Posts tagged with "sdcc" - 1
Posted July 30, 2016 at 4:01 am

Finally, I got my hands on a Titans Return Deluxe Class toy.  Weirdly enough, it's a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive (no, I didn't go personally this year), and it's a drastically retooled version of a wave 1 toy that's been out in stores but I haven't gone looking for.  So I kind of feel like I skipped ahead instead of starting from the beginning.

Titans Return Brainstorm is the second Brainstorm toy in just about as many years, with Thrilling 30 Brainstorm coming out shortly before Combiner Wars got its start.  That Brainstorm was a Voyager Class (translation: bigger) and it was directly based on Brainstorm's More Than Meets The Eye comic book series design.  This new, much smaller Brainstorm is.... sort of based on MTMTE.  It's a heavy retool of Titans Return Blurr, and so it primarily looks like Blurr with wings glued on.  That's an oversimplification of the changes done, but it gets across the idea that this toy was not created with Brainstorm first in mind, not like the previous toy.  

However, most importantly, he does have MTMTE Brainstorm's face.  There are a number of other styles of Brainstorm face Hasbro could have gone with, such as his cartoon/Marvel design, or the weird faceplateless version from Japan's Headmasters (which is a face we can assume Japan will get on their version eventually), or another interpretation of the original toy's face.  But naw, we get a second MTMTE face, which is fine by me.  I likely wouldn't have much use for this new toy otherwise.

So why bother with him at all, if the previous Brainstorm toy was closer to his MTMTE look?  Well, a few reasons.  First is me reminding you that I am obsessive.  Second is his size.  The previous, Voyager Class Brainstorm was kinda a honkin' huge toy, and Brainstorm's not quiiiiiite that tall a guy.  And so this toy feels better scaled to everyone else.  Third, the SDCC version of this toy has a specifically-MTMTE-y deco, with the more cyanish teal and the teal on the legs instead of bare gray.  And probably most importantly is he comes in a three-toy box set with a new Fort Max-themed Windblade that I definitely wasn't gonna not have.  (The third toy is a translucent orange Sentinel Prime, which, again, yeah.  You know me.)

But all that said, this Brainstorm toy is a better toy than the larger, earlier one.  The previous Brainstorm was pretty damned simple.  You fold his legs under himself and he's done. ...Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Simple toys can be more fun to play with than complex toys, but this new Brainstorm his a better sweet spot between simple and complicated.  The new Brainstorm transforms a little upside-down compared to the old one, where instead of the feet folding underneath the front, you flip Brainstorm around so his feet fold up into the rear of the spaceship mode.  The arms unravel from the sides and you flip them front-to-back as well.  The giant nose of the spaceship, which just folded behind the back of the previous Brainstorm toy.... still folds behind his back, but you can also remove it and use it as an arm-mounted weapon or as a vehicle for his little head dude.

(his little head dude is called Teslor, by the way -- back in 1987, his head's name was Arcana, but i guess that trademark isn't available anymore, so it's TESLOR, which is............... definitely a real historical guy's name with -or on the end of it, ain't it)

Versus either of the "official" ways to store his giant spaceship nose, I have decided to do it my own way.  I hang it upside-down on his back so that Brainstorm keeps the over-the-shoulder cannons that he has both in MTMTE and his previous toy.  (As seen in this post's first image.)  They're an important part of his silhouette to me, so first thing out of the package I tried to find a way to recreate them.  They definitely don't plug in securely, requiring gravity to do most of the work, but if you angle the support structure just behind his head just so, you can kind of hook his nosefins across the large tabs back there and have it stay in place well enough.

If you don't want to have to buy a SDCC-exclusive Brainstorm, well, sort of good news!  There's a single-carded version of him coming as an exclusive to Walgreens very shortly.  The Walgreens Brainstorm tries to be more like the original toy, with a mintier green, warmer grays, a  yellow cockpit window, and minus the teal on his boots.  Also his helmet might be a darker gray, we dunno for sure yet.  

If you have a Walgreens nearby, I recommend trying to pick him up.  I thiiiiiiiiiink he starts showing up in August?  

