Posts tagged with "transformers prime" - 3
Posted August 8, 2012 at 12:33 am

It looked like the Jet-style Vehicon was gonna be a Japan-only release as well, so I jumped on BigBadToyStore's preorders a few weeks back.  The wings add about a third again to Jet Vehicon's mass, so if it does eventually show up over here, it'll probably hafta go in a case assortment with somebody a little smaller to compensate.

Jet Vehicon is Car Vehicon's robot mode with an entire new vehicle shell.  Yeah, it looks like it's just a car with wings, but it's not Car Vehicon's car with wings.  It's an entirely different car with wings, and one that matches the show's model exactly.  I am super in love with Jet Vehicon's altmode.  This may be because as a child I had a fascination with cars with wings (versus jets), a fascination which you may have noticed manifesting itself in this webcomic.  Or maybe it's just that it objectively looks super cool.

For the love of god, while getting him into robot mode, transform his wings first.  If you don't, you'll have to transform everything back so you can get to the wings properly.  There's no clearance to flip them up otherwise.  As one would suspect, other than the wings, Jet Vehicon's transformation is exactly the same as Car Vehicon's.  He's just reshelled, after all.  And so he has the same amazing everything-fits-into-his-legs transformation and the wonky elbows.  The former is great, the latter is not so great.

If the toy has any disadvantages over its predecessor, it's that the shell of the jet mode is harder to peg together when putting him back in vehicle form.  Closing him up again can be a little annoying.

As with the other Japanese Transformers Prime toys, Jet Vehicon comes with a little Mini-Con dude you put together.  This one transforms from a Vehicon blaster into iguana, I think.  Ah, yeah, his name is Igu.  Well, that settles it.  (Then again, Iguanus never transformed into an iguana.)  Now that I've gotten four of these Mini-Cons, I can see the appeal of pegging them together to make larger weapons, as intended.  Right now my Breakdown's holding a giant double-barreled drill cannon that's half his own mass.

I wanted two of each of the two kinds of Vehicons, and now I have them, so I consider myself done with Vehicons.  Until they come out with more different kinds, I guess.  I feel four total is a manageably-sized army.
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 20, 2012 at 11:54 pm
Aligned-universe Decepticons, assemble!

So, hey, seems like we're not getting Breakdown!  But Japan did!  And so I got one.

With stickers applied and hammer attached.

Apparently it went like this:  Hasbro and Tomy were working on this Voyager Class Breakdown toy, and while it was in the early stages, Hasbro was all, uh, dude, he's kind of suddenly dead now, and this toy won't hit stores until like a year after that at this point, and what kid wants a dead third-string villain?  And Tomy was all "yoink!" 'cuz they were just starting to air Transformers Prime over there and so he'd hit shelves in Japan in a timely manner, and finished up the tooling themselves.  As a result, Hasbro can't release the toy later if they decide they want to, because Tomy finished up the mold in a way that it doesn't fit well into any of the American size classes.

(Signs of  him starting out as a domestic release are hidden throughout him.  His forearms and his stomach are translucent plastic, for example, which point to him being developed to work with the light-up weaponry that other PRID Voyagers come with.)

TL;DR: Enjoy your $60 Breakdown.

Breakdown before stickers

The silver lining is... he's not a crappy toy?  I mean, if I'm gonna overpay for a toy, I don't want it to be a piece of shit.  So.

That's not to say he's perfect!  He's still a Japanese Transformers Prime toy, which has its ups and downs.  The downs are pretty apparent.  Tomy's not been having a good time with Transformers, and so they've been half-painting these things and then putting the rest of the deco on sticker sheets.  This keeps the price down and also keys into the "build and/or customize it yourself" model toy culture over there.   Needless to say, I'd prefer paint.  I'd also prefer stickers that were close in quality to the stickers I buy from Reprolabels.  These feel not so good, in comparison.  I mean, they're not terrible stickers.  They're just not collector-grade stuff, for obvious reasons.  And I'm never a big fan of applying stickers over molded detail, but that's the kind of thing you have to do if you're trading paint for stickers.

Before stickers and before Mini-Con assembly

But more silver lining!  ... at least Breakdown's show model isn't very complex, color-wise?  And so he doesn't look very bare even without the stickers, and the fewer stickers the better.  Because, again, the stickers tend to look like crap.

Stickered vehicle mode.

On the other side of the coin of Breakdown being a Tomy release is that he comes with a Mini-Con!  It's a rhino that transforms into his hammer and also a roof-mounted cannon.  Like the other Prime Mini-Cons, it comes unassembled on the sprue, and you put it together yourself.   So bonus Mini-Con!  And fun assembly, if you like that sort of thing.

