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mikeszekely

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About mikeszekely

  • Rank
    BOMBA!
  • Birthday 02/03/1980

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    Male
  • Location
    Pensburgh, PA
  • Interests
    3P Transformers, video games, quantum gravity, hockey

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    mikeszekely
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    600

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  1. mikeszekely

    Stan Lee, 1922-2018,RIP

    I've always been way more into Marvel than DC. Spider-Man in particular is a favorite. So when I first read this news I was immediately shocked and saddened. But I got to thinking about what an amazing impact he's had on popular culture, especially here in the States. And 95 is a pretty good run. I think if I make a fraction of the impact he did and make it to 80 I think I'd shuffle off this mortal coil pretty content. Excelsior, Stan. Thanks for all the stories.
  2. mikeszekely

    Retro Gaming

    If the PS mini gets cracked, has enough storage, and can be made to work with another controller (no dual analogs is a deal breaker) I'll try to pick one up. Otherwise I'm sticking with my Nvidia Shield and an emulator.
  3. mikeszekely

    Retro Gaming

    I had two PlayStations. I had the one I got for Christmas the year SotN came out (the last console my parents ever got for me). I didn't have a modchip, but I did have one of those game cheat devices that plugged into the I/O port on the back. You had to trick the PlayStation into thinking the lid was closed (I cut a Q-tip and wedged it in so it pressed down on the latch and you could use the cheat device and a disc swap to play Japanese PlayStation games. The second PlayStation I got was one of the smaller PSone consoles I'd picked up so I could play games in my girlfriend's dorm while she was in class. I don't have either of them anymore; as a poor college kid/poor newly-minted college grad I sold off a lot of my old gaming stuff to fund purchases of newer gaming stuff. Oldest systems I still have are a Dreamcast and a modded original-model PS2. Still have a Wii, Wii U, Switch, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and 3DS though.
  4. mikeszekely

    The Third Party Transformers Thread

    Is that an original design, or an improved KO of another toy? Wasn't this the same company that KO'd leader Brawl?
  5. Been playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey (very good, but I kind of liked Origins better) for the last month. Got the Platinum before turning in last night. Kind of funny that in I've been gaming on PlayStation consoles since the original and went all that time without getting a Platinum trophy, then I suddenly Platinum the last two games I played.
  6. mikeszekely

    The Third Party Transformers Thread

    A- The power suits were cool. B- XTB's Menasor will probably have a less complicated combination that Puzzler (who is also awesome). C- We really need MP-quality Go-Bots. Bike Robo DX was a start, but then nothing.
  7. mikeszekely

    Retro Gaming

    I agree with everything you're saying. I think that gamers aren't really as nostalgic for the PlayStation era as they are for the NES and SNES eras. The case for the PS Mini isn't helped by the omission of some really fantastic PlayStation games like Xenogears, Legend of Dragoon... ok, a ton of great JPRGs, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, PaRappa The Rapper, Ape Escape, Ace Combat 2, Mega Man X4, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Gran Turismo 2, WipeOut XL... the list goes on. Plus it comes with the original PlayStation controllers, not the DualShock. With just the 20 included games, half of which I doubt aged well, and no DualShock, and a price tag $20 over the SNES mini, I'm not sure the value is there, either.
  8. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread Next

    I don't see myself buying any, because as an adult I just don't see the value, but boy am I getting nostalgia vibes from the Siege Micromasters. As a kid I had bunch, since they were easier for my parents to afford. The Race Car Patrol and the Air Strike Patrol were easily my favorites (I actually used to pretend Tailwind was the plane from Tail Spin). I'll look next time I'm at my parents, they might still have a few of my old ones.
  9. mikeszekely

