Posted December 18, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Hey, did you know that Masterpiece Blackrachnia's boobs are actually smaller than original toy Blackarachnia's boobs?  Hard to believe!  I mean, technically they started out being Tarantulas's pecs and looked more like a pair of golf balls, but it's somehow true!

Anyway, here's MP-46 Blackarachnia.  She's about the size of a large Deluxe Class toy.  (She's practically identical in size to Animated Blackarachnia, for example.)  I mean, you can tell she costs more just by looking at her -- she's ... a lot of paint and her parts count is massive.  But this is what size Blackarachnia's gotta be if she's gonna be in scale with everyone else in the Beast Wars Masterpiece range.  She wasn't a large gal!  The shortest character on the show, actually, ranking below Quickstrike, Rattrap, and Scorponok.  

Her size is relevant insomuch as she has to transform from one thing into another thing, and the two things share essentially zero parts.  Masterpiece Dinobot was also like this, and what he did to get from velociraptor to robot was... turn entirely inside out.  He was a Popple.  But he could do this because he was massively large.  There was enough of him that he actually could turn inside out.  Blackarachnia, though, uh.  She be small.  There's not enough of her to do what Dinobot does.  

She tries, though.

Obviously, by looking at her, the robot mode's accuracy was emphasized.  In robot mode, she's a perfect action figure of the CGI model.  The only thing that's even a tiny bit off is the exact curvy shape of the spider abdomen stuff on her back, and even that's getting picky.  It's hard to tell that she even transforms into something, at a glance.  She's got spider legs on her arms and that's it.  

The spider mode is definitely where all the compromises landed.  Her tiny head and thorax sit atop a massive pile of robot mode arms.  Her robot mode legs are too large to tuck entirely inside her spider mode abdomen.  The thing is, there's just not anywhere for all this stuff to go.  Her two modes are largely incompatible, and she's too insubstantial to be as creative with the transformation as one'd like.  Cramming all the accuracy into the robot mode seems like the best idea between "favoring robot," "favoring spider," and "making both look bad."

Blackarachnia comes with one stand square (Dinobot came with two squares), a support arm for the stand, four web parts that combine with each other to form a complete web and attach to the support arm, and an attachment piece to help you connect Blackarachnia to it in various ways.  This stuff is larger than the toy itself, so even though Blackarachnia is pretty small, you get a big chunk of plastic.   

There's also two alternate heads (nigh-identical smiling and laughing-while-green-eyes-glowing), a harpoon that attaches to the harpoon weapon that forms out of part of her abdomen, a second harpoon attached to a string which you can use to swing or hang Blackarachnia from, and a VR mask attached to a wire and a separate extra wire.

Masterpiece Blackarachnia is a small but incredibly intricate toy that transforms from a 100% perfect robot mode (which is extremely poseable) to a spider-mode that looks okay if you haven't put your contacts in yet, comes with a few extra faces, a large diarama stand, and some weapons.  How much you want this for the price she asks depends on how much you dig Blackarachnia.  

Posted December 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm

The reason I'm... inordinately fond of the 1987 Targetmaster Crosshairs is not one that's likely to be replicable by other, non-me people.  But I am!  I love this guy.  I've been waiting for a modern toy of this dude for a very long time.

So.  

Like, it's 1987.  I am eight.  I still don't own an Optimus Prime.  At this point, I've already tried taking washable red and blue markers to my white Ultra Magnus cab, resulting in a pink and powder blue Easter Optimus, oops.  And so I get taken to the store for, I dunno, my birthday, probably?  And there's still no Optimus.  It's 1987.  But I pick out Crosshairs because he's a red and blue truck.  He'll do!  Sort of!  

I take Crosshairs with me to my third grade class.  He's stolen.  The following day, while I'm still distraught, that kid who bullies me claims he took him home and melted him in his backyard.  A neighbor kid agrees, yeah, he saw a melted puddle of plastic in his back yard!  Crosshairs is gone and he's been murdered.  