As I said, he's a good toy.  He's not grossly partsformery, nor is he a bitch to get in and out of each mode.  He rides that perfect line between simple and complex, and looks accurate in both modes with a minimum of fake kibble (if any).  And he's a Voyager, so he feels just the right size and scale compared to the other toys.

If only everyone could easily buy one for $20, he'd be perfect.
Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm
The number of paint applications aren't just budgeted per figure, but also across a single wave.  Paint can be sacrificed from one toy to give to another and it still adds up for the bookkeepers, since toys are sold to stores by case and not by individual toy.

Which probably explains vibrant Dead End here and his naked pal Airachnid, dontcha think???

Don't get me wrong.  Dead End looks like he has more paint than he has, due to how cleverly his plastic colors are broken up.  Wheeljack, from whom he was retooled, was an all-white dude, while Dead End splits up that white into dark gray and yellow.  (With Wheeljack's grays becoming orange.)  It gives the appearance of more color because, well, there IS more color.  And Airachnid's plastic was required to be almost entirely black.

But he still has a lot of paint.  For example, those painted hubcaps are usually a luxury on Deluxe Class mainline toys.  Many Transformers have them left unpainted, because, hey, that's probably the easiest thing to cut, saving you four paint applications and leaving you with, oh no, black hubcaps.  But Dead End gets to have glorious bright green hubcaps. Which are glorious.  Did I mention they're glorious?

Dead End doesn't actually have any brown, but the combination of yellow, orange, and green sure makes his dark grays look brown.  It results in him looking like a big radioactive cornucopia.  Like he's in Thanksgiving Colors, from the Nineties.  It's pretty damn striking.

Oh, and apparently he's some sort of borderline zombie vampire thing.  He didn't use to be, but whoops.

TL;DR: Way better than Wheeljack
Posted June 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Airachnid is one of those toys that will test show-characters-only completists.  She's not a very good toy!  And so show-characters-only completists will end up owning toys like this instead of toys that are pretty sweet (Hot Shot, Dead End) but never made a fictional appearance.  It is a joke we play on ourselves.

Seriously, Airachnid's not that great.  It's not that she's nearly immobile in robot mode, it's not that she looks devoid of paint, it's not that she can't make that sweet third spideresque mode she has on the cartoon, it's not that her robot arms are kind of hilariously gimpy, it's ... well, it's all of those things, combined.

Airachnid has very little poseability.  She has joints, sure, but everything on her that isn't a joint works together to keep those joints from having any real range of movement.  She can't turn her head because even though the neck is balljointed, the helicopter mode's cockpit seat is attached to the back of her head and that kind of keeps it from doing anything.  She has knees and hips, but those are similarly useless joints.  To make matters worse, she doesn't stand well.  If she's not holding her weapons, she's incredibly backheavy and will topple... unless she's kind of bending forward a bit.  Which, again, isn't very practical since her movement's so restricted.

I said she "looks" devoid of paint.  She does have paint.  It's just that so much of her is black and what paint she has isn't used in the best way that it could be.  She's got paint outlining the windows of her cockpit, on the insides of both of her thighs, on her stomach, two paint applications flanking her hips, a good number on her face, and a tiny bit of paint on the Decepticon symbol on her sternum.   Oh, and her two "electro-stinger" accessories (designed after the "Null Rays" Knock Out suggested to Starscream as weapon replacements in one episode) are both extensively painted.  She has her knees painted gold and purple in her stock photography, and those must have been costed out, but I'm pretty sure I'd rather they had sacrificed the paint on her hips.  Those are supposed to be black and not purple anyway!

With paint!

She's not a very fun toy.  It's not a great transformation.  And she looks kinda dull and substandard.  I think part of the problem is her design is too ambitious for the Deluxe size class.  She woulda been a great Voyager, I'm sure, but of course that'd make her too huge.  And so we have this thing.

I've already painted my Airachnid up a bunch.  It makes her look better, but she still ain't any funner.  The most hilarious part was painting black over the unnecessary purple on her hips.  Oh, you.
Posted June 20, 2012 at 12:05 am
Apparently Canada is lousy with the "Bumblebee vs. Starscream" entertainment pack.  Which is too bad, 'cuz the United States sure could use some!  Adekii heard my pleas and graciously grabbed me one from the plethora in his neck of the woods, and now I have one and his stores have one fewer.

The set is called "Bumblebee vs. Starscream," and it does come with both a Bumblebee and a Starscream, but screw those toys.  It's the humans I'm after.  Silas, the commander of the terrorist organization MECH, plus a MECH trooper are included in this set, and this is the only way to get 'em.

Unlike the Miko/Jack/Raf figurines, Silas and his buddy are all one molded piece.  Their stands aren't removable, nor are their heads articulated.  Dang!  But at least they exist.  Human villain figures are among my favorite Transformers things.

