Posts tagged with "generations" - 5
Posted September 5, 2020 at 10:34 pm

Prowl/Bluestreak/Smokescreen, the three Datsun Autobot guys, they actually have different animation models, despite being drawn from the same toy.  Prowl was in the very first batch of animation models done, Bluestreak was designed slightly later and was slightly different, and Smokescreen came the following year, and his animation model was completely different.  Completely different from Starscream and his Seeker guys, who are literally all just the same model but in different colors.  

When Hasbro goes back to the three Datsun Autobot guys to make new toys, they tend to do Prowl's head.  It's the most toy-accurate of the head designs, while Bluestreak's is more abstracted and Smokescreen's is just... a face in a box.  Bluestreak and Smokescreen will get Prowl's head and they'll like it!!!!  Sometimes Smokescreen gets his own head, because it's bizarrely different, but Bluestreak?  Basically never. 

But EarthRise Bluestreak is it -- the Bluestreakest Bluestreak.  This is a Bluestreak with Bluestreak's head!  And PROWL (coming out later in a two-pack with Ironhide) is the one who gets Bluestreak's head!  Take that!  Looks like this year, All Cops Are Bluestreak.  

No one's exactly sure how EarthRise Bluestreak will be released.  Probably Amazon, since he has a listing there in other countries, but he's not officially announced yet.  HOWEVER, he came out in Asia and TheChosenPrime imported him, and I bought one during that 15-minute window they had him in stock.  And so I have him (he arrived in a DAY), despite him being the only one of the three not yet officially announced.  Smokescreen's in the second wave of retail Deluxe Class toys which is just now beginning to hit Targets, and Prowl's in that aforementioned Amazon two-pack.  

Last year's Walmart-exclusive Stege Bluestreak, ostensibly a Cybertronian alternate mode version, feels a little scrawny compared to this Definitely A Datsun Sportscar version.  EarthRise Bluestreak is blocky and beefy and substantial, while Stege was a little on the scrawny side.  Stege was a little shorter, too.  That's not to say that EarthRise is superior in that regard.  The Stege Prowl/Bluestreak/Smokescreen toy was actually pretty solid and easy to play with, despite how anemic it appeared from some angles.  You could collapse his thighs into his shins in a snap.  Satisfying.  I liked it.  EarthRise Bluestreak takes some fussing to do the same, and the way his spine accordions is often confusing.

In fact, I just flat-out broke my EarthRise Bluestreak trying to get him into car mode once.  He's brokes.  The little translucent hooks on the thin translucent windshield/roof part just shattered.  I pushed the wrong thing trying to get him into car mode and the weakest point gave.  SO BE CAREFUL WITH THAT I GUESS.  I glued the windshield back on -- not to the hinges, since that's just impossible, but to the broad red support beam underneath it.  The actual tiny hinges are still shot, but the functionality remains.  All my pictures here are taken afterwards, even.  It's just super annoying to know those hinges are broken.  And I can see the superglue smeared in the windshield.  I'll try to get a replacement when he's made available properly.  

Honestly, having the roof break off your Bluestreak is pretty integral to the Vintage Generation 1 Transformers Experience.  A++++ nostalgia.  

Grumble.

Posted September 4, 2020 at 11:02 pm

In 1986, Hasbro retooled a buncha older Mini-Vehicles into some newer guys.  Brawn got a new face as Outback, Huffer got a new face and transformation as Pipes, Windcharger got retooled into Tailgate, etc.  And Cliffjumper got a new head as Hubcap!  Hubcap is, like, often misremembered as some sort of packaging error, but he was a legit 1986 character!  We just don't see much of him because, like, these days Cliffjumpers are usually just red Bumblebees, so if you make a yellow guy out of Cliffjumper you just end up with Bumblebee with a new head.  Even Generation 2 released Hubcap in red, just to get around the issue of There Already Being A Yellow One.

But finally, in Earthrise, it's Cliffjumper who's the primary use of his tooling!  And Bumblebee is actually gonna be a Volkswagen Beetle, so that frees up Cliffjumper to be redone as good ol' yellow Hubcap without any redundancies.   Thus Generations Selects Hubcap is born.

(Generations Selects is where Hasbro takes retail toys, gives them new paint jobs and/or heads and releases them as online exclusives.  Think of essentially BotCon toys released at regular retail prices.)

