zondag 5 augustus 2012
Wreck 'n Rule!
From the Transformers Prime line, I present: Wheeljack.
Contrary to G1's scatterprocessored mad scientist Wheeljack, this modernized version is depicted as a gruff, seasoned warrior and a lone wolf anti-hero with deep-rooted problems with authority.
In fact, the only thing he hates more than what he calls "the brass" telling him what to do, is a Decepticon.
The only loyalty he really knows is to his old sub-faction: the Wreckers, a standalone elite black ops unit.
Even though they carried the Autobot-insignia and worked towards the Autobot cause, they didn't consider themselves Autobots per se.
These days, the Wreckers, both officially and unofficially, don't exist anymore.
This due to most of them either getting destroyed, going missing or officially joining the Autobot ranks.
Not caring about the G1-purists' neverending flood of complaints, I really like this incarnation of Wheeljack, both as a character and as a figure.
His colorscheme and headsculpt are pretty obviously homages to G1. And he still transforms into a Lancia Stratos custom, be it a bit altered to not be an exact copy and to fit the overall designs of the Prime Transformers.
First off, the obligatory bit where I whine and bitch:
Although official pictures depict his arms stretched out as far as they can, I don't like doing that for several reasons.
First: standing him up straight with his arms stretched down all the way makes his hands reach below his knees, which in turn makes him look like a gorilla. I mean, come on, he deserves better than that.
Second: doing this also reveals some less-than-flattering details, such as the joint which connects the arm to the shoulder, and the combined swivel-'n-balljoint which connects the shoulder to the body.
Now, visible joints aren't necessarily a problem, but, in general, if they can be hidden without drawbacks, hide them.
Other than that he feels strong and sturdy, his broad shoulders add to an air of power and placing his blades in his hands really give off a message along the lines of "Don't mess with him.".
Here and there his alt-mode's plating might get in the way of posing, but his poseability is good enough nonetheless.
As said his arms are on balljoints, as are his head, hands, legs and feet. Additionally, his elbows and knees bend about 90 degrees, so nothing extreme, but you don't really feel like something's missing.
Oh, one thing I do miss: I would have liked a way for him to store his blades on his back. You know, like, all ninja-y and stuff.
Of course, the 5 mm pegs on the blades' handles fit in the holes on his shoulders, but that's as far as storing them in robot-mode goes.
Am I done yet?
Oh, right, the transformation.
Yeah, I like his transformation. Nowhere is it overly complicated or insultingly easy.
His chestplate detaches and folds up, and at the same time the two prongs behind his head twist in order to fold together, and all of this hides his head, creates his alt-mode's roof and correctly places his spoiler.
Basically just folding up his arms and shoulders, and snapping it onto the previously created part completes the car's rear and doors.
The only gimmick here is that the part where his hands are attached to needs to be turned 180 degrees in order to get them out of the way and places cockpit's windows in a more prominent (and useful) place.
Snap these together to make a whole, and congratulations! You have the world's most pointless gerwalk.
Hahahaha, oh, the humor, I can't take it.
From here we'll meet some nifty engineering.
His shins basically consist of three parts: a white part where the wheel is attached to, a white one with the foot and the grey part which serves as a skeleton of sorts, as it connects (to) everything around it.
First, the wheel-part folds out, making the wheel itself point forward. Then the foot needs to fold down as far as possible, ballet-style. This allows for the wheel-part to actually slide down a previously hidden metal strip.
Then the foot-part turns around 180 degrees and a tab will slide into the wheel-part, completing one half of the car's front. Repeat on the other side, twist the legs until it makes sense and snap the hood together.
All that's left from here is snapping everything together to form a surprisingly compact semi-futuristic racecar.
One thing: pay attention to the knee-spikes, they may tend to get in the way, but when done correctly they fit snugly underneath the car's doors.
Now you have a car and a set of blades.
There are actually three different ways of attaching them to the car. Can you say "compensation" ?
