Thursday, March 28, 2013


Quick, go back in time and ask 1985 me who my favorite Autobot was. I'll wait. Back? Did I answer with Omega Supreme or Jetfire, or both? More than likely I answered with Skyfire, who is Jetfire. But he totally isn't.

Living in California in 1985 and having a dad who was in the Navy, I was already a little familiar with Macross. My older friends whose day's were also in the Navy introduced me to the concept. As they described it, it was awesome. Awesome and violent. The main draw, of course were the veritech fighters. Who could forget Roy Fokker's skull emblazoned fighter? Magnificent.

Then when I got Inferno and looked at the catalogue, what did I see? A veritech fighter working with the Autobots! Jetfire was his name and he looked beautiful, with the whites and reds. My friend Bobby pointed out to me that Jetfire was in the cartoon as well. Score. I tuned into the cartoon and was met with this:

Picture from TFWiki

What? That's not Jetfire. This was some guy named Skyfire. Who the heck is he? My eight-year old mind didn't understand things like the Jetfire mold belonging to a different company and the whole Takara deal. These things didn't matter to me. To further confuse matters, the Marvel Comic used the animation model for Skyfire.

Delbo goodness from TFWiki

Ugh. I'm not even going to go into the whole Dutch thing.

What?  Again, from TFWiki

Regardless of certain confusing aspects to the Jetfire/Skyfire ordeal, I still wanted Jetfire. I begged and begged, but to no avail. Jetfire would never be in my collection. Four years later, I got one! Minus the armor and gun. For some reason, I painted him blue with some Testors paint. Luckily, I lost him a very long time ago.

I've been on the hunt for a Jetfire for a few years, but have been reluctant to pull the trigger. Being a mainly white figure, it was hard to find one in good shape without spending an arm and a leg. Same goes with the armor and that clip for the gun. Finding a yellowed, dirty Jetfire with missing pieces is pretty easy and cheap. Finding a perfect condition Jetfire is easy too, but expensive. What I wanted was something in the middle. Complete, but maybe a little dirty and yellowed. Thanks to the Internet, I've discovered ways of cleaning and whitening yellowed figures, so I didn't mind taking on a project.

This is what I found:

Not too shabby. He's pretty clean, but there are some yellowed parts, but he was a great deal. His armor is compete as well. My only complaint would be the stress mark on one of the pieces of armor for the arm as it doesn't want to stay on, but I can buy another one fairly cheap.

The first transformation for Jetfire was into the "Gerwalk" mode. That brought back some Robotech memories.

Trying to remember how the armor went on, I looked up Jetfire's instructions on the great Botch's website. I gotta say, I forgot how brief the instructions were back then. The instructions show the "Gerwalk" mode with the title "Alternate Transformation", but there aren't any instructions on how to get to that mode. Funny.

The yellowing really isn't that bad. It's mainly on the left arm, but that isn't a hard fix. Nothing like a quick soak in some peroxide and OxyClean.

That's how you know it's authentic!

My favorite mode, really, is the jet mode. For all of the updates, Hasbro really hasn't captured this look or feel, for obvious reasons. All of the updated versions seem to take their cues from the Skyfire model, which is cool, but it doesn't do this justice:

I'm very glad to finally get a complete version of this figure, even if he needs a little work. That's half the fun, right?

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Back in 1986, fresh off the success of the Jumpstarters, Hasbro released the Decepticon counterparts the Battlechargers.  I got Runabout in 1987, but I never got my hands on Runamuck.  Twenty-six years later, I decided that it was time to add him to my collection.

The Battlecharger's main claim to fame is their appearance in issue #23 of the Marvel Transformers series.  Written by Bob Budiansky, Runamuck and Runabout are essentially Beavis and Butthead about 6 years before Beavis and Butthead existed.  Other than that starring role, the Battlechargers were mainly relegated to the fringes of the fiction whenever they'd surface. Runamuck got a little more exposure during IDW's -ation comics, but was sadly beheaded by the Reapers and hasn't been seen since.

