Posts tagged with "power of the primes" - 2
Posted February 20, 2018 at 12:20 am

Here it is!  The toy I was most anticipating in the entire Power of the Primes lineup.  And I know it's the one I would most anticipate because Hasbro retailer presentation slides of the whole gaddang line were leaked months ago.  At the time, we thought, whoops, the first half of the line got leaked!  Ha ha, no, that was the actual whole thing.  Power of the Primes is apparently pretty short, capping out at wave 4 instead of wave 6.  

But, like, yeah, a sizeable Elita One has been on my wish list for years.  I never thought we'd get one.  Hasbro doesn't tend to make Transformer women larger than Deluxe.  In 1999, we got a Mega (today's Voyager) Transmetal 2 Blackarachnia, and since then we've got... well, Victorion, the 6-member combiner team we voted on and made Hasbro produce.  So my confidence in $25-$30 lady robot seemed like a pipe dream.

Because Elita One should be big and stompy.  She's Elita One, dammit.  Her name means the same thing that Optimus Prime's does.  She should be his equal.  Like, a big truck thing, and she should look like she could crush you.  

But I will also allow "big jet thing."

Power of the Primes Elita-1 (why do they keep spelling it like that) is a massive retool of POTP Starscream.  She's got an entirely different robot mode (well the biceps are the same), some new wingtips, and mostly the same jet mode.  That's a lotta retooling.  The toy otherwise operates and transforms exactly the same.  Which is fine, because I really like POTP Starscream.  The only thing I dislike about him are the...stickers.

Ugh, Elita One's stickers.  Like Starscream, she has them covering the full surface of her wings.  I will try to keep them, if only because they add more pink to her color scheme, and pink is very important.  If Reprolabels comes up with replacement stickers that have equal or more amounts of pink, then that is what will happen.

or these will fray and peel from even minimal use like these stickers tend to and i'll have to yank 'em off regardless, who knows

Elita One is not quite the giant pink jet I was hoping for, if only 'cuz her color scheme skews towards red.  It's an... almost pink dark red she has over most of her body, with a salmony color for accents.  These plus the white and black result in a very striking color scheme, so it's not, like, terrible that she's not more pink.  I prefer pink and also pink of the cartoon, but she still looks great.  

Like Starscream, she forms the torso of a combiner robot.  Unlike Starscream, we got the name for her combined form at Toy Fair.  It's Elita Infin1te, with the 1.  I don't know if I love or hate this.  I may never know.  It's an ongoing, mercurial process of acceptance and groaning.

Posted February 14, 2018 at 11:30 pm

Everything old is new again, but with joints!  EVERYTHING.  Back in the day (1987), there were this pair of Decepticons called Duocons because they were singular robots who each formed out of two separate vehicles.  The individual vehicles didn't do anything themselves other than form half a robot.  It's like, y'know, Overlord or a backwards Sky Lynx.  Battletrap was one of those Duocons, and he was a robot formed from a helicopter humping an SUV.

*freeze frame, zip-fast-forward through 30 years, slight pause at BotCon 2015 to say "huh" at the Springer redeco, finish zip-fast-forward, abrupt stop in 2018, record scratch*

Anyway, now each of Battletrap's two vehicle components are their own guys!  Battletrap is now formed from Battleslash the helicopter and Roadtrap the SUV, each turns into a robot, and they're sold separately.

I like to think they're married and that the combined form Battletrap is their child.  Like, you know, one of them is J.D. and the other one is Turk, and J.D. hops on Turk and instead of running around yelling "EEEAGLE!" they are a consolidated robotical form.  The World's Most Giant Doctor.

I am in awe of the complexity involved in these toys.  Like, the other Legends Class toys are.... fairly simple.  They're all Windchargers and Brawns, who transform the usual Transformers way of rotating out the legs and pulling out the arms and being done after three steps.  But each of these two guys, Battleslash and Roadtrap, have a lot going on.  A lot of pieces going on.  I wonder how they budgeted this.  (probably by making the other guys Windchargers and Brawns)

Both guys have enough parts to not only form individually-articulated robots but also a fully-articulated combined robot form.  Heck, Battletrap's kind of got an ab crunch, even.  It's kind of nuts.  Yeah, a lot of the articulation doubles up -- Battleslash's neck joint is Battletrap's waist joint, for example -- but it's all still very impressive.

