Posted September 5, 2022 at 11:26 pm

Last time, we talked about Override, and today we're talking about Legacy Deluxe Class Elita One (spelled "Elita-1" on the packaging because Hasbro doesn't care about parsing Transformers names correctly the way I do), so we're going from Lady Transformer With Head Hat On Car Roof to Lady Transformer to Head Hat On Car Roof!  Those lady Transformers sure like putting their head hats on car roofs!  Elita's is removeable (and isn't her actual forehead, unlike Override's) and can plug into anything with a 5mm port.  It's just there to make her vehicle mode look more like her animation model.

Though technically it makes her vehicle mode look more like... fan art of her animation model?  For decades, we didn't have access to Elita One's actual animation model (and we only see the front of it in her one episode), so at least one enterprising fan artist took a crack at it, and arrived at a very short car mode that... this toy seems to be based on?  It was only in the past year or so that we've been blessed with an actual animation model and the... much more elongated actual car mode Elita One was designed to have.   I mean, both the fan art and the actual model have the head hat on the roof, but, like, dang.  Hasbro.  Check your sources.  

This is the first Elita One toy to be based on her animation model while also transforming into a car!  We've got a retool of Starscream from back in Power of the Primes, and that became a jet, and I still adore that toy, but this Elita One is getting back to basics.  She's a car!  She's a car with her forehead on the roof.  The forehead on the roof is important.  Did her Power of the Primes jet mode have her forehead on the fuselage?  No!  

After that weird half-step of Netflix's Elita One, it's also nice to have an Elita One who, like, looks like Elita One.  Her torso's actually got sculpted detail that looks like her!  She's got her collar and the T on her tummy, and the crotch fangs... it's all well-appreciated.  She does borrow Netflix Elita One's shoulders, but that's fine.  And also her legs ... become the actual back of the vehicle, rather than being slim lady legs that tuck underneath somewhere?  That's more than fine!  It's off-model, but it's way preferable.  I love some good stomping boots.  One Arcee is more than enough, we don't need a second lady Transformer that piles the entire vehicle mode on their ass just so that they can have shapely calves.

Elita One comes with two rifles: one that's based on her pistol from the cartoon, but elongated into a more substantial weapon, and one that's Minerva's.  Elita One is going to be retooled later as Minerva, with a new headsculpt and presumably released as a Walgreens exclusive.  (they like their medic Transformer exclusives)  So that Minerva weapon's built in.  Elita One's backpack also has two configurations for this reason.  You can bunch it all that car hood stuff up behind her, out of sight, or you can extend the outer thirds into taller shoulders that kinda-sorta-mostly remind one of Minerva's taller car door shoulders.  A similar silhouette, if you will.  I'll use that configuration on Minerva, while keeping Elita One's backpack compact.  

My only real complaint about this toy is... it's not tall enough?  Elita One is, like, Ironhide height, while this toy is regular Autobot car height.  A weird misstep after years of hitting scale at any cost.  And it's not like she's smaller to synchronize with Minerva -- Minerva's Ironhide height, too!  She stood next to Perceptor once.  Anyway.  I dunno.  

A very satisfying Transformer, regardless.  She's a female Transformer but, like, with vehicle mode parts that become her limbs.  whaaaaaaaaaat?????

Posted September 3, 2022 at 12:30 am

Legacy Velocitron Override has an interesting conceptual history.  Always a Walmart exclusive, originally she started out as a retool of Studio Series '86 Hot Rod.  Basically, everything above the waist would be new.  It would be Override with Hot Rod legs.  For this Walmart-exclusive toy, four new molds were budgeted, replacing four of Hot Rod's presumed 9 or 10.  

But what if, Hasbro/TakaraTomy designers dared to dream, what if: Rather than giving Hot Rod four new molds to make him half-way Override, would it be... possible...?  to get an entire Override figure out of those four new molds?  Four plastic colors.  Fewer than a Deluxe (6-7 molds).  Could an entire be toy be somehow extracted from retool budget?