I love me some Hubcap (he's a grifter!!!) and so I was on top of this.  In person he's... well, not the yellow you usually expect Bumblebee to be.  Close, but it's a very banana yellow.  Very creamy, yet bright.  And 90% of his yellow is painted.  The only exposed yellow plastic is on his forearms and his head.  This means you get an entirely painted yellow car mode, and it looks very nice.  None of that plastic/paint mismatch that usually happens with yellow car Transformers.  

He gets Cliffjumper's assortment of bazooka and ski parts, too.  They make less sense with Hubcap, but whatcha gonna do.  There's a few different arrangements you can attempt if you want to keep the bazooka proper a Cliffjumper-exclusive deal, like splitting the bazooka in half into two smaller weapons, as the instructions suggests.  

The toy is literally EarthRise Cliffjumper, and so he's as good or bad as you think that toy is.  Yeah, half his altmode pops off to become a shield, and, yeah, he's a few heads shorter than most other Deluxe Class toys, but there's positives in both those negatives depending on your priorities.  

Alternately, who cares, it's effin' Hubcap!

Posted August 9, 2020 at 11:25 pm

It took four toylines (Titans Return, skipping Power of the Primes, Stege, and EarthRise) to finish the 1987 Decepticon Headmasters, but here we are!  Snapdragon is here!  Trailing Scorponok by only a little.  It's been remarked upon that Titans Return was a toyline with the express gimmick of Headmastering, with the secondary gimmick of Voyager Class guys who triple change, and for some reason it didn't give us Apeface and Snapdragon, the larger Decepticon Headmasters who could triple change.  But, well, it is what it is, and they're both here now.  Apeface sputtered out just barely at the end of Stege, and now Snapdragon is here for Wave 2 of Earthrise.  

Snapdragon, again, is a Headmaster who Triple Changes!  He's a robot, a spaceship, and an extremely-widely-hipped dragon.  I guess dragons are fictional, and so they can have as wide a stance as they like.  His head transforms into Krunk, who is not Patrick Warburton from Emperor's New Groove.  That's Kronk, with an O.  Common mistake.

The best thing about Krunk, other than his name, is that the little cockpit area he sits in has decoed control panels.  That's wild for a mainline toy!  They never do that.  I mean, it looks like a little LEGO control panel, with buttons tampographed onto a slick surface, but it's still great.  (Getting the cockpit window halves to split so you can place Krunk in there, though, is a workout.)  

Unlike the original Snapdragon, Krunk doesn't become the entirety of both the dragon and robot mode heads.  He still transforms into the full robot head, but in dragon mode his legs become the lower jaw and the rest of him is shoved up into the roof of the mouth of the rest of the dragon mode head.  It's amusing because Snapdragon's dragon mode head has Krunk's arms sculpted and painted onto his cheeks, so that he matches original Snapdragon despite transforming differently.  

Snapdragon's transformation into all three modes is pretty straight-forward.  If he's a jet, you bend out the wings and engines into either robot arms or dragon legs, and then you either need to make the jet's nose into robot legs or bend them into a dragon tail.  There's not as much peg-to-slot massaging as with Apeface.  

I do wish Snapdragon had better shoulder articulation in dragon mode.  The shoulders only rotate up and down, not outwards.  He does have balljointed elbows, you can point his tiny tyrannosaurus-esque arms out to the sides, but working this motion only reminds you that his shoulders don't move much.  

It explains why Daniel Witwicky had to jump directly on Snapdragon's head to get within reach of his jaws.  Those tiny forelimbs would be no help.

Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:18 pm

The Last Stand of the Wreckers is TEN YEARS OLD this year, and it took a decade to get a new Rotorstorm.  There have been so many helicopters since then, and five of those years we had a BotCon, and yet no Rotorstorm made out of anybody more important.  Finally, Generations Selects (Hasbro's online exclusive toyline of retooled/redecoed mainline toys) has given us a Rotorstorm.  

("HOW DID YOU GET HIM EARLY" you may ask, and the answer is All Time Toys in Maryland got in some a few days ago ahead of release date, and had them in stock for roughly 15 minutes, and I jumped on that sucker like a me on Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.)

Rotorstorm was properly announced by Hasbro in one of their Fan First Friday livestreams on Facebook.  They showed off Rotorstorm, who's Stege Spinister with a new head, and were very excited to tell us about his new head that looked like Rotorstorm.  But, funny story, he still had Spinister's head.   Thankfully, in the next Fan First Friday, Hasbro was like "lol our bad, our sample had the wrong head, Rotorstorm gonna have Rotorstorm head" and we all sighed a sigh of relief.  

