#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.

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#2413: Soundwave Spy Patrol 3

FRENZY, KNOK, WINGTHING, & SKAR

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

FRENZY

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

WINGTHING

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

KNOK

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

SKAR

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2379: Offroad Bumblebee

OFFROAD BUMBLEBEE

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2378: Shatter

SHATTER

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

Shatter uses the powerful satellites of Sector 7 to hunt down Bumblebee.”

Alright, I’ve wrapped up what I’ve got of Earthrise for review.  So, for the last two entries in this Transformers-theme week, I’ll be jumping over to the live-action movie side of things.  As is usually the case when I jump into things related to the live-action Transformers films, I will be focusing on 2018’s soft reboot of the franchise, Bumblebee.  Last month, I took a look at one of the film’s two primary antagonists, Dropkick.  Today, I’ll be looking at his superior officer, Shatter!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shatter is a Deluxe Class-scaled Studio Series release, numbered 59 in the line.  As I discussed in my review of Dropkick, the two villains in Bumblebee are both triple-changers, something that’s not very easily replicated in the Studio Series style, given how much they pride themselves in the accuracy of the alt-modes.  For both Dropkick and Shatter, Hasbro opted to just do two versions of both.  Shatter’s muscle car mode was up first, and was, similar to Dropkick’s first release, based on an earlier version of the robot mode, and therefore not super accurate.  This one replicates her look after she acquires her jet mode, and aims to be a better pairing with the superior second Dropkick.  In her robot mode, Shatter stands just shy of 5 inches tall and has 15 practical points of articulation.  Shatter is definitely on the restricted side when it comes to posability, but that’s overall been the case for the Studio offerings.  That said, what articulation she does have works well, and she wasn’t as restricted as I’d expected at first glance.  It’s worth noting that, unlike most Transformers, Shatter doesn’t come out of the box fully transformed into robot mode.  There’s a few additional steps required to get her there, which can be slightly tricky if you don’t know quite what you’re doing (like me).  Once that’s done, she’s a quite respectable recreation of Shatter’s movie appearance.  Of note is the ability to see her actual face, something that the previous Studio Shatter lacked.  She also works in the remnant car details of the robot mode, which she kept after taking on the third mode, unlike the helicopter Dropkick.  She also includes blaster attachments for both of her arms, which work in a fairly rudimentary fashion (she just holds them like guns), but look good nonetheless.  Shatter’s alt-mode is a Harrier Jet, which this figure more or less turns into.  There are a few details changed on the final design, as I don’t believe this mode is officially licensed like most of the Studio Series releases are.  There are extra fins in a few spots, which is really the only difference.  It’s still a nice alt-mode, and doesn’t end up with any ugly under carriages or anything like some plane transformers end up stuck with.  The transformation isn’t too bad for a Studio figure, and certainly not as fiddly as Shatter’s last release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wanted to have a Shatter and Dropkick in my collection after seeing the movie, but I was ultimately not impressed with either of their initial figures.  Once this figure was shown off, I was definitely far more interested, especially after managing to get ahold of car Dropkick.  She ended up coming into All Time in a shipment on her own, along with the previously reviewed Earthrise stuff, and found her way into my “wait out this lengthy time at home” purchase.

As I noted above,  I got Shatter from my friends at All Time Toys, and she’s still available here If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2377: Hoist

HOIST

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2376: Wheeljack

WHEELJACK

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2375: Cliffjumper

CLIFFJUMPER

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2365: Evolution Rodimus Prime

EVOLUTION RODIMUS PRIME

TRANSFORMERS: POWER OF THE PRIMES (HASBRO)

“With the Matrix of Leadership, Autobot Hot Rod becomes leader of the Autobots: Rodimus Prime.”

Two weeks ago, I took a look at Hot Rod, the proposed new lead character of the Transformers franchise as introduced in the 1986 movie.  Though Hot Rod spends most of the film’s run time as just plain old Hot Rod, after taking ownership of the Matrix of Leadership during the film’s climactic battle, Hot Rod becomes “Rodimus Prime,” meaning we had two forms of Rodimus to choose from for pretty much every release going forward.  For the purposes of the 2017 incarnation of the line, Power of the Primes, we actually got both versions of Rodimus in one, with a figure I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Evolution Rodimus Prime was part of the first Leader Class assortment of the Power of the Primes toy line, alongside the similarly-themed Optimus Prime. Straight out of the package, Rodimus is in his full-on Rodimus Prime form.  In this state, the figure stands 9 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  In terms of mobility, the figure’s a bit of a mixed bag.  While he moves alright in the legs, the arms, especially at the shoulders are quite restricted.  There’s a little bit of a workaround if you use the joints further into the shoulder, but the design of the transformation means that you’ll always be stuck with the shoulders proper being at that 90 degree angle.  In terms of construction, he overall makes for a pretty decent recreation of the G1 animated appearance of Rodimus, and is certainly a better looking figure than the original vintage piece.  That said, there’s a fair bit of concession made for his transformation.  He’s got some pretty hefty kibble both on his back and on the undersides of his forearms, meaning that while he looks alright from the front, from an angle things look a little weird.  Additionally, much like the Combiner Wars Magnus I took a look at, Rodimus’ larger size requires a bit of cheating with the plastic, so that he’s not solid all the way through.  Instead, there are a number of hollow sections, mostly in the upper arms and legs, which again make the figure better when viewed from the front.  Lastly, there’s one oddity caused by the line’s main gimmick for the Leader Class figures, which results in there being a smaller set of arms visible on his torso, making him look kinda like his a very big-headed smaller robot that’s piloting a mech suit…which maybe isn’t so far off.  Rodimus Prime includes the Matrix of Leadership, which he can only really store in his chest cavity, since it’s not possible for him to hold in his hands.  He’s also got a long blaster rifle.