    The Third Party Transformers Thread

    Ok, here's the one you guys have been waiting for: Quietus, Fans Toys' MP Cyclonus. To me, yeah, this definitely looks like Cyclonus. I know a some people have said that Quietus seems to thin, and you can definitely find scenes from the '86 movie or Season 3 to back up that notion, but in my mind's eye Galvatron has always been buff, Scourge sort of average, and Cyclonus was tall and lanky, so this works fine for me. I've heard some complaints about his height, too. I suppose he could be maybe half a head taller, but if you're using Ultra Magnus as your meter stick MP Magnus was always a bit too large. I believe the Sunbow scale has him around half a head taller than Galvatron, and when you put Quietus with Sovereign that's what you're going to get. Much has been made of his color, too. He photographs as blue. He's a little more purple in hand, but whether he's purple enough depends on who you ask and what particular source they're going by. My decidedly un-expert opinion is that the purple that makes up most of his body is too blue, and the purple on his knees, toes, and forearms is too red. I don't remember the color separation on those parts being so exaggerated, and and pretty much every screen grab I can find, regardless of the source and regardless of how blue or purple his main color is, backs that up. Likewise, I think white is definitely wrong for his face, biceps, hands, and thighs. That's not to say you can't find instances where they aren't, but the majority definitely have at least a subtle pink hue. While we can debate the exact hues to the cows come home, there's no question that they're in the right places, with some tasteful use of translucent plastic for the orange spots on Quietus' tummy and the insides of his knee pads. And the sculpt FT did for his face is easily one of the best faces FT has done. You've also got the usual stuff FT does to create that "premium" impression. The translucent parts and his hands seem to be the only bare plastic on the figure. He doesn't have that same metal fleck sparkles that you get in Sovereign's purple, but it does have a nice satiny metallic sheen to it. And there's a ton of diecast in him (arguably too much, since much of it seems to be for nothing but adding weight to the figure). As near as I can tell, his feet, his knee pads, the joints in his knees, and his chest are all diecast. Quietus comes with a fair amount of accessories, but what's noticeably absent is a flight stand, or at least an adapter to use with Sovereign's flight stand. What you do get is a smaller silver gun with some painted accents that looks like what he had in the cartoon. You get a larger purple gun that appears to be based on the G1 toy, but purple seems like a questionable choice, since the toy's gun was silver. Does anyone know if he ever used a purple gun in the cartoon? You get three replacement faces. One is a yelling face, then you get the stoic and yelling faces again only without the goatee. There's some stuff for IDW fans, too. You get two nicely painted and detailed swords, one shorter, one longer. Both swords come with small purple holders. You get a pair of samurai-esque armor parts for his thighs, each with another pair of sword holders. You get an IDW head, again with a fantastic face sculpt and one broken horn, and a second set of non-broken horns. Lastly, there's a third black and silver gun that Season 4 and toy fans will know is a Targetmaster. And as a Targetmaster, Quietus' little buddy definitely resembles Nightstick. For size, he's closer to the Targetmaster buddies that came with the US MP-08, DX9's Carry, or XTB Andras (show here), just a tad shorter. That makes him almost double the size of MP-esque Headmasters, including FT's own, MT's Targetmasters, or the little guy who came with with UT's Buzzing. I have to say, while I don't have every Targetmaster figure out there, this is easily the best one I've handled. He actually looks like a gun in gun mode, a robot (if a kibbly one) in robot mode, and he's got pretty great articulation if you don't mind sometimes moving the gun barrel or trigger on his back out of the way. His head can swivel. His shoulders have hinged ball joints for rotation as well as 120 degrees of lateral movement. His elbows have a ball joint where they connect to the bicep, pulling double-duty as a bicep swivel, plus a hinge at the forearm connection so his elbows have a double-jointed, 180 degree curl. His waist can swivel. His hips are on ball joints that can get forward, backward, or laterally 90 degrees. His knees are double-jointed, with a hinge at the top and a ball joint at the bottom, so you can get 180 degrees of bend there. He's even got little ball joints in his ankles for ankle swivels, some up/down tilt, and maybe 30 degrees of pivot. My only complaint is that the hinges in his upper knees are very tight, and trying to manipulated them can cause his lower legs to pop off the ball joints. As for Quietus himself, articulation is kind of a mixed bag. His head is on a hinged swivel with some great up/down range, with hinges to scissor his horns open and closed. His shoulders can rotate, and a hinge gives you 90 degrees of lateral movement, but in a move I consider to be a major faux pas on an MP figure in 2018 the swivel for his shoulder rotation is on the wrong side of the hinge, so if his shoulder is rotated using the hinge only changes the z-axis angle of his arm instead of extending it laterally. You can kind of get around that by extending his shoulder the full 90 degrees and rotating the shoulder to the desired extension while turning the bicep and wrist to keep them looking natural, but it's not ideal. So, yeah, he has a bicep swivel. His elbows are double-jointed. You get a little short of a full 180 degree bend, and I'll note that the upper joint is much tighter than the lower one. His wrists swivel, but they also have a hinge that lets you the wrist up. His hands have individual, articulated fingers. The fingers are pinned at the base, middle, and third knuckles. The thumb has a ball joint at the base for swiveling and folding over the palm, plus two addition pinned knuckles. He has a ratcheted waist swivel, but it's kind of limited. Ultimately I think he probably has enough range, but to get it you can have to take the entire front of his pelvis and pull it outward. Be careful, though, because there's no stopping points and you can pull it off entirely. And on the subject of that pelvis, FT did build hinges into it, but itself of moving the hip skirts up and out of the way of his hips they bend the hip skirts inward, serving no purpose at all. Since his hips are ratcheted, that means you only get aout 60 degrees