I'm going to be completely honest and just say that I've never cared for Springer at all. Something about him just put me off when I first saw him in The Transformers: The Movie, he just annoyed me. That annoyance carried over into Season 3 of the show, unfortunately. Thankfully, Springer wasn't featured in the Marvel comic, so I didn't have to deal with him. Maybe that's why I loved the comic so much? Even to this day, I'm not really sure what all the fuss is about with the guy. After Last Stand of The Wreckers, I was worried that we'd be inundated with a metric ton of Springer appearances, but we were thankfully spared. My dislike of Springer is hard to pinpoint, and I've never given it much thought, but I'm sure it has to do with the bravado. I just don't get it; it's not like he's Grimlock or Omega Supreme.
Enough about my distaste for the character. Let's onward to the actual figure. We'll start with the Springer's most famous mode - the helicopter. Out of the three modes, this is by far the superior one. It would seem that most of the design time was used for the chopper. The blades feature some of the best spinning of any helicopter in G1 that I can remember. The arms sticking out of the sides don't really look too much like skids, but they're passable, I suppose. At least he doesn't look like a brick.
Speaking of bricks, have you seen the "armored car" mode? That's...that's a generous term, I think. Actually, looking at him at this angle, Springer looks like he was designed using very early 1980's 3-D computer graphics. I'm not entirely sure, but I believe that Floro Dery just sketched out his designs. The most disappointing aspect of this mode is that Springer's gun won't even mount on the roof. I'd probably be a bit more forgiving if that were an option.
I loved the helicopter mode, and I wasn't too impressed with the car, which now leads us to robot mode. Robot mode, man I forgot how much I never liked that mode. As a kid, I grew up with many a brick of a Transformer, but Springer seems to take the cake. Yes, there's arm articulation, but it is horrendous. Any kind of side-to-side movement makes the chest pop up. If Springer is holding the sword, attempts to move that arm makes the sword fall over. This could be the result of the helicopter blades being a bit loose, but I seem to remember this happening to me as a kid as well. Yes, this is my second Springer. I was so disappointed as a kid with my first one that I traded him for other Transformers.
Maybe my childhood recollections of this figure have colored my perceptions. Perhaps Springer is just an awful figure that should be best forgotten. I know I'm in the minority, but I just don't like the guy.
Last year, without realizing it, pretty much became the "Year of The Pretender" for me. I bought more Pretenders than any other sub-line in 2015, with plenty left to get. I've decided to spread out my coverage of Pretenders, even though I love them, just to give some variety. In this installment, we'll look at Groundbreaker, a character I kept calling Groundshaker. Because I get names mixed up.
Groundbreaker was released as part of the second wave of Large Pretenders in 1988, but I had never heard of the guy. The only second wave Autobot Pretender I was aware of was Splashdown, and that was because I owned him. Groundbreaker and Skyhigh might as well have been Thundercats for all I cared or knew. Still, since he is a Pretender, and he's a G1 guy, I have to have him. Being a second wave figure meant that he was going to command a pretty penny, which I didn't feel like paying. Much like Action Masters, I think that Pretenders should be bought as cheaply as possible. I lucked out on the price, but I was in such a hurry that I didn't look at the shell closely enough - I just pounced once I saw that he was available and he was cheap. Lesson learned, I suppose. The only real issues with my figure are with the shell. The grey of the tiger nose and on the shell's feet are pretty scratched up.
This is something that I really should have paid attention to, but I can easily buy another shell and still come out ahead on this one.
There are a few scratches on the face, but that's what the helmet is for. By the way, I love the haircut. Groundbreaker's shell looks like it came straight out of a 70's cop show.
The real star of the show for this guy is the inner robot. I really love the inner 'bots. Sure, they all have the exact same transformation scheme, and they are the very definition of a brick, but they're just so darned cool looking to me. Groundshaker Groundbreaker transforms into a racing car, but it really doesn't matter. He could be Cloudburst, just in different colors. Where Cloudburst has wings, Groundbreaker has a spoiler.
