Monday, June 29, 2015

Combiner Wars Cyclonus

So the Combiner Wars cavalcade continues.  Up next, we have Cyclonus, a retool of Combiner Wars Silverbolt.  I opted to preorder Cyclonus from BBTS rather than wait and hope that he showed up in a store.  I'm winding down on new figures that I find interesting, and decided it was best to just get what I wanted now.  Besides, Cyclonus is awesome in IDW's Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye and he really deserves a new figure.
There aren't a lot of changes with the Silverbolt mold.  Cyclonus features a new color scheme (duh), new head sculpt (double duh), a remolded chest, and a new canopy.  Oh, and new wings.  And those cool wing things on his forearms, which I have upside down for reasons that I can't explain.  Also, the parts of his legs that form Galvatronus' chest are new.  So maybe this was a bit more extensive a retool than I thought.  Cyclonus still has Silverbolt's gorilla arms, however.  A bit of the transformation scheme has changed as well.  Where Silverbolt's head folded into his chest, Cyclonus' just folds back.  I think that his antennae make Cyclonus' head too big to fit in the chest cavity.
Sadly, Cyclonus still comes with Silverbolt's weapon. Since the wings on his forearms preclude placing the "shield" on them, Cyclonus gets to hold it.  It's an odd look, to say the least.  Still, look at that shade of purple that was used on Cyclonus.  It's gorgeous.
The jet mode suffers from the same rear box-like design necessitated for the legs.  However, the rest of the jet mode is terrific.  Certainly miles ahead of the Universe version.  Can you believe that the Universe version was released seven years ago?  Time flies.  At any rate, the jet mode, for the most part, really looks like the version from season 3 of the show.  It's very impressive.
Since this is Combiner Wars, Cyclonus is now able to merge with other figures to form a super warrior.  In this case, that super warrior is known as Galvatronus, which I guess is an homage to that time Galvatron merged all of the Decepticons together to destroy Cybertron.  Cyclonus doesn't have his own team, apparently.  This is really a bit of a surprise, as I really thought that there would be at least Scourge, if not a Sweep or two, to add to the mix.  Sadly, Cyclonus is forced to add members from other teams against their will.  For this pic, I used Alpha Bravo, Dead End, Fireflight, and Slingshot.  Since I really don't like the look of any of the gestalts, this will be only time I'll ever see Galvatronus in action.

Cyclonus is an improvement over his Universe incarnation, especially in jet mode.  The combination aspect, I think is unnecessary and downright ridiculous.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Well, Hasbro let me down.  Although, Sky Lynx is cool.  I wonder if Takara will do the same?  I find it highly doubtful.  Let's start slow and work our way towards the good stuff.  Again, all pictures are from
I had pretty much decided to pass on Combiner Wars Devastator.  Hasbro's version really didn't so anything for me.  Any excitement I might have felt at the time of the initial announcement had passed rather quickly.  He just looked weird, and the individual bots did nothing for me.  They really looked like upscaled Legends-class figures.  Takara has remedied that by doing some remolding on the elbows of several of the Constructicons so that they actually have elbows!  Such a small touch really does wonders for how the figures look in my mind.  Sure there are G1 accurate weapons and purple fists, but the elbows really have me sold on Devastator.  I'll just have to see how much it's going to cost to import him before I truly make up my mind.
I found the announcement of Optimus Primal from Beast Wars to be an odd, if welcome proposition.  Can it really be that Beast Wars will be 20 years old next year?  That makes me feel so old.  At any rate, while I really like Optimus Primal, and a Masterpiece figure is a welcome addition, I wonder just how many characters from this series will get the Masterpiece treatment.  I can see Megatron, Dinobot, Silverbolt, Black Arachnia, Cheetor, and maybe Tigatron.  I'd really like to see Inferno, just because I always liked him. This is all Takara had to show during their presentation, so any real kind of judgements will have to wait until some pictures of the robot mode are seen.  I'm liking what I see, so far.
The real star of the show?  Masterpiece Ironhide!  A G1 Ironhide with a head!  He looks pretty freaking good.  I've seen some flak about the panels on the sides of his waist, but I could really care less about that.  As a fandom, we're pretty fickle and tend to get ticked off over very minor things.  How can someone really be mad about a couple of panels, when Ironhide has so many accessories!  Just look at that picture!  There are accessories that he used in both the cartoon and original toy!  The freaking battle sled is included!  This, this is a thing of beauty.  I really don't know what else happened or what was shown at the Tokyo Toy Fair, and I really don't care.  Freaking Masterpiece Ironhide is happening!  It's a reality.  Automatic buy.  Just waiting on the preorder.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

