#3112: N.E.S.T. Bumblebee

N.E.S.T. BUMBLEBEE

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Re-imagined as a N.E.S.T. Jeep, Bumblebee and the Autobots team up with N.E.S.T. to protect the Allspark from the Decepticons.”

So, I guess I’ll just review a Transformers figure, like, once a month now, right?  That seems to be the way I’m headed.  Well, okay, that seems to be a thing I’ve done twice now.  I suppose I shouldn’t cling to it too early; might be a bit hasty for such things.  Well, anyway, I’m doing a Transformers review today.  It seems the thing to do, largely because I’ve got a new Transformer, and not a ton of other new things in need of review, I suppose.  But, it’s okay, because it’s at least a pretty cool one.  Despite it being neither a Soundwave nor an Ultra Magnus, it *is* a Jeep, so it still checks off at least one of the boxes for me in terms of being a Transformer that I need.  So, without further ado, here’s N.E.S.T. Bumblebee!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

N.E.S.T. Bumblebee is a Fan Channel-exclusive Deluxe Class Transformers: Studio Series release.  He’s figure 77 in the line-up, which places him between Voyager Class Thrust and Deluxe Class Sideswipe, though he was released rather far removed from both of them.  Though marketed as a Bumblebee movie release, this figure isn’t actually based on anything in the movie, and is instead more closely tied in with the Universal Studios ride, which features N.E.S.T. as a prominent part.  Of course, he’s still not specifically based on anything directly from the ride, but we’re getting closer at least.   In his robot mode, Bee stands a little under 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  N.E.S.T. Bee is re-using the sculpt from Offroad Bee wholesale.  I like that sculpt a lot, so, you know, I’m okay with it.  The first use of the mold did have a slight issue with loose hips; for this release, they’re a little bit tighter, but not by much.  It’s a bit of a downer, but still not enough to ruin the figure for me.  He maintains his solid construction in robot mode, which is a definite plus.  The change-up for this release is the color scheme, which trades out the yellow of the original release for more of a gun metal grey.  It’s not classically Bumblebee, but it’s a nice color for the mold, and he also trades out the clear and blue parts for a drab green, further removing him from the prior release.  Like the previous version, this one is packed with his blaster attachment for his arm.  He also gets the small Sam Witwicky figurine from the Revenge of the Fallen Bee release.  It’s not really to scale, and doesn’t really interact with the figure at all, but, well, it’s there, so, there it is.

As with the last release, this Bee’s alt-mode is a fully-licensed Jeep.  The transformation scheme is still pretty decent, without all that fiddly-ness of some of the other Studio releases.  The end result still holds together pretty well, and apart from those somewhat obvious arms, it’s a very convincing Jeep recreation.  In this mode, another change-up to the color scheme, namely the addition of a N.E.S.T. insignia to the hood of the car, which is a fun little touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really love the last Jeep Bumblebee.  It’s quite possibly my favorite Studio Series release.  I just really love that mold, and I like picking up molds I love.  This one doesn’t really have any reason to exist, but, honestly, I don’t care.  It was a fun toy the first time around, and it’s still fun now, just in a different set of colors.

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

#3036: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE (& RAVAGE)