Well, okay, the vehicle modes are probably the weak link.  Both are vehicle-ish shaped blobs.  Roadtrap's SUV form is very obviously 50% a robot mode chest.  Battleslash's helicopter mode is obviously a bunch of wadded up robot parts.

Despite that, these two toys are very easy to recommend.  There's going to be some kids out there who only have one or the other (I don't think it mentions the combining aspect on the packaging, only in the instructions) and... I think their purchase will be good enough, really, without the other half, but these two really are a pair.  

It's guy love between two guys.

Posted December 23, 2017 at 2:40 am

Power of the Primes Starscream is probably the toy from this line I was looking forward to the most.  Transformers fiction was giving that a little boost admittedly -- the toy is sculpted to adhere to the same Starscream design that the comics currently use.  And Starscream in the current comics (especially his portrayal in Till All Are One, which ended with an Annual just this week) is friggin' fantastic.  I've been wanting a Starscream to go with a Deluxe Windblade for so long, and the other two designs that have appeared alongside her -- Deluxe Armada Starscream and Leader King Starscream -- were not appropriate sizes for hanging out with a Deluxe Windblade. 

Voyager Class is just about perfect.  It's perfect size for Starscream in general, at least fiction-wise.  (If we were going true vehicle scale we'd probably have to start doing him in Titan Class, and that's.... inconvenient in so many ways.)  If Hasbro wanted to do this Starscream toy in every Seeker variety, I'd be cool with that, and I'd buy them all.  

(mind, they'd have to do, like, several dozen more limbs so they could all be combiners simultaneously, but)

Plus I just like the proportions of the robot mode.  I love big punchy fists and big stompy feet.  It's a great robot mode.  It's dynamic.  

The jet mode is... like 99% of every other jet Transformer.  There's a robot hanging underneath the jet parts.  Just a pair of arms and a chest, unaltered, attached under there.  But that's generally what you expect with a Transformers jet.

There's some to-do about how his robot mode chest cockpit is "faux kibble," but, y'know, the real jet cockpit becomes the torso mode's chest, so I'm okay with it.  As long as one of the modes uses the cockpit for a chest, I count that.  The torso mode clearly is taking some inspiration from Movie Starscream, with the big triangle shape made out of wings (and, again, with the cockpit in the middle), and I love that.  The combiner mode head is just a bigger Starscream head with a TFTM crown on it.  It makes me wish that Grimlock's combiner mode head gave him HIS crown.  They both have canonical crowns!  It could have been a nice pairing!

but, lordy

lordy lordy lordy

For a few years, the larger Transformers have started giving toys these foil stickers.  They're terrible.  They're tacky-looking, they start peeling off pretty quickly, and all-around they're just not great quality.  And they're factory-applied, so you don't even get to have the fun of ruining your toy yourself.  There's no ownership in them.  They're just there to look gross.

And, like, I dunno whose idea it was to use foil stickers to cover the entirety of Starscream's jet mode wings, but I think I hate them.  It looks so amazingly terrible.  The photos here don't really capture it in all its shiny, reflective glory, but the stickers just drive me mad.  

And you can't pull them off, because then his wings lose their red strips and the Decepticon logos.

Sure, yeah, eventually Reprolabels will have replacements, and those stickers will be real stickers made of material that doesn't tear like Kraft singles, and be, like, matte so they mesh with the rest of the jet surface, but... not everybody's gonna want to spend more money to make their toy not look shitty.  

So, like...


why would you destroy this toy that i otherwise would have loved unreservedly with such a travesty

Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Power of the Primes Grimlock has... two out of three good modes.

Unfortunately, the bad mode is the dinosaur.   You don't want the DINOSAUR to be bad.  That's like why you're here.  It's his milkshake in his yard.