The melting story, upon reflection, is not terribly likely, and probably made up to be a jerk.  But Crosshairs was still stolen!  And I was still, in the moment, fairly traumatized.  I became a weird little Crosshairs obsessive, like a very specialized Bruce Wayne.  I can tell you all sorts of things about Crosshairs that nobody else cares about, like his different-from-the-toy head that appeared in the comic and cartoon (and was based on early control art before it got changed to being a super boring normal-ass face head).  Or the white hands he had in the cartoon (which might have been based on the silver stickers across his wrists).  And I might drone on about his voice (supplied by Neil "Shipwreck" Ross) that tried to sort of be Jack Nicholson but came out more Ronald Reagan.  

Every time a new Transformer comes out that's a truck or whatever, I usually pine for a Crosshairs redeco of it.  It even almost happened a few times, like with a shelved BotCon Crosshairs from Generations Kup!  And finally, at long last, this has occurred, using Stege Ironhide.  And even better, Crosshairs has his comic/animation head.  (This is his real, better head, and the original toy's can go haaaang.)  And even even better, Stege Ratchet has compatible white hands I can swap in to give Crosshairs his cartoon white hands.  And even even even better, an updated version of Pinpointer exists (who was recently paired with Windblade).  And so I've got this perfect storm of a perfect Crosshairs.  

Just... try to feel my excitement through the screen, somehow.  I know, I know, he's just a 1987 Targetmaster truck.  Half his appearances are probably drawing errors of Pinpointer.  (He honestly had an overly-fair amount of lines in the cartoon.)  

Toy-wise, he's exactly Ironhide but in different colors and a different head, with Ironhide's hammer/cannon weapon redecoed red and black to look vaguely like Pinpointer.  Ironhide's a pretty good toy, if the side panels don't pop off all the time.  And Crosshairs' don't, so, yeah, we're solid.  And, yes, I swap out the hands and give him his rightful Targetmaster partner, and we're good, and we've almost entirely nailed floorboards over my third grade childhood trauma.  

almost



almost

Posted November 15, 2019 at 10:57 pm

When War for Cybertron: Stege Hound first came out, everyone noticed something odd about his packaging art -- he had Hot Shot's head!  Specifically, Cybertron Defense Hot Shot's head.  The packaging artist painted the wrong head, possibly because the photos they were sent presented the toy with it.  CD Hot Shot was a military vehicle, while currently Rescue Bots Academy Hot Shot is a dune buggy, so a Cybertronic Jeep mode isn't too far off the mark for the guy.   Thing is, most toys these days get extra heads built into the tooling for potential later releases, but these potential later releases don't always happen!  And so despite us knowing (intuitively) there was a Hot Shot head somewhere in Stege Hound's tooling, it didn't guarantee we'd get a Hot Shot from him.

Ultimately (obviously), we did!  He wasn't confirmed officially until dang near the end of the line, and just days before he was released exclusively at New York Comic-Con (via Entertainment Earth).  Entertainment Earth also had a matching Hot Shot pin and a little Hot Shot badge tag, both of which Adam Pawlus was gratefully able to get for me.  (I also was helped getting a pin by good ol' warcabbit.)  Since, you know, I've never been to a NYCC.  Hot Shot himself was available readily online through various outlets.

And the Stege Hot Shot is... good.

I mean, he's not the Hot Shottiest Hot Shot, since he's not a yellow sportscar, but he's probably one of the best Hot Shot toys?  Because Hound himself is pretty good, you see.  He's got a neat transformation (both sets of wheels end up in his legs), and he comes with two cannons and a ... fake spare tire thing, since the altmode is Cybertronian.  The fake spare tire thing can attach to the side of the larger cannon and make it look like a Tommy gun.  

But Stege Hot Shot is definitely the most articulated Hot Shot toy, that's for dang sure.  Like, I'm not sure any transformable Hot Shot toy has even had waist rotation before.  And all the standard Stege articulation is present, including waist rotation, ankle tilts.... shoulders.  You can get some dynamic movement out of him.

Cybertron Defense Hot Shot was known for his double cannons mounted on his shoulders, but Hot Shot's two cannons do a poor job of recreating both of them.  They can recreate ONE of them pretty well, if you combine them.  And so, whoops, I have two Stege Hot Shots, and one is borrowing the other's weapons.  I am now sated.

Until more Hot Shots come out, anyway.  Dang, do you know there's a Rescue Bots Academy (Series 2) of those blind-bagged figurines you find at Meijer or Kroger?  And there's TWO Hot Shot figures in that.  It's been reported exactly once in the United States and zero other times.  That shit needs to saturate the market.  Or at least eBay.  

