Posts tagged with "transformers" - 1
Posted January 11, 2021 at 11:07 pm

Reveal the Shield Jazz came out 11 years ago, and we were all thinking at the time, okay, this is the Best Jazz Possible.  There is no topping it.  No reason to buy any other G1 Jazzes!  And Power of the Primes Jazz came out 2017, and it was definitely a step down from RTS Jazz, but it became a combiner limb, so at least it serves a different sort of purpose.  So RTS Jazz still reigns supreme.  Unsurmountable.  Impossible.

And then Hasbro decided to reboot everything under a strictly adhered-to style (heavily cartoon-based) and also a unified scale.  RTS Jazz suddenly finds himself too tall and style-wise out-of-fashion.  He's clearly from a Different Era.  By the time Studio Series '86 Jazz was announced, you're already wishing for a Jazz that fits in better with everybody.  

I mean, if you'd rather your collection have a wider spread of styles, which is definitely a neat-o thing to do, then, yeah, keep your RTS Jazz.  It has its faults, but so does this new Jazz.  They're pretty similar in their placement on the joy vs annoyance spectrum, and about equally as complex.  New Jazz is definitely smaller (and about $5 more expensive after adjusting for inflation), but, again, he won't tower over the other guys he should be the same size as.  He does the job he's supposed to.  

The obvious difference between the two is that SS'86 Jazz tries to Be The Cartoon Model, and that means it needs to tuck those door wings away.  I'm pro door wing for Jazz in general, but this toy does an okay job of hiding them.  You tuck one layer of roof into another layer of roof, tuck the doors inside, and then just pile all that on his back.  Giving him door wings would be a more interesting use of that mass, but again we're trying to be the animation model.  

It is pretty great that despite having sixteen billion Transformers toys that transform with hoods folding down into chests, we're still discovering new ways to make that happen.  How will we have to fit the arms under there this time???  Well, in SS'86 Jazz's case, you ... rotate the abs around the spine to make room for them.  That's a new one on me.  

Jazz comes with a Moonbase One backdrop and a rifle.  Unlike Kup and Blurr from his wave, he doesn't come with a non-gun The Transformers: The Movie-inspired accessory.  

Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:01 am

It's amazing the difference between the last Transformers team and the current one.  The last team wanted to do a new Perceptor, but original Perceptor was, um, a microscope, so they made him a halftrack truck.  Like, you could feel echoes of the plea to marketing for that guy.  "LOOK HE HAS WHEELS AND TREADS, HE'S NOT A SCIENCE THING, PLEASE LET US MAKE PERCEPTOR, BOYS DEMO AGED 5-12 WILL BUY THIS."  

Meanwhile, the current Transformers team just straight-up remakes the original Perceptor, now with 10% more articulation because the original wasn't too bad about that to begin with.  He's a microscope, yo.  Again.  And by "microscope," we of course mean "Perceptor's robot mode folded up to look like the original Perceptor's microscope mode, which also looked like Perceptor's robot mode folded up and not too much like a microscope."  Do kids want this?  I'd like to think so, because science is important, but who knows.  Here's your regurgitated 1985 Perceptor.  Hasbrobadger don't give a shit.  Hasbrobadger don't care.

Also he has a third "tank" mode, just like the original, which is rendered on the cardback but not present in the instructions.  This is not a great tank mode.  It's a terrible tank mode.  I mean, they tried, but it just looks awkward and doofy.  I can see why they left it out of the instructions.  (there are extra tabs and slots for it, plus some extra pieces, so it's not, like, an "oops this toy can still do the original third tank mode" thing, it was definitely intended on purpose)

But, look.  Credit where it's due.  His microscope still works.  It's a functional microscope.  The amount of magnification isn't great, but you can even rotate the little nob on the scope and it'll do a small amount of focusing.  That's a surprise in 2017.  Transformers these days aren't often budgeted individualized gimmicks that aren't part of the line-wide Mega Gimmick.  This isn't Armada.  

Perceptor's head pops off and transforms into a little dude.  His name's Convex.  