I'm just staring at this bent stick they're calling a Tyrannosaurus rex and, like, no, guys.  No.  It's slightly less bad if you're cool with 1980s cartoon Grimlock, who always stands up-right like a dog begging for scraps, since this toy tries to do that.  It still doesn't hit the mark very well, but it gets closer if that's how you're evaluating it.  But if you want it to look like an actual dinosaur, not so much.

However, every terrible, terrible compromise made to the dinosaur mode has its roots in making this design work as a pretty great combiner torso.  Why does Grimlock have these odd, misshapen dinosaur hindlimbs?  Because that's where the Combiner Wars-style arm attachment ports go.  Those are elements you can't just shrink away because they look odd.  They've gotta go there, and they have to be that exact size.  The leg attachment ports are inside his robot feet, which is a nice bulky area that accommodates the port well, thankfully.  It does mean he's got big-ol' feet jutting out of the underside of his tail, a tail that otherwise tapers from torso to tip successfully.  

The result is a combiner torso that plugs together tightly and looks pretty nice.  It looks even nicer if you take some spare Power of the Primes combiner hands and plug them into his abs.  (And you will have an extra pair, since each limb comes with a hand, and, well, combiner robots only need two hands.)  You can also plug the hands into the back of the two combiner feet that Grimlock comes with to serve as extra heel support.  It's your choice!  (Or maybe do both, if you eventually have enough POTP Deluxes.)  

There's some strong ratcheting joints involved, and with more teeth settings so that you don't have to choose between 90 and 45 degree angles on everything.  This solves some Combiner Wars-era stability problems.  

The robot mode is pretty good.  Not great, but it works and it looks like Grimlock and it's not fantastically awkward or ugly.  The double-jointed elbows (needed for torso transformation) really help give him some nice "dukes up" posing possibilities.  

Other than the two combiner mode feet, he does not come with any weapons.  No sword.  But the feet kind of look like Wolverine claws when attached on his forearms, sort of.  There's also an Enigma of Combination pluggy-in thing.  It's like the Prime Masters in the smallest pricepoint, but it doesn't transform.  It's just the plug-in element, and it's there only to fuel imaginative play, rather than activate any toy gimmickry.  

He has factory-applied foil stickers.  They're not good foil stickers, but they're not toy-ruining, either, like Starscream's.  But I'll get to him later.

In short, Grimlock's dinosaur mode is garbage.  His robot mode is good and his torso mode is great, and the torso mode is likely the thing that this Grimlock will do that won't be replicated in later Grimlock toys, sooo... priorities, I guess???  There are so many other Grimlock toys, meaning if you need a better non-combiney Grimlock, those exist.  There will definitely be more Grimlock toys in the future, as well.  But if you want to form a giant Dinobot combiner, this is your Grimlock.  

Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:30 am

Dreadwind is the Nihilist Arby's twitter feed if it could transform into a jet.  

I'm not sure I could sell him any better than that, and I'm wondering if I should just stop with that one sentence and call it a day.

*sigh* FIIINE I guess I'll ruin everything and actually talk about his toy.

Power of the Primes Dreadwind is unique among the first wave of Deluxe Class guys because he's just a retool of Combiner Wars Skydive.  Other than the technicality of Jazz's combiner peg (Dragstrip's), everyone else is all new!  I mean, Dreadwind's retooled a lot, but he's still got the legs and large parts of the jet still left over. 

His transformation is different in one way -- his wings fold down onto his legs instead of staying on his back.  You might think this is weird because, like, Dreadwind's first toy's wings were on his back, so why retool him to make him less like himself?  The answer is that -- also like the first toy -- Dreadwind can combine with Darkwing (wave 2) to form a huger superjet, and those wings of his fold down to his legs to help facilitate a better combined jet mode.  

In robot mode, those giant wings on his legs are... cumbersome.  They are quite large.  I will give that they make standing him up amazingly stable, but they're kinda an eyesore.  They're less so when photographed from head on, like he is above, but believe me, it's worse in 3D.

Another important non-cosmetic change is that his mid-chest combiner port plug has a little flip-up bit that flips down to reveal a 5mm peghole.  This is how you attach his combiner fist to his torso as chest armor.  If you decide you want to do that and stick Prime Masters in him, anyway.  

