Posts tagged with "generations" - 20
Posted May 14, 2013 at 12:41 am
("He ends most of his speeches that way.")

Hey, everyone, let me introduce you to The Perfect Springer.  And, no, actually, it's not because he's a Triple Changer again for the first time in forever.  I mean, that's nice.  I like that.  It's cool.  But what makes him the super best is that he takes the bulk of his visuals from Nick Roche's Springer redesign for Last Stand of the Wreckers -- which, you know, is an awesome story, because I keep telling you that it is.

I would have been happyish with a based-on-the-old-cartoon Triple Changer Springer.  But Last Stand of the Wreckers Springer?  That gets me instantly to climax.  It is Boner City over here.  In four hours I'm gonna have to call a doctor.

Admittedly, this particular rendition of LSOTW Springer is taller and thinner than how he was rendered in the story itself.  He was a wide mass of dude in that thing.  This toy is thinner than that, though still, you know, not being a stick.  It's probably one of those sacrifices you gotta make because of physics, as this guy has two altmodes to transform into, and if you bulk up his legs you kind of end up with a fat car and helicopter.  His proportions do resemble more Roche's original control art, versus Springer's actual appearances.

There are some other changes to the design for this toy, but they're ones I'm satisfied with.  Mostly, it's that his altmodes look less made-up vehicle-y by a smidge.  Springer's new car mode looks a lot more like a car versus a four-wheeled vehicle of some undetermined sort.

Let me tangent here: Man, what the hell was with original 1986 Springer's toy, anyway?  I'm not sure that thing is a real Triple Changer.  It has a robot mode and it has an okayish helicopter mode, but his car mode is just the midtransformation step with the propeller removed.  It barely pretends to have rear wheels.  What an awful thing.  And how awesome is it that this new toy has three distinct modes that are all great?  I mean, even the shape of the windshield changes.  Looking at either vehicle mode, you couldn't tell at a glance that it has a second one.

Springer doesn't have any engineering hurdles like Blitzwing's shoulders.  He's, as I've been saying, pretty damn perfect.  The only part of the transformation that gave me pause was how to attach the gun under the cockpit in helicopter mode.  The instructions just give you an arrow and the words "ATTACH WEAPON."  Well, yeah, great, but HOW?  Apparently there are some... notches?  I just kind of use excessive force and some shapes that look like they complement each other eventually snap together.

The propeller spins very satisfactorily.  And it transforms into a believable sword seamlessly.  It's not that giant plank of wood on a peg the original toy had.  I'm impressed at the amount of articulation he has, too, despite the engineering demands.  He has a turning waist and even though his hands bury inside his own forearms while transformed, he still has articulated wrists.   Voyager Class is also the perfect size for a Springer -- dude was larger than everyone else in the cartoon (he was Optimus Prime/Rodimus Prime's height), and in the comic he wasn't no shrimp.   So he'll look right next to a Deluxe Hot Rod, Kup, or Blurr.

you will buy this

you will buy this now
Posted May 11, 2013 at 10:09 pm
I suppose it was inevitable that we'd get a toy of the last of the three original Decepticon Triple Changers.  We got Astrotrain in 2006 and Tankor (Octane) in ... 2008? and here we are in 2013 with Blitzwing!   I am a little surprised he turned out to be a Voyager and not a Deluxe like the other two.  Not that this is a bad thing -- lord knows Triple Changers are kind of a huge engineering challenge, so giving yourself more meat to work with seems like a smart idea.  Though it does mean he kind of stands out next to his dinky pals, and if I had to pick one of the three to be the Giant One, I'd always pick Astrotrain.  He's the guy that carries everyone else around, after all.

However, he goes pretty well with RTS Lugnut, and I think I care about that more.

This Blitzwing even has the same face-changey gimmick as the Animated Blitzwing.  (2008's Animated Blitzwing is likely why it took from 2008 to 2013 to get a "Classics" Blitzwing.  They're both Voyagers who are Blitzwing in Blitzwing colors who also Triple Change into a tank and a jet.  He is kind of redundant to this guy on many levels.)  I'm happy to see stuff from Animated stuffed into G1, rather than the other way around as it tended to.  And it's not like Blitzwing loses anything by gaining this gimmick, mostly because there wasn't much to him to begin with.

