#2034: Micromasters Wave 2

SOUNDWAVE SPY PATROL & RESCUE PATROL

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

SOUNDWAVE SPY PATROL

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

RESCUE PATROL

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

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#2033: Battle Masters Wave 2

AIMLESS & PTERRAXADON

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

AIMLESS

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

PTERAXADON

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2032: Starscream

STARSCREAM

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2031: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2030: Autobot Sixgun

AUTOBOT SIXGUN

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2029: Prowl

PROWL

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

When I say “horrific,” you say “death!”  Ah, yes, what better way to start out a Prowl review than by putting all of the potential Prowl fans reading up in arms immediately?  You know, by reminding them of the horrifying, fire out of the eye-sockets, death that befalls him in Transformers: The Movie‘s opening minutes?  Man, didn’t that suck?  It’s okay, I think people may have gotten over it.  They’ve had 33 years.  Well, I mean, I haven’t.  I’ve had a few months, because that’s when I finally saw the movie.  Of course, since the movie is also my only real exposure to Prowl in media, I guess it’s a bit of a wash.  Whatever the case, I’m reviewing a Prowl figure today.  So there.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Prowl is the third figure in the second deluxe wave of War for Cybertron: Siege figures, joining fellow ’84-er Ironhide.  Prowl is another classically inspired design, though he does sport the most signs of Cybertronian design work peeking through.  In robot mode, Prowl stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 22 practical points of articulation.  When I initially saw photos of Prowl’s robot mode, I thought it looked a little bit lacking.  Something about it seemed a little slapdash and unfinished, especially those lower legs.  Certainly he seemed like he’d be a step down from his comrades.  Well, hang on there guys, because I was actually quite wrong.  Prowl’s sculpt is definitely one of those that needs to be seen in motion to truly appreciate.  It’s actually  pretty clean, sleek design, that holds together nicely.  Sure, the legs do seem a little hollow, and if you catch the torso at the wrong angle, it’s not going to look so great, but when this guy is posed well, he looks really, really nice. And speaking of posing?  Yeah, for my money, Prowl is rivaled only by the Voyager Optimus in terms of range of motion.  There’s a lot of poses to be had with Prowl, and they only help to further improve the look of his sculpt.  Prowl’s traditional alt-mode is a police car, and this figure experiments with that.  Like Sideswipe, Prow has to somewhat tweak things and get a more sci-fi influenced version of his classic alt-mode, something that maintains the spirit of his original design, but doesn’t feel out of place with the new setting.  I actually really dig the alt-mode here, and I think it’s really one of the ones to best capture the Cybertronian feel. I particularly dig those translucent wheels! Also, this marks the easiest transformation I’ve dealt with on these guys.  I didn’t need to consult the instructions at all, and it feels nice and smooth the whole way.  He’s definitely one I can see myself swapping back and forth pretty frequently.  Prowl is packed with a W-45 Acid Pellet Strikeblaster…which is a gun with the light bar from his alt-mode strapped to it.  It’s goofy as hell, but a fun piece nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, Max got off the hook yesterday, but he most certainly does *not* today.  See, I was on the fence with Prowl, because of the slightly odd look in the promo shots.  But then Max got his early, and let me mess around with the figure a for a little bit.  It was really, really nice, and I absolutely couldn’t turn him down when I finally had my chance to get one.  I gotta say, I don’t have a huge attachment to the character, nor was I expecting much out of this figure, but he’s kind of my favorite figure from this assortment.  He’s just so much fun.

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

#2028: Chromia

CHROMIA

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Hey, remember how I’m looking at a bunch of Transformers this week?  Yep, well, let’s do some more with that.  For the first two years of Transformers, it was decidedly a masculine-driven line (not exactly uncommon for the time, and, admittedly, none of the Transformers *technically* had genders, at least initially).  It wasn’t until well into the cartoon’s second season that we got our first decidedly female robots in disguise in the episode “Search for Alpha Trion.”  The very first of the fem-bots to appear on screen was today’s focus, Chromia!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chromia is the second figure in the second deluxe assortment of War for Cybertron: Siege.  Despite her early appearance in the franchise, Chromia didn’t receive any figures for two decades, and this one is only her fifth figure since her creation.  In robot form, the figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and has 21 practical points of articulation.  Chromia is heavily influenced by the various members of Elita-One’s crew released during the Power of the Primes line, though she is actually a distinct sculpt, and notably lacks the combiner feature of those figures.  This has been somewhat to the ire of some longer-term collectors, but for a newbie like me, I don’t mind a fresh start so much.  Of all the Siege figures I’ve looked at so far, this is the one with the most compromised robot mode in the effort to facilitate the transformation.  There’s a lot more kibble this time around, there’s no getting around it.  In Hasbro’s defense, Chromia’s smaller, and curvier design means that there are less opportunities afforded for easy places to hide vehicle elements.  I suppose it’s possible they could have streamlined her a little further, but I don’t think the end result looks *too* bad.  Really, if it weren’t for that huge honking backpack, she wouldn’t look all that bad.  In fact, I’m quite impressed by the movement on some of her joints, particularly the neck joint, which allows for quite a bit of expressiveness with the figure.  Chromia’s alt-mode is sort of a Cybertronian sports car/minivan thing.   The transformation is overall pretty simple, though I did have a few slight hangups with mine that made her more difficult to shift back and forth.  I don’t foresee myself swapping her back and forth all that much, due to these difficulties.  Chromia is packed with an RT-5 Anti-thermo Blaster, SR Hushfuze, and 2 EMP-Grenades, which pretty much translates to a blaster and a whole bunch of attachments that can configure into all sorts of differently shaped guns.  Quite frankly, this is probably my favorite part of this whole figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have a tendency in my Transformers reviews to discuss how they are, very frequently, decidedly Max’s fault.  That’s not the case with Chromia.  In fact, Max even attempted to dissuade me from getting Chromia at all, when I announced my plans to grab the set of Wave 2 Deluxes.  I, however, was not to be deterred, mostly because I kinda wanted a fem-bot of some sort, and also because I don’t hate Chromia’s design.  Ultimately, yes, she’s the weakest of these figures, and there’s a good chance she may well be the weakest of the line.  And while I can’t exactly sing her praises, I do still kinda dig her, and I think she goes well with the rest of the set.