BotCon 2015 and Tokyo Toy Show Reactions Part One - The Hasbro Effect

There's been a lot of new reveals popping up on the inter-webs from both Hasbro and TakaraTomy thanks to BotCon and the Tokyo Toy Show.  Sadly, I was unable to attend either one due to prior commitments hanging out with James Hetfield and Jeff Walker and working on forming a metal supergroup of epic proportions.  Hopefully my touring schedule will allow me to attend one or noth next year.  Thankfully, all of the online Transformer sites had news and pictures!  I'll give my thoughts on what I thought were important items from BotCon today and tomorrow I'll go over the Takara stuff.  Maybe a few items that aren't that important.  All of these pics were pulled from
Let's start with a figure that I'm both excited for and really don't care for at the same time - Sky Lynx.  Sky Lynx will be a Voyager-class figure, which is okay, I suppose.  I'd really prefer for this to be a Leader-class figure.  This looks like a really good design.  I just think that if Sky Lynx was made a Leader-class, we'd get the separation into two figures that I feel we need.  Then again, Sky Lynx in media nowadays is depicted in the combined form, so I can kind of understand where Hasbro is coming from.  Know what I really don't like?  The fact that Sky Lynx is not part of a freaking combiner team now.  Ugh.
Again.  Ugh.
Sky Reign, I think is the name that Hasbro is going with.  First off, that's a horrible name.  Second, what?  Is every G1 figure going to combine now?  Sky Reign is made up of Sky Lynx, Wheeljack, Hound,  Smokescreen, and Trailbreaker.  I guess this is good news as this means that Trailbreaker might not be dead in the comic anymore, and Hound is getting a new figure, but it's still a bit odd to have every single Autobot combine. It takes the uniqueness and power away from what gestalts are - rare super warriors.  It's beginning to feel like when everyone was all of a sudden a mutant in the Marvel books.  It's becoming freaking ubiquitous.  Speaking of Sky Reign's limbs, the only one I'm mildly interested in is Hound.
Even then, he doesn't look spectacular.  He is an improvement on the Universe figure, but like every other Combiner Wars limb, he's a retool of one of four base molds.  Ugh.  The rest of the team are just as uninspired.  Here's a look at Wheeljack.
Where's the inspiration?  The innovation?  The Breakdown mold gets used again for Sunstreaker.  Look, I understand that most of the original Scramble City combiner limbs had the exact same transformation scheme regardless of alt mode, but that was during a time of limited engineering.  There just isn't any real excuse for this anymore.  Sure, there are some changes to the figures, but they all look pretty much the same.  It's just laziness.  Swap heads and chest pieces on Breakdown, Sunstreaker, and Wheeljack, and you still have the exact same figure.  And this new iteration of Wheeljack is so much worse than the figure released five years ago.  Just look at the older figure.
Ok, this pic isn't from TFW2005, it's from
Is the original Generations figure, perfect?  No, but it is by and large, to me at least, a much better looking figure than the Combiner Wars figure.  It seems as though we're headed towards a point where figures are losing certain aspects and after awhile, we'll be back to having bricks for figures again.  Just ugh.  Speaking of ugh...
This is one ugly Sunstreaker.  Gah.
Bruticus looks pretty good for a figure made up almost entirely of retooled figures.  Brawl looks like a new mold, so there's that.  Freaking fists and feet still look horrible.  And Blast Off is a straight repaint of Slingshot, from the looks of it.

