#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.

#2606: Greasepit

GREASEPIT

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

Siege‘s main big gimmick was cross line compatibility, a concept best exemplified in its Weaponizers sub-set of figures, a whole type of figure designed with augmenting other figures in mind.  For the follow up in Earthrise, the Weaponizers haven’t been kept, but their general modular nature has been, and has been funneled into a new sub-set of modular figures called “Modulators.”  I know, crazy naming scheme there.   I have as of yet avoided the Modulators here, but I’m jumping into the concept today with Greasepit.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Greasepit was released as part of the Generations Select component of the Earthrise line this year.  He hit right at the same time as Decepticon Exhaust, right around July (unless, of course, you got one earlier from overseas).  As with all of the Modulators so far, Greasepit takes the name of a G1 Micromaster, and makes a deluxe class figure out of the Micromaster Station that said Micromaster came included with.  In this case, it’s Decepticon Micromaster Greasepit and his gas station base.  In his robot mode, Greasepit stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 19 workable points of articulation.  The Greasepit base never had a robot mode, much like the rest of the modulators, and some of the Weaponizers as well.  This means that the robot mode here is all-new…ish.  Okay, it’s not all-new at all, because he’s actually mostly a repaint of the main line’s Ironworks release.  But, I never got that one, so it’s new to me, and it’s also new to Greasepit, so I wasn’t entirely wrong. It’s overall a pretty decent sculpt; the only thing I’m not big on is the lack of a proper waist joint, though it’s worth noting this was also an issue on Weaponizer Cog.  I do like that this guy doesn’t have as many visible gaps as Cog did, and I also just generally like how his robot mode worked out.  It’s rather boxy and utilitarian.

Greasepit has a handful of possible alt-modes, and like the Weaponizers, the way you arrive at them isn’t through the typical transformation process, but rather through some serious parts forming.  By this point, it’s expected, and it does certainly allow for some more out there alt-modes.  The primary one for this guy is his more squared off gas station mode.  This replicates the original G1 base configuration the most closely of the ones offered up by Hasbro.  It’s not a perfect match, since it’s got to contend with a sculpt that was original meant for Ironworks’ oil rig set-up, but it’s still pretty close, and it gets the idea across.  The other two listed modes are a sort of a tower thing, and a longer stretch of road sort of thing…I don’t really know what that second one’s supposed to be.  The tower looks a bit like the G1 toy’s alt-mode, so that’s a cool touch, but ultimately, neither of these two modes is gonna bet much use from me.  The color scheme on this guy is rather on the bright and colorful side, which I definitely dig.  He’s actually got some decals for a few of his more intricate details, which is something that’s been absent from the line for a bit.  They look fine, but you always have to wonder about long term viability with such things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Modulators are a far enough reach from core Transformers that I didn’t really have much draw to them, but I did think the Ironworks mold looked kind of cool.  He ended up being the only Wave 1 Deluxe not to show up at All Time, so I didn’t end up snagging him, but in contrast Greasepit came in before most other places, allowing me another chance at the mold.  He’s a lot of fun, and I certainly dig that first alt-mode.  I may not know much about these bases, but this one’s cool.

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.

#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.

#2542: Cliffjumper

CLIFFJUMPER

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

 

