Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Transformers Henkei! Starscream

Starscream and Megatron's reviews were originally going to be one entry, but I decided to make it a two-part deal. As I mentioned in the previous post, I recieved Takara's Transformers Henkei! Starscream and Megatron in the mail today, and I couldn't be happier with them. Starscream's mold has been around for awhile now and has seen several redecos and retools throughout the Classics and Botcon '07 lines, so there's not a great deal to say that hasn't already been said.

Unlike Henkei! Megatron, Takara's Starscream isn't drastically different than its Hasbro counterpart. Henkei! Starscream lost the blue nosecone and gained a richer red color, some white detailing, a painted face, and chromed missile launchers/null rays, akin to the chromed weapons found on many G1 transformers. Once again, I don't own the Hasbro release of this mold, but from the images I've seen online, I prefer the Takara release's more g1-accurate colors. Henkei! Starscream fits right in with fellow Classic Seekers Skywarp and Ramjet as their nefarious leader. He's just about the same size as his G1 incarnation, and is scaled nicely with Henkei! Megatron.

Again, I'll say that Henkei! Starscream is a must own, especially if you don't already own the Hasbro version of the mold.

There's much more on the horizon now that Iacon In Ruin has come out of stasis, so check back for more reviews, features about older figures, and plenty of pictures of that plastic goodness.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Transformers Henkei! Megatron

So this blog's been idle for awhile, but something arrived today that was worthy of breaking the lull. My Henkei! Megatron and Starscream arrived from Fan2Fan, including a bonus Superlink Convoy mini figure and a poster ad for the upcoming Takara Transscanning Optimus Prime.

Takara's Henkei! line is their answer to Hasbro's Classics line from last year. The molds are all the same, but each toy has new paint applications and chrome detailing. Megatron is the most extreme repaint, as he's now sporting a gray, red, black G1-homage scheme. His paint apps are all flawless, and I love the direction Takara took with the design. Some criticize the amount of red used on the mold, but I think it all highlights the figure quite well, and I especially like the red used on the inside of the legs. Another issue that some fans have with the Henkei release is the chrome-plated chest panel. While I agree that it doesn't serve much of a purpose since it's the only chrome on the figure, it looks nice, and it breaks up the gray plastic quite well. If nothing else, it recalls the use of diecast parts in G1 toys, and it looks nice to boot.

Megs' gun mode is solid as well. Again, this color scheme looks much better than the Hasbro release, which some complained looked too much like a Nerf gun. Megs still looks like a Nerf gun, but that's because Hasbro modeled his alt mode after the Nerf Maverick Revolver - a fitting choice since the Maverick is quite possibly the most bad ass Nerf gun to date. I don't own the original Hasbro release, so this was my first time trying to transform the figure. I usually skip the directions, but after a solid 15 minutes of trying to get the last few pieces to line up, I played it safe. I have to say, this incarnation of Megatron has the most complicated transformation I've seen in a transformer since the ridiculous Masterpiece Megatron.

I'd recommend Takara's Henkei! Megatron to anyone who doesn't already own the Hasbro release, but I the new paint apps are different enough that I wouldn't mind owning both versions myself. Personally, I prefer this figure over MP Megatron if I had to pick a favorite G1-styled Megatron figure. Henkei! Megs is a must-own.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Target Exclusive Transformers 2-Disc Transforming Set

Today's the day Transformers is released on DVD. I never slept last night, so I went out to Target at 8AM to pick up a copy of the movie in their exclusive transforming 2-disc set. Basically, it's a giant hunk of plastic that looks like a collapsed Optimus Prime, with a simple clamshell on the back for the dvds. The head, arms, and legs fold out to become a giant, 15-inch Optimus Prime. There's no real articulation, but it's a dvd case, not a toy, so it's not a problem. Overall, I think it's a nice display piece, and it's definitely a better exclusive than a hat, keychain, or poster as some other stores were offering. Also included is a smaller reprint of the target exclusive prequel comic.

Check out the image gallery for a detailed look at the transformable DVD case

Sunday, September 30, 2007

After a lull, Cybertron Prime

Image Gallery for Cybertron Optimus Prime

So it's been way longer than I would have liked since I had something to post about, but I've been really poor and really busy, having started grad school and all. But alas, I finally got my hands on Cybertron Optimus Prime.

