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.


Posted August 8, 2018 at 2:11 pm


Masterpiece Dinobot showed up to monopolize my world just before I could get to talking about Power of the Primes Predaking, but now that MP Dinobot fever has died down a smidge, I'm ducking back to those simpler, more primitive pre-MP Dinobot times.  


So, yeah, it's TITAN CLASS Predaking!  Titan Class is that once-a-year size class that costs $150 and bounces back and forth from being an irregularly-formed combiner (Devastator) to city-sized guys (Metroplex, Fort Max, Trypticon).  Predaking is the second combiner, and he's an awful lot like Devastator, the first!  Just, like, construction-wise.  He's composed of giant blocky dudes who are clearly just pieces to make a cohesive 18-inch-tall robot.  It's the same feel all over.  If you have Devastator, you know generally what to expect with Predaking.


Predaking's a little less fortunate in this respect, though, because his individual components are ANIMALS.  Unlike construction vehicles, which are essentially blocks already, animals are, like, you know... animal shapes.  And so Predaking gives you... some blocks with tiny heads and legs on them!  They're animals!  Sort of!  

I mean, this didn't matter to my toddlers, who looked upon these blocky creatures with a sense of frenzied wonder, but a more older-type person might be a little dissatisfied.  


For example, the monstrously lengthy thighs of the combined Predaking robot ... just kind of hang underneath the bull (Tantrum/Torox) and the rhino (Headstrong).  Those are the two bulkiest animals (in real life), so they're the best choices to go with if you need to have two giganto plumpo creatures, but it's still a visible compromise.  Divebomb, the ... bird... is also pretty bulky, because he splits in two.  Half of him becomes an arm of the same girth as the other arm, Rampage (tiger).  The rest of him is, well, it's half of Predaking's torso.  It's his taint and his stomach and his spine and his wings, with Razorclaw (lion) forming the chest.  So Divebomb's a pretty massive bird!  Chunky!


But, again, the combined robot is the main event here.  Everything else is subordinate.  And the combined robot is pretty good!  I like it!  It holds together and can do stuff and it looks nice.  And so that's how I'll likely display him, and it probably won't matter that he's made out of the blockiest jungle creatures ever seen.  

The set comes with a sticker sheet, same with previous Titan Class offerings, but, oh my lord, the sticker material isn't terrible this go-round.  Like, you can remove stickers from the sticker sheet without the stickers TEARING DOWN THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE STICKER instead of, like, you know, where the actual perforations are.  And the material is strong enough you can actually remove and replace stickers if you have trouble putting them down, so long as you're careful.


And there's minimal putting flat stickers over sculpted detail.  That's nice.

Oh, and Predaking comes with a Prime Master figure of Onyx Prime, which is the only way to get an Onyx Prime.  So, uh, hopefully if you were completist with those you were already planning on getting this guy.


Anyway, summing up: Good big robot.  Smaller guys are an acquired taste.  A small step forward in sticker technology in this year of 2018.  

Posted August 2, 2018 at 11:37 pm


I may have once related through the webcomic medium about how, for a while, there was an arms race between Hasbro and Takara to make a more show-accurate Dinobot.  There was the original toy, and then Takara put a gold helmet on it and de-pinked it a bit, and then later Hasbro tried to do more-show-accurate colors from scratch (badly), and then Takara tried to one-up them again (to limited success), and then Hasbro had a new Dinobot toy which was sculpted to look more cartoon-accurate, and then Takara painted it to match...

Kind of felt like, you know, a game that would go on forever.

WELP I THINK IT'S OVER NOW.


Witness Masterpiece Beast Wars Dinobot.  He painstakingly recreates both the robot mode and the beast mode from the CGI cartoon, and somehow transforms back and forth.  For good or ill.  See, the problem with Dinobot's CGI robot mode is that it's clearly not anything that can transform into a raptor.  It's just a robot with fleshy arms and a flattened-out raptor head on the chest.  Everything else is robot.  How does it become an organic, scaly velociraptor?  Well, in CGI, it happens through replacing one model with the other in a fancy way through which hopefully you won't notice.  Slight-of-hand, mostly.  

And the problem with Dinobot's CGI velociraptor mode is that it looks like garbage.  I mean, all praise where it's due -- this was 1996 computer animation for television.  But, like, it's, uh, not a good velociraptor.  I like to think the completely new Cyber Raptor models for the third season were a "hey look we can make a good velociraptor CGI model we swear" moment for the crew.  


What I'm beating around the bush at is, uh, yeah, this toy transforms from a robot IMPOSSIBLY into a terrible, terrible velociraptor.  On purpose.

And I love it.

Please take me seriously when I say this toy turns inside out.  It does.  The walls of the velocraptor torso are all robot bits sculpted on the inside, and the walls of the robot torso are all scaly on their insides.  To get from raptor to robot, you open up the torso, shove the velociraptor head inside, and close up the robot torso walls around it.  The raptor head doesn't become the robot chest, despite that being the original transformation and the CGI model's intent.  It hides away inside the torso while the stomach of the velociraptor unfolds into the flattened, torso-shaped velociraptor head chest the CGI model had.  This achieves the purpose of the endeavor: to have a Dinobot robot mode that looks like the CGI.  


The velociraptor mode is definitely the second priority.  It does its best, and doesn't QUITE achieve the actual shape of the CGI raptor, with its giant torso and slightly undersized head.  But it tries.  ...to be a terrible velociraptor.  

Again, I love this.  SOME toy should try to be the terrible show model and succeed.  And this is that toy.  No expense spared!  

