Monday, 30 March 2015

FansProject Causality CA-02 Flameblast

The main problem with Crossfire 02A - Explorer - half of FansProject's initial foray into building full components for a gestalt - was that it rather needs to be displayed as part of the upgraded Energon Bruticus Maximus for the best effect. The unfortunate side-effect being you don't get to see how awesome Explorer is in and of himself.

I was very pleased, then, to find that FansProject decided to release both Explorer and Munitioner in new colourschemes - based on the G2 versions of Blast Off and Swindle, respectively - with new head sculpts and unique accessories, after the initial run of Combaticon clones. When I saw them on a stall at one of the conventions I occasionally attend, I snapped up the pair straight away, so I could make the most of the molds on my shelves.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

TransFormers (Movie) Dropkick

One of the most disappointing things about TransFormers movie toylines, ever since the first, is the swiftly diminishing number of toys of characters that weren't in the movies. Back in 2007/2008, Hasbro really went to town extending the toyline beyond the small cast of the first movie with entirely new and unique molds. Where extra characters were introduced more recently, they've tended to be straight repaints of existing models.

Dropkick is another character from the heyday of live action movie toys, based on a one of the videogame's drone units... but with a small twist...

Friday, 27 March 2015

Perfect Effect Motobot: PE-DX01 RC

(Femme-Bot Friday #11)
Perfect Effect started out making small and, frankly, quite odd accessories for TransFormers, some of which transformed. My first experience of their figures was PE-01R/F, a pair of TargetMasters modelled after G1 Frenzy and Rumble (and given the correct names for the colourschemes, rather than following the long-running error in the G1 cartoon!). I'll write them up in detail eventually but, suffice it to say, I have mixed feelings about them.

The company very quickly graduated - like so many other third party toymakers - into full-blown TransFormers-style figures, starting with a Reflector analogue then, in 2012, only three years after their debut on the scene, releasing one of the most ambitious third party models that had been seen at the time - a homage to G1 Arcee by way of TRON, which nodded to both the live-action movie interpretation and TF Prime. RC initially came in pink (G1 homage) and blue (TF Prime homage, perhaps), so I had to carefully consider my options when choosing which to buy for myself. With MMC's Azalea already on my shelves, I began to feel the need for more pink femme-bots to balance things out.

Friday, 20 March 2015

TransFormers (Movie) Arcee G1 Colour Edition

(Femme-Bot Friday #10)
Aside from a 'Battle Damaged' repaint, the first live action movie Arcee didn't get any repaints outside of Takara Tomy's territories, which I've always thought was a great shame. It wasn't a licensed vehicle so, theoretically, Hasbro could do as they pleased with it. Granted, my high opinion of the mold doesn't mean it must have been commercially successful, but considering the secondary market for the Takara Tomy repaints, some folks out there must like it.

This was the first of the repaints I laid my hands on, and it was the easiest to come by, despite being created specifically for a Japanese toy show over a year after the movie came out...

Friday, 13 March 2015

TransFormers: Prime Arcee

(Femme-Bot Friday #9)
I've already raved about the First Edition version of this character, but that was rather harder to come by than the mass market 'Robots in Disguise' version. Naturally, this is a smaller, simpler model - cheaper to produce, that is - to fill what was to Hasbro, apparently, an unexpected demand for toys based on their new TV show.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Generations (30th Anniversary) Swerve & Flanker

Back when I first started collecting TransFormers toys, the bigger toys tended to be birthday or Christmas presents, and the vast majority of my own purchases were the likes of the Mini Autobots - small, affordable, carded vehicles with simple transformations into dinky little robots. Up until the 1986 wave, there were few I didn't pick up, but Swerve was one I didn't bother with as he was a rather dull repaint/remold of Gears, who wasn't one of the best from the original 1984 lineup.

These days, of course, we have IDW turning all sorts of terrible G1 toys into super-cool characters, just so Hasbro can release new, super-articulated updated toys, and Swerve seems to have become a fan-favourite among IDW's readership. However, rather than release today's Mini Autobots on their own, Hasbro have started including TargetMasters, so Swerve is partnered with Flanker, a mis-named, mis-coloured G1 Micromaster reference

Monday, 9 March 2015

TransFormers Collectors' Club BotCon 2011 (Timelines) Shattered Glass Galvatron

Shattered Glass was a somewhat predictable idea, but executed surprisingly well... and Fun Publications certainly know how to milk a cash cow. Despite the focus of BotCon 2011 being the extended TF Animated story of The Stunti-Con Job, they saw fit to thrown in a couple of off-theme attendee exclusives. One was a bizarre repaint of the Classics Seeker mold as Action Master Thundercracker, while the other was an utterly glorious addition to the Shattered Glass line-up - Megatron resurrected, once again, as Galvatron!

Friday, 6 March 2015

TransFormers (Movie) Elita-1 (Target Exclusive)

(Femme-Bot Friday #8)
Since I've already dealt with this mold a couple of times already, I figure I may as well play this one differently. Here we have another repaint of an Energon/Superlink toy, this time live action movie-branded. Since Arcee had already been done as a Deluxe by this point, Hasbro decided to create the first official Elita-1 toy, paving the way, amusingly enough, for the 'wheelsnakes' in Revenge of the Fallen.

But, rather than being something awesome - a belated acknowledgement of how cool femme-bots can be - something went terribly, terribly wrong with this release...

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

If I didn't know any better...

...I'd suspect folks at Hasbro were actually reading my opinion pieces. As it is, I suspect I am merely one of many who feel the terrible truncated 'bios' they've printed on their packaging over the last few years are utterly inadequate...

...Because Wave 2 of Combiner Wars toys feature something surprisingly close to the Tech Specs cards of Generation 1: proper bios, written from the point of view of IDW's Rung (for the Autobots) or Soundwave (for the Decepticons) which actually tell you something about each character, what they're capable of, and what their weapons do. It's basically exactly the sort of thing I wanted.

Now if only they'd printed it either on a separate card within the package, or on a section of the card/box that could be easily cut out and stored...

Oh and, Hasbro, please make sure you keep them intact for the UK release. Truncate and translate for mainland Europe if you must, but if artwork exists for full English language bios, that's what I'd like to see in the British shops.

Monday, 2 March 2015

AM16 Arms Micron (TFPrime) Jet Vehicon

When I did my write up of the Legion class Jet Vehicon, I noted that a UK release of the Deluxe class model was highly unlikely and that import prices were rather high. In the run-up to Christmas 2014, I found the Arms Micron figure listed on Amazon and added it to my wish list in the expectation that I'd buy it myself once my finances seemed a bit more stable.

What I didn't reckon on was my amazing parents deciding to pick him up for me. This was probably the biggest Christmas surprise I've had in a while, even though my girlfriend's folks got me Hunter Shockwave last year, because my family generally seem reluctant to feed my TransFormers habit unless it's something I've already bought myself, which they then refund me for so they can give it to me as a birthday or Christmas present.

But I digress... One of the interesting things about TF Prime is that it showed the Decepticons bolstering their numbers with faceless, nameless (other than Steve, obviously) Vehicons, some of whom were ground-based while others were 'aircraft', though all shared a common robot mode.