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mikeszekely

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About mikeszekely

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  • Birthday 02/03/1980

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    Pensburgh, PA
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    3P Transformers, video games, quantum gravity, hockey

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    mikeszekely
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  1. mikeszekely

    Ace Combat 7

    Preordered the regular digital edition, both Ace Combat 5 and 7 are queued for download. Thought about the digital deluxe, but without knowing what's in the season pass I wasn't dropping the extra $25. For all I know it's a bunch over overpriced Idolmaster skins like AC6.
  2. BTW, there's some discussion about MS's plastic over at TFW2005. If you've ever handled one of MS's Legends figures, or maybe some older Fansproject stuff like the Protector armor, you kind of know what to expect. But a point that's being made is that it has a kind of soft, matte appearance, and some people are wondering how it looks with other red MP-style figures that might have a glossier plastic or paint. The lighting isn't great here, since this is from my actual display instead of my review space, but I think MS-01 looks just fine.
  3. I think most Transformers fans would be willing to admit that MP-10, great as it was, is a bit dated by today's standards. While Takara is set to replace MP-10 with MP-44 later this year, a newer company known only for making Legends-scale figures decided to beat them to the punch, and the result is MS-01 Light of Freedom, the first MP-scale figure from Magic Square and the opening salvo in 2019's MP Optimus war. Some people who are going for total cartoon accuracy and basing their image of Prime on a very specific image of Prime's animation model may find MS-01 a little too beefy. Such is their subjective prerogative, but I think he was animated fairly inconsistently and was often drawn, even in the '86 movie, as a little chunkier. Measured from shoulder to shoulder, around his waist, or the thickness of his forearms actually has him fairly close to MP-10, which nobody used to have a problem with. And in a lot of ways, Magic Square fixed a lot of MP-10's other issues. His torso is a little shorter and his legs are a little longer, with better balance between his thighs and lower legs. His arms, especially in his forearm area, are shorter. On the whole, MS-01 has much better proportions than MP-10. Cartoon accuracy is another consideration, but a contentious one. I think everyone expects a level of cartoon accuracy in their figures, but after a point there's a divide between people who want their toys to look exactly like the cartoon because that's how they remember the character and the people who feel looking too much like an inconsistently (and often poorly) animated 35 year old cartoon isn't the best way to go (full disclosure, I'm in the second group). MS-01 definitely pushes for more cartoon accuracy than MP-10. He's got smaller faux fuel tanks on the outsides of his legs, and his rear tires are neatly hidden away. The vents on his shins are blue instead of silver. He sheds some of the extra molded detail that MP-10 carries, especially the rivets. Some of the molded detail he does have, including the molding on his thighs and the little triangles above his shin vents, are more in keeping with the line work that was on Prime's animation model. Although his smokestacks, grill, and faux fuel tanks are all chromed he's got more of a matte and less metallic look with a very light gray used for his thighs, pelvis, forehead, and some of his face, and a slightly darker gray for his torso and mouth plate. Still, cartoon purists will likely bemoan the fact that MS went with gray instead of white on the pelvis and thighs, that his fingers aren't more rounded, that he's still got too much molded linework on his shoulders and lats, that he's still got windshield wipers, or that his grill is too realistic. Needless to say, none of those issues bother me. Minor issues that do bother me would be the visible red mushroom pegs that his hands are attached to, the tabs on the inside of his forearms, and that his blue crotch piece is a little too small. One other note is that the plastic feels like an improvement over the stuff Magic Square uses in their Legends figures, but still similar, and there's very little paint on him. I kind of like this plastic, and I think it looks fine without the paint, but there are definitely some people who are going to be bothered by them. Given that MS-01 has a little more bulk than Transform Element or Takara's upcoming figures a lot of people are wondering how he compares with different Megatrons, not just MP-36. I think he's a match for Maketoys' Despotron in terms of physical dimensions, but the lack of metallic paint (especially silver) and more subtle molded details aren't exactly a match. Anyway, MS-01 comes with a few accessories. You've got your Energon axe, your ion rifle, an alternate forehead, and some battle damage parts that I will almost certainly never use. Swapping the regular parts for the battle damaged parts requires pulling his lats off on a little tab and simply opening his chest and pushing the windows out. I'm digging the rifle, which has a much better shape and size than the one that comes with MP-10, although it can't fold up and store in his back. I think it also looks better than the replacement rifle that you get if you buy articulated KFC hands for MP-10. Regarding the alternate forehead, the difference if pretty subtle. Basically, the default head (right) is smooth and a little more rounded on top with a flared bill, like a ball cap. The alternate (left) is a more direct copy of MP-10's with molded lines and a wider band that comes to a sharper point over his nose. While I think I'd have been totally fine with the MP-10-style head, in hand the default head looks more correct, so that's what I'll be going with. One area MS was really able to improve over MP-10 was articulation. MS-01's head is on a hinged swivel, so he can look up about 45 degrees, down until his chin touches his chest, and rotate. His shoulders rotate on friction joints. Like MP-10 you can pull his arms out from his body to reveal a hinge for lateral motion, but unlike MP-10 it's ratcheted and can get a full 90 degrees. Plus, when fully extended he's got butterfly shoulders that can go a little backward and about 60 degrees forward. He's a double-jointed friction elbows. Each joint can do 90 degrees by itself and combined can curl his arm nearly the whole way up. I think using the lower joint first looks more natural, but it's much tighter than the upper joint. He's also got two bicep swivels, one at the top of the bicep and one between his elbow joints. Again, the joint I think you'd want to use most of the time (the upper one) is the tighter one. His wrists can swivel. He's got individually-articulated fingers. The thumb is on a ball joint with one additional knuckle hinge, and the fingers are pinned at the base with one additional knuckle hinge. His waist can swivel. Due to a system of hinges for transformation he's also got an ab crunch that can go 90 degrees forward and at least 45 degrees backward. However, using the ab crunch can really