'Cuz this is the Transformers of 2020, where guys get their own heads, not the Transformers of early BotCon, where your Sideswipe will have RID Prowl's head and you'll like it.  (You will.)

Rotorstorm has GREAT colors.  Of course he does.  He's from the mid-Nineties.  Mid-Nineties EUROPE.  He was released over there in that one off year the United States had between Action Masters and Generations 2.  We got the mold redecoed and sold over here as Machine Wars Sandstorm.  Machine Wars Sandstorm had very drab colors.  Brown and green.  But Rotorstorm says FUCK YOU I'm dark blue and electric blue and silver and teal and yellow and PINK.  It's a better choice.  Go bold or go home.

The fun thing about Stege Spinister's toy is that he has a fake cockpit for one leg and a real cockpit for the other.  Hasbro was trying to duplicate his box art, I guess, and so they just gave him two identical cockpit legs, one of which becomes the actual cockpit and another which tucks underneath the helicopter mode out of sight.  Gotta keep him symmetrical!  The reason I bring this up is because since original Rotorstorm's cockpit was on his chest, in order to make this new Rotorstorm look like Rotorstorm, Hasbro painted another fake cockpit on the new toy's chest on top of Spinister's robot chest details.  

That's right.

Rotorstorm effectively has three cockpits, two of which are fake.  THREE COCKPITS.

It is absolutely ridiculous and I honestly love it.  It's a story.

Rotorstorm would laugh.

Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:39 pm

Both Stege and EarthRise like to beat the hell out of that 1984 drum, but ever so often it'll give us a small crumb from the margins of the original toyline.  So, hey, say hello to Doubledealer!  This 1988 Double Powermaster is back, minus his Powermasters, sort of.  

Transformers has been steadfastly adhering to the old Eighties cartoon as its bible, and so Doubledealer comes in like an enigma.  We like to have things look like the cartoon, but Doubledealer only appeared in animated form in a commercial which you can only find fuzzy versions of on YouTube.  We like things to be SCALED like they were in the cartoon, but, again, same issue.  What Doubledealer looks like and how big he is are largely things Hasbro could make up.  And so EarthRise Doubledealer takes its lead from the original toy a lot more than it would otherwise.  And it turns out Doubledealer is a pretty chonky dude!  He's Leader Class, which recently means "Voyager Class-sized robot with extra stuff," but in his case he's extra wide and a little extra tall and a higher parts count.  He's dense.

The original Doubledealer was pretty lanky, but EarthRise Doubledealer adds girth so that his torso can encompass a gimmick borrowed from Soundwave.  Yeah, he's got a tape cassette compartment!  That's how the Powermaster angle is achieved with him this go-round.  His Powermaster buds were released separately as part of an online-exclusive mini-cassette four-pack, and so instead of attaching them to him as little engines, you slot them into a big box on his chest.  Knok (the red humanoid partner) has his details sculpted into Doubledealer's abs, but you can still put Knok into Doubledealer's chest compartment, unplug a portion of the engine detail from the abs, and replug it onto Knok.  Ditto with Skar, though Skar doesn't seem to be sculpted into Doubledealer's bird mode.

(That was Doubledealer's double deal.  He was an Autobot-aligned robot who transformed into a Decepticon-aligned vulture/chicken/thing, and his missile truck mode was the... neutral mode?  In practice, he was pretending to be two folks -- Both an Autobot robot/truck guy and a Decepticon bird/truck guy.   Just... two guys, both with the same missile truck mode.  You weren't supposed to connect the robot guy to the bird guy.  Optimus Prime wasn't very perceptive, I guess.)

EarthRise Doubledealer is... complicated!  Like I said, he's got a high parts count.  Lots of hinges and stuff, all of which help you get a pretty okay robot to an acceptable missile truck to a block with a head and wings on it that's a bird because we say so.  When there's a robot/vehicle/animal Triple Changer, I feel it's the animal mode that suffers the most.  And being a bird doesn't help, either.  Transformers has trouble with birds.  There's a not a lot of volume in a bird for stuff to go, and so you end up with situations like Doubledealer where he looks like a chicken that's trying to poop a truck.  Like half his beast mode is truck butt, with a tiny little bit of tailfeathers on top.