This toy really makes use of the complexity of the size class.  He's huge and full of hinges.  This density of joints is absolutely fine except for at his shoulders.  They just don't peg together well, and so if you try to rotate his shoulders around, his chest comes apart.  This is annoying and stupid.  There is a way to fix it that involves unscrewing the front and back halves of his torso and sanding down the connection points so that everything's smashed together tighter in robot mode, but it sucks that you gotta do it.  I attempted  it, and it fixes it a little, but I think I need another pass or something.   If this weren't a thing, there'd be little to complain about.

But yeah, he's pretty damn complex.  Sure, you'd expect him to have wings that fold out, but he's also got little extra wing contours that also fold out to create a more full and natural wing shape.  His jet cockpit opens.  His tank turret rotates.  Additional treads fold out from inside his legs.  Tank mode skin folds out from inside his crotch to fill in the front.

His knees are a little high on his legs, though.  It results in some awkward posing.  It's somewhat understandable, given he's got treads in his shins, but still it's a thing.

It's kind of amazing how distinct you can make the vehicle modes of a Triple Changer when given all this extra mass to work with.  There's even a surplus of pegs and tabs to keep everything where it needs to be in every mode.  He's... comprehensive.  Other than those friggin' shoulders, this guy's pretty amazing.

I mean, he's no Springer, but who is, really.
Posted February 20, 2013 at 3:13 am

Okay, fine, so here's the other Autobot Recordicons who aren't Sunder.  Sunder's definitely the prettiest, but there's all these other guys, too, y'know?  Like Eject and Rewind, who are retools of Frenzy and Rumble and operate exactly like they do.  Drop 'em, then pull out the feet and rotate down the arms.  Getting them back into data disk mode is moderately difficult.  And there's Steeljaw, who comes with Blaster, who's Ravage with a new head.  He's as awful as Ravage is, unsurprisingly.  Drop him, and then do a bunch of other transforming, and then cry trying to get him back into data disk mode, because it's that tedious.

But the real star of every single damn one of these, Decepticons included, is Ramhorn.  He's his own new mold, even, but I would be okay if they made him into a buncha other dudes, because he's great.  So get this:  You drop him, and he not only auto-transforms all the way with no further prodding needed, but he also bounces up off the ground and lands on his feet!  Like a cat, sort of!  So that puts him one up on Laserbeak/Buzzsaw/Ratbat in that he has feet to land on and lands on them.  And he's simple to put back into data disk mode.  He is the champ.  He is perfection.  He's like what all these other guys shoulda been, somehow!

He's not as efficient with his mass as the other guys, and so he's much smaller in rhino mode than everyone else is in their respective modes.  This is another blessing in disguise because since the perimeter of his data disk mode is mostly empty (he's not a good disk), he squeezes out of Blaster a little better.  There's less stuff to get caught.  He still doesn't squeeze out great, but he squeezes out better.

So Ramhorn's the best data disk guy.  Sunder's the best-colored.

Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:48 pm
Once everyone found out that Grimlock was gonna be in Fall of Cybertron, of course everyone wanted him as a toy.  I mean, hello.  And hopefully not as a stinkin' Deluxe!  Voyager or go home, Hasbro!  Well here he is, guys!  Your Fall of Cybertron Voyager Class Grimlock!

And he is of agreeable size to overwhelm Shockwave and bite his hand off, yes.

He's not quite the Grimlock of the mind's eye, however.  In fact, I think in general folks seem to be kind of disappointed in him.  I think he's all right, but let's go over what some of these stated disappointments are.

First of all, there's the tail.  This I think is kind of unavoidable.  Grimlock's video game model has a long-ass obviously-segmented tail, similar to Transmetal Megatron's.  Now, that has to transform into robot legs somehow.  The video game model got to cheat that tail away and have the legs sort of appear out of nowhere, but this is a $22 toy, so breaking the laws of thermodynamics is kind of out of the budget.   What Hasbro and/or TakaraTomy decided to do was just give Grimlock real robot legs and then sort of sculpt the segmented stuff down the sides.  This results in a better looking robot mode, but his dinosaur mode obviously has two legs shoved up its ass.  It's not elegant-looking.