break up the sculpt. His pelvis has hinged flaps in the front and sides; the front flaps on mine are a tad loose, and pulling out the side flap also pulls his butt down and out. With the flaps out of the way you get a little less than 90 degrees forward and about 45 degrees backward on a ratcheted universal joint, and just over 90 degrees laterally on a soft ratchet. His thighs swivel around the universal joint, and although you can't swivel them all the way around you can turn his legs 90 degrees in either direction, which is plenty. His knees are double-jointed, friction on top, ratcheted on the bottom. Part of his knee opens up to reveal a diecast piston inside. A lot of people think the knees are ugly, but they don't bother me, especially if you only use the lower joint. Again, both joints can do 90 degrees by themselves, and combined you get nearly 180. His toes can bend up and down, and there's a little play in his feel and the whole foot. Plus you've got about 90 degrees of ankle pivot. His rifle uses the standard MP method of having tabs on the handle fit into slots on his palms. His axe works sort of the same way, in that there's a handle that tabs into his palm, but it goes with it's chunk of spiked orb on the bottom of his fist. Then the part with the axe fits over the top. YMMV, but the tab on one side of the axe handle was longer than the other kept pushing out when I tried to put the axe on his left hand, but it works fine in his right hand. If you're like me, you might be thinking that his axe is a little on the puny side. I don't usually pose my Primes with axes anyway, but if it really bothers you the axe from MP-10 will mostly fit around his fist. Depending on the exact look you're going for, MS-01's smokestacks can slide up and down on his shoulders. I personally like the bottom of the stack to be roughly even with the shoulder, but in the cartoon it's often drawn reaching to nearly his elbow. The pipe at the top of the stack can slide in and out as well, so sliding the whole thing down doesn't leave him with short stacks. Like any good MP Prime you can open his chest and reveal the Matrix of Leadership inside. It is removable, and as Matrices go, it's ok. It's mostly diecast with silver and copper paint and a smooth translucent blue orb... I just happen to think that the Matrix that came with MP-10 had a better sculpt. And no, MP-10's doesn't fit in MS-01. Much ado has been made of the fact that, mostly due to his transformation, there's no Matrix cover besides the chest windows themselves. In hand, I do wish there had been some sort of cover, as the Matrix is visible through the windows, but it's not as bad as I thought it'd be. Speaking of transformation, it's pretty smooth, intuitive, and enjoyable. In some ways, it's similar to MP-10's. His head still folds into his torso, although it goes in through the back instead of the chest. His lats still fold down and spin 180 degrees to bring out the tires, flaps on his back still ride those spinning lats to bring the headlights and the sides of the bumper forward. His waist still rotates 180 degrees, his toes still fold up, and his thighs still collapse into his lower legs. The differences are that there's more going on with the legs to bring out his rear tires and truck mode fuel tanks, the piece with the headlights and bumper is has more of the cab front on it, and panels unfold from his arms to fill in the sides of the truck. Also, there's no faux grill. The grill and Matrix chamber pull out, the Matrix chamber spins around to reveal the bumper, and then the whole thing rotates 180 degrees and pushes back in. The truck mode is ok, overall. The cab loses some of MP-10's details like the rivets and the ladder by the fuel tank, but the fuel tank isn't squished like it is on MP-44. Plus, unlike TE-01 and MP-44, MS-01 retains the stripe on the cab. I know some people want it gone in the name of cartoon accuracy, but I think the cab looks unfinished without it. Unfortunately, behind the cab things are a bit of a mess with a hitch section that's very obviously robot legs. I don't think he's any worse than MP-10 in that regard, but I can't argue that Transform Element looks way better back there than Magic Square. The overall dimensions between the MS-01 and MP-10 are fairly similar, with MS-01 being slightly shorter top to bottom and front to back, but nearly identical in width and overall length. Like MP-10, MS-01 has rubber tires and chrome on the stacks, grill, wheels, bumper, and fuel tanks. It's worth mentioning that the side mirrors on MS-01 don't feel as good as MP-10s, and one has even popped off on me, but aside from those mirrors MS-01 fits together better than MP-10. One thing I find odd about MS-01 is that the instructions have you turn around part of the vents on his shins, revealing a flatter surface with a pair of tabs per leg. The tabs don't work with MP-10's trailer; all you can do is kind of perch the trailer on him, and even then it's a little too high. Yet skipping that step doesn't hinder anything else. You can get the same truck mode without flipping those panels around. So why'd MS do it? Why have those four little tabs? Could MS be working on a trailer for MS-01 at a later time? I've skipped buying trailers for GT-03 Op Ex and both Fans Hobby's Laser Optimus and Scourge figures, and would honestly have preferred if MS-01 worked with MP-10's trailer. But if the price is reasonable I could probably talk myself into buying an MS trailer for this guy. Sometimes it's the little touches that get me. You have to undo the sides a little, but you can open the cab on MS-01 just like you can with MP-10 and the G1 toy. Unlike MP-10, though, you don't see the back of his head. Instead there's a little centered seat, painted in black. That's absolutely an homage to the molded seat left in the G1 toy for a Diaclone pilot, and I love it even if I don't have any Diaclone reboot guys to stick in there. One last thing to mention. Due to how the panels in his arms unfold and lay against the side of the cab, you can pull his doors open. Looks pretty cool from the front, but from the side there's just a wall of red behind the door. 2019 looks like it's going to be bringing us not one but three excellent MP-style Optimus Primes. None of them are absolutely perfect, though, and it's mostly small subjective details that make the most difference. I know some people prefer the cartoonier look of TE-01 and MP-44, but I hate the white thighs and pelvis on both, I really hate the backpack on MP-44, and while I could live with the lack of a thigh swivel on TE-01 it still bothers me more than anything on MS-01. Some have criticized MS-01 for being too similar to MP-10, but I honestly think that's a strength. I loved MP-10, and MS-01's improvements to articulation and changes to the legs and the overall proportions fixed my biggest complaints with it. There's also the fact that most of you probably already have MP-10, and even with its flaws you might be thinking it's good enough that you don't want to replace it. And that's fine. All I can tell you is to take a look at the options. If you think TE-01 looks better, maybe go for it. Even with MS-01 in hand I'm still thinking about grabbing one. But if you like the way it looks you'll probably be happy with MS-01, and I personally think it's inexpensive enough that it's worth buying to replace MP-10, so I recommend it.
