Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Finally, after what seems an eternity, I have the G1 Autobot portion of my collection up.  I was a little disorganized in getting everything needed done, but it's finally done.  Just a reminder that not all of these guys are in great shape, since I've had a lot of them since I was a kid, and as such have suffered a lot of wear.  I decided to show everyone, including those that are missing accessories that I have yet to get to complete them.  Just click the link on the title bar, and have a look.  Thanks for stopping by and let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


So, I'm out of room.  I was trying to figure out where I was going to put all of the Masterpiece figures coming out this year and it dawned on me that I'm out of room.  Earlier, when I moved everything out of the garage, I had packed up all of my G.I. Joes, vehicles, and miscellaneous Cobra figures to create room for what I felt was most important - the Transformers.  I left out my Cobra forces just so I could have a troop builder display, but, sadly they had to come down if I was going to display any of the new Transformers I was getting in the next few months.  To commemorate this, I figured I'd take a few pictures of the various little displays I had set up as my Cobra shelf.  The figures are dusty, the posing not so great, but I hope you enjoy the pictures.  No figures were recycled to make any of these pictures.  Each scene has it's own unique figures.  That's why I love troop builders.

Cobra Commander and the Crimson Guard
Sepentor, Battle Armor Cobra Commander and Cobra Troops
Cobra Commander, Alley Vipers, Shock Troopers, and The Cobra Fury
Major Blood, Cobra Night Watch, Cobra Troops and Cobra Stinger
Python Patrol Crimson Guard, Officers, Copperhead and Sting Raider
Cobra Vipers
Cobra B.A.T.S
Cobra Para-Vipers
Cobra Divers
Cobra Eels
Hazard Vipers and Techno-Vipers
Night Creepers, Range Viper and Rock Viper
Cobra Hiss Tanks, Bazooka Trooper, Wraith, and Firefly
Zartan and his Dreadnoks
Arctic Hiss Tank, Arctic Assault Squad, Snow Serpents
Destro, Iron Grenadiers and the Weather Dominator
Desert Assault Squad, Baroness, Cobra Air Troopers, Cobra Commander and MASS Device, Xamot and Tomax, and Crimson Guard

There would be more pictures, but by time I had thought to do this, I had already put up a few of the displays.  Hopefully when I get around to buying that 5 bedroom house, these guys can come back out again.  I really love the troop building aspect of Cobra forces, so I'd love to have my display out again.  Maybe a diorama.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Transformers Comics Roundup!

I only go to my local comic shop once a month because I only read a few titles a month, mainly Transformers titles.  The titles on my pull list are: Transformers: RiD, Transformers:MTME, Transformers: Spotlight, Transformers: Regeneration One, X-Factor and Uncanny Avengers.  I'm known as "The Transformer Guy" at my LCS.  Today is the day that I picked up my books, and Transformers wise, I picked up MTME #13, Regeneration One #88, and Spotlight: Megatron.  Since I'm still waiting on the TFC Soundwave/Blaster VSE set, and taking pictures of every single Transformer I own is driving me mad, I figured I'd do some quick reviews on what I picked up today.

Now this was a fun little issue.  The issue opens with Swerve sending a communication back to Cybertron.  Blaster has repaired the long-range subspace network.  Swerve, though his normal behavior, is the first person to use the repaired network, so he's sending his first communique to his old buddy Blurr.  Swerve decides to relate the events of the preceding day when Rodimus sends Ultra Magnus, Swerve, Rung, Rewind, Tailgate, Skids, and, as a hanger on, Whirl and about a hundred others to the planet Hedonia for a little rest and relaxation.  Also along for the ride is Cyclonus.  Really, that's about it for plot, but this issue does something that James Roberts does so well - character development.

Throughout this issue, we find out tidbits about these characters that add a whole lot to their overall character.  Ultra Magnus, for example, has always been shown as something of a straight-laced, stick in the mud.  The 'bot doesn't even know the word "relax".  During the course of the issue, we find out that his avatar is Verity, Tyrest is to blame for Magnus' uptight ways, he likes music, he doesn't like being called "Mags".  And he can't handle his fuel.

There are other great little moments such as showing off the "Swerve Crew" and their avatars.  The avatar program was redesigned by Brainstorm and Rung to reflect the user's psyche.  Skids being a Dr. Who was a nice touch even though I'm not a fan of that series.  My favorite, though was Whirl's avatar - a little, pigtailed girl with an eye patch and two uzi machine guns.  The fact that her Autobot insignia also had an eye patch was great. 

The best moment was of the comic was the interaction between Tailgate and Cyclonus.  Both are older than the rest of the crew, having been around since the time of Nova Prime.  The entire scene between those two was great, as was the big reveal.

