Posts tagged with "earthrise" - 2
Posted March 11, 2020 at 10:05 pm

Yo, if you've got any familiarity with the original Grapple toy, dang is EarthRise Grapple gonna feel like some dejavu!   In ways more than other retreads, he feels solidly like "this 1980s guy but with joints."  He transforms basically identically, but now there's knees.  And because Grapple's cartoon model was designed in 1985, he's gonna look pretty much just like his original toy, too!  Due to Circumstances, there is not a lot new here.

And generally, with Stege/EarthRise stuff, things just work so dang well -- executed so simply and flawlessly -- that even though there's (again) that feeling of dejavu, it's all cool!  ... However, Grapple has a big problem.

See, he's got some pegs at the back of his head/crane arm that plug into the back of the vehicle/his feet while transforming into crane mode.  But the connections between the pegs and the crane arm are kind of Not Enough and so there's a chance of plugging them into the pegholes for the first time and then ... them tearing off inside the pegholes when you try to untransform him.  Mine has not done this, but the problem was already reported and I was careful and it was still... an... ordeal to get them out.  Just, like, pulling on them as straight and outward as I could, very slowly.  Some folks sand the pegs or the peghole down, some folks just snip the pegs in half.  But this is still a pretty serious oopsie-doodle!  The default of "Stege/EarthRise is boringly G1 but executed really well so it's hard to be mad" has been poked in the eye by this feller.  

*DISTRAUGHT SHRUG*

I painted the helmet on my Grapple black.  The all yellow head look from the cartoon IS NOT GOOD.  I fixed it.  

Also I had to shave down the pegs on mine as a precaution.  

One of those things I shouldn't be expected to do with my stuff.  

Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:10 am

Hot on the heels of Stege Starscream and his Colonial Viper altmode is... EarthRise Starscream, who's back to being an F-15!  You're like, "hey, didn't we just get a Voyager Class Starscream, and this is a new Voyager Class Starscream?" and the answer is "YUP."

(Though honestly, it's Starscream.  He's popular.  Folks will buy him, even if you or I are not one of those folks.)

The thing about Stege Starscream is that he was surprisingly great.  You know, for a shellformer.  He wadded up his robot mode into a little ball and you close the spaceship mode around him, the end.  And while that in itself may not be what we strictly want out of a transforming toy, it did offer some advantages.  Mostly, like, Stege Starscream's robot mode was incredibly poseable, especially for a Starscream.  It had waist rotation, it had ankle tilts, it had double-jointed elbows, it had shoulders with wide range... you could get the danged thing to fold its arms across its chest, fer cheese's sake.  It could do that BECAUSE it folded up into a ball and the altmode closed around it.  

EarthRise Starscream, meanwhile, is ... a Transformer.  It transforms.  The cockpit becomes the cockpit chest, the wings become the wings, etc.  The robot becomes the jet -- at least as much as most Transformer robots become jets.  And that... means the articulation is scaled back.  It's been noted by everyone (including Hasbro) that ER Starscream is essentially a scaled-up Classics 2006 Starscream.  And it... has slightly more articulation than that toy, which was notoriously stiff.  ER Starscream adds some wider range to Classics Starscream's shallower joints, plus a bicep swivel, and the head turns independently of the nosecone on his back, there's those ankle tilts that are all the range...

But there's no waist rotation, which is a gaddanged FIRST among the Deluxe-and-up toys in this War for Cybertron toyline trilogy.  There's no double-jointed elbows, no extra range in the shoulders for arms-folding (it was required for transformation on the Stege toy).  And so after the absolute bounty of articulation that Stege offered a Starscream for the first time, this new Starscream feels stiff.  Even though, on average, his articulation is more than Starscream toys typically have.  

On the other hand, it actually transforms traditionally without being a Popple.  

So, y'know, pick your poison, I guess.  

I have two.  I bought a second one to paint up in Early Marvel Comics Starscream colors, from back when the interiors colorist was working off early Starscream model sheets where his chest was black instead of red.  I got halfway through that one and realized, yo, if I stop here, I've got a toy colors Starscream, with darker blues instead of the cartoon's brighter blues.  It looked nice, so I kept it there!  I also gave him Classics Starscream's null ray arm cannons, because I like them bulky.  ...and then I painted my back-up ER Starscream toy in the Early Marvel scheme.  Y'know, comics blue-for-black chest, blue head and face with white eyes, inverted colors on the feet...  And I fold the wings back out of view, since Mike Manley didn't draw them in issue 9.  

no i'm not gonna lop off an ear, jose delbo drew him earless only after the color scheme was updated

Posted February 13, 2020 at 11:35 pm

You see the phrase "mini-Masterpiece" thrown around at some modern regular retail toys.  Stege Sideswipe?  Mini-Masterpiece!  Earthrise Grapple?  Mini-Masterpiece!   It gives the impression that these retail toys are just scaled down Masterpiece toys.  And honestly, these toys are not much like their larger, expensiver counterparts at all.  They just all try to look like the cartoon, while transforming pretty differently.  

