On the strip's subject, I just got back from visiting two Targets. The first wouldn't get stuff out of the back because I wanted one toy out of an assortment, and the guy didn't think it was okay to open an assortment for one guy for a collector, which is very reasonable, and the second Target totally got me a Bumblebee. That Target actually had ZERO Transformers out on its clearance-tagged pegs, so I figgered that probably greased the wheel, so to speak.
I can't help myself around Ratchets, okay? I'm sorry! I wasn't even gonna get this one, but after picking up Sentinel Prime, Graham and Avery and I went to another Target to find some Deluxes so he could get one of the Wreckers, and when the employee offered us Deluxes, I asked for a Ratchet. I knew there was a new Ratchet in there. One I didn't have. One I didn't need. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
I can't even use this guy for anything. He's too small to hang out with my other movie toys, and I even have another Deluxe Ratchet which I bought because I liked Ratchets which looks more accurate to his robot mode. The only way he's not redundant is that he's the right vehicle mode (rather than the previous Deluxe's truncated vehicle mode) and he's in the altered vehicle mode deco that Ratchet has in the third film. I am a fool.
But now that we've got rationality out of the way, we can move to matters of the emotional level. See, this Ratchet is awesome. He's not quite as movie accurate and he's way too small, but he's pretty fun to play with. He strikes a very good balance between complexity and accuracy, meaning his transformation is pretty damn straight-forward. Even so, there's some interesting bits in there, like how his head, shoulders, and arms rotate around 180 degrees while his chest and the rest of him stay put. It's just fun to do.
But most importantly, Ratchet's weapon, while a completely ridiculous-looking oversized chunk of plastic, is well worth the $12 all by itself. The line-wide gimmick of the larger Dark of the Moon toys is "MechTech" weaponry, and Ratchet's is his saw blade thingy. When you pull on the lever, the saw spins and flips out and spins and spins. It's intoxicating. And I made a video of it for you so I can more adequately share it with you, for words are useless in this arena.
The live-action Transformers films have been making the craaaaaaziest stuff super-mainstream. Not that I'm complaining, no. It's actually crazy in the awesome way. Kids know who The Fallen is. That is absolutely insane. And suddenly it's gonna get kinda Sentinel Prime-y up in this bitch.
A Sentinel Prime was just in Transformers Animated, to be sure, but he was a far cry from the original concept of the character. Such as it was. Since, well, the original Sentinel Prime wasn't really anything more than a namedrop. He was mentioned in a list of Primes once or twice in the old Marvel Comics. He's the guy that preceded Optimus Prime as bearer of the Creation Matrix. His job was to die offpanel so that Optimus could gank his jewelry and become important. In Transformers Animated, that definitely wasn't the case. Sentinel Prime was Optimus Prime's buddy/rival. The jerk friend. A contemporary. And, I might add, my favorite character in the series.
But in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Sentinel Prime seems to be back to his roots. He's the former Prime, the one that preceded Optimus, and he's gone missing or whatever and I guess his ship's on the moon. He's the shipwrecked guy everyone saw in the first teaser trailer, beardin' it up. We learn more about him in IDW's prequel comic series, Foundation, where he's a father figure that marched the planet into a new Golden Age and set up Optimus and Megatron as co-rulers of the planet. But Megatron knew Sentinel liked Optimus more, what with knowing that he was a Secret Prime, and so, well, war happens. (How Sentinel Prime ends up on a ship on the moon hasn't been covered yet.)
So, woo, yeah, I was excited about a toy of Sentinel Prime. Like The Fallen, he's a character that builds the history and mythos of Transformers. And he's in the first wave! And Target employees don't often read street date notices on case assortment boxes! Or they do and, dude, who the hell cares if some nerd has his $50 toy fifteen days early. (Sentinel's DPCI# is 087-06-2294, btw, if you want to chance it. That's right. I just typed that from memory.)
But oh lord, this toy. This toy. I spent an hour trying to get him into vehicle mode last night. And what a really fucking awesome vehicle mode this would be, if it were a bit easier to get into! It's a friggin' fire truck. Fire trucks are awesome. Especially ones with all the little nozzles everywhere. The attention to detail on the fire truck is great. ...if you can get the damn robot mode into it. Picture the most annoying Transformer you've ever attempted. This guy might be worse. I tried again this morning, meticulously examining each step along the way in the instructions, and still it was not incredibly enjoyable.