Posted October 27, 2019 at 11:31 pm

So, yeah, he's Ratchet, he transforms into an ambulance and a medical bed, he's exclusive to friggin' Walgreens, but according to the website his function is "engineer"???  And Red Alert is apparently the doctor?  Look, I dunno.

Stege Ratchet is a heavy retool of Stege Ironhide!  It's not immediately apparent, but a whole lot of him is different.  I mean, their toys are still essentially the same, but Ratchet's sculpting been resurfaced pretty extravagantly.   It's just hard to tell since, you know, the two toys have the same silhouette and also Ratchet is mostly white so details are washed out.

But it's nice to see the extra mile here.  Ratchet also comes with a giant repair arm with two potential attachments -- a laser scalpel and a wrench.  The repair arm/scalpel is based on the one inside the original Ratchet toy's trailer medical bay.  The wrench is there because Robot Doctor/ENGINEER APPARENTLY, also I guess you could hand it off to Nautica if you wanted.  Considering Ratchet's one of the bigger Deluxe Class toys in Stege, it's nice to see him with all this extra stuff regardless.  Is it because he's an exclusive?  Maybe.  (Though I suppose regular retail Ironhide came with that giant hammer.)  

Ratchet also has a third mode, a medical bed thing.  It's basically a half-ambulance half-robot deal.  It's not terribly convincing.  But it's there and it didn't need to be, so I'll shrug and like it.  This is actually where a lot of the new sculpted tooling comes into play -- there's a series of tools and monitors on the back of Ratchet's arms that don't make themselves apparent until this mode, where they're finally facing upwards.  It's all unpainted white plastic, though, so you have to pay attention.

I don't know what's going on with the deco?  Like, okay, I get why he'll have a white helmet black chevron forever and ever because of the fucking cartoon, but why is the rest of him?  Ratchet tends to be solid white, sure, and there are ways to break up that white with some red.  The Marvel comics gave him a red helmet and red hands.  The cartoon gave him a red pelvis and red hands.  This toy... kind of randomly paints red rectangles on him.  It's not a very cohesive look!  You think, oh, maybe this deco comes together in vehicle mode, but it doesn't.  It's just as random there.  What was going on?  I dunno.

Anyway, I painted the helmet red on my Ratchet almost immediately.  It makes the weird deco choice look a little more cohesive, since there's a red focal point that isn't a rectangle on his thigh.  

I will not be painting his white hands red because those white hands will be going to Crosshairs when he comes out in a month.  The Rebirth colors, yo!  (I will then be painting Crosshairs's black fists red before giving them to Ratchet, obvsly.)

Deco aside, Stege Ratchet is a pretty good Ratchet!  He's dynamic in all the ways Stege toys tend to be dynamic -- by which I mean he's a pile of boxes you can pose very well.  He's also one of the few Stege toys that, you know, actually looks unapologetically like a Cybertronian vehicle.  He's not a Lamborghini with the serial numbers filed off, or a Freightliner cab with a hat.  Ratchet's a wheeled spacebox.  

A wheeled spacebox who needs his helmet painted red, gaddangit. 


Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:06 am

I think I described Masterpiece-36 Megatron as a toy you don't transform so much as you sculpt.  You kind of massage one form into the other at a much more granular scale than is typical.  The forearm's the wrong shape coming out of the vehicle mode?  Moosh it.  Moosh it into its proper form.  

MP-44 Optimus Prime (version 3) is just like that.  You moosh him.

A truck cab has too much mass up in front and not enough out back for it to translate into the proper shape for robot mode?  Just grab some front mass and move it to the back.  Move it and moosh it.  Like modeling clay.  It's similar to a live-action movie transformation, but just, y'know, resulting in a clean, cartoonish robot.  

And it takes a bit.  I wouldn't categorize the process under "fun," particularly, but there was nothing about it I hated.  It's just kind of low-key tedium.  But it's hard to argue with the results.  The cab looks like the cartoon's cab, lack of silver stripe and all, and the robot mode looks like the cartoon's robot.  Like, literally like it.  And not in a sterile way, like the starkly boxy $5 nontransformable G1 Optimus Prime figures you can find at Walmart.  He looks as alive as a representation of That Particular Character Model can be.  Which is surprisingly a lot.  This toy pokes at your lizard brain.

