Posts tagged with "generations" - 2
Posted January 15, 2021 at 2:59 pm

They just really have trouble replicating Kup's head in plastic, don't they?  Every single time it just looks a little off.  Maybe it's the need to put bags under his eyes that sets everything else off, I dunno.  It wouldn't be so surprising this time around if Studio Series '86 Hot Rod's head weren't so absolutely spot-on.  But Kup (and Blurr a little bit) noteably miss the mark when next to Hot Rod.

Anyway, it's Kup!  I love Kup.  Always have.  I'm sure a lot of that is me having a Targetmaster Kup toy when I was a kid moreso than me being drawn naturally to Old Robot Grandpas Who Transform Into Sort Of Pickup Trucks And Have Terrible Names.  But he's teal!  Either a bright teal or a washed-out teal, depending on if you're going for animation-accurate or original toy-accurate.  Teal with orange highlights?  Yeah!  Do that to me!  Do that to me in toy form!

Since '86 Kup is supposed to be faithful to The Transformers The Movie, he of course transforms from his animation model truck to his animation model robot.  (with a larger chin than necessary, honestly)  There's a lot of interesting ideas in his transformation, though the execution is a little tedious.  In truck mode, he ends up shoving his arms through his crotch between his legs, which is a place to put his arms that allow them to be Not Short, since the original toy just bunched them up under his own chest.  But you got to fasten a few panels together over all this arrangement, and that's the Not So Fun part.  I mean, it's not the worst.  Transforming Kup's second toy, the first Generations one with the giant rifle -- that's the worst.  But the Titans Return/Legends Targetmaster one managed to do a similar design but was much more fun to convert.  

Kup comes with both his animation-accurate gun and a container for Energon goodies to feed Allicons.  The container fits into the top of his fist with a 5mm peg, and both it and the gun slot into the side of the vehicle mode using much smaller pegs.  

Kup's arms and legs also come off at the mid-bicep and mid-thigh areas so that you can replicate the scene in The Transformers The Movie where Hot Rod has to rescue him from a giant robot squid and then repair him.  (Hot Rod's toy can swap out one of its fists for a welder torch for this same thing.)  This is neat, but what's most neat about it is that everything is done with 5mm pegs so that you can do all sorts of nutty stuff using Weaponizers and Fossilizers.  Want to give Kup a T.rex arm?  Of course you fucking do.  Do it.  Give him a T. rex arm.  

That's what this new Kup is really for.  

Posted January 11, 2021 at 11:07 pm

Reveal the Shield Jazz came out 11 years ago, and we were all thinking at the time, okay, this is the Best Jazz Possible.  There is no topping it.  No reason to buy any other G1 Jazzes!  And Power of the Primes Jazz came out 2017, and it was definitely a step down from RTS Jazz, but it became a combiner limb, so at least it serves a different sort of purpose.  So RTS Jazz still reigns supreme.  Unsurmountable.  Impossible.

And then Hasbro decided to reboot everything under a strictly adhered-to style (heavily cartoon-based) and also a unified scale.  RTS Jazz suddenly finds himself too tall and style-wise out-of-fashion.  He's clearly from a Different Era.  By the time Studio Series '86 Jazz was announced, you're already wishing for a Jazz that fits in better with everybody.  

I mean, if you'd rather your collection have a wider spread of styles, which is definitely a neat-o thing to do, then, yeah, keep your RTS Jazz.  It has its faults, but so does this new Jazz.  They're pretty similar in their placement on the joy vs annoyance spectrum, and about equally as complex.  New Jazz is definitely smaller (and about $5 more expensive after adjusting for inflation), but, again, he won't tower over the other guys he should be the same size as.  He does the job he's supposed to.  

The obvious difference between the two is that SS'86 Jazz tries to Be The Cartoon Model, and that means it needs to tuck those door wings away.  I'm pro door wing for Jazz in general, but this toy does an okay job of hiding them.  You tuck one layer of roof into another layer of roof, tuck the doors inside, and then just pile all that on his back.  Giving him door wings would be a more interesting use of that mass, but again we're trying to be the animation model.  