The first you'll find on the front of the car, in the open bits besides where the grill usually is: two tabs that fit in the slots in the blades' handles.
Attaching them there results in a racer with elephantesque tusks. Doesn't look too bad, but doesn't really fit the car.
Remember the holes on 'Jack's shoulders? Well, they ended up just above his car-mode's rear wheels, and of course you can also put the blades there.
This gives him some sort of exhaust-pipes. Placed remarkably high. With blades attached to them. Pointing forward.
I have absolutely no idea how this would be useful, and it looks kind of awkward.
No, I prefer what's behind door number three: namely hiding the blades from sight completely, underneath the car-mode.
Now, after transformation his feet ended up sole-to-sole, with each having a tab sticking out.
These tabs are the same size as the ones near the grill, and placing the blades there effectively hides them. Plus, there are also some indents for the 5 mm pegs, so it all fits perfectly.
The verdict: a really good figure, a solid representation of my favorite Autobot from Transformers Prime and I daresay a very good homage to G1 Wheeljack as well.
His attitude goes for miles and he has some pretty nifty features.
He makes me looking forward to what else the Prime line has to offer.
dinsdag 19 juni 2012
This has to be one of the best Scout-class figures of the last few years.
Old-timer Hubcap's car-mode wouldn't look half bad in a mob-flick.
Apparently, the mobsters wouldn't have had a problem with it, seeing as Cybertronian warveteran Hubcap is depicted as one of the fastest of his time. And he still has a bag of tricks youngsters like Bumblebee and Sideswipe can't even imagine.
Befitting his simple yet cool character, his toy is the same: simple yet cool. There is nothing special about him, but that doesn't mean he's not good. Less seems to be more.
Tight, double swivels on his shoulders and balljointed head, hips and elbows give him a nice amount of poseability. His hands are sculpted in an open position, instead of the standard 5mm openings.
This leaves him unable to hold weapons, but even though I would have liked him able hold a gun or something, it's not something I miss in him.
The only drawback I can find on him is that his knees are a little high, but nothing serious.
His overall effective simplicity doesn't stop, as it found it's way to his transformation as well. His chestplate folds straight up, concealing his head below the hood. Making him do a really high straight-arm shrug completes his car-mode's front.
Then you align the car-parts on legs, and moving his legs into a squatting position makes everything snap into place and you're done.
As stated before his car-mode is based on an old-timer, namely the Willie's 77 1930's style roadster. And well done as well. I feel it really reflects his character: old, but hardy and effective.
The transformation-seams attract little to no attention, and the molded exhaustpipes are realistic and stylish.
He has next to no panellining, so there are a lot of even surfaces on him. Which in turn make him perfect for repainting, which made even me* consider giving him a hot-rod styled colorscheme. But then again, red ís the Autobot-color and I think it's flashy enough for him.
All in all: a great figure. His simplicity makes him stand out nicely in the ocean of the usually more intricate movie-based figures.
* A part from unscrewing a part here and there, I'm no customiser. And repainting I don't do either. Yet.
zaterdag 2 juni 2012
KAPOW! Yeah, coming in with a BANG! is the Generations incarnation of good old Warpath.
A tough-talking, battle-hardy, crack-shot whose main gun is kind of his trademark (and I'm pretty sure he's chomping a cigar under that faceplate), and who became something of a fan-favorite for adding exclamations like "ZOWEEE" and "KAPOW" into his speech-pattern.
Both of which of course are very present in his new and improved representation.
The gun is clearly visible in both modes, and on his legs are painted "K4-9OW" and "Z0W-333".
It wouldn't take much imagination to recognise two of his favorite exclamations (link Transformers, leetspeak and geeks here).
The gunbarrel itself does, in fact, not work, but he does have a spring-loaded gun (with a really long missile), which ends up on his right shoulder.
I chose not to include the missile in the pics, because, plainly, I think it looks ridiculous on him.
Now, I've heard talk of people considering this figure "The Transformer", but I'm not sure I would go that far.