forward. Technically he could go a little further, but not to the next detent, so his hip will drop back to the previous one. Backward is similar, because a panel on the small of his back gets in the way. Lateral motion is friction, and that at least gets you a little over 90 degrees. His thigh swivels are built around the hips, so you can't spin them 360 degrees but what you do get is perfectly fine (a little inward to almost 90 degrees out), and it avoids unsightly thigh cuts. His knees are ratcheted and double-jointed, getting you nearly 180 degrees. The front of his feet are hinged and can tilt up and down, and the entire foot can pivot about 60 degrees. Both of his guns have tabs that fit into slots on his palms. The paint on the handles makes the fit a little snug, and occasionally they'd pop out while I was positioning his fingers around the handles. As for his swords, he holds them ok. There's no tabs or anything, it's just the friction in his fingers wrapped around the handles. He holds his targetmaster buddy just fine, too, with similar tabs on his handle. He can't do that thing where it fits over the hand or attaches to his wrist, though. As far as storage goes, there is a peg hole on his back, and a peg on the purple rifle. I can't find any way to store the smaller gun. Alternatively, you can peg in one of those little sword holders and store a sword back there. The thigh armor, as previously noted, also has sword holders. They're just pegged in, so you can change the angle. The armor is attached via pegs on several folding hinges to holes on the sides of his thighs. The armor also has a hinge running down the side. Presumably this is so the armor can stay attached for transformation. However, the hinge closest to the peg was pretty weak, so the armor always droops against his thighs. You can't really flare out it. In any case, I'd transformed him to jet mode and back before I tried the armor, and there were no instructions in the box (FT says they'll send me some, but it's gonna take 4-6 weeks). Likewise I thought about trying the IDW head, but again I don't have the instructions to make sure I'm doing things properly and I'd already heard horror stories about stripped screws, and it's just not worth it. Look, I love IDW Cyclonus, I love MTMTE, and if someone wants to do a proper IDW Cyclonus instead of G1 Cyclonus with a new head and armored thighs I will gladly go for it, but Quietus is definitely G1 Cyclonus. Quietus turns into a space jet. He's a narrower, but he's a little longer and has a greater wingspan than a Seeker. And yes, I did pick up Maketoys Lightning (Thundercracker) and Skycrow (Skywarp). No, I didn't review them. Just re-read my Meteor review. The mold is entirely unchanged, it's just in different colors (worth noting, though, that Lightning's torso is actually a very light bluish silver and not the metallic silver on Skycrow), and Skycrow comes with an extra pair of hands since the default ones are black but cartoon-accurate purple ones are in the box. The big question is, after FT's last couple of releases, how is Quietus to transform? And my answer is... it's complicated. I'll start by saying that it's not exactly difficult. He's nowhere near as bad as Rouge, and honestly I don't even think he's as bad as Sovereign. Where you need to move his various parts is fairly straightforward; you'll know intuitively what you need to do. Actually doing it, though, can be a little frustrating. Tolerances and clearances can be pretty tight, especially moving the joints that help open his torso and lower his shoulders. And things need to be lined up fairly perfectly. So, while not hard, it's not really fun, either, and I do wish FT would spend a little less time making their robots super pretty and pay a little more attention to the engineering. If I just wanted pretty robots I'd buy Three A or Flame Toys' stuff. Still, unlike Rouge or Sovereign, I think transforming Quietus is at least worth the effort. I like the overall silhouette of Quietus' alt mode much better than Eligos'. From the first pictures I'd seen of Elgios in alt mode his fuselage seemed too wide, his wings too long from front to back, and too short from fuselage to wing tip. It just wasn't as sleek as I thought it should be. Quietus definitely is... at least from the top. Visible robot hands and a partially visible robot head, plus small gaps around the head, between his neck and chest, and between his biceps, forearms, torso do mar the look of the underside. I think the colors are a little off, though. There is a little lavender around part of the nose, but the animation model had two lavender sections separated by a darker purple. The cockpit seems like it's set back a little too far as well. The silver in the large vents on the back are a nice touch, but it's a shame FT didn't pick out the detail in the smaller thrusters the way XTB did on Eligos. He does have landing gear, but be extra careful. His chest is still pretty low to the ground, and that paint on diecast would be easy to scratch- I've seen reports of it happening already. His knee pads, which snuggle up to his chest in alt mode, are another likely culprit to cause chest scratches. The peg hole on his pack sits over the canopy. As before, you can plug in his purple gun or a sword, but I can't find any way to store is other gun or his Targetmaster buddy. The canopy does open, but there's nothing in there besides a few molded details. Nowhere near enough room to stash a Targetmaster. Or even a tiny Galvatron figure that FT didn't give you (but XTB did). My take on Quietus is that he's ultimately a mixed bag. He looks and feels like a premium collectible, but he's got articulation issues in the shoulders and hips that seem avoidable and, frankly, inexcusable on a $160 toy in 2018. The IDW accessories are a nice inclusion, but I'd gladly trade them for a flight stand for alt mode. And getting him to that alt mode isn't torture the way other recent FT releases have been, but it's still more frustrating than fun. I truly believe that FT could have done better than this. I truly believe that someone may yet come along and do better than this (are you reading this, anyone that works on MMC's Ocular Max stuff?). But the bottom line is that Cyclonus is a hugely important movie/season 3 character, and my personal favorite of the class of '86. For all my issues, I think Quietus is good enough. In my opinion, he's better than Elgios in almost any way you can think of. I'll give him a soft recommend, because if you need an MP Cyclonus, especially just for a robot mode display, he'll do. But he's not giving me the warm fuzzies, and unlike a lot of people he doesn't have me clamoring for FT to do a Scourge.
  10. mikeszekely

