Posts tagged with "war for cybertron" - 1
Posted September 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Hold onto your butts.  We're about to get painfully nerdy in here.  We kind of have to, because I don't know if I have enough words otherwise to bury two photos of a simple and predictable Seeker redeco in.   It's Thundercracker.  He's a blue and silver Starscream again.  Let's move on.

War For Cybertron Starscream is technically a toy of Aligned Starscream, right?  Sure, the War for Cybertron aesthetic is blocky and having-a-nose-y enough that he can pass for other version of Starscream, and sure enough a bunch of the WFC designs were borrowed for the ongoing Robots in Disguise comic which is a Generation 1 book.  Some folks don't cotton to the idea of stylistic choices varying so widely within a continuity, and so they're happy to ignore the whole Aligned angle and just consider him G1 since he looks G1y enough to them.  

There was also a Thundercracker in War for Cybertron, and now there's a toy basically in those colors as Thundercracker.  He's being released in the same line as WFC Starscream, but only after the focus of the line shifted from WFC to a G1/Classics approach.  And since these toys are being packaged with comics, specifically comics which were written to these toys, thus placing the WFC Thundercracker design in this G1 world as G1 Thundercracker, he isn't even ambiguously a WFC toy, even though he's still sort of repurposed.


Here's the wrinkle that I've been mentally picking at.  While the Deluxe Class toys in this portion of the Generations line come with IDW comics featuring those characters, the packaging bios mostly ignore the IDW comics' specific interpration of these characters, content instead to rehash the original tech spec bios from the eighties.  Swerve is a guy who doesn't drive so good instead of being a insecure bar owner, for example.  The packaging presents the "original" version of the character rather than the version currently-appearing-in-fiction.  We're getting a new Armada Starscream toy and the Generation 1 comic books are gong to use that design for its G1 Starscream character.  However, if the pattern holds, the bio on the package will still talk about Armada Starscream rather than G1 Starscream.  The packaging will claim the toy is a different iteration of the character versus the comic inside.   

What I wonder is, does this hold true for Thundercracker?  And even if this is a question to ask, is it possible to know?  WFC Thundercracker's characterization is likely indistinguishable from G1 Thundercracker's.  So of course this Thundercracker's bio is just every Thundercracker bio you've ever read before.  And it'd be written this way whether it were WFC Thundercracker or G1 Thundercracker being described.

(I wouldn't expect the writer of this bio to know that Takara's Prime Thundercracker toy's bio takes the character in a different direction, nor would I expect him to feel bound by it.)  

What I'm getting at is that this is likely a toy that comes in packaging which claims it's two different versions of the same character, much like everything else in the line, but with Thundercracker there's no outward way for us to know that, because of things.  

And that fascinates me.  

Because I'm a weirdo.  

Posted September 9, 2010 at 2:01 am
So exciting.

... it's important that you all know that in Transformers: Prime, Cliffjumper is going to be voiced by The Rock and that this is incredibly awesome.

My next batch of Generations toys got in from BigBadToyStore today.  And by "today" I mean "8 fucking pm."  Jesus, UPS. It's not a terribly exciting wave, consisting of my fifth iteration of the Sideswipe/Sunstreaker mold (and my third this year) and War for Cybertron Soundwave. I've been kind of lukewarm on him since his design isn't terribly interesting.  And he transforms into a box.  And he looks kind of awkward.

Laserbeak was busy that day.

He's not the only transforming Soundwave toy who doesn't come with a little dude, but it still feels like something is missing.  When your schtick is transforming into a box, even a box with wheels, you kinda need that extra little Mini-Con-esque interaction to work up some interest.  His chest does open and you can fit his two weapons inside.  Since they're cylinders and they both go in face-first, they do kind of look like cassette spools through the translucent chest window.  That's a consolation prize, I guess.

But seriously, that altmode is hella boring.

Tomorrow morning/afternoon/whenever I'm hitting the road for Intervention The Webcomics Convention in Rockville, Maryland.  I'll be at booth 53 and I'll be doing a panel on Saturday at 7!  Friday, the first day of the con, is the thirteenth anniversary of me webcomicking, so I guess it's only appropriate that I spend it shilling my webcomic wares in foreign lands.

