Friday, 29 June 2018

TransFormers Adventure/Prime of Micron TAV55 Windblade

(Femme-Bot Friday #51)
As a general rule, I'm happy to buy the same mold multiple times if each one represents either a different character or a different version of a character that I'm particularly keen on. What I won't tend to do, except in certain circumstances, is take Hasbro up on its offer of cynical repaints of the same character in the same mold, just because they want more of my money. With very few exceptions, I'd be reluctant to buy repaints that happen for plot reasons... though limited edition repaints tend to get a free pass.

With Hasbro's Robots in Disguise (2015) line, I've not only ended up buying more of the toyrange than I'd imagined at the start, but I've subsequently replaced several of them with Takara Tomy's TransFormers Adventure versions due to their vastly superior paint jobs. One such example is Windblade, whose RID2015 toy was absurdly underpainted and barely resembled her on-screen counterpart. I even concluded that write-up wondering about Takara Tomy's version, which I acquired almost a year later.

Is it as significant an improvement as I'd hoped..?

Friday, 22 June 2018

Studio Series #03 Crowbar

Given that we never got to see the Seekers in Michael Bay's TransFormers movies (not properly, anyway, they were paid lip service when Wheelie described a set of photos produced by Simmons as depicting Seekers, who had been on Earth "for thousands of years, looking for something" but, aside from introducing Jetfire as seemingly the last remaining Seeker on Earth, the concept wasn't explored any further), the Dreads, introduced (and sadly killed off) in Dark of the Moon, effectively filled their role... And rather than being jets, they all transformed into sober black Chevrolet Suburbans, all seemingly law enforcement vehicles.

Sadly, the Dark of the Moon toyline brought the three Dreads out in different size classes, and each was given a unique vehicle mode - Crankcase was the only Deluxe at the time, turning into a Suburban, Hatchet was a Cyberverse Commander and turned into a jet(!), while Crowbar only ever made it as a dinky Cyberverse Legion class figure, turning into a car.

Now, however, hot on the tails of The Last Knight's Berserker figure (aka Crankcase v2), Hasbro's Studio Series has delivered a Deluxe class Crowbar, superficially similar to the TLK figure... Sounds great in theory, but is it surplus to requirements?

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Armada Skywarp

While Takara Tomy made two versions of Micron Legend Starscream, Hasbro took the colourscheme of the Supermode version and released it as Thundercracker. Since Armada happened back in the days where Hasbro would happily feed the fans' Seeker OCD, they also released a Skywarp to complete the set (following up with a nonsensical Ramjet repaint in the Universe line, then neglecting to round out the Coneheads with an Armada-style Dirge or Thrust).

Unlike Thundercracker/Supermode Starscream, however, Skywarp got some remolded parts to properly differentiate himself from the others, beyond a simple change in colourscheme... but how big a deal was it really?

Saturday, 16 June 2018

TransFormers Legends (Titans Return) LG42 Godbomber

Certain aspects of Takara Tomy's take on TransFormers nomenclature have always baffled me. Way back in G1, some retained their Hasbro names, while others got weird, monosyllabic replacements, like Gong (Brawn), Gren (Hook) or Sprang (Springer), which almost read like Furman-style sound effect captions from the comics. Some names - Condor (Laserbeak), Jaguar (Ravage), Lambor (Sideswipe) - were descriptive of one mode or the other. Some were even cooler than the Hasbro names (Meister, arguably a more apt name than Jazz)...

...Then there were the crazy names, like Goshooter, Black Zarak, Blue Bacchus, Road Caesar, Killbison... and, of course, Godbomber.

As well as being its own TransFormer - or Partsformer, at least - Godbomber was an upgrade set for Super Ginrai... but while Super Ginrai was released outside Japan in a simplified form as PowerMaster Optimus Prime, the add-on set didn't reach the West until the Commemorative Series set in 2003. For this release, Godbomber was renamed Apex Bomber and packaged with the fully retooled Japanese version of PowerMaster Prime. Whether Godbomber was originally skipped because it wasn't fully compatible with the earlier, cut-down Western market PMOP or simply because Hasbro were concerned that the name might offend religious types, I've no idea... but it's abundantly clear that there's no Titans Return version because TR Powermaster Prime uses too many parts from Combiner Wars/Legends Ultra Magnus - particularly the feet - which make him incompatible with the Legends version of Godbomber. The only compatible option from Hasbro's toyline was Magnus Prime, released as part of the Seige on Cybertron boxed set (though, as far as I'm aware, this never made it to UK retail).

Lucky I'd bought Super Ginrai instead, then, right?