Another thing that bothers folks is how hollow he is on the underside of the dinosaur mode.  The toy needs a lot of room for the amazingly elaborate shoulder jointing to have room to maneuver, so if you look at the toy's underside, you'll notice a whole lot of empty space.  I was kind of expecting this, especially since Animated Grimlock a few years ago had a similar deal.  I suppose there could be a big clamshell deal going on with the torso, but considering how the dinosaur head and neck collapses into the back of the torso in robot mode, I dunno if that would have worked out well in both modes.

Grimlock is also not painted as much as folks hoped.  He's got gray thighs and hands when they should be black (or gunmetal gray in this case) and so he looks a little sparse.  I'll probably fix that later, myself.  (Not sure if I have gunmetal gray hanging around or if I gotta go buy some.)  He's got plenty of paint everywhere else, though.

That's what other people say about him.  Here's my positives and negatives.  First of all, oy, those complicated shoulder joints count for both.  First of all, they exist so that the dinosaur hind legs can bury themselves inside the torso at an angle instead of being inelegantly bolted to the sides of the torso as they are on most Grimlocks.  I like that!  I don't like how this gets me into trouble.  Since the jointing is so complicated, I once wormed them so far away from how they were supposed to be oriented that it was kind of rough to get them back.  I also wish his sword and shield were bigger.  They're so massive in the video game, and so dinky on the toy.  They're not required to be a certain size to stow in dinosaur mode, so making them a bigger size would have been more satisfying.  One thing that I do very much like are his electronic lights.  They glow up real super bright in both modes.  It might be a function of the LED light being red.  I think I recall those glow the best.  You gotta yank back and pull hard on the lever to get it to go, though.

He's basically every Grimlock toy ever, but with a sword and shield.  He transforms exactly how you expect with some few minor surprises, the end.

(And, yeah, it's likely tyrannosauruses had feathers of some kind.  Feathered t-rex remains haven't been found, but feathered remains of their ancestors have, even as adults.)
Posted February 13, 2013 at 10:34 pm
More of those little Data Disk guys are out, and this time they're Autobots for Blaster!  There's the usual folks you'd expect, like Ramhorn and the Eject/Rewind twins.  However, rounding out the set of four (since Steeljaw comes with Blaster himself) is a character new to United States toy shelves.  It's Sunder!

From Kiss Players.

Well, okay, in Kiss Players, we'd translated his name as Sundor, but "Sunder" is an actual English word, so there's that.  (There's a non-toy Animated Sunder as well, from the AllSpark Almanac books, which is likely where the name interpretation comes from.)  But yeah, enjoy your Kiss Players homage dude.

And you will enjoy him, because he's friggin' beautiful.  I don't know if my photography captures it exactly, but he's the most striking use of bright orange,  yellow, red, and gray that I think is humanly possible.  He's way more striking than the original Sundor, who's more of a John Boehner orange than glorious day-glo.  I just want to put him in my mouth.  Sunder, not John Boehner.

Y'know, I sought out the original Kiss Players Sundor only because he was orange.  Coincidentally, he came with two other Recordicons, Rosanna and Glit.  I didn't care so much for them, I just wanted the orange Laserbeak/Buzzsaw guy.  And even then I wouldn't have bought the three to get Sundor if I hadn't had BotCon's clear Classics Mirage to sell to Big Bad Toy Store first.  My budget was only so stretchy for picking up tiny dudes (from Kiss Players) who cost me $50.

But without all that, we never woulda had Shattered Glass Ravage.  

So, uh, thank you BotCon clear Mirage for sucking and Sundor for being orange.

And helloooooo awesome new Sunder.
Posted February 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm
It was a pretty empty Hasbro presentation yesterday due to snowstorms, but the folks who managed to make it got to see a lot of crazy-ass stuff.

Of course, Beast Hunters is ongoing this year.  The highlight for me, beyond the usual "yay, Shockwaves and dragons and Ultra Magnuses" is the retooled Beast Hunters Ratchet.  I was already excited for a possible retool of Ratchet in the style of the other retooled toys, but I didn't imagine they'd make him friggin' Dinobot.  Hasbro's (inadvertently?) made him a mix of two of my favorite characters, and my brain doesn't know what to do with this.  (In a positive way.)  It's a Ratchet/Dinobot Fuzor, complete with a rotate blade.  Maybe next year they can take things further and throw some Hot Shot in there too, and we'd have the perfect center of my Favorite Transformers Characters Venn Diagram.

