#2607: Rotorstorm

ROTORSTORM

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

Oh, we are just keeping these Transformers hits coming, aren’t we?  Well, if you guys were hoping things might angle back into slightly more known characters as we got further into the week, you were sadly mistaken.  It’s just the oddballs from here.  A while back, I brought up the concept of region-exclusive characters, and specifically talked about Impactor, a UK-comics-exclusive Transformer who led the UK-comics-exclusive Wreckers, who also incorporated some non-exclusive characters into their ranks.  The Wreckers have subsequently become not so region-exclusive, and in 2010 IDW published “Last Stand of the Wreckers,” a mini-series focused on them.  They were envisioned as a team on a suicide mission, so they needed a lot of expendable fodder.  And wouldn’t you know it, there was old Rotorstorm, just sitting there doing nothing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rotorstorm is Generations Select release for Earthrise.  He started showing up towards the tail end of July/beginning of August.  He’s patterned on the character’s G1 design, but also takes some very definite influence from his appearance in “Last Stand of the Wreckers.”  In his robot mode, the figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 26 workable points of articulation.  Structually, he’s mostly the same as the Siege Spinister figure.  That said, I never got a Siege Spinister, so he’s all-new to me.  The articulation on this mold in robot mode is pretty impressive, and certainly among the best I’ve gotten from this line.  Beyond that, it’s just a pretty impressive piece, albeit one that doesn’t *quite* line up with the character’s true G1 design, at least as far as the body is concerned.  His head, on the other hand, is all-new, something that Hasbro proudly advertised…before showing off a prototype that inexplicably had a repainted Spinister head.  It’s alright, though, because the final product has the proper head, and it’s a nice recreation of Nick Roche’s illustrations of the character from “Last Stand”.

With a name like “Rotorstorm”, it’s not all that hard to piece together the guy’s alt-mode.  Just like his mold-mate Spinister, he turns into a Cybertronian helicopter.  The transformation process is slightly more complicated on this guy, and definitely more than a little bit fiddly.  It’s not really one of my favorites. On the plus side, the end result is still a pretty cool helicopter mode, with a spinning rotor and everything.  Rotorstorm’s color scheme is a bit on the garish side, but it’s faithful to the original colors; what else would you expect from an early ’90s Transformer?  Rotorstorm includes two guns, which can be held in robot mode or mounted to his sides in helicopter mode.  They’re the same ones included with Spinister, which also means the layout of the molds makes them two different base colors.  They aren’t drastically different, but it’s still, you know, different.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never made up my mind as to whether I actually wanted Spinister or not.  I didn’t really care for his renders, but seeing a figure in-hand has changed my mind about such things before.  Then I never actually did see him in-hand, and that kind of took the decision out of my hands, I suppose.  When All Time got in this guy, Max was nice enough to let me take a look at him and make the decision for myself.  Ultimately, I’m happy to have missed out on Spinister, because it means I was a bit more open to getting this guy, and I actually think I like his overall design just a bit better.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2605: Smokescreen

SMOKESCREEN

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

The Earthrise component of the War For Cybertron trilogy has had a healthy helping of retreading, adjusting a handful of characters over from their Cybertronian Siege designs into more proper Earth modes.  For the most part, it’s made Earthrise a bit lighter for me, because I don’t really feel the need to re-buy everyone.  In today’s particular case, however, it gives me an excuse to buy a character I didn’t get the first time around.  In the original G1 Transformers line, there were three different bots who turned into the Datsun 280ZX Turbo, Prowl, Bluestreak, and Smokescreen.  Siege did all three of them, and added in a G1-ized Barricade on the same base, but Smokescreen was the only one not to get a proper retail release, instead being a Generation Selects figure.  For Earthrise, they’ve decided to once again do all four Datsuns, but this time only one’s going to mass retail, and they’ve given that spot to our boy Smokescreen.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Smokescreen joins yesterday’s Arcee figure as part of the second Deluxe Class assortment of the Earthrise line.  He’s another very G1 cartoon-inspired figure, and takes things even closer than the prior Datsun bodies did.  In his robot mode, Smokescreen stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 22 usable points of articulation.  Smokescreen’s mold is all-new, but is of course going to be shared with the other three Datsuns, who are all more or less hitting right on top of each other (thanks 2020).  Though it’s all-new, it’s still quite similar to the Prowl mold from last year.  I quite liked that one, and I quite like this one too.  It changes things up to be more Earth-mode-y, of course, as well as also changing things up to be more Smokescreen specific, such as adding the extra bit of helmet under his chin.  The robot mold also has less gaps, particularly on the lower legs, than the prior mold, which was honestly my only complaint about the older figure.  It makes Smokescreen feel just a bit more solid than his predecessors.