His rotate blade still spins when you push a lever.  This is important.  A Dinobot without his rotate blade is no Dinobot indeed.  He still has his segmented sword.  


What's extra this go-round are a lot of smaller things and one big thing.  The big thing is his giant display stand with the giant display arm.  Dinobot is a pretty large, heavy toy, and sometimes a dude needs support.  Especially in velociraptor mode, where like 99% of the weight is in the torso, which is not centered with the legs, and the tail is like a few grams at most, so it's not great at standing.  The stand helps.  It comes with a translucent piece that plugs around his stomach.  There's a different piece for robot mode that wraps around his butt.  

He also comes with the Golden Disk!  The Voyager "Sounds of Earth" one.  This is a season one toy, and the second Golden Disk, the alien one, had no association with Dinobot until season 2.  There's both a translucent stand for the disk and a little attachment to help Dinobot hold the disk in his hands in either mode.  


Dinobot also comes with FOUR different faces!  There's default, angry, smirking, and LASER EYES.  Laser eyes face comes with a further attachment that plugs into his eyes and makes him look like he's shooting laserbeams.  The mouth on each is articulated, so you can achieve an incredible range of expressions across the four options and their variants.  Put two button batteries into his head, press the button at the back of his skull, and his eyes glow red.  Hold down the button and the eyes glow green for the laserbeam attachment.  


Pros: It's goddamn fucking Dinobot and it's beautiful, even the parts that are ugly, because it's goddamn fucking Dinobot.  He comes with four faces with articulated mouths.  He's massive and huge and scaled properly to everyone else in the Beast Wars Masterpiece range.... which is why he's massive and huge.  He's incredibly impressive to behold.

Cons: Takes a while to transform, what with the flipping inside out.  His weight is not distributed evenly and so most poses require the stand.  Some people have had problems with one of the shoulder ratchets.  He's $200.

For me, I mean, the pros and cons were irrelevant.  It's a toy of Dinobot.  I was gonna have it.  


Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:25 am

Hey, look!  Slash got a retool!  The lady Dinobot got a new head and is now the 1988 Firecon character Cindersaur!  

Okay, first of all, Slash is a great toy.  So Cindersaur is still a great toy.  So, like, that's still a recommend.  The new head doesn't alter the transformation at all, and though the new colors are a little monotonous in raptor mode (without the robot mode's green face and touches of gray), it's still a vibrant-looking thing.  So thumbs up just based on that.  

But there's more!  All of the Power of the Primes toys come packed randomly with one of 12 different cards that give a different Prime-based power.  Ten of these cards are irrelevant to the rest of this paragraph, but of the final two, one uses male pronouns and the other uses female pronouns.  (the female card was discovered before the male card, and for that day and a half or so, the toy was known affectionately as "Cindysaur")  Maybe someone got their wires crossed and accidentally used Slash's pronouns on one of the cards, but the new Cindersaur head is sculpted the way Hasbro tends to sculpt their women characters: there's lips and a smile and some softened features.  



Or, we could just take the text as given and determine that Cindersaur is genderfluid.  They're male sometimes, female sometimes, and, heck, maybe it changes depending on which Prime Master is plugged in.  That's my take-away, anyway.

Look... *throws the pack-in cards down on the table* ... it's canon.
Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:02 pm

 

The two best combiner teams from Generation One were the Protectobots and the Terrorcons.

This has absolutely nothing to do with which two teams I owned as a child.

(yes it does)



But do you know why the Terrorcons were the best?  Because they were effin' monsters.  Vehicles are essentially little boxes, but a monster has arms, legs, teeth... all these extra things to play with.  Terrorcons, then, transform into two separate things you can do things with (besides scoot along on the floor).  So, yeah.  They're empirically the best.

(i had them when i was a kid)



And now there's a new combining version of them!  I've talked about Hun-Gurrr, the torso before, and I got Rippersnapper a few months ago, but since then I've gotten his other three limbs.  I'll say right off the bat what makes these toys improvements over the originals: they have working jaws.  Other than Blot, they all have working jaws.  It's by far the best improvement of the entire set.  Like, sure, the articulation is way up all around, but frankly jaws are the most important.  

(Blot's jaw does seem to be a different piece versus the plastic that makes up the top of his head, but there do not appear to be any joints to allow the jaw to move independently.)



Cutthroat is the weakest of the limbs.  Engineering-wise, he's large amounts of the Dinobot Swoop repurposed.  He's got the same thighs, arms, and he mostly transforms the same.  The only difference is how the beast mode feet get tucked away.  But his beast mode head is hinged pretty loosely, and so it likes to fall off.  The beast mode torso doesn't hide very well that it's just a compacted robot mode, and so it looks elongated and goofy.  



Blot, other than his lack of chompers, is by far the best, though!  He wads up his robot mode legs behind him in beast mode to create a different shape entirely, resulting in this angry grumpy cube.  I dub him "Most Improved" of the new Terrorcons, since he's just better in all respects.  He doesn't just stand up and hide his monster arms behind him.  The monster torso/head folds back, giving him a different robot mode chest, and the fists cleverly transform out of the beast claws.  



Sinnertwin has more articulation than the original.  That's what I got to say about him!  I mean, that extra articulation is nice, with the jaws and the balljointed beast mode necks (at the skull -- it's just hinges at the torso), so there is a lot more to do with him.  But he's had less evolution to his design than Blot.  

Hun-Gurrr holds together extremely well in torso mode.  A friggin' lot of tabs.  Tabs everywhere.  That results in a very solid combiner robot.  I can't find fault with their combined mode, Abominus.  He may be the best of the new Combiner Wars-style guys.  And he's made out of monsters, yo.
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