#2043: Forge

FORGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Living up to his name, Forge is an expert inventor who supplies the X-Men and other groups with advanced technology.”

Forge follows a tradition in the X-Men comics of long-running supporting that eventually find themselves added to the main team line-up.  Forge was introduced in 1984 as a tech-savvy supporting player, and is, amusingly, the second tech-savvy supporting X-player who would eventually join the team, following Cypher, who beat Forge to publication by a mere five months.  Both characters were created by Chris Claremont, who definitely has an assortment of tropes he likes to fall back on, because they also both first started out working with their respective team’s antagonists.  All of this is bringing to the forefront of my mind that I still don’t have a proper Cypher action figure…where was I?  Right, Forge.  The other guy.  The one with actual toys.  Lucky him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Forge is figure 3 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends and definitely fits in with the previously established ’90s theme of the assortment, seeing as that was Forge’s real heyday.  However, while he may be wearing a very Jim Lee-inspired costume, it’s worth noting that this figure is more of a later ’90s Forge, since he lacks a number of the Lee-specific elements.  This really ends up making him more of a multi-purpose figure, though, and at a glance you’d really be hard-pressed to notice the differences.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body, which seems like a decent enough choice for the way the character tends to be depicted.  Forge uses the already tooled flared gloves for the body, as well as Ultimate Cap’s shoulder strap, Cyclop’s X-Belt, and Taskmaster’s thigh holster, and tops everything off with a brand new head sculpt, right thigh, and fringe-add-ons for his boots.  The head’s gotten some flak for being rather bland and lacking in expression.  I can definitely see that.  I don’t hate getting a more reserved looking Forge, but ultimately there is something pointedly generic about this particular sculpt, especially when compared some of the other sculpts in this very series.  Still, it is, at least from a technical standpoint, quite nicely rendered.  Forge’s paintwork is bright and eye-catching, which is definitely a good thing for him.  The application is all quite cleanly handled as well.  The yellow in particular matches Cyclops, though it’s worth noting that the blues are totally different.  Forge is packed with two guns: a pistol and a rifle.  Both are of a decidedly sci-fi nature, and suit Forge’s usual style well.  They also appear to be new offerings, though I could be wrong.  Forge also includes the left arm of BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted the last time I reviewed a Forge figure, the character’s never really been a favorite of mine, so I can’t say I had a ton of excitement for this figure’s release.  That being said, he goes well with the growing ’90s line-up Hasbro’s been working on so dutifully to build.  He’s a perfectly respectable figure from a technical standpoint.  To someone who cares at all about Forge, I bet he’s pretty cool.  For me, he’s just another figure in the crowd.

I picked up Forge from All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#2042: Weapon X

WEAPON X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Weapon X program experiments on humans and mutants alike, including Wolverine, who undergoes a brutal process that bonds Adamantium to his skeleton.”

An X-Men line-up is just no good without a Wolverine variant, right?  Even if he’s not actually named Wolverine on the box (well, not the front, anyway; he gets a name drop on the back).  Today’s figure goes back to a rather tried and true Wolverine variation, the Weapon X experiment look.  First appearing in the pages of Marvel Comics Presents in the early ’90s, Logan’s cyber-punk looking gear has been a mainstay of toyline’s ever since Toy Biz’s ’90s X-Men.  And now Hasbro’s brought it back into the Legends fold.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Weapon X is figure 2 in the Caliban Series line-up of Marvel Legends, where he fills the slot of required Wolverine variant.  This marks the second time that this design has seen Legends treatment, following Toy Biz’s offering back in 2004.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  He follows the trend of rebuilding past Wolverine figures on the 2016 Brown Costume body.  He uses that base, in conjunction with a new head, shins, feet, and an assortment of add-on pieces for all of the gear that’s stuck to him.  As far as base bodies go, it’s really had to do better than this one, especially for Logan, so it’s a solid starting point to be sure.  The standard head has his weird visored helmet sculpted in place, and is a rather impressive piece of work.  The actual head’s detailing is a little on the soft side, but the helmet is definitely top-notch.  The new add-on parts give us all the tubes and gear from the comic, attached at his wrists and waist.  They’re intertwined with his limbs, and not designed for easy removal, but if you’re determined, they’ll come off (I was not particularly determined).  He’s also got a harness on his torso, again not really designed with removal in mind.  They’re all nice and sharply detailed, and the tubes are flexible enough to not really impede his movement, but not so frail as to break if you aren’t careful.  Perhaps the crowning achievement of this figure is the paint, or more specifically, the painted body hair.  That takes commitment and dedication, let me tell you.  Beyond that, he kind of looks a bit bland, but that’s true to form.  Weapon X is packed with an extra un-helmeted head and the leg of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I run hot and cold with this particular Wolverine design.  I had the 5-inch figure as a kid, and always enjoyed that, but I harbored something of a resentment towards the original Legends release, given the abnormally high-pack out numbers of it compared to the likes of Vision and Hawkeye from the same assortment, and the fact that I ended up seeing that damned figure hanging everywhere, taunting me for several months at that time.  Ultimately, though, this is a design that makes for a good toy, and Hasbro translated it well here.  He’s not going to be my go-to Wolverine by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s a good deal of fun.