Backing up, Brainstorm is a retool of Blurr, right?  Well, that means he has the same partially-open canopy that Blurr does.  Which means Brainstorm is a spaceship without a fully-enclosed canopy.   Better hope whoever's driving can breathe in space!  

Posted August 14, 2015 at 11:15 pm

Look, there are toys of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.  So of course I bought them.  There was no other rational choice.

Entertainment Earth had an exclusive set of the pair (plus a fold-together version of the Weekend Update set) on sale at SDCC this year, and I'm not really sure there's anything more I could have wanted.  (well, okay, maybe to-scale castmembers from both 30 Rock and Parks & Rec)  Each of them has four points of articulation -- shoulders and hips -- and is ... I'd say probably original GIJoe:Real American Hero scale?  Old Snake there outsizes them by a bit, but modern GIJoes are relatively huge.  Amy Poehler's likeness is uncanny, while Tina Fey's is a little weird.  It's probably the glasses.  It's hard to sculpt glasses on something that small and not have it look off.  

They sit on my VCR/Blu-Ray shelf, and I was dumb and took this photo at night when the light's kinda crummy.  Every day I'm like "I'm gonna photograph these guys before it gets dark!" and then every day it gets dark and then it's a month passed and NO MORE GOD DAMMIT, HERE THEY ARE.

The original version is sold out, but a rerelease with a new backdrop is up for preorder.

Posted July 28, 2015 at 10:01 am

FINE i guess i'll talk about some of the new toys i've gotten in the past few weeks

Here's the SDCC-exclusive Combiner Hunters three-pack, which I'll showcase 'cuz the remainder of the stock goes up some time today on  (OH HEY!  HERE IT IS!) It comes with redecoes of the three Deluxe Class female Transformers we got last year: Arcee, Windblade, and Chromia, plus a bunch of additional huge-ass weapons and one small bit of retooling.

The retooling is Arcee's hands, which go from slot-holding hands to the usual 5mm peghole hands.  She still comes with her swords, and since the slots are 5mm across, she can still hold her swords.  She doesn't come with either of her original guns, which means technically you can't really complete her transformation.  Her hands grasp either end of her smaller rifle in car mode, and without that rifle, the arms kind of just fold underneath and don't secure.  I mean, it's not the worst thing in the world, and it's not like they're visible in car mode, but it still bothers me a little.  She comes with a giant toothed cleaver that originally came with the super-large Beast Hunters Optimus Prime toy from a year or so back.   She doesn't hold the cleaver super well, what with it being twice her size, but you can still get her into some poses, and a huge-ass cleaver is still fuckin' rad.  Her new colors, a dark charcoal with some pink and silver trim, make her the most attractive toy of the set.  Plus, you know, Autobot symbol tattoo on her cheek.  Booyah.

Windblade and Chromia have fewer changes to them, with no weapon absences or retooling, and their colors kind of feel a little more shuffled-around rather than changed.  Chromia is improved, I think, with the facepaint around her eyes, which makes her look pretty fierce and a little terrifying.  Which fits Chromia well, hmm?  She's still blue and gray, though now she's more gray than blue, while Windblade is now mostly red rather than only a little red.  They both come with weapons from those 12-inch "Titan Heroes" figures that collectors hate but kids snatch up like crack.  You know, the nontransformable five points of articulation guys?  Windblade's weapon is the "Decepticon Hunter" from the Robots in Disguise cartoon, while Chromia's sword is Bumblebee's sword version of the Decepticon Hunter from the same cartoon.  But, you know, packed with a Deluxe Class toy, they're huge.

A purchase of either this Combiner Hunters set or the SDCC-exclusive Devastator at Comic-Con got you a bonus Combiner Hunters one-shot comic.  That comic's being released to comic book stores on Wednesdays!  I read that comic like thirty times at my booth, and so I'm very glad it was a good comic.  (It introduces Victorion, the fan-voted lady combiner.)

If you like transforming robot ladies in facepaint and tattoos wielding weapons larger than themselves which they use to cut down giant Transformer combiners, then this set is probably up your alley.  