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

Having exhausted all of the Earthmode characters from Bumblebee, in 2020 Hasbro started dipping their toes into the waters of the large cast of characters seen in the film’s opening battle on Cybertron.  Initially, they stuck purely to characters like Bumblebee or the Seekers, who had proper alt-modes displayed in the sequence (Cliffjumper also got in on this, by virtue of sharing his alt-mode with Bee), but this year, they’re going a step further and focusing in on the characters without any displayed alt-modes.  You know what that means?  It means your boy Ethan gets to review another Soundwave is what it means.  And your boy Ethan is all kinds of down for that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is part of the Wave 15 Voyager-Class assortment of Hasbro’s Transformers: Studio Series, alongside a repack of last year’s Autobot Hot Rod.  He’s numbered 83 in the line-up, making him the last of the Bumblebee-themed figures from this first batch for the year.  It’s our second time getting Soundwave in his G1-inspired Bumblebee look, and the first time we’ve gotten a toy of it from Hasbro proper.  In his robot mode, the figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 27 workable points of articulation.  There are a few spots of restricted movement on this guy, especially when compared to other more recent Soundwaves, but the overall set-up of movement serves him well, and is well integrated into the overall look and design.  Soundwave’s sculpt is a pretty solid one, and does a respectable job of capturing his design from the movie.  Obviously, it’s not quite on the same level as the ThreeZero version I looked at last year, but then I don’t really expect it to be, now do I?  The level of detailing is pretty sharp, and he largely avoids any major gaps or hollow spots in his robot mode.  He’s also got an integrated cassette door-esque spot for storing his little buddies, complete with a spring loaded opening feature.  His arms aren’t quite free enough to get his hand up by the button, but it’s otherwise a cool feature.  Soundwave’s paint work is generally pretty good, with clean application, and a lot of decent coverage for the important details.  There’s one slight oddity to it, though; while his construction appears to have light-piping worked in for his optics, the visor is painted an opaque red, which doesn’t feel like it was *quite* what they were going for when they designed him.  Soundwave is packed with his usual shoulder mounted cannon, as well as the blaster rifle we saw him with in the film.

As addressed above, Soundwave has no alt-mode in Bumblebee, since he only participates in the battle as a robot.  So, for him to be a proper Transformer and all, Hasbro had to supply him with an alt-mode.  This one has been the source of much gnashing of teeth amongst the fanbase for being a pointless and nothing alt-mode, but Soundwave does actually draw his alt-mode from another piece of media, namely IDW’s Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe from 2014.  As any direct tie-ins to that series are rather unlikely, it’s not a bad re-use of alt-mode.  It also looks a bit like a Snowspeeder, and I like that.  Transforming him isn’t too bad; there’s some slight fiddliness, but not as bad as some Studio Series releases.  There’s one spot of a false piece showing up in the final assembly, but otherwise things stay pretty kosher.  On my figure, one of the ports on what would be his right forearm is malformed, meaning you can’t use it for one of his weapons the way the instructions show.  That said, there’s other, better spots for storing them, and I do rather enjoy this alt-mode.  Not enough to leave him that way long-term, but still.

Shipping alongside these latest Studio Series sets is a Core Class assortment, which is new for Studio Series specifically, though was introduced as a main scale-class last year with Kingdom.  Kingdom used it for smaller-scale versions of heavy hitters, but Studio is mixing that concept in with some figures that should actually be smaller.  In the first assortment, we get a Bumblebee-inspired Ravage, specifically designed to work with Soundwave.  I’m bad about reviewing Soundwave’s cassette buddies on their own, so I figured I might as well bundle him in here!  In robot mode, Ravage is 3 1/2 inches long and has 16 workable points of articulation.  In many ways, he does feel like a slightly simplified and scaled down version of the ThreeZero one, which I suppose is fair.  They are based on the same design and all, so it makes sense.  He’s a little blockier than he should be, but as far as small-scale Ravages go, he’s really not bad.  He’s even got a working jaw, which is fun.  Ravage is packed with his two side cannons, the missiles for the top, and an extra missile based on G1 Soundwave’s and designed to fit in the cannon.  It’s an odd choice, since Soundwave doesn’t get the handheld one that should actually have the missile…but I guess it’s the thought that counts.  Like the larger one, this Ravage turns into a box, meant for storing in Soundwave’s chest compartment.  You have to make sure he’s transformed *just* right to fit in there, which is a little frustrating at first, but once you figure it out, it works alright.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m cutting back on Transformers.  I swear.  I really mean it.  But there was a Soundwave, you guys!  I had to have Soundwave, obviously.  And Ravage.  You know, because otherwise Soundwave is gonna get all lonely.  So, just the pair of them, right?  Right.  I’m sticking with that, I swear.  I really like this design for Soundwave, and I really liked getting it from ThreeZero, but I’ll admit, it’s nice to have an actual proper toy of it that I can just mess with, without fear of breaking a very expensive collector’s piece.

