Thursday, 27 June 2019

Power of the Primes Evolution Rodimus Unicronus

As previously mentioned, my original intention with the scant Leader class selection from Power of the Primes was to skip Rodimus Prime entirely, instead picking up his blantant Shattered Glass homage repaint, Rodimus Unicronus. Hasbro had come up with a cover story, to the effect that this version of Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime was under the sway of Unicron, via the Matrix of Chaos, but there are too many Shattered Glass references to ignore.

The 'good guy' version of this mold turned out to be far better than I'd expected, so let's take a look at his 'bad guy' repaint, and see if he follows the pattern whereby black repaints of any toy are better than the originals.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Titans Return: Titan Masters Apeface & Overboard

One aspect of Titans Return which seemed underdeveloped in the toyline - not to mention completely unexplored in the terrible Machinima animated show - was the packs of Titan Master figures that came with approximately Scout class transforming vehicles and beasts with weapon forms but no robot modes to accompany their head form. The Titan Masters could ride or become part of these, but their role as HeadMasters was to be reserved for the Deluxe class or larger toys... which already had heads of their own.

Since, unlike the G1 interpretation of HeadMasters, the Titan Masters were supposed confer some sort of power boost or upgrade upon the larger figures, but neither the packaging nor the instructions actually detailed any of this (although Hasbro did release a digital mini-comic/bio booklet to fill in the blanks) it was pretty much left up to the imagination of the individual what these replacement heads would do for any of the larger toys.

The triple-changing accessories to provide a bit more play value, as their weapon modes could be wielded by the larger robots but, on the whole, they seemed a bit pointless. The only reason I bought these two was to turn them into Overlord's Powermasters via an upgrade kit made available at TFNation 2017 by the Nottingham Robot Company. Since that didn't pan out, I may as well give them their own little write-up...

Saturday, 22 June 2019

TransFormers Legends (Titans Return) LG46 TargetMaster Kup (aka Chear)

Kup doesn't often appear in TransFormers toylines - coming from the latter part of Generation 1, and introduced to most audiences in the 1986 animated movie, he's never been one of the 'must have' characters. Much like Hot Rod and Blur, his original toy was a bit of a brick, designed to resemble the ridiculously stylised Floro Dery animation model, which took the TV show's habit of fudging the toys' transformation sequence and cranking it up to eleven because he (and/or the rest of the design team) were working from scratch rather than from existing toys and box art.

Thus, Kup became a futuristic, Cybertronian pickup truck and, bar his appearance in a BotCon set as a repaint/retool of Galaxy Force First Aid (representing a young version of Kup, a new recruit in the Elite Guard), his only other appearances in the toyline have been as a more traditional terrestrial pickup in the Generations toyline back in 2011 and a bulked-up repaint of a mold intended for Ironhide in the TFPrime toyline.

Titans Return went back to the original Cybertronian vehicle style, albeit perhaps more functional-looking (G1 Kup's cargo bed didn't look very useful, after all), but the colourscheme looked a bit too lurid for my liking so, coupled with a typically miserly paint job, the lacklustre weapons and a rather bland face sculpt, I decided not to bother picking him up. Then Takara Tomy revealed their Legends version, with an animation accurate desaturated colourscheme, several remolded parts (including a more grizzled face sculpt)... and a TargetMaster weapon too... So I decided to take the plunge after all.

Friday, 14 June 2019

War For Cybertron: Siege Sixgun

I realise that I've been pretty disparaging, not to say outright hostile, toward the first chapter of the War for Cybertron line, but have to admit that it's not entirely without merit... just that what merit it has is vastly outweighed by the dullest G1 reboot ever concieved and the excessive and unnecessary 'battle damage' paint jobs.

The first real ray of hope I saw was in the images of the upcoming Weaponiser, Brunt - a reimagining of Trypticon's tank drone as a Deluxe class transforming (OK, partsforming) robot in his own right. With Cog and Sixgun being the only other Weaponisers thusfar revealed, there didn't seem to be a great deal of mileage to the concept, and their alternate modes didn't really inspire me to begin with.

