#2967: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: UNIVERSE (HASBRO)


Despite a prominent spot in 2001’s Robots in Disguise, Ultra Magnus was effectively absent from the Unicron Trilogy, at least as far as direct presence was concerned.  The name was used again for Energon, on a rather rare redeco of Armada Overload.  As far as any actual Armada coverage, the closest he would get would come two years after the Armada line, as part of the more all encompassing Universe line.  Since I’m in an Armada sort of mood, but I also gotta have some Magnus love, let’s take a look at that figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was released in the Transformers: Universe line, as half of one of Hasbro’s “Battle in a Box” sets, an run of market six (close out and department stores like Kohl’s) exclusive sets they tried with their in-house brands in ‘04.  His pack-mate was Treadshot, who isn’t an Ultra Magnus, so he’s not getting a review here.  In his robot mode, Magnus stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 15 workable points of articulation.  Structurally, this Magnus goes back to the tried and true method of making a Magnus by taking an Optimus and painting him white.  This one specifically is based on the Armada Prime mold.  It’s not a bad mold, apart from the forearm assembly being backwards, and has a decent update on the classic Optimus aesthetic.  The new color scheme works really well with it, and actually does look pretty suitably like a new character.  He’s got a set of forearm-mounted guns, which serve as his smokestacks in his alt-mode.  They were removable here for…reasons?  I don’t really know why.  Magnus is also packed with his own Mini-Con companion, Overrun, who was shared with the previous Optimus release.  He’s slightly redecoed here.  He’s got a kind of goofy robot mode, but he can also serve as a gun for Magnus.

Magnus’s alt-mode is a truck.  That’s it.  Okay, I mean, it’s like a sci-fi truck, I guess.  It’s not a bad alt-mode, especially for a Magnus, and the transformation sequence isn’t too complex or anything.  Those smokestacks fall off a lot, but it’s otherwise alright.  Overrun gets his own alt-mode, in addition to the gun mode, where he turns into a jet.  Right out of the box, his wings are reversed, but this can be easily corrected by popping them out and then back into the right spots.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t know of this set’s existence as a kid, or even until later into my adulthood, so I never did get around to looking for it.  Instead it rather came to me, as it was traded into All Time last summer.  I just wanted the Magnus, so Max wound up taking the Treadshot I didn’t want, and I had a sweet new Magnus.  He’s nothing phenomenal or anything, but he’s a Magnus that fits with my Armada collection, and that works for me.

#2960: Starscream

STARSCREAM

TRANSFORMERS: ARMADA (HASBRO)

“Starscream uses his speed and maneuverability as a jet to launch aerial attacks on the Autobots. No one can compete with him when it comes to speed and skill in the air. He slices through the sky, chasing the enemy and even endangering any Decpticon that gets in his way. As the second in command, he pretends to be loyal to Megatron, but is always looking for an opportunity to weaken his leader’s rule and take control of the Decepticons.”

Present in the franchise since its beginning, Starscream is a rather inescapable piece of the Transformers lexicon.  Other characters may come and go, but after Optimus and Megatron, the character next most likely to find himself in a given version of the story is Starscream, always Megatron’s lackey, always ready to betray him and take power for himself.  Transformers: Armada actually flipped the script on Starscream a little bit, though.  Rather than being purely motivated by his own self-interests, the Armada Starscream’s inevitable betrayal of Megatron saw him not taking power directly from Megatron, but rather switching to the side of the Autobots.  While still selfishly motivated on the surface, he would eventually find his own more valiant side, and even make a rather heroic sacrifice, something that no other version of Starscream would ever even consider in the slightest.  It was cool change-up, and a fun take on the character.  Helping even more on the fun/cool scale?  A pretty awesome toy, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starscream made up one half of the first Max-Con Class (the line’s equivalent to the modern Voyager Class) assortment of Hasbro’s Transformers: Armada line, released alongside the show’s debut in 2002.  In his robot mode, Starscream stands about 7 inches tall and he has 10 workable points of articulation.  As with most of the other figures in the line, Starscream’s articulation is rather restricted by the nature of his design.  There’s no neck movement, and the shoulders don’t move either.  He’s got some swivels near the shoulders, and some okay leg movement, but there’s not a ton of posing to be had here.  He’s good for one thing, and that’s standing.  The sculpt is a pretty impressive piece.  It matches up well with how he looks in the animation, and it’s got a solid bit of heft to it.  The boxy shapes definitely work well, and his robot mode is well-formed.  There’s a bit of kibble, especially when it comes to the back of the torso, but he generally makes it work.  He’s armed with a folding sword, which is actually his left wing removed and unfolded.  It’s not the most convincing thing, but it works in its own goofy sense.  Also included is his Mini-Con partner, Swindle.  Swindle’s robot mode isn’t quite as strong as Jolt or Blackout’s were.  It’s okay, but not great.  The R&D definitely went to Starscream on this one.  Swindle allows Starscream to unlock the two cannons on Starscream’s shoulders, which each shoot a missile.  The missiles are, sadly, missing from mine.  The cannons also have a tendency to unlatch themselves from time to time, and, if you’re not careful, the latches can wear out, causing them to be permanently be forward.  Fortunately, that’s not the case with mine.