Weapon X came from All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2041: Beast

BEAST

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

One of the original X-Men, Hank McCoy is a Genius whose mutant ability gives him a furry, blue, beast-like appearance.”

Okay, I need to address something real quick:  Hank McCoy’s furry, blue appearance is *not* from his mutant ability.  It’s from an experimental serum he drank that was supposed to enhance his powers.  It unlocked a potential for a beast-like appearance from his genes, but his mutant ability doesn’t make him blue and furry inherently.  This has been today’s lesson of “why the bio’s wrong,” I’ve been your lecturer, Ethan Wilson.  Okay, so now I should probably review the actual figure, and not the blurb on the back of his box.  This is “The Figure in Question” not “The Bio in Question.”  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast is officially figure 1 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends (since Gambit didn’t have a BaF piece, and therefore doesn’t technically have a number).  Beast is getting his fifth Legends release, though this one’s the first since the original Toy Biz figure to be sporting his typical blue and furry ape-man appearance, with the interim figures being, in order, a movie figure, a cat-faced figure, and a human figure.  This one draws more direct inspiration from Jim Lee’s Beast, which means he fits with the rest of this assortment (and the general ’90s theme that Hasbro’s been pushing for the X-Men).  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  Beast’s height has been the cause of some frustration amongst the fanbase, since even at his biggest in the ’90s, he was still officially listed as under 6-feet.  That being said, very few artists ever really stuck to that, making this figure’s height a rather similar dilemma to last year’s Thing figure.  Ultimately, I don’t see myself ever having him standing upright next to the rest of the team, so it’s kind of a non-issue, but your mileage may vary.  I should note that he’s more or less the same height as the original TB figure, for what it’s worth.  Despite his larger size, Beast is actually one of the best articulated of the modern Legends, which I count as a definite plus for an acrobatic character.  The sculpt is an all-new one, and it’s actually pretty darn good.  It’s bulky, but not too bulky (which has been a problem with prior Beast figures), and the fur detailing is pretty realistically rendered.  The head is very much Lee-inspired, and with a rather intense expression.  It’s not a bad sculpt, though I’m generally partial to calmer interpretations of the character.  Still, I like it well enough.  Beast’s color work is actually pretty decent.  The base blue is nice and bright, and a good match for the comics appearance.  He’s actually got some solid accent work going on, which adds a nice bit of variety to his furry appearance.  Beast is packed with two pairs of hands, which help with his various acrobatic poses.  In particular, there’s a flat hand for his left hand, which, with some very careful balancing, lets him hold himself aloft with one arm.  Beast also includes the head of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I’m not much of a fan of most other interpretations of Beast, I’ve been making use of that old Beast figure for a good long while.  I’ve been hoping for an update, though, if I’m totally honest, I was really hoping for more of a Perez-style Beast.  Of course, with all of the ’90s X-Men stuff we’ve been getting recently, this guy makes a bit more sense, and certainly fits in a little better.  While I’m not super sold on the facial expression, I’m overall quite happy with this figure as a whole.  I’m also really hoping that the fact that he got an all-new sculpt means we’ll be seeing a variety of other Beasts in the near future.