The work that James Roberts is doing on this comic is phenomenal.  His dialogue is spot on, witty, and incisive.  While there hasn't been a lot of development towards the final goal of finding the Knights of Cybertron, the character development makes this issue and series one of the most consistent and compelling Transformers comic out there and among the best comic series period.  Roberts is doing a great job developing and fleshing out what has always amounted to secondary or worse characters and making them whole, complete and fan favorite characters in their own right.  Seriously, who would've thought that I'd actually care about Swerve's back story, or even Tailgate's?

Next up is Spotlight: Megatron.  This issue takes place during the last time Megatron was reformatted, during the "Police Action" storyline, I believe.  Really, this story is nothing more than something to pack into the recently announced Generations Megatron figure.  Still, this issue was written and illustrated by the great Nick Roche.  Essentially Megatron gives a couple of speeches to his soldiers, lets us know what he really thinks of Shockwave and Soundwave, and beats the living tar out of Starscream, delivers another speech, and lets Starscream know his place and why he's still allowed to live.

As far as I know, this is Roche's second time completely writing and illustrating a Transformers comic, and he's done well both times.  The Spotlight series as a whole has always been a great way to focus on a character and let the audience know what makes that 'bot tick.  Which is why IDW named this series Spotlight.  I'm a smart guy.

Really, the main selling point to me was the Roche art. This is a man who should pencil more than covers. He's up there with Andrew Wildman and Don Figueroa in the pantheon of great TF artists.

My only letdown with this and the previous Spotlight is that I'm not sure that its going to eventually tie into any of the main series as Simon Furman's did. I'm sure I'm wrong, so lets hope I am.

Speaking of Simon Furman....

I picked up Regeneration One issue 88 with a mixture of hope and gloom. Would this be the issue that propels the story, finally, towards, frankly, something? Anything? Sadly, the answer to that is no.

This issue takes off where last issue started. Scorponok and his merry crew of Decepticon-ized Autobots have returned to Cybertron intent on altering every Autobot's CNA to make them Decepticons. Grimlock is in tow to help Scorponok just do he can repair his Dinobots. Now, let me just say that this has been done before. Grimlock going rogue to save his Dinobots has been done over and over. Dreamwave did it. He k, even Furman's done it. He did it to restore the Dinobots during his original Marvel run, and during the Maximum Dinobots miniseries. It's something of a trope at this point. Let's do something more original next time, yes?

As it's Autobot versus CNA altered Autobot on the surface of Cybertron, we're treated to a few cameos. Skyhammer! Overdrive and Punch get lines! I will say it's nice to see these cameos as even in the main IDW series, these guys get no love. Not even these cameos help this mess, however. The one neat thing that I'm hoping will be expounded upon is that Punch's CNA cannot be altered. Is this because he's a double agent and this immune? Maybe Furman will explain it, but I'm not holding my breath.

The focus then shifts to Soundwave and Bludgeon on the War World, which, if I remember correctly, wasn't even introduced into G2. And if I'm remembering correctly again, this series wasn't supposed to have any connections to G2. At any rate, Bludgeon has apparently had the War World since the end of the original run and he's been stealing tech from other planets to build drones so he can retake Cybertron. With Thunderwing's remains. Sound familiar?

Just in case anyone forgot, Hot Rod is journeying deep within the recesses of Cybertron to find the Primus chamber again. There, he runs into the ancient life that dwells underground who were last seen attacking Optimus Prime and Scorponok. He runs across some artifacts. I'm pretty sure that Furmam is telegraphing something about the Primus/Hot Rod connection here. I imagine that Primus will possess Hot Rod turning him into Rodimus Prime.  Who knows?  At the slow pace that this thing is crawling at, I'm beginning not to care.

Look, there are some good things about this comic and I didn't do this post just to slag the most prolific Transformers writer of all time.  There are some good ideas so far in this series, really there are.  I'm just frustrated by the pacing of the whole ordeal.  This is a very finite series, and if I remember correctly, it will end at issue 100, so that only leaves 12 issues left to resolve all of this.  Is Scorponok really the big bad?  Is it Bludgeon, or Galvatron?  What about Optimus Prime?  How does he fit into all of this?  Or the underground dwellers?  The effects of Nucleon on the others who were revived?  Did it just affect the Dinobots adversely?  Too many questions, and maybe not enough time.  Wildman's art, as always, is top notch.

I'm really hoping that Simon Furman can pull this off.  This is a series that I was super eager about when it was announced.  Maybe I'm spoiled by the original run, or the -tion series.  Perhaps the decompressed storytelling doesn't mesh well with a continuation of the old Marvel series.  I'm not sure.  I do know that I won't be abandoning this title just yet.

Well, that's it for my first comic review.  It seems as though my most in depth review was for a comic I didn't really care for.  I'll have to work on that.  How did I do?