The fiction has never really had any bearing on my want for Runamuck.  Honestly, I've always loved the autotransformation gimmick.  Call me a sucker, but pulling back a motor and watching it go and then transform just makes me giddy.  The problem has always been finding one that in a non-yellowed condition.  Being a white (or off-white) figure, means that finding one that is fairly clean can be rather difficult at a reasonable price.  I think I've managed to find one at a decent price in great condition.  And yes, the first thing I did was pull him back and watch him go.

 I must say that Runamuck's colors go well together.  The cream of the body, the black windows, gold trim with the orange around the head are very complimentary.

 Runamuck transforms into a Pontiac Firebird, a truly '80's car.  Look at how sleek he is.  He just looks like he could go 100 miles per hour.  Again, the gold trim, which goes all the way around, adds definition and really pops.

As a bonus, my Runamuck came with his tech spec and the instructions.

It's nice adding another Decepticon to my ranks and even nicer to complete my Battlecharger collection.  This is just the start, as I have more posts coming, so stay tuned!

Monday, March 11, 2013

G1 Decepticons!

My G1 Decepticon collection is up, check it out!  Let me know what you think!  Also, I'm on Facebook!  Check out Optimal Omega's Transformers Facebook page!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Masterpiece Rumble and Ravage

Ah, TakaraTomy, how you conspire to take my money. I don't mind, of course. That's what disposable income is for, I suppose. Besides, when the figures are as beautiful as these, I'm more than willing to plunk down some cash.

For a few days after these were released, I waited for BigBadToyStore to email me that my Rumble and Ravage were on their way. After a few days of not getting an email, I decided to check my preorders. Whoops! I forgot to preorder these guys! So I ordered them last Thursday and they arrived today. That's pretty fast.

Rumble and Ravage were the first Transformers I had ever seen. When I was 7, my family made the trip from San Francisco, CA to San Diego, CA to visit some of my father's family. While we were there, we went to department store called Mervin's, which I'm not sure exists anymore, but they were like Sears or J.C. Penny. While we were walking to the register, I noticed a sidekick of toys and on that sidekick was the Rumble/Ravage two-pack. What drew me in was the artwork on the package - a robot fighting what I thought was a panther! I begged my mom for it to no avail. Dejected, I left the store without them. I got them a few months later during a trip to Hawaii, but then lost them later that year during the move to Long Beach, CA. I was a bit bummed by that until the Encore reissues put them back in my hands.

Now I get to experience that childhood glee all over with just a touch of adult sensibilities with MP-15. I won't lie, I've been checking the tracking on this thing until it arrived on my doorstep.

Here's the plastic tray insert.  This is how they look once you open the box.  Nice, huh?  I love the translucent pink cassette cases.  The cassette modes are nice.

Rumble's transformation from cassette to robot is very simple, yet ingenious.  It's reminiscent of the G1 version, but with a few twists and turns.  It's amazing how advances in engineering and toy design have allowed TakaraTomy to make the cassette mode the same size as the G1 version and yet add all of this articulation and make him bigger.

The guns are awesome.  They peg into his back and he can hold them in his fists.  Just perfect.

Rumble features great articulation.  He can turn his head, look up, and his arms have a wide range of motion.  Also, he can bend his knees and move his feet.  He doesn't twist at the waist, but I'm not too concerned about that.

Here's MP-15 Rumble with the Encore G1 version.  Just look at the difference! 

Rumble comes with his pile drivers as accessories.  They peg to his back when not in use and you can also store the machine guns in them.  I only have pictures of them in use as pile drivers, however.  They look great on him.

The pile drivers can also be attached to Rumble's boss, Soundwave.

Want Soundwave to connect to a terminal to download info from Teletran?  No problem, as Rumble's pile drivers can attach to Soundwave's cassette deck mode.