Starscream’s alt-mode is a sci-fi jet.  The transformation is a little more involved than the other two, but he’s a more advanced class, so it makes sense.  It’s still not particularly difficult, and there are also a few spring-loaded components to the transformation.  The end result is a vehicle that’s a little awkward in some spots, but one that also lacks the major under the jet kibble left over from the robot mode, which is something that shows up a lot with the jets.  In his jet mode, there are some sound effects built in; they no longer work on mine, but there are a few jet related sounds.  They’re honestly more annoying than anything, so I can’t say I miss them.  Swindle has his own alt-mode as well; he turns into a racing car, and is honestly more convincing as a car than as a robot.  Now, why a race car robot is packed in with the big jet is anyone’s guess, but I try not to dwell too much.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the three Armada figures that my cousin owned for a very brief time and ultimately gave to me, Starscream was definitely his favorite.  When they were in his possession, I didn’t get to play with Starscream the way I did the other two.  So, when he was finally mine, that was a pretty big deal.  Unfortunately, he also wound up being the only one readily available to me to grab when I decided to get rid of a lot of my stuff at around 15 or so.  I wound up selling him off (to All Time Toys, actually, along with a bunch of junk that they honestly gave me more than they should have for), and it’s something I’ve regretted since.  I’ve been keeping my eye out for a replacement ever since.  Fortunately, I was able to snag one from a collection that came into All Time last January.  He was missing Swindle, but Max was nice enough to set me up with a replacement, and boom, here we are.  I really dig this figure.  He’s just a really good, solid toy, and I’m very glad to have him again.

#2953: Demolishor

DEMOLISHOR

TRANSFORMERS:ARMADA (HASBRO)

Demolishor fights ferociously in every battle to which he’s sent, regardless of the odds. If Megatron tells him to do something, he does it without hesitation. To Demolishor, a leader must always be obeyed at any cost. Megatron values the unswerving loyalty of his best soldier, but abandons him, when necessary, to save his own life. Demolishor has never resented any of these betrayals. But will there come a day when Demolishor questions the orders of his leader?”

Hey, remember when I was talking about Transformers: Armada a week ago?  Wanna here about it some more?  Well, you’re gonna, because it’s my site.  Sorry, I don’t make the rules.  Oh, wait, I actually do.  Well, there we are, I guess.  Last week, I looked at one of Armada’s heroic Autobots, so today, why not give the other side some coverage, with Decepticon Demolishor.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Demolishor was released alongside Hot Shot in the first wave of Super-Con Class Armada figures.  The assortment was the two of them and Cyclonus, who I don’t actually own.  In his robot mode, the figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 practical points of articulation.  Before we delve into the meat of the review, I want to address the elephant in the room: I am aware that Demolishor’s lower half is backwards in all of my photos of his robot mode.  I wasn’t aware when taking the photos, or for the nearly two decades I owned him prior to this review, but I’m aware now.  Honestly, he looks wrong to my eye in his correct configuration (I went for forward facing being the side that had the longer “feet” which seems more right to me), and this is genuinely how I’ve viewed him for almost 20 years, so I’ve decided to leave the photos as is.  For moral reasons, really.  Certainly not because I’m lazy and I didn’t want to have to reshoot and edit all of those photos.  Why would you even suggest that?  So, back to my morally correct version of Demolishor.  The robot mode on this guy does actually make for a pretty playable toy, much like Hot Shot.  Sure, he doesn’t have neck movement, but the arms are pretty solid, and they can even swivel forward and back, which not even Hot Shot could do.  Compared to Hot Shot, Demolishor’s kibble his also pretty minor. There are a few spots where extra details are present, but not really that many.  Demolishor also has a Mini-Con partner, Blackout, who, much like Jolt, is about 2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Blackout allows Demolishor to unlock the missile launching feature on his shoulder, though this does require flipping his arms around.