It is pretty great that despite having sixteen billion Transformers toys that transform with hoods folding down into chests, we're still discovering new ways to make that happen.  How will we have to fit the arms under there this time???  Well, in SS'86 Jazz's case, you ... rotate the abs around the spine to make room for them.  That's a new one on me.  

Jazz comes with a Moonbase One backdrop and a rifle.  Unlike Kup and Blurr from his wave, he doesn't come with a non-gun The Transformers: The Movie-inspired accessory.  

Posted January 9, 2021 at 2:03 pm

Hey, remember Shattered Glass?  That's the name of the Transformers mirrorverse where the Autobots are bad and the Decepticons are good.  It's... generally only interesting when played for absurdity, because honestly just swapping dispositions left-right isn't fundamentally interesting.  I like it when it's able to be used as more of a commentary on Transformers itself.  Like, you know, science fiction's science fiction. 

Or when it's about lolcats.

Anyway, it was largely only a BotCon thing except for an Optimus Prime redeco here or there, but here we are with Generations Selects Shattered Glass Optimus Prime and Ratchet.  Ratchet's the big deal here since the only Shattered Glass Ratchet toy is a BotCon customization class exclusive that was limited to ... not many.  There were, what, maybe 50 customization class slots, and there were four options for the single Ratchet toy you got?  And how many chose to paint up their assembled Ratchet toy into Shattered Glass Ratchet instead of two flavors regular ol' G1 Ratchet, an imagined G2 Ratchet, or Rescue Bots Medix?  

I'm probably the only one who splurged to get all four.  (Thankfully that was a year you could purchase unpainted, pre-assembled extras.)  

The point is, except for like maybe five people, there was no other Shattered Glass Ratchet toy until now.  And so here he is!  A different deco than we've seen previously, but I do dig the teal.  I always dig teal. 

And there's Shattered Glass Optimus Prime too, sure.  I had to get him because I wanted the Ratchet.  He's pretty too, but I've already got two BotCon SG Primes in those colors, so.   It's disappointing he doesn't have "TILL ALL ARE GONE" tampoed on him like the first one.

Posted January 2, 2021 at 10:11 am

Since a lot of recent Leader Class toys have been Voyager Class Guys With Extra Stuff recently, it's nice to dig into one of the fewer Leaders that are just properly large boys.  Leader Class Megatron (Beast) is one of those boys.  A full head taller than the original 1996 Ultra Class Beast Wars Megatron, our new T. rex Megs is a tower of chonk.

Like Kingdom's other Beast Wars reimaginings, he marries a cartoon-accurate robot mode with a more realistic-looking animal mode.  (The animal mode doesn't try to look like the 1996 CGI but the robot does.)  Megatron's beast mode does attempt something that the smaller toys don't, however -- it tries to recreate the feeling of hide.  Much of the Tyrannosaurus skin sections are a slightly rubbery plastic affixed to a solid plastic interior.  Like an ogre, he's got layers.  Many of the interior plastic sections are cast in a bony white color, and so it has the presentation of flesh over a skeleton.  It's a pretty compelling arrangement, and it makes handling him feel different from other toys.  

The robot mode rearranges (with some parts clicking together a little too solidly) into a pretty amazing T. rex.  The trade on this is that the robot mode piles more beast mode parts on his back.  The thighs are now back there, too, since some actual Tyrannosaur thighs were wanted for beast mode rather than just the old flat missile-firing cylinders of the original toy.  There's some creative jointing there to allow the thighs to articulate with the rest of the legs while connected.  

Megatron's robot mode does have a fist sculpted into the tail arm, but the tail itself doesn't separate.  There's no water-squirting bladder in the dinosaur head arm, but there is a 5mm port inside the mouth if you want to add energy effects parts (sold separately).  

