#2699: Grimlock & Autobot Wheelie

GRIMLOCK & AUTOBOT WHEELIE

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Grimlock, Wheelie, and the Dinobots storm the Quintesson Courtroom to save Hot Rod and Kup from Quintesson judgement”

2021’s line-up for the core Transformers product lines is split between Beast Wars and Transformers: The Movie.  How about something that’s a nice transitional ground between the two?  Yes, it’s Grimlock, leader of the Dinobots.  They’re notable for being a group of G1 bots that *aren’t* vehicles in their alt-modes, which was a bit of a switch, huh?  They proved to be rather popular, I guess.  I mean, I think people like robots, and people like dinosaurs, so I suppose robots that turn into dinosaurs are a safe enough bet.  Well, it got me in the door for at least one toy, so let’s look at this here Grimlock figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grimlock is the entire Leader Class component of the ’86-branch of Transformers: Studio Series.  He’s officially numbeded 86-06, making him the last of the Transformers: The Movie figures….so far.  That won’t be sticking, though.  Whatever the case, he’s the last of the first batch, and is likewise the last of them to arrive on shelves, getting in a few weeks behind the rest.  In his robot mode, Grimlock stands a whopping 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 workable points of articulation.  Grimlock is the largest of the post-War For Cybertron Leader Class figures, going back to almost Prime Wars scaling for the Leaders, which works well for Grimlock’s typically much larger size.  And, despite being much larger scale, his construction is still pretty solid, with minimal hollowed out points, which I’m always glad to see.  The smaller-scale ’86 Studio Series figures are generally lifted pretty directly from the movie’s animation models, which were generally a little more detailed than the corresponding cartoon models.  Grimlock’s was a little more simplified, especially given how little of the film he actually spent in his robot mode.  This figure’s robot mode is very definitely G1-animation inspired, but it gains some additional smaller details which bring his design more in line with the Siege/Earthrise figures.  That, coupled with the presence of the 5mm ports that the Studio Series figures have by-and-large dropped, points to Grimlock being a figure that was possibly meant for the main trilogy line, before moved over into Studio Series.  Regardless of its original intended placement, the sculpt is a very nice piece of work.  It’s a nice, solid, chunky sculpt, and a great fit for the character’s design.  Like I said when I reviewed Optimus, this isn’t the toy you had as a kid, but it’s as cool as you remember that toy being as a kid.  Grimlock’s color scheme was subject to a few changes over the course of production.  Originally, he was shown with flat yellow and a clear window piece on the chest.  We then saw him with that same set-up, but changing the neck of his beast mode to a transparent yellow.  For the final product, however, the neck was back to opaque, the window on the chest is a smokey color, and the yellow was shifted to a metallic gold.  The final product’s honestly the best set-up in my mind.  Grimlock is packed with a rifle weapon, as well as an articulated figurine of Wheelie, whom he spends a good deal of time with in the movie.  Wheelie is a non-transforming figure, but he does get articulation at the neck, shoulders, waist, and hips, can peg into Grimlock’s shoulder, and has his own included slingshot accessory.

Grimlock’s alt-mode is, as it usually is, a robotic (and historically inaccurate) T-Rex.  It’s got a pretty nice transformation sequence, and one that’s pretty intuitive and doesn’t have any notable issues or misalignments on my copy.  The final product is just as bulky and solid as the robot mode, and features a similar styling to the detailing, going heavy on the G1-look, but with a little bit of extra detailing.  He’s fairly posable in this mode as well, with the smaller arms in particular having quite an impressive range on them.  In this mode, Wheelie can again be placed atop Grimlock, though he doesn’t plug in quite as securely this way.  Still, I doubt he’s really going anywhere in either mode, and Grimlock is certainly impressive in either of his two modes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Grimlock is one of those G1 designs that has always kind of stuck in my head, even though my direct experienced with him have generally been pretty limited.  He’s certainly got a distinctive visual in both of his modes, and I’d definitely been hoping for some version of him to be included in the “modern” lines.  This guy’s really quite nice.  He’s just a really solidly put together figure, and I’m not sure they’ll be able to top him.  Definitely another fantastic addition to the line.

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.

#2670: Autobot Hot Rod

AUTOBOT HOT ROD

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Hot Rod embraces his destiny, becoming Rodimus Prime and defeating Unicron.”

Whoa, spoilers there guys.  We just picked up this Hot Rod figure and you’re already telling me he’s irrelevant?