Demolishor’s vehicle mode is a big made up sci-fi tank thing.  It’s a pretty easy transformation process, and the end mode is a pretty cool tank.  It’s even got a little seat, where you can place Blackout or one of the other Mini-Cons, in order to man the tank.  Blackout himself has his own tank mode.  It’s much smaller and conservative in its design, but it looks cool too, and can even combine with Demolishor’s vehicle mode for a more complete front to the tank.  In this mode, Blackout can also combine with Demolishor’s robot mode to form an arm cannon of sorts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I brought up in my Hot Shot review, I didn’t get my Armada figures new, but instead got them fairly quickly after their release when my cousin Patrick decided he didn’t want his anymore.  Demolishor was one of the three of them I got, and I got him mistransformed and without any instructions, so I just never knew.  Seriously, it kind of broke my mind you guys.  I found it out, and I had to text Max for emotional support and everything.  How could I be living this kind of lie all this time?  What else am I doing wrong?  Okay, it’s probably not that serious.  Demolishor may not have been my favorite of the three figures I had, but I did still really like him, and like Hot Shot, I still think he really holds up.

#2946: Hot Shot

HOT SHOT

TRANSFORMERS: ARMADA (HASBRO)

“Hot Shot is a young, heroic fighter who rushes into danger without regard to his own safety. He courageously charges into the middle of the fight to aid his friends in battle. He has taken charge in several battles, showing great leadership potential. But he needs the guidance of his elders before he can hope to lead the Autobots. Will he learn to be a leader who strives for good, or will his reckless nature ruin his promising future?”

As a child of the ’90s, as well as someone who sometimes dabbles in Transformers, it would be easy to assume that I’m into Beast Wars, but I’ve actually never had a particular attachment to it.  I mean, aside from Silverbolt.  That guy’s awesome.  Generally, I’ve tended to be more into the vehicle-based Transformers stuff.  I first dabbled with the franchise with 2001’s Robots in Disguise (which instilled in me a love of Ultra Magnus), but my first real investment in the franchise was during the show that followed in 2002, Transformers: Armada.  One of the central characters in Armada, and in fact the rest of the Unicron Trilogy, was Hot Shot, who I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hot Shot was part of Transformers: Armada‘s first wave of Super-Con Class figures, which were the line’s Deluxe Class equivalent.  He was the only Autobot in the assortment (which also included Cyclonus and Demolisher), and they all hit alongside the launch of the show in 2002.  In his robot mode, Hot Shot stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 working points of articulation, as well as a moving visor for his helmet.  Emphasis was still very much on the transformations and vehicle modes at this point, so Hot Shot’s movement is rather restricted.  The legs do alright, but his head doesn’t move, and his shoulders move side to side, but there’s no forward and back.  For the time, though, he remained remarkably mobile.  Hot Shot’s sculpt actually does an okay job of matching up with how he looked in the cartoon.  His race car driver design is carried over well.  There’s a fair bit of kibble from his alt mode, especially on the backs of the arms, but it at least folds up to be out of the way.  Hot Shot got his own Mini-Con partner, Jolt.  Jolt is a much smaller robot, standing about inches tall, and having a whole 6 points of articulation.  Using Jolt (or any Mini-Con, really, but Jolt’s the best one), you can unlock Hot Shot’s built-in weapon, affectionately referred to as his “axlezooka”, which is spring loaded to deploy.  The springs on mine are a little weak, so it needs a little extra help, but it’s still pretty cool.  There’s meant to be a missile, but it’s missing from mine.  Jolt also has a rather big gun piece which Hot Shot can wear as chest armor.

