe was part of that unveiling, I had to fight back a yawn.  (I failed.)

But I am here to give you good news: Stege Sideswipe is GOOD.  Oh my gosh, I really like him.  I hate that I like him.  It's like when somebody you dislike on the Internet says something you agree with, and you're torn between going ugh, fine, and wanting to alter your entire worldview just to put yourself on the opposite side again.  I really like Stege Sideswipe, and so I worry I'm a bad person.

Let me try to explain why.  I think it's the transformation.  There's a lot of car Transformers where you kind of have to fight and fiddle to figure out where, say, the arms go.  And they maybe sometimes just kind of fold under loosely, sometimes it's a fight, and you hope for the best.  But Stege Sideswipe's arms are a dream.  They fold into little Ls, you tuck the fists in as far as they go, and they just... fit underneath in an extremely satisfying way.  There's no fighting over the same physical space.  There's no forcing them over other parts.  And then some car kibble folds down over the biceps and plugs in, securing them.  

The leg transformation is pretty good, too.  you pull out the front leg panels, smoosh everything inside in layers, and close the front leg panels back again.  

Again, it's hard to state exactly how satifying everything is.

Sideswipe has 5mm pegholes everywhere so you can plug in parts from other toys in the line.  There's one on his back, one underneath each foot, one on the outside of each shin, and one on both his shoulders and forearms.  He's also pretty well articulated for a toy his size.  He's got ankle tilts, which seems to be standard in this toyline, which really ups his shelf presence.  

He's supposed to be a Cybertronian-style car, but he passes for a fancy concept car from Earth if you squint.  He's going on the shelf with my other Earth car guys, so that's fine by me.

Posted November 11, 2018 at 12:26 am

So, phew, Transformers has been going down the checklist of "Guys Who Haven't Gotten New Toys Since the 80s" like friggin' mad over the past few years, and we're finally... running out... of guys to remake?

I mean, we must be, if we're getting a new toy of Cog.

Make no mistake, I love myself some Cog, but.... Cog was the pile of accessories that came with Fortress Maximus and assembled into a robot.  He's a wheeled vehicle and a treaded vehicle and two guns, and they peg together into a robot.  Not transform --  peg.  He's literally spare parts.  Sure, he's appeared in fiction, but clearly only by accident.  

BUT NOW HE'S BACK.

A new toyline trilogy from Hasbro is upon us, and the first chapter of this "War for Cybertron" is titled "Siege."  Or affectionately(?) "Stege," if you were around on the Internet a while back when a fan to mocked up a news graphic using the Star Wars font and the letters melded together a bit.  

I will be referring to Siege as "Stege" on this website henceforth, as a heads up.

Regardless, Cog is a Deluxe Class toy in Stege, and he's a special kind.  He's a Weaponizer, which means he primarily exists to split apart into weapons and armor that other toys can wear.  It's a good role for a guy whose prior Transformers experience was transforming by coming apart and pegging back together in different ways.  And make no mistake, new Cog transforms essentially identically to the original Cog.  But with joints!  Lots of joints.  He's got all the articulation you'd expect, plus some fancy stuff like waist rotation and ankle tilts.  The only new wrinkle in his transformation is his face folds away in vehicle mode.   Before, his face was a seat.  A seat that Spike Witwicky would sit on.  Oof.  But no worries, that head flips out of sight now.

And as described, Cog is created by a bunch of stuff 5mm-pegged together, and it can reassemble into various kinds of armaments that other toys can wear.  The front car can fold out into a shield, or it can stay unfolded-out and peg into a shoulder as some armor.  The back car's shin-treads can become, I dunno, blocks the other robot can stand on and become taller.  These blocks also have guns.  The thighs and pelvis can peg into the back of a robot and you can plug Cog's arms into that backpack, giving a robot over-the-shoulder launchers.  Everything's modular, so if you want, you can take the tread-stilts off and place them into the middle of the over-the-shoulder launchers, making them mightier.  

There's lots of 5mm pegs and pegholes on Cog, and each non-Weaponizer Deluxe Class toy has a wealth of 5mm connection points.  

Which means Cog is a pretty crummy toy by himself.  You need another toy to unlock all the actual neat stuff he does.  Because, frankly, he's a lousy Transformer and his two altmodes aren't much to write home about.

That's what makes him an excellent Cog, though, if nothing else.  To thine own self be true, Cog.  

