Saturday, 1 May 2021

So, I did a thing...

I've mentioned before that Thew Adams is one of the few TransFormers YouTubers I can bear to watch, because of his (normally) quickfire reviews, canny avoidance of the frequently painful step-by-step demonstration of transformation and, perhaps most important, the plethora of puns and percipient portmanteaus that are as much his stock-in-trade as his enthusiasm for shape-shifting plastic robot toys. During one of his recent videos, he mentioned that his G1 Outback was knackered... and, since my iGear Mini Warriors Bushwhacker had been up on eBay for a while, I figured I could do worse than cancelling the listing and 'donating' it to Thew.

So imagine my delight, when tuning in to his latest "Dammit, Open!", I see that very figure unboxed on-screen - the very first item in the video.

And imagine my surprise when he actually seems to like it...

Seriously, though, I'm glad Bushwhacker has found an appreciative home... Though, honestly, seeing it smashed on a Knockoff Beatdown would, I think, be quite cathartic. I almost wish I'd sent him my decaptitated Leonidas now.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Shattered Expectations

Following the Fan Fest event, earlier this month, and its revelation of Shattered Glass Blurr - the first in a special set of five Shattered Glass-themed repaints, each to be accompanied by one issue of an IDW limited series comic book - I was disappointed on a couple of levels.

First and foremost, they were repainting the new Studio Series mold... which, to me, looks like crap. Yes, the Shattered Glass version has a new, unique head sculpt... but it's based on the one BotCon/Fun Publications put together over ten years ago.

Which leads neatly into the second level of disappointment, in that it's not only a rip-off of the BotCon Shattered Glass concept, but it's a rip-off of the BotCon SG Blurr head sculpt and paint job, lightning bolts and all.

I could understand Hasbro picking up the Shattered Glass continuity, as it allows them to do something vaguely interesting with some existing molds... but to simply re-make a figure that already exists, using that character's latest mold is lazy. I'd wager that anyone interested in the Shattered Glass concept already has the BotCon 2008 boxed set, and probably at least some of the additional figures. Hell, even I have a handful of them - Megatron from the 2008 event, Galvatron from the 2011 event, Turbo Tracks from the 2012 event and the Subscription Service 5.0/Combiner Wars Starscream from 2017 (did have Rodimus and Jazz as well, but sold them last year) - but most of the figures, in terms of both the choice of character and their premium paint jobs, didn't interest me a great deal... And Hasbro's first offering in their Pulse-exclusive 'Collection' didn't either.

Today, they announced the second figure in the set: Shattered Glass Megatron... and I really don't know what to make of it. Let's break it down:

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Real Gear Robots Longview

The strange thing about some of the device modes chosen for the Real Gear Robots line is that they offered little by way of actual play value. Sure, you could just about wear the earpiece provided with Booster X10 and Night Beat 7, but the buttons on the main unit were immobile. Much the same could be said for High Score 100, Speed Dial 800 and Zoom Out 25X, despite all being button-centric forms.

Enter Longview - not only one of the few to have missed out on the bizarre number suffixes applied to most of the figures in the line, but one of the few who, like Micro Change-derived toys such as Perceptor, have a semi-functional gimmick appropriate to their device mode... And all without the need for buttons.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

War for Cybertron: Siege Soundwave Spy Patrol #2

It can hardly be disputed that the War for Cybertron toyline took a lot of its cues from Generation 1. The whole thing was pitched as (yet another) reboot of the very origins of TransFormers, but set in the time before Optimus Prime led the Autobots away from their home planet. More than that, though, the line saw the reintroduction - much to my chagrin - of the Micromaster size class along with the continued downsizing of toys in the existing Leader, Voyager and Deluxe pricepoints. While the Voyager class Soundwave wasn't packaged with any Micromasters, Hasbro's strategy of releasing them as 2-packs neatly mirrored not only the G1 Micromasters, but the card-backed releases of the original Cassetticons.

The only Micromasters I bothered picking up initially were Laserbeak and Ravage, comprising the original 'Soundwave Spy Patrol' set, but when a second Spy Patrol later emerged, featuring Rumble and Ratbat, I had that awful, sinking feeling that I was about to part with some money to obtain another pair of sub-par remakes of G1 classics. Strangely, this proved not to be the case initially, since the second Spy Patrol set seemed to sell out everywhere, almost instantly... There were sources overseas, but I didn't feel like paying over the odds and then risking import fees...
Cut to almost two years later, when I found a UK-based eBay seller offering them at a reasonable price. No need to ask what happened next, right?

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest - April 2021 - New Reveals & Opinions

OK, so clearly there's a bit more to be said about War for Cybertron... I guess it's a positive that the line seemingly is not getting prematurely canned like Power of the Primes...
While there wasn't anything TransFormers to report after the pre-show 'Party' last night (unless you count a short gig by The Cybertronic Spree), the Fan Fest proper had a whole - quite substantial (half-hour/forty minute) - section devoted to the brand. Interestingly, they acknowledged that a lot of the stuff they were showing off had already been 'leaked', but that's not to suggest they had nothing new...

This being the first time I've had access to one of these events - the last one, I think, was region-locked - I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'd actually wondered whether it would even be worth my tuning in, considering everything would be online within minutes of the show anyway... but, much like my spur-of-the-moment decision to take advantage of the evening entertainment at the debut TFNation, I figured it'd be daft to skip it, especially considering I signed up for Pulse Premium, and there were suggestions of exclusives available to preorder for members only.
I watched the event live but, obviously, this is now a little delayed due to dinner... and watching a movie over dinner... So, let's take a brief look at what was revealed... no pictures, but they're all now live on Hasbro Pulse and will probably be everywhere very shortly:

Friday, 2 April 2021

War for Cybertron: Kingdom Airazor

 (Femme-Bot Friday #77)
It's beginning to look as though there will be very little of interest to me in the final chapter of Hasbro's War for Cybertron line beyond a handful of its Beast Wars remakes. Even those have generally been undersized remakes and, for better or worse, minus many of the play features of the originals. The one area of the toyline where the results have exceeded my expectations is its Femme-Bots, with Blackarachnia being both an early release and a (small) Deluxe class reworking of the Masterpiece figure that ended up being, if not generally better, then at least better value for money.

So, when Airazor was revealed, and looked pretty fantastic, she went straight to the top of my want list. Considering I only acquired the original Beast Wars version comparatively recently (six or seven years ago, I think) and, broadly speaking, still think it's a pretty good toy (even if it's not remotely 'screen accurate'), my main reasons for wanting this are the improved articulation demonstrated by other War for Cybertron toys and a head sculpt more in line with her on-screen appearance.
It also came into stock on Hasbro Pulse UK ahead of its arrival in other UK outlets (and we can't all be YouTubers, graced by Zavvi's largesse) so that gave me an excuse to sign up.

However, all of the Kingdom toys I've picked up have come with several significant caveats, so let's find out if Airazor swoops to conquer what I've come to regard as the 'Kingdom Curse'.