Thursday, June 27, 2013

MP-12T: Masterpiece Tigertack!

Several years ago, I saw on BigBadToyStore a preorder for Tigertrack,  I looked right at him and said something along the lines of "Stupid repaints!  Why don't they just reissue more G1 figures?"  I was stupid back then.  I often look back at that time with a sense of wonder over how I could have been so idiotic.  C'est la vie, I suppose.  This is still a figure I haven't gotten, and I do plan on getting him, but at $300, he's going to be down the line.  Thank goodness TakraTomy has decided to sate my Tigertrack hunger with this repaint of the awesome Masterpiece Lambor mold.

There really isn't a lot to say about this mold that hasn't been said about the originals, but I'm going to highlight the differences between Tigertrack, Red Alert and Sideswipe.

The first thing I'd like to talk about is the box.  I've seen online where it's referred to as a black and white box, but it's actually black and silver.  It's been given a nice metallic sheen and of course instead of a shot of the actual figure there's an illustration of Tigertrack.  I'm not sure who did the art, but it's very Dreamwave-like. 

Here's the back of the box.  I love the silhouette.  I couldn't get the lighting right, so this picture is a little uneven.  Enough about the box.  What does the figure look like?


According to TFWiki, this is what Sunstreaker should look like.  Apparently Sunstreaker and Sideswipe got their bios swapped.  This is what Sunstreaker should have looked like.  Whatever the case, Tigertrack looks marvelous.  The yellow, black, red, and white really compliment each other.  Two Autobot insignia decals are included that can be added to the chest.  One is the larger size that Sideswipe came tampographed with, and the other is the normal size that was tampographed on Red Alert.  I've opted to not use either.  I kind of like the plain chest. 

There are a few touches to this release that distinguish him from the previous versions.  First, we have the head:

TakaraTomy did something a little different for Tigertrack's head.  The helmet is obviously Sideswipe's, but his face is Red Alerts!  Here's a closeup of Red Alert's face:

And a closeup of Sideswipe's:

The other detail that's been added to Tigertrack would be a paint application to the feet:

I don't know why, but that little paint application just really made the figure for me.

Here's Tigertrack with his pile drivers.  These are the same pile drivers that the Amazon Japan Sideswipe came with, only these are not chromed.  I actually prefer the smaller pile drivers that the regular version of Sideswipe comes with.

I've never been a fan of yellow cars.  As a matter of fact, I'd go so far as to say I hate yellow cars.  But by Primus does the Lamborghini mold look great in yellow.  It somehow looks sleeker than Sideswipe's red.  Just gorgeous.

The panels don't line up perfectly, but that's been a known issue in every iteration of this mold.  It still doesn't detract from the greatness of this figure.

 Here's all three of the Lamborghini brothers released thus far lined up together.  There's still a Super Tuning Lamborghini missing, but I'm sure he'll turn up eventually.

 Finally, a shot of the three in robot mode.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pretender Octopunch

Box Scan from Botch The Crab

Here's a figure I wasn't expecting to get at this point in time.  Sure, he's a G1 figure, which means that he's due to be added to my collection, but that was going to be later down the line.  Octopunch just wasn't a very high priority for me, but sometimes things just fall into your lap.

In 1989, Hasbro essentially decided to split the line into two gimmicks:  Pretenders and Micromasters.  Gone were regular Transformers, Headmasters, Targetmasters, Powermasters, cassettes and all of that jazz.  In their place were small toys.  Very small toys.  The regular Pretenders were around the size of a standard Transformers, such as Sideswipe.  By the time the so-called "small" Pretenders came out, they were barely the size of a minibot.  Here are some size comparison pictures:

The hunched over posture doesn't help
I think they're the same size in the fiction...

This doesn't bode well...

As you can see, they're small.  The change in size was accompanied with a change in packaging as well.  The smaller Pretenders were packed onto blister cards as opposed to being boxed.