And the answer is: apparently!  Legacy Velocitron Override is just four plastic colors: White ABS, black ABS, red nylon (unpaintable), and translucent red!  Just four!  And despite this, is she still a good toy?

The answer is: surprisingly so!  It's a very satisfying toy of Override, whose original Transformers: Cybertron toy is probably the line's lowest point.  She didn't hold together very well!  Her torso, which was a zigzag of springloaded hinges, would just flop open.  And the toy couldn't stand.  It was back heavy, and had very little heel to speak of, and so she'd just pitch backwards if you looked at her funny. 

The new Legacy Override takes very strong notice of these two massive weakpoints and spends lots of engineering capital addressing them.  First, the torso is held together by a number of slots and tabs, enough to keep things in place.  And secondly: they put some dang heels on this thing to keep the toy stabilized.  It's not gonna fall over.  

All of the Cyber Key-activated gimmickry is gone.  (though there's still a sculpted slot for one in the back of her gun)  But that's fine, because it didn't really work well for Override in the first place, and this toy addresses everything wrong and fixes it.  It's no longer key-activated or spring-loaded, but it... works?  It's not annoying?  That's a win.

There's also some neat tricks to make the robot mode look better.  The torso compresses using some levers and sliders to make sure Override compacts into a more slim humanoid racing shape (and more closely matches her media appearance).  The middle portion of her hood folds across the back of her legs instead of adding to her backpack.  And there's also the expected level of articulation -- waist rotation, wrist rotation, those fabled ankle tilts, the works.  

It's an attractive, engaging toy!  

I mean, it's a 4-mold Deluxe sold for Voyager price, but I like it more than I would have the original retooled Hot Rod intent, so I suppose that's still a win.

Override is exclusive to Walmart!  And she's not shortpacked (there's even some full cases of her), so she shouldn't be that hard to get ahold of.  

Posted June 28, 2022 at 1:38 pm

Look, I'll take a billion rehashes of 1984 guys if it means we get one (1) faithful toy of Jhiaxus.  And good news!  There have been, and there is one!  Hot dang.  

This is where I put that "It's been 84 years" meme from Titanic.  Jhiaxus was a villain invented solely for the Marvel Generation 2 comic book, right?  His name is literally "Gee, axe us" because they didn't expect the series to last more than 12 issues, and it didn't!  The Generation 2 book was, of course, about how some Transformers were having sex the Bad Way, and their sin created an off-product vengecloud, and ... wow, okay, this sounds pretty iffy when it's all written out like that.  Jhiaxus was the leader of this actual Bastard Race of Transformers, which was off Cyberforming innocent planets, doing some widescale genocides, plural, while Optimus Prime and Megatron were busy alternately sleeping for 4 million years or playing video games.  Anyway, Jhiaxus's path intersects with Prime and Megatron's, and he's like Hey, I'm New Hotness, Fall In Line, Grandpas, and Prime and Megatron were like LOL no, and then Jhiaxus kicked both their asses, and then the vengecloud ate him.  

That was his original incarnation.  Since then, they've tried to do other things with him in other continuities, usually resulting in him being.... a scientist?  Sure.  "Scientist" is the job they give non-Megatron Decepticon leaders these days when they have to coexist in a story where Megatron must remain the default Decepticon leader.  Shockwave?  Scientist.  Thunderwing?  Scientist.  Jhiaxus?  Scientist.  Ratbat?  ... politician...?  Sure.  

Not sure why it's taken so long to make a toy of this Sex Monster Fascist!

I mean, they've tried a few times, sort of.  Back at the turn of the millennium, they painted a Beast Machines Jetstorm gray and orange and called it Jhiaxus.  Eight years ago they retooled Armada Starscream halfway into Jhiaxus and then colored him like the orange Beast Machines guy.  But this-- THIS Jhiaxus -- this toy is... an actual Jhiaxus!  Properly scaled versus other toys!  Looks like Jhiaxus!  In Jhiaxus colors!  