    The Third Party Transformers Thread

    In the picture you're quoting, that's correct. All that is part of Bruticus that has none of Onslaught (or any other Combaticon). It's not exactly head to thighs, though. The inside is hollow, and there's no back. The flap with the head is floating and not connected to anything. Onslaught does make up part of the collar, the back, and some of the flanks. Here- That's the last pic from the Onslaught review, and I've marked over what's covered by the partsforming chunks. The connectors for the arm bots are actually under those gray flaps. And a side view of the combined torso, with the borders marked between what's partformed (on the left) and Onslaught (right). Mind you, I'm just clarifying what is and is not partsformed. I expect if you found the bulk of Bruticus in a section on Onslaught's accessories to be an egregious cheat one step removed from having the entire combined mode a complete robot you just tack a couple of vehicles onto that this clarification won't be changing your mind on that.
  11. mikeszekely

    The Third Party Transformers Thread

    I'm keeping an eye on FT's Stunticons out of curiosity, but their engineering has been so joyless and XTB's Stunticons have been so good that I'm not really anticipating FT's and I don't expect I'll ever own them. Anyway, let's wrap up Armageddon, Zeta's Bruticus, so we can get on with the Quietus review you guys seem to really want. It's impressive that, given the sloppy robots and inaccurate alt modes of Zeta's Combaticons, the end result is a pretty accurate G1 Bruticus. Unlike Unique Toys or Warbotron Armageddon has the top of the shuttle as the connection point for the shoulder, Swindle's underside as the front of the shin, and the front end of the tank bent 90 degrees. Sure, if you look closer, the helicopter tail isn't the right shape, he's got a pair of tires on the bottom of his Swindle shin, and both of his forearms should have been rotated 180 degrees for a truly toy-accurate look, maybe the blue could have been a little darker, or his feet a little flatter, but none of that's really what bugs me. Actually, what looks the most off to me is the shape of his torso. Zeta made almost the entire torso a separate partsforming piece, but to me it just doesn't have the right shape. It's too thin, and almost human in proportions, but if you look at the G1 toy it's got a very broad chest behind the shield, a narrow midsection, and very wide hips, and it's very boxy. It's almost like the letter "I". Of course, if we're talking cartoon, then I might as well point out that the feet are gray instead of matching Swindle and Brawl, that the feet and the torso behind the chest shield are blue instead of silver, and that the chest shield is toy-style instead of looking like it's made from parts of Blast Off. What's interesting here is that on other Bruticus figures you kind of accept the blue torso, since you want Onslaught to be blue still and Onslaught makes the torso. But since most of the torso on Armageddon is a partforming bit that Onslaught just plugs into it's very possible that Zeta could have made (or could still make) a torso with a brown, black, and purple chest, silver torso behind it, and silver thighs that you could plug in the Onslaught you already have for a more cartoon-accurate Bruticus. I personally prefer the toy look for Bruticus (despite my preference for cartoon-style Combaticons), but there's definitely a market for it. And yes, although Armageddon is only about a head taller than UT's Ragnaros, he's got more chunk and more mass, too. His shelf presence feels much bigger than Ragnaros', and aside from the torso lacking that "I" shape his overall proportions are better. So I guess the pro-pantsforming crowd gets points there. This is the comparison I think a lot of people want to see. Armageddon looks great with Constructor. In some ways, maybe better, even, as the connection points for the arms are a bit lower on the limbs so they don't hang down like gorilla arms. And even though Armageddon has separate feet and Constructor has an extra robot in his torso the two gestalts are nearly perfectly-matched in size. While some people have suggested that six-bot combiners should be bigger, or that military vehicles should be bigger (or once I heard someone say that Predaking should be bigger, but it seemed like there was no logic there, he just thought that's how it should be), my personal preference has been that whatever mass shifting that's involved in making a space shuttle and a jeep or a helicopter and a motorcycle parts of the same gestalts should make all the combiners about the same size. So this is very much what I want to see, size-wise. Oh, as a fun aside, I checked all the connections. The way the knees connect to Swindle and Brawl are different than the way the knees connect to Scrapper and Mixmaster, and looking at Zeta's Air Raid their Superion will have totally different knee connections than either Constructor or Armageddon, plus different feet connections than Armageddon. So no leg swapping. The arms, however, all use the same connectors, so you could but a Constructor limb on Armageddon or vice versa, or if you have Zeta's Fireflight you could put him on either Armageddon or Constructor. Fireflight won't have a hand, though, as Armageddon's have unique connectors. Blast Off is always the right arm, Vortex is always the left. It does look like Swindle and Brawl could be either leg, though. Also, if you're a fan of the Studio Ox art that has Brawl spun around so the turret is on Bruticus' calf instead of his shin, you can do that on Armageddon as well. So on to articulation, since there are no new accessories to