Posts tagged with "kingdom" - 2
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.

Posted November 13, 2020 at 3:18 pm

y'know that "generations" tag was a lot more useful for searches before Transformers Generations became, like, 99% of what I collect, huh

Here's Vertebreak, Kingdom's first-wave Core Class Fossilizer!  Fossilizers are going to be skeletal animal creatures (likely all prehistoric animals) that transform into robots.  The larger Deluxe Fossilizers will break apart into bone armor for other toys, same way the Weaponizers and Modulators did in previous lines.  However, Vertebreak is just Core Class, so there's no taking apart action.  They just transform and that's that.  You can give the skeletal tail sword to other toys, though, as it's still 5mm compatible.  Maybe even stick a head at the end of it, pretend it's a spine, and have somebody go all Mortal Kombat fatality on somebody else.  

Vertebreak transforms into a skeletal dracorex (possibly a juvenile pachycephalosaurus).  Legs become legs, arms fold into the torso, head becomes chest... the toy's basically a simplified Universe '08 Dinobot.  An interesting thing to me is that even though Vertebreak's jaw slides with the rest of the skull into the lower torso during transformation, the jaw is also sculpted on the back of the robot head.  Faux kibble!  When there doesn't even need to be, since this is an entirely new character!  I guess the control art was just insistent on the placement of the dinosaur jaw in robot mode.  

So far, Vertebreak has no available profile information, so we don't have a gender for them.   Sub-Deluxe size class toys who weren't Laserbeak or Ravage didn't make it into the Netflix cartoon, so it's possible we won't ever know!  

Posted November 10, 2020 at 9:44 pm

The third part of the War for Cybertron Trilogy, Kingdom, wasn't forecast to hit stores until March, and yet here we are, in November, with the initial trickle of them into one or two stores.  Amazon's even scoot up their estimate for delivery of these guys from February to next week.  Iiiiiit's happening!  Anyway, I threw my preorders in the garbage and grabbed a set of the first wave of Core Class figures from eBay.  

'Cuz if I can get a Rattrap now I'll get a Rattrap now.

Part one of WFC, Stege, was about the Autobots and Decepticons on Cybertron, pre-Earth.  Part two, Earthrise, is about them eventually getting to Earth and grabbing up some Earth alternate modes.  And Kingdom?  Apparently it's about Beast Wars!  I mean, there'll still be some Autobots and Decepticons, but we're here for the animals.  And taking the place of the $10 Micromaster two-pack pricepoint is the new Core Class pricepoint, which is some scaled-down G1 guys and some smaller Beast Wars folks.  (Presumably, the scaled-down G1 guys are for interacting with this year's Titan Class playset, which we don't officially know much about, but it'll be the Ark.)  

Rattrap is the lone returning Beast Wars character in the first wave.  (The other two are Vertebreak, a new Predacon; and a mini Optimus Prime.)  

The War for Cybertron Trilogy has been doing their best to deliver cartoon-accurate robot modes of Generation 1 Autobots and Decepticons, and it was interesting to learn how that design ethic would handle the Beast Wars characters.  It turns out that the way we're going is robot modes that do their best to ape (aheh) the Mainframe CGI models, while the beast modes are taking a more naturalistic approach.  This is versus the Masterpiece Beast Wars toys which aim to copy the CGI models in both robot and beast modes.  So Rattrap's rat mode, you see, tries to look more like your typical actual rat than it does the cute CGI rat he transformed into in the cartoon.

And, honestly, I'm big into that aesthetic.  I mean, I've got the Beast Wars Masterpiece toys if I need my Dinobot to transform into an awkward featherless duck or whatever.  I'm very happy for Kingdom to embrace better animal modes.  Rattrap's in particular is very pleasing!  It does indeed look like a little rat.  Enough so that I guess you should worry a little if you've got a-rat-nophobia or whatever.  In rat mode the toy is essentially immobile.  There is no articulation.  It's just a rat.

Which, at this scale, is fine enough.  This is a smalllllllll toy.  Maybe two inches long.  And I gotta tell you, this is the most complex toy I've ever seen at this tiny size.  He's got a lot going on in transformation.  Lots of little steps, and thankfully it all plugs in together well, mostly using various tabs that fit into the cooling vents in his balljoints.  Very economical.  It has to be, at this size.  

The perfect rat transforms into an unreasonably-well-proportioned robot mode.  Other than the more-realistic rat head on the chest, it achieves the look of the lanky CGI model.   The only real compromise is the robot feet, which become the rat's rear feet.  The was a choice to make them fully robotic or fully rat feet, and the choice was to go with a creepy midpoint.  Rattrap's feet are an organic redesign of his three-toed metal robot feet.  It's a compromise, again, but this is the scale we're working at.  Two inches.  

A friggin' incredible Rattrap at two inches.  

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