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.

#2900: Wreck-Gar

WRECK-GAR

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Wreck-Gar and the Junkions team up with the Autobots after exchanging the universal greeting: ‘Bah-wheep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong!'”

Transformers: The Movie boasted, amongst other things, a rather impressive cast of celebrities voicing many of the new characters being introduced within the film.  They were a rather far-reaching group, from all different backgrounds, including Monty Python’s own Eric Idle, who voiced the leader of the TV-obsessed Junkions.  The character’s goofy charm and penitent for speaking in quotes and slogans made him rather popular within the fanbase, resulting in a character that’s had a fairly lasting impact.  No anniversary celebration of the film would be complete without him, and so Hasbro’s made sure that he’s properly present for the film’s 35th, with his own Studio Series release.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wreck-Gar is a Voyager Class release within the Studio Series line, numbered 86-09.  While initial ’86 figures were a contained subset, they’re now just shipping with the rest of the Studio figures, so Wreck-Gar’s case mate is Thrust from the Bumblebee movie.  Wreck-Gar marks our first version of the character since his exclusive release during Power of the Primes, though it’s hard to say that one’s really been off of shelves for a long time.  In fact, if you head over to your closest Walgreens right now, you might even still be able to find one!  In his robot mode, Wreck-Gar stands about 6 inches tall and he has 24 practical points of articulation (26 if you count the articulated nipple lasers….I’ll leave that one to you and your conscience).  As with all of the figures in this particular sub-set, the focus of Wreck-Gar’s sculpt is primarily to recreate the G1 animation design, something that this figure’s robot mode does quite well.  Yes, that even means including the weird laser nipples, a detail that has been missing from all of the other figures of the character.  In general, this figure just takes him much closer to animation designs than any of the prior versions, which, for a guy as TV-oriented as Wreck-Gar, just feels rather appropriate.  His construction does result in a few hollow spots on the figure, notably the backs of the arms and the inner legs.  I’m generally still not so much a fan of that, but it’s not the end of the world, and it’s kept to spots that aren’t quite as obvious.  Only the backs of the forearms really bother me.  Wreck-Gar is packed with his four-bladed axe, as well as two shields that can be placed on either his arms or legs.  Or both.

Wreck-Gar’s alt-mode is the same one he’s always had, which is a sci-fi motorcycle, a mode shared with at least one of his fellow Junkions, since he’s seen riding one of them during the film.  The transformation sequence isn’t too bad, especially not for a Studio release.  I was more or less able to figure it out without the instructions, so I’ll count that as a win.  As part of the transformation, his shields are removed and used as his wheels, which is a pretty standard conversion for Wreck-Gar’s, I gather.  The final bike mode is pretty decent.  There’s a kickstand, which is a fun touch, and while he’s maybe a touch small for another Wreck-Gar to ride him (although you can certainly make it work), he does scale alright with Deluxes, and even the more recent Voyager Hot Rod.  You can also store his weapon in vehicle mode, although it’s admittedly a little awkward.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a pretty big Monty Python fan (although I’m more of Palin fan than an Idle fan), so Wreck-Gar’s always struck something of a chord with me.  When I got into collecting Transformers more seriously, I almost picked up the Primes version just to have him for my collection, but held off because I hoped for a better take.  I’m glad I did.  This one’s not perfect, but he’s a very nice figure, and it’s great to get another of the ’86-ers 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.