The toy tries its best to make the dinosaur mode poseable.  There's jointing at the middle of the tail and at the base, giving the tail a chance to sway how you want.  And the dinosaur neck has... lots of stuff going on to make the head be able to move around while keeping fleshy panels filling in the gaps, with mixed success.  There's a springloaded trapezoid of neck flesh on either side of the head, which more or less follows the skull as you move it to and fro, but the unspringloaded panel above the neck has to be manually moved into position each time the head moves.  But I like the effort.

Another change is that Megatron's dino torso transforms upside-down compared to other versions.  The beige tummy coloring ends up on the tops of Megatron's shoulders, rather than the green coloring along the spine.  

The important thing is that the toy has a great presence that's equal to Megatron's powerful personality.  It meets the Beast Wars Megatron of the mind's eye, and that's what you pay for and receive.

Posted December 30, 2020 at 7:30 pm

If there's anything we know about Transformer toys since Studio Series and War for Cybertron started, it's that robot height in animation is king.  Pull out those scale charts!  We're adherin' to them no matter what, unless you're Rattrap!  Did you think some characters were the same height?  Well, they weren't!  Were they actually always drawn the same height except for one two-second scene where one of them was taller?  Well, guess what?  That was actually the one time somebody paid attention the scale chart!  And that's what we're copyin'!  

So, hey, Kingdom Cyclonus.  You're tall.  We know we're getting a Galvatron from this line, and we haven't seen him yet and we don't know how big he is, but I wouldn't be surprised if Galvatron were shorter than this Cyclonus.  It'd match the scale chart.  Because Cyclonus is a big boy.  Galvatron pilots him in jet mode!  Ultra Magnus is his most common opponent in the cartoon!  He's just large.  

And, yeah, usually he's just drawn the same size as his often-partner Scourge, who's just Starscream-sized.  But on scale charts (and when he's countering Ultra Magnus) he's huge.

Guess Bombshell had a glo-up.

Since Kingdom Cyclonus is basically just a large version of the animation model sheet, his toy kind of feels like an oversized knockoff in your hands.  As if your eyes are cheating you.  It should be smaller!  But it is not.  And someone scaled it up, and there was no increase in sculpting detail, and it's just... large.  That, and also there's a budget spectrum for toys with one end labeled "SIZE" and the other "COMPLEXITY" and Cyclonus is at the SIZE end.  He's big, and so he will have less going on.  Remember how I mentioned that his wavemate Optimus Primal is relatively tiny and has a lot of flip-out stuff?  Same deal, but opposite.  

Also remember how I mentioned I scraped the paint off of one of Optimus Primal's thighs?  Well, my Cyclonus came with tiny little paint scrapes on his thighs.  (It's purple plastic under there.)  And the transformation involves.... shoving those surfaces just barely past the insides of his shins.  I have not yet actually scraped any paint off myself, but Optimus Primal gave me a complex.  This part of Cyclonus's transformation is not fun.  

The fun part of his transformation is telescoping like three or four layers of nosecone out of his torso.  He's a nesting doll in there.  

One thing I've noticed is that the panels that fold down on either side of the cockpit in jet mode don't... actually rest snug where they should?  They just kind of flare out a bit?  I checked images of other folks' Cyclonuses, and all others seem to have the same issue, and the official renders seem to suggest it's supposed to cling snugly instead.  I dunno.  

It's a big Cyclonus!

Posted December 28, 2020 at 4:03 pm

Kingdom Optimus Primal is a lot like Studio Series 86 Hot Rod in that they're large deluxes done at Voyager Class pricepoint to do the designs justice.  The original 1996 Ultra Optimus Primal is known for packing like sixteen billion gimmicks into a pretty simple transformation.  That at the time was the trade-off for Gorilla Mode Stands Up Into A Robot, the packing his arms and torso with Shit To Do.  He had that geared lever in his back that made his forearms rotate, which was only accentuated by the various different weapons he came with that you could place in his hand to have his forearms manipulate -- He came with two swords which stored inside his torso, and a skull-faced flail was stored in his forearm.  His other forearm could open to reveal two missile launchers.  Two more missile launchers spring-launched out of his back flesh.  