Beast came to me from my friends at All Time Toys.  He’s already sold out, but he should be coming back into stock soon. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2040: Gambit

GAMBIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Remy LaBeau is an ex-thief from New Orleans with the mutant ability to convert energy and cause objects to explode.”

Alright guys, I hope you’re ready, because we’re about to embark on another week of Marvel Legends reviews.  It’s time for us to once again set our sites on Marvel’s band of merry mutants, the X-Men, whose yearly assortment now looks to have morphed its way into two.  Hasbro also seem to be easing themselves away from trying to keep things more current, as the latest round of figures is purely ’90s X-Men fare.  At the top of the ’90s X-Men heap is Gambit, who may not have been added to the team in the ’90s, but certainly hit the pinnacle of his fame during that time.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit is the first figure in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s this assortment’s non-BaF-piece-sporting double-pack, which, given the fairly devoted fanbase for the character, probably isn’t the worst idea in the world.  This is only Gambit’s second time as a Legend (the first having been way back during the early days of the Toy Biz line), and the first one he’s gotten since Hasbro took over the license way back when.  It’s kind of crazy that its taken this long to finally get another stab at him, but to be fair, the original is one of the few Toy Biz figures to still hold up pretty well.  This guy follows that one’s lead, giving us Gambit in his full-on ’90s look, which, frankly, is the quintessential Gambit look.  Bothering with others seems kind of pointless.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Gambit is mostly a new sculpt.  Just the arms and jacket are re-used (the jacket from Nick Fury, and the arms from Punisher, just like with Multiple Man).  The rest of the sculpt is brand-spanking-new, which, I’ll admit, did surprise me a little bit at first.  I was very definitely expecting to see some Bucky Cap show up on this guy, and there’s absolutely none of that featured.  The resultant body is certainly very similar in build, but every piece of it’s full of Gambit-specific detail.  The boots, the belt, the bib, heck, even the pink rectangles on his legs are all sculpted right onto the figure, which makes him a very unique looking figure.  Hasbro certainly could have phoned in the pink rectangles at the very least, but they didn’t, even though that details unlikely to be seen by most people.  Perhaps my only slight bit of contention with the figure is the head sculpt.  Well, not even the whole head, really; the main head, especially the face, is quite nice.  I just don’t like the hair.  It’s too lopsided for my taste.  I’m used to a Gambit with lots of hair bouncing out of his cowl from all angles.  This one’s decidedly to the one side.  I don’t hate it, but it’s off enough to bug me.  Gambit’s paintwork is up to the usual standards of the line, meaning it’s clean, bold, and matches well with his comics appearances.  His stubble is a marked improvement for what we’ve seen from Hasbro, being appropriately subtle and not a horrible mess.  That’s a huge step for them.  Gambit may not have a BaF piece, but he does still get his own assortment of extras, including his staff, a single charged card, and an alternate left hand with three cards in mid-throw attached.  It’s all of the basics you could want from a Gambit, so no complaints there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The original Legends Gambit was always one of my very favorite of the Toy Biz figures, and Gambit’s a design I’m fond of, so there was a lot riding on his inevitable re-release.  When it was shown off, I was a bit apprehensive, mostly because of the hair.  In person, there’s just so much I love about this guy, to the point that the hair is really so minor that it doesn’t really affect my opinion of the figure at all.  He’s a very satisfactory upgrade to the original release, and a fantastic start to this line-up.

I got Gambit from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2038: The Faun

THE FAUN

GUILLERMO DEL TORO SIGNATURE SERIES (NECA)

One of Guillermo del Toro’s most visually stunning films, Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark yet beautiful fantasy set five years after the Spanish Civil War.The insidious brutality of the real world continues to cast a long shadow, infiltrating even the fantasy world of eleven-year-old Ofelia, who begins a terrifying, reality-spanning journey after meeting a mysterious faun in a crumbling labyrinth.Her mystic quest crosses seamlessly from one world to the other, weaving a parable about the power and pain of innocence.”