talk about. The head is on a hinged swivel that can look up a little bit and down a bit more. For a huge guy like a combiner I feel that down is more important than up, so that's adequate. His shoulders have two ratcheting hinges in the connectors to give you a little leeway in how you move them, so you can get just under 90 degrees laterally on both arms. He has bicep swivels, although both are a little hindered by folded-up alt mode kibble, and technically he's got forearm swivels below his elbows since Vortex and Blast Off's waists aren't restricted. Speaking of elbows, they're ratcheted and theoretically capable of about 90 degrees, but again alt mode kibble will hinder you. His wrists can swivel, but at the risk of beating a dead horse alt mode kibble on both wrists is a hindrance, especially Blast Off. Both wrists also have ratcheted up/down bends (although up is blocked on Blast Off because of, you guessed, alt mode kibble). Each finger is an individual unit with hinges at the base, middle, and end knuckles, plus swivels where they connect to the palm so he can splay his fingers. The thumb is a little different. There's a hinge that moves it from the side of the hand over the palm, and a swivel at the base of the thumb for rotation, then just two pinned knuckle hinges. His waist can swivel on a ratchet, and he's got a ratcheted ab crunch. His hips can move forward, backward, or laterally 90 degrees on ratchets. This thighs can swivel around the hips. His knees bend 90 degrees on ratchets. Both ankles have ratcheted ankle pivots good for a little over 45 degrees, and even a little swivel at the ankle. The ankles themselves don't tilt up or down, but there's a ratcheted hinge in the toes. It's only good for one click up, but it's something. He holds his gun fine, using an oversized version of the typical MP tabs on the gun handle and slots on the palms. To help with balance, there's a slider on the hips that you can use to move them forward or backward in the pelvis, like Constructor has. Also like Constructor, not only are his hip skirts hinged so they can move up and down, but the hinges are on an arm that can swing them entirely out of the way and to the side of his hips. Despite all this, and despite the pantforming proponents touting stability as a benefit of pantsforming, Armageddon isn't really all that stable. With a large robot like their Onslaught making up more of a backpack than a torso he tends to be pretty back heavy. His arms throw a lot of weight around, too, and there's just too much wiggle in his ankle connections and too much play between detents in his hips. Posing him is like one of those cartoons where he wants to topple over one way so you try to straighten him out, only for him to want to topple over the other way. Others have pointed out that manipulating whatever knee Swindle is attached to has a tendency to make Swindle come off, but frankly that's the lesser of his balance issues. Zeta did try to compensate for some of Armageddon's top-heaviness by making the feet essentially plastic shells over big diecast lumps, but his overall center of gravity is still high enough for him to topple, diecast or no. While Zeta is apparently making a new, cartoonier head as a giveaway gift for Chinese buyers, I personally like this head just fine. I mean, it looks like Bruticus to me! The antenna have springs in them for... reasons, I guess. And the forehead can open up to recreate that scene in the episode "The Revenge of Bruticus." I will complain, though, that the eyes are utterly lifeless. There is a battery compartment on the back. Although I don't have the right batteries for it, apparently not only do the eyes light up but there's a speaker that plays some voice clips as well. Still, I'm an adult collector who puts his figures on display. While I do like to mess with some figures from time to time for the most part these sorts of electronics make me think more of kids toys than adult collectibles. I mean, light up eyes can look cool, but how often do you leave them vs just simply displaying the figure? And the thing is, Zeta molded the eyes out of a smoked translucent plastic. It's not even red! So I took the head apart and did what Zeta should have done at the factory and sprayed them with a nice metallic red paint. Armageddon is ultimately more than the sum of his parts. With the possible exception of Onslaught I wouldn't recommend any of the Zeta Combaticons if you're looking for individual representations of those characters. Combined, though, he's one of the more accurate options we have for a Bruticus, and the only one at that 20" height the fandom has apparently deemed "correct" for MP combiners. That said, fans looking for the second coming of Constructor are going to be a little disappointed. The stability issues are very real, torpedoing the notion that pantsforming makes combiners more stable. And anyone who felt that Constructor's pants was pushing the limits of acceptable partsforming won't be happy with how much of Armageddon doesn't come from any of the Combaticons. Ultimately, he's not my favorite Bruticus. That honor actually goes to Iron Factory's War Giant, which has great proportions, good articulation, a nice silver finish instead of gray plastic on his chest, pelvis, head, and feet, and is small enough that you can easily play around with him and get him in some really dynamic poses without worrying about him toppling over. That said, I am going to recommend Armageddon if what you're looking for is a well-proportioned 20" Bruticus to go with your MP collection. Stability issues aside, he's pretty good at being a big Bruticus.
  12. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread Next