But I'm sure I can come up with even extra way to celebrate it.

In the meantime, enjoy this Hijinks Ensue comic spawned by a conversation Joel and I had at AnimeFest last weekend.  There is a veritable sea of abs.
Posted August 11, 2010 at 2:01 am
Big feet mean a big, uh, fusion cannon.

My Straxus wasn't shipped alone.  His new casemate is War for Cybertron Megatron.  This is funny to me, because as I mentioned yesterday, he and Straxus shared bodies for most of the comics, and some believe it was actually Straxus-in-Megatron that became Galvatron in 2005!  So, hell, maybe my new Megatron toy is Straxus, too.

The previous two WFC figures, Optimus and Bumblebee, were kind of annoying messes.  Megatron thankfully does not follow this pattern.  In fact, he's pretty friggin' great.  He's by far the best of the video-game based dudes so far.  (With only Soundwave and Cliffjumper, that we know of, to eventually follow.)

It's pretty neat how he works.  In robot mode, he doesn't even feel like a Transformer.  Instead, he feels and plays like a cohesive robot action figure.  He seals up perfectly, with practically no visible transformation joints.  This might mean that his transformation is going to be on the pathetic side, but this isn't the case.  He splits up and folds into himself pretty amazingly.  Sure, his tank mode is really made up, which helps, but it's not like it looks like a Megatron robot rolling around on his stomach or anything.  His robot mode form is well hidden.  In fact, most of it is hidden beneath his fusion cannon and the undersides of his feet.  His forearms split open and form treads in a way not really seen before.

The filename for this image is "megstank." What an embarrassing website domain name that would be!

The forearm transformation is one of the few weak links, however.  They're not very sturdy in either vehicle mode (you can also fold them under the chassis to make a hover-tank).  Another is the missile launcher button placement on the cannon.  It's right above the connection point for securing the weapon to the arm, so if you want to apply the right kind of force to the weapon to snap it on, you definitely have to push down on the button.  I've lost the missile so many times already.  At the moment, I keep it in my pants pocket.  (I should make sure I find a safer place for it.)

Anyway, these grumbles aside, he's fantastic.  I've extolled the glory of open-sculpted palms before, but Megatron's are the best I've seen.  They're sculpted perfectly for aiming and firing his cannon arm.  They're in that relaxed pose you'd expect, with the cascadingly-curled digits.  It helps the toy come alive.
Posted June 7, 2010 at 2:01 am
A bigger bee

Cybertronian Optimus Prime was the talk of Friday, and here's his wavemate Cybertronian Bumblebee.  Unlike Optimus Prime, who's had four "pre-Earth" toys to his name, this is Bumblebee's first!  There was going to be one in Titanium Series based on his War Within design, but like the rest of that batch of guys, he was dropped.  And I'm fine with that, because Titanium Series toys weren't terribly great in general.

Cybertronian Bumblebee transforms into a car that looks like a four-wheeled TRON lightcycle.  This results in a pretty slick-looking vehicle.  It's also very broad, using its Deluxe Class mass to be nearly as wide as it is long.  Classics Bumblebee included a sizable accessory to keep Bumblebee himself relatively small while still being worth Deluxe Class dollars, but Cybertronian Bumblebee does no such thing.  He's a big Bee, and he looks bigger than Prime even though they are at the same height.  He's squat and round, but at a different scale, so a lot of his features are bigger relative to Prime's.  Bumblebee's shouldn't be the same size as Prime!  But all of the Generations toyline are Deluxe Class, so this sort of thing's going to be hard to avoid.  Regrettable, regardless.

Like Prime, Bumblebee comes packaged in robot mode.  I thought Prime's transformation to vehicle was rough until I attempted Bumblebee.  It took 15 minutes to get him roughly into vehicle mode, and then another 30 minutes were spent trying to get all his various panels aligned.  Locking one side into place would spring open the other side, and vice versa, rinse/wash/repeat for thirty whole minutes until I gave up.  Man, I wanted to throw him into a wall.  I did not encounter this problem on the second attempt.  I think something very minor inside him, like maybe the wrist orientation, was fudging things up.  But, jeez, I hate Transformers like these.  I just want everything to lock together easily, not a back-and-forth game of fuss.