MP-44 Optimus Prime comes with a lot of stuff, all of it from specific cartoon episodes that I don't particularly care for.  Sure, there's the hand-axe (which was also in the Marvel UK comic), but there's Sideswipe's jetpack he can wear, there's Starscream's head and shoulder kibble you can add so you can pretend this was Starscream dressing up like Optimus Prime to fool humanity in... I want to say "Megatron's Master Plan"?  There's a beat up head and a busted ab slice you can swap in if you want to approximate Optimus Prime's broken form from The Transformers: The Movie.  You can transform and remove the Combat Deck stuff inside the trailer to reenact an animation error where Combat Deck popped out of himself as a mini version of himself on wheels.  There's tiny articulated figures of Spike, Sparkplug, and Carly.  

And important to me, MP-44 Optimus Prime has an option to switch between the first season head and the second season (and movie) head.  The first season head is what the Marvel Comics used for its run.  Second season head always reads as "the cartoon" to me.  And so I like the first season head.  That's my nostalgia button.

A few people's MP-44 knees broke.  Mine seem to be fine.  

MP-10, the previous Optimus Prime Masterpiece, didn't look like it really belonged with the other guys I'd amassed to stand next to him.  Prowl, Ratchet, Ultra Magnus, Wheeljack... They were all very cartoony.  MP-10 kinda stood out a bit, more and more.  Especially versus the new Megatron.  MP-44 is a re-alignment.  It settles better in the groove that Masterpiece decided it was gonna inhabit, for better or worse.  


Posted August 17, 2019 at 7:51 pm

I just kind of assumed that no other new Seeker mold would get the mileage that the 2006 Classics Seeker mold has.  After all, that toy got milked for new uses over the course of a decade, and by a collectors' club.  No newer Seeker mold has had the attention span.  We'd get Starscream, Thundercracker and/or Skywarp, maybe an Acid Storm, and then it's on to the next new Seeker Mold.  And not since the Collector's Club has there been a NEW Seeker previously untoyed.  

And so when Stege Redwing popped up, I was like, yeah, okay.  He's never had a toy before, so I'll get this one, and he'll be the odd one out of all my Classics Seekers (well okay, the second odd one out, since Legends Slipstream is also in the mix), but I'm not, like, replacing my Thundercracker or Skywarp with the Stege versions.  The Classics Seekers still rule the gamut of Seekerhood.  

But then this three-pack of Acid Storm, Nova Storm, and Ion Storm suddenly existed, and I was like... welp.  Looks like Hasbro's going to invest in this Seeker version after all.  Acid Storm's had toys before, but not Nova Storm and Ion Storm.  That's three characters in Stege that Classics doesn't have.  You know how many characters Classics Seekers have that Stege doesn't?  Three (Sunstorm, Bitstream, and Hotlink) or maybe four since Nacelle straddles that Seeker/Conehead line.  So we're at the tipping point.

And He Tell Me says there's maybe more coming.

I had to hop on.  

Redwing is available through Target online.  If you have a Target redcard.  Mind, I got mine early on when it went up by accident for a few hours and at the time the Target redcard wasn't required, but I have a Target redcard and so I used it anyway.  Because 5% off and free shipping, baby.  

He's got one sculpting difference, and that's the smirking face.  (I don't recommend swapping it with Starscream, since the face is painted offwhite instead of silver.  Swap Thundercracker's smirking face with Starscream instead.  They match.)

But Redwing has a color scheme!  You know, reds and blacks and whites.  There's some thought put into it.

Acid Storm, Nova Storm, and Ion Storm not so much.  They showed up in the original cartoon as (nicknamed by the fandom through dialogue) the Rainmakers, and they... well, they were quick single-colored generics.  They were solid green, yellow, and blue.  Those animation cel painters made quick work of them.  And lordy do these toys match.  They are one solid color head to toe, save the cockpit, helmet, and a white midsection.  And, sure, the identical Stege battle damage deco every Stege seeker has.  