Yeah, there's a slightly-redecoed Bumblebee and Starscream.  Whee, I guess.  They can go in the pile.  ...along with the DVD that also comes in the set, once/if I remove it from the packaging.  I have this series on blu-ray!
Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm

So Cheetimus made me a yellow Hot Shot, because he loves me or something.  Sorry, Cheets, I already have a bromance going!

At some point Cheetimus realized that he can paint, and so recently he's been doing piles of modifications to Transformers toys to either make them look more like their media appearances or just for fun.  For example, he's done buttloads of Ratchets and Knock Outs and such.  Definitely stuff above my particular skill level, for sure.  For example, just by looking at this Hot Shot he sent me, I notice he can actually paint straight.  (Rulers and straight lines have always been my natural enemy.  I mean, check out these old It's Walky! strips... these panel borderss were drawn with a straight edge.  I kid you not.)

The Hot Shot he sent me is the offspring of two toys.  Cheets took a PRID Bumblebee and gave him PRID Hot Shot's head.  After all, that gives you a yellow Hot Shot, correct, without nearly as  much painting?  Then it was a simple(?) matter of detailing him to look more like a classic Hot Shot deco.  He seems to have gone for the Armada animation colors route, with the grays instead of navy blues.  Bumblebee's stripes were painted over in red and his gut and thighs were done in red also, with some silver accents to call back to his Armada seatbelt chest details.

He's perfectly transformable, though Cheets warned me not to fuss with his visor.  The paint there means it can't be moved anymore without scraping.

This toy reminds me of the early Armada Hot Shot prototype, the broadshouldered one.  Aaron Archer said one of the reasons for the change was that he didn't think the "football player" look worked for the character, and the transformation made him too wide.  And yet,  here we are.

To sum up, Cheetimus is good at painting.  If you think your Knock Out needs more yellow, I'd check him out.
Posted May 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm
In addition to my Hot Shot and Knock Out, there was a lone Vehicon in the box from Big Bad Toy Store.  I only ordered the set of three, figuring I'd buy a second one whenever I found one at retail.  And that day has come!

I wanted more than one because, if you don't follow the show, Vehicons are the generic Decepticon troopers.  They are infinite.  Two of them are good for me.  I'd usually say three, but there are also jet-style Vehicons which are coming out later, and with two of each kind, that's a good enough-sized army for me.

This is the second Vehicon toy.  There was also a Vehicon in the "First Edition" assortment, and boy am I glad those never made it out over here!  Seriously, I am.  Because I'd own a bunch.  And you know what?  Those First Edition ones are crap.  They've got Kibble Backpack like they're going camping.  It's not an elegant-looking toy.

"Robots in Disguise" Vehicon, in comparison, is friggin' magic.  For reals.  Folks were starting at photos of Vehicon v2.0 wondering where the hell all its vehicle parts go.  They vanished!  What happened, is there a car roof shield he holds or something?  Pyche naw.  He instead defies the laws of physics.  Nearly all of his vehicle mode -- hood, roof, and all, folds up delicately and compacts inside his shins.  This should not work, and yet it does.  And so Vehicon is virtually kibble-free except the parts that are actually supposed to be there according to the character model.  It's insane.

It's not a perfect toy.  His biceps are... weird.  There's some awkward hinging there.  But the glory of his car-to-leg-stuffing transformation kind of blinds you to that.

He comes with a gun.  It can peg into any of his holes (hur hur) or it can clip onto various mounting points.  If you fold his wrist down and clip the gun there, it sort of looks like how his guns look like on the show.  Like most of the show characters, he doesn't have handheld weaponry, opting instead for a forearm that transforms into a gun.

Buy all the ones you can find.
Posted May 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm
I got Knock Out (and Vehicon) in the same box from Big Bad Toy Store that had Hot Shot in it, but I only asked Maggie to bring me Hot Shot to the airport for BotCon.  Knock Out awaited me when I returned!  I mean, I like Knock Out, but I don't have a shrine of him.  (It'd be a pretty small shrine at this point anyway, with only his Deluxe and his Happy Meal toy.)

Knock Out, much like SG Tracks, is evil Tracks.  He's more concerned about his paint job than anything else, and the only difference between him and heroic Tracks is that if you scuff him up, he'll take a saw to you.  Much of Transformers fandom -- and expecially Tumblr -- has decided he's gay.  If you want to see some hot Knock Out action, or at least some mild cuddling, search for art of him.  I guarantee you he has a much higher percentage of slash than any other Transformers Prime character.  (Starscream is probably second.)  In fact, if you read nothing on the Internet about Transformers except what's on Tumblr, you'd probably come away with the idea that Knock Out is The Most Popular Transformers Character Of All Time (And Also Has A Thing With Breakdown).