Hot Shot’s alt-mode is a modified Audi TT, which is a fairly generic looking sports car, really.  The transformation sequence is actually rather simple, so it makes it very easy to switch him back and forth without much trouble.  He also stays in the mode very securely.  In general, it just works very well.  Jolt has his own alt-mode; he transforms into a small helicopter through an even simpler transformation process.  Jolt’s gun can also be mounted to the front of Hot Shot’s hood, and Jolt can be mounted on one of the three Mini-Con ports on the vehicle mode.  The central one actually releases the springs on Hot Shot’s feet, to use as “driving claws.”  You know, as you do.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite how much I liked the show and kept up with it when it was new, I didn’t actually get any of the toys first hand when they were new.  Instead, my initial exposure to them was through my cousin Patrick, who had a small handful of them, and would frequently bring them over for both of us to play with.  During that time, Hot Shot was always my go-to.  Patrick decided fairly quickly that he didn’t need to keep them, so they were rather quickly gifted to me.  Hot Shot himself wound up getting lost at my grandparents’ house some time during my childhood, and it wasn’t until after I moved into their house a few years ago that I actually found him again.  He was missing all of his extra stuff, but fortunately for me, Max was able to help me out and get me set-up with Jolt and the gun.  I like this guy a lot, and he’s probably the most nostalgic I get about Transformers.

#2929: Gigawatt

GIGAWATT

BACK TO THE FUTURE X TRANSFORMERS (HASBRO)

It’s been seven whole years since my one Back to the Future-related review, but it’s been significantly less time since my last Transformers review.  In fact, when I wrote the one BttF review, I wasn’t yet actually doing proper Transformers reviews.  So, there’s been no crossover.  Well, I guess now’s as good a time as any to do that, since, you know, there’s actually an official crossover and everything.  That sure makes my job easier, doesn’t it?  Well, let’s have a look at Gigawatt!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gigawatt is the third offering under Hasbro’s Transformers: Collaborative banner.  He was initially released as a Walmart-exclusive last summer, but has been slowly trickling his way out to other retailers starting at the tail end of last year.  He seems to have finally started hitting in larger quantities in the last month or so.  In his robot mode, Gigawatt stands about 5 inches tall and he has 20 workable points of articulation.  As with Ectotron, Gigawatt makes use of a pre-existing mold for his core starting point.  In this case, he uses the internal engineering and a good number of parts from the Siege Sideswipe figure.  Sideswipe was one of my favorite Siege molds, and is rather masterful in its simplicity relative to just how good it looks.  This figure keeps everything really good about the original mold, and re-skins it with the assorted parts needed for his updated alt-mode.  It looks very good, much like the original release.  Among the wholly new parts specifically for the robot mode is the head; it’s similar to the Sideswipe head, but now it’s got some sweet new goggles, for science purposes, of course.  I also really dig the new torso piece, which features a version of the flux capacitor, as well as the date readouts from the main console.  It really sells all the important elements of the time machine, all in one convenient robot package.  Gigawatt includes a blaster rifle (with removable “stock”) and a “whip.”  The “stock” and “whip” both come more in handy in the next section.

Gigawatt’s alt-mode is kind of the major selling point here.  As a BttF-branded tie-in, there’s really only one logical choice of vehicle mode, and that’s Doc Brown’s modified Delorian DMC-12.  As with pretty much any BttF tie-in version of the vehicle, it doesn’t actually sport any of the specific Delorian branding or markings.  It’s clearly the same car, of course, and it’s a good recreation of it at that.  The transformation sequence is effectively the same as Sideswipe’s, so it’s a fairly intuitive one, but it also looks quite convincing in vehicle mode.  The design of the car allows for the wheels to be switched into hovercar mode, and you can also use the “stock” of the gun to add the Mr. Fusion, or hook the “whip” up to be the antenna used to catch the lightning strike at the end of the first movie.  It makes it quite an inclusive selection of looks from the movie, which is certainly fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ectotron was a lot of fun, so as soon as the possibility of this one was floated, I knew I was on board, even moreso when he was shown off and confirmed to be using Sideswipe’s mold as a starting point.  It’s been a long wait to get one, but he was ultimately worth it.  I love his design, I love how he transforms, I love the extras he comes with, and I just love him in general.  A really, really nice figure, just all around.