In robot mode, he makes a great Jhiaxus action figure.  All his joints have a pretty wide range of motion.  Jhiaxus doesn't have double-jointed elbows, but his arms do bend in on themselves more than 90 degrees.  And he's got... articulated hands?  Usually they save those hands for the toys that have to hold a Matrix, but Jhiaxus is one of the few bad guy leaders who never once gave a shit about the Matrix.  Nope, this toy just has articulated hands just to make me happy.  So far as I know.  Maybe he'll get retooled into somebody later who needs opening hands, who knows.  Jhiaxus's scalloped green bat wings are supposed to be folded in for robot mode, but I say keep those babies spread open.  Jhiaxus does not keep himself smaller for anybody.  He manspreads.  

Jhiaxus's design has always been, essentially, Starscream's original toy but beefier.  He's got the cockpit chest, he's got the, uh, vent... pectorals, he's got ONE of Starscream's shoulder intakes, including the toy's sticker detail there.  Jhiaxus's head has Starscream's ear vents AND the jet nosecone Starscream's toy had sticking out the back of the skull.  Wings were on the back, tinier wings were on the legs, the whole deal.  Jhiaxus was a Starscream who didn't skip Any day.  Not Leg Day, not anything.  So, unsurprisingly, Jhiaxus transforms kind of like a Starscream!  Chest becomes cockpit, legs become the rear of the jet, wings flip to where wings go, arms go... somewhere.  (They go underneath.  Don't look too closely.)

And it's a pretty okayish jet mode!  This is definitely the weak point of the toy.  I mean, it's not BAD, it's just not as phenomenal as his robot mode.  And, honestly, this is as good as it was gonna be, if we're rightfully prioritizing the robot mode in this toy's design.  Do you know what his jet mode looked like in the comics?  It looked like his torso with wings.  Absolutely no where for arms or legs to go.  So tucking those arms underneath and putting the legs in the back is probably the best you could do without just yanking parts off.  

He comes with two rifles.  These rifles are not pictured.  The pictured rifles (to the right) are from a Nonnef upgrade set for Siege G2 Sideswipe.

ANYWAY I'm very excited this toy exists.  I've wanted one for literally half my life.  And I'm old!  So that's a long time!!!

Posted April 6, 2022 at 11:13 pm

First of all, I'm going to come right out the gate here and ask why the instructions, photography, and promotional material all show Kickback's translucent energon weapons attached to his wings.  I mean, yes, they *can* attach to his wings.  There's slots specifically for that and nothing else.  HOWEVER.  

HOWEVER.

This is not their real purpose.  These two translucent energy weapons COMBINE and PLUG INTO THE INSECT MODE THORAX because they are THE ABDOMEN.  This is the insect mode's abdomen.  Kickback has no abdomen otherwise.  The combination of extra pieces and plugging into the back of the insect mode (there is a combination of a peghole and a guided slot only for this purpose) is what completes the insect mode.  But nothing mentions this!  Nothing!  It seems IMPORTANT!  Attaching them to the wings?  BAD.  Why is this what they advertised?  I don't get it.

ANYWAY

No no no wait.  I'm not done.  Do you REALIZE what this MEANS that his sword things are made out of halves of his abdomen?  It means HE HAS ASS SWORDS.  HE BEATS YOU TO DEATH WITH HALVES OF HIS OWN BUTT.  This is GREAT.  This is INTERESTING.  This is worth my attention.  

Otherwise, this is an extremely standard Kickback toy.  He transforms very simply (essentially exactly like the original toy but with a flap to cover up the robot face in insect mode) in like five seconds, tops.  He looks like the cartoon.  If in the cartoon he weaponized his own buttcheeks.  

He's bigger than he should be?  Transformers since the beginning of War for Cybertron: Stege has been very good at making toys be the correct size relative to each other.  But Insecticons are, like, Mini-Vehicle size.  I checked!  I watched many cartoon episodes to make sure the scale chart got this one wrong!  Yet Legacy Kickback is regular Deluxe Class size.  Kinda beefy, really.  Hasbro could have gotten away with selling us a smaller toy for our money.

And yet they give us this large-ish toy with even larger ass swords. 