Posted November 2, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Transformers has a storied history of adding in non-toy characters to help the narrative along.  Sometimes all the "real" characters in the toy range don't give you what you need in your story, and so you gotta make somebody up.  Need a big warlord-type Big Bad, but 1985's product offering is already accounted for?  Then say hello to Straxus!  Need someone who needs to look unimpressive and also someone you can kill immediately without Hasbro getting fussy?  Then say hello to Scrounge!  He transforms into a wheel!  It doesn't matter that he transforms into a wheel, because he doesn't have to be marketable on the toy shelf.  He's just there to be in your story.  

The flipside is that these fiction-only weirdos sometimes become popular.  Like both Straxus and Scrounge.  Both eventually got toys, though Scrounge's took longer.  (And it was just Cosmos in yellow, since Cosmos is a, uh, round-ish UFO guy.)  The Rule of Cool means sometimes your favorite characters are never going to get toys.  Or if they do, it might... take... a while.  

So, hey, say hello to Rung.  He's a quiet, even-headed psychologist, and he's a skinny nerd in glasses who transforms into a stick.  A stick.  PROBABLY he's not on Hasbro's shortlist, despite having been preeeeeeetty important in the past several years of Transformers comics.  Because, you know.  Glasses nerd.  Stick.

But he's pretty important, so I had to go make my own.  


It took until Power of the Primes Moonracer/Novastar came out that something suitably skinny with kibble put in most of the right places was available to modify.  Transformers toys are mostly male, and being male-coded means your toys either get Bruce Timmish superhero proportions or you're just a big solid block.  So, yeah, thank goodness for Moonracer's slight build.  

I gave Moonracer the orange fists from Novastar and then painted the rest of her Tamiya Orange and Flat White, with some silver Sharpie in places for trim color.  I left a circle on her translucent blue plastic stomach unpainted, 'cuz Rung's got one there.  I did paint the toy everywhere, including the vehicle mode parts on the bottom of the feet and on the back, so in theory Rung could transform into an orange and white car.  But in practice, I think I paintlocked him and I don't feel like wrecking his finish just to put him into alt-mode.  Besides, dude rarely transformed anyway.  Remember, stick.  

For the head, I went to my buddy Trent.  I commissioned a Rung head from him using measurements I took of Moonracer's head, and he put together a CGI model we can 3D print off of Shapeways.  You can find it here!  Moonracer has a 4mm balljoint on her neck, so this head will also work with any other toy that has a 4mm balljoint neck, such as Power of the Primes Wreck-Gar, now showing up at Walgreens.  

And now Rung can hang out with my other Lost Lighters!  

I mean, if Hasbro actually eventually made a Rung toy, I wouldn't say no to it, but this'll make me plenty happy regardless.

Posted October 14, 2018 at 9:17 pm


Man, remember when these Transformers Fan Vote things resulted in new characters? I guess that was just the first two years, but since, like, Windblade is in EVERYTHING now, you'd think Hasbro'd be all... hey, that worked out for us pretty well, why don't we do that, like, a second time. But, naw, these days we just get to choose which pre-existing old guy to remake.

And for this year's, we weren't even originally sure what the end result of the vote would have been. Hasbro said simply "CHOOSE THE NEXT PRIME" and gave us a smattering of pre-existing characters and told us to vote for our favorite. (Sure, one of those was "UNKNOWN EVIL," but unknown evil was technically just Deathsaurus.) It wasn't until later we learned that, oh, we're taking the winning character and giving him a Leader Class toy where they have a smaller-scale figure that folds up into a portion of a larger-scale figure. Really makes you wonder how that would have worked out if, say, Arcee had won. Maybe one of her halves would have been a giant techno-organic spider, I dunno.


Anyway, who won was Optimus Primal. Because, as Hasbro should really have figured out by now, if you have a list of guys and only one of them isn't G1, folks vote for the not-G1 guy. Any more than one not-G1 guys, you're gonna split the not-G1 vote and end up with, say, Wheeljack or whoever, but otherwise you're gonna have a Beast Wars character every time one's on the list. So Optimus Primal won! And Hasbro had to make him a toy! Had to! We made them do it! There's always some crank somewhere who claims that these votes are always rigged (because he didn't get what he wanted and/or thinks girls are stupid), but the fact that we got Optimus Primal and not Star Saber definitely puts lie to that conspiracy. I feel like this team really wanted to do Star Saber, and they only do Beast Wars literally when we force them to.

Since the theme was "early form merging with later, larger form," seen elsewhere in the Power of the Primes toyline as "Hot Rod becoming Rodimus Prime's chest" and "Orion Pax becoming Optimus Prime's chest," this new Optimus Primal toy has a mechanical-looking Optimus Primal becoming the torso of his later, larger, Optimal Optimus form. And if you're worried they forgot about that intermediate Transmetal form, it's given a tip of the hat through the Optimal Optimus gorilla mode being able to ride on Optimus Primal's spaceship mode like a surfboard.