Given his popularity, of course everyone was excited for a toy of him.  We got to see an early, unpainted version of his toy at 2011's BotCon, to much cheering, but once we saw him in color, folks seemed put off.  On the show, he has a pretty high contrast red/yellow/white color scheme, while the toy focused instead on the car's two-toned red deco, leaving most of the yellow accents off.  Knock Out is "that red and yellow car" according to probably most folks, but the toy was decided only red and gray.  The toy does have some gold trim on the hood, but that's the extent of non-red colors.

There's also the matter of the show model being able to thwart all laws of physics and hide nearly all of his car parts and replace them with robot parts.  The toy of course can't do that, so instead of having normal robotty forearms, Knock Out's forearms are the car's rooftops, and instead of having a big robotty abdomen, his abdomen is car hood.  Plus none of the official photos (and many of the in-hand photos by fans) seemed to have trouble photographing his torso transformed properly.  Those car hood halves can angle towards each other so they nearly connect in the middle, y'know.  And so folks were all "bleaaugh."

Here's mine with some minor paint added, mostly silver and gold touch-ups.

(Except the folks on Tumblr.  They seem perfectly pleased.  I swear, the difference between the Transformers fandom on Tumblr and on everywhere else is like night and day.)

The toy itself, in all practicality, is fine.  It transforms easily enough, and with enough unique twists and turns that it doesn't feel like one of the 30 million other Transformers cars I already have.  The face has the appropriate smirk, giving the toy some personality. And so I was pleased with it!  It's Knock Out, as a non-terrible toy, which may require some painting.  Which I am perfectly capable of doing, so hey.  I didn't attack it as thoroughly as Cheetimus did, but I know the limits of my skill and I stick within them.

So if you like Knock Out, I recommend him.  If you like Knock Out and have a silver Sharpie marker, all the better.
Posted May 9, 2012 at 12:23 am
Hey, let's take a break from BotCon stuff!  I got other guys that weekend, after all!

This is Transformers Prime Hot Shot!  I enjoy him very much.  In a world where Bumblebee is Optimus Prime's trusted yellow hot rodded sportscar and Hot Rod has taken back the "hot headed youth destined to be leader" job, I'm happy to see there's still a place for Hot Shot nestled somewhere in between.  Sure, he kinda has to be his blue-and-red-then-yellow Cybertron colors so he's not exactly Bumblebee, but I understand that this is the compromise between him existing and him not existing.

Prime  Hot Shot is a retool of the second Bumblebee Deluxe toy.  I only have the first Bumblebee Deluxe toy, and so this mold was a new one to me.  This version transforms a lot more simply than the first one, which is good for fun but not as good for show-accuracy.  But this is Hot Shot, who's not on the show (yet?), so it doesn't matter that he's not screen accurate to a screen version that may or may not exist.  So I can bask in the fun of him.

His entire torso is geared to autotransform, you see.  If you pull his shoulders/front wheels outwards from the hood, this incredible thing takes place where the torso and head orchestrates itself wildly into position.  It's kind of amazing.  Everything else is kind of an easy afterthought.  Pull out the legs, fold up the roof, the end.

Like the original Hot Shot, this guy has a visor that flips down!  This really makes him feel like Hot Shot to me.  Unlike the original Hot Shot, the visor is translucent plastic painted mostly black, leaving unpainted goggle lenses, which is an improvement over the original opaque piece.  Also unlike the original Hot Shot, his head can turn at the neck.  He's pretty poseable overall for a Hot Shot!

One thing I have trouble grasping visually are his eyes.  See those horizontal silver slabs?  Those are actually his eyebrows!  Below them are his eyes, and they're blue translucent plastic, same as his windows and the unpainted portions of his visor.  But you can't really see them very well when they're buried inside the middle of his blue face.  They're lightpiped, but the big plastic piece behind his head tends to block light from going through there.  Maybe at some point I'll paint his eyebrows black to help my brain read his face properly.

(I've never actually customized any of my Hot Shots.  This would be a first.  I might get a double, just to have a pristine specimen to match the rest of my Shrine.)

This toy comes with a fun story!  I had this guy (and the rest of his case) preordered from Big Bad Toy Store, and they were due to arrive from UPS the day I left for BotCon.  Well, dammit, I knew that the truck wouldn't arrive until I got to the airport.  And sure enough, I was right.  No sooner than I'd been dropped off by my wife and gotten checked in than I got a phone call from her telling me the UPS guy got there with my Hot Shot as she was pulling up to our place.  And because my wife is the best friggin' wife in the whole damn world, she grabbed the Hot Shot for me, drove back to the airport, and handed him over to me on the curb.  (We live one exit down the highway.)  Hot Shot got to be my trip buddy!

One of the security guys asked if it was collectible and if I was gonna keep it sealed.  He was really sad when I told him that he was gonna be opened as soon as I got to my gate.

And then licked.
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