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

#2925: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE (HASBRO)

Faithful readers will probably know that today marks my eighth anniversary of this humble little toy review site.  As with all of my anniversary reviews, I like to take a look at something that’s not quite your average day’s sort of significance, but is rather a little more special to me.  I’ve covered all sorts of various lines in these posts, mostly exploring my earliest days of collecting.  Because of this focus, Transformers is kind of out in the cold, since they’re mostly a recent addition to these collecting habits.  Today, however, I give them some time in the spotlight with, unsurprisingly, an Ultra Magnus.  Look, I like what I like, alright?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was a Super Class scale release in Hasbro’s Transformers: Robots In Disguise line, hitting retail in 2001, alongside the similarly Super Class scale Optimus Prime (with whom he could combine to form Omega Prime).  In his robot mode, Magnus stands 10 1/2 inches tall and he has 21 workable points of articulation.  The legs are generally rather restricted, largely due to there not being any articulation until the knee, which is about 6 inches up the leg.  On the plus side, the arms get quite a bit of mobility, in classic Magnus fashion, really.  Magnus’s molds were repurposed from Takara’s Car Robots God Magnus figure, based on the animation of the same name, which was adapted into RiD‘s own cartoon equivalent here in the US.  As with the smaller scale Spy Changers version of the character, this Magnus is just all legs.  Just the absolute epitome of legs.  ZZ Tops “Legs,” but in Transformers form.  Guy’s got long legs is what I’m getting at, really.  Given his much larger scale, this release is, of course, a far more complex take on the same design, allowing for a lot more detail work, as well as the already mentioned improved articulation.  It marked a pretty radical change-up from the likes of the G1 line, where larger figures tended to be much more immobile.  At this scale, the kibble from his vehicle mode is also a lot less of an issue, making for a generally cleaner look for Magnus.  Magnus is packed with his “Blue Bolts” cannon, which can be configured into a few different layouts.  There are supposed to be two missiles for it as well, but they’re missing from mine.

Magnus’s alt-mode is an updated, more sci-fi-esque take on his G1-version’s car carrier mode.  The transformation sequence is quite involved, with a lot of moving parts, as well as some old-school partsforming, which requires the legs to be removed and reassembled as the actual car-carrier parts.  You definitely need to take some time to figure this one out, and I actually outsourced it to Max for the first transformation out of a paranoid fear of breaking the thing.  In his vehicle mode, he’s quite sizable, about 11 inches in length.  He’s large enough to hold three of the deluxe class cars from the line.  And hey, all of the wheels are actually working wheels on this version.  With proper rubber tires and everything.  All in all, it’s pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is very special to me, for a lot of intersecting reasons.  While I was never a Beast Wars kid, something about the 2001 Robots In Disguise, and especially Ultra Magnus really stuck with me.  I very much wanted this figure as a kid, but at the time, I didn’t quite have the ability to articulate that to my parents, who mostly stuck to getting me the things they knew I liked, rather than the outliers (that’s not a knock against them, by the way; they were genuinely really good at getting me gifts I really appreciated, and I was also enough of a go-with-the-flow kind of person that I probably never once mentioned to them wanting this toy).  So, I never had this has a kid.  I didn’t have any Ultra Magnuses at all, until Siege, when the use of this guy’s alt-mode as a G1-style Magnus’s Cybertronian design was enough to get me in the door and create something of a monster.  For 20 years, this guy was on the back of my mind.

During the period where he was on the back of my mind, he was, at least at some point, on the forefront of the mind of Jason, owner of All Time Toys.  When Jason fought for custody of his oldest son Chance, he wanted Chance to have his own collection of things that the two of them could bond over.  For Chance’s first Christmas, Jason made it a point to go all out and get him some of the best Transformers he could.  This Ultra Magnus was included.  When things got complicated with the custody battle, Jason couldn’t spend Christmas with Chance, and those gifts had to wait.  But Jason won that battle, and Chance got that Christmas, even if it was a little late.

