Monday, September 30, 2013

Thrilling 30 Megatron

That's a horrible title, but it can't be helped.  There have been so many different versions of Megatron released just in the Generations line that merely titling this Generations Megatron would have been woefully insufficient.  Really, I had no idea how many iterations of G1 Megatron there have been since his debut in 1984.  Seriously, there have been a ton.  While I thought that the Thrilling 30 version of was unique, I was proved wrong.

If there's one thing that can reliably be counted upon in the world of Transformers, it's that Megatron is always a gun.  Unless he's a tank.  Maybe a T-Rex.  One thing Megatron has never been?  A plane.  Well, at least that's what I thought until I looked at TFWiki.  Well, there goes my entry into the discussion of the newest release.  I'm still going to try.

Fine, Megatron has been a jet before.  It was only once, as far as officially released toys go.  Here is Megatron's first release as a jet.

Picture from
That is from the Machine Wars line.  As everyone knows, Machine Wars was a line introduced in 1997 and carried exclusively by Kay-Bee Toys.  It was such a huge success that one wave of figures was ever produced.  Can we say success?

Regardless of this minor setback, I'm still determined to discuss Megatron as a jet.  Besides, have you seen the Thrilling 30 Megatron?  He's sweet.

He's a stealth bomber.  In a way, I guess that this is a callback to an unreleased Generation 2 version of Megatron that was itself a redeco of Generation 2 Dreadwing.
Picture from
 The new version of Megatron was designed by artist extraordinaire Don Figueroa, who is the second greatest artist to ever draw a Transformer.  The greatest is, of course, Andrew Wildman.  Back on track, I originally thought that this figure was designed by Nick Roche, perhaps the third greatest artist.  It isn't hard to come to that conclusion since this Megatron first appeared in Transformers Spotlight: Megatron which was written and drawn by Mr. Roche.  Roche also designed Sandstorm/Springer, so I had just assumed that he had designed Megs as well.  All of that was put to rest when I read this article on Bleeding Cool.  I should have known that Figueroa had a hand in the design based on just the fusion cannon.  It's pure Don.

Here's a closeup of the front of the bomber mode.  The canopy is very reminiscent of a classic 1940's style design.  That could be just me.  This is a very compact toy, as it isn't immediately visible that the bomber will unfold into Megatron, mightiest of the Decepticons.

After removing the wingtips and doing a little unfolding, the bomber is in robot mode.  Megatron, being a Deluxe, isn't that tall, but he's still a nice looking figure.
Even at the Deluxe size, Megatron is pretty imposing.  I think it's the broad shoulders.   The black and purple look sharp.  I'm not a big fan of purple, but it looks pretty good here.  Megatron's head is a little small for my tastes, but it's still a good sculpt.  There is a 5mm hole on either arm that you can attach the fusion cannon to.  I opt for the normal right hand placement.

I really like the look of the new cannon.  In the comic, it's referred to as a rail gun, but for the figure, Hasbro has decided to stick with tradition, I suppose.
Due to the nature of his size and transformation scheme, Megatron is kind of hollow.  This leads to some difficulty with posing.  The shoulders on mine don't really want to stay at the most upright position.
I love the look of that fusion cannon.  It looks like it could double as a melee weapon as well.
When I first heard about this newest iteration of Megatron, I was unsure.  Megatron as a plane?  That's not something that I'm used to.  However, Don Figueroa just knocked this out of the park.  Add in the bonus trivia surrounding the concept, and I think it's a great design.  The hollowness of the actual figure coupled with the small head leave a little something to be desired, but overall I think that this is a great figure.  Still, I think I'd to see this as a voyager.

Monday, September 23, 2013

100th Post Spectacular! Introducing Adakar!

 It's my 100th post!  Something like that means I need to bring something special to the table.  What's more special than a figure that no one else owns?  I'm not Heroic Decepticon awesome with the rarities that makes others drool, or have ginormous all-encompassing collections like flywheels or Arkvander, or have the ability to influence others through the power of the written word like Maz, so don't think that I have some ultra rare figure that no one else has even heard of.  Nope, this is just a simple custom that I created to indulge my love of Seekers.  Hopefully, this goes well.