A boxed Bomb-Burst, standard Pretender
Small Pretenders.  Pic from TFW2005

So instead of looking for these guys at Children's Palace, Child's World, Toys R Us, Roses, Hills or Gold Circle on the shelf, I had to find them on a peg.  By this time, I wasn't too keen on the smaller Pretenders, as the only one I ever purchased was Stranglehold.  By the time I decided I wanted them, it was around 2004, and the prices had naturally skyrocketed.  Whereas I as could get a complete Cloudburst for about $40-$50 in very good shape, finding a complete Octopunch will potentially run you in excess of $175 or more.  What?  But the smaller Pretenders are...smaller, so what gives?  There are a few reasons for this.  One has to do with the fact that they were later run figures and just about anything from the later runs seem to cost more.  The second reason is that there are a lot more smaller parts that tend to get lost of over time.

So how did I come into possession of an Octopunch when I wasn't even looking for one at the time?  Simple: someone gave him to me.  As in: "I don't want this, do you want it?" type of give away.  I was floored, to say the least.  Free Transformer?  Yes, please.

So here's Octopunch in his shell:

His head looks downward, making it difficult to get a decent picture with his helmet on.  Let's try for a closeup, shall we?

There we go, that's better.  I'm still not sure what he's supposed to be.  Wonder what happens when I take off the helmet?

Gah!  What is that?  Some sort of Kraken wearing armor?  Is it Cthulhu?   According to TFWiki, he's a bipedal octopus creature in scuba gear.  So, Cthulhu.  Which just works, because of course he'd work with the Decepticons.  

Here's Octopunch's inner robot.  Know how you can tell it's small?  He can't even hold his gun in his hand!  Instead, there are holes on both arms for the gun to attach to.  His arms are also molded in a bent position, which is a surprise to me.  Stranglehold just has stiff arms. 

Why do I want a Krabby Patty now?
Here's Octopunch's alt-mode.  Beast mode?  It's a crab.  The details on it aren't too bad, actually.  The colors aren't too great, as I think it would've been better with some shades of red.  Wondering where the crab legs came from?  Did they fold out of the body?  Are they stored on the back in robot mode?  Nope, they peg onto the back of the Pretender shell.  Take a look:

There you go, this is the Transformer who woke Primus from his eons long slumber.  The vile creature that doomed all of the multiverse to fight Unicron.  Now I'm kind of wishing I had gotten Primus when he was released during Armada.  I'd like to stage a reenactment of that famous scene.  Now, if only someone would just gift me with this:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pretender Submarauder

Apparently, I have Pretender on the brain as this is my third post/purchase of a Pretender.  Don't worry, there are at least two more Pretender posts coming.

After completing Splashdown and Bomb-Burst, I got a "high" from fiddling with the shells and inner robots.  So much so that I decided to go ahead and buy Submauarder.  I don't have any overt attachment to the character, but the price was right.

When I think of Decepticon Pretenders, four names come to mind: Bomb-Burst because he's my first, Skullgrin and Iguanus because of their comic appearances and Thunderwing because he's apparently the baddest mother of them all according to the comics.  Characters like Submauarder are just there.  He's a background character; nothing special. He does play an important part in a personal mythos due to his appearance in the battle scene on the back of every Pretender and Powermaster boxed figure.

That's him in the lower right corner.  He's apparently fighting Skullgrin for some reason.  I have to admit that he looks awesome in this picture.  Everyone does, actually.  I've always wondered who did the box art. Anyone have any idea?  

Submaruader's inner robot is purple.  All over.  

The articulation is standard fare for a Pretender.  He arms are one solid piece and only move up or down at the shoulder.  His arms do fold in, however.  While Bomb-Burst had knees that could bend, Submarauder's knees bend inward due to his transformation scheme.  It's kind of hard to do any kind of decent posing with knees like that.

Submarauder transforms converts into a Cybertronic submarine, just like Waverider.  His torpedo rifle attaches to a hole in the back of his head and acts as something of an underwater propulsion jet. 