It's nice that they found extra things for this Optimal Optimus re-do to do, because they cut out the fourth mode, the wheeled armored transport. He's just the big robot, the big gorilla, and the big jet. The smaller robot doesn't turn into a gorilla, just a spaceship that looks an awful lot like Optimal Optimus's torso flattened out with a rolling pin. The Matrix fits into the cockpit of the spaceship, which helps you play out your favorite "Optimal Situation" moments.

Some other changes are attempts to make the appearance more cartoon-accurate. In the cartoon, Optimal Optimus could retract his shoulder guns. The toy couldn't, because they were, y'know, electronic. But in cartoons, you probably don't want giant missiles constantly blocking the face of your super tall character, so they tucked away. So on this toy, you can yank those off and plug them elsewhere if you want. The bigger robot's face is also just the show's version of his head, instead of having the more stylized, angular mouth of the toy.


Also there's no chrome. Which is probably better in the longer run. Or it would be, the toy didn't have stickers. And as you have probably heard me grumble about more than once on this blog, Hasbro's current factory-applied stickers are garbage. They start peeling and shredding under all possible atmospheric conditions. And on this new OpOp, those stickers are right on the torso part that you shove in between the parts of the rest of his torso. Woo! So, you know, one step forward and all that.

oh and the original optimal optimus's backpack is made out of sparkly brown plastic that is kind of brittle so, uh, yeah, this may be a welcome update for some people


It's an okay toy. It's got a lot of different configurations, a good combined robot, an okay gorilla, and a jet because we say so. And that gorilla can ride himself as a surfboard.

This toy hasn't shown up at regular North American retail as of this writing, and so mine is the Japanese release, which is absolutely identical to ours but with a sticker on the packaging. And we're running out of time for this guy to come out over here before the next line (Stege) starts hitting stores this winter, so it's entirely possible Hasbro's "fan vote winner" will end up getting shat out into places like TJ Maxx and Marshall's. Who even knows.

Posted September 24, 2018 at 11:07 pm

Punch/Counterpunch has had quite a few toys, for who he is.  There's the original, the first Club exclusive retooled from Sideswipe/Sunstreaker, the second Club exclusive whose Punch mode was a literal arm, and now this one.  That's four!  Four toys for a guy who has a pretty restrictive gimmick.  Like, he has two robot modes, one Autobot the other Decepticon. 

The idea, of course, is that Punch is an Autobot who has a second robot mode which he uses to infiltrate the Decepticons as "Counterpunch."  I mean, it's... not the best cover.  It's just putting another two syllables in front of your name.  It's like if James Bond were sneaking around some supervillain's lair maintaining his name is "Counterbond."  And his disguise is just himself walking backwards with a hat tipped over his face.  And he drives James Bond's car.  

It's absurd and goofy and people love it.  

The previous two Punch/Counterpunch toys were... insufficient.  The first Club toy was based on an awkward toy and had the tiniest of tiny heads.  The second turned into an arm instead of having both robot modes because it was just Combiner Wars Wheeljack with a new head.  But this toy... this toy is a new Punch/Counterpunch from the ground up.  And it's mostly unencumbered by any of the past three line's gimmicks.  It doesn't make itself turn into an arm like the Combiner Wars or Power of the Primes toys.  It doesn't have a head that turns into a robot (or two heads that turn into robots, one would imagine for this guy).  Yeah, it has a 5mm peghole hidden behind a hatch in both robot mode chests so you can plug in the Power of the Primes fist/chest armor, but that's not really intrusive.  And, honestly, it's a plus, since you can just put the fist/chest armor on the back of whichever robot you're using, pretend it's a jetpack, and cover up the other robot mode's chest.  It's essentially a feature.

What I'm saying is, he's kinda just a regular Generations-style toy.  We haven't gotten one of those in about half a decade.  

His transformation is simple enough, but not condescendingly so.  The entire back two-thirds of the car folds up behind his legs.  His arms pull out from the sides.  The hood splits in thirds -- the outer thirds stay on top of the arms in either of two Autobot/Decepticon figurations, and the middle third folds up and hides inside the torso.  And that's it!  Nothing about it really annoys, and so he's a fun guy to shift between modes.

Punch/Counterpunch also comes with a little translucent Prima figure.  The only other way to get Prima is to get that SDCC Throne of the Primes set, so if you missed that, here's another chance.

He's neat.  I like him.  He's an Amazon exclusive which is currently out of stock, but if he follows the pattern of the others, there'll be lots more eventually.

Posted September 20, 2018 at 10:08 pm


This guy is Ravage!

You can't convince me otherwise.