Also, what I am here for is that this Perceptor is designed specifically after IDW's Perceptor -- at least, the one that featured in All Hail Megatron and beyond, including Last Stand of the Wreckers and More Than Meets The Eye.  It probably helped that his IDW comics design is close enough to the original toy that you can do the IDW comics Perceptor and most folks will think, Hey, it's the original style.  But the sculpted shapes of the arms and knees and such give him away, if not the fact that he comes with a friggin' sniper rifle.  Sadly, he's got two normal eyes, and not a normal eye and a big ol' targeting grid monocle.  Also, I guess, the scope is on the wrong shoulder for IDW.  The original 1984 toy could switch the scope's placement, but this toy keeps it over his left shoulder, like it was in the cartoon.  

If you want a Perceptor that's like the original toy but now he can bend his knees at the hips, this is your toy.  Also if you want a toy that'll fit better into your Lost Light display shelf.  Or if you just like Headmasters.  Or if you're desperate to throw money at something shiny to distract yourself from the rise of fascism, I dunno.

Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:20 am

It's Grabuge!  Yep, that's his name.  That's his name because Grabuge's American name, "Ruckus," wasn't an available trademark, so Fun Publications went for his ... French-Canadian name?  Sure.  Why not.  Grabuuuuuuuuuuuge.

Out of most of this series of Subscription Service guys, Gra-- RUCKUS is the one I am most grateful for.  You see, he was the original intent for the toy.  When Hasbro was figuring out Menasor and realizing that Wildrider was a trademark they weren't likely to get back soon, there was apparently a time window when they sculpted the guy to look like Ruckus, the 1988 Triggercon.  Which is, frankly, amazing.  Too amazing, apparently, since they either realized "oh shit this guy's name ain't available either" or "oh shit Menasor can't have a beige leg" and decoed the toy to look sorta like Wildrider and gave him the name "Offroad" and decided he was a new guy.  


Fun Publications will! 

(note: there were some people who were upset that if FP were gonna make a Ruckus, that they'd use this mold instead of, like, Swindle, and no amount of "BUT THIS SCULPT IS RUCKUS THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT" would deter them from their folly)

Like a lot of this series of Subscription figures so far, Ruckus is...............80% paint?  For seriously, you see that beige crotchpiece and the beige torso midsection/combiner peg and the beige elbow/shoulder jointage?  Everything else is purple plastic!  The rest of his torso, painted.  The doors on his shoulders, painted.  The inside of the truck hood on his back behind his head, painted.  Yes, that's painted.  It's purple plastic under there.  Boggles the mind.  The entire roof of the car and bed of the truck, painted.  All the teal, painted.  There is a friggin' lot of paint here.

It makes me wonder what Hasbro's version of the deco would have looked like.  It would have used a tenth of the paint, that's for sure, and wouldn't have been such a slavish replication of the original toy's deco.  It would have had to adhere more to the plastic breakdowns of the toy, deco-wise, and probably very loosely interpret the original's color arrangements.  Sometimes I lie awake at night and ponder these things.

Because I have insomnia.

Posted June 15, 2016 at 12:01 am

Hey, you guys!  Entertainment Earth has a fancy new exclusive toy set It’s one of those Platinum dealies where you get all the paint and whatnot, so if you saw Deluxe Bumblebee in stores last year and were like, okay, but what if this thing were painted, or if you saw Deluxe Grimlock and were like, okay, but what if this were scaled to Bumblebee correctly – these are your guys.

I will have one soon!  And I will talk about it too much then, I’m pretty sure.  You know how I am.

Posted August 25, 2015 at 7:00 pm

I've probably mentioned it in this blog before, but when I was a kid, I designed a Transformers combiner.  Powermaster Optimus Prime and Pretender Classics had just happened, and I noticed that we were starting to get old guys (Bumblebee, Jazz, Grimlock, Starscream) redone as new toys with current gimmicks, and I hatched a plan to get me other new toys of guys I wanted years earlier but never got toys of.  And so, using allll the creativity that a ten-year-old can muster, I designed a Transformers gestalt guy made of Ratchet, Ironhide, Prowl, and Wheejack with Optimus Prime as a torso.  It was very creative.  So wow.