However, while waiting for Brunt to appear in the UK, and with a couple of Siege toys already in-hand, I found myself seeing Sixgun in a new light, and ended up adding him to a recent order with the Nottingham Robot Company, pretty much out of curiosity - both for the toy specifically and the Weaponiser gimmick generally.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Studio Series #23 KSI Sentry

The trials and tribulations I had over Studio Series Thundercracker seem insignificant compared to the trouble I had obtaining KSI Sentry. Ostensibly part of the fourth wave of Deluxe class toys - along with Dropkick (from the Bumblebee movie) in his helicopter form, he was on my must-buy list from the start because it seemed unlikely the SS Stinger/Pagani Huayra mold would ever get re-used as a proper character.

However, just to make life interesting, I've yet to see a single one 'in the wild', despite having seen Dropkick appear both online and in one bricks-and-mortar shop (though that was Forbidden Planet in London, so shouldn't really count). Again, I resorted to eBay and, again, thankfully didn't have to pay too much over the odds to get him - in fact, were it not for the shipping fee, he would have been slightly cheaper than at UK retail.

But was it worth the hassle?

Friday, 7 June 2019

Studio Series #40 Shatter

(Femme-Bot Friday #68)
When the villains in the Bumblebee solo movie were first announced, the fan reaction was a little muted... Who were Shatter and Dropkick? Sure, they looked interesting and distinct enough, but why not use existing characters from the vast stable of Decepticons from G1 onwards?

Well, in the grand tradition of Hollywood action movie villains, they turned out to be wholly disposeable, existing only as temporary adversaries to the titular hero, and a source of threat to all the humans. Even so, screenwriter Christina Hodson dared to do what Michael Bay's team balked at: she made one of the lead characters a Femme-Bot. Shatter was also probably the first movie Decepticons to truly live up to that title - deceiving and manipulating the humans to get what she and Dropkick wanted, yet not averse to getting into a fight when the situation required.

Add to that, she was voiced by the sublime Angela Bassett, and so instantly joined the cross-continuity ranks of TransFormers Femme-Bots whose velvet tones belie a vicious, deadly nature... Perhaps rivalling even Airachnid in those stakes.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Hm... Upgrades

Today's post yielded a surprise arrival for me - DNA Design's upgrade sets for Studio Series Grimlock and Ironhide. I ordered them via eBay only two weeks ago, and wasn't expecting to see them till next week so that's a good start to the week.

Just a quick photo of the boxes for now... I'll do a full post once I have an opportunity to take photos of the upgraded figures. Not sure yet whether I'll do one for each set/'bot or one post covering both... Briefly, though, the Grimlock set is a nigh-perfect match to the original toy in terms of plastic and paint, while the black plastic of the Ironhide parts isn't as glossy as on the original... though it makes up for that to a degree with a few small paint applications on the feet that were missing from the stock figure, and with the extra weapons. The badge on the new bumper - "ROAO ARMOR" - looks a bit silly, but the 'mistake' is understandable as it avoids the set infringing on GMC's trademark in addition to Hasbro's intellectual property.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Binaltech BT04 Hound

As one the only overtly military-styled Autobots from the first wave of Diaclone-derived TransFormers toys, Hound stood out for two main reasons. First and foremost, his character was so at odds with his terrestrial disguise - Bob Budiansky's bio painted him as being entranced by the natural beauty of Earth's flora and fauna, and with an almost Pinocchio-like desire to be human. Secondly, he was pretty much the smallest of the former Diaclone vehicle Autobots, despite having almost comically large feet.

While I missed out on the original G1 Hound, later acquiring Takara's TransFormers Collection version, he ended up being one of my favourite G1 toys, so when the Binaltech version was announced, I was very keen to get my hands on the updated, part die-cast, larger-scale version of the character.