The one thing I'm not fond of with Groundbreaker is the color scheme. The grey's and black just really wash each other out. Sure, there's more color here than on say Cloudburst (what's up with me and Cloudburst today?), but they all just blend together and nothing really stands out. At least with Cloudburst (again?!) the red was really bright and just jumped out at you.
Did you know that Groundbreaker was in the IDW comics? He's there next to Cloudburst (!!). I never realized it; Landmine, Waverider, and Cloudburst (!!!) were always the focal point of Pretenders in the IDW universe. Speaking of, they really need to show back up.
Sometime last year, Takara started showing off pictures of their Masterpiece Ironhide. The fandom seemed split on the figure, with most of the negative comments directed towards the flaps on Ironhide's waist. Flaps. On. His. Waist. I could've cared less about the flaps and was happy when he was released. Now that he's in my possession, does he live up to the hype, or is he really the disgusting figure the naysayers thought he was?
The first thing that I noticed when I opened Ironhide's box was just how heavy he was in his van mode. He felt as heavy as Masterpiece Prime! I checked him out thoroughly to make sure that there weren't any diecast parts. Amazingly, he's just plastic, I think. I thought that his feet might have been metal, but I think that it's just really strong plastic. Still, the van is amazing and a very faithful reproduction of both the original Nissan Vannette and his animated appearance.
Here's a shot of what I wanted my collection to look like in 1984, but I only owned Bluestreak at the time. It's nice to have more the other Autobots now. I could have dragged out the rest of the Masterpiece figures for a gorgeous shot, but everyone seems to do that nowadays. Besides, it's nice to just focus on the Season One figures from time to time. Without them, we wouldn't even be here, so to speak.
During transformation, the top of the van comes off to form a battle sled! It's 1984 all over again! Seriously, the battle sled is included as an accessory, and it is fabulous. All of Ironhide's accessories can be stored on this thing, and the extra included face can be stored on the bottom. In keeping with the 1984 figure's look, I'm only keeping the two weapons pictured above on the sled. The rest can stay in the tackle boxes that I use for parts storage.
Regrettably, Ironhide cannot stand on the battle sled. If he could, man - that would be the greatest thing ever.
As I mentioned earlier, Ironhide comes with an extra face. Here's the stern face.
And here's the "screaming" face. I personally can't think of a reason for using this face, so I doubt I'll ever use it after this.
Once in robot mode, Ironhide is impressive. He's shorter than Optimus Prime, but taller than Bluestreak, so he's sitting in a nice place, scale-wise. Takara really knocked this mode out of the park. Ironhide has long legs! Feet! Elbows! A head! I can't help but stare in awe at even pictures of Ironhide because he looks like he jumped off the television screen and into my damn hands. Gorgeous.
My favorite accessories are the two pistols that Ironhide comes with.
You know, so he can shoot at Megatron before being shot repeatedly in
the chest by a barrage of Decepticon fire. Those pistols are just the
bee's knees to me. With his photo, you can see the waist flaps a little better. I don't think that they're so bad, really. Nor am I upset about the wheels on the back. Ironhide is just spectacular.
I think that Ironhide set a record for the amount of included accessories. I don't think the G1 Piranacon gift set had as many accessories as Masterpiece Ironhide. There are so many things included that were given brief screen time on the show and I'm not even sure if I took pictures of them all. Certainly, I didn't include the chest picture that goes with the radar dish. I'm going to go with some quick bullet points on the rest of the accessories.
You know, a lot was made during the "More Than Meets the Eye" 5-part mini that introduced us the the Transformers about how the Autobots couldn't fly. And yet, here's the second Masterpiece Autobot to come with a jet-pack.
I forgot that Ironhide could shoot things out of his fingers.
I had no what these were referencing until I read the TFWiki and discovered that these are based on the connector peg from the 1984 release. That's...that's obscure.
For when you need to shoot out even more liquid...
The Static Laser Gun can be wielded by Ironhide in robot mode, but I think I'll leave it on the battle sled.
Finally, there's this back mounted missile launcher, which will also stay on the battle sled. It does look cool.
I think that with the next Masterpiece release, I may have to switch to a white background. I tried to fit all of my Masterpiece Autobots in one picture, but I couldn't frame it without showing the sides of the light box I use. And that thing it four feet tall. There's a lot of Masterpiece figures now, is what I'm getting at.