  4. Huh. I didn't know that. It just looked like bare plastic to me. I wonder why they didn't use a glossy paint, or something with a satin metallic sheen? Well, I stand corrected. That would fix most of my complaints with TE-01. As it stands, I'm interested in picking up TE-01, but having already bought MS-01 and with a bunch of other stuff trying to beat CNY I decided to wait for the second release in April/May.
  5. Wanted to get this up quick, because a.) my Magic Square Optimus comes today, and b.) it's been a super long time coming. This guy first came out in something like 2015 or 2016, and I preordered and prepaid for a reissue all the way back in March. This is Gigapower's Guttur, their MP Snarl. Like Gigapower's other dinobots, Guttur isn't as slavishly cartoon accurate as, say, Fans Toys' Sever, but I don't think it's fair to he's toy-accurate and leave it at that. I think he's a happy medium between the two. He's got big, round shoulders, gray forearms, and not a lot of the toy's sticker details on his torso aside from cartoon-accurate molded gunsight-looking pattern and the red right below it. He doesn't have halves of a Stegosaurus head hanging off the sides of his knees, either, although he does retain the toy's dino legs on the outside of his robot legs. He's also got some spots of red, black, and blue paint on his legs and red on his shoulders that can be thought of mimicking the toy's stickers, but AFAIK so did Sever. I'd say that the biggest visual difference that separates Guttur from the cartoon model or Sever (aside from the visible dino legs) is his pelvis, which is black with some red, silver, blue, and yellow painted details that similar to the toy's stickers, while the cartoon and Sever both have a red pelvis. There's not a lot to add that I haven't said in my reviews of Grassor and Graviter. His silver parts are painted with a nice silver sheen, his red parts are either a red chrome or a very metallic red paint, and the gold parts are all a gold chrome. The black and translucent parts are really the only unpainted parts. His size and give him a premium feel that combines with his bling for an incredible shelf presence. Do note that, like the other Gigasaurs, you can purchase this guy in a non-chromed metallic version. The metallic version retains the silver paint but swaps the red paint/chrome for bare red plastic and the gold chrome for a metallic gold paint. Guttur comes with a few accessories (possibly more if you get the metallic version, but I'm not sure if all the parts that came with the original came with the reissue). You've got his sword and gun, both of which are pretty G1-accurate. The gun does have a non-so-accurate red tip on the barrel, and the sword splits the difference between toy red and cartoon gray by putting a red blade on a black handle. Both accessories light up, but I don't have the right batteries. Additionally, you get a missile launcher that the G1 toy had, some translucent parts, black parts that fit into the back of his head, and a sheet with eye stickers on jeweled red material Last but not least, you get an alternate head with a snarling face, red eyes, and red forehead instead of the neutral face, blue eyes, and silver forehead that comes installed. Swapping the head is as easy as pulling it off the ball joint and popping the other one on. However, as long as you haven't wedged one of those fillers into the back of his head you can unscrew it and take it apart. In theory, this lets you choose your own forehead/eyes/face combo. In practice, I couldn't get the face off of the red forehead, so I'm going to wind up with red forehead, snarl, and blue eyes when I think I'd prefer silver forehead, snarl, and blue eyes. (Mini rant, but where did the red forehead come from? The G1 toy had silver, the cartoon had black. But both Sever and the ToyWorld snarl have red, and Guttur has a red option.) As mentioned, Snarl's head is on a ball joint. He can look up a little and tilt his head slightly, but his chest is too puffy for him to look down. His shoulders rotate on ratchets and can extend laterally 90 degrees on another ratchet. Biceps can swivel. Elbows bend 90 degrees on ratchets. His wrists swivel. Each finger is individually articulated. The thumb is on a ball joint at the base with no additional joints. His fingers have a pin hinge at the base knuckle and one additional hinged knuckle. His waist can swivel, and mine is super tight. His hip skirts have hinges to get out of the way, and his hips go forward a little less than 90 degrees forward and backward on a ratchet, and laterally 90 degrees on another ratchet. His thighs swivel around the hip joints. His ratcheted knees bend one click under 90 degrees if you leave everything tucked away properly, however you can move the halves of the dinosaur head and get enough clearance to go one click beyond 90 degrees. His feet are kind of weird. The gold toes can move up and down a little, and they can pivot a little. There's also a part in his heel that can pivot, so he has a flat base to stand on when his legs are spread a little, but their range is