Thursday, 29 August 2019

Studio Series #17 Shadow Raider

And here we have another fine example of a toy I wasn't intended to buy until I bought it, the orange repaint of Lockdown.

The very idea of it struck me as a very cynical cash-grab - not just on Hasbro's part, because orange was the signature colour selected by Lamborghini for the Aventador. Thus, we have this so-called 'Shadow Raider' - a non-character retconned into Age of Extinction as one of Lockdown's crew... Literally the only draw here (unless you're a big fan of orange) is a new head sculpt and one of Lockdown's missing weapons... though, sadly, not the massive head-gun that the original AoE toyline figure had. Neither of these really warranted forking out another £20+ in my opinion.

But, in a fit of caprice, I picked him up anyway... Seriously, sometimes I don't understand myself. But let's have a look...

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Masterpiece Movie Series MPM-5 Barricade

The original plan was to have this posted ahead of La Hire but, for whatever reason, it didn't pan out that way... Nevertheless, I do think this is a decent comparison with that Third Party Masterpiece-analogue...

It might seem like a minor point in retrospect, but the fact that the first live action TransFormers movie had a character who turned into a police car, but was neither Prowl nor even an Autobot is both pretty significant and rather cool. Whenever a police car appears in TransFormers fiction, the automatic assumtion is that it'll be Prowl so, while Barricade was yet another new character created just for the film (who has nevertheless since been retconned into other continuities, by artists, the former Collectors' Club and, most recently, by Hasbro themselves), his presence subverted the expectations of the audience and the protagonist - Sam initially running away from Bumblebee and into the clutches of Barricade.

While he's had a few updated toys since the first movie's Deluxe class figure, the only other one I bought was the Human Alliance figure as none of the later Deluxes seemed like a significant improvement. When a Masterpiece version was announced, I was initially a little ambivalent because the HA version is almost a Masterpiece in and of itself... but when the first photos appeared online, I decided I'd give it a spin after all. It may not have a Frenzy figure, or an interior he could sit in, but is that really such a big deal?

Saturday, 17 August 2019

It's TFNation Weekend, and I'm Not in Birmingham...

Yes, for the first time since its inception, I decided to skip TFNation this year.

The main reason for this is that my finances aren't especially stable right now - not bad, by a long shot, just not good enough that I can comfortably spare the money I'd have to spend on transport, accommodation and entry to the event.

Unfortunately, there's not as much in-the-moment coverage of the event (other than attendees live tweeting or Instagramming, perhaps) compared to BotCon, which had pretty much dedicated media coverage on the fan sites, so I'll have to wait pretty much until it's all over to see what I actually missed.

I'm not blown away by the guest lineup this time - but then, it's never really been about the guests for me anyway - though the fact that Flame Toys, makers of all those super-stylised non-transforming action figure model kits, are listed as being in attendence is of mild interest. I'll be keen to see if they showed off anything new, but if it doesn't transform, I'm generally not that interested.

As far as the other guests go, I've mentioned before that I'm just not particularly interested in the comics (even less now they're a more direct advertisement for the toyline) and, much as it's cool to see some of the voice actors from the TV shows and movies, they tend to tell the same sorts of stories. Had the guest list lived up to the promise of this year's Beast Machines branding, I'd have been far more interested, and may even have run the risk of overspending to see what was on offer... So there's not a great deal to regret on that score.

There's a strong chance that I'm not missing out on buying anything I can't pick up at a later date - WfC:Siege Brunt is very high on the list of figures I want and, of course, I'd have been likely to pick up as many new Studio Series figures as possible, particularly the Devastator components. Other than that, I think the only likely purchase would have been Perfect Effect's Jetforce Revive Commander. Hopefully nothing I'm going to miss out on entirely by passing on this event.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Binaltech BT05 Dead End

And here's where Binaltech really started to upset a certain kind of fan. Having released Sideswipe as a Dodge Viper, the announcement of a second Viper - this time based on the souped-up 'Competition Coupé' version of the car as opposed to the street version - brought with it certain expectations. When the head sculpt was revealed, it looked as though Sunstreaker was on his way...

...And yet, instead of a bright yellow Viper, we got a black Viper with silver stripes, and the Binaltech line's first Decepticon: the former Stunticon, Dead End. Deprived (for a time, at least) of Sunstreaker and instead lumbered with a Decepticon who wasn't even released in the right colourscheme, the only ray of hope seemed to be that the line had already repainted molds, so a later repaint of this figure as Sunstreaker was surely inevitable (and arrived about a year later).

So let's take a look at this bonkers entry in the series...

Sunday, 4 August 2019

DX9 Kaleidoscope 03 La Hire

In all honesty, I hadn't been paying much attention to DX9 among the myriad Third Party producers of transforming robot figures. Their Kaleidoscope line has been quite random (the first figure not a direct TransFormers rip-off, the second a Beast Wars hybrid) and the War In Pocket line looked generally quite ugly.

Then came a huge surprise. Around the time that newcomers TFEVO revealed their take on a Masterpiece-style Hot Rod from The Last Knight, DX9 (in collaboration with Unique Toys, apparently) revealed their own version of the same thing. Initially, the TFEVO version looked superior due to its more intricate transformation and pretty stunning screen-accuracy in both modes, and I preordered it as soon as it became possible to do so... However, when review copies started to circulate, it became clear that the newcomers QC wasn't quite up to the task, and Hot Fire was a nightmare of floppy joints and tiny parts that had to be arranged just so. After I cancelled my preorder, I started to keep an eye on DX9's version in the hopes that it would be closer to Unique Toys' take on movie Lockdown in terms of build quality and mostly-intuitive transformation.

La Hire became available for purchase quite recently, and without much fanfare... Which would often be a bad sign. Throwing caution to the wind, I didn't even wait for more YouTube reviews to arrive before ordering, so lets take a look and see what DX9 have produced.