Transformers: The Movie introduced a whole new slate of characters, and at the center of this new cast was the new planned lead for the franchise, Hot Rod, who would become Rodimus Prime before the film’s end.  Obviously, this didn’t stick, but that sure was the plan.  Even without being the franchise’s lead, Hot Rod’s made out pretty well on the toy front.  That being said, he has, as of yet, been absent from the latest incarnation of the line with all of its centralized scaling and such.  But, with it being the 35th anniversary of the movie where he’s definitely the lead, it’s hard to say that it was truly a shock that he was included in some sort of capacity this year, now was it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Hot Rod makes up one half of the Voyager Class component for the ’86-inspired Studio Series line-up. He’s figure 86-04 (because 86-03 is the last of the Deluxes, which is Blurrr, and I didn’t wind up grabbing him…yet…).  In his robot mode, Hot Rod stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 28 practical points of articulation.  Given he’s a Voyager Class figure, Hot Rod does seem a little bit on the smaller side, being more in line with Deluxe scaling.  This is, however accurate for Hot Rod from a scaling standpoint, and more over, the higher price point of the figure comes less from sheer sizing of the figure, and more from the complexity of the tooling and engineering.  In particular, Hot Rod winds up with an articulation scheme far improved compared to his Deluxe Class companions.  He’s not only got more functioning joints when in his robot mode, but also has generally a greater range of motion on those joints.  Unlike the last pair of Hot Rods I looked at, he doesn’t suffer from any major points of restriction, which is a real plus.  He’s even got hinged hands, meaning it’s a Hot Rod that can finally hold a Matrix.  What a crazy concept.  The sculpt proper is a pretty spot-on recreation of the animation design, and is just a generally clean looking piece of work.  It’s got a nice, sleek feel to it that seems really right for Hot Rod.  Even his vehicle mode kibble has been streamlined further than prior releases, meaning he’s a Hot Rod that doesn’t have the whole top of his car mode hanging off his back for once.  In addition to the basic robot mode, Hot Rod also has a few cool built-in features, including a visor that drops down from the top of his head (in the same fashion as the Masterpiece version), as well as hands that flip out for his welder and a 5mm peg allowing the mounting of the saw hand for his right and left hands respectively.  It helps to really give him that all-encompassing feel.  Aiding in the all-encompassing feel are the aforementioned alternate saw hand, his two blasters, the Matrix of Leadership (borrowed from Earthrise Optimus, and capable of actually being held this time around), an effects piece for the Matrix, and two effects for his forearm blasters.

Hot Rod’s alt-mode remains consistent with the other G1-inspired versions of the character, being based on the futuristic sports car mode from the movie.  It’s sleek and, like Kup, presumably pretty easy to animate.  In the case of Hot Rod, it’s also pretty distinctive, since it’s stuck with the character over the years.  The transformation process is a fairly involved set up with a lot of moving parts, but even so I found it to be a little more intuitive than other, more fiddly Studio Series figures.  I guess it still counts as a little fiddly, but it just feels less so to me.  Also of note about this transformation is that it involves the arms flipping sides, replicating the one notable transformation pattern not done by the toys.  The final transformed product looks not unlike the car modes on the other two Hot Rods I have, with the caveat of, of course, still having that more posable robot mode.  In car mode, the two blasters can be mounted to the front, and the effects for the forearms now work as exhaust effects.  The saw attachment can *technically* go on top of the guns, but due to how the clearance on the parts works, it’s going to cause some paint chipping on the guns, so I didn’t push it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted early last year when I reviewed the Power of the Primes Rodimus, I have definitely been wanting a Hot Rod to go with the rest of my updated cast.  The inner figure from that set was a decent place holder, in fact more than decent, so when this guy got announced I was intrigued but not certain how essential he’d be.  The short of it is that he’s *very* essential.  He’s undoubtedly the centerpiece of this particular set, and the most impressive Hot Rod figure I can think of.  He just does a lot and he does pretty much all of it very well.  He exemplifies the mini-Masterpiece thing that these figures have been doing since Siege in the best possible way.

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

#2669: Kup

KUP

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Kup fights for his spark as a giant robot squid tears him apart.”