His outer shell confuses me.  I'm not sure if he's supposed to be a shark creature or some other aquatic creature.  Either way, he's a bit odd looking.

The shell wields the torpedo rifle, a sword, and a shield that can be mounted on either shoulder.  I'm not too clear on how a shoulder shield would help out in a fight, but it does look pretty cool.  The differing shades of blue contrast well with, and are complimentary to, the pink accessories.

Well, that's it for this installment.  I've done two posts in a row on Pretenders, wonder what I'll post about next?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Generations Springer

It may look like I'm coming late to the party with this entry, but in reality, I bought this on May 10th.  I'm writing everything in advance so I can keep up a once-per-week posting scheduled.  Having said that, let's dive in to the entity that is Generations Springer.

The first thing that stands out about Springer is the packaging.  Seeing the gorgeous Nick Roche art on the front side of the box is a breath of fresh air.  It made me want to check out Fisitron's data tracks. Springer doesn't look as beefy as he does in the comics, but I actually find this to be an improvement.

Since Springer comes packaged in robot mode, we'll look at that first.

Man, that's just impressive.  Springer is big, but not too bulky; he's broad shouldered.  And for a Generations figure, Springer features a lot of articulation.  I'd say that he had as much articulation as a Masterpiece figure.  The articulation is extremely impressive.  This next picture is by far my favorite pose.

Not only is Springer articulated, but he also comes with two weapons - a double barreled blaster and a sword that doesn't look like a helicopter blade!  The sword is by far my favorite weapon.

Nick Roche can design a head.

"Guns for show, knives for a pro."

When not in use, the sword, and gun for that matter, can easily be stored away on Springer's back.  Or the sword and gun can be combined to form a BFG.

Squall from FF VIII wants his gunsword back

Have I mentioned how tall Springer is?  He's taller than most Autobots in the fiction, so it's nice to see the toy represent that.  Here's a few comparison shots for reference.

Springer can't stand his GDO version
Or Masterpiece Red Alert

As you can see, 30th Anniversary Springer towers over his GDO incarnation that was released just last year.  He's even taller than Masterpiece Red Alert and cost a lot less!

The major flaw with every Springer that's been released since the original G1 version has been that they've only had one alt mode.  Springer is supposed to be a triple changer!  How can a triple changer only have one alt mode?  Thanks to this release, Springer is once again a triple changer.  Unlike the G1 version, both alt modes have distinct looks.

The helicopter mode actually looks like a pretty decent helicopter.  The sides of the helicopter don't have that "arms sticking out and folded" look that the precious triple changer version had.  The rotors spin pretty well.

Springer's blaster can attach to the underside of the helicopter to create an attack copter mode.  It's not too easy to do, as it takes me a few tries to get the gun to attach. 

Thanks to some creative folding panels and some shifting, the car mode bulks up and manages to look like and actual car.

Why do I suddenly to play with some TMNT?

Just look at that.  It's wide, has four distinct wheels, and looks like it could go all-terrain.  Again, the blaster can attach to the car to create an attack mode.

I've seen many people declaring that this figure is perfect.  I don't know if I'd disagree with them.  Springer is definitely the best mass market figure that Hasbro has produced in the last decade at the very least.  If you haven't purchased one, do yourself a serious favor and get him.  Now I really can't wait until Sandstorm is released!  Still gotta find Blitzwing.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Box art from Botch the Crab

My parents used to have a habit of shopping for electronics whenever they would get their tax refunds or bonuses.  And I'll tell you something, there is nothing as boring when you're a ten or eleven year old kid like being dragged to an electronics store so your dad can check out car stereos or stereo components for hours at a time.  To combat that innate boredom, my parents would first take us to the toy store to get something to keep us occupied.  In 1988, this is how I fell in love with Pretenders when I got my first Pretender - Bomb-Burst.