Acid Storm, previously translated into toys, has had his cartoon color scheme... elaborated on.  His Classics toy muted his green and gave him grown camo.  He tends to be given more than the one solid color.  (Except in Cyberverse anyway, where their toy is solid green again.) 

Stege Acid Storm, though is... well, he's neon green.  He's a green that doesn't/can't photograph properly.  He's the green I wish the cover of Dumbing of Age Book 8 could be, but that color doesn't exist in CMYK.  He looks like he could illuminate a room.  The other two are similar.  And I'm okay with this.  After decades of the fandom getting pissy about "day-glow playskool colors," here these three are, unapologetically so.  And, of course, they're highly sought after.  Of course.  They're also Target exclusives, and they keep selling out at the website and are scarce in stores.  

I recommend trying to find them in person, if you can.  Just to bask.  Get a taste of their fluorescence.  

Posted July 21, 2019 at 4:40 pm

For decades, Greenlight and Lancer were known as "the green one" and "the orange one."  The original cartoon episode, "The Search for Alpha Trion," had named Elita-One (the pink one), Moonracer (the teal one), Firestar (the red one), and Chromia (the blue one), but there were two more Female Autobots appearing occasionally in the background who didn't get names until a bit of Transformers Collectors' Club prose.  

And then years later, Mairghread Scott put them in the Windblade comic book series and paired them up, making them the first w|w couple to be depicted in Transformers fiction.

And now they both have toys!

Power of the Primes introduced figures of Moonracer and Firestar, with Firestar being Moonracer with a new head, and Stege Greenlight and Lancer follow the same pattern, with Lancer being Greenlight with a new head.  Greenlight herself is the Moonracer/Firestar mold with some new thighs, forearms, torso, and head.  At the end of the day, this means Moonracer and Greenlight are the most accurate to their cartoon portrayals, while Firestar and Lancer have accurate new heads but with bodies that don't suit them as well.  

(It's too bad, because cartoon Lancer has this whole layered armor look going on.)  

Other than surface details, the biggest change to Greenlight/Lancer versus Moonracer/Firestar are the new forearms.  The fists are no longer separate pieces, so those don't fold in during transformation to car or limb modes.  And the 5mm pegholes are removed entirely, which is a bizarre choice for a line that boasts 5mm pegholes everywhere for weapon compatibility!

Greenlight also comes with Dazzlestrike, a ... well, repaint of Battle Master Lionizer.  Literally the same plastic colors with some green painted on the blade.  Feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity to do something different.  

With Greenlight and Lancer out, you can finally complete ORTHIA, which is a combiner formed out of five Female Autobots introduced in "The Search for Alpha Trion."  You just gotta dig up your Power of the Primes Elita One, Moonracer, and Firestar.  Chromia's the only teammate left out, as she got a similar-but-retooled-to-be-combinerless toy in Stege's second wave.  

And since there's been a handful of Alpha Trions, the arrival of Lancer means every new character introduced in that episode now has a toy!  That's pretty neat. 

Since IDW's comic continuity was rebooted, it seems Greenlight's been shacking up with Arcee instead of Lancer, but I'm probably the last person who can point fingers at pairings being swapped around after a continuity reboot.

Lancer was debuted this weekend at San Diego Comic Con, and you can preorder her from Entertainment Earth, while Greenlight's over at Amazon.   

Posted July 15, 2019 at 9:26 pm

Dang, Transformers: Stege has been so committed to keeping robot mode scale consistent that they up and went and made a new Commander Class price point so that they could do Jetfire at the right size.  This is very crazy and also I respect it.

But yeah!  Jetfire!  He's PRETTY BIG!  Not as big as the 27"+ Unicron that went up for HasLab crowdfunding today, but definitely a large-ass guy!  At over a foot tall, he's nearly as massive as the old Armada Unicron we got, that's how big he is.  Starscream and Optimus Prime only come up to the tops of his thighs.  This is accurate to his portrayal in the cartoon, where he was a gigantic scientist who keeps getting left for dead until the next time the Autobots need him to fly them somewhere.  Because, again, he swol.  