Ravage used to be one of those Transformers characters who had twice the toys of any other guy just through his involvement in Beast Wars.  This was, you know, before Generation 1 stuff made a comeback and you started getting Optimus Prime and Bumblebee toys on the reg.  But Ravage had a bunch!  He had his original toy, and he had the Beast Wars Metals toy, and he got Tripredacus Agent, and he got that McDonald's panther dude, and he got two friggin' Alternators, and he got Shadow Panther.

Sure, Shadow Panther wasn't Ravage in Japan.  He was just a black Cheetor redeco to fill out their line.  Give Rhinox somebody to be packed with in a versus set.  (Takara liked to do versus sets in addition to their single-pack toys back then.)  He was a "disguise warrior," which I'm guessing, knowing absolutely zero Japanese, is just a bad translation of "undercover agent."  (G1 Ravage was a saboteur.)  Shadow Panther had to be an undercover agent because back then, Maximals were, you know, mammals and birds and such, while Predacons were evil bugs and dinosaurs.  And so a Predacon panther would have to be one who's pretending to be a nice panther.  

But Ravage showed up in season two of Beast Wars, and Hasbro was all, "oh hey guess what, in lieu of an actual toy for this guy, we've decided this black cat guy we sell imported on our website is actually that Ravage, somehow."  I mean, they couldn't out-right call him Ravage.  In those days, someone else owned the trademark.  And so the official website called him "Tripredacus Agent," which was Ravage's role in the cartoon.  Later, Walmart would get a black and gold redeco of Transmetal 2 Cheetor named Tripredacus Agent, with a bio that continued to assert vaguely that he was Ravage without being called Ravage specifically, while also talking about all the previous jobs and bodies he's had, wink wink nudge nudge.  Ravage 3 Bodies Evolution indeed.  

Since then, every damn body from G1 has inserted themselves into Beast Wars.  But in the late nineties, before that explosion happened, Ravage's inclusion was special.  It was a fun time.  

Anyway, TakaraTomy redecoed Masterpiece Cheetor as Masterpiece Shadow Panther.  Their Shadow Panther continues to not be Ravage, but I don't care.  I got him, and he's Ravage to me.  

MP Shadow Panther has a few accessories left out of Cheetor's release.  He's got the little communication device that he used in "The Web."  Two of them, actually.  One sized to fit on his robot arm, another to fit on his beast mode foreleg.  He's also got the "mutant head" that the original toy had but cartoon Cheetor did not.  It plugs onto the toy's face, rather than the head itself flipping over like the original.  All three of these pieces are chromed.  

Shadow Panther is a little less extensively decoed than Cheetor.  Cheetor's a cheetah, and so 90% of him is covered in spots.  Shadow Panther is black!  I mean, he has some areas of his black deco that's also covered in some fur-like tampography, similar to MP Optimus Primal's, but it's not over every surface.  

His cheetah --er, panther mode is still hella awkward.

But he's Ravage, from back when being Ravage meant something unique and special, and so I love him.

Posted August 29, 2018 at 1:06 pm


There's some unsurprising overlap between Transformers names and Marvel Comics superhero names.  For the first seven years, Transformers toys were named BY Marvel.  (Bob Budiansky in specific.)  It's why Transformers have super-hero-y names to begin with, setting aside the weird Latin folks like Optimus Prime or Omega Supreme.  It wasn't until Transformers left Marvel that we got guys named stuff like, uh, Cheetor and Waspinator and Rhinox.  So, uh, yeah.

But in the grand tradition of Marvel superhero comics-y names, there were Transformers named things like, say, "Venom."  And, no, the Spider-Man villain didn't exist yet at the time -- he'd be a few years later than the Deluxe Insecticon, but Venom was also the name of a Black Panther villain.  And there's "Ravage," who's also an Incredible Hulk villain.  When you have to name 20 Transformers in a day, you might start having to pull from the archives.  

And there was Firestar.  

(left to right: botcon 2005 flare up, botcon 2014 flare up, novastar)

Transformers Firestar was just a character in a single Transformers cartoon episode about lady Autobots, who'd appear just this once and never be seen again.  Obviously the Marvel Superhero Firestar who shared a starring roll on a cartoon show with her Amazing Friends one year earlier would have both the clout and the seniority.  But it meant that, well, a toy of Transformers Firestar would always have some complications.  When BotCon tried to make a toy of her in 2005, rather than rename her, they decided to instead make a Firestar look-alike who served as her protege.  Her name was Flare Up.  And Flare Up went on to do some things in lieu of Firestar for a while.  Flare Up got to show up in Transformers Animated, for example, in a form obviously based on her BotCon toy rather than the original Firestar's design.  And ten years later, BotCon would give Flare Up a second toy.  For a while, it seemed Flare Up might just up and replace Firestar in general.