Smokescreen’s new Earth-based alt-mode is an approximation of the Datsun he originally turned into in the ’80s.  It’s not an exact match, due to licensing and such, but it’s very close.  The transformation process is pretty easy, and more or less identical to the one on Prowl.  Getting the legs into place is a touch trickier on mine, probably due to the extra material that fills in those gaps, but it’s not like it terribly over complicates things or anything like that.  The car mode holds together well, and is certainly a lot of fun to mess with.  A part of me misses the sleek Cybertronian stylings of the old one, but this is still cool.  Smokescreen gets a blaster rifle and two shoulder cannons, much like Bluestreak did for Siege, though these ones are an all-new mold, which will be cropping up with the other Earth mode Datsuns.  I appreciate their versatility, and the fact that they’ve actually got spots to be stored in both modes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have a weird relationship with Smokescreen as a character, and it’s really not his fault.  It’s just that I ended up with the Alternators Smokescreen back in the day when Sideswipe was the one I actually wanted.  Not his fault, right?  Now that I’ve actually got a Sideswipe, and a much better one at that, I guess it’s time for Smokescreen to get a second chance, huh?  Siege Smokescreen was one of the few Gen Selects that we didn’t get at All Time, at least not first hand, so I just didn’t end up grabbing that one.  That, coupled with doubling down for Earthmodes in Earthrise and Smokescreen being the standard release, and thereby easiest to acquire of the new Datsuns, just made this guy kind of perfect for adding to my collection.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2604: Arcee

ARCEE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

The cast of 1986’s Transformers: The Movie is a rather memorable bunch.  I guess being the central characters in what amounted to a rather expensive commercial for a very merchandise driven franchise will do that for you.  Absent from the merchandising side of things at the time was the film’s lone female Autobot, Arcee, who’s had a bit of trouble actually getting toys out of this toy-based franchise.  She was supposed to have a proper transforming release with the rest of the movie crew in ’86, but was scrapped, then was intended to get a Headmaster release, which was also scrapped, then an Action Master, which was again scrapped.  There was also supposed to be a Titanium Series release, but that went about as well as the others.  Transformers Animated finally gave her an actual release (even if it wound up being a TRU-exclusive; store shelves are store shelves), but was, of course not true G1.  That said, in the last few years, there have actually been a number of options for G1-inspired Arcees, with the latest one coming as courtesy of Earthrise.  Perhaps things are finally doing a little better by Arcee…or are they?  Yeah, let’s talk about that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Arcee is part of the second Deluxe Class assortment for Earthrise.  It was supposed to hit much closer to the release of the first Deluxe Class assortment, but, well, 2020 just wasn’t having any of that, so they sort of trickled their way out until we got into the fall, at which point they seemed to hit in more full force.  As noted in the intro, this Arcee is very much inspired by her G1 animation model.  In her robot mode, Arcee stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 usable points of articulation.  Arcee’s mold is new to her, but will be serving as the launching point for both the upcoming Lifeline and Elite-One figures.  It’s quite divergent from the last fembot I looked at from the War for Cybertron line, Chromia, whose mold focussed more on facilitating her alt-mode, thereby crafting a somewhat compromised robot mode that was much stockier and had a lot more kibble than the character was usually depicted with.  For Arcee, they somewhat took a page out of Cliffjumper’s book, and decided that the easiest way to control the kibble on the back for a character with a much more svelte robot mode was to just give people the option of removing said kibble entirely.  So, you have the option of cutting down Arcee’s backpack by about half, which honestly works pretty well.  You can then turn said extra kibble into a sort of a hoverboard thing, which is fine, I guess.  It’s not quite as well formed as Cliff’s extra bit turning into a shield, but it’s not terrible either.  On the plus side, the robot mode’s quite nice on this figure.  I think they did a really solid job of capturing her animation model, and is just a rather fun action figure to boot.  The articulation definitely works well, and she’s just overall got a nice sleek feel about her.