Anyway, twenty-five years later, the dream is nearly being realized.  I've got my Ironhide and Prowl, Wheeljack's coming, and there's some art of a possible Ratchet that leaked, and of course there's Optimus Prime.  I am so into this.  I want everyone to be a combiner.  I want to rebuy my entire Transformers collection as combiner limbs and torsos.  Combiner Wars is the shit.

Anyway, all these new limbs here (Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Prowl, and Mirage) are retools of the Stunticons.  Ironhide was Offroad, Sunstreaker was Breakdown, Prowl was Dead End (well, okay, he's a retool of Streetwise who's a retool of Dead End), and Mirage was Drag Strip.  They all get new heads.  They're officially supposed to combine with "Battle Core Optimus," a white redeco of the first wave Optimus Prime torso with a new also-Optimus-Prime head retool, but I'm cool with the first wave Optimus Prime I already have.  My childhood combiner guy didn't have a white redeco of Prime in it.  Also Legends Class Rodimus forms the chest armor.  Sort of.  He likes to not stay on so well.

My favorite of the four is Sunstreaker, since his toy incorporates the big fist/foot/cannon accessory into the robot mode itself.  Plus Sunstreaker's yellow, and you know me and my yellow.  

One thing I don't like is how the fist/foot/cannon accessory on each of these guys is split up between silver-painted plastic and silver plastic.  Some of the plastic in these toys are nylon for structural integrity reasons, and nylon won't take factory paint, but it still makes the weapon modes of each toy look even less cohesive than before, like a piece of gun with some fingers in it.  It's just more conspicuous.  Which, again, is why I'm happiest with Sunstreaker, who can peg his fist/foot/cannon accessory onto his back.  

I've seem some folks complain that we're getting new toys of these four guys when we already have toys of them.  Well, maybe you do!  Those toys came out in 2008!  That was a while ago!  And, like my childhood self, sometimes you don't get to get everything you want during the first pass, so second chances are nice.  And it's even better if these second chances combine into a larger robot.  

Now where's my Wheeljack and my Ratchet?

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 April 4, 2015 at 7:01 pm

I've had enough of these Combiner Wars guys to make a full combiner since Christmas, but I didn't have the right components to make an official team until Thursday.  And so I figured I'd wait to talk about the combined forms until then, when I could show off a completed group.  The first two waves of Combiner Wars staggered the teams, with one or two missing members of the two completable teams held off until the second wave.  (Optimus Prime being a third wheel.)  

Here are the Stunticons!  There are four of the original members here, with two new members of the team.  Wildrider has been replaced by Offroad, partially for "we lost the trademark" reasons and partially for "wouldn't it be nice if one of these guys weren't a sports car" reasons.  You gotta vary up your allotted retail space.  Offroad himself is sculpted to be a new Ruckus, a Triggercon from the late Eighties, but it was determined for one reason or another that his toy would instead become a new guy in colors that would look like Wildrider when in combined mode.  (I think "Ruckus" itself is another lost trademark, but I'm not sure.)  

The other new member of the team is Blackjack, who was originally a Micromaster from the Sports Car Patrol, but is now the guy who forms Menasor's chest.  The original Menasor had a little black car-like drone on his chest that came with Motormaster, the semi truck torso guy, and Blackjack is the new approximation of that.  The new Blackjack toy itself, like Offroad, was sculpted to be a different guy, Runabout, the Battlecharger.  But they didn't have the trademark to that guy the last time a Runabout toy was made (he was a Transformers Collectors' Club exclusive renamed Over-Run), so that toy became another small black car, Blackjack.  S'just as well, since I'm not ready to replace my Over-Run yet, and am happy to have a new Blackjack.  

(Blackjack doesn't fit super securely on many people's Menasors, but mine is snug enough.)

Wildrider won't be completely forgotten, as he's getting a limited release through online retailers(?) as a Dead End head-retool named Brake-Neck. 