But here we are, three more years later, and we have Novastar.  A rename attempt, even though a Firestar appeared in IDW comics not long prior.  (You don't have to abide by toy trademark rules in comics, especially not in interiors, especially especially if you don't claim trademark rights.)  An actual toy of the original Firestar character, for the first time ever, just with a name that sidesteps the trademark issue.  


The toy itself is Moonracer with a new head, new gun, and new deco.  It tries to do some different things with its deco that sets itself apart from how Moonracer's presents itself -- there's less translucent plastic visible in vehicle mode, for example.  And all of the original Female Autobots were shaped pretty same-ily that this toy can mostly get away with being Moonracer's body with a Firestar head.  It passes the squint test.  

I liked Moonracer's toy, despite it being pretty backpack heavy, and that means I like Novastar's, too.  I do regret that her plastic color breakdowns mean she can't have her pale yellow hands.  Her hands and thighs are tied to the same plastic tree, and that tree is the unpaintable nylon tree, so they either both have to be orange or they both have to be pale yellow.  Orange is probably the better choice.  The vehicle gives her a pale yellow stripe down the side, which helps.  


She's the only toy in wave 4, and (short wave 3 Optimal Optimus actually showing up in North American stores) the last major retail Power of the Primes toy release.  Novastar comes two per case, so at least she isn't shortpacked.  I was worried about that.  But I see lots of reports for her across the United States (only at Walmarts so far) so hopefully she won't be too hard to find in general.

Now if only they made toys of Greenlight and Lancer to be Elita Infin1te's legs.  Not holding my breath on that.

Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:07 pm


man wtf

So, like, there were these four dinocassette guys who were only ever released in Japan, right?  Four dinosaurs who transformed into mini-cassettes, and each pair combined into a bigger robot, much like Squawkbox and Slamdance.  These were super hard to get even in Japan when they first came out, and they were never reissued or, really, mentioned ever again.  And so you can imagine these guys went for a pretty huge price on the secondary market!  If you could even find them! 

(let's set aside that these four guys were not very good)

(look, they're dinosaurs, and we can't have them, so we don't really care how good they are)

In the past few years, there'd started to be some knockoffs of these guys.  They were, like, you know, AVAILABLE, unlike the actual original toys, so lots of people jumped on them.  Enough jumped on them that even the knockoffs go for a crazy price.  We're talking hundreds of dollars.  For cassettes.  Knockoffs of cassettes.

So for San Diego Comic-Con this year, Hasbro was apparently all sure let's throw two of these guys (Dile and a bizarro Zauru, named Uruaz) into a set with a golden Camaro live-action movie Bumblebee.  Now, the original molds are clearly lost, and so these toys were recreations.  Hasbro took the original wooden two-ups (back when Transformers did wooden test shots at larger sizes and then shrunk) and did their best to recreate them faithfully.  

Now, uh, there are some hiccups.  


I'm pretty sure some of the surface detailing is based on, well, the knockoffs themselves.  The wooden two-ups wouldn't have had any sculpted detail -- they'd just be a demonstration of the transformation engineering -- and so the sculpt itself would need to be copied from somewhere.  But the surface detail of the SDCC versions seems to have more in common with at least one of the iterations of knockoffs rather than the original, actual toys.  The face doesn't have a mouth, for example.  Another difference between the knockoff and the original is that some sculpted hashmarks are put in different places on the biceps, and the SDCC Uruaz's hashmarks match the placement of the KO Zauru.  So, uh, whoops.

Another whoops: the feet of the combined robot are fucked up.  One is hinged higher than the other for no reason.  It just is.  It doesn't affect stability, but it looks goofy as hell.

When you combine regular-style Dile and Zauru, you call that guy Legout, but I don't think Hasbro's told us what the combined form of Dile and Uruaz is.  Maybe it's Legtou or Gelout.  


This is still a crazy gift from the gods, regardless.  Toys that are so rare you can't even buy them for an unreasonable price are now available again for like $60 (including a Bumblebee nobody wants or cares about).  

A second set (exclusive to Entertainment Earth) with a different Bumblebee will include Uruaz in his original colors properly as Zauru and a reverse-colored Dile to complete the set.  Yeah, they gave them both evil twins and then split them up so you have to buy both to get properly-colored original guys and a set of reverse-colored evil twins.  (and ultimately two bumblebees you probably don't want)

But, like, you can still combine the two from each set, so to most folks it probably doesn't matter too much.  It's still these molds, released officially, all insane-like.


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