    See, the way I remember it you wound up with smokestacks that didn't really look like smokestacks that had to be removed to transform the truck (and came apart half the time when you tried to remove them) to get a gun that looked way to small for Optimus. I actually prefer the wind vane gun because it integrates with the truck better and can be left on as a backpack in robot mode. But neither is a substitute for Prime's rifle. For most Transformers any gun will do, but Prime's rifle, Megatron and Galvatron's arm cannons, and the Seekers null rays are fairly iconic.
  13. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread Next

    And yet, still better than the guns that came with Classics Voyager, Classics Deluxe, or Combiner Wars Prime.
  14. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread Next

    I apologize if I've offended you. My point was simply that the Western-centric education that Americans get leaves many of the poorly equipped to identify the difference between Chinese and Taiwanese. And yes, I'm sure that you know what I'm talking about, but I expect that other members who might be reading wouldn't. Correcting someone when they mistake a Taiwanese person for Chinese will ensure that they'll remember that one person is Taiwanese, but my hope is that providing a little more background can help people be more aware of the difference and why it matters. Agreed. I'll speak no more of it. Getting back on topic, thanks for linking Baltmatrix' review. Not sure about the weathered look or the truck mode, but the robot is the most G1 Voyager or smaller Optimus figure we've probably ever received. It's crazy how much better this Prime is compared to the Combiner Wars version. I don't really collect the mainline Hasbro stuff (besides Studio Series), but I might pick up the Siege Prime and Megatron.
  15. mikeszekely