So, there, I was very complimentary of the robot mode.  I really like it.  Remember that.  Hold onto that.  It’ll get you through the next section.  What’s that?  Oh yeah, it’s the vehicle mode.  Let’s talk about that, I guess.  Arcee turns into a sci-fi-looking sports car, as she did in the movie…which is rather amusing when you remember that she’s part of Earthrise, a line that was supposed to be devoted to Earth modes…but I’m getting distracted.  The transformation process is, well it’s not the most fun, that’s for sure.  I will give them one bit of credit: in contrast to how things were done with Cliffjumper, you can actually leave the extra kibble attached to the figure during the whole transformation process, so there’s not technically any parts forming this time.  That being said, that might actually be more pleasant than the actual transformation process, which isn’t great.  She’s definitely got some shell forming going on here, which, to be honest, is kind of expected with her design.  So, that much I get.  That said everything ends up being really fiddly, and rather tricky to get to line up right, and getting her to actually fold up properly into the shell isn’t as easy as you might hope.  She winds up in a car mode that is always threatening to pop apart at any second, with her folded up body barely even clearing the wheels of the car mode so that it can actually do car stuff.  It’s also not a mode that makes you feel very confident in your ability to transform things, so I kept having to double check the instructions to make sure I was in fact doing it the right way.  Even then, I remained less than full convinced, and the car mode seems a little lopsided to me.  It’s not great, you guys.  Arcee is packed with one accessory, a small gun, molded in clear plastic.  It’s a cool piece for the robot mode, but doesn’t really have anything to do for the alt-mode, which is kind of a shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting on an Arcee update since I got dragged into this by Max during the Siege days.  Earthrise was kind of leaving me a bit cold at first, but they showed Arcee off, and I was all on board for her to be sure.  She was definitely on the top of my list for Earthrise, and I’ve been patiently awaiting her arrival on shelves.  I love the robot mode so much, which makes how little I like the car mode a bit frustrating.  She’s…just so uneven.  Like, I don’t really see myself really using the vehicle mode at all, which is a bit sad.  Still, she’s a stellar robot figure, and that *is* the thing I wanted the most out of her.  Despite how much I may have ripped into the car mode, I can’t help but love the robot part of this figure, and that makes her an overall win in my book.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2502: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS PRIME: BEAST HUNTERS (HASBRO)