His color is spot-on with his G1-figure, but comparing them more than that would be plainly evil. Because well, he's just a really good figure.
Alright, he's good, that much is clear, but perfect? No.
Of course, leave it to Transformer-collector to find something to whine about on a figure, but there are some things that would've given him just that little extra.
Sure you wanna know?
Oh, what do I care, It's my blog, I'll say it anyway.
First, I would've had no obligations with a balljoint for his head. Makes him able to look up, and seeing as many of his enemies are airborne, being able to look up might just come in handy from time to time.
And if we're adding balljoints, why not shove some into his ankles? His feet are already really large, so it's not about stability, it would just be more... aesthetic. I think that when he's standing, having his feet even with the ground he stands on just adds even more stability, especially with the more elaborate posing.
-"But he's already so cool, he doesn't need elab-OUCH!"
One more thing that caught my attention: the thickness of his underarms. Of course, when transforming his hands and upper arms disappear into his lower arms (Yes.), so I guess it couldn't have been helped, but I'm complaining here, gimme a break.
Oh, and his hands could've gone with some swiveljoints, so they could've turned. And the hatch under which his head disappears in tank-mode could've been hidden, instead of just sitting there, slapping the back of his head.
Okay, I'm done bitching, you can come out now.
One very impressive thing about him is his transformation. Some things about it are just really nifty. For instance, I like how his feet and shinplates are arranged to allow his legs to be transformed into the front of a tank without any ridiculous partshifting. It all goes pretty instinctively. And the one part that might seem weird during transformation (his abdomen) folds up neatly into his torso.
And his actual tank-mode is also just really solid. There is nothing immediately visible that would betray the robot inside. The turret can spin 360 degrees, the barrel can move up and down and the small wheels underneath the tanktreads roll good enough, so no complaints there either.
Well, not on my part that is, but apparently, there have been some issues with fans about him transforming into an H-tank, instead of G1's Sheridan-tank. Yeah, well, that's Transformers-fandom for ya. I do have one thing to say about this: The 80's are 30 years ago! The H-tank gives him more of a futuristic feel in tank-mode, true, but it also adds to his air of power. And if Warpath is about one thing, it's power.
Conclusion: despite my outlining (and excessively inflating) a few very minor gripes, a really good homage to G1 Warpath, and a really good figure in it's own right as well.
zondag 20 mei 2012
As you can see he transforms into a dual-rotor helicopter.
Why is he my least favorite you ask? I mean, yeah, I like the main gunmetallish grey color. But that's about the only good thing I can find about this guy.
I'll break it down part by part.
Let's start with his face. Now, I understand the lack of emotion on his face (him being a robot and all), but a little attitude goes a long way. Instead we get an impression of a half-witted mechanical boyscout who's trying too hard.
Moving on. Why Hasbro chose not to hide or integrate the Powercore Combiner-plugs into the figure is beyond me. And it wouldn't be that horrible, if it wasn't for the fact that they made the plugs bright blue on all figures. On some figures I know it looks good, or at least alright, but not in this case.
Next up, a question: Why let his rotors end up on his arms? Wouldn't you agree he'd keep slapping himself in the face, or poke his optics out or something? As weapons they'd be pretty effective, true, but why not include a pair of slots to put them on his back, like, for when he wouldn't be in battle?
The rotors have always been a bit of a problem with Transformers with a helicopter as alt-mode, but this is just sloppy.
Okay, so his face is dumb, and his arms are a bad choice. Surely his legs should make up for it somewhat. Hardly. Although his feet provide just enough stability when he's standing up straight, his knees are too far down, making his thighs too long to provide any good possibility for posing. He just keeps toppling over, because he has half a helicoper hanging on his back.
Which brings us to his transformation. For a big part he is what many refer to as a Shellformer. This means that, instead of cleverly hiding and integrating parts of his vehicle-mode into the robot-form, said parts just hang down the figure.
Windburn is hardly any different. Spinning around both halves of his "backpack" and "skirts" already completes about 80% of his alt-mode. Folding his legs back makes 90%.