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

#2027: Ironhide

IRONHIDE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

If I’m gonna do this whole up and coming Transformers fan thing, I’m gonna need to actually stay on top of all these Transformers I’m buying, don’t I?  Indeed I do, so let’s just go ahead and do a whole freaking week of Transformers, shall we?  Fasten your seatbelts, guys!  …and then verify that the seatbelts that you’ve fastened are in a real car, and not one that’s actually a robot in disguise…because Transformers, right?  Anyway, I’m kicking off this week of Transformers with one of the earliest Autobots, Ironhide!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ironhide kicks off the second Deluxe assortment of the War for Cybertron: Siege line.  He continues the line’s heavy G1 influence, and is in fact one of Ironhide’s most show/comic accurate figures ever (I mean, hey, this one actually has a head, which is more than can be said of his original release).  In robot mode, the figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 functioning points of articulation.  As you may have noted on the height, Ironhide stands a half-inch taller than Sideswipe, and by extension, the rest of the Deluxe offerings for the line so far.  Since Ironhide’s typically not depicted as being small, it makes sense, and its an interesting exploration of what can be done within the set “scales.”  Of course, there do have to be some trade-offs to get him up to that larger size, so Ironhide has a few more hollow spots than some of the others.  The legs and forearms are the primary spots of said hollow-ness.  For the legs, he’s got panels that fold into place to hide this, so that works well enough.  The arms have no such coverage, so there’s just a big opening at the back of each forearm.  It’s a little obvious, but careful posing is enough to make it look alright.  The rest of the sculpt is a solid offering.  He’s boxier and more war-torn than the likes of Sideswipe, befitting the nature of the character.  He’s also suitably bulky, which I definitely dig.  On the flip-side, I don’t so much dig the panels that flip down on the outer sides.  They look a bit extraneous, and right out of the box, they actually don’t properly fit in the hinge they’re attached to, which means they stick out even further, and slightly warp the upper leg.  They can easily be removed, though, so it’s really only as much of an issue as you let it be.  Classically, Ironhide turns into a van, and this figure follows suit, more or less.  As with others in the line, his alt-mode is tweaked to have a Cybertronian flair to it.  The transformation for Ironhide is pretty straight-forward and easy, and for my first time I didn’t actually have to consult the instructions, which is pretty good for a novice like me.  The end result is effectively a brick with wheels attached.  It’s not complicated, but I feel it.  Ironhide is packed with the W-35 LR Doomblast Forge Launcher, which is a big gun that also turns into a big hammer.  I can’t stress how much I love this extra.  It’s really, really cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After branching into the Siege line with Optimus and the two Leaders, I started scoping out upcoming releases, and Ironhide quickly found his way to the top of my list.  The final figure has some small flaws, but for the most part, I’m quite happy with the final product.  He’s high on my list of favorites for a line of figures that I’m already thoroughly enjoying.

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

#2007: Autobot Jazz

AUTOBOT JAZZ

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

Autobot Jazz brings all he’s got to defeat the Decepticons”