Link: Beast Hunters Deluxes

Link: Beast Hunters Voyagers

Kre-O's also giving us two more waves of blindpacked Micro-Changers.  That's 24 more guys!  And there's folks like Arcee and Cheetor and Guzzle and Lugnut in there.  There's three more Kreon Combiners as well, with Defensor, Abominus, and Piranacon in wave 2.  I am so glad these guys are so cheap 'cuz I wannem all.

Link: Kre-O Micro-Changers 1

Link: Kre-O Micro-Changers 2

Link: Kre-O Micro-Changers 3

Later this year,  Hasbro's beginning to celebrate Transformers' 30th Anniversary.  The centerpiece of all this is holy cow the largest Transformers toy ever made, no joke.  A new toy of Metroplex clocks in at a few inches taller than 1987's Fortress Maximus, which was already nearly two feet tall.  The new Metroplex still has both battlestation and city modes, and I really like the direction the new toy has taken these ideas.  The battle station pushes more of an aircraft carrier vibe with a sizable pair of airstrips running down the legs.  That's way cooler to me than covering up those flat surfaces with giant guns.  And the city mode deals with what I thought was the most annoying thing about Metroplex's original city mode, which was all of the obstructed street paths.  You can send a car from the garage in Metroplex's chest all the way out to the tips of his feet.  No big obstructions in the way.  And, of course, the helipad is still there, and Metroplex has electronic lights and speech, and apparently his pupils can look around???  Metroplex is intended to work with Legends Class toys (he comes with a Legends Class Scamper), and in that vein Hasbro is giving us new Legends versions of Optimus, Bumblebee, Megatron, and Starscream.  There's obviously a whole catalog of older Legends Class and Cyberverse toys as well to fill those ranks.

Link: Metroplex

Link: Generations Legends

In the smaller end of the 30th Anniversary line are a series of Deluxes that are based on the IDW comics.  You know those Spotlight issues that are coming out now?  Those are the issues that will be backed in with these toys, and the titular character gets a toy in the body that's seen in that issue.  So Orion Pax, Thundercracker, Megatron, Bumblebee, Trailcutter (Trailbreaker), and more are getting this treatment.  And, oh, hey, two new Voyager Triple Changers, Blitzwing and Springer.  Blitzwing's okay, but Springer is my Best Possible Springer.  He's based directly on Nick Roche's design from Last Stand of the Wreckers.  Seriously, dudes!  That's like the only thing that would make me excited about a new Springer toy, Triple Changer or no.  That shoots him up to the top of my list.  Sorry, Chinese Springer I just bought.  Your helicopter mode is a pretty toy-y gray, but this new guy is friggin' Nick Roche Springer.

Link: Generations Deluxes

Link: Generations Voyagers
Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm
It's hard to invest more fully in a new Transformers continuity family until all the major players have arrived.  Robots in Disguise didn't have a Starscream.  Animated didn't have a Ravage.  How are we as fans going to know a new iteration of the Transformers franchise is viable without seeing our beloved favorites take part?  How do we know this new stuff is For Realsies?

Well, wait no longer, because finally the electro-scrambler is in the Aligned continuity family.  The party has officially started.  I know there was a conspicuous electro-scrambler-shaped hole in all of our War for Cybertron and Prime displays, just eating at the edge of our collective consciousness.  Even if we didn't know precisely what caused our distress, what specifically was missing from our lives, that pull was there all the same.

Sure, you might ask yourself, I have plenty of electro-scramblers, but what's so great and better about this one?  Well, this time around the electro-scrambler can attach in both modes!  No longer will it have to be set aside!  There will be no gaps in its service.  The Aligned electro-scrambler is also redesigned to be smaller and more compact, though all of the familiar shapes are represented.  It even has a sculpted hole in the side that calls back to the hole in the original Microchange gun which was meant for earphone storage.  This time, however, it's a 5mm peghole.  This means you could peg other electro-scramblers into it!  Electro-scrambler inception.