One of the main focuses of Transformers: The Movie was introducing a new cast of characters, and by extension, a new selection of toys for the audience to buy.  After disposing of the original cast in relatively quick fashion, the movie shifts its focus to the new cast, generally made up of younger ‘bots, but not entirely, as is the case with good ol’ Kup here, the cast’s perpetual old guy, defined equally by his old-ness and his guy-ness.  The split between the cast for the two plot-lines places Kup with Hot Rod for most of the film’s mid-section, so he certainly gets a decent chunk of screen time, and that makes him decently memorable.  It also makes him a good choice for inclusion in the Studio Series assortment, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kup is the another part of the Deluxe-class assortment for the ’86 tie-in Studio Series stuff.  He’s officially numbered 86-02, placing him just after Jazz.  Kup previously got figure treatment in the Titans Return line-up, but this one is more animation accurate, as is expected for this line.  In robot mode, he stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 20 workable points of articulation.  What’s rather curiously missing from the articulation are any sort of wrist joints; he looks like he’s got them, but it’s all a fabrication, I’m afraid.  Kup’s sculpt is all-new, and while it certainly aims for screen accuracy, it doesn’t *quite* get as close as some of the others in this assortment.  There are definitely parts that are really good, and I’m particularly a fan of that head sculpt.  However, the body seems to be a bit too broad across the shoulders for Kup, and the limbs are comparatively kind of scrawny.  On the whole, not atrocious, but not quite on the same level as the rest of the line.  Given that did seem to be some shuffling as to what was going in EarthriseKingdom, or Studio Series, I’d say it’s a definite possibility that Kup may have been intended for one of the other two lines, and just wound up in this line instead.  Whatever the case, the sculpt’s still pretty decent, and there are some pretty fun touches.  Most notably, the limbs are all mounted on 5mm ports, so Kup can be dismantled and put back together, just like in the movie.

Kup’s alt-mode, like many of the main characters in Transformers: The Movie, doesn’t have an actual real-world equivalent.  It’s instead a sci-fi, future-esque pick-up truck sort of thing.  It’s never been one of the more visually interesting vehicles, but I bet it sure was easy to animate!  The transformation to get him into the truck is a little bit on the fiddly side, and if you have a tendency to actually follow the directions (which I still do), they might slightly mislead you on a few spots.  I definitely had a little bit of back tracking.  That said, it still isn’t too much, and the end result ends up being pretty faithful both to what’s on screen and to his original toy’s alt-mode.  Kup is packed with a rifle and the little Energon dispenser he and Hot Rod use to calm the Quintessons.  Points for the very scene specific extra!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Transformers: The Movie is kind of my go-to G1 representation for Transformers, owing a lot to its very distinctive visuals and soundtrack.  As such, my collecting now that I’m actually into Transformers tends to center around stuff from that movie.  I’ve been hoping for a nice Kup to help round out the film’s cast for a while.  Prior versions aren’t terrible, but I’m not much for the headmasters gimmick, and was definitely looking for one of him without.  This one has his own set of things going on, and I can’t say he’s the particular stand-out of the set or anything, but he’s a solid rendition of the character, and I’m glad to have him for the shelf.

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.

#2668: Autobot Jazz

AUTOBOT JAZZ

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Autobot Jazz tries to escape Moonbase One before Unicron devours it, but he doesn’t make it and is swallowed up by the Planet Eater.”

2021 marks the 35th anniversary of Transformers: The Movie hitting theaters, and in an effort to celebrate it, Hasbro’s going totally crazy and releasing….cartoon based figures in their Studio Series line?  What!?!  Okay, it’s not really that crazy of a concept when you get right down to it.  Studio Series is a line of figures dedicated to getting as close to screen-accurate recreations of the characters from the Transformers movies as possible; it’s honestly not that crazy a concept that they might want to devote at least a little bit of the line to the actual first theatrical Transformers movie, especially in a year where the main line, Kingdom, isn’t looking to be *quite* as G1 heavy as the main line for the last two years.  So, Studio Series is effectively picking up where Earthrise left off, and giving us some more updates of classic G1 characters in this new cohesive style that Hasbro’s been working on crafting the last few years.  Kicking things off is perhaps the most prominent of the original ‘bots still missing from this new style, that guy with the oh-so-hard-to-copyright-name, Jazz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Jazz is part of the Deluxe-class component for the Transformers: The Movie-inspired selection of Studio Series figures.  He is officially the first of the set, numbered 86-01 (they have re-started the numbering for these guys, and are using 86, the year the movie was released, as their prefix).  Though officially slated for a March 2021 release, these guys have hit a few places on the earlier side.  Of all of the figures in this 86-inspired line-up, Jazz is notable for being the only of the original Autobots present.  It’s fitting, since he’s one of three of the originals to make it through the film alive, though his role is certainly not as plot relevant as some of the others included here.  Of course, I’m hardly going to argue with getting a new Jazz.  We haven’t gotten one since Power of the Primes, and I’d honestly rather not talk about that one.  In his robot mode, this guy stands just shy of 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 20 practical points of articulation.  Jazz is an all-new mold, patterned on his G1 animation design, of course.  The most notable thing about that is that it means he lacks the door wing kibble that most G1-inspired Jazzes have included.  I’m not really that major one way or the other on whether or not he’s got them, but it’s cool that they went specifically animation-styled for this one.  Beyond that little detail, he’s just a generally nice recreation of the design on the cartoon.  It’s a clean looking design to be sure, which certainly fits the character.  No Siege greebliness to be found here.  I wasn’t quite as bothered by that as some people, but I will admit I do really like the clean lines on this guy.  In particular, I’m very fond of the head sculpt, which does quite a respectable job of getting Jazz’s signature design down.  He doesn’t really get many of the 5mm ports that the main lines have been getting, which means he’s not quite as customizable, but on the flip side, it continues his overall cleaner appearance.