After making a modest impact on American audiences in 2004 with his live-action adaptation of Hellboy, Guillermo del Toro found his first real critical acclaim in the States with 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno, in its original Spanish release), which firmly established del Toro’s signature dark fairy tale aesthetic to mainstream audiences, and helped to make him more or less a household name.  At the time of its release, these sorts of films weren’t getting a ton of toy coverage.  Like, just right at the time of its release.  They were all over the place before, and after, but it was in this sort of window of things taking a step back.  Whatever the case, it meant no toys.  Fortunately, NECA’s coming to the rescue with a whole line devoted to del Toro’s filmography, a sizable portion of which is devoted to Pan’s Labyrinth.  Today, I’m looking at Ofelia’s guide to the mystical side of her journey, the Faun!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Faun is figure 4 in the Guillermo del Toro Signature Series, and the third figure in the line to be based on Pan’s Labyrinth.  Also, the second Doug Jones character (the other being the Pale Man, also from Pan’s Labyrinth), for those playing at home.  He won’t be the last.  The figure stands 8 inches tall (8 1/2 with the legs fully extended, but then he can’t stand) and he has 29 points of articulation.  The Faun’s an all-new sculpt, patterned on his design as seen in the film.  It’s one of the most distinctive designs from the movie, and NECA’s done a pretty respectable job of capturing it in plastic form.  If you’re familiar with the structure of other NECA creature figures, then this one’s pretty much following their established formula.  He’s got a articulated body, with some rubber overlays in place to help keep the design from being too segmented and broken-up.  The detailing is up to the usual NECA standards.  His details are sharply defined, and he incorporates all of the Faun’s earth-y textures quite nicely.  The head is, admittedly, probably the weakest piece of the figure.  It’s the least defined and seems to be the most caricatured part of the figure.  The face of the Faun in the movie is obviously very stylized, but this rendition seems to stand-out from the body a little more so.  That said, it’s hardly a bad offering, and all of the important details are there to sell the design.  The paintwork is again pretty standard for a NECA release of this style.  There’s a lot of washes and accenting to bring out all of the small sculpted details, and to help bring him in line with how the character is lit on screen.  Again, the head is sort of the weak point, specifically the eyes, which just feel way too cartoony when compared to the movie.  They’re really the one part of the figure that sort of ruins the illusion for me, and they really don’t seem to fit with the rest of the figure.  The Faun is packed with a few character specific extras.  He’s got his satchel and a bone to carry in it, as well as the container he gives to Ofelia when she enters the Pale Man’s abode.  There aren’t any fairies to store in it (you’ll have to pick up Ofelia for those), but he does get the dagger that she retrieves for him, which he can hold or store in the container.  I wouldn’t have minded an extra head with a different expression, but it’s not a bad selection of extras at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, confession:  I bought this figure without having seen the movie.  In fact, I sat down and watched this movie for the first time immediately prior to sitting down to write this review.  The things I do to write an informed review for you guys… Okay, actually, I have to say, I don’t know why it took me so long to finally watch the movie, and I’m really glad I did.  Whatever the case, it was the Faun’s cool del Toro design that got me on-board with this figure, and it does make for a really cool toy, even with its few small flaws.  I think I may have to grab an Ofelia to go with him.

The Faun was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2034: Micromasters Wave 2

SOUNDWAVE SPY PATROL & RESCUE PATROL

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

What, you didn’t think the Transformers reviews were over, did you?  No, of course not.  I’ve got one more set of them that needs reviewing.  I’ve looked at Voyager Class, Deluxe Class, and Battlemasters.  Barring Leader Class (which I’ve reviewed in the past, just not this week), there’s one more release type left to look at: Micromasters!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Micromasters are sold in two-packs, and the packs I’m looking at today make up the second Micromasters assortment.  There’s the Soundwave Spy Patrol pack, which features Ravage and Laserbeak, and the Rescue Patrol, which features Red Heat and Stakeout.

