Friday, 20 October 2017

TransFormers Adventure/Prime of Micron TAV52 Strongarm & Sawtooth 'Torrent Armour'

(Femme-Bot Friday #44)
While I still haven't watched a great deal of the new Robots in Disguise series, there was one character who immediately stood out as something new and unusual. Strongarm was a Femme-Bot, but not of the typical slender, curvy variety. Nor was she an emotionally-scarred, battle-hardened warrior or a seductive femme-fatale... Instead, she was a rulebook quoting rookie, full of boundless enthusiasm.

Granted, that's swapping one kind of stereotype for another, but her appearance - rugged and bulky - was quite a departure from the traditional style of Femme-Bot, and that's always going to be worth a look.

I'd wanted to pick up a version of Strongarm for quite some time, but didn't think much of Hasbro's version of the original Deluxe, and didn't think it was a good enough toy to really justify importing the Takara Tomy version... But then the Prime of Micron subline brought a whole new version of Strongarm that, in photos, at least, looked to be a bit of an improvement...

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Last Knight/Premier Edition Cogman

There's something of a recurring theme in the TransFormers movie franchise, where a character turns up in the toyline despite being cut from the movie, or a particular element of their character plays an important part in the toy even though it was glossed over in the movie... And I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I mean, on the one hand, it frequently shows how little regard the movie makers have for the property, yet shows how invested Hasbro are in the franchise, and taking advantage of features that define a character... even if it becomes utterly inexplicable one the toys actually hit the shelves. On the other hand, perhaps it simply proves how little Hasbro cares - that they're willing to let these movies waste a good idea that they decided to make use of in the toy?

Thus, we have Cogman as an Aston Martin... Or rather, we have Cogman, a 35mm tall action figure who turns into a larger version of his own head, packaged with an Aston Martin that transforms into a giant robot for Cogman to be the head of. Rumour has it, Nitro has a removeable head specifically to accommodate Cogman, though this was edited out of the movie. All this sounds like a bit of a trainwreck... so let's just see how the toy shapes up.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

SXS Toys A-06 & A-07 Replacement Weapon Sets (TF Prime Skyquake & Dreadwing)

One of the most irritating things about the TransFormers: Prime toyline was the 'Powerizers' weapon gimmick shoehorned in to every single Voyager class figure. Each one had the potential to be reasonably impressive, but the scale was off - some too small for the character, others too large - and they seem to have been designed to replace the character's forearm, without there ever being a means of attachment included... Optimus Prime and Starscream, for example, ended up with oversized handguns that featured their own forearm detail, while Megatron's fusion cannon was just too big for his arm. And while the LED-lighting gimmick was interesting enough, it never actually worked as intended due to the way the weapons were constructed, and the geared mechanisms were almost all unreliable.

Still, Third Parties can often be relied upon to fill in where Hasbro's budgets cut things out, or where their fixation on gimmicks causes disappointment and, while Dr. Wu crafted the lion's share of weapon accessories for mishandled TF Prime toys, SXS were the only ones to produce accurate plastic interpretations of the enormous, two-handed cannons wielded by Skyquake and Dreadwing, and it only took me about three years to finally cave in and buy them...

Robots in Disguise (2015)/Combiner Force Soundwave

There are few characters in the history of TransFormers as memorable and iconic as G1 Soundwave so, when he turns up in other series, he tends to look broadly similar, frequently featuring details which directly refer to, for example, the tape door or the stop/play/fast forward/rewind buttons (except when he doesn't). It's a brave designer who comes up with a whole new concept for Soundwave, so I was particularly impressed by his novel and original design in TransFormers Prime.

Being a continuation of TF Prime, Soundwave eventually turned up in the new Robots in Disguise TV show in his spindly, silent and sinister form before taking on a new, bulkier and very G1 referential form... but was it the right move to go back to his roots after such an impressive deviation?