At the end of yesterday’s Soundwave review, I mentioned one more Prime figure coming along with him.  If you know really anything at all about my Transformers collecting habits, then it’s not even remotely surprising that the other figure was an Ultra Magnus.  He’s kind of my guy here.  Magnus was absent from the first two seasons of Transformers: Prime, but made his way to the show for its third and final season, which also meant he got in on the toys, one of which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was released as part of the third Voyager Class wave of the re-branded Prime: Beast Hunters line.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 19 workable points of articulation.  Magnus’s sculpt is, of course, based on his cartoon appearance, which was notable, because he wasn’t the first Magnus figure in the Prime line-up, but he was the first to actually be based on his show look.  Said show look isn’t quite as far removed from the classic Magnus design as Soundwave was.  It’s really just streamlined and generally brought more closely in-line with how the show handled Optimus’s design, since the two are usually built out of at least *some* of the same parts.  That fully tracks with the actual construction of this figure, which borrows pretty heavily from the Powerizer Optimus Prime from earlier in the line.  Magnus gets a new head, chest plate, and shoulders, which bring him more in line with Magnus’s show design, and help to really sell them as, you know, different characters and all.  The new shoulders are in line with the usual Magnus tradition of big ol’ pillars on his shoulders, but are also functional, as they can shoot missiles out of the top…if you have them…which I don’t.  Also missing from my figure is his Forge of Solus, the big battle hammer this version of Magnus carried.  Not missing, however, is his wing-pack, because apparently Magnus needs some wings.  Hey, I can dig it.  What I can also dig, as show-inaccurate as it may be, is Magnus’s color scheme, which has that cool bright blue that the old toy did.  Most stuff these days goes with the more cartoon accurate darker blue, but I enjoy the brighter shade still showing up occasionally.  Magnus’s alt-mode is pretty much the same truck mode that Optimus got, them being mostly the same mold and all, but with a few surface details here and there changed.  It’s a transformation that’s a little tricky to get the hang of the first few times through, but I was able to get there, and it’s not so bad now that I have a few attempts under my belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, obviously, I got this guy from Max, just like with Soundwave.  He knows I’m a Magnus guy, and he always keeps an eye out for the ones I don’t have, and he was nice enough to snag this one for me, also for my birthday.  Interestingly, the figure didn’t have any of his accessories when he got traded in, but Max has just so happened to have the wing-pack sitting on the shelf above his desk for over a year now, and was actually pretty excited that a matching Magnus finally came through.  And hey, it makes mine that much more complete!

#2432: Ultra Magnus Spoiler Pack

ULTRA MAGNUS SPOILER PACK

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY (HASBRO)

Okay, so, uhh, here’s something a little different, I guess.  At the beginning of the year, back when the world was still relatively normal, Hasbro debuted the trailer and accompanying toy line for their Netflix-based Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege cartoon, which is, of course, based on the toy line of the same name.  Despite the toys being pretty directly recreated for the animation (down to using the same CAD files), there’s still an even more-show-specific set of figures, which are a Walmart-exclusive here in the US.  At the center of this line is a rather gimmicky concept: a spoiler pack.  And before we get into any sort of confusion about this being a box of car parts, since that wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a Transformers line, it specifically references spoilers for the show’s plot, although technically the contents of the box as well.  We found out fairly early on that the box contained an Ultra Magnus, but further details weren’t initially revealed…or at least they weren’t supposed to be.  I’m going to play nice to that small handful of people who might actually like to still be surprised when they open this thing.  If that’s you, the following review is technically a SPOILER, so you’ve been warned.

Continue reading

#2413: Soundwave Spy Patrol 3

FRENZY, KNOK, WINGTHING, & SKAR

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

And yet another new item.  Wow, we are just rolling through these new boys, aren’t we?  For what it’s worth, there’s a week of time between Black Widow/Probe Droid and Drake, and then another week from Drake to today’s subject, even though there’s been no gap for you, the readers.  I’ve just been sitting here worried I was gonna have to dig into my old toys again.  I think I might be losing my grip on the now….where was I?  Or, more accurately, *when* was I?  Eh?  Time traveler thing? …Yeah, it’s really not that funny.  Sorry, I’ve not really had real people to run these things by as of late.  …the toys…should review the toys!  Yes, so the toys for today are some more Transformers.  It’s been over a month, so it’s probably time for some more of those!  I’m on record as being quite a Soundwave fan, and something that kind of accompanies that is the need to pick up his support crew, whatever their current alt-mode may be (since cassettes are so passe), and I’ll be taking a look at Soundwave’s Spy Patrol 3 today!  What happened to 2?  Don’t make me hurt you!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This four-pack is one of the online-only (in theory, at least) Transformers Generations: Selects offerings, officially falling under the Earthrise heading.  As I noted when I reviewed fellow Selects offering Hot Shot, these figures make use of minimal new tooling in order to accent the main retail lines.  Though listed as “Soundwave Spy Patrol,” only two of the figures included here are actually really meant for Soundwave, with the other two intended to go along with the Earthrise Doubledealer figure.  All four are technically compatible with Soundwave (and Soundblaster), of course.