Adakar has been a long time coming.  I'm actually embarrassed that I posted a pic of him so long ago before he was completed.  I really didn't factor on how long it would take for the custom missiles to arrive.  Seriously.  Most of this post was originally written in November of 2012.  Thinking that I was being smart and thrifty at the same time, I opted to go for reproduction missiles.  That proved to be a mistake.  I ordered them in October and here it is nearly a year later, I have yet to receive them.  According to the guy I ordered them from, they're still processing which makes me wonder if he's whittling them from a large block of plastic.  Getting frustrated, I finally caved in and ordered real missiles.  Lesson learned, I suppose.

At any rate, here's his bio:

Name: Adakar
Function: Assault

Adakar's lust for destruction and chaos knows no bounds. At the start of the war he was heavily recruited by both sides but chose the Deceptions after Optimus Prime realized that Adakar wanted nothing more than wanton destruction.

Adakar's loyalty to Megatron is absolute as long as Megatron allows him free reign to destroy. He has no ambition of power. While Megatron has made Adakar a Seeker, he does not affiliate with them unless commanded by Megatron, which is rare.

Adakar is normally sent to outlying planets or outposts to prepare them for siege by the Decepticons. He will arrive and destroy military installations and bodies of government. Once a planet's defenses have been weakened, the main force will arrive to finish the job while Adakar journeys to his next target. This is a job Adakar has expressed to Megatron that he would continue even after the war is over no matter which side wins.

Despite the efficiency and prowess Adakar displays at his job, he is not popular with other Decepticons. Adakar's penchant for wanton destruction carries over to his fellow Decepticons - he will destroy anything in his path be it friend or foe. It is this reason why Megatron gave him his current assignment. The other reason for Decepticon distaste for Adakar is his habit of decorating his quarters with parts of those he has felled in combat. Many find this disconcerting. The only Decepticon to actually communicate with Adakar on a regular basis is Starscream, who wants Adakar to side with him in his quest to overthrow Megatron. A quest that Adakar has rebuffed knowing that Starscream would never be able to pull it off.

So that's his bio. It's a work in progress as I'm not so great at coming up with backstories. I didn't even come up with his name. When I was part of a Transformer Roleplay group, we did a roleplay without any "real" TFs and Adakar was the main villain. Unfortunately the person playing as Adakar got bogged down with work and school, so we never finished. I always liked the name, so I decided to use it. His backstory and alt-mode have been completely changed.

Creating Adakar was relatively simple.  I had tons of Seeker parts literally just lying around.  I had accumulated several bodies in various stages of decay and disrepair so I was able to just cobble together pieces to make the body.  As you can see, not all of the parts are in the nest of shape.  One wing is kind of chewed with the post for the launcher on the one wing is broken, and the nosecone isn't exactly pointy, but I'm fairly pleased with how the pieces fit together once painted.
The hardest part was picking the color.  I went with gunmetal gray as the primary color with a red chest and blue accents for the launcher and fists.  Painting was a breeze.  I gave my wife the parts and the paint and she did it all for me.  See?  Simple.  She's much better at painting things than I am, so I was fine with letting her have all of the fun.

In case you're wondering why Adakar is only equipped with the so-called long missiles, I'll let you in on a little secret: I don't like the short missiles.  The cluster bombs just don't do anything for me.  The longer missiles just look awesome.  Well, there's also the fact that I had to cram the missiles into the launchers.  The paint made them kind of thick, so they won't be coming out without any kind of breakage.  It's the classic look from the cartoon, and I just love it.
For decals, I involved my wife yet again.  I showed her the three original Seekers - Skywarp, Starscream and Thundercracker and let her decide on which decals worked best.  She chose Thundercracker, and I agreed.  Gotta say, I really like the way they look on him.
Well, that's it for Adakar.  I hope that everyone likes him as much as I do.  I had a blast making him, but I wish it hadn't taken close to a year to complete.  Ordering reproduction parts will not be an option again after this.  If, for some reason, I actually do get these parts in the mail one day, I'll use them for something.
Seekers Unite!