Hey! It's Orion Pax and Dion!
You know what I have found the greatest joy in since I received Ironhide? Seeing how all of the people decrying this figure have bought him and now love him. That just goes to show that assumptions can't be made based off of a few pictures. Everything changes with 3-D. Man, now I can't wait for Ratchet...
After I got Highbrow, I realized that I was still a few Headmasters short of a complete set. Missing from my Autobot Headmaster collection were the that I wanted the least, and frankly, enjoy the least - Chromedome and Nightbeat. What's that, you say? It's sacrilege to not like Chromedome? Especially after what James Roberts has done with him in More Than Meets the Eye? Look, I really appreciate what Mr. Roberts has done with the ol' domed one, but that still doesn't mean that his toy is awesome. Gah, this guy. Anyway, let's get on with it.
I never had the misfortune of owning Chromedome as a kid, or of even seeing him in person. As a matter of fact, I only ever laid optics on this guy two years ago at my local flea market and the seller only had the body and a gun. Chromedome was in car mode, and the one gun was mostly silver. The guy wouldn't even let me transform him. Needless to say, I passed. At any rate, the car mode is perhaps the best thing about Chromedome. It certainly belies the horrid thing is coming up once you move some parts around.
Chromedome's car mode is just so appealing to me, that it's a shame he has to transform. I'm not a huge fan of the guns on the car, but I understand that this is a thing and so I really won't harp too much on it.
Here's an obligatory shot of a Nebulon sitting in a cockpit. In this case, it's Stylor. For those of you only familiar with the comics, this is not an alternate version of Rewind. Speaking of Stylor...
I really like the little guy. He has an interesting head sculpt, and the reds really work well with the grey body. It's a shame that he's binary bonded to such an ugly thing.
Gah. When I first transformed Chromedome, I really thought that I did something wrong. I actually thought that I did something wrong with his feet and that he was standing on his tips of his toes. He just looks so odd in robot mode. And he really looks like a brick.
His feet aren't even in any kind of real proportion to the rest of his body. Looking at Chromedome in robot mode just makes me angry; it's irrational. Perhaps I've been tainted by his robust form in the IDW books? Whatever the reason, Chromedome stays in alt-mode in my display. Ugh.
Whelp, next time I'll be in a better mood when reviewing. Of course, that shouldn't be too hard since the next figure should be Masterpiece Ironhide, depending on my package delivery service.
Highbrow is a figure that I've been wanting to own since I was in the 5th grade. The closest I came as a kid was getting Gort from the drunken 14 year old that lived near me when I was 11. Of course, Gort was missing his arms, which I always found odd because this was 1988, and he shouldn't have aged that badly. At any rate, I finally have a complete Highbrow.
The above scene is pretty much the only impression that I have of Highbrow, well, that and getting crushed by Unicron in issue #75. Sure, there is The Rebirth, and Headmasters, but the less said about Rebirth, the better. Also, I still haven't been able to sit through an entire episode of Headmasters.
I've always loved Highbrow's chopper mode. The twin rotor copter just looks great. I was actually surprised by the fact that there are only three blades per rotor. For some reason, I had it in my head that there would be four blades. The red cockpit looks like it could double as a tech spec decoder.
Look! It's Gort! And he has both of his arms! It's amazing!
Highbrow comes with two rifles that apparently make acid rain. They can attach to either the wings or one can attach under the cockpit.
I don't like that look. It isn't symmetrical. Perhaps if there were three guns, it would look better, but the one looks funny.
I just really love Highbrow's robot more. Highbrow owns perhaps the
best head sculpt of all the Headmasters. Don't agree with me? Then you
must not own Highbrow. When I received my Highbrow, his stickers were
in really good shape, but then I used a Magic Sponge to clean the
figure, and the decals got smudged, as you can see on his legs. I may
have to replace the original decals with ones from ToyHax. Maybe.
Probably. Most likely. Definitely.
Now that I have Highbrow, that leaves just Chromedome and Nightbeat missing from my Autobot Headmaster collection. Decepticons? Man, I'm missing so many.