    The Third Party Transformers Thread

    Before I can review Quietus and put him in his place with Sovereign and Andras, I needed to shuffle some stuff around. And the easiest thing to do was to move the Zeta Combaticons. But before I did that, I figured I'd better write my review for the last one... Blitzkrieg, Zeta's Onslaught. So my initial impression was that Blitzkrieg is a very good-looking Onslaught. He's got a nice mix of toy and toon details; the lights on his pelvis, his blue head, and his mostly blue torso (and arguably the translucent bits on his knee pads) are all cartoon details, while the big tires on the inside of his forearms and the details on his chest are from the toy. The vent on his abs (which I dig) and the silver on his feet are perhaps toned-down stand-ins for the toy's purple and gold stickers. The blue plastic seems like a good Onslaught color, although the brown used on his pelvis (and back guns) should have seriously been green. From the front, he looks a little bit cleaner than Unique Toys' (and at this point I think I'll just say that Warbotron's hasn't aged well and leave it at that). His torso and legs have less greebles, and he doesn't have those pointless ball-jointed missile launchers on his shoulders. From other angles, though, we can see the usual Zeta MO: folded up flaps on his calves, folded up flaps under his forearms, folded up flaps on the sides of his legs, and folded up flaps on his back. Super chunky forearms, shoulders, and lower legs. Oh well. Blitzkrieg does have some interesting gimmicks. Just like Zeta's Swindle, Onslaught's chest can open up and flip around to display a more cartoon-accurate side. And if you think the forearm tires are too ugly you can rotate the inside of his arm 180 degrees so the tires on the back of his forearms. It's curious why they did that; spinning them to the back is less accurate (the toy has one tire there, the cartoon had two plus another on each of his biceps). Plus, there's a folded-up panel on the back of his forearm that normally stays tabbed in place. The tire on the back of the forearm blocks the tab, so the flap just hangs out loosely back there. But, spinning that tire around isn't necessary for any other mode, meaning Zeta had to have included it for the robot mode. Sorry, the aesthetics portion ran a little long. Let's move on to accessories (which will also be longer than usual today). For starters, we've got a ramp, we've got a small gun, we've got a big gun, we've got a pair of items I will refer to as doohickeys, we've got a pair of missiles, and two sets of screw hole covers. The screw hole covers are, I'd assume, for his forearms. I tried one in all six holes, though, and couldn't get it to fit. The missiles go in Blitzkrieg's back cannons, which can be removed. You have to extend the barrels to see the the button, but the the cannons are spring loaded and can fire the missiles. Just be careful, the tips of the missiles are pretty sharp. As for the rest, we'll get to it in a minute. Blitzkrieg also comes with like 70% of Bruticus. I thought Constructor was a little ridiculous, since the ToyWorld Long Haul came with a chunk of pelvis, hips, thighs, and knees that were bigger than he is. A lot of people like that, though, saying that it made for more "MP" height, better articulation, and better stability. I was pretty neutral on it... it did give Constructor those pros, but I still thought it was a little ridiculous that the "pants" had enough plastic to be a seventh Constructicon. Well, Zeta must have thought that if we liked pants, then we'd really like overalls, as the partsforming chunk isn't just the knees, thighs, hips, and pelvis. Instead, we've got almost the entire torso, which is hollow in the back for Blitzkrieg to plug in to. I'd say something like, "what's next, the whole combined mode is a complete robot and you just plug the team members onto it?" but that seems to be exactly what XTB is doing with their Menasor, and people seem really into that, so what do I know. Blitzkrieg's instructions tell you how to go from robot to truck, and robot to combined mode, and that's it. However, I was messing around with the combiner kibble. There's little hinged pegs on the backs of his thighs, and a pair of smaller ones under his crotch. Plus, his flanks can fold in on themselves, and the chest can fold backward on a hinge. I found that the ramp can plug into his crotch, and the pegs on his thighs can hook onto the feet, and there's peg holes in places where you can connect some guns. I wound up with this base mode. It's certainly nothing fantastic, but if you're going to display your Combaticons in a non-combined mode it's at least something you can do with the leftover bits. Some other stuff you can try involves the doohickeys. You can slide them into the feet, leaving a peg pointed upward. The connection is kind of loose, but it'll make a flight stand for Zeta's Vortex or Blass Off in a pinch. You can