a little limited. However, due to his transformation his entire lower leg can bend inward at the knee on a ratcheted joint. I wouldn't use it to an extreme degree, but just a click looks pretty dynamic. A special note here, apparently Guttur's hips were an issue originally. They were too weak, or something like that. That's definitely not the case with this reissue. The forward/backward ratchet doesn't feel super strong, but I can pick him up, turn him horizontally, and give him a shake, and nothing moves. The ratchets support the weight of the legs, and there's no play between clicks. He's rock solid. Both the gun and sword have tabs on the handles that peg tightly into slots on his palms. The sword is a little wide, so his thumb can't wrap around it, but it's not going to fall out. The missile has a peg on a double hinge. You can plug it into a port on either forearm, or into the screw holes on his back if you want it over his shoulder. If you're like me and not planning on using the missile launcher you can flip a peg out of the butt of the rifle and peg it into one of the screw holes. One of the translucent parts is a clip that can peg into the other screw hole, and it fits around his sword so you can store both weapons on his back. Unfortunately, the clip has to be removed for dinosaur mode. He's got one other little easter egg, something the other Gigasaurs don't have. You can open the sides of his chest up, like that one episode of the cartoon. There's nothing in there except for some molded circuits and wires, but it's nice that Gigapower used some silver, blue, and black paint on those molded details. Guttur, naturally, turns into a Stegosaurus. There's not a ton of difference between Snarl's cartoon and toy in dino mode. Like both, Guttur's got gold front legs, gold legs from the knee down on the rear, gold head, spine plates, and head, translucent circles on his hips, and is otherwise predominantly silver with a little red on his back near his hips and tail. He's got more molded and painted circuits and wires in the gap where his dino legs tuck in for robot mode; I guess that's closer to the toy than the cartoon's dark gray arrow. What he doesn't have is eyes. There's molded spots for them, but all you get for color is the stickers I mentioned back in the accessories. That's frustrating, because everything else about him feel so premium. It's baffling that they cheaped on on that one last little detail. In dino mode Guttur's head can move up and down a tiny amount, as well as look left and right a bit. His mouth does open, and inside are a pair of individually-hinged cannons. His front legs can rotate at the hip on a friction joint, and laterally just a little bit. The knee bends on a ratchet and has about 90 degrees of range. The front paws can't tilt up and down but a hinge does give him an ankle pivot. His rear hips are his robot shoulders, with ratcheted rotation and 90 degrees of lateral spread. His new dino knees can move forward and backward a little, but they're fairly limited. They can also swivel on his robot-mode bicep swivel, but his robot-mode elbow is tucked away. His rear paws can move up and down, plus the toes can bend up. Like the front paws he does have ankle pivots at the rear, but they have less range. His tail has a joint for a little side-to-side wiggle, but he doesn't have the range or the up/down motion to actually use his thagomizer. The peg holes on his robot forearms are still available on his rear dino thighs, so you can plug in the missile launcher, sword clip, and gun, just not all three at the same time. Finally, if you really want that G1 toy look Gigapower's got you covered. Simply fit the translucent parts over his head and neck, and voila. While there are a ton of official and 3P Dinobots out there today, after all this time your only MP choices for are still just Gigapower and FansToys (unless you count the too-small MP-08 or the OS KO). Happily, you really can't go wrong with either. FT's are slightly more cartoon accurate, Gigapower's are a little bigger, blend in some extra toy details, and deliver a more premium finish without needing to track down some X-version repaint. Both sets enjoy quality materials, quality construction, and simple, effective engineering. What it really comes down to is a mix of availability (which ones happen to be readily in stock when you want to buy) and which has the small differences you prefer. I'm happy with Guttur and the other Gigasaurs, and I'm looking forward to maybe finally getting the last two this year, so yes, I'd definitely recommend Guttur. Just know that FT is good too.
  6. Sorry! I mean, yeah, they all have their pros and cons. And yeah, the Matrix chamber is probably what I'd say is the biggest strike against Magic Square But you gotta pick your poisons, and for me the bright white thighs and pelvis and lack of proper thigh swivels on TE are the bigger sins, at least for me personally. Yeah, I can kind of see that. It's the head, with the red dome on top the black helmet around a silver face on a mostly black robot with red cockpit glass on his tummy.
