Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Studio Series #09 Thundercracker

Studio Series appears to present a certain element at Hasbro in a more experimental light. Traditionally, the mold used to make a Starscream would inevitably soon be used as either Skywarp, Thundercracker, or both, with remarkably few exceptions. Given the new, and largely pretty well-received Voyager class Starscream toy in the Studio Series line, one could be forgiven for expecting F-22 Seeker repaints from that, as we'd had from the Deluxe class Dark of the Moon toy and the original movie's Voyager class toy.

However, when a Thundercracker toy was revealed - without any rumours preceding the appearance of photos online - it had been made as a repaint of the awesome Nitro (Zeus) mold from The Last Knight. It's probably already quite apparent that I'm a fan of the mold - not least because I also bought the upscaled, upgraded Black Mamba version - so I was very keen to get my hands on him.

As luck would have it, he was originally released in the US as a Toys'R'Us exclusive, right around the time the toy retail giants were going into administration both in the US and the UK... so, fearing that I might lose out, I took to eBay, and picked him up for not much more than the £35 RRP. At the time, I was perfectly happy to pay over the odds, particularly on import, as I just didn't want to miss him and have to pay a ridiculous sum, tracking him down years later, on the secondary market...

...But of course, that proved not to be a problem, as I've been seeing him on the shelves of The Entertainer for months - not quite plentiful enough to be a shelfwarmer, but easily available... and at the reduced price of about £20.

Ah well, let's have a look at him...

Monday, 20 May 2019

Combiner Wars Shockwave

As one of those G1 toys that transformed into a gun - albeit a sci-fi laser blaster rather than a real world handgun, like G1 Megatron - Shockwave has more recently become 'problematic' as a toy. He hasn't had a great number of toys since the 1980s, and they've tended to be tanks of one form or another.

The only version of Shockwave to appear in the Generations line was based on his appearance in the Fall of Cybertron videogame, and looked weirdly spindly in robot mode, with an unimaginative - not to mention largely unidentifiable - alternate mode, so I didn't bother picking it up.

Then came Combiner Wars, which gave us a more G1-styled Shockwave, complete with a built-in reference to the TV show... But is a Legends class Shockwave really worth bothering with?

Sunday, 19 May 2019

War For Cybertron: Siege Soundwave + Spy Patrol

Long-time readers of this blog may be aware that G1 Soundwave (& Buzzsaw) was the very first Decepticon toy I ever owned so, while I don't end up buying every iteration of the character, I do have a strong nostalgic connection to that particular physical form. Thus, when a Soundwave toy enters my collection, it tends to happen very much with reference to how it makes me feel versus the original. For example, Music Label Soundwave - who has been my Classics Soundwave for over a decade - was a decent reworking of the original, albeit on a smaller scale and with a poorly executed MP3 player gimmick installed. TF Prime Soundwave took an entirely different tack, and put the original character into a sinister, spindly new form. I didn't bother with the Titans Return version as it lost too much of what makes Soundwave Soundwave in service of the line's HeadMaster and base mode gimmicks...

...But here we have a new Soundwave for the latest chapter of Generations, taking the character back to his pre-G1 state, but not taking any cues from the War for Cybertron videogame and instead focussing on his G1 appearance, but with what passes for 'a fresh spin' at Hasbro these days.

I knew going in that I wasn't going to like this toy, but I'd had £30 of Forbidden Planet vouchers in my wallet since last year, and no clue what to do with them, so I took the opportunity to pick up this toy - and the 'Soundwave Spy Patrol' set of Ravage and Laserbeak - for next to nothing... And since I don't feel that one has much value without the other, I'm going to write about them together.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Iron Factory IF EX-16A Alleria (aka The Lady Commander)

(Femme-Bot Friday #67)
There comes a point in my collecting where I realise that my OCD about certain things - particularly Femme-Bots in recent years - has led me to buy essentially the same damned thing over and over again, and I'm hit by a wave of buyers' remorse. It started to happen as I bought Mastermind Creations' original Azalea and several of the repaints (though I do find that I still rather want Eupatorium), so I really should have seen it coming with Iron Factory's Pink Assassin repaints... But when I saw that their take on Elita-1 would be a pack-in with their Ultimate Commander (a sort of combination of a Cybertronian Optimus Prime and the Godbomber accessory minus its own individual robot mode), I found myself mesmerised into ordering it, despite having no interest in the main figure in the box.

So far, I've fought off the urge to buy their Combaticon leader Onslaught-analogue just for its extremely tempting 'Pink Assassin Combiner Hunter' pack-in, so let's have a quick look at this one to see if any buyers' remorse is justified...

Sunday, 5 May 2019

TransFormers: Prime Dreadwing

Arriving later in the TV show than his brother, Dreadwing at least managed to last a little longer into the series, though never quite became a series regular. He'd be absent for ages before suddenly popping up briefly to further his quest for revenge against the Autobots, ultimately discovering they weren't even really responsible for Skyquake's death.

Dreadwing had the screentime to display generally more character than his brother, and turned out to be one of the more ambiguous Decepticons - loyal to his leader, but willing to fight alongside the Autobots if the situation demanded it. For me, though, the most outstanding thing about him was that he was voiced by the awesome and unmistakable Tony Todd, whose gravelly tones lent the character a sense of power and authority.

Skyquake's toy turned out to be the sort of ambitious yet flawed figure that characterised the TFPrime line, so let's have a look at his repaint...