SOUNDWAVE SPY PATROL

By far the most pivotal pairing in this assortment is the Spy Patrol, designed to augment the Voyager Class Soundwave released, since he lacked his usual little buddies.  The chosen ones are Ravage and Laserbeak, who I’d say are probably his most recognizable companions.  However, this style of release does lend itself to the possibility of seeing some of his other guys released down the line.  The two of them are roughly the same size as the Battle Masters, and compare fairly similarly to the likes of Pteraxadon in particular.  Of the two, I think Laserbeak’s standard mode is the superior offering, being generally more posable and more convincingly a bird.  His feet are also properly sized to match the grooves on Soundwave’s forearm, making it a little easier to keep him standing.  Ravage is slightly less convincing, because a panther’s just not quite as naturally linked to the alt-mode, and he’s also not as easily posed.  Both of them transform into the same alt-mode, which is a small rectangle that’s definitely not a cassette.  Why would it be that?  The small rectangle is well-sized to Soundwave’s chest cavity, which makes for easy storage.

RESCUE PATROL

For the Autobot portion of this assortment, we have the Rescue Patrol, originally a four man team, now cut down to two.  They aren’t designed to specifically work with anyone in the main assortments, so they more follow in the footsteps of the first assortment of Micromasters.  These two also stand pretty much the same height as the Battle Masters, and are more straight forward robots.  They’re more posable, with knee movement on both, as well as a waist joint on Red Heat, and a neck joint on Stakeout.  Of the two, Stakeout is the more solid figure, with better posability and a more natural sculpt.  Red Heat is a little more compromised by his alt-mode, so he’s got this weird head covering thing.  He’s also just a lot blockier and stiffer.  For their alt-modes, both of them turn into rescue vehicles: a cop car for Stakeout, and a fire engine for Red Heat.  Stakeout again makes out the best, given his more natural looking car state.  There’s another mode for the two of them, where they combine into a gun mode to be held by one of the bigger guys.  It’s not the most convincing thing, but it’s a nifty gimmick.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, I wanted the Spy Patrol to complete my Soundwave figure, so I was down for that set from the start.  When they came in, the Rescue Patrol was there as well, and I kind of felt a little sorry for them, and liked them enough in person to want to give them a try.  While both sets have their definite strong figure and weak figure, the whole package deal works nicely.  I’m definitely glad I grabbed both of them.

Both of these sets came from my friends at All Time Toys.  Right now the Spy Patrol is sold out, but the Rescue Patrol are still in stock here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2033: Battle Masters Wave 2

AIMLESS & PTERRAXADON

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Remember back on Thursday when I was talking about gimmicks in the Transformers line?  Well, let’s explore that some more, shall we?  Cross-compatibility being the big thing for Siege, there’s a lot of work being put into accenting the main figures.  I already looked at one of the Weaponizers, but today I’m moving onto another form of alternate armaments for the big guys, Battle Masters!  In order to keep prices down during the Titans Return line, the Targetmaster characters lost their, uh, Target Masters.  When it came time for Siege, Hasbro was looking for a good way to sell the effects pieces they were showing off on con displays.  Put those together with the scrapped Target Masters and boom: Battle Masters!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Aimless and Pteraxadon make up Battle Masters Wave 2 in the Siege line, alongside a repack of the first assortment’s Lionizer.

AIMLESS

Originally the Target Master packed with Misfire, Aimless is a Decepticon Battle Master.  He starts as a fairly straightforward robot, standing 2 inches tall and having 4 practical points of articulation.  Aimless’s sculpt uses Wave 1’s Blowpipe as a starting point, though the only pieces actually shared between the two are the torso and pelvis.  The arms and legs are new, more technically detailed pieces, though you would be forgiven for not noticing at first glance, since they give the same basic silhouette.  He also flops the colorscheme, being blue with grey limbs, instead of grey with blue limbs.  Aimless transforms into a gun, which is a fairly simple process, since there really aren’t that many moving parts.  There’s a 5mm peg at the front of his torso which acts as a handle, and makes him compatible with all of the basic Transformers, Decepticon and Autobot alike.  Aimless has two included effects pieces, which look like energy trails of some sort.  They can be plugged onto the two barrels of his gun, or plugged onto the corresponding pegs on other Siege figures.