Missile launcher Seekers
 Thanks for taking the time to stop by and check out my little corner of the Internet.  I know that I'm not the biggest blog out there, so I'm very appreciative to all of you who do stop by.  After this first hundred posts, I'm hoping do a million more.  Here's to the whatever the future may bring and to whatever Transformers I happen to get along the way.  I'll see everyone back next week for my next post!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

30th Anniversary Trailcutter

I've seen a lot of people posting pictures and talking about the new wave of Deluxe figures from the Generations line.  For the one guy who hasn't heard about it, the new Deluxe figures come packaged with a Spotlight comic from IDW.  These Spotlight issues were released last year and early this year.  Not everyone got these issues as they were released, so getting them with a figure is a nice treat.  Still, seeing everyone gloat over how they found the figures at retail just got my goat since every retailer around me is still clogged with Fall of Cybertron figures.  Against my better judgement, I ordered the entire wave online.  They're here, and I'm going to cover Trailcutter first.  I bet you thought his name was Trailbreaker, didn't you?  Well, you're not a copyright lawyer, are you?

Trailcutter is packaged in robot mode, and it is great looking.  He's very inspired by Alex Milne's designs for the character in Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye.  Minus the guns that he had Brainstorm to install in his legs.  He's pretty bulky for a Deluxe figure.  He's not beefy, as there really isn't any heft there, but he does look like a hulking and slow 'bot. 

Trailcutter is an update of the G1 Trailbreaker figure.  Something that seems to bother some fans is that Trailcutter's visor is blue instead of the original red that the G1 figure had.  I only own the Encore Trailbreaker and it has a blue visor, so I'm not too concerned about it.  Besides, I'm sure that the Takara version will have a red visor.  The lack of head movement leaves something to be desired as Trailcutter's head only moves side-to-side and lacks vertical movement.  This means that I can't do any of my "look up at the attacker from the sky" poses that I'm fond of. 

Perhaps my favorite thing about Trailcutter is how it re-creates the antennae (Missiles?  I've never been quite sure what they were) on his back.  It's little touches like this that make me love the Generations line.  In order to achieve this look, a sacrifice must be made - the force field projector has to be flipped up so the antennae can attach.  The antennae are actually attached to the truck's rear canopy and are supposed to be part of the battle shield.  Here's a look at the battle shield in action.

I work for OCP on the weekends
Once you attach the battle shield to a forearm, the force field projector can be flipped up.  I'm not very fond of the shield aspect, but I do like the projector.  What a quandary.  I guess I'll just have to make due with the shield on his back.  I suppose I could attach the shield to one of the holes on his legs, but that would look ridiculous.  Who am, Larry Appleton?

Trailcutter transforms into a truck/SUV.  It's actually pretty sleek.  The force field projector becomes a top mounted light system for off-roading at night.  The roof mounted lasers are for poor, unsuspecting deer attracted to the bright lights on the roof.  I bet you didn't know that Trailcutter was a poacher, did you?

It's compact, but I think that the truck mode is gnarly anyway.  He looks like someone that any Decepticon would think twice about messing with.  Trailcutter also looks like a vehicle that would guzzle a lot of fuel, regardless of his force field powers. 

One thing that's been bugging me since the release of the Fall of Cybertron figures is how small the Deluxe figures had become.  They appeared to be shrinking, as though they were well on their way to becoming Micromasters.  I decided to do a little comparison with figures from the Classics, Universe, and earlier Generations lines.  The figures that I used were: Classics Hot Rod, Universe Hound and Generations Warpath.  Frankly, the results surprised me a bit.
Surprisingly, they're all the same height.  Roughly.  I was expecting Trailcutter to be at least a head shorter than these guys.  However, a case could be made for Trailcutter needing to be larger than Hot Rod and Hound, due to the nature of his alt-mode.  Then again, Warpath should probably tower over all of them.  I must say that I'm still fighting to urge to complain about the height, even though he's in-line with everyone else.  Apparently I'm a complainer.

Trailcutter may be a new name, but the character is as old as the franchise.  I'm very excited that he's received an update after 30 years as it's been a long time coming.  If you haven't gotten him yet, I highly recommend that you do so.  His retool - Hoist - is scheduled to be out any day now, so I'm eagerly looking forward to him.  This is a great mold, and I know that Hoist will be just as magnificent.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Masterpiece Acid Storm

As is customary at BotCon, tons of Transformer exclusives were announced.  One of the announcements that piqued my interest was that Toys R' Us, the fine retailers that they are, would be carrying two Masterpiece figures.  The first would be Soundwave with all of the cassettes which, while nice, I already owned.  His yellow eyes may be toy accurate, but I prefer the red eyes.  The second Masterpiece figure that Toys R' Us announced was out of left field - Acid Storm.  That one, I had to have.  Here's the thing with Acid Storm:  he's relatively new, yet old at the same time. 