So Sky Lynx is a definite buy and Hound is a maybe. The rest, maybe if someone gave them to me.  Bruticus would look better with proportioned feet, so he's a possibility, what with the proliferation of third party upgrade parts.  Still, after spending close to $100 on a figure, I can't imagine having to spend about $30 bucks for feet.  Besides, not purchasing these figures gives me more money for vintage figures and what was released from the Tokyo Toy Show.!  We'll go over that on my next post.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Combiner Wars Dead End

I don't know why, but I purchased Combiner Wars Dead End.  The new iteration of the Stunticons aren't exactly thrilling to me, but I was a bit curious about Dead End's transformation scheme since he doesn't seem to have feet, at least what I consider to be feet.  My curiosity had to be sated.
Dead End's alt mode looks like a Ferrari, but not quite there.  It's a decent approximation of his G1 vehicle mode.  I really like the large rear tires.  This guy is sporting some rims that look pretty decent as well.  The color scheme and offset stripe do justice to Dead End's G1 version and so far we're off to a good start.
Here's Dead End with his weapons attached.  The cannon looks cool, mounted on the roof, as it reminds me of the G1 weapon.  The sword can be attached as a muffler on either side of the car.  This, this I'm not too crazy about.  I don't know much about cars, but I believe that those side mufflers should be on both side.  More than likely, I'm wrong, but just seeing it on one side just feels off.
I'm actually extremely impressed with Dead End's robot more.  He's very versatile and poseable.  The sword can double as a gun, I guess, and that's how I'll be using it.  It looks much better than the sword.
At first blush, judging from photos, I was worried that Dead End's lack of actual feet would make the figure look odd or cause some stability issues.  I was incorrect in my assumptions.  Dead End is capable a variety of poses, most of which I'm not skilled enough to do.  Suffice it to say that Dead End is a good figure to play with.  Yeah, I said play.

My main motivation to get Dead End was to answer some questions that I had in my mind.  Dead End is certainly a great looking figure, and I'm intrigued to see if this carries over to Streetwise.  I don't think I'll be picking up any other Stunticons, as I really don't like the way Menasor looks, but I will most likely pick up additional uses of this mold.  It's just an excellent figure.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Combiner Wars Quickslinger

First off, let's just get this out of the way - Quickslinger is a horrible, horrible name.  I know that there were rights issues and all that, but surely someone could've thought of a better name.  Stupid name aside, I managed to snag this guy on before he sold out.  From here on out, he shall be known by his true name.  If you don't know what that name is, you may have stumbled across the wrong blog.
Super Slingshot?
Right out of the box, I had an issue with Slingshot's landing gear.  As evidenced, it will not stay put while in robot mode.  This means that Slingshot is constantly getting hit in the back of head by it.  Being an online exclusive, it's not like I could just return it and get another one.  Everyone was sold out of this guy.  No matter.
Slingshot is a retool of Combiner Wars Firefly, also known as Fireflight.  Chaned from Fireflight, that I can tell are his head, and that's about it.  The new head sculpt closely resembles his animated model.  Everything else about this guy is exactly what you got with Fireflight. 
Here's Slingshot in jet mode.  Other than the color, he's identical to Fireflight.  I think the real reason that everyone snagged Slingshot is so they could have a G1 accurate Superion.  What does that look like?  Glad you asked.
Well, there isn't a helicopter as an arm, but Superion looks pretty much the same.  Still looks pretty rough, however.  I don't care what my kids say.

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Kids Review Combiner Wars Superion

After posting my review of Combiner Wars Superion, I felt a little off.  I condemned the figure, even if the review was short, I think it conveyed just how little I cared for the figure.  Still, I don't want to be one of those guys that just shoot out the negative about figures.  Then again, I'm not a sycophant that immediately loves everything that's released either - I'd like to be fair and balanced.  I also remembered that while adult collectors are kept in mind when new figures are designed and introduced, these are toys meant for kids.  With that in mind, I decided to let me kids have a crack at both playing with and reviewing Superion.  I had each kid spend time with Superion and do whatever they wanted with him.  I didn't try to put any of my ideas about Superion in their  and let them form their own opinions.  Let's see what they have to say.