  7. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread (licensed) Next

    The other Deluxe I picked up is Sideswipe. Like Hound, I don't have the old Universe Sideswipe anymore (I kind of remember not liking it, anyway), and unlike Hound Sideswipe didn't get into Combiner Wars, so here he is with CW Brake Neck/Dead End. Maybe a shade shorter, but (spoiler) so much better. They did a really good job of nailing Sideswipe's aesthetic. The chest isn't the front of a Countach, but everything else would look totally at home on a G1 Sideswipe. The silver dirt paint on his shins even looks pretty good, like scratches, although I would have liked his knee pads picked out separately. His accessories are something of a gripe of mine, though. You've got a black tube with a tab on one side and a 5mm peg a quarter turn from it, with 5mm peg hole openings on both ends, and a red cone with a 5mm peg handle and a 5mm peg on the back. The peg on cone fits into either end of the tube. Neither accessory looks like Sideswipe's usual fair. Sideswipe's head is on a ball joint; not much down, but good up, good sideways tilt, and rotation. Shoulders rotate and extend laterally 90 degrees. Biceps swivel. Elbows bend 90 degrees. No wrist swivels, though. His waist can swivel. His hips are universal joints that go 90 degrees forward, backwards, and laterally. The thighs can swivel around the universal joint. Knees bend just a sliver under 90 degrees. No up/down tilt on the feet, but he's got over 45 degrees of ankle pivot. Unlike Hound, he doesn't have any 5mm peg holes on top of his shoulder area. Instead, the white parts flanking his head have slots for the tab on the tube. If you put the longer side of the tube facing forward (and put it on his left for cartoon accuracy) then the peg on it interferes with his head articulation. Spinning it 180 degrees and sticking the cone into it gets the peg out of the way and gives you something closer to his G1 shoulder cannon, although it's black and red instead of white, and it leaves him without a hand gun. It'll be my first time, but I do believe I'm going to hit up Shapeways for a proper shoulder cannon. Beyond slots and his fists, he's got 5mm peg holes on the outside of each shoulder, on the outside of each forearm, on the outside of his lower legs, on his soles, and one on his back. He's supposed to be a Cybertronian car (and Hasbro likely isn't looking to spend money on licensing), so he's not a Countach. But the low profile, the wedge nose, and the vents behind the cabin are certainly Countach-esque. He's a low, sleek car, and although he's a fictional one he looks and feels more like he could a real car than basically any car we got from Combiner Wars. Not a lot of peg holes in car mode; just one on either side in front of the rear tires and one on the roof. I guess you don't really need more, though. Even if you don't combine his weapons you've got enough to store all his weapons. Between Sideswipe and Hound, I greatly prefer Sideswipe (although the fact that I had a G1 Sideswipe makes me a bit fonder of the character). The lack of wrist swivels and more G1 accessories are my main complaints, but he's otherwise one of the best Deluxe-class Transfomers in recent memory, so I'd give him a recommend. Now at this point, I've looked at not one but two figures in every size class of the Siege line. And taken as a collective, Siege is shaping up to be to be one of, if not the best mainstream Transformer lines to grace store shelves. All of the characters maintain a strong G1 style in robot mode despite ostensibly sporting Cybertronian alt modes. Every figure from Deluxe on up has better articulation than previous figures (they're four for six on wrist swivels and six for six on waist swivels and ankle pivots), with better joint tolerances, more paint, and fewer obvious hollow spaces. The Battle Masters don't just make for more weapons that can be used by the larger figures, they come with effect parts that can be used in a variety of ways and come at a reasonable price. Although some people are bemoaning the smaller (or more gimmicky) Leaders, I like that Hasbro is keeping the characters relatively in scale with one another. The Micromasters are the only dark spot in what's otherwise been a stellar line. They just don't feel worth the asking price, even with gimmicks that allow them to combine into weapons or otherwise be used by larger figures. While Hasbro seems to be addressing a lot of complaints with the previous Generations lines by delivering a fantastic aesthetic, scale, less hollowness, more paint, and better articulation I still don't have an answer to my original question: are these changes coming too late for the adult collectors? With third party having filled most of Takara's gaps I think a lot of collectors have given up on CHUG and gone MP. A lot of those that haven't, either because they prefer simpler engineering, have space concerns, don't care for a slavish G1 aesthetic, don't care to pay $100+ per figure, or just for fun, have dived into the prolific world of 3P Legends. Are those collectors, people like myself who have cut back or even quit buying the mainline Hasbro figures, going to come back? That's something only time will tell, although it seems to be that interest has definitely been higher than it's been in a couple of years. And while I'm certainly not going to say that I'm all in (definitely not buying Skytread, probably not any more of the Micromasters besides Ravage and Laserbeak), before Siege came out I said I wasn't going to buy any and somehow ended up with both Leaders, both Voyagers, and half the Deluxes in the first wave. And looking ahead, I could definitely see myself buying both Wave 2 Voyagers and at least two of the Wave 2 Deluxes. One thing worth noting... there's one Deluxe, Cog, that's labeled a "Weaponizer." The Weaponizers look to have special gimmicks that add more value to other figures. I haven't picked up Cog because he's apparently based on a minibot that came with Fortress Maximus back in the day, and I didn't have ol' Fort Max. If I get bored and have money burning a hole in my pocket I might pick him up later. However, the Weaponizers in waves 2 and 3 are Sixgun and Brunt, based on the robot made from Metroplex's guns and a non-transforming tank that came with Trypticon. I did have both of those guys back in the day, and I'm probably going to pick those guys up. So if I don't pick up Cog, you guys might have to wait for me to review a Weaponizer.