The Bumblebee movie did a lot to actually get me invested in Transformers movies (and honestly Transformers as a whole).  While the film proper has a pretty streamlined core cast of characters, and we still got a lot of very G1-sequel designs, and a couple a really cool smaller roles for some fan favorites.  I’m a pretty big Cliffjumper fan, and I’ve always been really fascinated by his reputation as a Bumblebee repaint, so seeing him pop up with a small but important role was really nifty.  Him getting a figure out of it?  Even better.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cliffjumper is figure 64 in Hasbro’s Transformers Studio Series line.  He’s a Deluxe Class offering, hitting in the same assortment as RotF Soundwave, Topspin, and refreshes of jet Shatter and Jeep Bumblebee.  He’s also the seventh Bumblebee-based figure to join the line.  In his robot mode, the figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 16 workable points of articulation.  At his core, Cliffjumper is based on the same body as Jeep Bumblebee.  Given the similarities between the film models for the  two of them, it’s not a huge shock, nor is it a bad idea on Hasbro’s part.   It certainly helps that Jeep Bumblebee was a really good figure in his own right, so I really don’t mind seeing those parts again.  He gets a health helping of new parts to differentiate him, the most obvious being the head, of course, which is a good match for his film model.  He also gets a new chest plate, as well as some other tweaked exterior panels.  These are largely to accommodate his new alt model.  Rather than a Jeep or Beetle, Cliff turns into a Cybertronian car of some sort.  We don’t actually see Cliff in his alt mode in the film, so he’s actually using Bumblebee’s from the opening scene.  Given the similarities between their robot modes, the two presumably share a Cybertronian mode in-universe, and this is a good way of getting both the mode and the character in the line.  I’m curious if we’ll see it re-decoed into Bee as well.  Whatever the case, it’s a pretty decent transformation, and like Bumblebee, it’s not too fiddly.   Cliffjumper is packed with the same blaster attachment as Bumblebee, which works out pretty well for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The oddity that is my ability to fixate on small things I want toys or meant that I pretty much wanted a Cliffjumper as soon as seeing his scene in the film.  I wasn’t really expecting a quick turnaround or anything, and I didn’t really get one, so that’s good.  It’s nice to actually have him in figure form.  Sure, he’s not  exactly innovative or anything, but he’s fun, and I’m glad to have him fill out the cast.

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.

#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!

#2501: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS PRIME: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE (HASBRO)

It’s been a bit of a spell since I’ve looked at any Transformers, which is something that didn’t used to be a weird thing, but now has become one.  What a weird world I live in now.  Well, the lack of Transformers should be changing post-haste, as I have some new stuff waiting for review.  However, before getting into the new stuff, how about some old stuff?  Though I didn’t watch it new, Transformers: Prime is one of my earlier instances of sitting down and actually watching a Transformers show through, and I definitely dig some of the updated designs that came out of it.  Obviously, my favorites to come out of it are my favorites to come out of any incarnation of the franchise, so I am just all about this incarnation of Soundwave, who I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave was released in the first series of the Prime: Robots In Disguise “Revealers” line, which was the deluxe-class component of the tie-in line.  In robot mode, he stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of workable articulation.  As with most figures in this line, he was based on his cartoon appearance, which was a quite streamlined, almost bat-like design.  It’s pretty far removed from the classic G1 design, but it still really fits with the spirit of the character, and I feel makes for a much cooler update than what we ended up getting in the movies.  His sculpt was all new to this figure, and does a pretty respectable job of capturing Soundwave’s animated appearance from the show.  It’s pretty slick and poses pretty well considering how it’s designed.  He’s a touch restricted at the shoulders, but for the most part it’s impressive the level of posing you can get out of him.  This Soundwave, as with just about every Soundwave post-80s, had to come up with a new alt-mode that wasn’t just a cassette player, what with those being out of vogue these days and all.  Instead, Prime Soundwave’s alt-mode is a spy drone, reminiscent of the Predator B drone.  Honestly, it’s a pretty solid choice of alt-mode, given Soundwave’s typical characterization as a spy and all that.  His transformation process is a little more involved and finnicky than some of the more recent Transformers I’ve picked up, but it’s still pretty easy to figure out, and the end result is a pretty convincing spy drone.  Soundwave was packed with his companion Laserbeak, who can either be plugged into one of the 5mm ports throughout Soundwave’s body, or folded into his chest for easy storage.  The chest storage is definitely a nice throwback to the cassette set up of the vintage figures, and I really dig it.  In 2013, under the revised Beast Hunters branding for Prime, Soundwave’s mold got a slight re-working, a new color scheme, and a new capture claw weapon and Ravage in place of Laserbeak.  It’s a fun change-up from the initial figure, with a slightly brighter and bold color, and the new accessories are certainly a lot of fun.  Not quite show-accurate, but still kind of nifty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I wasn’t watching Prime when it was first airing, I wasn’t picking the figures up either.  However, the Beast Hunters release of this mold was eye-catching enough for me to make my first “modern” Transformers purchase to pick it up.  I always dug that one, but when I sat down and actually watched some of the show, I found myself kind of wanting that more standard Soundwave.  I never did get around to snagging him…on my own, anyway.  It’s kind of been raining Transformers collections at All Time recently, though, and one of them had a lot of Prime stuff in it.  Max made it a point of setting aside this guy and one other figure (who I’ll be looking at tomorrow) for me, as a really awesome birthday present.  Now I have Soundwave and both of his smaller buddies!

#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