The only downside is that it comes in a three-pack with two other guys, so you gotta pay for all three just to get the electro-scrambler.   One of those other guys is a real storage-space hog, too.  Come on, Hasbro, that's dirty pool.  Next time I'm waiting for the single-pack version.
Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:25 am
Yay, I have my Frenzy (red guy) again!  I left him in Memphis, and so Alan had to mail him to me.  Also, now I have Laserbeak (and Soundwave).  I had a $5 Rewards coupon at Toys"R"Us and figgered oh what the hell.  Besides, as of the most recent issue of Robots in Disguise, this data disk form is now repurposed as G1 Laserbeak's current body.  Guess he's gonna replace the GDO Skystalker redeco in my display.  It was fun having you around for a few months!

So here's how this thing is supposed to work.  These guys are these little cylinders, right?  And there is a button on the bottom of them that triggers an auto-transform when it's depressed.  And so you cram up to three of these dudes inside Soundwave or Soundblaster's torso, and use a chunk of kibble on his back to push these disks out through the front of his chest like he's taking a front-poop.  One by one, these disks hit the ground and land on their buttons and spring-transform and you're done.

EXCEPT IT KIND OF DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY.  Mostly these guys get stuck and then you push and push and push and use excessive force and then when finally one of them gives they all explode out of his chest at the same time, usually hitting you in the face no matter where your face is and then you have a scattering of half-transformed things everywhere.  It would be perfect fun if it worked as advertised, but it really, really doesn't.  Some folks have said sanding down the insides of their Soundwaves helps smooth things over.  I may try that?  But, man, it's hard to accept that these things reached stores with their main gimmickry being dead in the water.

Not helping at all are the instructions, which demonstrate you putting the disks into Soundwave with the activation button facing outwards.  oh jesus guys don't do this ever   I nearly lost a Ratbat by trying this.  They will not come out.  I had to get a screwdriver or something to jam into one of Ratbat's crevices to get some leverage to yank him out.  It is a testament to the plastic they make these guys outta, though.  These guys are fortunately made of sturdy stuff.

The flying guys are my favorite.  Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, and Ratbat all transform fully by having their buttons depressed, and they do this little flip, and it's easy to put them back in disk mode.  Laserbeak and Buzzsaw are obviously redecoes of each other, and Ratbat's a retool.  He's the same engineering, but reskinned to be a bat instead of a bird.

Frenzy and Rumble are middle-of-the-road to me.  They require a few extra steps to get from "hey i've auto transformed" mode into their completed transformation.  You gotta swing down the arms so they're not doing the wave and fold out their feet.  It takes a little extra time to get them back into disk mode, too.  You have to rotate their pelvis around and maneuver their pelvis and legs down and around at the same time.  A little annoying, but not a dealbreaker.

Ravage is infuriating.  He pops out half-transformed, and then you have to open his back and flip out his tail and then set the back down loosely on top of his body and then open up his hind legs and maybe fiddle around with those a little.  And the result is this awful-looking thing.  He's got a longer torso than Mike Turner's Supergirl and an ugly little rat face, with tiny little limbs at both ends.  He is not an attractive thing.  To get him back into disk mode, first you have to let go of the concept of being happy again for the rest of your life.  Then you spend the next several minutes trying to negotiate him back.  Certain parts won't move into place unless certain other parts are in the middle of whatever they're doing.  There's no one-two-three step to him.  It's all at once and also never at once.  If I could explain it, I could do it, and I can't do it.  I mean, I can.  After way too long.  And cursing and threatening to destroy all humanity and probably pushing some things in ways they are not meant to be pushed.  It's not often I am tempted to take a sledgehammer to something I just paid money for.

To add insult to injury is the realization that this toy is this way because of a gimmick that doesn't work properly.

Let that sink in.

Posted January 5, 2013 at 12:53 am
Hey, guys, Soundwave's got a new toy where little guys fit into his chest and pop out and you can buy a whole army of the little buggers. There've been other Soundwave toys since 1984 where a guy fit into his chest, but this was always a limited enterprise of one or two dudes. This Soundwave's got six so far, not counting the five upcoming Autobots which also utilize the same interaction.

Soundwave's part of the first wave of Voyager Class ($25) Generations figures.  Who does he share that first wave with?  HIMSELF!  One out of every four figures in the case assortment is actually Soundblaster, a same-character redeco of Soundwave based on his black-gold-and-red Headmasters appearance.  That's right, it's "New Soundwave," as regaled by the infamously terrible English dub of those episodes.  Soundwave comes with Laserbeak (red) and Soundblaster comes with Buzzsaw (gold).