  8. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread (licensed) Next

    Eh, I did wind up going to Target again and getting a Siege Prime that doesn't have two left hands. Still no Deluxes there... but it turns out Amazon had them, and at the regular retail price. I didn't grab all of them, especially since Skytread is a character I don't give a crap about and really feels like a "we didn't finish the Duocons in the old Generations stuff, so let's stick the other one in Siege" move on Has/Tak's part. But I grabbed Hound. I don't have the old Universe Hound anymore (although I remember it being pretty good), but here he is next to CW Hound (who was not so good). His legs are a little less tidy than the G1 cartoon, and that slathered on silver dirt paint hides some of the green. Speaking of green, I'd have liked to have seen a more metallic forest green like the G1 toy, or at least a brighter olive like the cartoon. The rounded lights and plates on the ends of the bumper try to evoke the fenders and mirrors on G1 Hound, but aren't entirely successful. And using some of the at silver paint for the chunk of stuff above his bumper might have also made him a little closer to the Hound's cartoon model. All that said, he's got the right overall shape and color scheme you'd expect from Hound, which is more than we could say for the CW version. Hound comes with three accessories. We've got a rifle, a round thing, and his shoulder cannon. The round thing is fairly superfluous; it's got an offset peg hole on the inside and a tab on the edge, but the dearth of pegs and slots on Hound limit where it can go. The rifle has slots on the side that work with the round thing, a small tip for the Battle Master shot effects, and a 5mm peg on the butt. The shoulder cannon works via a 5mm peg, so it can be plugged into ports besides his shoulders or into his hands, and it also has a 5mm peg on the back. My big gripe with the shoulder cannon is that instead of coming to a point, like a missile, the silver part has an open 5mm hole for a barrel to work with shot effects. I can't quite tell for sure what kind of joint Hound has for a neck; it swivels, and there's a tiny amount of up/down play, but there doesn't seem to be any sideways tilt. The kibble behind his head makes manipulating it kind of a pain. Shoulders rotate and extend 90 laterally. Biceps swivel, elbows bend 90 degrees, and his wrists swivel. His waist swivels. His hips can kick forward, backward, or laterally 90 degrees, and they're universal joints instead of the ball joints you'd usually see at this size class. His thighs swivel around the universal joints. His knees bend a little over 90 degrees. His toes have a slight upward bend, and his ankles can pivot a little over 90 degrees. As I mentioned, the round thing has tabs that can fit onto the sides of the rifle, or onto the butt of the rifle or the shoulder cannon (although not when the shoulder cannon is actually on top of his shoulders, as there isn't enough clearance with his backpack). The instructions also helpfully suggest that the peg on the rifle can fit into the barrel of the shoulder cannon, with the round thing on the back for one large combined weapon. Aside from his fists he's got one peg hole on either side of the top of his torso just in from his shoulder joints, one on the outside of each shoulder, one on the outside of each forearm, one on the front of each shin, one on each sole, and one in the middle of his back. He's also got a few of the tiny pegs on his body for the blast effects. The transformation to jeep mode is pretty interesting, and the jeep is... ok. I dig the bronze stripes, and overall it's much more jeepy than CW Hound's alt mode. I guess I'm just not a fan of the black roll cage, preferring the windshield-and-nothing-else look of G1 Hound. Which would have been doable- the rollcage is only there to connect the engine to his back, but the engine isn't necessary. I think I also might have preferred silver rims to the green, but hey, at least they are painted. You can still put the round part on the side of the rifle or on the back of the rifle or shoulder cannon, but the jeep mode actually has a place for it near the back on the engine. You can see a semicircle cut out around a peg. As for peg holes, Hound has four on the back (two on the engine, one on either side of the engine) plus one on either side of the vehicle. The instructions suggest putting his weapons into the two holes on the engines, but you do you. Although there's a roll cage, the driver's compartment is open. I could kind of wedge a Titan Master in there, although he's a little too big, can't really sit, doesn't have anything to really sit on, and there's no visible controls inside. Hound has a lot of good going for him. Objectively he's one of the better Deluxe-class figures I've handled. I mean, wrist swivels and ankle pivots! On a Deluxe! But I'm still a little lukewarm on him. Maybe it's that his torso is too blocky and not jeepy enough. Maybe that roll cage on the alt mode is just really bugging me. Maybe it's the 5mm cannon barrel instead of a missile tip. Whatever it is, it's more of a subjective nature, so if you think this Hound works for you then by all means get it. But if you're just not a big Hound fan and you're being selective about which Siege figures you pick up I certainly won't fault you for skipping him.
  9. Y'know, I sold my Striker Manus, figuring that he was too small for my Optimus display (which does still have Thunder Manus), and I still have the Noir version if I want to mess with the mold. But that Premium version has me thinking about picking him up again (and maybe Planet X Jupiter, too). Size doesn't really matter, right?
  10. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread (licensed) Next

    It would look exactly as odd as the right-hand section of the third pick up from the bottom of the review I posted, since that's the rear of the combined truck. While I understand the desire for a larger Shockwave... that's what Cloud 9's Quakeblast is for (or Fans Toys Quakewave, or the official MP Shockwave... whichever floats your boat...). For robot mode scaling with the other figures in the Siege line I wouldn't actually want more than half a head taller (aka, the same size as Op and Megs). Invert it, so the emitter is on the inside. Then design it so that, instead of opening and encapsulating the arms, it unfolds as you move it up, then turns inside out to wrap around Shockwave's arms. Admittedly, you'd need a lot of hinges, though, to maintain the octagonal shape of the barrel, but no changes to anything but the backpack would be necessary.