When in cassette mode, Rumble's machine guns can store in Soundwave's back.  I'm not too fond of this function as I had difficulty getting it back out.

Sorry, this is as close as I could get for a clear shot.

Ravage is just as awesome as Rumble.  In jaguar mode, he's a little skinnier than I would have thought, but man does he have some great little features!  Not only does Ravage feature neck articulation, but he also has articulation in his midsection!

I love the fact that like Laserbeak, Ravage has his weapons built in.  They're a little smaller than I imagined they would be, but that's keeping with the animated model. 

He's smaller than the G1 version, but with the added articulation, I'm not really going to complain. 

TakaraTomy did a bang up job with this release.  They've taken what were once simplistic figures, kept the size ratio of the original alt-modes and added so much.  The figures are bigger, wider, and have tons more articulation.  If you've been on the fence about these guys, I highly suggest getting off that fence and ordering them now.  You won't regret it.  Now I'm just waiting for Frenzy and Buzzsaw.  And hopefully a Slugfest and Overkill two-pack.  And Ratbat.  And Beastbox and Squawktalk. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

FOC Grimlock

I'm not a fan of the FOC toys so far. The Deluxes have failed to impress me, and the Voyagers thus far released haven't done anything for me. On a whim, I decided to pick up FOC Grimlock to see if this release would be any better. I've read several reviews of this figure already, some good, some bad, so I wanted to see how he really stacks up.

Let's start with his 'bot mode since that's the mode he was packaged in.

This is a medium range shot.  This a good mode to package Grimlock in as he's quite impressive in this mode.   Grimlock is a barrel chested killing machine and pretty imposing.  He features a decent amount of articulation.  His knees bend and twist and his elbows feature the same points of articulation.

Let's get a closer look at ol' Grimmy.  The Autobot insignia on his chest actually lights up when the button on his back is pressed.  It's neat feature, but the cost for this is that he's incredibly hollow on the back.  This makes for a very light figure. I'd venture to say that he weighs as much as a deluxe.

Grimlock comes with two accessories - a shield and the ubiquitous sword. The shield pegs into either of his forearms and looks rather nice. While the sword looks great, I'm kind of over the Dinobot/sword connection. I like the double barrel blaster of the G1/Masterpiece Grimlock and would like to see that in use again.

I haven't played War For Cybertron or it's sequel Fall of Cybertron, so I don't know how accurate the figure is compared to the game, but I'm really impressed so far.

T-Rex mode is where this Grimlock loses points with me.  For some reason, maybe because of the L.E.D. wiring in the head, Grimlock is very hollow, as I mentioned earlier.  This leads to some issues when posing him in T-Rex mode. 

I don't know why I decided to look at the instructions.  When I opened them up, they just said "Do you own a Grimlock?  Any Grimlock in the 29 years that Transformers has been around?  Then you know how to transform this guy."  Yeah, his transformation is pretty much like any other Grimlock ever released.  Which is nice.  Then again, maybe some new innovation in the transformation would be nice.

Size-wise, Grimlock is a good size.  Not as big as the Masterpiece, but bigger than the G1 version and certainly the deluxe FOC figures (obviously).  As far as articulation goes, he has knees that bend, and they rotate left and right.  But due to the hollow underside, I have trouble doing any great poses; his legs keep going underneath his body.  Grimlock's forearms feature one point of articulation at the connection to the body.  Once again, due to the L.E.D., his head does not move, which is unfortunate.  Grimlock's mouth does open, when the lever on his neck is pushed back.  This also activates the L.E.D.

Overall, I think that the designers, either Hasbro or TakaraTomy, made some good decisions on Grimlock's robot mode.  Grimlock towers like he should, and looks bulky.  I feel like maybe a different solution should have been devised so his back/T-Rex underside wasn't hollow.  This would have added some nice heft and eliminated the leg problem when in T-Rex mode.  Because of this, Grimlock will more than likely never leave his 'bot mode.  Unless I wanna just line up a few T-Rex's.  For fun.