The original Doubledealer placed his giant missile slung under his torso in bird mode.  Earthrise Doubledealer realizes, yo, this looks like a huge dick, and officially the missile gets placed on his bird mode back.  ....however, there's 5mm pegs placed underneath if you still want to give him that huge traditional bird dick.  And it's not a happy accident, they're definitely there for that purpose.  Gotta keep the fans happy with bird dick!

That's essentially EarthRise Doubledealer's deal!  1) Hooray, a minor character from the latter days of G1 who's not, like, the 30th Prowl toy!  And 2) oh dang he is fussy.  He's just trying to do so many things at once, but not any of it well.  Not any of it TERRIBLY either, just, you know, he's solidly in the middle.  

Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:15 am

The early 80s were a wild time!  For example, you could sell a kids toy robot that transformed into a racing car with the logo of a cigarette company painted across it.  In Japan, a variant of the toy that would later be repurposed by Hasbro as Wheeljack had a new head, plus Marlboro's distinctive red and white angles across the hood.  Marlboro was misspelled (probably purposefully) as Marlboor, and so the little guy was known in collectors circles as Marlboor Wheeljack.

It wasn't until 2015 that TakaraTomy tried to integrate Marlboor Wheeljack into Transformers proper as Exhaust.  A retool of Masterpiece Wheeljack (so that he got the new head), Masterpiece Exhaust's photos promised a slightly altered arrangement of the hood deco.  But, whoops, that wasn't enough, and Marlboro had them change it even more.  The toy was released with a weird stairsteppy version of the usual clean red angles.  

Five years later, we've got Generations Selects Exhaust!  A retool (again, for the new head) of EarthRise Wheeljack, his car mode has an even more Game-Of-Telephoned iteration of the red hood deco.  Just, y'know... going that extra mile to not get the attention of Marlboro.  There's very little resemblance to the original deco, other than color.  Which is honestly fine.  Collectors know Exhaust is about cigarettes.  He's still got that hint of illicit marketing.  And I betcha five bucks ToyHax has stickers ready to go to recreate it.  

Also, "Exhaust" is misspelled three times on the toy as "Exhuast."  Let's... pretend that's a purposeful reference to the vintage "Marlboor" mispelling, and not, like, an accidental typo.  Let's pretend it very hard.

Generations Selects is the online-exclusive line of Hasbro toys that's supplemental to the ongoing retail mainline.  Exhaust (and Greasepit) showed up for order from a few of the smaller online stores a few weeks ago, but Hasbro's yet to acknowledge the toy exists.  It's possible it's going to be available as a "see it and buy it now" SDCC-timed exclusive in a week or so, at which point HasbroPulse and the rest of the usual online retailers will put theirs up for sale.  

Honestly, if Hasbro was gonna do an Evil Wheeljack, I woulda preferred Slicer.

Posted July 5, 2020 at 10:53 pm

When a new $80 "Commander" size class for Transformers was announced last year , just so that a Jetfire toy would be at cartoon scale, the amount of eye-rolling in my reaction was non-zero.  I mean, sweet, new size class, yes, and yeah actually I do like scale, and the Jetfire it produced was actually surprisingly good, but... what else could this new avenue bring us?

Well, David of the past, nuts to you, because this year's Commander Sky Lynx is glorious, actually.  And it's largely due to his size.  He's just... an enviable chonk of Sky Lynx.  He's a big dude!  Well, two big dudes that combine into one bigger dude.  ...fine, one bigger dude that separates into two smaller dudes.  You know what I mean.  He's a lynx.  He's a bird.  He combines into a dragon.  The dragon transforms into a shuttle on a transport.  The shuttle can detach from the transport.  There's a lot going on here!

There's apparently a lot of budget room to work with on an $80 Transformers toy.  Jetfire spent its moolah on a lot of smaller things like hands that disappeared their 5mm ports when the palm opened and little handholds for smaller Transformers to hold onto while Jetfire airdrops them into battle.  There aren't many things exactly like that on Sky Lynx, but he feels like he has a robust budget all the same.  His poseable neck and tail, the ankle rockers on all six of his limbs (the bird has two), the myriad of ways you can pose his wings... Sky Lynx is just impressive.