Monday, February 4, 2013

MP-13 Soundwave

Ah, Mr. Un-charismatic Bore himself, Soundwave. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anticipating this release with baited breath. Soundwave has always been one of my favorite Decepticons; right up there with Shockwave and Thundercracker. His voice is instantly recognizable, his alt-mode ingrained in everyone's mind. Who still doesn't grab a Soundwave and Rumble and say "Rumble: eject. Operation: sabotage." or something similar while imitating that voice?

Soundwave's personality varied a little between the cartoon and the comics. In the cartoon, Soundwave was as loyal to Megatron as the Autobots were to Optimus. Even his cassettes were loyal to Megs. I still remember seeing Rumble carrying Megatron's canon while Soundwave carried a badly damaged Megatron in Transformers: The Movie.  In the Marvel Comics, he was still a loyal right-hand bot, but it didn't matter who was in charge.  Megatron is dead?  Soundwave will serve under Ratbat, no question.  The same went for Scorponok, and later, Bludgeon.  To me, that's a little closer to his profile: ensuring that nothing interrupts the position that he's worked so hard for.  Then we have the IDW comics where Soundwave is back to being a loyal to Megatron, but still a bit of a schemer.  I actually prefer the IDW version the best.

My Masterpiece Soundwave arrived on my doorstep Tuesday and I opened him up immediately.  I've spent the past few days just playing with him.  There is so much that I love about this figure.  The first thing that I noticed about Soundwave right out of the package is that he contains some die-cast metal.  His feet are metal, and there are various small parts that are as well.  This was a pleasant surprise as I expected an all-plastic construction a la Sideswipe/Red Alert.  The die-cast add a nice heft to Soundwave that just adds to his bulk.  He has a big frame, and as such, deserves the heft to match.

Soundwave has a lot of great features.  His shoulder cannon, while permanently attached, swivels.  His concussion blaster has the silver missile built in.  I have trouble getting the silver tip all of the way out.  It looks like it should slide out easily, but I have to use a little force to pull it out.  Hopefully this won't continue to be a problem as it play with the concussion blaster more.  At any rate, there is a great storage space for the concussion blaster when not in use.

Soundwave also comes with pegs on his forearms so his beloved Laserbeak can perch there after returning from a spying mission.

The grooves on Soundwave's shoulders also serve as more than decoration - they're for Laserbeak, and later Buzzsaw, to perch on as well!

Where Sideswipe and Red Alert come with one accessory each, Soundwave comes with four.  The first is the scanner attachment that Soundwave apparently used in the cartoon.  I have no idea when this was ever used, but according to the booklet that came with Soundwave, he did.

When the scanner isn't in use, it also conveniently stores on his back.

The next accessory is a bit of a letdown.  Often, in the G1 episodes, Soundwave would display information on anything from the Ark, to the Pentagon's bathroom schematics on his chest display.  To replicate this, a second tape deck window with grids is provided as are a couple of pictures that you can cut out of the instruction booklet.  I'm not going to damage the instruction booklet for a couple of pictures.

As a result, the effect that I get is just the grids.  It looks rather good, now that I look at it.

The next accessory is the Energon cube.  Soundwave made lots of Energon cubes in the series, so to be able to do that is pretty cool.  The cube is clear, but if you go to the Tomy website, you can download some paper craft to make it pink, which is the color of a filled Energon cube.  I still haven't done that yet.  Too busy playing with Soundwave.

The final accessory is one that should be familiar to everyone: Megatron is gun mode, also known as the Mandatory Masterpiece Optimus Prime Accessory.

Up next is the cassette player mode.  I adore this mode.  The transformation is simple and intuitive.  It's reminiscent of the original's scheme.  There are a few twists to the transformation, but, to me, it's essentially the same. 

You'd think that once you got Soundwave into this mode, that would be the end of the story.  You would be wrong.  There are great little features in this mode that just show the kind of accuracy the designers were striving for.  Soundwave's scanner accessory attaches to the side port.  Just like when he needs to attach to Teletran-1 to steal information.

Just look at the details on the side of the deck.  The knob even works!  Also, there is a jack on the top of the deck that will allow you to plug in your headphones!  It's a nice throwback to the Micro Change version of Soundwave that had the headphones. 

If only there was music.
All in all, I'm very impressed with this figure.  The playability factor combined with the great features and sturdy construction just make Soundwave outstanding.  This is my favorite Masterpiece figure released to date.  I know I haven't actually said anything about Laserbeak, but I'm saving that for another post.  If you don't have this figure, you need to get him.  I know that he's being released as a Toys R Us exclusive in Australia, so there's hope that he shows up stateside.  If that happens, I'm actually curious on what color scheme they'll use, comic colors?  At any rate, enjoy a few final pictures.