Friday, 22 November 2013

FansProject CA-12 Causality: Last Chance

The penultimate component of FansProject's homage to the Stunticons is Last Chance... kind of a strange name, considering the original was 'Dead End'... Still, what's in a name, eh?

This is the one I was looking forward to the least, because photos of the robot mode looked rather awkward and, unlike the rest of the team, his vehicle mode is not only physically nothing like the G1 original - a Porsche 928 - it's not even a car by the same manufacturer.

FansProject CA-11 Causality: Down Force

The final two limb components from FansProjects' unofficial Stunticons were a long time coming. Not sure quite why that was, considering their initial announcement wasn't that far behind Car Crash and T-Bone. Both were entirely new designs - an absolute necessity for their Drag Strip analogue at the very least - and, unlike CA-09 and CA-10, not clever re-shells of essentially the same transformation scheme.

Of the group, Down Force was always going to be the most contentious because his official G1 counterpart disguised himself as a Tyrell P34 racing car, a unique and rather radical design. I seem to recall quite a few complaints when images of Down Force first turned up on the fan sites simply because he only had four wheels rather that Drag Strip's six.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

TFCC Subscription Service Year 1 - A Retrospective & A Look Forward

When the Subscription Service was first announced and described, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, this was a potentially awesome new product from the Club which initially promised two exclusives per year, but took more than a year to deliver the first, then only really managed one per year thereafter. In that sense, a product which promised to deliver six figures over a six month period was a massive improvement in service.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2013 (Timelines) Ultra Mammoth

OK, people, here's the main event of the TransFormers Collectors' Club Subscription Service year one, the model I've been most keenly awaiting. Despite being a straight repaint of a Beast Wars figure, it tickled my fancy in several ways. First and foremost, the name is awesome: not quite a pun, but clever-ish wordplay nonetheless, and that kind of thing always amuses me in the TransFormers line. Next, it's hardly the most common mold - its only official western release was as Nemesis Prime in the much maligned Universe line of random repaints almost ten years ago. The club did well in its selection for this reason alone. Finally, the colourscheme is inspired. OK, it's inspired by the G1 character this model is meant to represent, but the distribution of colours and the extent of the paint job, going by the publicity mock-ups alone, was excellent.

And I'm not the only one waxing lyrical about this model, David Willis - creator of Shortpacked! and other webcomics - created a 13-page fan-fic Comic in honour of the club's latest exclusive.

But after a full year of waiting since he was announced and all the hype, does Ultra Mammoth live up to all the expectations?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Galaxy Force Live Convoy

If there's one thing the TransFormers line doesn't do well, it's helicopters. Those rotor blades and long, thin tails invariably end up just hanging off somewhere awkward, and the overall shape tends to be in the region of a brick with a long, thin tail and rotor blades.

There have been exceptions to this rule, such as TF: Prime Airachnid and movie Blazemaster/Evac/Tailwhip, and even movie Blackout (to an extent - his tail hangs from his back) but, by and large, they don't work very well and tend to follow the same, fairly simplistic transformation schemes.

Back in the days of Cybertron/Galaxy Force, risks were taken with the robot designs, and the Voyager class helicopter Evac/Live Convoy did things a little differently...

TransFormers: Prime Megatron

For no obvious reason, Megatron has become a very difficult character to do 'right' in the TransFormers toyline and, by extension, the fiction. The G1 character was iconic and recreating his original alternate mode, a handgun, has proven contentious for many years. In many ways, transforming into a gun is the ultimate expression of Megatron's power... though it does come with the built-in drawback of needing someone else to wield him. Since G1 he's been a tank (several times), a dragon (several times), a purple dinosaur, a spider-tank head thing, a spacecraft, a car (twice) and a helicopter. In the live action movies, he was a jet (of sorts), a tank, and finally a rusty, heavily modified truck. In the many incarnations of Classics/Generations, he's been a Nerf gun, a Cybertronian tank and, most recently, a stealth bomber.

TF Prime, in some ways a development of the live action movies, has him as some kind of Cybertronian jet/spacecraft. Personally, I've found just about every 'Cybertronian' alternate mode in the history of the toyline to be lacklustre and ill-conceived... Does TF Prime break that awful tradition?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

TransFormers: Prime Cliffjumper

Cliffjumper was an interesting if contentious addition to the first wave of TF Prime Robots In Disguise. The character was the first to appear in the TV series, joking with Arcee as they patrolled their sectors, but gets killed off before the end of the first episode, returning only briefly as a Dark Energon zombie and, thereafter, only in flashbacks. That he deserved a toy I don't argue - particularly since this is the first time since Generation 1 that a toyline has had both Bumblebee and Cliffjumper as unique molds - but putting him in the first wave - and in such great numbers - clearly left most fans cold, and he was sitting on shelves for months. In fact, even now, approximately twenty months after the toyline made its début in the UK, it's still possible to find Cliffjumper in some shops.

Making it all the more infuriating, there was a First Edition version of Cliffjumper as well. The character may have warranted one toy, but two?

But enough about Hasbro doing everything wrong... What's the Cliffjumper toy like?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2013 (Timelines) Jackpot

And so we approach the end of the first year of Fun Publications' TransFormers Collectors' Club Subscription Service. Jackpot, the penultimate figure, is yet another Action Master turned into a 'true' TransFormer... And, just to make things as inconsistent as possible, rather than taking his form from Classics or TF Prime or any number of other sources that would fit with the rest of the Subscription Service, they went and adapted a mold from TF Animated, even going so far as to give it a (largely unnecessary) new head sculpt.

You might almost get the impression I don't like this one...

TransFormers: Prime Bumblebee

Well, I had to get around to this fella eventually, so why not sooner rather than later? Bumblebee has been a fixture of TransFormers fiction over the last five or so years, having been cruelly neglected for many years after Generation 1. There was an excellent Classics figure (which has yet to be surpassed, in my humble opinion) but it's only really since the live action movies and TF Animated that Bumblebee has been ubiquitous in the toyline, to the point where seeing only one version of him in a line is highly irregular.

TF Prime took a leaf out of the movie franchise's book, casting Bumblebee as effectively mute, communicating in buzzes and beeps, much like a latter-day R2-D2. The First Edition toy was generally praised for its accuracy to the TV show but, just like the other FE models, he was completely redone for the mainstream toyline, Robots in Disguise.