Aidan - Age 9

Aidan was fairly impressed with Superion.  He spent about 10 minutes playing with him on the coffee table in the living room.  Here's his analysis:
" I like how it's made out of fiver different robots!  When you split his chest open, he looks like a giraffe!"
Giraffe mode
"I like that his ears are made of rubber and that his gun splits apart.  I don't like that his gun won't stay in his hands the right way." 

Olivia - Age 6

Olivia spent about 10 minutes playing with Superion as well.  She ran around the room with him making airplane sounds.  She had a lot to say about Superion, so we'll dive right into that.
Superion's jet mode

"He's so cool!  He can turn into a jet and he can fly so fast!  His gun looks like a rocket!  His antennae let him talk to animals and his colors are so cool!  I don't like how his gun is hard to hold in his hands, and his legs go everywhere.  I also don't like how his arms mess up while I'm flying him."
So far, two kids agree with me on the gun issue.  Wonder if a third kid will agree?

Caroline - Age 3

I had to pry Superion away from Caroline after about 30 minutes because she really enjoyed playing with one of her dad's figures.  She didn't have a lot to say, but what she did blew my mind.

"He turns into a little man, but sometimes he becomes a horse!"  I have no idea how he could turn into a horse, and Caroline couldn't tell me how this happened, either.  Caroline was just adamant that Superion could turn into a horse.  Anyway, Caroline continues: "Your big robot keeps hitting me with his gun and he keeps attacking my favorite toy.  He shoots bad guys in my room, too."
Superion attacking Caroline's favorite toy
Well, that about wraps up my kids reviewing Superion.  I also had the baby play with Superion a bit, but all he did was drool on him, which is what any 8-month-old would do.  It was a blast seeing the kids play with a Transformer without any preconceived notions, just kids playing with a toy.  Seeing all of that actually made me appreciate what Hasbro has done with Superion a little.  I still don't really like the guy, but the kids sure as heck did.

Monday, June 1, 2015


Picture from
This blog is run with a buffer of posts.  I usually like to do about a month or so ahead of time so I can concentrate on real life issues, like the kitchen remodel that I'm working on.  Sometimes I forget just how many posts I have left in the buffer, and that leads to a gap in posts, like last week.  Whoops!  No matter, time to start another run of posts.  What better way to start that with a Pretender!  A Pretender Beast at that!
Chainclaw popped up on eBay not long after my infant son had surgery during my string of cheap finds.  If memory serves, I paid $30 for him shipped, which is a good deal.  I've always wanted Chainclaw since I was a wee 5th grader, but it just never happened for me.  Something about bears just really get me excited.  A robot that transforms into a bear that then hides inside another bear?  Sign me up.
Where the regular Pretender shells have articulation in their arms, the Pretender Beast shells feature no articulation whatsoever.  Chainclaw makes up for the lack of shell articulation with a helmet.  A helmet that makes him look like he belongs in the Masters of The Universe line.  Seriously, it's not hard to imagine He-Man, or Stratos, riding Chainclaw into battle. 
Crack the shell open, and you'll find Chainclaw's inner robot.  He's smaller than the main Pretenders, but he's a good looking bot.  My specimen has stickers that are in great shape, and the dark grey really goes well with the yellow of the main body.  For some reason, Chainclaw's head rotates.  That's something I'd expect from the regular Pretenders, and Carnivac's head did not rotate.  My guess is that the rotating head is to compensate for Chainclaw's tiny, tiny hands.  Figures that can't hold their own weapons in their fists always tend to annoy me.  Certainly there are figures that are the exception - I couldn't imagine a Seeker without the arm cannons, and Bomb-Burst looks magnificent with arm mounted lasers - but when there's only one weapon, it looks funny.
Chainclaw in his "action pose".  This guy is certainly a prototypical G1 brick. 
Fold a couple of pieces, and you have yourself a...bear?  Maybe?  Chainclaw looks more like a dog in this mode. 
Maybe it's a bear.  Whatever.  Here's Chainclaw with his Solid Sonic Energy Blaster attached.  This is one bear-dog that I wouldn't want to cross if I was a Decepticon.  Well, that's two Pretender Beasts down, and two to go.  I wonder if that's what my next vintage post will be about?  Who knows?