Saturday, 31 July 2010

Teaser 2...

No update today, as such... just this little preview of what I may (or may not) put up tomorrow... These arrived during the week...

Yes, indeed, that is FansProject 'Warbot Defender' (aka Springer), and Perfect Effect's 'Warrior Type-R' and 'Warrior Type-F' (aka Rumble and Frenzy, respectively). Springer is about the size I was expecting but, despite having seen photos of Rumble and Frenzy (or their all-black predecessor, at least), I was surprised by their size - they're actually smaller than G1 Rumble and Frenzy!

I need to make my mind up on Auto Assembly 2010... With the FansProject Bruticus upgrade parts on order, I kind of need to find either the original Energon version or the RotF re-release of the main body and other limbs...

Monday, 26 July 2010

Leader Class Starscream Stop Press #2 - Masterpiece Comparison

It's only natural that RotF Leader Class Starscream should be compared to Masterpiece Starscream, in light of the fact that it will be released as part of the Masterpiece line in Japan, with a far superior paint job...

So how do they compare?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Revenge of the Fallen Brakedown

Or Breakdown, to give him his true name. Not quite sure why the name change - for some strange reason, I thought it was due to the particular car alternate mode 'Brakedown' had been applied to in one toy line or another but, after G1 Breakdown, the next character to use the name was Brakedown from Cybertron (named Autolander in Galaxy Force)... I thought there had been some kind of deliberate avoidance of the suggestion that whatever type of car would 'break down'... but it seems I made that up!

Out of all the Generation 1 references thrown into the Revenge of the Fallen toyline, Breakdown - yes, I'm going to settle on using his real name - is the most blatant. He's approximately the same type of car (just a little squashed), with an almost identical colour scheme to the original. Thankfully, his transformation has moved on in the last 25-odd years, the better to keep to the movie series aesthetic.

Revenge of the Fallen Skystalker

Scout Class is generally the poor cousin of any TransFormers line. The smaller size normally means less detail, less articulation... generally less. For the first movie, the vast majority of Scout Class was made up of repaints from Energon and Galaxy Force that really didn't suit the movie. Revenge of the Fallen, however, went to a bit more effort - not just new molds, but a good selection of G1 reference characters that probably wouldn't have been worth doing at a larger size.

Leader Class Starscream Stop Press #1 - GERWALK mode

Saw a couple of photos of this fan mode for Leader Class Starscream turn up in the forums, and thought I'd give it a go...

The term 'GERWALK' comes from the Macross, and is possibly the most awkward acronym in the history of anime: Ground Effective Reinforcement of Winged Armament with Locomotive Knee-joint. I mean, come on... there's acronyms and there's trying to shoehorn an explanation onto a cool-sounding name.

Galaxy Force Megalo Convoy

Perhaps the strangest thing about Galaxy Force was the it introduced the concept that the character known as Convoy (named Optimus Prime in the West) might not be the only Convoy in the universe. In fact, Galaxy Force's Optimus Prime analogue was known more specifically as 'Galaxy Convoy', and pretty much every planet featured in the story had it's own Convoy, from Flame Convoy (Animatros), through Nitro Convoy (Speedia), Live Convoy (Earth!) and finally Megalo Convoy (Gigalonia). Each one (bar Live Convoy) was very clearly the leader of their world, each with their own methods and rules.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Galaxy Force Dreadrock

Let's face it, Dreadrock is pretty weird. He's clearly some kind of military transport plane - hardly the most impressive choice of flying vehicle, though one which was revisited in the Revenge of the Fallen toyline - and his key-activated gimmick is a tail gun turret which isn't even hidden before it's activated. Tucked away, maybe, but certainly not hidden. The US/UK version of this, from the rewritten/dubbed TV series, was named Jetfire, possibly the most inappropriate application of that name in the history of TransFormers, and gave him an Australian accent...

Beast Wars Reissue Waspinator

In all the years of TransFormers, across all the Generations and continuities, there has never been a character that attracted gunfire like Waspinator. He came across as the little guy with big dreams... and yet was blown up by his comrades as often as by his enemies.

Maybe it was the irritating voice (think Peter Lorre, but with a tendency to buzz any 's' sound)... or the delusion that he was far more powerful and competent than he really was... maybe it was just the annoying buzzing around in (giant green) wasp mode. Waspinator escaped very few episodes of Beast Wars unscathed, and frequently ended up strewn across the prehistoric landscape.

I actually skipped on most of Beast Wars the first time round, because I just didn't see the point of TransFormers - alien robots, let's not forget - that turned into animals. Leave it to Mainframe, the company behind the awesome ReBoot, to create one of the most finely judged stories for one of the most outlandish toylines in TransFormers history. When I finally got round to seeing Beast Wars - sporadically on UK kids TV, then via a website that carried decent resolution video files - I was utterly hooked. Each character in the initially small cast was well developed, and carried their own part of the story - a far cry from the random selection of two-dimensional characters that filled out the G1 cartoon. It was the TV series that got me interested in owning more than just Optimus Primal and Megatron, but original Beast Wars toys are hard to find, frequently expensive beyond all reason, and generally poorly decorated.