The counterpart, Ultra Class Megatron, transformed much more intricately but contained a smaller number of gimmicks.  Water squirter!  Hip-launchers!  The end.  

Optimus Primal actually got most of his toy's gimmickry enshrined forever on the television show, so he's always gonna feel like he needs that stuff to be complete.  And so Kingdom Optimus Primal retains the over-the-shoulder launchers, the forearm cannons (on both forearms, like in the show), and two swords.  The skull-faced thingy is actually the head of Paleotrex, but it's available, which is honestly surprising.  (The skull mace didn't come with the first Masterpiece Optimus Primal, since that wasn't a weapon used on the show, but did come with the anime-colored redeco.)  

Unlike Kingdom Blackarachnia, Kingdom Optimus Primal doesn't take many cues from his respective Masterpiece toy.  It transforms closer to the original, as there's no flipping the chest piece out of the stomach or any of the creative mass-adjustment with the legs.  And like the other Beast Wars characters in Kingdom, Primal's beast mode attempts to achieve a look closer to animal realism rather than recreate the CGI animal models, and so he's all fluffed and hairied up.  One advantage to being able to Do Things Differently is that Optimus Primal's white/red robot biceps can actually be covered up by his gorilla shoulder pads!  Usually there's a tiny bit peeking out, even on the Masterpiece.  (The Masterpiece's shoulderpads have to be a Certain Shape in order to achieve robot show accuracy, and it's not very optimal for covering up robot parts when folded down.)  

As a result, Kingdom Optimus Primal has a better-than-usual gorilla mode.  Except for a stripe of white robot thigh unhidden along the torso, you've only got the robot feet (behind the gorilla legs) and the hinges of the shoulder launchers left peeking out.  The gorilla mode has two official stances -- An all-fours mode in which the toy folds together to create a gorilla with a more naturalistic sagging curve to the torso, and a standing mode which you can achieve by untransforming the legs a little and folding the knees differently.  

I did have one annoying problem when transforming him.  Primal's thighs are painted white over black, and painting white over black requires... a thicker strata of paint than usual?  And so while trying to wiggle his legs into position under the slab of gorilla back, I apparently tore a bit of the white paint off.  I was a bit cheesed!  I'd had the toy for like three seconds.  I was able to grab my own white paint and fix what I'd wrought, but still, be careful.  Make sure you aren't dragging any sharp surfaces over those thighs when you transform him. 

I am pretty damn impressed with the amount of paint they have on his chest.  The paint operations there are very intricate and replicate the complicated CGI cartoon patterns perfectly.  There's even the tiiiiiiny red details surrounding the circle in the middle of his chest.  That's three paint operations right there!  And for something you have to squint to see.  

I also genuinely love that the pin through his chest that his robot chestplate rotates on pokes out through his pecs just at the right spots to look like nipples.  Lol.

I do wish his pecs weren't sculpted to look so tendony, like they're skinless Rob Liefeld thighs or something.  I would have preferred something sloppy and fatty like on a real gorilla.

As far as 25th Anniversary Beast Wars toys go, Kingdom Optimus Primal feels like a great celebration.  He's essentially everything you'd want or need at the scale.  And he looks impressive and expressive.  Grab some of those effects parts you gathered up in Siege and Earthrise, you're gonna need them for all his 3mm ports.  

Posted December 26, 2020 at 11:17 am

The best review of Kingdom Warpath is probably a comparison to the last Deluxe Class toy they made of him, back in 2011.  That decade ago, Transformers was still doing "updates" of characters rather than trying to recreate what they looked like in media like they do today.  And 2011 Generations Warpath was.... hardcore?  Like, they tried to make him look cool, but in the same way that Azrael Batman looks cooler than regular Batman.  He was the gritty 90s update-with-pouches to Warpath, while Kingdom Warpath is regular ol' Bruce Wayne.  