Jazz’s alt-mode is pretty much the same as his original G1 counterpart, where he turned into a Porsche 935 racing car.  This one is essentially that, though he’s specifically based on the animation version of that car, meaning it’s not *quite* a Porshe.  Presumably, this means that he didn’t require licensing, which is a slight shift for Studio Series, but not entirely unheard of, especially given that the rest of Jazz’s compatriots in this line-up have completely made up alt-modes.  This one looks pretty good, and his transformation’s not quite as fiddly as Studio Series stuff tends to be, so I on the whole rather preferred it to a lot of the others I’ve messed with.  I did find it a little tricky to get his chest and head properly oriented upon returning him to robot mode, but it’s not too rough.  It holds together pretty well, and generally looks pretty good, too.  Jazz is packed with is usual Photon Rifle, which he can either hand-wield in his robot mode, or mount to the top of of his car mode.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jazz is definitely on my short list of favorite Transformers.  He’s not quite at Soundwave or Ultra Magnus levels, or anything, but I definitely like him, and was very much waiting for him to get some sort of update in this modern era of Transformers figures.  It’s been a long wait, but I was very happy to hear he’d be in this assortment, and he’s certainly the one I was most looking forward to personally.  He’s a strong release, and certainly the best Jazz I own, though perhaps that’s not saying a lot.  Still, he’s really cool, and that works for me.

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.

#2657: Bumblebee

BUMBLEBEE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY (HASBRO)

Despite his prominent placement in the franchise as a whole and in the tie-in media for the War For Cybertron Trilogy, mainstay Autobot Bumblebee has been completely absent from the main line for the first two parts of said trilogy.  It’s been a weird, almost gnawing omission, since we got Cliffjumper and a handful of other Bee-esque molds throughout the year, and he’s also had a fairly sizable role in Netflix’s tie-in animation.  Eventually, he surfaced, but rather than being a mainline release, he’s instead part of the previously repaints-only Walmart tie-in line for the animation.  Oh joy, another Walmart exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bumblebee is part of the second round of Walmart’s War For Cybertron Trilogy line, and is part of the five piece deluxe-class assortment, alongside three repaints, and the similarly new offering of Elita-1.  In his robot mode, Bumblebee stands 4 inches tall and has 22 workable points of articulation.  In theory, he’s based on the cartoon, but…well, he’s not.  Bumblebee had no Siege figure, so while many of the characters featured in the cartoon used direct copies of the original CAD files, Bumblebee was an all new model created for the cartoon.  These two designs are certainly drawing from the same source (G1 Animation Bumblebee), but a spitting image of his cartoon counterpart, he is not.  Structurally, this figure is, as expected a re-tool of the Cliffjumper mold from early last year.  It was probably my favorite mold to come out of Earthrise, so it’s definitely a good starting point.  He gets a different head (shared with Bug Bite, but obviously designed for Bee), as well as new parts for his mid-section and feet.  Why the new parts for the mid-section and feet?  That’s because…

…he also gets a new alt-mode!  While Bug Bite and Hubcap both shared Cliffjumper’s generic sports car alt-mode, Bumblebee gets his exterior pieces replaced, allowing him to transform into an authentic, fully-licensed Volkswagon Beetle.  The general transformation sequence is the same as all prior uses of the CJ mold, so there’s still that little touch of parts-forming required with the back of the car, but I still really don’t mind.  It’s a decent transformation sequence, and ultimately it results in quite a nice alt-mode for the figure.  It’s clean, it holds together well, and it’s undeniably a Beetle.  It also means that Bee stands out a bit from the other uses of this mold, which feels appropriate for him.  Bumblebee gets the same accessory selection as all prior uses of the mold: the modular cannon thing.  It’s in the same colors as Cliffjumper’s.  It’s a fun piece, and adds a lot of variety to the figure, so I don’t mind getting it again.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, I, like a lot of people, have been waiting for a proper Bumblebee in this line since Siege launched.  Simply put, it’s stupid that they opted to make him a Walmart-exclusive, because it guarantees that he’s going the be hard to find and go for stupid amounts of money on the aftermarket.  They really need to stop making core looks exclusives, especially to Walmart.  Hopefully, the plethora of fiascos revolving around these exclusives in the last year will get Hasbro to ease up on them a bit moving forward.  As I’ve said on a lot of these exclusives, I hope that Hasbro finds a way to make these more readily available so that more people can get them, because Bumblebee is a very nice figure, and goes very well with the rest of the standard line.  Also, a shout out to Max for setting me up with this figure, so that I could, actually, you know, have him.  That was super dope.