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Titans Return Overlord & Dreadnaut

While I felt a little deprived over the likes of Fortress Maximus never appearing in UK toy shops (since he actually appeared in the Marvel comics, albeit at the same dubiously variable scale as he seems to have used in the cartoon), I wasn't even aware of the likes of Overlord until I became an adult collector, because I'd stopped collecting by the time he was released over here... and, these days, the lustre of most G1 toys has faded somewhat.

Overlord, being one of the 'playset' TransFormers toys, may yet have had a place in my collection, alongside my original G1 Metroplex, Scorponok and (2015's Platinum Edition) Trypticon as well, because he's unique in that he's a triple-changing dual-Powermaster with a fairly decent, quite sprawling base mode, but the lack of articulation in the robot mode is more of a sticking point for me these days than it would have been only a few years back.

But then Hasbro decided to update him for Titans Return, and a widespread release was more-or-less guaranteed (the 'less' part being dependency on Hasbro's increasingly dodgy distribution). As usual, I umm-ed and ahh-ed about whether or not to get him, more or less deciding against based on a couple of YouTube video reviews... but then caved in and forked out £60 for him at TFNation 2017.

So, was he worth it..?

Friday, 22 September 2017

Top 10 G1 Toys I Don't Own

As a collector who started out with Generation 1 toys back in the mid 1980s, I'm often guilty of comparing each new toyline to G1 and, despite all the engineering improvements the last thirty-odd years have brought, finding them a little wanting... Not least because so many of the more recent figures have had very simplistic - almost G1-level - transformations, with all kinds of detail faked in.

However, what with Combiner Wars, Titans Return and Power of the Primes continuing the reboot of Generation 1 that commenced with Classics back in 2006, it occurred to me that I've more or less decided no longer to pursue a number of the original Generation 1 toys I once coveted, in favour of picking up their contemporary remakes. Not so say there aren't any I still want, just that my list of 'Holy Grail' G1 TransFormers toys is now far shorter than it was only a couple of years ago.

Here, then, is a list of the Top Ten G1 TransFormers toys that I really wanted at the time, but (for the most part) don't anymore, along with why I wanted them at the time, and why I don't want them anymore... Some will be pretty self-explanatory, one way or another...

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Ninth Anniversary

Starting off this post was actually really easy once I actually found the time (in January of this year, I decided to try to take one Friday off work toward the end of every month, just to have a short, regular break and - hopefully - actually take advantage of my full allocation of holiday time this year, and these long weekends turned out to be good blogging opportunities) and I acquired a few very cool toys very soon after the last Anniversary post...

So, without futher ado, here are my top nine purchases since last year, inevitably featuring some figures I haven't yet posted about individually...

Monday, 18 September 2017

Robots in Disguise (2015) Fracture

The funny thing about a lot of TransFormers toy lines is that I start out thinking I'm not going to bother with any of the toys, then end up picking up a couple because they look cool and then, before I know it, I've got another new facet to my ever-growing collection.

Since I'm not actually watching the current Robots in Disguise TV series, the figures I've picked up thusfar haven't really followed any pattern beyond me thinking "Ooh, that one looks cool" and then trying to figure out if it's something I have to import, buy online from a UK retailer, or that I could pick up on a chance visit to Toys'R'Us or The Entertainer when I'm off to the nearby cinema with a friend. Once in a while, something I've put on my Amazon wish list is ordered by a friend or family member, and I get a surprise dose of plastic crack over Christmas or on my birthday... one such dose this year, courtesy of my sister, was Fracture.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Last Knight/Autobots Unite Hot Rod

Hasbro seems to have caught a lot of flack for re-using one of the more disappointing Age of Extinction molds for a new character in The Last Knight. Lockdown wasn't irredeemably bad and, in some respects was actually a lot of fun... And being much the same sort of car as Hot Rod becomes (after being a Citroen DS when first introduced) it makes a certain amount of sense, not least because it saved them some engineering costs.

That said, Hot Rod in the movie seems to have taken much the same role toward one of the new characters as Bumblebee did in the first movie, and his robot mode features suggestions of a Bumblebee-style transformation... Can the Lockdown mold really do him justice?

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