Gold-3 to Gold-2. Those demons are coming down.

Bumblebee's sorta a pearlescent gold instead of the usual yellow.  It calls to mind the 1986 Goldbug toy.  Like Cybertronian Optimus Prime's pink accents, the gold color helps distinguish Bumblebee from previous Bumblebee toys.  Oh, and, hey, surprise, 80% of the vehicle mode ends up folded up and stowed on his robot mode back.  It's generally out of the way, though.

His handgun, when not in use, can be stored behind his bumper in either robot or vehicle mode.  The instructions tell you this can only be done in robot mode, but they lie.  So long as you insert the gun halfway through transformation, before the arduous task of getting the legs crammed in there, the gun stows in that same spot easy-as-you-please.  Bumblebee also features a translucent red blade on each wrist that can be ratcheted manually in and out of battle-readiness.

Speaking of Bumblebee's instructions, the art within erroneously depicts Bumblebee with Cliffjumper's head.  Seems we're getting a retool further down the line.
Posted June 5, 2010 at 2:01 am
New Saturday Joyce and Walky!

Finally, an Optimus Prime toy.

As you can probably tell by the frequency of video game jokes in Shortpacked!, (not that often!) I am way more into action figures than I am in video games. This is, after all, a comic strip about a toy store and not Penny Arcade. I will dutifully plow through any new Super Mario game when one makes itself available, but it is not a primary interest of mine. Regardless, sometimes these two interests intersect.

Because I get an email every other day from you guys letting me know, I think it's safe to say that it is general public knowledge that a Big Transformers Game is coming out this month. War for Cybertron is a multiplatform third-person shooter that takes place on Cybertron before the Transformers leave for Earth. Optimus Prime isn't leader yet, he's just "Optimus," sans "Prime."  Everyone is in crazy alien hovertank-like modes because Volkswagen Beetles and Freightliner trucks won't exist for another few million years. And, as Hasbro tends to do, they have some action figures of the game's character models.

He likes to drive crotch first.

This is Optimus Prime! He transforms into an "armored tank." This is my... third? toy of a Cybertronian-mode Optimus? First there was the War Within Prime (another pre-Earth story), then I picked up Cybertron mode Optimus Prime from the Animated toyline, and now this. We have an extra housemate this summer, necessitating the packing up of my not-on-display toys in the attic, so I did not feel like digging out the entire attic closet to search through fifteen Rubbermaid containers for these two other dudes to photograph next to my new one. You will just have to imagine them!

He comes packaged in robot mode. I have to admit, this removes a lot of my incentive to do the inaugural transformation, especially since robot-to-vehicle is always much more of a chore than the reverse. With Cybertronian Optimus Prime, this is no exception. He's a little too complicated, but I hate him waaaaaaaaaaay less after attempting the same on his wavemate Cybertronian Bumblebee. Really put things in perspective. Prime is a deceptively complicated toy. I don't think there's an uninterrupted square inch on him. But things peg together well enough in each mode, so no harm no foul. The only annoying part of him in robot mode is his shoulder kibble, which likes to flair up and about when you don't want it to. A good portion of the vehicle mode roof folds onto his back, sorta shellformery, but it packs away out of site well enough.

Megatron's is still bigger.

The most intriguing part of him is his gun. It transforms as well, from robot mode rifle configuration to vehicle mode weapon-mount configuration. There's little springs in it that keep it in one mode or the other - there's no pegs. In weapon-mount configuration, it wraps around itself.  In this compacted mode, it's also intended to be mounted on his forearm.  (You can see it in this configuration in some concept art.)

My favorite aspect, I think, is his pink highlights. Generally, Prime has yellow highlights, but I really like the pink. It accentuates him in a different way, and it sets him apart from other Primes. And, lord, that's the kind of thing I need at this stage in my collecting days. I have a buttload of Primes.

There's some rumblings that War for Cybertron is going to be the established canon for future Hasbro Transformers ventures.  That would include this fall's Transformers: Prime CGI cartoon.  So if you want a head start on your TF: Prime collection, this is probably it.
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