Jetfire has a lot of small... stuffs about him.  Little things, here and there that make you think, yeah, okay, the Commander Class price tag is worth it, hopefully.  First of all, you know those 5mm pegholes they put in fists that let them hold weaponry?  Well, Jetfire has them, sure, but only when his fists are closed.  When you open his fist's fingers out into a relaxed shape, the 5mm peghole hides away into the palm.  Very neat!  

The Autobot logo on his chest can be flipped around to display a Decepticon logo.  Jetfire was a former Decepticon in nearly every continuity, so this is a good feature.  

All Stege has waist rotation and ankle tilts, and Jetfire is no exception.  His waist articulation is a little shallow, because of hip kibble, but it's there.  The rest of him is pretty dang articulated!  Again, articulated palms. That Commander Class price point money went into joints.  

Open up his jet cockpit.  Pull out the chunk of greeble inside.  Now there's a seat for a Titan Master!  (Remember, the little head guys from Titans Return?)  Open up the other window area on the back of the jet, and there's another two Titan Master seats hidden there.

When he's in jet mode, he has four 5mm pegs that can deploy from underneath him.  You can have other, smaller Transformers hold onto those pegs so that they can catch a ride with Jetfire into battle.  This is also very neat, but admittedly hard to coordinate.  

Because there's some sort of rule that Jetfires have to have battle armor pieces, Stege Jetfire comes with some of that.  And a mask, even!  It feels very perfunctory.  I honestly don't care for all that junk, but that's not new to my feelings on Jetfires.  I've always tossed that armor stuff aside.  (In jet mode, it all combines into a little hat you can put on top!)

Jetfire's the first toy bigger than the smallest size class (Battle Masters) to come with his own effects parts!  You know, the translucent plastic explosions and blasts and what not that you can peg onto your Stege guys?  Jetfire comes with two thruster bursts, which each can break apart into three pieces.  They're my favorite effects parts so far.  They can work for thrusters or weapon blasts or Jetfire's chest taking hits from other weapons...  Jetfire's effects parts are very satisfying.  

He transforms into that box with wings he was in the original cartoon and comic.  It's not nearly as sleek as the Robotech or whatever thing he was originally licensed from, but that's cool.  Cartoon/comic Jetfire transforms into something that looks like a kid drew it, and that kind of tickles me.  It's the Axe Cop of spaceships.  Again, it's just some boxes with some wings with another box on top with some tinier wings.  And it transforms about how you'd expect.  (Fold out the cockpit, fold the arms under, collapse the legs, lay it down.)  

There are some fun details in that otherwise standard transformation, however.  For example, there's the way the wings fold up between robot and jet modes.  The wings themselves transform.  They don't merely swing up.  There are multiple maneuvers that sculpt the tinier, stubbier robot mode wings into the longer, more aerodynamic wings the jet mode has.

He's honestly the Jetfire to end all Jetfires.

(They'll still make more.)

Posted July 12, 2019 at 11:22 pm

I think I've definitely fallen out of love with the Universe (2008) Sideswipe/Sunstreaker/RedAlert/Punch/ Counterpunch/G2Breakdown/Breakdown mold.  I guess it doesn't help that a number of those were misassembled, causing the neat little "rotate the roof backpack to cause the head to rise up out of the torso" gimmick to result in an always-off-angled roof backpack.  But mostly, like, yeah, it tried to do so much, and the end result is this tall and gangly guy with funny ears.  

I guess that's one of the advantages of so much Transformer stuff being budgeted out after a decade of rising costs.   You really gotta narrow your toys down to the basics.  They get a lot less fiddly!  A little less flying too close to the sun, y'know?  Brass effin' tacks.

Anyway, I've already reluctantly sung Stege Sideswipe's praises.  Reluctantly mostly because, really?  I'm not that attached to Sideswipe-the-character.  The most interesting thing he's ever done is die, whether it's Pat Lee making it up that he died in the movie, or actually dying in the IDW comic that one time.

But Stege Red Alert!  I like him.  He has a personality.  He's a paranoid, anxious mess.  And who among us on Today's Internet can't relate to that?  So I've been keeping a keener eye on replacing Universe Red Alert, more than Universe Sideswipe, with Stege Red Alert.