Posted March 28, 2022 at 5:35 pm

The last 1984/1985 Autobot Car guy is here in WFC Trilogy style, and it's Skids, of course, and also the WFC Trilogy is over, this is Legacy, the toyline afterwards, where we pick up the leftovers.  Poor Skids always gets left out.  He only got two lines in the original cartoon, each in a different episode and by a different voice actor.  He had way more luck in the original comic, where he actually got a solo focus issue and appeared in a few ongoing storylines afterwards!  (Of course, in the UK, Skids got displaced to Limbo for years so that Galvatron could hang around from the future, so it wasn't all sun and roses.)

Skids is a vehicle we didn't have in North America, a Honda City Turbo, which is essentially a tiny-ass hatchback.  But American writers assumed he was a mini-van.  And so he got drawn large-ish in the comics and called a "van" by other characters, but he's actually a pretty tiny car!  His original toy was pretty good at expanding to a tall height from such a small vehicle.  

Another thing about Skids is that his character model was drawn from a mistransformed toy photo.  And so his shoulders start at, like, his abs, because the toy reference had his arms hanging down from the sides.  Neither Skids recent Masterpiece toy nor his new Legacy toy try to replicate this, though it's possible to mistransform the Legacy toy's shoulders lower.  

The final thing about Skids is that he got carwashed by a cowgirl and he shuddered a bunch in pleasure.

Anyway, he has a toy now, in the first Deluxe Class wave for Transformers: Legacy!  He's finally a first wave guy, because he's the only 1984/85 guy left!  An honor, sort of!  If there was going to be a Legacy cartoon for Netflix, he might've gotten some airtime.  (There will not be, so he won't.) 

Legacy Skids transforms essentially how you'd think -- the hood becomes the chest, doors become wings, roof stays on the back, arms hide underneath.  The most interesting diversion is how his spine folds up in a zig-zag pattern to compress him more.  A lot of his car shell is translucent plastic, which may give some pause, especially how you're supposed to kind of stretch the roof into place to fit into all the tabs, but it's a pretty thick translucent plastic, so it doesn't worry too much.  He seems pretty hardy.  

Skids comes with his two arm-mounted weapons, and you're supposed to mount them ON his arms, that's why there's 5mm ports there, but the instructions only show you putting them in his fists.  He also comes with a translucent blue Energon axe, but the instructions only show him holding it horizontally like a gun.  I mean, there's a barrel, but it's clearly also an axe.  You can combine all three weapons into a mega weapon thing.  

I painted Skids' hands red at first opportunity.


Posted March 19, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Legacy???  Is out??? In stores now???  They told us JULY.  Because of COVID probably.  But here's "Prime Universe Bulkhead," sure enough, bought in a local Target.  Transformers Legacy, this year's Transformers toyline, says it's about a bunch of different guys from other universes visiting the G1 guys or something like that, and so this is Bulkhead from Transformers Prime.

Apparently when you step into Generation One, your limbs become boxes and whatnot, as this is a classic-look reimagining of the character, rather than an attempt at recreating the original character model.  I have a First Edition Bulkhead, meaning I'm fine with this different take, but those of you who don't and wanted a more traditional Prime Bulkhead, I'm sorry!  Everything's all G1 now, even the stuff that isn't.  So sorry.  

He's actually pretty surprisingly complex despite how he looks!  Like, you look at him and think, okay, he kind of stands up and transforms and that's it, right?  Naw.  His crotch breaks apart into like six pieces and rearranges.  His entire arms tuck inside his chest.  His legs are full of vehicle parts!  There are many tabs and slots!  But it's not complex in a way that hates you, which is good.  He's just got a lot more going on than you'd think.  

Prime Universe Bulkhead comes with two weapons -- an Energon gatling blaster that pegs into his shoulder and his trademark wrecking ball, which opens up and closes around his fist.  Both of these can stow in the truckbed under his tarp in vehicle mode.  Also, his tarp can come off and attach to his arm as a shield.  If you want to do that.  It doesn't need to be removed during transformation, so I haven't really bothered yet.  I like adding the shapes to his torso's silhouette.

