Sunday, 28 November 2010

War for Cybertron Bumblebee

Considering he's basically the focal point of the live action movie franchise, it's inevitable that Bumblebee has now appeared as an early release in just about every TransFormers line from 2007 onward... And War for Cybertron's little slice of the Generations market is no exception. It makes sense, also, because he was one of the first characters to speak in the old G1 series pilot, when he and Wheeljack were ripping off a bunch of conductor rods for their limited supply of Energon (not enough to last a quartex, apparently). Back then, Bumblebee turned into a cross between a manta ray and a flying saucer... a fact that was set to be referenced in Animated before the toy line was halted in the US/UK... but things are very different for War for Cybertron...

Saturday, 27 November 2010

War for Cybertron Megatron

Ever since the halcyon days of Generation 1, when it was perfectly acceptable for Megatron to transform into a slightly off-scale replica of a Walther P-38 handgun, he's had to make to with some bizarre alternate modes. From tanks to Tyranosaurus Rex to weird jets to sports cars... and so the revelation that, back on Cybertron, Megatron transformed into a tank is about as surprising as finding that Optimus Prime was a truck.

Which is to say not at all.

War for Cybertron Optimus Prime

When the game TransFormers: War for Cybertron was announced, it came as no surprise when a related toyline was revealed shortly thereafter. Coming in as part of Hasbro's general-purpose umbrella line, Generations, WfC figures are all - somewhat disappointingly - Deluxe class, though no less complex for that.

War for Cybertron is a supposedly canonical telling of the beginnings of the war that brought the TransFormers' homeworld to the brink of destruction. It charts the rise of a tyrannical Decepticon leader called Megatron, and the attempts by the Autobots to band together under a new, untried leader to save their planet. When first introduced, this new Autobot leader is known simply as 'Optimus', and seems to take on leadership by much the same means as John Connor in the Terminator story - he's the only one able to do it when the time comes.

At first, I wasn't inspired by this line. Cybertronian forms seem pointless - the point of this toyline is that the TransFormers are Robots In Disguise... and their homeworld forms are either too alien or too recognisable and similar to their Earth disguises to warrant much interest. However, the complexity of the engineering and the overall aesthetic slowly won me over... and while I suspect I won't be buying all the WfC figures, the first wave and some of the later entries might end up on my shelves.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

TransFormers Animated Ultra Magnus

One of the most amusing aspects of TransFormers Animated was its references to other TransFormers series and its stacks of in-jokes. One such sight gag came along with the arrival on Earth of the Elite Guard, led by Ultra Magnus. The inimitable Sentinel Prime was assigned the task of collecting inconspicuous alternate modes for the incoming robots... and Ultra Magnus was assigned a mobile artillery platform.

Strangely, Hasbro UK decided not to release this model in this, the original colourscheme, for some reason preferring the green and orange 'Roadbuster' repaint. I picked this up in Forbidden Planet, mainly because their markup wasn't too massive this time.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Generations Darkmount

I've always wondered, as a reader of Marvel Comics' G1 TransFormers comics, with all the characters available in the toyline, why did they feel the need to create new, key characters that weren't available as toys: Impactor, Emirate Xaaron, Scrounge, Spanner... and, of course, Straxus.

Or should that be Darkmount? Yes, yet again, trademark issues prevented Hasbro using the right name, but Darkmount is a suitable alternative for the first ever toy of one of Marvel's original TF Villains, since it's the name given to his base of operations in the comics. Considering that Straxus was only seen to transform once, and turned into some kind of wierd flying cannon - vaguely similar to Galvatron in some ways - what sort of alternate mode does he get for his first toy?