The gimmick for all of the Leader Class releases in Power of the Primes was evolution (as noted by the name of the figure), and much like the Siege Leader Class figures, this was accomplished via a smaller bot with armor to “evolve” it into a larger bot.  Popping off the arms and removing the torso from the legs allows for the torso segment to be transformed into a Deluxe Class-scaled Hot Rod figure, standing 6 inches tall and sporting 19 practical points of articulation.  Like with the larger bot, there are some spots where the articulation is a little bit restricted, this time on the legs (which were actually the shoulders of the larger figure, so I guess that tracks).  The hips don’t have a ton of back and forth motion, and I definitely miss the rocker ankles here.  He’s also missing a waist joint, as well as wrists.  At least in the case of the wrists, there are balljoints at the elbows, so the actual mobility isn’t horribly impacted.  Though this guy has less actual articulation than the larger figure, I did find that it was a little easier to work with on the smaller figure.  The actual sculpt on this guy is actually a pretty solid update of the vintage Rodimus, just with better articulation, and a slightly more animation-faithful appearance.  There are less hollow points in his construction, and in general he fits in pretty well with some of the less greeble-y Siege guys, which is alright by my count.  In this mode, Hot Rod still can’t hold the Matrix, but he can at least make use of the large blaster, which splits into two pieces, replicating Hot Rod’s smaller blasters from his original toy.

As with his vintage counterpart, this smaller Hot Rod figure’s alt-mode is a futuristic sports car.  In fact, it’s pretty much a straight re-creation of the exact future sports car mode used by the vintage figure, with only some rather moderate surface changes between the two.  The transformation process here is really quite simple, and in fact a fair bit of it is just reversing a few things you have to do to transform the Rodimus Prime torso into Hot Rod in the first place.  It’s a pretty slick looking vehicle mode, and like the robot mode is quite accurate to the animation design for said alt-mode.  To take things even further, you can at this point add back in all those parts you set aside when you converted him into Hot Rod, and add them back in as a trailer, because that’s what really signifies the whole Prime thing: a trailer.  No one’s gonna say anything about the fact that there’s a freaking trailer attached to a sports car or anything, because that’s clearly a natural and normal thing to encounter, and is not at all odd or suspicious or strange.  The trailer that is totally inconspicuous is a little trickier of a transformation, mostly when it comes to fitting it onto the car, but it’s not terrible, and like the standard car, the full mode is fairly accurate to the animation, though there are some concessions made to allow the actual car part to remain the same between the two modes.  In this mode, the blasters can be mounted on the trailer for a fully armed effect.  He still can’t hold that Matrix, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first started to dip my toe in the Transformers water, I looked at this figure while he was still “new”, or at least still in-stock as a regular floor item at All Time.  Ultimately, I didn’t end up getting him, but I resigned that if a used one came through I’d give it some serious thought.  One came in as part of the rather sizable collection of Transformers the store recently received, and in a messed up box that was going to necessitate opening him up anyway.  With the announcement of Arcee, and taking into consideration that I already have a lot of the other “heavy hitters” in some sort of modern form, it was pretty easy to convince myself to finally pick this guy up.  The Rodimus form doesn’t do a ton for me personally, but the inner Hot Rod bot is actually really nice, and a solid addition to my current set-up.  Plus, it meant I got a modern and a vintage Hot Rod in the same day.  How cool is that?

As I noted above,  I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, and a good chunk of the collection he came from is still available here If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2353: Hot Rod

HOT ROD

TRANSFORMERS (HASBRO)

“Screws fall out all the time, sir.  The world’s an imperfect place.”

