Monday, 2 May 2022

Human Alliance Mudflap & Chromia

And here we have yet another ancient and long-neglected figure from my collection, this one hailing from the Revenge of the Fallen portion of the short-lived but truly excellent Human Alliance toyline. It sometimes feels as though I'll never run out of toys from that film - not least because, naturally, Studio Series is now chucking out some of the... er... less well-represented characters - but, of those that came out around the time of the film, I thankfully have just two more Human Alliance toys to write about... And Mudflap is one of them.

Human Alliance was essentially as close to Masterpiece as affordable, play-oriented toys will likely ever get, and in some ways could be considered superior to Masterpiece due to their semi-realistic interiors. Kind of a Binaltech/Alternators-lite, and packaged with less creepy human figurines than Kiss Players.

Frankly, it's high time I got round to dealing with the last handful of HA figures in my collection, so let's start here!

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Hasbro Fan First Tuesday - April 2022 - Post-Mortem

While I'd received some sort of notification about the 'Fan First Tuesday' event this month, I'd honestly forgotten all about it till I saw a reminder (possibly on Reddit) on the 12th. After quickly calculating what the BST equivalent of 11 AM ET would be, I dutifully tuned in with low expectations...

...And was not especially impressed. So unimpressed, in fact, that I've put off writing about it at all for a little over two weeks. I considered not bothering... but only after I'd started writing something, and then wasn't inclined to simply delete the work in progress.

Didn't stop me finding all kinds of ways to distract myself as I finally completed this post today, though.

So... Here we go...

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Medic!

Following my disappointing Amazon experience recently, my replacement Studio Series #82 Ratchet arrived today, and I was pleased to find that it was actually the Studio Series figure, not another Rescue Bots Academy, or Siege, or Earthrise... However, my joy was perhaps a little shorter-lived than I might have hoped.

I've been reading about this figure yellowing far more quickly than other contemporary figures and, to my dismay, mine was already starting to turn, inside the box. It's quite obvious that different types of plastic have been used, as some parts are pristine white across the whole figure, while other parts are discolouring inconsistently. It may not be easily apparent in the photo below, but the the panel the right side rear wheel is attached to and the robot's right thigh joint are perceptibly discoloured versus those on the opposite side, while the front wheel arches on both sides are discoloured. Making this all the worse is that the white paint used for the front section is far whiter than any of the plastic, possibly because it's painted over translucent blue.


Left side: Pristine White Right side: Discoloured

Not good, Hasbro... Really not good, considering the price hikes. I'm also a little dubious about the engineering, but I'll get into that later...

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

Having received a whole bunch of Amazon gift cards for Christmas, I tried valiantly to avoid using them for TransFormers toys, but the temptation to acquire the first wave of new Studio Series toys from the Bumblebee movie - #80 Brawn, #81 Wheeljack, #82 Ratchet and #83 Soundwave - quickly proved too great for me.

Naturally, everyone who ordered the toys from Hasbro Pulse (as I would normally have done in the absence of Amazon gift cards) would have received them earlier, but my shipment from Amazon was despatched today for collection at my local post office. Upon receipt of delivery confirmation, I wandered down, collected my parcel, brought it home, and opened it to find... this:

Now, strangely, while the three Studio Series toys in the box were listed as having been sold and despatched by Amazon, the erroneously-included Rescue Bots Academy Autobot Ratchet was not - it appeared to have been sold by a third party vendor under Amazon's umbrella. In these circumstances, though, I'd have expected it to have been despatched in a separate box, so I'm more than a little confused.

I've gone through the Returns procedure - with the small hitch that the closest shop that has an Amazon counter did not have a functional printer, so I had to come home, cancel the return, restart the return and print a label myself. No great shakes, really, but it was raining by the time I was ready to head out again, so I decided to wait till tomorrow/later in the week.

The figures I ordered are quite fun, so hopefully I'll get to writing about them soon. I'll re-order Ratchet once the refund comes through.

Friday, 25 February 2022

War for Cybertron: Kingdom Tigatron

Much as I object to the use of Kingdom - the third and final chapter of the much-vaunted War for Cybertron Trilogy - as a perfunctory 'celebration' of Beast Wars in lieu of a dedicated toyline, I have to confess that I've been at least somewhat impressed by a number of the Beast Wars figures who appeared in the line.

Cheetor, however, was not one of them... poorly proportioned and with a rather sad axe/whip formed from his beast mode tail as his only weapon, he didn't seem that much better than the awful mess of a Universe toy from 2008. Given that the original BW Tigatron was a simple repaint of Cheetor, I wasn't holding out much hope for a Kingdom Tigatron to be much better. When it was announced that he would not only be a unique mold, but a Voyager class figure rather than just another Deluxe, my hopes started creeping back up again. When photos were eventually released, he looked - not to put too fine a point on it - almost like a completely different figure. Sure, the engineering was similar, but the additional size clearly allowed for refinements of the engineering, resulting in a figure that was objectively far better looking in both modes.

Of course, this being a Hasbro release, it wasn't without its fair share of controversy... because he ended up - somehow - being voted Figure of the Year in Hasbro's 2021 Hall of Fame, despite not being (widely) available until late January of this year. While that may have been a promotional coup, generating significant 'buzz' for the figure, many fans resented the inclusion of something only a select few had handled at the time of the awards, having acquired it by questionable means.

Mine arrived mid-January, and I've given myself plenty of time to familiarise myself with it... So let's take a look at Tigatron to see whether or not he truly deserved the award, and if he's as significant an improvement on the Beast Wars original as some of his Kingdom contemporaries.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

War for Cybertron: Kingdom Slammer

While I didn't buy Generations Metroplex - essentially the centrepiece of the Thrilling 30 portion, celebrating that anniversary of this toyline - I do own the original, and have always been sufficiently intrigued by his companions that I would sit up and take notice if they ever got independent toys of their own. When Sixgun was given the Weaponiser treatment in the Siege toyline, I somewhat expected Slammer to follow a little sooner than two years later... but, let's face it, much of this War for Cybertron line has been long-delayed supplementary Generations/30th Anniversary material...

As with his Siege comrade, Slammer has been updated into Weaponiser form, though this feature appears to be a less significant part of Kingdom's 'play pattern' due to the introduction of the 'Fossilisers'. Let's see how this affects him, both as an individual toy and as accessories to the others!