Dreadwind's a great character, and this is an okayish toy of him that's much like an earlier toy that was redecoed/retooled a dozen times already, but now it's retooled in a way that's kind of dorky so that you can do something cool with him later when the next wave comes out.  

Definitely should have ended with that first sentence.

Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Here's where the Power of the Primes stuff starts to get a little messy.

Okay, so, like, there's these Thirteen Original Primes.  Some of them have gotten toys before, like Megatronus (The Fallen) and Vector Prime and Alpha Trion.  Most of them haven't!  But they're getting toys now!

Sort of!

See, they're being represented in toy form as... random Pretenders characters from 1988.  For example, in this case, this toy that for all the world that looks like Pretender Cloudburst has "Micronus" written on the package, and this is a toy of Micronus wearing a "Cloudburst decoy suit" or something like that, maybe.  I can't remember if that's just HasCon presentation slide stuff or if any of that Cloudburst stuff made it to the packaging proper.  I'm too lazy to grab the instructions off the floor.

Why is Cloudburst actually Micronus?  I dunno.  Micronus is, well, the Mini-Con member of the Thirteen.  Cloudburst doesn't really have anything about him that would suggest he'd be an appropriate repurposing for Micronus.  

I dunno what's going on here.

The play pattern idea is, however, that you take the little Prime Master robot guy out of the "decoy suit" or whatever, and you fold him up into his altmode, which is a chunk of plastic with a Micronus symbol on it, and you plug him into another Power of the Primes toy and pretend that grants the other toy a certain powerset.  Micronus's powerset seems to be related to "Power-linking," or in plain English: sharing.  If you plug Micronus into Swoop, for example, it's said that Swoop can gift other Transformers the power of flight.  Throw your Jazz up into the air and see what happens.... in your imaaaaaaaaaaagination!

The "decoy suit" transforms into a double-barreled gun for other Transformers to wield.  Also, the gun barrels can pop off the back of the "decoy suit" and be pegged into the fisthole of the "decoy suit" to be used as a weapon.

It's a little more fun than it sounds, but Micronus/Cloudburst is just a bad example.  Now, Liege Maximo, whose powerset is "be Marvel's Loki," and Vector Prime, whose powerset is "time travel"... those offer some more interesting playtime possibilities.  

I mean, would you rather transform into a Sharing Gun or a... TIME GUN?

Posted November 23, 2017 at 12:40 am

This may feel abbreviated because I wrote a really long and verbose review of this toy the other night, but my website ate it, and I don't have it in me to write about this toy and its bullshit twice.  So.

Let's just get this part out of the way: Power of the Primes Jazz's deco artist hid the acronym "MAGA" in super-tiny Cybertronian-language characters on both of his doors, and then whichever Hasbro employee was in charge of this freelance person didn't catch it, but one of us nerds spotted it and translated it, and everyone was all "whoa yikes" and Hasbro had to release a public statement because some jag tampographed a white nationalist slogan on their black guy Transformer character.  

I removed it from mine with denatured alcohol after I took the photos you see here for TFwiki.

Before this discovery, this toy to me was kind of boring.  And once I woke up last week to this news, it was suddenly the wrong kind of interesting.  

Let's face it, this toy had a lot to live up to.  The last toy of G1 Jazz was the 2010 Reveal the Shield toy, and that is one of those rare Perfect Transformers.  And after seven years of budget shrinkage and rising production costs, it is impossible to create something that perfect again at the same pricepoint -- and even if you did, it'd just be the RTS toy again.  

I mean, this isn't a terrible Jazz.  It's an aggressively okay Jazz.  It's just not a perfect Jazz.  But the one thing it has going for it is that it can become an arm or a leg for a combiner.  It's true, RTS Jazz couldn't do that.  And it's not a small thing for a toy to do.  (Admittedly, another thing that RTS Jazz can't do is be on shelves right now in 2017, so that's another point to PotP Jazz.)  

Like the other Deluxe Class toys from this toyline, Jazz's combiner fist is also chest armor for the robot mode.  However, it fits on his chest only awkwardly, if I'm following the very scant instructions right.  There's just a drawing of the fist/armor piece and Jazz with an arrow, the end.  I thiiiiink you're supposed to gently nudge those thumb tabs into the seemingly-corresponding slots on his fender.  But it's not a great, secure fit.