FRENZY

One of the original four cassettes, released along with Soundwave in 1984, Frenzy quite frequently receives the short end of the stick on newer releases.  This figure follows that lead, since when it came time to release one of the two humanoid cassette bots, it was Rumble who got first dibs as part of the Spy Patrol 2 set.  Of course, with that set being practically non-existent for most collectors (myself included), maybe Frenzy’s not in quite as bad shape.  In robot mode, he stands just over 2 inches tall and has 9 workable points of articulation.  As one would expect, what with the two characters being always built on the same molds and all, Frenzy is the same sculpt as Rumble.  This is my first exposure to it, and I dig it overall.  Compared to a lot of the Siege and Earthrise stuff, he’s not quite as sleek, but given his alt-more is just a box, I guess a little bit of boxiness is certainly excusable.  He’s also a bit less of an outright figure of his own than the TR-style Frenzy from the Bumblebee cassettes pack, but with the smaller scaling, I find that to be fairly excusable.  Like all of the Spy Patrol guys, Frenzy turns into a definitely-not-a-cassette rectangle, designed to fit in Soundwave’s chest compartment.  I had heard that he was a little too large to properly fit, but I didn’t find this to be an issue with mine, though I did notice he was a little snugger in there then Ravage and Laserbeak.  Not by much, though.

WINGTHING

After the original four cassettes were released, there was one additional cassette added in 1986, Ratbat.  Ratbat made his way into the Siege line proper alongside Rumble, but much like the Rumble/Frenzy re-use, we also get a re-use of the Ratbat mold here as Wingthing, Soundwave’s Action Master partner, who has subsequently been re-worked into another of his cassette boys.  In bat-mode, Wingthing stands an inch and a quarter tall, and has a moving neck, wings, and feet.  His robot mode is decent, but not super posable, or really posable at all, for that matter.  Mostly, the joints are just there to facilitate the transformation scheme.  He’s kind of rudimentary, and doesn’t stand so well, but it’s a cool enough visual, I suppose.  This body’s transformation turns it into less of cassette-esque box than the previous molds.  Said box is even larger than the one Frenzy turns into, so there’s really no way to put it into Soundwave’s chest capacity, which is a definite bummer.

KNOK

Okay, now we jump into the “not technically cassette bots” segment of this set.  First up is Knok, who was originally Doubledealer’s Autobot powermaster, but has now been made a Decepticon, at least according to the instructions included here.  It’s okay, though, because he’s without any sort of insignia, so he can kind of be whatever you want.  Structurally, he’s pretty much the same as Frenzy, but with a new head (one of two new pieces included in the set).  Using the same sculpt as Frenzy means he’s as good as Frenzy, so I can definitely dig that.  Interestingly, in my case, I found that Knok actually fits into Soundwave’s chest cavity even a bit better than Frenzy.