So, yeah, Kingdom Warpath isn't a Warpath that's trying to look kewl?  He's adorable.  And, to be frank, that is an important aspect of Warpath.  Sure, he transforms into a tank, but he's a friendly guy with a childish speech quirk of shouting onomatopoeia.  He shouldn't look like he's here for a new #1 and a few months of "THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME" shock value before they bring back Classic Warpath with restored issue numbering.  

The War for Cybertron Trilogy toys (Stege, Earthrise, and now Kingdom) try to make toys in scale with each other in robot mode, so Kingdom Warpath is a little shorter than most Deluxes.  He's not nearly as short as Cliffjumper/Bumblebee/Hubcap/BugBite, but he's a bit shorter than Sideswipe and the other Autobot cars.  He's a Mini-Vehicle, but he's a tank so he's not THAT mini of a vehicle.  

His legs are a mass of layers of plastic that transforms in a series of flips in order to get him from Tank Front to Cartoon Legs, and it feels tedious at first but has an easy learning curve.  Transforming him from the waist up is pretty easy.  There's a chunk of the underside of the tank that pops off to form a shield.  You can't really see this chunk in vehicle mode, as it forms, again, the underside of the tank.  But it does help hold the front of the tank together (two tabs on the shield grip the two legs together), so it's still necessary and you can't just throw it away because you hate vehicle chunks becoming accessories.

His forearms are offwhite plastic painted red, and the red paint doesn't quite reach the corners of the arms, and so it's pretty obvious they're painted from a glance.  Guess they couldn't fit the forearms on any of the tooling that housed red plastic parts.  

The tank mode does basically everything you'd want it to.  It looks like an Earth tank, the turret rotates, and the barrel raises.  

Leave the treads on his forearms unfolded if you want a more cartoon/comic-accurate look.

Anyway, he's adorable.

Posted December 24, 2020 at 10:30 pm

Hey, did Masterpiece Blackarachnia pass you by cuz it was like 100 bucks?  Did you wish you could get essentially the same toy for $20?  WELL HEY.

'Cuz Kingdom Blackarachnia is a $20 version of the Masterpiece.  That's such an apt description of it that honestly the rest of this review is just noise.  It's the Masterpiece, but a little smaller, with fewer pieces, and with less paint.  It's not got quite the articulation of the Masterpiece, as it's without a lot of the joints in the arms and torso -- it's also one of the very few War for Cybertron Trilogy toys that doesn't have waist rotation -- but again, it's the $20 version.  It transforms the same.  Pieces go the same place.  It looks like it's borrowing from the same CAD files.  

Kingdom Blackarachnia's a smaller and much less expensive toy, so it does lose a few more things besides articulation.  On the Masterpiece, the torso flipped around so that one side was robot tummy and the other side was spider thorax, but Kingdom Blackarachnia's robot torso is just spider thorax.   Her robot head's a tiny bit smaller, proportionally, probably because there's less room to stash it.  

But it does do one thing nicer than the more expensive one -- besides, you know, the simplified transformation making it a more fun toy to convert.  Beast Wars characters in Kingdom try to have more realistic animal sculpts, and sometimes those are allowed to supercede the importance of robot mode accuracy.  And so Blackarachnia has textured spider abdomen on her thighs.  They much better integrate into beast mode this way, rather than having a big ol' spider abdomen cap flanked by two... thighs.  

It also helps the beast mode that there's not the hourglass deco right there on top.  On real black widows, that's underneath!  But it's on top in the cartoon, so it was on top in the Masterpiece.  But Kingdom doesn't aim for complete show accuracy as a rule, and so you get the proper more-realistic abdomen markings.  

Anyway, I recommend the toy.  It's Blackarachnia!  And it's, like, the Masterpiece but for way cheaper.

Posted December 22, 2020 at 11:28 am

Kingdom Cheetor is an A+ on just the cheetah mode alone.  Remember the original 1995 Cheetor?  That thing was, like, a badger or something, maybe disguised badly as a cheetah after dabbing itself with a Sharpie.  2009's Universe Cheetor tried harder to make a believable cheetah, and it definitely wasn't as chonk, but, like, it had hulked out muscles and stuff at the other ends of its wiry limbs.  It had thighs that Liefeld drawings only dream of.