In summary: This is the best available Jazz to you currently, but it's definitely not the best Jazz possible.  But it can be a combiner limb, if that's cool.  Also, maybe you might want to wait until he's repacked for Wave 3, since the MAGA might be gone by then, or see what the hell TakaraTomy does with him.

Posted November 19, 2017 at 4:01 am

There's a new Dinobot in town, and she's a velociraptor!    Say hello to Slash, the second female Dinobot (the first, Strafe, is part of the team in IDW comics right now), but the first female Dinobot with a toy.  

And you know what, I'm going to lay it all right here now.  I love this toy.  It's tiny, it's just complex enough to be interesting but simple enough you can fiddle with it back and forth, and it transforms from a robot to a velociraptor.  A Jurassic Park-style non-feathery velociraptor, but whatcha gonna do.  The other Dinobots are kind of stuck in the 80s, so Slash being stuck in the 90s is still some kind of temporal improvement.

Slash transforms essentially like Beast Wars Dinobot.  While the head folds inside the torso instead of forming the chest like Dinobot, the rest is pretty familiar.  Her robot legs fold up underneath the beast mode torso, the robot arms become the beast mode legs, and the tail folds out from behind her.  (But it does not become a rotate blade weapon.)  

With her red torso, black head, legs, and fists, and silver everything else, she fits in really well with the aesthetic of the rest of the Dinobot team.  The Dinobots desperately need a velociraptor anyway.  

You can open a compartment in her beast mode back to fit a Prime Master or Titan Master.  The Prime Master trading card she comes with is supposed to be multingual, but no matter which of the 12 random cards you receive, they're all going to be entirely English.  The same English phrases repeated four times.  Because I guess somebody didn't bother to translate the last three into Spanish, French, and Portuguese.  Whoops.

Even if you don't get the rest of this line's Dinobots, I highly recommend Slash.  She's by far the best toy in this wave of Legends, and she's just fun to transform back and forth, each mode being a happy destination.  

And nothing's covertly written on her in cybertronix by some jag who's probably not freelancing for Hasbro anymore.

Posted November 17, 2017 at 12:30 am

WE'VE ACHIEVED SOMETHING: the it's walky! kickstarter has funded

Swoop is the second of two Dinobots available in the first wave of Power of the Primes Deluxe Class guys.  And y'know what?  He is pretty great!

I mean, Slug's okay.  He's an awkward-looking triceratops (which can be mitigated somewhat by creative transformation) who is, essentially, just the original Slag toy but with knees.  There's not a lot new there, other than the obvious "oh there's a combiner port hidden in me so I can become an arm for a giant robot."  

But Swoop does something important for me.  Sure, he, too, is pretty damn similar to his original toy, but with knees.  But his pterosaur mode has articulated legs.  This means you can swing them under his body, so he can stand up and perch properly -- or you can swing them back, and they can dangle behind him for flight.  Transformers pterosaurs rarely bother with giving you the choice, choosing to mold the feet in place one way or the other.  But being given the option really opens up Swoop to me.  

You might notice that Swoop has a blue chest instead of red.  This was a later change to the toy, since the promo images still had him in toy- (and comic-)accurate red.  But I guess Hasbro decided they wanted him to have a blue chest, like in the cartoon.  Ultimately, swapping the chest color and nothing else actually resulted in a kind of Diaclone-style Swoop. (Diaclones were the Japanese toys which Hasbro imported/localized as Transformers.)  Cartoon Swoop had a fully red helmet, while the Diaclone toy had a... blue front and a red back?  The black front and the red back on this Power of the Primes toy feels more Diacloney than cartoony.

I generally trend towards Marvel comics colors, but I'm okay with a blue Swoop.  It's nice to have a little variety, color-wise, plus I've decided that only the dinosaurs in the Dinobots get to be red-chested.  Swoop is not a dinosaur, so he gets a different color.  