#2633: Ultra Magnus Merchandise

ULTRA MAGNUS PULSATING LIGHT AM RADIO & ELECTRONIC VOICE SYNTHESIZER

TRANSFORMERS: POWER TRONIC (NASTA)

As we come into the second day of the Post-Christmas reviews, I’m heading into some slightly uncharted territory.  Firstly, I’m looking at something Transformers related which, while not completely a first for Christmas gifts for me, is still sort of new and fresh, seeing as I’ve only recently really gotten into it.  And secondly, and in fact most differently, I’m not actually looking at action figures at all, but rather some action figure adjacent product.  It’s not explicitly a first for me, I guess.  I mean, I did review a stapler that one time, and that’s not even action figure adjacent.  That’s just oddball is what that is.  What am I getting at here?  Well, more or less that I’m not really reviewing action figures for the day.  Hopefully this will be just as good…or at least up to whatever the quality of my usual output is, anyway.  Whatever the outcome, I guess we should look at this Ultra Magnus Merch I got, huh?

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The two toys in question are the Ultra Magnus Pulsating Light AM Radio and the Electronic Voice Synthesizer, both of which were produced in 1986 by Nastra under their Power Tronic brand.  They were both released to coincide with Transformers: The Movie arriving in theaters that same year, and to capitalize on Ultra Magnus’s role therein.  I can dig it.  Let’s first discuss the “Pulsating Light AM Radio,” a somewhat perplexing item.  I mean, if you’re going to make a Transformers-themed radio, wouldn’t it make sense to at least pick one of the characters who actually turns into sound equipment?  Or am I talking the crazy talk.  Given that I’m arguing against there being another Ultra Magnus thing, I may very well be talking the crazy talk.  The actual item’s not that crazy, I suppose.  It measures 7 1/2 inches tall, and is pretty much just a scaled up replica of the G1 Ultra Magnus’s armored head.  It’s not quite as human-esque as later Magnuses, of course, but I think that works somewhat to this item’s favor, because it looks a little bit more artistic, and less like someone’s just decapitated Ultra Magnus.  It’s molded in the same shade of blue as the figure, and uses silver paint for the appropriate details, which honestly looks pretty good.  The radio runs on four AA batteries, which are loaded into the Magnus’s “antenna” on the sides of his head.  There are dials on the back of the head for turning on and adjusting the volume, as well as tuning the station.  I was quite happy to find that the radio function on mine still works, however the pulsating light function sadly is no more.  Oh well.

The second item featured here is the Electronic Voice Synthesizer, which is clearly Ultra Magnus, but is not actually named as such on the item’s packaging.  The item allows the owner to “talk like a robot” by mouthing words into the plastic straw that pops out of the figure’s back, and is essentially a simplified version of an electrolarynx device.  They were somewhat common amongst licensed products in the ’80s, so Transformers getting in on the game is perhaps not the biggest shock.  The item stands 4 1/2 inches tall and actually does have articulation, with joints at both shoulders, and some slight movement on the neck.  Much like the radio, this item is clearly patterned on the G1 toy’s mold, just scaled way down this time.  It’s rather crude and rudimentary, and has a distinct lack of Magnus’s shoulder towers, but is overall an okay piece.  Rather than apply any paint to this one, he’s instead just molded in three different colors of plastic, meaning he’s more an approximation of Magnus’s color scheme than an accurate depiction.  The Voice Synthesizer runs on a 9-Volt battery, which goes in the base of the feet.  I haven’t tested mine because I just don’t really want to put my mouth on it, so, you know, there it is, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ultra Magnus is really becoming my main man when it comes to Transformers stuff, and I’ve picked up quite a healthy helping of Magnus-related stuff in the last year.  The stuff in the column of “what I don’t have” is becoming a bit more on the obscure side, and included these two, neither of which I expected to add to my collection quite this quickly.  I did add them to my collection quite this quickly, however, thanks to Jason from All Time Toys, who gave them both to me this year for Christmas.  They’re not standard action figure fare, but they are still a ton of fun, goofy fun, but fun to be sure!

#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!