This toy is good?  Yeah, I like it.  I wanna get a second one, swap his head for Hound's, and make myself a Big Red.  We'll see.  

Posted February 19, 2022 at 10:03 pm

While Transformers: Generations: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Kingdom dumped all the first season Maximals on us at retail, it was relatively light on first season Predacons!  I mean, this makes some sense.  Maximals are good guys and sell better, and they have folks like gorillas and cats and whatnot, while Predacons have two spiders and a fire ant they couldn't even sell the first time.  And so we got Megatron and Blackarachnia and Waspinator and Scorponok (and Dinobot labeled as Predacon on his packaging), but no Terrorsaur, Tarantulas, or Inferno.  Whispers tell us Tarantulas and Inferno are due in this year's (and next year's, because of covid??) Legacy toyline, while Terrorsaur is a last-minute addition to the Kingdom toyline as it goes right out the door.  

Terrorsaur's the fourth and final installment of Amazon's exclusive "Golden Disc Collection," and he's the one that comes with the titular Golden Disc accessory itself!  Well, okay, it's *a* golden disc.  The storyline and packaging tell us this exclusive set is built around the Voyager probe Golden Disc, but Terrorsaur dopily comes with the Alien Disc.  Whoof!  Great job, guys.  Wrong Golden Disc accessory.

He's a heavily retooled Kingdom Airazor, and mostly that means we get a pterosaur that perches like a bird.  Pterosaurs weren't dinosaurs, and thus weren't ever party to that whole bird arrangement, and so while part of me is like YAYYY TERRORSAUR another part of me is like HRMPH NOT BIRD.   But it's not like Terrorsaur ever transformed into a good, organic pterosaur anyway, I guess.  

At least Airazor is a pretty good toy to be retooled from, right?  Nearly all of Airazor is replaced with new Terrorsaur parts, other than a few robot parts and internal engineering bits, and so the two look completely different at a glance, albeit having similar silhouettes.   The original Terrorsaur transformed backwards from Airazor, with the beast head going on the back and the tail going on the chest, rather than vice versa, and so to bridge that gap, Kingdom Terrorsaur has a fake pterosaur butt on his chest.  The beat head folds back over his robot head and joins the real pterosaur butt on his back.  

In addition to the Wrong Golden Disc, Terrorsaur comes with three other accessories.  First, his rifle.  And second, two forearm spikes that come in a wadded up tissue paper baggie on the back of the card.  Don't miss that and throw it away.  The forearm spikes can stay plugged in during both modes, unlike Airazor's big forearm weapons.  So that's nice.  You don't have to swap them to Terrorsaur's legs after transformation to beast mode and back again.  

All three of the prehistoric animal guys on Beast Wars were pretty big on the cartoon, and Terrorsaur himself was larger than most of the other Predacons.  A Deluxe Class toy is a little smaller than would be proper scale, but a retool of Airazor is probably going to net you an Airazor-sized guy.  You can cheat his torso a little taller by not compacting it during transformation to robot mode, thus increasing his height, but it looks a little awkward and exposes an unsightly mushroom peg.  I might do it anyway.  

This guy's currently sold out on Amazon (and HasbroPulse) but there's at least two ways to get this mold in the future.  Target's reportely getting Terrorsaur in more toy-accurate colors as an exclusive at some point, and there's also rumblings of a Fractyl redeco.  And there's probably a few more ways they could redeco this toy later if they choose to.



Posted January 14, 2022 at 10:53 am

Lift-Ticket here is my first toy from this year's new Transformers: Legacy toyline!  Sure, he's a Generations Selects online exclusive dealio, is a redeco of an Earthrise toy, and isn't retail or anything, but he came in a cardboard Legacy box, so whatcha gonna do?

He was one of those toys where Hasbro gave him a mid-2022 release estimate, because of Covid, with a "uh sure then" shrug, but then he popped up into our mailboxes several months early.  Dang!