SKAR

Last up is Doubledealer’s other powermaster, Knok’s Decepticon equivalent, Skar.  Skar makes use of the same basic mold as Wingthing/Ratbat.  He’s got a new head (the other new part in the set), but is otherwise identical.  So, you know, same basic issues that I outlined about the mold just above.  Not really my favorite.  He changes up the colors into something more classically decepticon-y, so that’s cool.  Again, he’s got no insignia, but he’s correctly labeled as a Decepticon.  Whatever the case, he can again be what you want.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never saw the Rumble/Ratbat set once, and I was definitely a little bummed about missing out on the Rumble mold.  I was kinda holding out hope for the Frenzy re-deco, though, so this set’s announcement did make me a little happier.  I was even happier when I was actually able to secure one.  It’s funny, because I realized I’ve inexplicably ended up with a Frenzy to go with each of my main Soundwaves.  I’m okay with that.  Knok is pretty cool by virtue of being more or less the same figure as Frenzy.  Wingthing and Skar, I’m not quite as into.  They aren’t bad, nut they aren’t as cleverly designed as the cassettes, made worse by the fact that they aren’t actually compatible with the cassette feature.  Still, a 50/50 split on this set isn’t the worst.

Thanks to All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys to review.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2379: Offroad Bumblebee

OFFROAD BUMBLEBEE

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Bumblebee goes toe-to-toe with Blitzwing in a canyon-shaking battle.”

Okay, let’s wrap up this week of Transformers reviews with two things Ethan’s actually got a handle on: Bumblebee and Jeeps.  Over the course of Bumblebee, the title character picks up a few different alt-modes.  While the one that sticks for most of the film’s run time is Bee’s classic VW Beetle mode, his first mode upon arriving on Earth is a Jeep that he scans while evading Agent Burns and Sector 7.  I’m a bit of a Jeep geek, so I was certainly hoping to see this variant pop up in at least one of the toylines.  Given that Bee’s the main character, it’s not a huge shock that one eventually surfaced, and as part of the Studio Series to boot!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Offroad Bumblebee (who I’ve been affectionately referring to as Bumblejeep) is figure 57 in the Studio Series line-up.  Like Dropkick and Shatter, Bee is a Deluxe Class release, and hit shelves alongside the aforementioned Shatter, as well as Roadbuster from Dark of the Moon.  Bumblebee has been one of the most frequent characters in the Studio Series, with this particular version being his seventh unique variation in the line.  As I noted in the intro, he’s based on the scene where Bee arrives on Earth and tries to escape Sector 7, and ultimately ends up battling Blitzwing.  In his robot mode, Bee stands just shy of 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Like Shatter, the overall articulation count’s a bit lower here, but in Bee’s case, the joints all have a pretty impressive range, so he’s got a lot of posing capability.  That said, the hips are a bit loose on mine, so that’s something to keep and eye on.  In my figure’s case, it doesn’t have an impact on his ability to stay standing, though, so I’m not horribly bothered by it.  At a casual glance, you might expect this figure to use a healthy helping of parts from the VW Bee, but Bumblejeep is an all-new, far more film accurate sculpt.  His scaling is a little better relative to at leas the other Bee film figures, and he loses a lot of the extraneous pieces (notably the door wings) which were present on the prior figure.  In general, he’s just a very accurate recreation of Bee’s model from the movie, and is a far more solidly constructed figure in his robot mode.  He includes a blaster attachment for his arm (which works pretty much the same way as Shatter’s, rather than being a whole swapped out thing like the previous Bee), which is cool.  He does *not* include an arm blade or his battle-mask.  The blade’s okay, because he can actually use the one from the VW release, but the mask is a bit of a shame, since that’s not a piece that’s cross-compatible, and he actually made prominent use of the mask during the scenes with this mode.  Bee’s alt-mode for this release is a fully-licensed Jeep (as you can tell by the properly shaped grill and headlights).  It’s a far less fiddly transformation than the VW one, and the final product stays together a bit better.  It was still a little tricky to get everything to tab together just right, but the actual transformation process itself really wasn’t bad.  The only downside to the final product is how obvious those arms are under the vehicle, but the had to go somewhere, I suppose.  They’re on balljoints, so you could remove them if they really bother you.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I said in the intro, this is a design I’ve wanted in toy form since I saw the movie, because I just really like Jeeps.  I was really excited when this guy was shown off, and he was at the top of my list for upcoming Studio Series figures.  I was admittedly a little bummed when All Time only got in Shatter for the time being, but I managed to stumble across this guy while on a supply run to Target, which made me quite happy.  He’s easily my favorite Studio Series release to date, and I may actually be trying to track down a second, because I really want both modes on display.

