Saturday, 25 May 2013

Micron Legend Starscream

The TransFormers toyline has always taken artistic license with its depictions of aeroplanes. From those models with the whole robot folded up into a block on the underside of an otherwise immobile plane, to the strange, bulky craft that could never become airborne. In more recent years, the designers and engineers have taken a few more risks with the way a plane could turn into a robot, such as Reveal the Shield Lugnut, but Micron Legend/Armada was known for its bulky and simplistic models... How could such clunky engineering tackle the requirement for svelte, elegant lines required for aircraft?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Superlink Laserwave

Shockwave is one of many characters who had been overlooked in the TransFormers toy ranges following G1 and, technically, he wasn't really a TransFormer anyway - he was one of many third party transforming robots who was repurposed by Hasbro.

Strangely, Hasbro/Takara Tomy seemed to lose access to the name 'Shockwave' for several years, not to mention applying it, seemingly at random, to the character known as Tidal Wave in the west, leading to miscellaneous variations on the theme of Shock/Laser/Blast/Wave for any character fans might recognise as Ol' One Eye.

As another robot who originally turned into a gun - an enormous, purple laser gun, no less - but such alternate modes are very much out of fashion these days. Since Megatron moved on to being a tank, it's surely logical that someone like Shockwave, generally to be found with a honking great cannon on one arm, would follow suit... And so, we have Laserwave...

Monday, 6 May 2013

TransFormers (Movie) Final Battle Jazz

If there's one thing I absolutely hate in toylines, it's the gratuitous 'battle damage' schtick. I'm not even sure it's popular with 'the kids' because, let's face it, both the battles and the damage will be imagined in play anyway... there's no need to mold it or paint it on to the toy... Hell, some kids (and customisers) will inflict physical battle damage themselves, if they so desire...

...So what on Earth possessed me to buy this?

Reveal the Shield Strafe

One of Hasbro's stranger habits is releasing the same mold in two different colourschemes, but with exactly the same head sculpt, where one version is an Autobot and the other is a Decepticon. In many instances, this works well enough, as the colourschemes and paint layouts are sufficiently different that a very different character clearly emerges.

Reveal the Shield Strafe is a strange homage to one of the G1 Technobots, so the mold originally given to Revenge of the Fallen Mindwipe seems a rather odd choice, not least in the choice of size class. In fact, this mold was also used as a Japanese exclusive update of G2 Dreadwind/g (which, in my humble opinion, probably should have been Soundwave). Also, considering the 'partner' Scout mold, Skystalker (repainted as Laserbeak and G2 homage Smokescreen - aka Smokejumper) has never been released as an Autobot, it seems extremely strange for this mold to be used for one of the good guys... But does it work?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

FansProject Crossfire 02 - Upgraded Combaticons/Bruticus

When Takara/Hasbro released sets of combiners in the Superlink/Energon line, many were underwhelmed. Generation 1 gave us teams of five unique robots and, even with their somewhat limited articulation and the dodgy 'head as connector' limb mechanic, they were something very special. Superlink/Energon cut corners by using two different paint jobs for only two different 'limb' molds to give us the the required four limbs so, even with vastly improved articulation in the component robots and somewhat improved articulation in the gestalt, it lacked the 'jumbled', jury-rigged aesthetic of the 80s toyline.

Also... none of them had real hands, which was a bit of a downer.

So when FansProject announced they were making two alternate limb robots for the Superlink/Energon Bruticus set, to replace Blackout/Blast Off and Blight/Swindle with unofficial robots in disguise, whose alternate modes more closely resembled their eponymous G1 counterparts, things got a bit exciting.

Friday, 3 May 2013

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2007 Exclusive (Timelines) Astrotrain

One of Fun Publications' stated aims when they took on the license as Official TransFormers Collectors' Club was to release two Club exclusives per year, and to pick up some unreleased store-exclusive repaints from the much-maligned Universe subline. Their first choice was 'Spacewarp', originally a straight repaint of Armada Jetfire packaged with three space-themed Mini-Cons. For several reasons, changes were made along the lines toward getting it made, including a whole new head sculpt to go some way toward explaining the name change. Astrotrain was eventually released about a year late... and met with a rather tepid reaction.