#2775: B-127

B-127

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

While the majority of this year’s Studio Series offerings are based on Transformers: The Movie, there are still a few of the live-action film designs worked in.  For the most part, that’s not so much for me, but my one exception to that rule comes in the form of Bumblebee, the only one of the live-action Transformers movies I actually liked and would want own any real product from.  The film’s smaller cast means there aren’t a *ton* of potential figures, but the main robots from the film all have a few different looks to choose from.  Specifically, our titular ‘bot gets four notable looks.  So far, we’ve gotten his VW Bug look and his Jeep look, and the Camaro look’s been covered by other films, so the one notable one missing was his Cybertronian appearance.  So, without further ado, let’s look at B-127!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

B-127 is figure 70 in the Studio Series line-up, and is one of two figures in the latest Deluxe Class assortment of the line (the other one being Dino from Dark of the Moon).  He’s the line’s eighth figure based on Bumblebee, and will be shortly joined by the Cybertronian Starscream.  In his robot mode, B-127 stands 4 1/2 inches tall and has 16 workable points of articulation.  Structurally, B-127 is almost entirely re-use, as was sort of expected.  He’s a new head on Ciffjumper’s body.  Since Cliffjumper’s body was based on Bee’s Cybertronian appearance, it was something we all knew was coming, and also something that’s totally warranted.  It helps that it’s also just a rather nice mold.  The head gives us Bee’s armored up attack mode look, which pairs off nicely with the standard robot-faced Bee head we got on Offroad Bumblebee.  While for more of a screen accurate set-up, they should probably be reversed for the two modes, I’m personally pretty happy with how they’re set-up.  Also, they can be swapped, if you’re interested in such a thing. Bee’s alt-mode is the exact same Cybertronian car mode that Cliffjumper had, which again makes sense, since it was technically Bee’s first.  It’s not a bad design, and the transformation’s pretty easy to work with.  Like the other two derivations of this mold, B-127 includes a blaster attachment for his arm.  Nothing fancy, but it’s certainly useful.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to get this guy when he was first shown off.  I already had Cliffjumper and Jeep Bumblebee, so he’s a little bit on the redundant side, I suppose.  However, once I saw him in hand, I was pleasantly surprised by how nicely he’d turned out, and I especially like that new head.  Sure, he doesn’t turn into a Jeep, but I suppose I can’t hold that against every non-Jeep Bumblebee, can I?

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

#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.

#2544: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Soundwave latches onto an orbiting satellite in his own satellite mode to listen in on communications about the location of a shard of the Allspark.”

The Michael Bay Transformers movies and I have a tenuous relationship at best.  I’ve only actually seen two of them in theaters, those being the first one and Dark of the Moon.  I have notably never seen Revenge of the Fallen, and I can’t say I regret that fact.  With the exception of a single Jazz figure from the first movie, I tend to avoid the Bay-themed figures.  That said, today I’m looking at a Bay figure, from Revenge of the Fallen no less.  I know.  It’s okay, lest you think I’ve completely lost all sanity, it’s Soundwave.  So, you know, I’m not totally losing my sense of self.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is figure 62 in the Studio Series line-up.  He’s another offering from the 10th wave of Deluxe Class figures, right alongside Cliffjumper.  This is Soundwave’s second Studio Series figure, following the Dark of the Moon version from earlier in the year.  In his robot mode, Soundwave stands bout 5 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  Of all the Studio figures I’ve picked up, Soundwave’s definitely the least posable.  A lot of that comes from the nature of the design, which is kind of clunky, spikey, and restrictive.  Also, speaking of the design, Soundwave’s has an interesting quirk: it’s not seen at all in the movie.  In RotF, Soundwave remains in his alt-mode the whole time, with no proper robot mode.  This figure is based on one that went un-used for the film proper.  It’s honestly not a terrible design, and winds up looking less generic and bland compared to other Bay designs. It’s certainly preferable to his DotM design.  Soundwave’s alt-mode, which is really his main mode when you get right down to it, is a satellite.  As far as updated alt-modes for Soundwave go, it’s not a bad one.  Certainly, it’s a far more sensible choice for him than a Mercades, right?  Doing that to him would just be silly, right?  Right, Michael?  The transformation on Sounwave is really pretty simple, with just 10 steps.  It’s pretty intuitive, mostly because it’s so basic.  You fold his legs back behind his head and clip a few things into new spots.  Not exactly rocket science…because it’s actually satellite science, so a-ha!  Soundwave is packed with a stand to keep him aloft while he’s in his satellite mode, which is certainly handy.  Sadly, he does *not* come with Ravage, despite his DotM release getting Laserbeak.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t like the Bay films so much, but I do like Soundwave.  This led to me being very tempted by his earlier figure this year, despite my dislike of that figure’s alt-mode.  However, once I knew that this version was coming, I had an easier time passing on that release, and just letting this one be my movie Soundwave.  He’s not quite as impressive as either of the other two I looked at this week, but he looks nifty enough on the shelf, and I can’t say I regret buying him.  Great, now I have two Bayformers…