I wasn't super keen on either Soundwave or Soundblaster, honestly, but I can't not buy a Buzzsaw toy.  Buzzsaw is awesome.  (Also, turns out I kind of have a growing nigh-complete Recordicons display, and the inclusion of these guys is perhaps mandatory anyhow.)  So when I found Soundwave and Soundblaster buried deep in the Batman stuff while I was in San Diego, I put Soundwave back where he goes and grabbed Soundblaster for myself.   Besides, I already have a toy of Aligned Laserbeak, so this particular iteration of him isn't super-high priority.  He can wait for sales.

I had already found the sets of the other guys (Frumble/Ratbat and Frumble/Ravage), so I knew I was gonna like Buzzsaw.  Ratbat was the best of those guys, and Ratbat's just a reshell of Laserbeak/Buzzsaw.  The reason why he's the best is that he's the simplest and least irritating.  When  he drops in Data Disk mode onto the ground and the button underneath him springloads him into "vulture" mode, that's it.  That's the end of the transformation.  There's no more left to do.  And he's easy to put back in Data Disk mode.

Plus, y'know, he's Buzzsaw, whose predecessor was a frightening friggin' monster who will kill you with his face.

I will talk more about the gimmick itself when I write later about the other Recordicons, but it will suffice to say this now: WHEN THE INSTRUCTIONS TELL YOU TO PUT THE DATA DISK INTO SOUNDBLASTER'S CHEST WITH THE BUTTON FACING OUT, THIS IS A HORRIBLE LIE.  DO NOT DO THIS.  EVER.  PUT THE DISK IN BUTTON-FIRST, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Soundblaster himself is basically a larger version of the Deluxe Class War for Cybertron Soundwave from a few years ago, but now with a chest that flops open when you press a button on his shoulder.  He's got lots of tightly-ratcheted joints, so he's pretty solid.  I dunno if his vehicle mode is particularly inspiring, as it's a box with wheels, but I suppose that's probably better than a box without wheels, which is what Soundwave usually transforms into.

(Comics return on Monday, btw.)
Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:36 am
You can count the number of (Insecticon) Kickbacks on a Ninja Turtle's hand.  I am imbibing the sauce right now, but I'm fairly certain that Fall of Cybertron Kickback is merely transforming grasshopper Kickback #2.   That's not a lot of toys for a dude who was in the first season of the original cartoon!  He was also a toy I had as a kid, and he starred in one of my favorite Transformers children's storybooks.  You know, the one where Grapple looks like an orange Hook.

I am also super-jonesing for new beast Transformers these days, and Thundertron was kind of a butt.  (Which is a funny thing to call him, since his huge problem is he didn't have one.)  WOULD KICKBACK TURN THIS SHIT AROUND????

Yes and no!  His robot mode is pretty friggin' great.  I mean, look at it.  It's crazy and mean and also crazy.  It's a sharp redesign that loosely interprets the original toy.  He has huge stompy boots and giant claws that reach over his shoulders.  If you want a slightly more G1y look, you can clip his insect wings back onto the shoulder claws, but that inhibits their clawyness.

And his insect mode would be perfect if not for two problems, one of them bad and one of them merely annoying!  The merely annoying problem is that his weapon doesn't store anywhere in insect mode.   It just hangs out.  There ain't no place for it to peg in, even off at a dumb clunky angle.  And it's too bad, because it's based on the Gear Shredder weapon from the Fall of Cybertron game, and so it launches a disc.  Grasshopper with a buzzsaw weapon?  Yes.  But it is not so.

EDIT: Apparently it slots in somehow on the claw/wings?  Whaaaaaaaaaaa

The bad one is how notly his grasshopper hind legs peg into the sides of his beast mode.  They just sorta hang out on the sides, flippy floppy, gettin' in all sorts of annoying trouble.  It makes him amazingly fiddly.  This decreases funness!  And it makes me sad.  If there were only a peg or something in there that held it all together, he'd be the bestest.

But at least his robot mode's frickin' sweet.  C'MON HASBRO I NEED A PERFECT NEW BEAST TOY YOU GUYS