In the summer of 1986, Transformers: The Movie arrived in theaters, and brought with it a new cast of characters, and a new cast of celebrities to voice them.  Shermer High’s resident rebel Judd Nelson was brought in to voice the newly introduced Hot Rod, a character meant to take over as the franchise’s lead from the dearly departing Optimus Prime, much like his opposite number Falcon over on the G.I. Joe side of things.  And, just like with Falcon, it didn’t quite endear him to the fans the way Hasbro was hoping it would (I think in the long run the years have been much kinder to Hot Rod than they have to Falcon, though).  Whatever the case, being the proposed central character for the continuation of a popular franchise is pretty good spot to be in from a toy stand point, and Hot Rod was of course added to the toyline to coincide with the movie’s release.  I’ll be taking a look at that first toy today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hot Rod hit shelves in 1986 as part of the heavily movie-inspired line-up for Transformers that year.  Unlike prior entries in the line, Hot Rod was not repurposed from pre-existing Japanese molds, but was instead a new creation specifically for the Transformers line, designed by working in tandem with the proposed animation model character.  The end result is something that sticks pretty close to the animation design, at least when compared to some of the other vintage figures.  In his robot mode, Hot Rod stands about 6 inches tall and he has 8 usable points of articulation.  All of the robot more’s articulation is in the arms, and that actually doesn’t include any sort of up/down motion on the shoulders, making Hot Rod by far the most limited of the four G1 bots I own in terms of poseablility.  He’s good for standing around, but that’s about it.  On the plus side, with a rather faithful to the animation sculpt, he’s got one of the nicest looking robot modes from the original line, and manages to actually nicely walk the line between the two modes a lot better than a good portion of his compatriots.  There is one running change in terms of construction for the figure.  Initial versions had metal feet, the version 2 mold got plastic feet.  Mine is a version 2 figure, though appearance-wise they’re the same.  Hot Rod’s alt-mode is a futuristic sports car from the far off year of 2005, which means he was unlike a lot of the vintage stuff, being a non-existent vehicle.  It’s a pretty sleek design though, and the transformation is a pretty slick and easy mode shift.  Hot Rod was originally packed with a pair of blasters, but mine is just the core figure.  Oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t gonna get any more G1 Transformers.  I thought I was done.  I really did.  Then this guy got traded into All Time, and he was just kinda nifty and I had trade credit to burn through, and Max was not going to talk me out of buying a Transformer, and so here I am.  Poseablity aside, I actually really like him a lot, and he offers a nice balance of both modes, and certainly looks cool!

As I noted above,  I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, and a good chunk of the collection he came from is still available here If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2344: Autobot Grapple

AUTOBOT GRAPPLE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

Okay, so I’m at the end of this Transformers week and…well, I’m gonna level with you guys, I’m kinda starting to stretch the limits of what I know off-hand about Transformers.  Take, for instance, today’s guy.  I know he’s an Autobot named Grapple, but, well, that kinda comes from the name, now doesn’t that?  Beyond that?  Not a ton.  He’s not on the list of names I could rattle off if someone asked me to name some transformers on the spot…or at least he wasn’t prior to this figure, and it’s really a 50/50 chance that I’ll accidentally refer to him as Hoist, who is an entirely different guy that’s also available in the initial product launch for Earthrise.  So, with all that said, let’s just see where this review takes us, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grapple is one half of the first Voyager Class assortment for Transformers War For Cybertron: Earthrise, with the other half being an Earth-mode version of Starscream.  Earthrise continues Siege’s trend of very G1-inspired figures, and even takes it a bit further, given that the setting is once again on Earth, meaning most of the characters will be taking more direct replicas of their original alt-modes.  In his robot mode, Grapple stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 20 practical points of articulation.  Grapple is sporting an all-new sculpt, though given the usual lineage of Grapple figures, it won’t be too much of a surprise to see this sculpt turn up again for Inferno.  It’s a very cartoon-inspired sculpt, and represents a much cleaner design than some of the Siege figures were sporting.  There’s a lot more in the way of clean lines and sharp edges.  It makes for a nice figure to look at.  He’s on the boxier side, which is sensible, given his construction-centered alt-mode.  Said alt-mode is an orange crane truck.  The transformation is mostly pretty easy and straight forward, but there is a slight molding error on all copies of the figure (so far, at least), where the two pegs at the base of the crane are just a touch too large for the corresponding peg holes on the feet.  They’ll resist going in during the transformation, and if you force them you’ll risk breaking the figure.  Fortunately, shaving them down just a touch with a knife was all that was needed to get mine into proper working order.  As far as out of the box mods go, that one’s not too bad.  Grapple is packed with a blaster, a claw, and a nozzle piece.  The blaster is your standard sci-fi fare, but is cool nonetheless.  The claw and nozzle are actually compatible with the ports on the insides of Grapple’s wrists, allowing for them to be swapped out for his hands if you so desire…which I did, so hey, look at that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew nothing about Grapple before this figure.  I still don’t know a ton about him.  But, I liked his design, and unlike Starscream he didn’t feel like a retread, so I was definitely down for picking one up.  Despite not knowing much about him, I quite like this figure, and am happy to have him as my first proper introduction to Earthrise.

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