PTERAXADON

Pteraxadon is actually an all new character in the mythos, which I suppose is reasonable.  They can’t all be re-releases, right?  He’s apparently an Autobot, but with all of the Battle Masters, I really have to question exactly how the affiliations work.  I might be overthinking it, though.  Unlike Aimless, Pteraxadon doesn’t have a humanoid robot mode, and is instead a robotic pterodactyl.  I know, who could have foreseen that? This one’s a unique sculpt, but the more inhuman design doesn’t lend itself quite as well to this more simplistic style.  This puts extra weight on the alt-mode, which, as you may have gathered from the name, is an ax.  It’s actually a pretty decent piece, though the coloring doesn’t really match up with anyone right now.  Also included is an impact effect piece, which plugs into either side of the blade.  It’s not quite as all-purpose as the rest of the effects, but I still kinda dig it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had no major intentions of grabbing either of these guys, but when they came in with the rest of the Wave 2 stuff, I felt compelled to get them as well.  They’re goofy and gimmicky, but in a good way, and I find them to be a lot of fun, especially in conjunction with the main figures.  They were even cool enough to compel me to go back and grab some of Wave 1, and I’m definitely on-board for Wave 3!

Both of these came from All Time Toys.  Right now they’re both sold out, but the others are still in stock.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2032: Starscream

STARSCREAM

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Ever the usurper, Starscream is quite a culturally relevant entry in the Transformers franchise.  Not only is he himself well-known, even to more moderate fans, but the role he fulfills has become a fixture of virtually every incarnation, even when he himself isn’t included.  And, after just getting a classically inspired release during last year’s Power of the Primes, Starscream’s back again for Siege.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starscream is the other half of the second wave of Voyager Class War For Cybertron: Siege figures.  He joins Soundwave in making this particular assortment a completely Decepticon one, which seems reasonable enough, given the Deluxe assortment was all Autobots.  In his robot mode, Starscream stands  6 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 workable points of articulation.  This figure sports perhaps the best posability I’ve seen yet on one of these guys, allowing for a lot of real expressiveness with him.  Honestly, that’s probably the greatest thing you can offer in a Starscream figure, given just how over-the-top the character is usually portrayed as being.  Moving past that, Starscream is sporting a new sculpt, which is already slated for re-use as Thundercracker in Voyager Wave 3, as well as a Skywarp figure somewhere along the way.  If you’re going to re-use a sculpt, you’d hope it would at least be a good one, and fortunately, that’s very definitely the case.  This new Starscream has a sharp, angular, and very modern-looking take on his classic design.  Like Soundwave, he maintains all of the most important elements of his classic appearance, but injects some more modern day levels of detailing into it.  Also like Soundwave, he keeps some left-over elements of his old alt-mode, specifically the old cockpit on his torso, which doesn’t actually have anywhere to go on his new figure.  To be fair, though, he’d hardly look like a proper Starscream without it.  Unlike a lot of Transformers, Starscream and his fellow Seekers actually have established Cybertronian alt-modes in the old cartoon, which means that this figure doesn’t have to do quite as much as some of the others in the line to come up with one.  He turns into a Tetrajet, as he did in the Cybertron sections of the cartoon, though this particular design appears to be heavily influenced by the Colonial Vipers from Battlestar Galactica.  It’s a cool ship design, so I definitely can’t complain.  Heck, I’m not even going to to complain about the fact that his legs are just hanging off the bottom when he’s transformed, because, quite frankly, that’s not uncommon for Starscream figures, and it’s not overly visible when the ship is just sitting there.  What I *can* complain about, though, is the process by which you arrive at the alt-mode.  Quite frankly, it’s the most frustrating transformation process I’ve dealt with since I started collecting.  Essentially, the actual Tetrajet appearance is just a shell that drops over the figure proper, who has to be folded up just right in order to fit in that shell.  The trouble is, that getting him folded up to fit within the shell is really not easy, and my figure seemed to be fighting me every step of the way, and I’m still not actually sure I got him transformed completely correctly.  Additionally, while going through the transformation process, there’s a running flaw in the figure’s design that reveals itself.  The front of his torso is designed to swing upward during transformation, but it is only held in place by tension pegs.  This means that the first time you go to transform him, the plate’s going to pop out of place, and it’s pretty much never going to stay properly seated again after that point.  There really should have been metal pins holding that piece in place.  Starscream includes two “HPI Null-Ray Laser Launchers,” which are the arm mounted guns he’s sporting.  While they’re officially supposed to plug into the upper arms, the 5mm pegs allow you to also plug them into the forearms, which I think looks a lot better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew I wanted Soundwave from the get-go, but wasn’t immediately sold on Starscream.  It’s not that I don’t like the character (quite the contrary), but I just wasn’t sure how far into this line I wanted to go.  By the time he actually started showing up, any pretense of skipping this line had been dropped, and there was no way I was missing a Starscream.  In hand, the figure perplexes me.  The robot mode is absolutely fantastic, and one of the best in the line.  The posablility and general appearance of the character just really work.  However, the transformation is frustrating, and the end result was ultimately unsatisfying.  And then, even if you just leave him in robot mode, there’s that chest plate issue, which will continue to plague him in both forms.  There have been rumors of a running change to add a pin, but so far there’s no evidence that they’re anything but rumors.  Of course, none of that’s going to help those of us that already have him.