EarthRiseEarthrise Wheeljack is like that!  He looks like a smaller toy of Masterpiece Wheeljack, but he's really not.  He just wants to look like the same source material.  And so he has similar proportions and colors, and he transforms into the same box with a dome, but he doesn't feel like he takes home any lessons in particular from the Masterpiece.  Heck, his arms pull out of the back of the car mode in a completely different way.  His torso transforms (so that parts are facing the right way) in a much simpler, elegant way than, you know, turning inside out as per usual.  

In that way, it's a pretty satisfying Wheeljack toy!  He... looks like Wheeljack.  And handling him doesn't disprove the existence of a benevolent god.  (that's jetfire's job)

The first Deluxe Class G1-style Wheeljack toy came out in... what, 2011?  Dang, 9 years ago.  In between then and now there was also the Combiner Wars Deluxe.  Neither have something that's very important to me: rally deco.  I want sponsor logos!  And so regardless of how I feel about the rest of this new Wheeljack, the fact that he has doors covered in tiny fake sponsor logos makes him the best one.  The red hubcaps don't hurt, either.  

"Regardless of how I feel about the rest of this new Wheeljack" makes it seem like I'm trying to compensate for some faults.  I'm not, actually!  He's a pretty good Wheeljack.  There have been ... well, honestly, not that many Wheeljacks.  It feels like more Wheeljacks.  A lotta Wheeljacks.  Maybe there's some premature Wheeljack fatigue.  But this is still a pretty good one.  Maybe the best one.  

It has sponsor logos.

Posted February 8, 2020 at 9:04 pm

Dangit, Stege is over, and so now it's EarthRise time.   I'm going to miss Stege, because I liked calling it Stege.  It's just fun to say and fun to type.  EarthRise is just EarthRise.   And you gotta abbreviate it as "ER" which always makes me think of George Clooney.  Goodbye, Stege.  You were too Stege for this world.

Check out Hoist!  That's right, he's mistakably an Earth truck, because, well, EarthRise.  The toyline is, in theory, on Earth.  And so he's not just an Earth truck that Hasbro tells us is a Cybertronian vehicle, he's properly an Earth truck.  And because this is Hasbro in the late 2010s to early 2020s, he's an Extremely Eighties Earth truck.  He seems to be a Toyota Hi-Lux pickup, same as the original toy.  Or at least a Close Enough But Not Too Close That We Gotta License It version.  Which is fine to me if only because I prefer boxy vehicles 'cuz they're way easier for me to draw.  They're just rectangles.  None of those pesky curves.

The original toy had a little platform that lowered down off the bed of the truck to help Hoist tow other Transformer cars.  This is equally true for the new EarthRise Hoist, but specifically with Rest Of The Toyline compatibility!  See, Earthrise's "other than transforming" gimmick is "there are bases with interconnecting ramps."  And Hoist's towing platform thing is compatible with the ramps.  And so you can lengthen the towing platform with a piece of ramp, or connect it to a base and drag the base around, who knows.  It connects.  Connecting is neat.

Hoist's truck transforms into a... properly huge robot.  EarthRise continues Stege's commitment to adhering to cartoon robot scale, even if it results in large variations of robot size within a single size class.  Hoist is on the high end of the spectrum of Deluxe Class toys.  He's about the size and heft of Stege Ratchet and Ironhide.  They're all trucks and vans, so they're bigger than the sports car guys.  (but not quite big enough to rate being Voyager Class)  This is very satisfying to me, since the previous Hoist toy, from Thrilling Thirty, was a pretty small Deluxe.  For Deluxes, he was eensy!  And this won't do.  I mean, I'm gonna keep that toy, since that's the Lost Light design for Hoist, and I gotta Lost Light shelf display, but it's nice to have a Hoist that's Rightfully Huge next to, say, anybody else.  

Since Hoist is obviously gonna be retooled into his pickup truck buddy Trailbreaker later, his robot mode is a compromise of their two designs.  He keeps the toy-accurate truck kibble hiding behind his arms that Hoist's animation model had, while borrowing Trailbreaker's legs.  (Trailbreaker and Hoist, despite being drawn from the same toy, had animation models designed by two separate artists, and so their cartoon/comic appearances were more different than you'd think.

Hoist comes with an orange nozzle you can fit over one of his fists so he has his gun arm.  He's also got the standard articulation you'd expect from a Stege or (apparently) EarthRise toy, including ankle tilts, waist rotation, and all the other little movement spots that are now expected.  ER Hoist also continues Stege's seeming commitment to straightforward, non-reason-for-murdery transformation sequences.  It's a pleasurable encounter going back and forth.

He's a hefty boy and I like him.  All I need is a tiny Brick Springhorn figurine to complete him.

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