Again, like R.I.D. Prime, this is a figure I've been wanting to get my hands on for awhile, despite it's being pretty commonplace.

I've had Hybrid Style Galaxy Force Convoy for awhile now, and I've always loved the design, and upon getting the leader-class version I can definitely say that Cybertron Optimus Prime is one of my all-time favorite Transformers designs. Prime has always been an almighty character, but few of his incarnations display his power the way this one does. That being said, I love the way most of the recent primes have a regular and a super mode, because it definitely adds dimension to the Autobot leader.

This toy is really, really, solid and well built, and at the same time manages to maintain a high level of poseability in every mode. There's not a whole lot to say here...if you're a Transformers fan, you're probably familiar with the design, and if not, just check out the gallery

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fire Convoy Arrives!

As I mentioned in the last post, I came across something wonderful at the Comic Collection. That something wonderful was Robots In Disguise Optimus Prime (aka Fire Convoy). Now the last Transformers series I really got into was Beast Wars, and after that My interest declined a bit to the point where I didn't watch the shows and just sporadically picked up a figure here and there. Only since my obsession's been rekindled have I realized what I missed out on, and Fire Convoy was on the top of that list. I'm always scouting around online for it, but the cheapest I could find the toy was $50 on ebay, and most of the time it'd be more and it'd be used. Today was different, though.

Yesterday, I walked into the Comic Collection and headed towards the glass case in the back. I noticed a Robots In Disguise style box that I missed last time, obscured by open G1 figures in plastic baggies. With some help from one of the guys that runs the place, I managed to find RID Optimus Prime MIB for only $30.

Besides being the catch of the day, I'd have to say this toy is one of my favorites. I like the idea of Prime as a fire truck, because it goes along with the themes of saving lives and fighting for good better than a tractor trailer. The Fire truck mode is nice, with a swiveling/extending ladder, flip out nozzles and missile launchers, and working sirens with lights, sounds, and voice clips. My only complaint, and this is really minor, is that the truck's cab is very easily detached from the ladder portion, and can easily detach during play. Interestingly enough, the front, driver's side part of the cab has some Japanese characters with the word "cybertron" below. The wheels are all chrome coated, and it looks much better than the standard grey plastic that's more commonly used.

For those unfamiliar with this iteration of Optimus Prime, The front portion of the fire truck transforms to become Optimus Prime's robot mode, and from there he can combine with parts of the truck for extra weapons and armor, or the entire thing can combine to form Super Optimus Prime, or Super Fire Convoy. So technically he has something like 5 modes: Fire engine, Optimus Prime, battle station + Prime, Prime w/ missile launchers/bigger hands, and Super Optimus Prime. As an added bonus, he can also combine with RID Ultra Magnus to form Ultra Optimus Prime, a truly enormous figure.

I love the more modern, simplistic design of Prime's regular robot mode, especially the "wings" that are formed by the siren lights. His chest is panted with a metallic, chrome-like coating, and it definitely adds a lot of style to the figure and makes it look like a more quality piece than matte paint would have. Prime's very poseable in this mode, allowing for some nice display possibilities. My only complaint here is that while Optimus Prime usually has some sort of rifle/cannon as a primary weapon, this version has a comparatively dinky pistol. Granted he can also have shoulder mounted rockets and hand mounted lasers, not to mention the array of arms on his ladder, but it just doesn't feel right without a mean, hand-held cannon.

In "Super" mode Prime is huge. God Fire Convoy, as he's called in Japan, is a monster. He's not quite as huge as Armada's Super Optimus Prime, but he's much, much nicer to look at, and unlike the latter is not a total brick. Super Fire Convoy is red...very red. Almost entirely so, with some orange, black, and silver highlights. He's pretty poseable for a figure of his size, but since alot of the pieces (ie: head, feet, and arms) snap onto pegs, there's always a little risk of instability when posing him. Also, his head sculpt is nicely detailed, but I feel like they skimped on the paint. It just feels a little lackluster for a figure that big to have a head that's almost entirely red, molded plastic.