Posted July 26, 2013 at 1:45 am
I'm almost always into the little GIJOE dudes we get at Comic-Con, but not so much the giant vehicles they come with.  I am rarely into Joe vehicles ever.  They're huge and they take up space and they're not characters.  Now, the SDCC Joe vehicles for the past three years have been characters -- Transformers characters, even -- but even then I'm not really sold on them.  I have versions of these guys that transform into robots and take up less space.  But if you want to get, like, Decepticon Destro or a GIJOE-style Bludgeon, you also have to swallow the giant-ass rides they come with.  The Shockwave HISS from last year is still the centerpiece of our kitchen table 'cuz there's no where else for it to go.

Currently, Harmony Gold is famously trying to sue Hasbro for this year's Jetfire, claiming it infringes on their ownership of Robotech.  I don't know how that'll go down, but the stated terms of their suit is kind of over-reachy.  They seriously want everyone to return their purchased toys to them.  You do your best, guys, we'll see how that works out.  But the event raised my interest in this Giant Thing I Happened To Buy With My Bludgeon enough to try to start putting it together Wednesday night.

Immediately I had regret.  This thing is so huge.  I mean, I have some huge toys, but there's this algorithm in my brain where the size of a toy needs to match my desire to possess it, and my desire to own this giant Jetfire thing was almost zero, but its footprint in my house was titanic.  I actually started to feel a little claustrophobic as the damn thing took up half the couch as I stickered it.  Halfway through the process, I texted my friend Ron to please remove this thing from my house for me.  (He gladly accepted, but he's currently out of town.)

The jet itself is a Skystriker.  A big thing!  It's even bigger with the newly-tooled jet booster pack that you attach to it, which makes it look more like Jetfire.  There's even room for a new seat in that extra part section.  Seriously, this thing is large.  The stickers are... well, they fall in line with Metroplex's stickers, but less fit-where-it's-supposed-to-go-y.  There're some mislabeled things and some stuff that doesn't exactly fit, and the paper likes to come up along with the sticker part basically always, so it helps to have fingernails.  Don't even try to get the striping around the cockpit to match up.  It won't.  You're just gonna have to agree with yourself that it's gonna be imperfect.

It's actually a pretty neat giant-ass Jetfire.  If you have room for a giant-ass Jetfire.

I do not.

No, you can't have my Baroness.  Stop asking.
Posted August 6, 2012 at 2:16 am

I guess I should talk about "Rust In Peace Cliffjumper," another of SDCC's Transformers exclusives.  RIP Cliffjumper (seen on the right) is a toy of when Cliffjumper was a Dark Energon zombie, so of course I was interested in it.  Because, you know, Transformer zombie.  (Zombies actually have a pretty storied history in Transformers, but we don't get many toys of them.)

RIP Cliffjumper is a retool of the "First Edition" Cliffjumper, which didn't get sold here in America as planned (but it will later this year).   I've been told by everyone who got one that it was amazingly awesome, so maybe that put my expectations a little high, but I was kind of disappointed in the toy.  While the Cliffjumper we got was pretty simple (if full of fake kibble), FE Cliffjumper's mold can be pretty frustrating to me.  Getting him into car mode was a chore.  Not fun.  I mean, it's nice that all his car parts actually become the correct corresponding robot parts, but he kind of cheesed me off.

On the other hand, zombie.  So even if this toy was the devil, he's still better than the more-fun-to-transform non-zombie one.

And  he came inside a package that looked like his own head, and the head-package comes inside a box that looks like his chest.  He's a Cliffjumper turducken.

Posted July 26, 2012 at 12:54 am
Phew!  I'm finally to Part Five of Bruticus.  Unlike the other four, Onslaught doesn't become any number of limbs.  He's limited to being the torso/head/thighs.  Someone's gotta have all the male connection ports!

I am a little saddened by Onslaught, but not because of Onslaught himself.  No, I'm sad in advance for Impactor.  I've always wanted an Impactor toy.  (Well, where "always" means "since about 1997," when I learned the Marvel UK stuff existed.)  But Onslaught's robot mode has some problems, and I want Impactor to be amaaaaaazing.  And if Onslaught's not amazing, then neither will Impactor.