  11. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread (licensed) Next

    If you guys know me by now, you knew this was coming. Leader-class Siege Shockwave. Yes, I did say Leader-class. And yes, Shockwave is really a Voyager, one who's slightly shorter than Prime, Megatron, or Ultra Magnus' core bot. But, as a fan of the early Marvel comics, Shockwave is one of my favorite Transformers, and this is a very satisfying version of it. His color is a satisfying purple, with a translucent piece in his chest, a lavender fist and gun-hand, and some silver feet (painted) and thighs (plastic). He's got a properly chunky backpack and a menacing mono-eye. It's not showing well with my lamps aimed straight at him, but get some light above him and the eye glows so well you'd swear it was an LED. He's even got a hose running from his back to the back of his left arm, and the "dirt" paint prominent in the Siege line is confined to his toes. One might nitpick and say that maybe he's a tad greebly, but that's part of the Siege aesthetic. Really, the only part of the Siege aesthetic carried onto what is otherwise an extremely G1 Shockwave. Like Ultra Magnus, it seems much of the Leader price-tag on Shockwave is devoted to his accessories. And I'd describe them largely as "chunks of things that Shockwave didn't really need." Shockwave's head is on a ball joint, but one with the ball in his chest instead of his head. As noted, he can't really look up but be can look down or tilt his head sideways a good deal in addition to rotating it. His shoulders can rotate, extend 90 degrees laterally at the shoulder itself, and a transformation joint in the chest allows him to extend his arm all the way until his shoulders are touching his ears. His biceps swivel, and he can bend his elbow a little over 90 degrees. He has wrist swivels, on both his actual fist and his gun-hand. His waist can swivel. His hips can bend 90 degrees forward or backward on a soft ratchet, and 90 degrees laterally on a friction hinge. His knees bend 90 degrees backward on a ratchet, and can actually bend one click forward as well. He's got cut thigh swivels a little above his knees. His feet don't tilt up or down, but he does have about 30 degrees of ankle pivot. Since we know it's a Siege gimmick now, I didn't bother to take any pictures of him with a ton of weapons and Micromasters hanging off of him. I'll tell you, though, that he's got 5mm pegs on the outside of each shoulder, the outside of each forearm (and one on the back of his left forearm, but that's where his hose plugs into), one on each side of his backpack, one on the back of his backpack, one on the outside of each lower leg, and one on the sole of each foot. There's five spots on his body for attaching fire effect parts, and the tip of his gun-hand is just the right size to put a fire effect part there. If you feel like using his accessories, the official way is to stick junk that looks like winged, feetless legs with arms coming off of them onto his shoulders, some flat parts with big cannons become his shoes, and the rest clips onto his backpack, although as JB0 noted you can come up with other configurations. This turns him into some kind of four-armed monstrosity... with dapper coat tails. The new arms have bicep swivels, double-jointed elbows (that, for clearance reasons, don't get much better than 90 degrees), and wrist swivels, but they don't have separate shoulder joints, so they rotate and move laterally with main arms. While his coat tails don't do much beyond hanging off his back, they do have a swivel and a hinge so you can keep them out of the way. Plus there are flaps with little cannons, and you can arrange his tails so that the cannons are firing forward. So, the extra parts don't really add any extra articulation, but they don't hinder what he has, either. The backpack and shoulders add a lot of bulk, and his shoes give him a slight boost in height, but to the head he's still only about as tall as Optimus and Megatron. As far as peg holes go, he loses the ones on the outside of his shoulders, the ones on the sides of his backpack, and the ones on his soles, but he gains new ones on the sides of his backpack, plus an additional one on each tail, one on the back of each extra forearm, two on the bottom of each shoe, and one on the inside edge of each shoe. All of the small pegs for fire effect parts are still available except ones on his shoulders, but his new shoulder pads each add two more. Basically, this mode isn't hateful, but it doesn't really add anything meaningful to the experience. If you don't like Shockwave the four-armed freak, all the extra bits can be assembled into a drone, of sorts. The arms do have a point where they lock in, but if you want you can extend them. You still have access to the bicep and wrist swivels, as well as the double jointed elbow. Technically you can even rotate the whole part they're on, like a shoulder rotation, but with no lateral movement. A lot of pegs are visible on the drone, but no the only peg holes are under the forearms and up inside the drone (although if you remove the arm parts, like JB0 did, you'll have access to two on each side of the remainder). Using the peg holes on top of the drone, you can attach Shockwave to the top and he can ride the drone around like a Base Jabber or other SFS from Gundam. Of the two bot-mode uses for the extra parts I'd say that I prefer this one. I can definitely see Shockwave flying around Cybertron on an SFS designed to look like himself, shooting Autobots and dictating his commands to Decepticons. It still seems unnecessary, though. By himself, Shockwave turns into a gun submarine spaceship of some sort. Ok, no, seriously, fold the little winglets on the bridge up, fold the landing skid back in, flip it over, unplug the hose from the bridge tower, and plug it into the landing skid. That's totally a gun! The barrel could stand to be silver, I wish his feet folded in, and he's missing his scope (and arguably his trigger), but I'm willing to let the trigger and barrel things slide in the name of nailing the robot mode. I don't even mind that the handle is really too small for an adult hand to hold. It's not like this is an MP. Assuming that you're using the hole on the top of the barrel for the hose, you've got peg holes on the sides of the barrel, the sides of the handle, and one on each side near the back if you want to stick stuff to him. Not sure why'd you'd want to, though. If you insist on using the parts he comes with, though, this is the official configuration for his complete spaceship mode. I will grudgingly admit that it's kind of a cool spaceship, probably the best "Shockwave as a spaceship" design we've seen. His bot mode heals look like missile racks, and the little cannons on his tails look like the kind of defensive batteries you'd see on a warship. Makes me wish they were articulated. I also dig how the bridge is basically an elongated Shockwave head with his ears horizontal instead of vertical. The eye in the middle is even light-piped, same as his real head. The only thing that looks really out of place is the hose. Unfortunately, only one end, the end that goes into his bridge tower/barrel/forearm can be unplugged and moved around. The end that connects to his robot back is fixed. In full ship mode Shockwave has peg two peg holes on the underside of the wings, one on each extra gun arm, two along each side of the bow, one on the underside of the bow (unless you deploy the landing skid), one on each side of the bridge tower (although you'll likely use one for the hose), and one on the sole of each robot-mode foot. Although there is a spot that looks like it'd work in gunbarrel of the bow, I tried putting different fire effect parts in it and they just didn't fit. Since the Transformers Classics line debuted over a decade ago one of the most commonly-demanded figures was a Voyager Shockwave. After all this time, we finally got one, and he's excellent! Unfortunately, he's saddled with with unnecessary parts that, while not hindering anything, don't really add enough to the experience, either, driving the price up to Leader-class. Had he been sold as a Voyager with just the core Shockwave this would be one of the easiest recommends I've ever given for a mainline Hasbro product. Personally, I'm not sorry I bought him even at the Leader price, and I'd go so far as to say that he's my favorite of the entire Siege line so far. But I'm not sure that the add-ons he comes with really justify the extra $20 over an actual Voyager. So if you can live with the price, I say get him, he's a great figure. Just be very aware of what you're actually getting for your money.