Friday, 15 June 2018

Iron Factory IF EX-05 Windsaber (aka Miko for IronTitan)

(Femme-Bot Friday #50)
You know a new character has made it in the popularity stakes when the Third Parties start churning out their own versions, and it didn't take long for the 'fan-built bot' Windblade. It actually also made a lot of sense for Iron Factory to produce their own, diminutive version of Windblade since none of Hasbro's own output really scales properly with the likes of Metroplex. After all, one of the character's defining characteristics is that she's one of the few able to communicate with these city-sized robots, despite being ant-like in comparison.

Since 50 Femme-Bot Fridays is a bit of a milestone, I'm going to celebrate it by kicking off a short run on the remaining Windblades in my collection. This will include a comparison between a Hasbro version of the character already covered in my FBF series and the Takara Tomy version I've picked up more recently, as well as a direct Titans Return/Legends comparison of the most recent model... but the first will be Iron Factory's takes on the original, and concluding part will be the SDCC2015 Combiner Hunters-inspired repaint...

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Revenge of the Fallen Nightbeat

One of my favourite Generation 1 characters was Nightbeat, the Cybertronian detective forged in the image of the traditional Film Noir gumshoe, with the exception of his ostentatious choice to 'disguise' himself as a blue and yellow Porsche 959 with red flame patterns on his doors.

The former Collectors' Club released their exclusive version - based on the Energon Hot Shot mold, which had a fairly similar vehicle mode - which just happens to be the first proper post I ever made to this blog. A few photos of the G1 version were included there, in lieu of a proper write-up of that (which I will get to... eventually... I do feel like doing some G1 stuff soon...), but Nightbeat is one of those fringe characters who has gone unrepresented in the mainstream toyline ever since...

...Until he was referenced (weirdly) in the Real Gear subline from the first movie, only to return in this (slightly) more traditional form in the extended Revenge of the Fallen toyline.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Mastermind Creations Cyber Engine Knight Morpher KM-06 Stormer

It was always my intention to spread out my write-ups of Mastermind Creations' Knight Morpher Seekers simply to avoid the risk of monotony, writing about the same mold in three different colourschemes, but I'd hoped to get through more than one per year! At least this one is only eight months after the last, rather than the 21 months I left between the first two...

In any case, the Steampunk Thundercracker is the last of the set, and I think it's a shame Mastermind Creations haven't continued the Cyber Engine Knight Morpher subline, but Reformatted seems to be more generally appealing and, having now actually read Hearts of Steel... I think leaving it behind after the Seekers was probably for the best.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Studio Series #07 Grimlock

Yes, yes, the Eternal Despiser of Dinobots has picked up another Dinobot toy and - hypocrisy piled upon hypocrisy - it's a live action movie Dinobot at that. Here's the thing, though: similar to The Last Knight's Megatron, movie Grimlock's design isn't inherently bad generally... it's only inherently bad within the context of TransFormers. If someone had come up with a property in which robotic dinosaurs evolved the ability to transform into humanoid 'knights' in an attempt to combat a bunch of robotic 'knights' that transform into spacecraft, with AOE Grimlock and TLK Megatron being their leaders, I might be tempted to give it a look... it's just not right for TransFormers, in my opinion. Plus, given the way the movie Dinobots and TLK Megatron look, I'd struggle to decide who the good guys were supposed to be...

Which brings us to the Studio Series, where Hasbro are taking the opportunity to release whole new molds of 'popular' characters from throughout the live action movie franchise, and one of the first Leader class figures to be released is Age of Extinction Grimlock. Roundly received as looking far more accurate to the CGI and with an appropriately subdued paint job, rather than the garish copper, silver/grey and black of the versions released in the AoE toyline, I'm still not entirely sure why I caved in and bought him... But let's have a look and see if we can figure it out.

Friday, 1 June 2018

TransFormers Collectors' Club BotCon 2014 (Timelines) Flareup

(Femme-Bot Friday #49)
BotCon 2014's theme - 'Pirates vs Knights' - was one that didn't resonate with me in the least. The boxed set had little of interest, and the vast majority of the attendee extras seemed pretty bland. There were two exceptions, both attendee exclusives. The first, because I can't resist a Femme-Bot Fatale, was Flamewar, a repaint of Beast Hunters Arcee, the second was another Arcee repaint, Flareup... and, coincidentally, both characters appeared in BotCon 2005's 'Descent into Evil' set using the Energon Arcee mold.

I have a general fondness for motorcycle femme-bots, but didn't pick up 2005's Flareup as I already have several variations on the Energon Arcee mold and thought the new head sculpt was terrible. I hadn't planned to get this one either, but it turned up on eBay at a very reasonable cost, which tipped the balance in its favour. Let's see how she shapes up...