Starscream was picked up from my friends at All Time Toys, and can be purchased here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2031: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Now, I don’t want you guys to be getting the impression that just because I’m done reviewing the Wave 2 Deluxe class figures means that I’m done with this here week of Transformers.  No no, I’ve still got plenty of transformers up my sleeves.  Or maybe they *are* my sleeves…hard to tell with Transformers.  Has there ever been a sleeve Transformer?  Probably not, but with Bot Bots, anything’s possible these days…  Sorry, I’m getting distracted.  And this is the worst Transformers review to get distracted from, because it’s a pretty big one.  I mean, it’s another Soundwave.  How often do I review one of those?  What’s that?  Two this year already?  Well, if that’s the case, one more certainly couldn’t hurt.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is one of the two figures in the second Voyager Class wave of the War For Cybertron: Siege line.  Soundwave is only the second Decepticon I’ve looked at from this line, after the confusingly similarly named Shockwave, who will join this figure in forever baffling all of my Transformers novice family and friends over which one is which.  In robot mode, the figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 practical points of articulation.  Like pretty much everyone else in this line, Soundwave’s design calls back to his original G1 look, but updated a bit to more modern toy standards.  Soundwave had the coolest look of all the G1 Transformers (I may be slightly biased), and I think that comes across pretty darn well here.  He maintains all of the basic design cues of his classic counterpart (including adopting some of the old figure’s alt-mode elements that no longer contribute to the alt-mode), while adding quite a few smaller details to keep things sharp and interesting.  It also way ups the posablility, which is always a plus in my book.  I’m also really digging the left hand’s extended index finger, allowing for interaction with the latch for his “tape deck”.  It’s not all perfect, mind you.  There are a few things that do bug me.  Primarily, it’s the forearms.  They’re hollow on the insides, which bugs me far more than the hollow backing on Ironhide.  It’s not helped by the fact that he’s got some weird kibble going on on the backs of the forearms as well, which means two sides of the arms are compromised.  It’s not enough to ruin the figure, but it’s definitely annoying.  I’m also not the biggest fan of the back kibble, but that’s at least a more aesthetically pleasing solution.  Soundwave’s typical alt-mode, a cassette player, is outmoded by today’s world.  There’s been a number of attempts at giving him a replacement alt-mode, and this one is yet another.  He turns into a sort of a…drop ship thing?  I’m not big on it.  I mean, the concept’s okay, and, admittedly, I do like how it looks more in person than I’d expected to.  But something about the design just feels…I don’t know…half-formed?  More than a lot of the vehicles in this line, he looks like a brick with stuck on it, but unlike with Ironhide, I don’t really dig it.  It’s also not nearly as easy a transformation as some of the others, meaning the whole thing isn’t really ideal, and I really don’t see myself switching him back and forth at all.  If you don’t like the drop ship, Hasbro’s got a semi-official secondary alt-mode, which turns Soundwave into the lamppost he disguises himself as in the first episode of the ’84 cartoon.  Again, I don’t really feel the transformation myself, but I appreciate what Hasbro’s trying.  What’s that?  Neither of those alt-modes does it for you?  Have no fear, because the fan community is on it, resulting in a fairly widely-accepted third alt-mode, which has a sort of a speaker/boombox appearance.  It’s actually not too difficult to configure, and is by far my favorite potential alt-mode.  The only shame is that the cassette player buttons on his pelvis aren’t visible in this mode, but it’s a minor flaw.  Soundwave is packed with a HI-KEP Concussion Blaster, LR-HD Sonic Cannon, and EMTX Blitz Charge Blaster, all of which can also combine (rather awkwardly) into the “USW HF Sonic Compression Mega-Blaster,” which is really more of a staff sort of thing.  I do like how the charge blaster unfolds into a staff, which will certainly prove useful with other figures in the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you ready for this?  This figure?  Max’s fault.  So Max’s fault.  Because I wasn’t doing Transformers, you see?  But then Max was all “check out this cool Soundwave figure.”  And that turned into “you should get a few other figures to try out this line.”  And now I’ve got a whole darn collection.  Great.  On the plus side, slight issues aside, this Soundwave is a very, very good figure.  I’m super happy to have gotten him, and he’s my favorite in the line, mostly by virtue of being Soundwave.  I dig it.  I dig it a lot.