Once again, Swoop comes with a combiner fist which the packaging prioritizes as chest armor.  The chest armor is supposed to house a Prime Master (sold separately), but since Prime Masters are cross-compatible with Titan Masters, it means you can plug a Titan Master head into the same spot.  Since there was a (renamed) Swoop Titan Master, you can totally have Swoop wearing a giant fist-smock with his own head embedded in it, kind of if he were piloted by Krang.

The instructions do not tell you how to connect the chest armor to his chest, and there's no obvious 5mm peghole there.  What you have to do is use the tabs on the inside of each of the combiner fist's thumbs to fit into slots on each side of the pterosaur head.  

There's also a sword for Swoop to hold, and a smaller peg on the sword for it to be used to stow in non-robot modes.  The only real good place to stow it is underneath the pterosaur beak.  It's not a GREAT place.  But it's slightly better than one of the other two compatible pegholes under his abdomen.

The only real complaint I have about POTP Swoop is that the front of the pterosaur face doesn't plug well into the back of its skull for beast mode.  It tends to kind of droop out.  I'd use some floor polish to make it a more solid connection, but, well, his robot mode face is kinda in there.  eehhh

Posted November 15, 2017 at 1:01 am

OBLIGATORY: I have a Kickstarter running right now to print a first It's Walky! book collection!

Usually new toys show up in, like, Southeast Asia first.  That's closer to where the factories are, and you gotta add in Pacific Ocean Ship Time before things eventually show up in North America.  Not this time!  Suddenly, and weeks ahead of schedule, the first wave of the next Transformers subline, Power of the Primes, appeared in an Arizona Target.  They were also found in Dallas and Michigan that night, once we figured out the DPCI number and could track the toys' appearances in Targets across the country.  Today I showed up at a Target where no fewer than two other Transformers nerds were also there to ask the same question as I, and after a set of toys had already been put on hold by an unseen fourth (at least) nerd.  There were no toys for any of us there then, but I found a lone Slug at another Target on the way home.  

(It was mildly hilarious to me that this rush to Targets, crowding myself out, was very likely my own fault: I'm the one who published how to easily locate these toys at Targets online, and this knowledge was very quickly spread to the major websites.  Oops!  Too helpful!)

Slug is the new name for the Dinobot triceratops Slag, who can't be called that anymore because, as Dr. Kelso once reminded us on Scrubs, "Slag" is a gendered insult in some parts.  You can still call him Slag though if you wanna.  No one will stop you.

The gimmicks in Power of the Prime are... storied and legion.  Okay, so each Deluxe comes with a little bit of armor, right?  You plug that into their chest, easy as you please, and also there's this removeable center bit on the chest armor that you can replace with a Prime Master, which is sold separately!  Prime Masters are exactly like last line's Titan Masters, except instead of transforming into a face, they transform into a symbol.  There are 12 symbols, one for each of the original thirteen Primes (minus one?).  The idea is you plug this Prime Master into your larger Transformer toy and you imagine he is being bestowed with godly powers.  

There are trading cards included to this effect.  There are 12 possible cards with every toy, each explaining what power up they get from a certain Prime Master.  I don't recommend completism.  

ALSO, not mentioned on the exteriors of the toy packaging itself is the fact that the Deluxe Class-sized toys such as Slug are combiner guys again.  Slug's "chest armor" is actually a very thinly-disguised combiner mode fist.  Hidden within his chest is a Combiner Wars-style combiner plug.  That this is possible is detailed on the instructions and no where else.  Surprise combiners, guys!  (if you haven't seen the internet)  The decision to obscure this is very strange.

Slug is essentially the original G1 Slag, but with modern articulation.  He's got translucent parts that are painted gold on the inside to give him that original flavor, and he's... not really trying to be a modern understanding of a triceratops.  He looks like a 1980s triceratops (again) but with a slightly less dragging tail.  I recommend mistransforming him so he has a neck, keeping him from looking TOO doofy.  The biggest difference his in robot mode is that he doesn't have the wings on his back made of triceratops hide anymore.  

He comes with a gun (and his chest armor/combiner fist) but not a sword.  The clear plug on the outside face of the chest armor can be removed and held like a gun.  

And once you have the other four Dinobots from this toyline, you'll be able to make a Dinobot combiner.  

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