There were like sixteen different colors of Hoist/Trailbreaker in the pre-Transformers Japanese toyline Diaclone, and this red iteration of Hoist is one of them!  Borrowing from those unTransformered decoes to make new Transformers characters is a long tradition of the franchise, and Lift-Ticket is... sort of an example?  One of the last things Greg Sepelak and Trent Troop did for BotCon, Lift-Ticket (and Burn Out) were actually piloted Diaclone mechs from a Diaclone universe masquerading as Real Transformers in a Transformers universe.  You know how the Transformers Multiverse is.  Everybody visits and tries to fit in.  GoBots, everybody.  Anyway, Lift-Ticket isn't even alive.  Some little dude pilots him.  

I'm glad Greg and Trent gave him a real Transformers name (which is a G.I.Joe name), because I'm pretty sure the current Transformers team would've released this guy as just "Red Hoist" or whatever.  

"WRECKER" is written on the side of the truck mode.  But Lift-Ticket isn't a member of the Wreckers!  That's just what was written on the side of the original Diaclone toy.  Because it's a tow truck.  He's a wrecker that isn't a Wrecker.  You know how it is.

Lift-Ticket has a very vibrant ketchup-and-mustard color scheme, and he arrived in my house the same day I found Kingdom Blaster at a store, so it was a very red/yellow/gray robot day that day.  Those two dudes punched my rods and cones in the exact same way.  Hello, we get it, you're both a McDonald's.  

Posted January 12, 2022 at 10:36 pm

Thrilling 30 Waspinator was pretty good!  A very good Waspinator!  Perfect, even, if you let the foggy haze of "i last touched this thing when I put it on a shelf five years ago" take over your cognition.   And it helps if you bought the expensive Japanese-convention-exclusive version with actual paint on it.  And if you didn't care that its knees couldn't bend more than ten degrees.  Or that its wings couldn't point upwards in robot mode without some fussing, or that his eyes were a glassy spooge color, or that he was weirdly a mechanical wasp of some sort, not organic, or--

Yeah, we're in Transformers' years of diminishing returns, sure.  Taking characters/toys you were pretty pleased with and doing them just a little bit better, just better enough, to realize the older one was GARBAGE actually!  THROW THAT OLDER TOY IN A BIN AND FORGET IT DOWNSTAIRS FOREVER.

That, sure, but also sometimes there's some new things that you like that you hadn't considered, like, hey, what if we sculpt Waspinator's wasp mode after an actual wasp?  It changes the eye shapes on his chest (making him less cartoon accurate), but it's actually pretty neat!  I like that!  And a wasp's stripes on its ass aren't actually a cartoonish set of perfectly horizontal stripes, so what if we shaped them more organically?  That's also neat!  I like that.

And you know what's GREAT???  Every single Waspinator until now has cast his upper shoulders in nylon plastic because they're always balljoints, and balljoints work better if they have a little texture and sturdiness to them.  So, nylon.  But you can't paint nylon with factory paint, so Waspinator never before could have had the big yellow circles on his shoulders that he did in the cartoon.  But Kingdom Waspinator's shoulders are finally not balljointed!  They're universal joints with regular plastic!  And so at long last, the big yellow shoulder circles.  Phew.

Also, the now-standard waist articulation, useful knees, and ankle tilts are also pretty helpful.

There are some things the original still does better: I miss the flip-out stinger in the singer gun.  New Kingdom Waspy's stinger gun is just the solid yellow piece with the weapon detailing lightly sculpted into the underside.  But that's not a huge deal because I like leaving that weapon stowed so as to keep the striped butt portion intact.  

And maybe you'd like him as big as he used to be?  Maybe.  I'm fine with Waspinator being shorter.  He shouldn't be a tall deluxe.  (aka the size all deluxes used to be but now sometimes some of them are shorter for scaling)  

Kingdom Waspinator is a good Waspinator!  They actually paint his head!  I mean, I had the fancy Japanese convention one for that reason, but this one cost like a third what that one did, and everyone can buy it not just a few thousand people, so.  That seems nicer.

When does Terrorsaur get here so I can do a Kingdom Predacon groupshot, huh?

(original retail version thrilling 30 waspinator pictured in the comparison photo, not the fancy japanese convention one with paint)

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