Sometimes, the time is really right.  For review #2007, I’m jumping back to the year 2007.  2007 was a weird time.  We had two Marvel movies, which isn’t that odd these days, but they were neither one an MCU entry (because the MCU didn’t exist yet).  But before Marvel could re-brand their film franchises, another one was just starting up.  That July saw the release of the first of the oft-reviled Michael Bay Transformers films.  I was never a huge Transformers fan, but I was still in the audience opening weekend, and I still came out…less than satisfied.  In fact, I think a good argument could be made that the film scared me off the franchise for a bit.  Needless to say, I generally avoid Bay-inspired figures, though I’ve made my first exception for the subject of today’s review, one of my personal favorite Autobots, the aptly named Autobot Jazz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Jazz is a Deluxe Class offering from Hasbro’s Transformers: Studio Series, where he is numbered figure 10, and hit shelves in July of last year.  Given his demise during the first film, Jazz has been less lucky with releases since the original 2007 line.  This figure marks his first domestic release since all the way back in 2010, which is a pretty big deal.  In his Robot mode, the figure stands a little over 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 19 practical points of articulation.  Size-wise, he’s just a little bit taller than Bumblebee.  Given the scaling and price-point, Jazz is a fairly respectable recreation of his robot mode from the movie.  Not all of the details match up 100%, but the general proportions are there, and the robot specific parts are pretty much spot on.  It’s really the remaining elements of the car form that are slightly throwing off the look, and mostly limited to the arms.  Ultimately, it’s just down to needing a little bit of compromise to actually make things work at this scale and in order to maintain transformability.  While Jazz’s original alt mode was a Porsche, for the 2007 movie, it was changed to a Pontiac Solstice, which is still a reasonably sporty model, though it’s decidedly less distinctive.  Whatever the case, this figure maintains its accuracy by giving him the proper alt mode.  The transformation between the two forms is a little less tricky than the Bumblebee, but still a little more fiddly than the Siege figures I’ve been getting.  Overall, though, it was less frustrating than I was anticipating.  The end result is a pretty decent little car, though, like Bumblebee, he’s got a tendency to pop apart at the seams from time to time.  But, as is the usual case, I was more in this one for the robot mode.  Jazz is packed with his crescent cannon, which he can either hold in his left hand, or his hands can flip into the forearm to allow it to attach directly to the wrist.  It’s a nice little feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jazz was an impulse buy.  Well, he was as close to an impulse buy as I ever really get.  I saw him at Walmart on my way home from work and passed.  Later that same evening, I was out to dinner with Super Awesome Fiancee, and passed by the Walmart again, at which point I caved and went back for him.  Though I’ve never really cared for most of the Bay film designs, Jazz is one of the few I didn’t hate, and his death in the film was perhaps one of my biggest complaints about it.  This guy makes for a pretty decent toy, and I’m glad I went back for him.

#1996: Sideswipe

SIDESWIPE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

In my trek into the world of Transformers, I’m kind of making my way through all of the standard classes.  I looked a Voyager Class first with Optimus, then followed that up with some Leader coverage with Magnus and Shockwave.  With the second wave of Siege product hitting right at this very minute, I’m going back and doing a little bit of catch-up, and jumping into the Deluxe Class with today’s focus, Sideswipe!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sideswipe is one of the four figures in the first Deluxe Wave of War for Cybertron: Siege figures.  Like the rest of the line so far, he’s heavily influenced by his G1 design, which is really about as prominent as Sideswipe gets.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 5 inches tall and has 20 workable points of articulation.  Where many of the Siege figures are worn-in and battle-torn, Sideswipe’s robot mode is actually pretty clean and slick.  There’s some definite polish to the sculpt, and a lot of people have brought up that he almost looks like a mini-Masterpiece figure in this regard.  Still, as a lower price-point figure, there are some hollow sections of construction; the legs form in a way to conceal them, but the arms are just hanging out there.  Fortunately, the off-white plastic somewhat masks this issue, so he doesn’t end up looking too cheap. Sideswipe has a little bit of back-kibble where the roof of the car folds up on his back.  Like Optimus, it’s clearly there, but it’s svelte enough to not really ruin the figure’s silhouette.  Sideswipe’s original figure turned into a Lamborghini.  They obviously don’t have many of those around on Cybertron, so this figure instead turns into a slightly more generic Cybertronian sports car.  It’s not actually too far removed from Sideswipe’s usual alt-modes, but it fits the overall aesthetic of the line pretty well.  Sideswipes transformation into alt-mode was definitely the easiest of all the Siege figures I’ve picked up.  It’s quite intuitive, and not as involved as some of the others, making swapping him back and forth a rather easy endeavor.  Despite the simplicity of the transformation, the alt-mode is still a very nice piece in its own right.  It matches the robot for sleekness and holds together well.  Sideswipe is packed with two blasters, the W-10 Photo-Pulser Proton Launcher and the W-5 Gyro Blaster, which can be combined into the RR Gyrofuse Axleswitch Hyper-Blaster.  They can be held in his hands, or mounted on his shoulders, depending on your fancy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sideswipe was almost my first Siege figure.  When All Time first got in the deluxes in December, I came very close to buying him, but he ended up selling before I had the opportunity.  When the second round of them arrived in January, I had already gotten Optimus, but I felt like maybe the moment had passed.  You know, like a fool.  He ended up coming home with me a few weeks later, because I just kept finding myself looking at him.  I’m glad I bought one, because oh boy is he a nice figure, and a nice car.  I think this is the most I’ve enjoyed both forms of a Transformer.

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