Acid Storm first showed up in the world of the Transformers in the G1 episode "Divide and Conquer".  Well, a green Seeker was in the episode.  An extremely green seeker.

He may have had rickets.
He didn't have any lines and was never referred to by name.  He just rained acid down on some Autobots.  He would be forgotten about over the next two decades.

Fast forward to the early 2000's and Takara would release Sunstorm, a Seeker based off of another character who had two seconds of screen time in the original series.  Sunstorm took off and became pretty popular, having been featured prominently in the Dreamewave comic series.  There were even several redecos of other jets from other lines released by Hasbro as Sunstorm.  Looking to add to the illustrious Seeker pantheon, Acid Storm was released in 2008 in the Universe line.  Instead of looking like a walking Skittle, Acid Storm was given a lighter green and camo deco.  He was not met with the same level of fan appreciation as Sunstorm.  Here is Acid Storm's one appearance in mainline fiction:

I'd be mopey too if no one loved me
The funny thing about this appearance is that both Acid Storm and Sunstorm are both depicted in Masterpiece bodies.  Is this someone at IDW giving us a hint at what was to come five years down the line?  Doubtful.  It was/is popular to use the current release model for the comics and Masterpiece Starscream was pretty popular then.  Still, one toy release and what amounts to a cameo/Easter egg is a sorry way to exist.  Imagine my surprise that Hasbro announced that Toys R' Us would be carrying Acid Storm as a Masterpiece.  I figured it would have been an import of Sunstorm.

Toys R' Us, for reasons I'll never fathom, decided to release Acid Storm and Soundwave simultaneously  at San Diego Comic-Con and on their website.  Supposedly, they were also available in-store, but most stores reported that they wouldn't have any available for three weeks after the initial release.  This, naturally, led to a lot of panic and a clogged website.  The sale started at midnight, but as I had to work that morning, I missed it.  When I awoke at 5:30 in the morning, the website was sold out.  Try as I might, I could never get in on time to get one, and the store by my house never received him.  They got Soundwave in, but not Acid Storm.  There were near misses, such as when I tried to order him on a quick break at work, only to be interrupted while inputting my credit card information into my phone.  By the time I had dealt with the interloper on my time, he had sold out again.  About a week after that, I finally lucked out and got an order placed on the website.  The next day, he was available at my local TRU.  Figures.

"If I liked speaking, I'd be laughing maniacally right now."
If you own any Masterpiece Seeker, then you pretty much know what the deal is here.  I'm going to give a few thoughts and then let the pictures do the talking.

Like the previous Toys R' Us Seeker release, Thundercracker, Acid Storm is based off of the newer MP-11 Starscream mold.  The green used for this is much more neon than the Universe mold.  I'm not using the word "neon" in a derogatory way, it's just the green is a little more accurate to the cartoon's green.  Which isn't a bad thing, not by a long shot. I'm really fond of the digital camouflage, it's a lot better than the Universe version. 

Here's jet mode.

I am glad that the tail fins are tampograph free.  They were distracting on Thundercracker.  But there are tampos on the front of the jet.  I have no idea what they mean, but I'm sure they're some sort of call-out to the fandom.  If anyone knows, please share.

Now let's take a look at all of my Masterpiece Seekers together.  I still need to get Sunstorm, which for some reason I keep putting off even with my love of Seekers.

Starscream and his Seekers...
All of the Seeker molds that I own
And finally some comparison shots of Masterpiece and Universe Acid Storm.

Acid Storm is a character that no one was expecting.  His addition to the Transformers universe hasn't had the impact that I think Hasbro thought it would, but for a tertiary character this release is great.  Still, I'd like to see him brought a little more into focus in the fiction.  Hopefully others agree.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Generations Sandstorm

Now that Abominable August is over, it's time to catch up on everything that piled up over the month.  Not that there was much, but I did accumulate a few things.  The first item on the pile?  Generations Sandstorm!  The retool of Generations Springer!  Wait, what's that Nick Roche?  Springer is actually a retool of Sandstorm?  Get out!