But now Kingdom Cheetor is here, and it... looks like a cheetah?  I've seen cheetahs at the zoo, and this is definitely the closest by far.  It's skinny and not hulked out.  It's just the shape of a cheetah.  Sure, you can see some robot parts and joints poking out here and there, but it'd be impossible not to.  It's an incredible feat, the level of which only made more apparent by previous attempts.  

Cheetor falls in line with Kingdom Rattrap in that both try to have more naturalistic beast modes that attempt to transform into the cartoon robot mode best as possible.  Cheetor's robot mode legs fall the most short, but they were always going to be the weak point.  Even at Masterpiece complexity, it was impossible to get clean, skinny cheetah legs into the shape of Cheetor's robust robot legs.  They're different colors, even!  But I think this toy makes the best choice for the price point.  The cheetah shins just fold up into the cheetah thighs, with the details of the robot thighs hidden behind the cheetah shins.  It's an approximation that sacrifices robot accuracy for cheetah accuracy, and that's the right call.  Beast Wars toys should transform into, y'know, believable animals.  

Perhaps the weirdest thing about the transformation to robot mode is how the cheetah head-to-chest portion works.  There's a 3mm peg mounted on a diagonally-reaching staff, erected from just above the crotch level.  The cheetah jaw opens and you shove this peg deep into its throat.  Yeah, transformation kind of looks like Cheetor goes down on himself.  It'd be less weird if it felt like it worked better?  It's a very tight fit, and you kind of feel like you're breaking it every time you try to yank his cheetah head off of his tummy dick.  The original Cheetor's cheetah head kind of hung limply from the chest in robot mode, so at least this secures it.

Part of the reason original Cheetor was so chonk was that he came with multiple weapons that all integrated into the cheetah form.  One hid well enough in the butt and came off to form a gun from the tail-section, but there was also a working water squirter that fit onto his stomach.  Kingdom Cheetor ditches both of these in service of a more svelte cheetah mode, with the tail and less of the butt detaching to form a hook-ended whip.  The whip purposefully looks like 1998's Transmetal Cheetor's whip weapon.  This new toy doesn't give you either of Cheetor's classic weapons, but it also doesn't give you a cheetah that looks like it's pregnant with a water cannon.  

By far, Kingdom Cheetor is the best Deluxe Class Cheetor.  It looks like the character, it looks like a cheetah, and it's mostly annoyance-free.  

Posted December 20, 2020 at 11:00 am

In both Stege and Earthrise, the toyline seemed to be scrambling to find something toyetique to add to its range of G1 Done Again, and found itself making new toys of City Helper Guys like Cog or Brunt and then turning Micromaster Bases into robots.  But in Kingdom we've run out of characters from the 80s to turn into armor for your other 80s guys!!!!

So what if we just took dinosaur skeletons, made them into new characters, and then let you reconfigure them into dinosaur skeleton armor with FOSSIL Technology (Fossilized Osteo-Skeletal Shield Integration Loadout Technology) for your G1 Done Again guys?  And we called them FOSSILIZERS?  Yes please!!!!!  

In a way, Paleotrex isn't 100% a new character.  He's technically the body to the skull mace that the original gorilla Optimus Primal toy came with.  But we're counting it.  He's a gangly robot with long T. rex leg arms and tiny T. rex femur legs.  His skull face flips up to reveal a robot face.  He's utterly unlike anything we've gotten in Transformers before.  It's nice!

He reconfigures (like the Weaponizers and Modulators before him, he doesn't transform traditionally -- he comes apart and goes back together differently) into a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.  The head's a little too upright and the tail's a little short, but otherwise it makes a lovely undead dinosaur.  

And you can take him apart and figure out how to attach him to the 5mm ports in other current Transformers.  His instructions offer two possibilities, but there are undoubtedly others.  COVER YOUR TRANSFORMERS WITH DINOSAUR BONE ARMOR.

Do it.

Do it now.

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