Technically, Onslaught only has two problems.  His forearms.  They are attached to his elbows by tiiiny ball joints.  But his elbows are attached to his biceps by some very stiff ratcheting rotational joints.  I think you know where this is leading.  You try to move his forearms, his forearms are more likely to pop off than to move, because that's the path of least resistance.  It's supremely annoying.

Maybe the plastic tolerances on Impactor will be different, and his arms will be fine!  Who knows.  But it irks me.

The arms are what get in the way of the other modes, too.  They just sorta hang underneath his ribcage in torso mode (though they peg in place) and in truck mode you have to cover them up with his weapon or else he's a truck with arms on his hood.

The rest of Onslaught's robot mode has no problems.  Sure, he obviously has Bruticus' pelvis hanging off the back of his ass even when seen from the front, but I can overlook that.  And don't look at him from the back because of the whole Bruticus head thing, but Transformers rarely look nice from that angle anyway.   (I do wish you could plug in his gun behind his head, as you could the original Onslaught.  You can in Bruticus mode, as is intended, but the Bruticus head gets in the way of it happening when Onslaught is in robot mode.)

His truck mode is not great.  Well... it's better than it looks, and how it looks is "less good 1986 Kup pickup truck mode."   Again, I care less about this re: Onslaught, and moreso about future Impactor, who hasn't had a toy before.  It's definitely its own thing and not a recreation of 1985 Onslaught's very long military truck mode.  Like Brawl, Onslaught was a pre-existing design for the previous Transformers game, so the designers didn't have as much leeway, and instead the torso mode had to be kind of shoehorned out of him.  If you've seen his truck mode from War for Cybertron, you'll see that it suffers the most.

The torso mode though is everything Bruticus needs, however.  It's the most important thing Onslaught does.  He's the torso, which means he has to hold everything together.  He can't be the weak link, and he's not.  He pegs together very stiffly so that the whole thing doesn't fall apart under its own weight.  This is a good reason for him to be a Deluxe instead of a Voyager or larger -- if he were any bigger, this thing would be hella unstable.

FOC Onslaught is not a great toy of the Onslaught character.  But he's a fantastic Bruticus torso.  Given a choice between the two, I think this toy chose wisely.

At least Impactor will be orange.  Orange absolves a lot of sins.
Posted July 25, 2012 at 2:25 am

It's my last limb to talk about!  Vortex is #4.  And as the title of today's blog reminds us, that helicopter blade is basically Bruticus' raison d'etre.  Historically all the other guys are pretty much blocks with vehicle details sculpted into them, but Vortex brings propellers!  It's how you know Bruticus is Bruticus!  (Except for when he's Defensor.)

Vortex isn't terribly interesting to talk about.  It's not like he has a terrible robot mode or a terrible copter mode or a terrible arm mode or a terrible leg mode.  He does those all well enough!  Sufficiently, even!  Not memorably, no, but sufficiently!  And that's his deal.

The only sticking point about his robot mode is where his propellers end up.  On the original Vortex and in the video game model for FOC Vortex, the propellers end up out of the way on his back.  But on the toy, due to the transformation, the propellers end up on his forearm.  It's not a terrible place for propellers to be -- they could be sweet arm blades or something.  But they're not placed on his forearm with any amount of grace, and so they just look kind of awkward.  Also, they make his dual swords feel kind of redundant.  Why carry a sword when the damn blades embedded in your arm eclipse them?

He's a pretty good arm.  He's not a great hand.  I generally like open-palmed hand sculpts, but that's because they tend to look more natural than a fist.  But a hand sculpted straight open so that you can waffle the thumb to one side or the other so it can serve as either a right or left hand... that doesn't look terribly natural.  So Vortex is, by default, the "Kung Fu Chop" hand.  That's what it looks like it's for.  Not exactly something I imagine to be one of Bruticus' signature moves, but hey.

He also makes a pretty good leg.

Not sure why he's green.

(Note: I was dumb and mixed up Brawl and Swindle's guns.  I'll fix it in the TFwiki photos, but fixing it here will be a chore and I'm just that lazy enough, so just imagine them being swapped.)
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