The last part has to be his very worst feature of all. Now, his arms have a swivel- ánd a balljoint, and these are used for alinging his arms along the roof of his alt-mode, correctly positioning the rotors where they don't look as ungainly. This includes some awkward pushing and pulling to correctly align the thick parts of the arms with the tabs and slots in order to lock everything into place. And even in vehicle-mode, although the arms integrate nicely into the whole, the bright red joints just attract more attention than they should.
There is a reason why I haven't included little green Darkray up until now.
Because, for his tiny stature, he looks pretty cool. He is a Mini-Con, and transforms into something of a flak-cannon, ánd (yes, ánd) a chestplate with an added, ridiculously large, gun.
His overall proportions are all good, and the "wings" sort of remind of G1 Astrotrain's. Being a Mini-Con, he obviously lacks proper poseability, but again, attitude goes a long way.
Windburn: All in all, I just don't like him, but I guess there has to be one. Let's just say he makes the others look better.
Darkray: For a Mini-Con, really cool. And I love the color.
donderdag 28 juli 2011
This is the face of the end.
This is Omega incarnate, the metallic multiversal singularity hell-bent on destruction of any and all existence in pursuit of absolute peace in the void.
This is Unicron.
The name alone gives Transformer-fans all over a shiver.
His size is awe-inspiring by itself. He's a Supreme-class figure, this means He can use Leader-class figures to lean on.
...that means He's huge!
He's detailed in a way fitting a bot of His stature. Nothing overdone, much panel-lining but no sculpted weaponry. Would make sense, I mean any opposition, if at all significant enough to be noticed, He would just swat away like pesky flies. Besides, His chest-compartment hides a gigantic Mini-Con activated missile. That should be final enough, right?
Wrong, the hemispheres on His legs hide more Mini-Con activated missile-launchers.
Three to be exact.
He actually has almost fully articulated hands (a rare thing in Transformers), "boney" (demonic?) "wings" and His horns (as corny as it may be) underline His status as the epitome of evil.
He does sport light- and soundeffect, which light up His eyes and right hand but I'm not sure it adds anything, really.
His transformation is actually surprisingly easy, considering His insane size. Somewhat disappointingly easy, in my opinion.
His hands disappear into his arms, His legs and head fold over to his back. The latter is hidden by the northern hemisphere folded between His wingstructure, which in turn reveals His signature world-chomping jaws.
Finally, His "wings" realign quite cleverly into his planetary rings.
And that's pretty much all His transformation into a planet encompasses.
Get it? Compass, planet?
He is accompanied by a Mini-Con, as seen on the picture.
Good thing too, as all of His weapons require one.
This little guy's name (fittingly enough) is Dead-End. The cannon is actually attached to his left arm, and it kind of adds to his stocky, "Imma kick your shit"-attitude.
He transforms into a planet, small enough to act as a moon to orbit Unicron.
A moon with a proportionately very big cannon.
On Transformers Armada, small orbs sporting guns acted as Unicron's anti-bodies, and Dead-End is modelled after them.
And he just might be the very first Bakugan...
In any case, in spite of the novice-level transformation, superfluous electronics and the forced Mini-Con gimmicks (I mean He has over 20 Mini-Con plugs all over His body)...
This is Unicron.
He's a legend.
Fans waited for a decent figure since the original movie, and even though it's modelled after a nearly accurate incarnation from an, at best decent, Transformers-show; here it is.
The figure is by no means perfect, but His legacy well makes up for any flaws.
donderdag 12 mei 2011
Formerly known as Elita-1, currently taking the term "femme fatale" to higher grounds: Animated Blackarachnia.
Her character was rebooted from the Beast Wars days, and much has remained: a complicated relationship with the good guys, the alt-mode of a giant venomous spider and overall making an art of being a poisonous bitch.