#2377: Hoist

HOIST

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

Hey, remember when I reviewed Grapple and I was all like “I don’t really have much to say for the intro”?  Well, apart from this witty and self-referential bit I’ve got going right now, the very same is true for Hoist.  <checking wiki> Apparently the two of them are buddies?  Well, cool, that means that they fit together in a nice little pair of characters I know pretty much nothing about.  So, let’s again watch me try to review a character I don’t know!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hoist is the third of the three first Deluxe Class assortment figures I’ve picked up from Earthrise, and he seems to be designed to pair off with the Voyager Grapple who hit right around the same time.  It’s actually nice of Hasbro to actually finish off a pair like that so quickly; usually there’s a wait involved between such figures.  In robot mode, Hoist stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 24 usable points of articulation.  I complained in yesterday’s review about how Wheeljack’s robot mode felt a little less refined than some of the others from Siege and Earthrise, and I feel that’s even more of an issue with Hoist.  He doesn’t feel like he’s on the same engineering level of, say, Cliffjumper, or even the likes of Grapple.  There’s far more hollow sections left exposed (the entire back side of the legs for one, and the torso for another), and he keeps the side panels of the vehicle mode just stuck behind the arms rather rigidly.  Additionally, he just doesn’t feel as sturdy as other figures of the same style, so he feels literally half-formed.  I’m also not a huge fan of the colorscheme, but that’s not really specifically this toy’s issue, as much as it is just part of the character.  So, the robot mode doesn’t impress me so much, how’s the other mode?  Honestly, not bad.  He turns into a pickup truck with a towing hook.  Getting him transformed isn’t the easiest thing, but the final product is actually quite nice, and one of the most convincing alt-modes in this set.  Hoist is packed with an arm cannon, which he can use in robot mode, or stow on his side when in truck mode.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Hoist at the same time as the other two Earthrise deluxes, mostly because I knew I wasn’t likely to have a chance to get much new stuff, and I was buying everyone else.  I’m not really a huge fan of him, at least in his robot mode.  He just feels really removed from the rest of the line in terms of quality, and doesn’t really fit in.  On the other hand, I actually really like that alt-mode, and as a first, I might end up displaying this guy in his vehicle mode full-time.

Hoist was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2376: Wheeljack

WHEELJACK

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

Okay, let’s continue our merry trek into this Transformers theme-week with the second of the three Earthrise reviews I’ll be doing this week.  We again go back to the beginnings of the brand with another of the original core line-up, Wheeljack, the Autobot’s crazy inventor.  Unless you were first really introduced to the character via Prime like I was, in which case his more of a war-torn bruiser.  Those two things are really close, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wheeljack is part of the first Deluxe Class assortment of the Earthrise line.  He’s a figure people have been expecting to see since Siege started, since he was included in the fan-poll that added Mirage and Impactor into the line, his poll-mate Spinister showed up in Siege‘s final deluxe assortment, and he was also seen on Springer’s box art.  It’s okay everyone, he’s finally here.  In his robot mode, Wheeljack stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 26 workable points of articulation.  His sculpt is an all-new affair, based on his G1 cartoon design.  For some reason, this sculpt feels a little less advanced, at least in terms of what it does with the remaining parts of the alt-mode when he’s a robot.  Obviously, you expect there to be some remnants there, but in this case, especially on the arms, where the backsides really showcase the car remnants.  It’s not like it’s bad, but it makes him a little clunkier, and it means the range of motion on the articulation isn’t as great as it could be.  On the plus side, the range on the legs is actually really good, especially on the ankles, which go two different ways, unlike most of the modern ‘formers.  Wheeljack’s alt-mode is a race car, much like his vintage counterpart.  Like Cliffjumper, however, it’s not a specific model, and is more of an averaged design.  It still has a real world feel.  The transformation process is pretty simple and straightforward, provided you don’t have parts spontaneously pop off in the midst of it, like I did.  It’s okay, everything went back the way it was supposed to.  Wheeljack is packed with his shoulder launcher, which the box art and the product shots show him holding in his hand, which I believe Max would like me to point out is an affront to God, or Primus, or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t have any major attachment to Wheeljack as a character, mostly due to him being just shy of being a core enough character to wind up in the various incarnations of the franchise I got to know growing up.  That said, it’s a neat design, and I’m getting versed enough in the franchise now to appreciate the need for him in my collection.  He’s an okay figure, and I certainly like his transformation scheme, but I do wish he was a little more polished.

