Thursday, 18 July 2019

Power of the Primes - A Plethora of Prime Masters

Although, technically, thirteen wouldn't really be 'a plethora', let alone the mere eight I managed to obtain. The Prime Masters - much like the 'loose' Titan Masters of the Titans Return line - were released in single packs with 'Decoy Armour' (AKA Pretender shells - a homage to part of the 1988/89 section of the Generation 1 toyline) which, for no obvious reason, also transform into TargetMaster-style weapons which the Prime Masters could then attach to externally.

As 'play patterns' go, it was just as daft as that of the loose Titan Masters, but further aggravated certain elements within the fandom who had been hoping for a bigger, more impressive revival of the Pretender concept. For me, though, Hasbro's most heinous crime was releasing only eight of the thirteen Primes at mass retail, and holding back the remaining five for special boxed sets - Onyx Prime being made available only with the Predaking boxed set (which I had zero interest in) while Amalgamous, Nexus, Prima and the Thirteenth Primes coming only with the San Diego Comic Con 'Throne of the Primes' set (also made available at mass retain in Hasbro's Asian markets). Exacerbating this, Prima Prime also ended up packaged with the Amazon exclusive Punch-Counterpunch, so the completist would end up with two copies and a total of fourteen Primes.

Aside from all of this, the Prime Masters served no real purpose other than the decorative. Sure, each one was supposed to grant special powers to whoever wielded it - via slots on the larger figures and on the updated (and now separate) hand and foot parts of the gestalts - but there were no new features activated - Unicron Trilogy-style - on the toys. Furthermore, they were rendered mostly redundant by prexisting chunks of plastic - molded as either weird, flat handguns, Enigmas of Combination or Matrices of Leadership - which already occupied the Prime Master slot on every single Power of the Primes toy of Deluxe class and above.

So, to close off the Power of the Primes and, indeed, the Prime Wars Trilogy posts on this blog, here's a roundup of all the mass retail Prime Masters...

Friday, 5 July 2019

Studio Series #38 (Bumblebee movie) Optimus Prime

I can't have been alone in the expectation, while watching the Bumblebee solo movie, that the version of Optimus Prime seen briefly in the trailer - as a hologram projected from the titular Autobot's chest - and in more detail during the Cybertron-set sequences, would somehow end up looking more like the Peterbilt truck from the first TransFormers live action movie once on Earth - if, indeed, he were to make a terrestrial appearance at all. So seeing him at the end of the movie, as a properly G1-styled 'cab over engine' truck, pulling a metallic trailer that looked just like the one packaged with the G1 toy (minus the obvious Autobot insignia on the sides) was a huge treat.

Naturally, I eagerly anticipated a Studio Series toy of this new interpretation of Optimus, particularly in the light of the amazing work that went into creating Evasion Mode Optimus Prime back in 2014, let alone the upscaped and improved Japan-only version released under the Bumblebee movie banner as 'Legendary Optimus Prime' in 2018.

Based on initial photos, it looked as though the Studio Series version would not disappoint, potentially being something to rival the Age of Extinction Voyager... but let's take a closer look, just to be sure.

Cyberverse Cyclone Strike Windblade

(Femme-Bot Friday #69)
The TransFormers Cyberverse toyline is the latest of Hasbro's attempts at producing a 'mid-level' entry point into the ever-expanding TransFormers franchise, using a new continuity that appears to combine aspects of various other existing continuities with a development of the TFPrime/RiD2015 aesthetic, and which isn't quite their 'Evergreen' style. Some of the fans appear to be embracing it - the larger Shockwave toy in particular seems to have impressed a lot of people - but, like the new War for Cybertron line, Cyberverse generally has left me cold.

Bad enough, in my humble opinion, that Hasbro feels the need to create another separate toyline of simplified TransFormers to cater to a particular age range (6+ in the case of the 'Warrior' class, which is essentially equivalent to Deluxe in size), but to burden them with spring-loaded, geared gimmicks suggests to me that whoever came up with the Cyberverse concept has no idea what made TransFormers cool back in the mid 1980s.

And yet, here we are... I decided to pick one up. I was vaguely interested in the Windblade figure simply because I seem to have developed a distinct subsection in my collection specifically for her, beginning with the Generations/TF Legends figure that accompanied her introduction to the IDW comics-verse after a series of fan polls selected her key attributes.

So, I mean, however bad this figure might be, it's still a Windblade... and that has to count for something, right?

Let's find out...