When Elita-1 was left for dead among giant alien spiders by Sentinel and Optimus (they had no choice...no really), she tried using her skill-downloading ability against the spiders. Because of the spiders being organic and all this went awry; it left her with a contorted faceplate and with a new alt-mode resembling the spiders she was trying to fend off. More importantly, she now has something of a personal vendetta with Sentinel and Optimus.
Well, after all this, who wouldn't?
Her figure is even sleeker and sexier than her cartoon-model. Although in the show she usually wears a helmet, her helmet ís her face on the figure. Good thing too, because her "real" head has some weird protrusions on the sides, and on a toy it wouldn't come out as good.
Poseability is pretty good, but her tiny feet limit her balance quite a bit. Leaning her against something, like on the pic, gives her something of an attitude anyway.
Her transformation is nifty and by no means complicated, although a bit quirky. Now, I realize the difficulty of designing a humanoid changing into a spider, but it must be said.
First off her back folds back all the way, and her head effectively disappears into her rear.
(insert obvious joke involving heads and asses here)
The chestplate slides down a bit to, obviously, becoming the spider's head, and the brass-colored spines adorning her limbs and back become the spider's legs.
All of this is doable, but it still feels kind of... off.
One gripe is that her robot-mode's hands are still clearly visible after transforming.
Another, more significant, flaw is this: when in robot-mode, one can see through a hole behind her chestplate, underneath her Decepticon-insignia. It seems the mechanics of properly folding her back got in the way of camouflaging this opening.
And going so far as calling it a symbolical representation of the emptiness she feels inside after joining the Decepticons is hopeless emo fanboyism.
That said, the spider-mode all in all looks intimidating enough, and all four mandibles are movable. The two big purple ones are even on ball-joints.
The figure comes with a grappling-claw which can be attached to her rear, and the claw is easily tight enough to support her weight. Having her hang from something gives a nice little extra to one's Animated display.
Conclusion: not so much an example of the Animated quality I seem so fond of, but not a horrible figure either. She is, however, the very best representation of a bot with an arachnid alt-mode, in that she's remarkably kibble-free. And her femininity way surpasses the other Animated fembot's, which has to be worth something.
donderdag 24 maart 2011
The very first Transformer I remember aquiring. In fact I've had this little guy for as long as I can remember, and it shows in the pic. This is G1 Super-God Masterforce Triggerbot Dogfight.
Now, that's a mouthful. To be honest, I never even knew his name until I dug him out of my mother's storageroom and looked it up.
Toransufōmā Chōjin Masutāfōsu, or Super-God Masterforce was a Japanese animated continuation of the G1 saga, and although Dogfight only appeared in the Marvel comics he was apparently still released under the Masterforce-banner.
He is described as a highly skilled flier, which earned him his name, but also as short-tempered, violent and impulsive, despite being an Autobot.
Part of a team known as the Triggerbots along with two other bots named Backstreet and Override.
Him being a Triggerbot means no more than that he has a spring-loaded gimmick which, in his alt-mode of a reverse-winged jet, turn the wings around 180 degrees revealing guns pointed at whatever poor schmo happens to be in front of him.
This gimmick stopped working for my figure a long time ago, though.
His Triggerbot-feature is pretty much the only bit of articulation he has.
This limited poseability consists solely of his arms being able to move, and only back and forth 379 degrees. Yes, 379. It would have been the full 380 but the kibble that becomes his alt-mode's rear-end is in the way.
So he can point his guns at you.
Strangely it figures.
Being of small
Transformation-wise there are no intricacies either. The assembly consisting of the jet's thruster, rear landing gear and tailfin simply fold up from his back via his shoulders and snap down over his head. His upper legs slide into his lower legs (hey look, movement, ghaha... I'll stop now), the cockpit folds out from behind his legs, and the front landing gear folds out from between his feet. Done.
Although I am aware of this review's slightly negative undertone, I do like this guy.
Sure, he is outdated in every way imaginable, but I think he still has a certain charm to him. Maybe because of sentimental reasons, maybe not, but I can't imagine my collection without him.
But hey, what's the point of collecting toys if you can't think back to the time you could legitimately play with them? ;)