I didn't bother with the "base" transformation mode, in which the ladder and back end of the truck become a weapons base, and prime stands at it...I don't know, I've just never been a fan of the gimmick in which trailers transform into bases. It worked with G1 Prime, but with figures like this and G2 Laserrod Optimus Prime, you can tell they just tried to justify the trailer with some gimmicky features. Thankfully this figure continued the trend of combining with the trailer that started with G1 Ultra Magnus.

So I'm definitely in love with Robots In Disguise Optimus Prime/Fire Convoy, and now I'll have to hunt down RID Ultra Magnus to complete the package...and one of those Sam's club exclusive yellow Prime variants would be nice

As usual, click the link below for the image gallery.

Exciting new additions

After a weeks long drought of new additions to the collection, I finally picked up a couple new figures. During a visit to my parents' house on Saturday, I rescued G2 Megatron, Armada Megatron, and G1 Headmasters Fangry from my old closet. I still have some Action Masters sets, 2 G2 laserrod figures, and a bunch of parts and accessories left there that I'll bring back once I have more room. All 3 toys are complete, but some of their accessories are mixed in with other toys at my parents'...so I know I have the complete accessories, I just have to do some digging to find them.

So bringing back some old toys was nice, but it was just to hold me over until I could get my hands on some new and exciting figures. As luck would have it I'd get my hands on one of my top most wanted transformers.

On Sunday, I really wanted to take a trip to The House of Fun in Marlton, NJ, but they're closed until Tuesday. Instead, the fiancee and I made a last minute decision to travel up towards my old house again for a bridal expo. On the way, we stopped at The Comic Collection, a tiny comic/toy shop i used to frequent. I mainly wanted to stop because I had a couple bucks to spend and thought I remembered seeing some G2 Spychangers there a while back. No dice on the spychangers, but I found something that was much more satisfying. I'll be posting a full review of this most important acquisition next.

Also, on the way back to Philly, we stopped at a Wal*Mart so I could run in and pick up a Cybertron Excellion that I'd spotted a few days earlier, and I couldn't resist getting Cybertron Dark Crumplezone as well.

So all in all, Sunday provided my biggest and most exciting haul in a while. Made my weekend, and definitely made up for not being able to get to The House of Fun.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Powermaster Doubledealer

More pictures of Doubledealer

Powermaster Doubledealer and I have a long history together. Doubledealer's long been my favorite Transformer, dating back to when I got him as a child. In fact, Doubledealer was instrumental in my oldest embarrassing memory. I was but a toddler in my pediatrician's office, and I brought Doubledealer along for the ride. I transformed him into his Deceptcon Bird mode, and exclaimed to y mom, "look he has testicles!" I of course meant tentacles, and I was referring to the scrawny purple bird legs. Nevertheless, my mother quickly and shamefully corrected me in the middle of the crowded office.

Back to the toy. Doubledealer is a part of the G1 Powermasters line, whose gimmick was mini figures that transformed into engines and unlocked the transformation of the larger figure. Doubledealer is actually both an Autobot and a Decepticon, with two distinct modes to differentiate them. His alternate mode, a military missile launcher, is one of the nicest looking of the G1 era, with nice colors and a ridiculously solid build. Like I said, this toy's been with me forever, and he's still in mint shape with the exception of sticker wear. With Knok, Doubledealer's Autobot companion, locked into his abdomen, Doubledealer transforms into his Autobot robot mode. For the most part, the robot mode is a brick, with the legs only being able to bend outward at the hips and rotate at the knees, and his arms can only bend at the elbow. Doubledealer has a chest piece that can be used to hold one of the mini figures at his chest (which is the only part I've lost track of). The giant missile forms his armament by breaking into 2 and becoming his rifle and a shoulder-mounted-non-launching, missile. I've always been fond of Doubledealer's head sculpt, and while his robot mode is somewhat bricky, it's still a great design and a great display piece.

Doubledealer's Decepticon mode is essentially just his vehicle mode flipped over, with the side panels folding down to become bird legs, and a back panel opening to reveal its head and wings. While it's simple enough, the bird mode is also a great design (it could use back legs though). Again, I love the head sculpt and the colors used, and Skar makes a nice companion to this solid design.

All in all, There have been great advancements in design and poseability since this figure, and there are plenty of other classic characters, but Doubledealer will always be a favorite of mine. I'd definitely recommend seeking this toy out for any fans of the G1 lines.

More pictures of Doubledealer