Like the Aerialbot limbs, the Stunticons share some engineering ideas.  Offroad transforms the way most Combiner Wars limbs do so far, with the head placed at the far end of the combiner connector piece, the front of the vehicle folding over onto the back of the robot, the arms splitting off from the sides of the vehicle, and the legs pulling out from the rear.  Dead End and Breakdown differ similarly from this formula in that their heads are not attached to the connector piece at all, but are hidden under the hood of the car during vehicle mode, attached to the front of the torso which wraps over the tops of the shoulders and over the connector piece in robot mode.  Drag Strip's head is done similarly, but without the chest wrapping part.  

Breakdown is super obviously going to be Sunstreaker eventually.  He looks like Breakdown, sure enough, and there aren't really any compromises on Sunstreaker's behalf, but Breakdown's foot/hand/gun is Sunstreaker's car engine thruster dealio, and it can peg onto Breakdown's back appropriately, as well as slot into Breakdown's car mode in a way that better approximates Sunstreaker's vehicle mode than the usual orientation.  Breakdown will likely get some new parts, like a head and chest, and some new colors and be a pretty good Sunstreaker.  

The highlight of these guys, however, is the combination engineering,  The connection points are a dream.  There's no shoving or excessive force, and yet it's incredibly sturdy and poseable.  I'm in awe of its simplicity.  You really can play with the larger combined robot as if it were a single entity, without fear of anything falling off.  (With the exception of Blackjack for some people, as mentioned above.)  

This is probably pretty good, since this is a line titled Combiner Wars, so the combining should probably work.

Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:30 pm

I was pretty damn satisfied with my 2006 Classics Megatron.  He was gray and black and green and orange and purple and he transformed into a motherfuckin' Nerf gun.  The green and orange and purple was really only there to help him pass toy gun regulations, but it really made me love him.  Plus, you know, Nerf gun.  Bonus.  

And so when we were first introduced to the new, bigger Leader Class Megatron, I was initially a little meh.  The new toy was in classic colors, meaning the purple and orange and green were gone, and he was back to being silver and black and red.  Silver and black and red are fine colors, it's just, y'know, not as interesting to me.  Plus the toy fell into the body proportion aesthetic a lot of the new Transformers team's stuff seemed to find itself in -- wide body with thin legs.  It's a good set of proportions for Animated Batman, but I prefer my bots to be more stompy.  

But, well, Stuff is happening in the comics.  Megatron's an Autobot now.  He's joined the cast of my favorite Transformers fiction, and it's phenomenal.  And this new Leader Class Megatron toy would include a change of Autobot faction stickers to represent that development.  Suddenly the toy became Lost Light Megatron, and I had to have it.  Sure, the rest of him's not specifically designed after the body he has in the comics now -- it's more of a generic "G1 Megatron as a silver tank" thing -- but it's close enough and that's its official intent and that's how my brain works.  Plus he's a big enough toy to actually fit in with my Lost Light display.  Slapping an Autobot symbol on my Classics Megatron would result in a guy who stands eye-to-eye with my Rodimus and Brainstorm, and that just won't do.  

Original misgivings aside, he's a great toy in person.  His skinny legs aren't bothersome when he's actually in front of you in 3D, and they ratchet to and fro with satisfying clicks.  Plus his legs are shaped that way to accommodate his real working rubber treads.  He's got a set of real working rubber treads on his back and a set in his legs.  They don't combine into one single pair of working treads in tank mode, but that's fine.  

That the toy is mostly covered in silver paint also helps.  He's this giant shiny attractive thing, and there aren't huge spots of unpaintable nylon plastic breaking up his silver like some metallic-painted Transformers have.  Sure, there are a handful of unpainted silver spots, but they're not conspicuous or incongruous.  Despite not having purple or green, he's an attractive chunk of plastic.  He does have some orange detail, though.  I'm sure it helps.

In tank mode he's got a rotating turret... if you leave him half-transformed.  The proper instructions have you close his pelvis onto the back of the turret, locking it in place, but if you don't connect that piece,  he's engineered so that the whole turret rotates.  He's got springloaded missile launcher in his barrel/arm cannon, and also both of his secondary tank weapons combine into a longer rifile for him to carry in robot mode.  When you lift up his chestplate during transformation, there's a sculpted spark casing under there, with details borrowed from its appearance in Beast Wars.  