Fifteen years or so later, my crappy IT job that was slowly killing me laid me off in the middle of a pandemic, and I found myself needing full time job, which Jason gave me.  A month later, Jess and I got the news of her cancer, meaning that just as I left a situation that was slowly killing me, Jess was in one of her own.  The next year was unquestionably the hardest of my life, but Jason, Max, and Chance (who was now my coworker) were all there to help me.  In the midst of all that hardship, Chance decided to part with his Ultra Magnus, and gave it to me.  If I’d gotten it all those years ago, it would have never meant this much to me.  But now it’s got so much meaning behind it.  This is my very favorite Ultra Magnus.

#2900: Wreck-Gar

WRECK-GAR

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2891: Rodimus Prime

RODIMUS PRIME

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: KINGDOM (HASBRO)

The 35th anniversary of Transformers: The Movie has been a major focus of Hasbro’s Transformers toy output in the last year, with a major focus being placed on it in the Studio Series, but also some overflow going into its sister line, Kingdom.  Play factor does seem to be a major factor in what exactly goes where, but in the case of today’s offering, it’s more that the Studio Series doesn’t actually have a history of offering the class size that this figure utilizes.  I’ve already looked at Transformers: The Movie‘s main star in his Hot Rod incarnation, but he’s got two distinct looks in the film, since once he takes ownership of the Matrix of Leadership, he is reborn as Rodimus Prime, who is historically a little bigger than Hot Rod.  So, let’s take a look at Rodimus, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rodimus Prime is part of Transformers War For Cybertron: Kingdom, as the line’s Commander Class offering for the year, following in the footsteps of Jetfire and Skylynx before him.  In his robot mode, Rodimus stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 34 practical points of articulation.  Much like Hot Rod, Rodimus is notably smaller than other figures in the same size class, falling somewhere between modern Voyager and Leader scaling, but the reasoning behind his higher price point isn’t really scale, it’s actually engineering.  Hot Rod made use of the Voyager price point to gather more complex articulation and parts layouts, and Rodimus is really the same.  So, while he may not be as big as others, he’s still got a lot going on under the hood (in more ways than one).  He’s also got some very serious heft behind him, which is very much in line with how this incarnation of the line has been run.  In terms of mobility, this figure takes the articulation and range of motion seen on Hot Rod, and just improves upon it, removing the usual restrictions Hot Rods and Rodimuses tend to run into.  He also takes the already jointed hands on the Hot Rod figure, and further articulates them, adding additional movement at the second knuckle, as well as separating out the pointer fingers on their own.  And it doesn’t even make them too floppy or loose for use with the accessories, which is always an accomplishment on its own.  The sculpt, like Hot Rod before it, is a great translation of the animation for Rodimus from the film, following in the steps of the sleekness seen on Hot Rod.  The two sculpts are also quite similar, making them really feel like two versions of the same guy, as they well should.  Of course, as a Kingdom release, rather than a Studio release, there are a few elements of the sculpt’s styling which do go for a few extra little details, to add more to the slightly larger canvas, and also link him a little bit more to how the Siege and Earthrise bots tended to look.  It also makes him a little more distinctly different from his Hot Rod incarnation.  Keeping the ball rolling on the extra features worked into Hot Rod’s robot mode, Rodimus gets a pretty notable extra of his own; his torso is designed to open up in such a fashion so as to reveal the Matrix of Leadership contained within, which is a very cool touch, especially since you don’t really have to disrupt his robot mode to show it off.  In an effort to further justify Rodimus’s higher price-point, the figure gets a rather intensive selection of extras, the largest of which is his Mobile Defense Bay, patterned after the piece that came with his original G1 figure, which includes a rather sizable mounted cannon for him to man.  In addition to the Mobile Defense Bay, Rodimus also gets his usual long rifle, as well as the Sword of Primus, the previously mentioned Matrix (which is the same Earthrise version included with Hot Rod), and 10 effects pieces.  One of the effects is designed for use with the matrix (and is notably a different one than was included with Hot Rod), while seven of them are re-used from Omega Supreme, and work as modular effects for the cannons.  The last two are designed for the exhaust pipes that make up the cannons on his forearms, but aren’t quite as sensible in the form.

