Saturday, 15 January 2011

Henkei Inferno

There are times, in this world, where the inclusion of chromed plastic is excessive - an unnecessary luxury which may or may not do something to improve the look of a model. Typically, chrome has been wholly eschewed by Hasbro in the many permutations of the line that began as Classics a couple of years ago. For the most part, Classics have not suffered for want of chromed plastic and, certainly, when Takara Tomy began Henkei, their equivalent line, the use of chrome was positively vulgar in some cases.

Then there are times when the lack of chrome, and certain other aspects of the colourscheme, in the Hasbro version of a model puts it at a disadvantage. Such is the case with the updated form of G1 Inferno. The US/UK release was molded mainly in a dark, almost burnt red, with bronzish parts and a touch of silver here and there. The watergun was left as plain black plastic. Takara Tomy's version, meanwhile, uses what can only be described as 'fire engine red' - could anything be more appropriate? - and chrome is used quite sparingly - for Henkei - to cover the watergun and a couple of panels only seen in robot mode.

To cut a long story short, I wasn't intending to get Inferno - the mold seemed awkward, not quite right either in vehicle or robot modes - until I saw the Henkei version. At that point, all the deficiencies were outweighed by the improved colourscheme and paint job.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Human Alliance Jazz

It cannot be overstated (certainly not within this blog, at any rate) how beneficial the live action movies have been to TransFormers as a toy line. Without the impossible CGI transformations, we wouldn't have the level of complexity that we enjoy with the more recent lines, not least the TransFormers/Revenge of the Fallen toy lines.

Human Alliance is one of the highlights of this new level of complexity, with the added benefit of a whole new level of screen accuracy. I've not yet written up the movie Jazz figures, but the Deluxe Class models - while not significantly smaller in vehicle mode - are inferior to this model in every way. Granted, the toy designers for the first movie line were working with pre-production artwork all the way, but Jazz suffered from poor proportions, terrible articulation, and a serious case of being made short and stubby. Technically, Jazz was supposed to be one of the smallest Autobots (um... Bumblebee anyone?), but the Deluxe was terrible. Thankfully, this version remedies all of that.

Masterpiece MP01 Convoy

I can't believe I've taken this long to get round to writing about the first in Takara's Masterpiece line, begun in 2004 along with Binaltech as part of the 20th Anniversary of the TransFormers brand. This model, more than anything else, is responsible for me getting back into collecting TransFormers. I don't remember now whether I got this or Binaltech BT01 Smokescreen first, but both blew me away in terms of detailed alternate modes and improved poseability in robot mode. The Masterpiece line has had its fair share of detractors, not least because of the excessive re-use of this mold (MP02 Ultra Magnus, MP04 Convoy & Trailer, MP01b Convoy Black Version, MP04S Convoy & Trailer Sleep Mode) cheapening the whole 'masterpiece' concept. It has, however, produced some awesome models and this, while only the first, is no exception.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Alternators Rumble

OK, so the whole point of the Binaltech/Alternators line was to update some of the characters from Generation 1 using contemporary performance cars... So... where did it all go wrong? I mean, let's face it, Rumble - the Decepticons' diminutive street punk, and one of the last Alternators to ever be produced - is hardly a fitting match for the Honda Civic, is he? First of all, the car is in nothing like the same league as the Chevrolet Corvette, the Dodge Viper, or even the Subaru Impreza. OK, the Toyota dB isn't exactly King of the Street Racers either, but at least it was in keeping with the Generation 1 character of Skids, the Autobot Theoretician, who was originally a Honda City Turbo. And the Alternators release of Skids had a customised 'flaming wheel' paint job to make it look more impressive... whereas this...