The instructions have gone through an overhaul. Instead of a series of Illustrator drawings or whatever, a series of photographs are shown. Which, you would think, would be an improvement! In some respects it is, but... it's also pretty damn incomprehensible at times, regardless. Some of these photos are reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally tiny, and it's hard as hell to discern how things are supposed to be oriented in such tiny pictures. In a toy such as Sentinel Prime, where an arm rotation being a fraction of a millimeter off can cause disaster, this is a real annoyance. Nothing like holding the instructions right up to your damn face, trying to figure out which side of the forearms are supposed to be facing which way, via an image of the toy in half-transformation that's probably no more than an inch tall... not a good time. Not a good time.
And, yes, after a half hour or so, you finally find out exactlyish where everything's supposed to go, and all you have to do is fold the big silver lid on the top of the truck down on top of everything, sealing it. Ahahahaha. No. It doesn't want to stay there. The lid doesn't want to seal. And it's not because you friggin' missed a step, it's just that the tabs are too shallow. And so it pops up at a slight angle like a bad Tupperware lid, giving you an eternal peek at the casserole inside. This is your reward for your time spent.
Sentinel Prime comes with two handheld weapons. The first is the "Primax blade," which is a double-bladed sword. It folds in half and can store under the aforementioned silver lid in truck mode, if you want the lid to shut even less. Sentinel also comes with a big Mechtech shield thing. If you press a button on the face of it, it springloads out into an X shape. It can store underneath the truck or mount on the top front of the truck, combined with the Primax blade in some unholy configuration that I don't understand the purpose of.
There are electronics, which are neat. If you press a button on Sentinel Prime's sternum, his mouth opens and he says, "I AM SENTINEL PRIME!" in a voice that can vaguely pass as Leonard Nimoy if you're forgiving. In vehicle mode you press a button on the roof of the fire truck and sirens blare.
He will spend his time in robot mode. And when I decide my life is too happy, I will attempt to transform him, to knock myself down a few pegs.
The fandom kinda freaked out when this guy suddenly and magically, without fanfare, appeared in Toys"R"Uses and Walmarts. What? A Transformers 3 toy? That has to be a mistake! And how did we let it slip past our insanely focused warning systems?
It's not something I would pick up normally, but it is a "preview" toy months in advance, and I kind of have an empty blog to fill, so what are you gonna do.
This is "Cyberverse Commander" Optimus Prime. That's not really a description of the character so much as it is a description of the sizeclass. "Cyberverse" is what Hasbro's calling the sub-Deluxe size class stuff this year. They're building an army of little Legends class-ish toys and giving them playsets and swappable weaponry. "Commander" means that Optimus is one of the larger toys. Price-wise and mass-wise, he's kind of a Scout, but not quite. He feels about 90% of a Scout. But he sure costs 100% of a Scout! ($7.96)
As a Commander, Optimus Prime comes with an accessory weapon. It's a jetpack and two guns, which you can combine with him in various ways. It's attached via the new C joint clips and rods, which is the same stuff you use to clip Jazz's speakers everywhere. So, yeah, in theory, you could clip Prime's tiny jetpack to a larger Generations deluxe. No promises it'll face the right way, though. The guns have pegs that fit into C joint clips, so there's probably some interactivity potential there, too.
Likewise with the vague new pricepoint, Optimus Prime's complexity also falls somewhere in between the old Legends Class and Scout Class figures. The toy's transformation feels more like a Legends Class toy, but has way more steps and parts than those allow. Legends Class toys don't usually have balljointed hips and shoulders or bendable knees and elbows, or at least certainly not all at the same time.
There's also a pair of 3D glasses (red/blue) included so that you can view downloadable content from the official website. Or downloadable 3D porn images from certain other websites.
So I guess, at the very least, this is an interesting look at what the cheaper half of the Dark of the Moon toyline is going to be like -- tiny versions of movie characters with accessories or playsets, with transformation complexity somewhere above Legends Class toys. I'll probably skip out on most of it, since I'm not very interested in starting a whole new scale, but this toy was a welcome diversion during the winter toy drought.