Sunday, 22 March 2020

Cybertron Hardtop

Hasbro's Cybertron line wasn't just their take on Takara Tomy's Galaxy Force toyline - it actually included a handful of figures that didn't appear in the TV show or the Japanese toyline.

Quite what the rationale was for this, I'm not sure anyone knows - it's not as if there was any shortage of Galaxy Force toys to repaint if Hasbro wanted new characters. It's entirely possible Hasbro's designers had simply been working away in the background, and needed a toyline - any toyline - to release their work into, and Galaxy Force/Cybertron was the best available option.

One such figure was Hardtop, who doesn't seem like a particularly good fit...

Friday, 20 March 2020

War for Cybertron: Siege Brunt

'Brunt' has to be one of the best names ever to grace the TransFormers toyline, right along with 'Scourge' and 'Dirge'. The word means "the worst part or chief impact of a specified thing" and is a very apt monkier for a tank with such an enormous cannon, which can split up to form additional components of the G1 Trypticon toy.

Pretty much my fondest desire, when the concept of Weaponisers turned out to be reimagined versions of all the partsformers packaged with the G1 city-bots, was for a Siege Brunt that paid worthwhile homage to the original. It didn't take long for the first pictures to emerge and, for me, Brunt became the real must-have of the line, even though there are already more than enough tanks in my collection, let along the toyline as a whole.

Since I already have the G1 version, let's take a look at this newer, more elaborate homage to partsforming...

Friday, 13 March 2020

Beast Wars TransMetals 2 Blackarachnia

(Femme-Bot Friday #70)
I have a bit of a history of buying toys that I once professed to hate. Probably the best example of this is Lio Convoy, about whom my feelings changed very dramatically and for no reason I can readily recall. He - and his gorgeous black repaint - seemed to open the floodgates, though, leading to me buying BotCon 2001's Universe Arcee, a repaint of the Beast Wars TransMetals version that appeared a couple of years before.

That, naturally, led me to seek out the mainline original, a much-maligned toy in its own right, both because of its wasteful transformation and the ridiculously un-robotic looking, bikiki-wearing robot mode. TransMetals was, after all, the point in the Beast Wars toyline where it started to go completely crazy, in preparation for the nightmarish distortions of Beast Machines... But I think I've already proven that I consider Blackarachnia such a fun character that at least one of almost every iteration is worth acquiring... How bad could this one be?

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Energon Omega Supreme

With a whole new version of G1 Omega Supreme coming out of Hasbro in the War for Cybertron line, I figured now was as good a time as any to look at one of the few non-G1 style TransFormers toys to bear that iconic name. Appearing as part of the Energon/Superlink line, this toy was the same size class as Armada Unicron... And I don't know a lot about him in terms of character because I still haven't been able to force myself to sit through the TV show.

But, where the original toy was a rocket base with a motorised tank that turned into a walking robot, brought by Hasbro from a company called Toybox and shoehorned into the US TransFormers line, while being made available in the UK as part of Grandstand's Converters line (putting the toy on a par with Tandy/Radio Shack's Galactic Man), the Energon toy took a very different tack, and presented two unique vehicle modes that combine into a single enormous robot (technically making him the largest Duocon - or Duobot, 'cos he's an Autobot - in TransFormers history, and a distinct variant of the line's Powerlinx/Superlink combiner concept), with the old G1 HeadMaster gimmick thrown in, just for larks.

Not sure what to make of it? Neither was I... so let's see how this fifteen-year-old, pre-Titans Return Titan measures up, and find out how many variations of 'Omega...' we can squeeze in.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

New York Toy Fair 2020 - Some thoughts... (plus addendum 2/3/20)

This year's New York Toy Fair gave us all some pretty stunning reveals of upcoming toys in all the current lines... Though not all stunning in a good way.

Now, I've said before that my interest in the War for Cybertron Trilogy is limited - some of the individual toys look as though they'll be great for my Classics/Ongoing shelf, but the boxy, unimaginative Cybertronian vehicle modes have largely been a disappointment. Earthrise was sadly all to predictable a concept, but the execution is surpassing my low expectations in both directions simultaneously.

Friday, 21 February 2020

War For Cybertron: Earthrise Optimus Prime

As Earthrise figures start to become available in the UK - online, at least, if not in bricks-and-mortar shops - I find myself having very mixed feelings about it. Siege feels as though it was prematurely terminated, with only a scattering of key characters having been released alongside two different iterations of Optimus Prime, neither of which were particularly inspiring. Meanwhile, a ridiculous number of other key G1 characters - Bumblebee, Wheeljack, Jazz, to name but three who appeared prominently in the pilot for the G1 TV show - were missing in action. No hyper-detailed Cybertronian vehicle modes for quite a number of signficant characters, while those we did get tended to be easily repaintable (Starscream becoming six other Seekers, Ironhide becoming Ratchet and Crosshairs, Prowl becoming Bluestreak, Smokescreen and Barricade, amongst others).

Earthrise launches with yet another new Optimus Prime figure alongside an upscaled re-engineering of a 15+ year old Starscream mold, and another scattering of characters, several of whom strongly imply repaints to come (Grapple will no doubt become Inferno... potentially also 'Hauler' and Artfire, Hoist must surely become Trailbreaker at least).

It's certainly not inspiring, quite apart from the fact that it's yet another damned G1 reboot, after more than 15 years of preceding reboot.

And yet, this new Optimus Prime actually tempted me... On the surface, it seemed to be something approaching what I really wanted out of a contemporary remake of G1 Optimus Prime - the feel and essential look of the original with the contemporary complexity of engineering coupled with a nod to the aesthetic developments from the live action movies. Given the rest of the War for Cybertron line in general, that seemed unlikely, but I felt like giving this figure the benefit of the doubt...