This toy is also available in Armada Megatron flavor, if you so choose.  That version has a new head (with the antlers) and is mostly green, gray, purple, and florescent orange instead of mostly silver and black.  But that dude isn't in my comics and I like my original one better, with the real working wrist-shiv deployment, so screw it.  

The only huge disappointment with this guy is the sticker sheet.  Sure, I like the Autobot logos, and they work well enough on him, but Hasbro also put his original toy's chest deco on there.  You know, the little swirly loops that look like chest hair.  The problem is, they printed them on a white background, like his symbols, instead of a clear background, so they look pretty terrible on his chest.  Reprolabels better solve this one for us.  I need those chest swirlies.  I'll keep the real swirlie stickers on him until then, because my love for the chest swirlies slightly edges out how terrible I think these stickers look.  

Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:01 pm

The Masterpiece line to me was pretty blah back a few years ago when all the toys were mostly the same height in robot mode.  Optimus, Grimlock, Megatron, Rodimus, Optimus a few more dozen times... But these days, they're doing more than just Big Guys and they're trying to scale them according to how they appeared in the cartoon, which means you've got tall guys like Optimus, slightly less tall guys like Soundwave and the jets, medium-sized guys like Prowl and Wheeljack, and tiny guys like Bumblebee.  Stretching out in the other direction is Ultra Magnus.

Ultra Magnus might be the first guy in this new paradigm that isn't scaled perfectly to how tall he is in the cartoon -- he's just a head or so taller than Optimus Prime, but this toy he's a few heads taller.  This is because they seem to have wanted MP Magnus and MP Prime's truck cabs to be the same size.  And when your entire body is the trailer of a car carrier, you're probably going to be way taller than the guy who's just a truck cab.

Speaking of which, unlike the original Ultra Magnus toy, which was really just a redecoed super robot trailer combiney thing for the original Optimus Prime, this new Ultra Magnus doesn't have an Optimus Prime robot inside him anywhere.  The truck cab splits up completely differently to help complete the torso.  It can remain attached during transformation or detach from the trailer hitch as needed.  There being no white Optimus Prime involved makes me a little sad, but I guess engineering challenges may have gotten in the way of that.  It probably would have involved taking the trailer apart, at any rate, if there was to be any leg articulation, while this toy manages to not need anything to separate during transformation.  Even the missile launchers are on little arms so you don't have to unplug and plug them where they need to go in either mode.  

Speaking of missile launchers, Masterpiece Ultra Magnus is also unique in Masterpiece in that his vehicle mode, at least from the back of the truck cab, is really obviously a bunch of Ultra Magnus robot parts rather than being based on any real-life car carrier trailer.  It's accurate to the original toy and the cartoon, but it's still conspicious next to the Real Life Licensed Cars that have been the staple of the line for a while.

That said, it's a fun and hefty toy.  It's not annoying to transform, and it's a fun process throughout.  When I see him, I actively want to transform him -- even the part where you replace the real rubber tires in his feet with smaller fake plastic molded tires that match the animation model better.   It's ridiculous and you don't really need to do it except for aesthetic reasons, but the change itself is fun to operate.  

He comes with two faces which are interchangeable.  One's a stoic face and one's a shouting face that's supposed to accompany use of his extra pair of Matrix-holding hands.  (Matrix not included.)  I love the shouting face, and interpret him as being angry at people for flouting technicalities of law.  If you leave both faces off, there's a white Optimus Prime head sculpted underneath which harkens back to the original toy.

Magnus also comes with little figurines of Spike and Daniel Witwicky.  They can ride inside his cab mode, if you want.  More likely, you will lose them.  

Masterpiece Ultra Magnus is a good purchase if you want a giant, hefty Magnus.  He's really good at that.  It may be the thing he's best at.  It's not that he's bad at other things, it's just that he's... a really huge Magnus.  It is a quality that overwhelms all the others.

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