Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:06 am
We've gotten quite a few new Stepper/Ricochets over the years, but never a new toy of his buddy Artfire until now. The pair exist because Japan didn't want to do Cyclonus and Scourge as Targetmasters, I guess, and so they gave their Targetmaster partners to redecos of the Jazz and Inferno toys. Redoing white Jazz toys in black as Stepper/Ricochet makes pretty solid retail sense, but redoing the red Inferno as, uh, mostly red Artfire probably seems like a less good idea. Artfire was never very visually distinct from Inferno, roughly being an Inferno with a white chest, so that's likely why he hasn't shown up until now. (Also because we get a dozen times more Jazz toys than Infernos.)
But somebody over in Japan was willing to do an Artfire as an exclusive, so here we are. He's got Inferno's head and hands and the Grapple retool's crane arm, so he's a parts combination that hasn't been done before. Artfire also comes with two Targetmasters, one being the fifteen zillionth redeco of Universe Nightstick and the other being a redeco of one of Power Core Combiner Pinpoint. The former is intended to be Artfire's original partner, Nightstick, whose name causes the Transformers Wiki much grief, and the latter is intended to be Sparks, which was the Marvel Comics name for Firebolt, Hot Rod's Targetmaster partner.
Because Artfire has Grapple's crane and not a ladder, the instructions tell you to peg both of his Targetmaster partners through the crane's hook so it becomes this sort of water cannon thing. Inventive!
I KIND OF HAVE A LOT OF THIS MOLD.
At least there's three different heads to go between them. (You'll note the handpainted Hot Spot head I gave to my Pyro.) There aren't many G1 firetrucks even left to still make this guy into. There's probably still a Micromaster firetruck, right? And Hosehead. Both of whom are probably red and black, so, well, you know. And, heck, they could probably still get away with making a Hauler, and I would be very happy to buy it. I say that not only because I don't have an original Hauler (I got my Sunstorm long after he was released and so after the duo had been split up on the secondary market), but because I still really like this toy. And thank god for that.