also plug one into the underside of the ramp, which will turn it into a shield. Blitzkrieg's head is on a ball joint. He can look down and tilt his head sideways a little bit, but he can't do much in the way of up. His shoulders rotate on ratchets, and can extend laterally over 90 degrees on ratchets. His biceps can swivel. His ratcheted elbows bend 90 degrees. His wrists can swivel. His thumb is fixed and his fingers are hinged on a pin at the base knuckle, but each finger is separate from the others. He's got a ratcheted waist swivel. The flaps on the front of his pelvis and his butt can move up, allowing him to get 90 degrees forward and backward on ratchets that are just a little weaker than I'd like. He can also move them laterally 90 degrees on ratchets that are spaced ok, but maybe a little farther apart than I'd like. His thighs swivel around his hip joints, which does limit the thigh swivels but still gives you a pretty natural range, no complaints. His knees are ratcheted and good for 90 degrees. His feet can't really bend up, although his toes can bend down. And a dedicated hinge gives him 90 degrees of ankle pivot. All-in-all, his articulation is fairly average. Your ability to pose him is less hindered by articulation and more by how back-heavy he is. Even with ratchets in almost all of his joints he really wants to tip over backward. Despite his large size (a little larger than MP-10, actually) there's nothing fancy going on with him holding his weapons. His thumb and palm are molded into a 5mm peg hole shape, and his gun handle is a 5mm peg. As for his shield, you stick it into his palm and wrap his fingers around it. The tension in his finger joints will keep it in place. Now, I've heard that the weight of the shield is a little much and his arm wants to droop, but on my copy both the shoulder and elbow seem fine. Although the big gun has a fold out handle that's clearly meant for combined mode, when that handle is folded in a 5mm peg takes its place, which means Blitzkrieg can carry it. Sort of. The peg isn't very long, and his puffy forearms mean it can barely reach his hands. I had a few issues with panels on the cab not wanting to stay tabbed together, his trailer can't detach the way Warbotron's can, and it can't swivel like UT's can, but I gotta say that I rather dig Blitzkrieg's truck mode. There's no gap between the cab and trailer. The cannons look like they're attached the same way as the G1 toy. He's lacking the camo, but the general shape of the cab is spot on. It's a very clean, very cohesive truck mode. He rolls on rubber tires. The cannons can swivel and raise up and down, plus the barrels can extend. If you don't like the barrel tips (I think they're a little large, at least for this mode) the ends can be removed. You can fold out some stabilizers on the trailer, and even fold out little ramps. I also nearly forgot that you can fold out the side view mirrors, and there's even some silver paint on the mirror side. With peg holes on the gun and he back of his robot pelvis I was able to find ways to store his gun and the combined-mode gun in vehicle mode. The trailer can be used to pull other Combaticons, like the G1 toy, but it's a little short and narrow. There is an alternate way to transform his legs that isn't in the instructions (but was clearly intentional, as it uses joints in his thighs that have no purpose in any other mode). This way creates a gap that you can plug the ramp into. The ramp overhangs the back, though, so it's not very pretty, although it does provide a wider base for the Combaticons to sit on, and the overhang does help support stuff like Blast Off's nose. Alternatively, although the connection is kind of loose, you can bend the ramp down between the sides. If you spin the cannons around it could almost pass for the G1 toy's base mode. On yeah, if you're curious, this is Blitzkrieg's combined mode. He literally just curls up into a box that you plug into the back of the partsforming torso. Ultimately I think that Blitzkrieg is probably the best of the Zeta Combaticons. His robot mode is better than the rest, and I really love his truck mode. I do dig how the robot is a bit cleaner than Unique Toys'. Yet after getting him in hand and messing around with him I found myself appreciating Unique Toys' a bit more. While I definitely preferred UTs Combaticon limbs I was sure Zeta would win the Onslaught battle before he got here. Now I'm not so sure. There's things I like and dislike about both. On that note, I'm not ready to recommend Blitzkrieg, nor am I suggesting that you pass on him. Instead, I think I'm going to wait and see how MMC's is before declaring a winner. EDIT: Oh yeah, one thing I almost forgot. Instead of the usual open chest, fold head inside bit Blitzkrieg's head is on a slider that collapses down into his chest. And it's super hard to get back out. There's just nothing to grab on to.
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