According to Roche, he originally did the Sandstorm design for Hasbro.  They fell in love with it so much that they decided to reverse-engineer Springer out of the design.  Yet Springer was released first.  Huh.

Sandstorm was always my favorite triple changer as a kid.  The black and orange color scheme, the fact that he was an actual helicopter as opposed to whatever Springer is supposed to be, the faceplate, it all just added up to a great character.  He was portrayed as a bit of a pacifist in the cartoon, but his tech spec mentioned his tendency to do dangerous things, especially in battle.  This discrepancy never tainted my love of the character.  And now he's based on a Nick Roche design?  Yes, this had to happen, I had to have him.  After some searching, I found him!

I got home and opened him up, ready to take in his glory.  Then I put him back in the box and took him back to the store.  Why?  This particular Sandstorm had two left arms.  Which meant that transforming him would be next to impossible.  Luckily, the store I got him at had two on the shelf at the time, so I was able to swap him out.

Here's a funny story about my experience swapping out Sandstorm.  I waited in line at the return desk and when it was finally my turn, I handed the lady my receipt and Sandstorm.  She looked me dead in the eye and asked "Did you break it?"  I then had to explain about the two left arms.  She smiled and gave me a refund.  The entire time, there was a lady behind me kind of snickering.  Ah, the joys of being a toy collector in your thirties.  Why I didn't simply say that my son didn't like it, I'll never understand.

So I got my new Sandstorm, and he had one right and one left arm!  Nice!  I went to transform him, and I discovered that the little clip on his landing gear was broken.  Great.

Using a screwdriver, I disassembled the chest and pulled the landing gear out.  I could have taken him back for yet another, but at the time, I wasn't sure if I could find another Sandstorm, so I decided to just take one on the chin.

Who needs a faceplate?  My face is cartoon accurate!
Landing gear issues aside, Sandstorm is a great figure.  Looking at him, there is virtually no signs of Springer on this guy.  Well, maybe the fins on the forearms.

It's difficult to get a good closeup shot of Sandstorm thanks to those huge VTOL wings on either side of his body.  I was a little concerned about Sandstorm's color scheme not strictly adhering to the G1 palette, but those concerns proved to be unfounded.  Just look at those colors.  The black, orange and creamy yellow look gorgeous together.  Hasbro has outdone themselves with this deco.

I've seen several other pictures on the Internet where Sandstorm's helicopter tail is flipped down in robot mode.  I'm guessing people are doing this to increase stability since Sandstorm is a bit top heavy.  I prefer this look as it adheres to the G1 look.  Still, this does lead to some problems when trying to get a great dynamic pose.  I don't know, maybe if I spend more time working on it, I could come up with a system to do it, but when I took these pictures at 1:00 in the morning, I was too tired to really try.  Here's what I managed to come up with.

As you can see, it's a tad awkward.  It doesn't matter as I love this figure.  His robot is great, but what about the rest of the his modes?

Pay no attention to the window guards that aren't down all of the way.
Man, just look at those rear tires!  That's a dune buggy!  Actually, with this update, Sandstorm transforms into an armored off road vehicle, but it's still impressive.  Add Sandstorm's gun to the roof, and he can blast away 'Cons while he's tearing up the terrain.

Those rear wheels just stand out.  They're my favorite thing about this mode.  I can just imagine him barreling through the desert or jungle chasing down Decepticons.  The armor plating on the side windows is a great little addition.  I'm not sure what vehicle this is based on, but I'd love to see one of these vehicles in real life.

Here's the helicopter mode.  I love the VTOL wings as I'm a big fan of VTOL aircraft.  This mode is so fantastic that I don't even care if Sandstorm is missing the helicopter blades.  The Springer elements are most pronounced here.  They both share the same canopy and the sides of the chopper are definitely the same.  Other than that, there really isn't anything here that reminds me of Springer.  Except that they're both awesome.
Here are some comparison shots between Generations Sandstorm and his G1 counterpart.

So tall
Here are some more pictures, but with Generations Springer.
When Generations Springer was announced, I thought that it was the best figure that Hasbro had ever done.  Now that Generations Sandstorm is here, I've begun to rethink that.  The colors, the size, and the VTOL wings have all combined to create a great figure for a great character that sorely needed an update.