So when Takara decided to reissue a group of Beast Wars toys, with hugely improved paint jobs, Waspinator was quite high on my 'want' list.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Revenge of the Fallen Ravage

It was quite daring of the live action movie franchise to include a character like Ravage. As one of a few G1 characters who appeared very regularly in the TV series, Ravage has a fanbase with certain... expectations. His character has remained fairly consistent throughout his long history (and between continuities - he's appeared in Beast Wars, after all), and he's never had to suffer the ignominy of becoming comic relief... His reputation as being the sneakiest Decepticon, their most perfect spy, has never been called into question (except perhaps in the pilot for the G1 cartoon)...

...Until now. And I'm not talking about Shattered Glass Ravage, either.

Monday, 19 July 2010

N.E.S.T. Global Alliance Evac

Helicopters have had a raw deal in the TransFormers line for many years, and it's really only been in the most recent lines that this has improved in any significant way. Galaxy Force produced the excellent Live Convoy (coincidentally named Evac in the US/UK version of the story) and the original live action movie gave us the awesome - though undersized - Blackout.

Perhaps there's something about helicopters and scale, because this latest one - originally used as Blazemaster in the RotF line - is easily the smallest Deluxe in the entire line. Rotor blades may well fill most of the packaging and make them awkward to keep in scale, but this thing is pretty ridiculous...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Hunt for the Decepticons Starscream

At long last, movie Starscream gets the figure he deserves... and what an amazing piece of engineering it is. It's not without flaws, but the level of detail in this model is excellent. The design for Starscream in the movies has always been contentious, considering the iconic nature of the Generation 1 Seekers and, while even the most recent comics series' have strived to keep some elements common to the 80's toys and cartoons, the live action movies have taken the view that these are alien robots, so they shouldn't have to look too human.

Personally, I enjoy this and really like all the outlandish appearances of the robots (mainly the Decepticons - the Autobots, by and large, are all humanoid), and was only disappointed by Megatron. Seeing Starscream in action, particularly in the dogfight towards the end of the first movie, I thought they'd created the ideal form for the Decepticons' air commander.

Hunt for the Decepticons Payload

AKA Revenge of the Fallen Generation 2 Long Haul.

There are a couple of reasons I wasn't interested in picking up RotF Long Haul, not least the difficulty I would have had in trying, since he's not now getting a UK release. The main reason, I guess, is the very bland colour scheme. Sure, it's traditional Constructicon Green... but that's pretty much all it is. The few painted details - a touch of metallic paint here, a reference to vehicle mode detail there - don't break up the sea of green at all. Payload, on the other hand, is molded in black and yellow in almost equal proportions and so makes a functional G2-referencing RotF Long Haul.

This toy isn't even part of the RotF line - it's part of the new, yellow-packaged, general purpose, TransFormers-branded line which will cover pretty much all the new releases... at least until the third movie comes along.

Revenge of the Fallen Mixmaster

After the first live-action TransFormers movie, the fan community was all a-flutter about the possibilities for the future. Would there be Dinobots? Would there be gestalts? Would there be... Devastator?

And while the toys made of RotF Devastator have, by and large, been rather disappointing (the Supreme Class one doesn't give its components individual robot modes, not that the movie suggested Devastator's components even had them; the Legends Class one is not terrible, but is less poseable than its Supreme Class big brother), the toys of the characters who inevitably got labelled 'Constructicons' have been pretty good. Since it's not completely certain that these Constructicons are the ones that form Devastator - in fact, the presentation of the movie suggests that they are definitely not, but this could just be more bad editing as the movie is quite famously a complete jumble - it seems odd that they were given the names of G1 Constructicons... but, then, we all know how much the fans like their G1 characters and names...

And so, we come to RotF Mixmaster - true to the G1 roots, he's a cement mixer in his alternate mode... but this version is a triple-changer (kinda), and seems noteable more for his BFG than his chemical-mixin' ways.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Transformers Collectors' Club 2010 Members Incentive (Timelines) Dion

Dion is a bit of an oddity. The character featured in just one episode of the G1 cartoon - part of War Dawn - and got killed off seconds after being introduced (serves him right for thinking Decepticons are cool just because they can fly). There was never a true G1 toy of Dion because he was just this background character who existed to die, giving Optimus Prime (rebuilt from Dion's friend Orion Pax) a reason to want to rise up and challenge the Decepticons. Even so, when Takara Tomy reissued Kup with Wheelie (one of the most maligned characters and toys from the days of G1), E-Hobby took it upon themselves to repaint the pair as Orion Pax and Dion, respectively. Then, the TransFormers Collectors' Club took it upon themselves to have Dion rebuilt in a new form...

...A new form strangely reminiscent of Armada Hot Shot.

Thankfully, this is the Classics/Universe 2.0 version of Hot Shot, with improved everything... and, furthermore, it's the Japanese version of the mold, which was slightly redesigned to accommodate a pair of spring-loaded missile launchers.

So, how does it stand up, this repaint of a remake?