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.

#2543: Blitzwing

BLITZWING

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Blitzwing interrogates Bumblebee about the whereabouts of the Autobots”

Bumblebee fell into the same sort of territory as X-Men: First Class and Batman Begins, as a film that was really a reboot, but was pitched as prequel of sorts to a prior series of movies, just in case it didn’t quite work out in its own right.  Since it was designed as a prequel, most of its characters needed to be characters not already used in the pre-existing franchise films, resulting in a slightly more eclectic selection.  Rather than one of the more prominent jet Decepticons, like, say, Starscream, the film instead made use of the slightly less prominent Blitzwing, a former triple-changer repurposed into Bumblebee’s first foe, who bears an uncanny resemblance to another robot with a real history of being all back-stabby.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Blitzwing is figure 65 in the Studio Series line-up.  He’s a Voyager Class release, part of Wave 10, alongside Constructicon Skipjack and a re-pack of Scrapper.  He’s the second of the Bumblebee figures at this size, following Optimus.  Blitzwing is specifically designed to pair off with the previously released Offroad Bumblebee, as they both feature in the same sequence of the movie.  In his robot mode, Blitzwing stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 workable points of articulation.  He’s got a slightly higher articulation count than Cliffjumper, befitting his larger size.  He’s a touch more limited on range on the neck, torso, and legs, but the arms are pretty decent.  Notably, he’s got a joint in the middle of his right hand, but *not* his left.  This facilitates him being able to pick up Bumblebee as in the movie, but it’s kind of odd it’s only on one hand.  Presumably, it didn’t cost out for both hands.  Blitzwing’s mold is an all-new affair, and it’s honestly not quite as solid a recreation of his film design as some of the other more recent Bumblebee figures.  He’s not *majorly* off, but his general robot mode appearance is a little more clunky and rudimentary than the film’s design. The torso in particular is a fair bit boxier than the movie appeance.  Probably not aiding in his accuracy in robot mode is his alt-mode.  In the film, Blitzwing turns into an F-4 Phantom II, but much like Shatter, Blitzwing’s alt-mode isn’t an officially licensed recreation.  So, he’s a bit of an approximation of things…sort of.  It looks about the same if you squint, I guess.  At the very least, it has a pretty good, generic “fighter jet” sort of feel about it.  To the untrained eye, it’s really not bad.  The transformation process is also a pretty intuitive one again, making it a pretty easy, and not too fiddly transformation.  Also, no really obvious undercarriages either, which is always a plus.  Blitzwing is packed with both a gun arm attachment and a spike blade to swap out for his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Cliffjumper, Blitzwing is one of those figures I’ve been hoping to get since pretty much as soon as I saw the film.  Then began the waiting game until he was actually released, which only ramped up after I’d gotten the Jeep Bumblebee.  Ultimately, he’s not quite as sleek or polished as some of the others I’ve picked up recently, but he’s still pretty strong, and certainly a fun figure in his own right.

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.