Wheeljack was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2375: Cliffjumper

CLIFFJUMPER

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

Okay, well, my options for reviewing new things are more on the limited side these days, so I kinda just have to make due with what I picked up before things shut down.  Luckily, I did manage to pick up enough new Transformers to qualify for a theme-week, so that’s just what I’m gonna do.  Today, I’m beginning a three-part look into the main line’s theme for this year, Earhrise, the second entry in the War for Cybertron trilogy, and also taking a look at one of the franchise’s oldest, and quite frequently most overlooked characters, Cliffjumper!  He’s not just red Bumblebee!  I swear!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cliffjumper is part of the first Deluxe Class assortment of the Earthrise line.  As we saw in Siege these figures are continuing the trend of trying to stick as closely to G1 animation models as possible, and in that regard I’d say Cliffjumper hits pretty darn close.  In his robot mode, Cliffjumper stands 4 inches tall and he has 22 workable points of articulation.  Cliffjumper is, for once, an all-new sculpt.  The expectation is that at least some of this figure will be turning up later as a toon-accurate Bumblebee, but exactly how much of this exact sculpt they’re going to re-use is a bit up in the air, mostly depending on whether or not they’re going to try for the VW Beetle.  But, that’s all a discussion for when we actually get a Bumblebee!  We’re not looking at Bumblebee, we’re looking at Cliffjumper!  He’s different, I swear!  As I noted on Grapple, Cliffjumper (and Earthrise as a whole) has a slightly cleaner sculpt than a lot of the Siege figures did.  He’ll still fit in with them, of course, but he’s not quite as battle torn.  He’s a pretty sleek, and honestly pretty small sculpt, especially given he’s a deluxe, but ultimately it works for him, and I think there’s enough going on with the figure that it doesn’t feel like you’re getting gipped.  Cliffjumper’s original alt-mode was a Porsche 924 Turbo, which isn’t technically what this guy turns into; he’s instead a more generic ’80s-style sports car.  That being said, he’s clearly designed to be reminiscent of the original mode, and it’s certainly a plausible car for the real word.  The transformation process is pretty simple.  It does require some minor parts forming where you remove the back of the car and plug it in as a backpack in robot mode.  This apparently ruins the figure.  Ruins it, I tell you.  Okay, not ruin.  Or hinder at all, really, at least in my book.  In fact, I quite like how the transformation works on this figure, and I’m happy with both modes.  Cliffjumper is packed with a very large blaster, which he can break up into several much smaller components.  For the robot mode, it can be split into two smaller blasters, and for the car mode, it can be turned into a set of skis and a propulsion system, which I think is a lot of fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have a soft-spot for Cliffjumper.  He’s kinda like the Ultra Magnus to Bumblebee’s Optimus.  Also, when I was younger, I had a handful of the Robot Heroes line, and while I never had a Bumblebee, I did have the Cliffjumper repaint.  I’ve been hoping to see him show up in the modern line, and I was actually kind of happy he got added before Bee.  He was my most wanted of the initial Earthrise offerings, and he’s definitely my favorite of the batch I’ve picked up so far.

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