Soundwave, like all of my other Siege figures, came from All Time Toys, and can be purchased here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2030: Autobot Sixgun

AUTOBOT SIXGUN

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

While the Transformers brand as a whole is, admittedly, based on a gimmick from the start, Hasbro likes to introduce additional gimmicks as the line continues.  Each entry in the Prime Wars Trilogy had a gimmick, be it Combiners, Titan Masters, or Prime Cores.  This new War For Cybertron trilogy is starting up with a slightly more relaxed gimmick of accross the board compatibility of parts.  While a lot of this is tied in with effects parts and more accessories, there is also a subset of figures, dubbed “Weaponizers,” designed with interchangeability and cross compatibility in mind.  I’m looking at my first of those, Sixgun, today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Sixgun is the last figure in the second deluxe wave of the War for Cybertron: Siege line.  He’s the second Weaponizer in the line, following Autobot Cog from the first assortment.  Like Cog, Sixgun also began his life as an accessory to a large-scale Transformer, in this case Metroplex.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation.  Sixgun’s original figure was rather rudimentary in his bot-mode, so this one starts with that and builds it into something a little more worthy of a proper figure release.  For instance, now he has actual hands! Sixgun’s design is notably more robotic than his assortment-mates, and generally feels a little more inhuman than we tend to see with an Autobot, but it’s a cool design nonetheless.  He’s also got a sturdy build, and lacks any real hollowness like we saw on some of the others in this set. Sixgun’s alt-mode is listed as a tank, but looks a bit more like an aircraft of some sort.  It’s a rather different design than the other alt-modes I’ve looked at, partly because you arrive at it in a rather different fashion.  Instead of a solid transition from one form to the other, Sixgun’s transformation is reliant on actually breaking him down into a number of smaller parts, and then re-assembling them in his vehicle mode.   It’s more akin to building a Lego set than to actually transforming.  It does mean that there’s a lot less guessing and skill to transforming him than the average Transformer, but on the flip side, it means he’s not one that you’ll want to swap back and forth so much, since every transformation is another chance to potentially lose pieces.  As a weaponizer, Sixgun’s sculpt is also pulling triple duty, since he’s not just a robot that transforms into a vehicle, he’s also meant to accent and augment the other figures in the line.  Via the same disassembly process that comes into play for his main transformation, Sixgun can be reconfigured into assorted armor set-ups for his fellow Autobots.  By far, my favorite set-up is the one that results in a giant fighting fist, but hey, I’m easy to please like that.  And, while the colors aren’t exact matches for each other I personally found Sixgun to pair best with his assortment-mate Ironhide.  He actually transitions well to an assortment of accessories for something that works as well as he does as a figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I didn’t quite get pulled in by Cog, something about Sixgun just really spoke to me, especially when I found out about that giant hand configuration (from Max, so this one’s his fault again). He’s definitely a different style of figure than the rest of the assortment, but he’s still very fun.  Now I just have to decide if I want to keep him as a robot or as an accessory.

I picked up Sixgun from All Time Toys, where he is still currently in stock, here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.