Rodimus’s vehicle mode begins as a slightly modified version of the futuristic sports car that serves as Hot Rod’s alt-mode.  The transformation sequence isn’t quite as easily done on this one, and I did have some difficulty getting a few spots to seat correctly without using a little force, which isn’t always the most comforting thing.  One of the sides to the front fender also popped off during the sequence and doesn’t like to stay put when transforming anymore, which is a bit of an annoyance.  The end result is a pretty decent looking car mode, albeit one that’s not really animation based.   The smoke effects can be placed on the back of the exhaust in this mode, and the rifle and sword can both also be stored, albeit in a sort of janky fashion.  The Mobile Defense Bay and its contents fold up and turn into a trailer, as with the G1 version, allowing for something more in line with the proper Rodimus alt-mode when the core car mode is clipped in.  It makes for a more convincing version of the design than the Power of the Primes version, though it still strays a bit from the animation and original toy.  Like with Magnus, it’s just one of those things where compromises had to be drawn somewhere to make all of the different gimmicks work together, and like Magnus, I feel like the right call was made.  I also feel like it looks better in person than it did in the renders and stock photos, which I’d consider a win.  The only real downside is that the trailer does pop apart a little bit at the top seam, which looks like it may be a line-wide issue.  It’s minor, but still a little annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m generally more of a Hot Rod fan than a Rodimus fan, so of the two figures that hit this year, the Studio Hot Rod was definitely the one I was jamming one just a little bit more, at least initially.  That figure was really, really good, and I felt that this one might have a difficult time topping it.  So, I was a little cautious with my expectations of this figure.  In hand, he really blew me away.  He takes everything that worked so well on Hot Rod, and builds on it, resulting in a truly impressive piece, certainly the star of the Kingdom line.  I mean, Magnus is still my favorite, of course, because, you know, Magnus, but still, mad props to Hasbro on this one.

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.

#2873: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: KINGDOM (HASBRO)

While the main Transformers line has largely shifted back to the G1 line’s “classes are dictated by the character’s scale within the overall set-up”, there have long been other lines that give us the characters in actually different scales.  The smaller, more affordable set-up is a particularly recurrent one, gathering a few differing names over the years, including Basic Class, Spy Changers, Legion Class, and Legends Class.  For the latest version, they’re now the “Core Class,” which has taken over the main line price point previously held by the Micro Masters in the last two main lines.  There are a few new characters, but the main focus is the heavy hitter G1 characters.  And, if I’m reviewing one, you know that means there’s gotta be a Soundwave.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is part of the third Core Class assortment for Transformers War For Cybertron: Kingdom, alongside the brand new Dracodon.  In his robot mode, Soundwave stands about 3 inches tall and he has 15 practical points of articulation.  Soundwave is an all-new sculpt, patterned on his G1 cartoon design.  He’s rather similar thematically to the two Voyager Class releases from this trilogy, but is of course about half their size.  To facilitate this, his articulation is a little more rudimentary, but that doesn’t stop it from working pretty well from a practicality stand point.  The new sculpt is a very clean and sharply detailed recreation of the classic Soundwave.  It doesn’t have as much going on as the larger versions, but that doesn’t stop it from getting the feel of the character.  Moreover, it gives it a nice, basic feel, which I very much dig.  The paint work is like wise very clean and to the point, which I’m totally down for.  Soundwave is armed with both his handheld and shoulder cannons, as well as Laserbeak, who, much like the R.E.D. version, is permanently in cassette mode.  Speaking of cassettes, while it took three tries at the larger scale, this guy gets his cassette player alt-mode right out of the gate.  It’s a pretty simple transformation, as expected, but the end result is generally pretty decent.  The feet don’t quite fold down enough for the proper clean angles, but otherwise it looks nice, and it’s less fiddly than the larger version.  I do miss the spring loaded door, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Core Class was unveiled, it looked cool enough, but I stuck to my guns and swore to only get my two go-tos, should they be added to the line.  Sure enough, Soundwave got added pretty quickly, and I was onboard from day 1 for this guy.  The Earthrise version was really nice, but something about the simplicity and pure fun of this release really appeals to me, and he’s probably my favorite modern Soundwave release.

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

#2775: B-127

B-127

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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