Because he's a large Earthrise toy, he's got a new base mode.  You unfold the lynx into a shuttle launch pad with multiple ramps!  The ramps each have connectors to attach to other EarthRise base modes.  There's two broad white cannons  you can awkwardly attach to the lynx feet in this mode, helping you pretend these are towers and not, you know, feet.  This is probably the weakest aspect of the whole arrangement.  In lynx or dragon modes, you can attach these cannons to his hips.

One of the biggest joys of Sky Lynx is standing other guys next to him and getting this sense of scale.  Again, he's a big guy, and it's neat to see Optimus Prime small next to him.  Plus, like, huge winged dinosaur thing.  And, yes, his face is just a shuttle cockpit with a jaw, but it still possesses this shocking charisma.  

EarthRise SkyLynx's altmode is actually licensed by NASA.   Like, it's got the NASA logo on there, and on purpose, and he transforms into a very accurate 80's style space shuttle.    His shuttle name is the Magnificence.  Later this summer, there's a pair of Micromasters that transform together into a shuttle which also have the NASA logo printed on them, so Hasbro went for broke this year, NASA-wise.

I'm just always delighted to see this thing on my desk.  I need to eventually put him away where he needs to end up in my display shelves, but he's just gonna be mostly hidden behind so many other guys, and I'll be sad.  I put him there once just to make sure he fit (he did, amazingly), but had to yank him out soon enough so I could love him more.  

Though it's also possible I'm just going mad from being inside for 4 months, I dunno.

Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:49 pm

If I recall, I bemoaned Stege Optimus Prime for being a uncanny valley Earth Truck, so very close that it looked like an Earth truck wearing some extra parts stapled on it.  Well, here's the truck underneath those parts!  It's what you wanted really all along, after we sold you the other one that tried to be this but not really!  Stege was ""not"" Earth truck, and EarthRise Optimus Prime is just Earth truck.

I mean, it's an Optimus Prime, whaddya want.  A trailer?  It's here!  It even splits open and there's Command Deck inside.  Roller?  It's... not here.  Well, there's plenty of other Rollers.  But this is your Trying To Be The Cartoon G1 Optimus Prime With An Actual Trailer, At Retail.  

And to be honest...?  Heck, I think I preferred the Cybertronian-style one.  I miss the way the front wheels folded up into the ribcage.  I miss it having... I dunno, what small amount of stylization it had.  Yeah, it was an Earth truck wearing goggles, but turns out the goggles were the interesting part.  

I mean, this isn't a bad toy.  It's actually quite good!  It has some new ways to get Cartoon Optimus out of a box.  I like how it wads its truck stuff up inside its shirt.  I do actually like the trailer -- it's largely why I bothered with it.  My kids are... VERY into trucks with trailers and also connecting all my Transformer base stuff together.  The middle section of the trailer door slides out and becomes a shield, AND it has hinged edges that connects to all the road pieces from the rest of the line (plus Stege's Omega Supreme).  If I skipped this Optimus Prime toy that has a trailer with base-connecting capability, I'd be a monster.  

I did have to fix his eyes, though.  They were blue, which... well, his face is also blue, so they kind of disappear.  I opened up his noggin and painted his eyes gold.  That's one major thing I like about current Transformers toys, the part where the eyes are sculpted into the back of the head but poke out through the front, likely to make painting them easier for the factories.  Well, it makes it easier for me, too!  Huzzah.  Those gold eyes pop, now.  

EarthRise Optimus Prime also comes with an ion cannon (his rifle) that folds in half and can store anywhere there's a 5mm peghole.  (There are lots.)  And there's a Matrix of Leadership inside his chest which can be removed.  Technically this is why his hands are sculpted to open, but he's not great at holding it.  Kind of have to wedge either end around his thumbs and pray.  But!  If you flip around the Matrix, there's a 5mm port there, which means you can shove effects parts into there if you want to have him do Matrix Blasts or whatever Optimus Prime is up to these days.  Or just have the Matrix zoom through the sky like Nyan Cat.  

One of my favorite oddities with EarthRise Optimus Prime is that he's partially made from actual Stege Optimus Prime parts, especially his legs.  But they gutted his legs, put some new stuff in there, and they don't flip around to transform anymore, and so you have this extra, vestigial 5mm trailer hitch peghole split across the outsides of his shins, with a new 5mm peg added to the insides of his new legs.  It's wild.

I'm not sure any of you followed that.  I barely understood myself reading it.

Oh well.

It's Optimus Prime, folks.  

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 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.

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