Red Alert is what you'd expect from a Red Alert.  He's Sideswipe, but in white/red/black Fire Chief deco!  He's got his red helmet from the cartoon, which is nice, because non-black helmets are interesting.  Most of his white plastic is stark white, but his arms and thighs are this off-white color.  He's not an Earth vehicle, and so the "F D" that's typically on his chest has been swapped out for the Cybertronian letters for "F" and "D."  

The one thing I don't like is that he doesn't come with the same shoulder missile launcher weapon thingy that Sideswipe does.  They both had that!  The should both have that.  Instead, Red Alert comes with a rifle, which you can also attach his flasher lights to and have him hold the whole contraption as an axe.  Maybe something presumably made out of glass isn't something you should be swinging around at metal people, but whatever.

He's a good, satisfying toy, now available in Interesting Character Flavor.

man, transformers used to have a lot more deco, didn't they

Posted June 30, 2019 at 6:00 pm

We're just gonna have to face some facts -- Springer gets pretty great toys.  Well, okay, not the first one.  That toy was... not super great.  But the BotCon 2007 redeco of Cybertron Defense Hot Shot?  The Universe redeco of Cybertron Evac?  The GDO retool of Movie Tomahawk?  And (pen)ultimately, the Thrilling 30 Springer that was the first triple-changing Springer since the original and is widely considered to be one of the better Transformers of all time?  

Yeah, well, the new Stege Springer is up there, too.  

Thrilling 30 Springer was so good that a lot of folks are saying, yeah, okay, so why do I need this other new Stege Springer?  It's a legitimate question!  And there's no definitive answer.  But I can definitely say that Stege Springer is a great toy in its own right.  It fits in that category that so many other War for Cybertron: Siege [sic] toys hail from -- aka, ugh it's just the cartoon design, oh wait, once it's in my hands it's pretty satisfying, what is this??? oh no I like it.  

While Thrilling 30 Springer was a glorious adaptation of Nick Roche's IDW Springer, albeit too skinny to get the exact feel of it, Stege Springer is a fairly faithful adaptation of Springer as we remember him from the cartoon.  This time, though, he's not lanky.  He's wide.  He has the presence.  He's got that Han Solo-esque charisma.  

It helps immensely that Stege Springer isn't as... Stegey as Stege often gets.  For example, Stege Starscream is a chunk of technogreeble detail that overwhelms the eyes if you look at him in focus.  Stege Chromia's another where you want to say, yikes, guys, scale it back a bit.  But Stege Springer doesn't suffer from that at all.  He's not overdetailed, he's just detailed.  Heck, his entire chest front is an absolutely flat box with nigh a sculpt line across it.  

And while he's a big pile of boxes, it's nice to see a few curves on him nonetheless, from the exhaust ports on the back of his canopy, to the wheel wells, to his helmet.  His toy strikes a good balance between edges and curves, between detail and negative space.  

He feels very at home with Titans Return Hot Rod, Blurr, and Kup, and Thrilling 30 Arcee.  ...not so much with Stege Ultra Magnus who is, again, looks like somebody was sculpting uniform detail across him while zoomed in at a billion percent.  

Some folks have described Stege Springer as fiddly, and, honestly, he's not any more fiddlier than Thrilling 30 Springer.  Perhaps less fiddly.  It is up to you whether the end result of that fiddliness results in very faithful renditions of Springer's original collaboration-of-boxes altmodes.  These aren't the reimagined car and helicopter modes of the Thrilling 30 Springer toy.  These, again, are just what he looked like in the cartoon, for better or worse.  He'll fit in well, again, with your newer Hot Rod, Blurr, and Kup toys.  

Springer comes with quite a few accessories, which is surprising considering how much Stege's gimmick is "buy these other toys to arm your other Stege toys."  His helicopter blade splits into three pieces -- two swords and a connector piece.  He also comes with two guns which combine into a longer gun.  You could probably get away with doing a Springer with just the swords in these budget-conscious days, but he comes with guns, too.  You can combine all the accessories together to make a larger cannon, though it's just the longer gun on top of the propeller connector with swords on the side.  Otherwise, he's got more weapons than he has hands, so I like to put the guns on his back, pointing upwards, to call back to his 2007 BotCon toy.  The propeller connector also fits back there, out of view.  

He looks good using the effects pieces that come with the two Battle Masters that transform into swords.  

He's fun and I like him.  He's an excellent Springer and an excellent toy.  


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