Just look at the picture up there.  As an eleven year old kid, I saw that and was hooked!  Two figures for the price of one? Sold!  Bomb-Burst looks extra menacing!  To seal the deal, I turned the box around and saw this:

Box art from Botch the Crab

Will you just look at that?  How could anyone see that and not want to get a Pretender?  They just seem to shoot out of the shell!

This is how I've always pictured him:

I just love Bomb-Burst.  When playing, Bomb-Burst would almost always ambush an Autobot and drain it's energon.  Sadly, one day one of the pegs that holds the lasers onto the inner robot's arms broke, thus altering his look.  I was still able to use him, he just wasn't complete.  The worst part was that his happened in 1990, so I wasn't able to just go to the store to get a new Bomb-Burst.

In 1992, my father retired from the Navy and we moved from Virgina to Alabama and my Transformers were packed up and placed in the attic of the new house.  I had guitar playing and girls to think about, not toys.  Well, comics, too.  I got back into collecting Transformers again around 2000 or 2001, but never dug anything out of my parents' attic.  I'd just get the occasional eBay purchase, reissue or new figure from RiD or the Binaltech/Alternator lines.  I finally got what I could find in the attic out around 2005 and found my Bomb-Burst.  Well, most of him.  I found shell, belt, axe, inner robot and the lasers, including the broken one.  What I was missing were the shoulder pads.  Incomplete figure alert!

For some reason, I waited 8 years to begin a search for a new laser and the shoulder pads.  Maybe I was just taken by adding to the collection, I don't know.  Once I decided to complete Bomb-Burst, the search only took a week.  I found one auction for the set of lasers and a second auction for the shoulder pads.  I was excited to actually find an auction on eBay since it seems most Transformers and their accessories appear as "Buy it Now".

Now that he's complete, let's do a proper review.

We'll take a look at the inner robot first:

It's kind of dynamic

The first thing that stands out about Bomb-Burst is the color. His body and feet are light blue while his limbs are gray. It's a combination that works really well together. Bomb-Burst's dual lasers are also cast in a light blue plastic.  There isn't any articulation in his arms, other than moving up and down at the shoulders, but he does have limited knee articulation and his head turns.  Because of his transformation scheme, you can fold his arms in a little for semi-dynamic posing.

Let us examine his vehicle mode now:

Bomb-Burst transforms into a jet of Cybertronian origin and features Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) engines.  His dual lasers form the wings.  I really love this mode.  I've always been fascinated with VTOL jets and as a kid, I'd just play with him taking off and landing.  Since this is a figure I've owned since childhood, there is a minor flaw with the figure at the fin that folds out of the back of Bomb-Burst's head.

That's how you know he's old!

Now on to the shell:

Placing the inner robot into the Pretender shell is pretty much standard: you fold the arms in and place it in the shell.  Simple, yes?

As far as the aesthetics of the shell go, Bomb-Burst just looks evil.  If I remember correctly, the entire premise of the Pretenders was so they could blend in better.  What better way to blend in than as a giant bat monster?  Plausabilities aside, and really these are giant robots we're talking about anyway, Bomb-Burst oozes 1980's toy engineering perfection.  The shell has the most limited of articulation.  It's arms move up and down, and that's it.  But really, it's the details that bring out the best of this figure.

Just look at that face!  The open mouth, full of fangs, and that sinister smile let you know that Bomb-Burst is up to no good.  I really think that the shell was designed by Takara.  He just looks like he jumped out of some sinister manga.  I wanted his to have a neck as a kid, but I'm quite happy with how he looks.

Look at that claw.  Again, showing what a monster he is.  Should he lose his weapons, Bomb-Burst could still rip any Autobot apart with his bare hands.

Wondering how Bomb-Burst gets around while in his shell?  Well, he has a jet pack built in!  Surely you can't expect a giant robot in a synthetic vampire shell to just walk around?

It's amazing how getting a few accessories to complete Bomb-Burst really reignited my love for him.  I've always loved the Pretenders, and Bomb-Burst just confirms that love.  Now I need to get more, after I score a few other figures, of course.