  12. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread (licensed) Next

    Don't forget the molded missiles on his heels that will wipe out his bridge tower. Technically the Siege Micromasters combine into a weapon (although the result looks more like little robots having intercourse more than a gun). I just stick them on as cars as an homage to Armada. I don't recommend skipping the entire Siege line, as they're the best mainline Transformers have been for as long as I've been collecting. But like I said in an earlier review, you can absolutely skip the Micromasters and not be missing out.
  13. mikeszekely

    The Transformers Thread (licensed) Next

    Like JB0, I was also at Target today. Looks like a new plan-o-gram; prior to this visit the shelves were all still marked for Power of the Primes, Cyberverse, and Studio Series, and the Siege stuff (empty pegs for Micromasters, a few Weapon Masters, and empty pegs for Deluxes) were on a temporary holiday display. Now the Cyberverse stuff seems scaled back a bit, and the PotP stuff is clearanced out and moved off the shelf. In its place were spots for all the size classes of Siege. On the shelf they had Voyagers, Micromasters (but no Air Strike Patrol), and Weaponizers. The pegs for Deluxes and the shelf space for Leaders were both empty. I almost bought another Optimus so I could have one with a right hand instead of two lefts, but it looked like people were moving stuff around and restocking, so I figured I'd ask. They really were out of Deluxes, but instead of another Prime I picked up both Leaders. We'll start with Ultra Magnus. While my childhood collection was light on season 1 and 2 characters, I had most of the season 3 toys, so I have a deep appreciation for an Ultra Magnus that's a white Optimus. I was actually kind of disappointed with Combiner Wars Magnus and MP Magnus because they don't have that feature. On the other hand, Has/Tak has kind of taken the white Optimus thing to an extreme, though, giving us Ultra Magnus repaints of practically every Optimus Prime toy released in the last decade. Siege Ultra Magnus delivers the white Optimus I crave, but they didn't take the cheap repaint option. Instead, Ultra Magnus is an entirely new mold (I've heard some people suggest that the head is the same, but Magnus has some molded detail that Optimus doesn't). If he were painted in the traditional red and blue Magnus would be instantly recognizable as Optimus, but Magnus is sporting very different proportions. His upper torso is a little wider due to the folding panels between his chest and shoulders. His lower torso has more chunk. His pelvis is larger and his hips sit lower. His thighs are shorter, and his thighs and biceps are wider. His hands are bigger. His feet are smaller. Taken by himself, he's a little chunky but I don't think he looks too bad. Compared to Siege Optimus, though, there's no question who has better proportions. I'm not mad, though. I actually like how it gives him the basic white Optimus look while also giving him a unique aesthetic. Something else I like is how the front of his pelvis folds down and can spin around. One side is the more Optimus-looking side, while the other is blue with Magnus' white belt. Something I don't like, though, is the huge chunk of very un-Optimus kibble on his back. We'll let it slide, for now. Now, you might have noticed that Magnus (so far) is basically the same size as Voyager-class Optimus, but he's a Leader. I'm guessing the rest of his plastic budget went to his accessories. You've got two leg parts, a torso part, his shoulder missiles, his shoulder pylons, two arm guards, and three guns. One of the guns is silver, and looks like the G1 gun if it had an extra stock. The other are black, and super hollow inside. Magnus' head is on a ball joint that can rotate, look up and down a fair bit, and tilt quizzically a tad. His shoulders can rotate and move outward a little over 90 degrees. His biceps can swivel. His elbows can bend 90 degrees, and he does have wrist swivels. His waist can swivel. His hips can move laterally 90 degrees on friction joints, and forward/backward 90 degrees on ratchets. His thighs can swivel around the joint. His knees bend 90 degrees. His feet don't have any up/down tilt, but they do have about 45 degrees of pivot. He holds his guns ok, but for some reason his grip on other 5mm pegs (including the one on Weapon Master Firedrive) are super loose. As far as other 5mm ports go, he's got one on top of each shoulder, one on the outside of each forearm, one on the outside of each leg just above his ankles, one on the blue kibble on his back, and one on the sole of each foot. His silver rifle actually has two on either side, one right above the handle and one behind the barrel, and the black guns each have one above the handle on the non-hollow side, so you can connect all his weapons up if you like. Magnus' cab is roughly the same size as Optimus', and there are some similarities. Both have translucent blue plastic over the windows, grill, and headlights. Both have a pair of multi-barrel cannons on either side of their bumpers. But on the whole, Magnus is a greater departure from the traditional Optimus cab, with the windshield being a single pane, small slivers for lights, and a front bumper that looks like it could have been more at home as the cow catcher on an old locomotive than a truck bumper. That bumper... this is looking kind of familiar... It's also a lot lazier than Optimus's cab. His forearms and hands don't tuck away so much and look ridiculous, like a half-robot, half-truck riding a pony. There's a huge gap between his robot hips and the tire on his front bumper; really wish they'd have put the tire on an accordion hinge so it could have swung back over that gap. Although is heels fold in, his toes don't fold down and stick up in a way that screams "I am robot feet!". There's a bit of gap between his legs, too. You can distract yourself from some of the ugliness of the lone cab by loading him up with weapons and what not, as you've still got access to the hole in the bumper, two on top of the cab, and one on each side just behind the rear wheels. While Has/Tak has been pretty content to paint an Optimus white, call it Ultra Magnus, and go home for the day Siege Magnus uses all the extra bits to armor himself up. The wider torso and thighs, longer arms, bigger pelvis, and bigger hands are starting to make sense now, eh? What you get is a little greebly, but very G1 Ultra Magnus. With his armor on he's noticeably shorter than the Combiner Wars Leader Magnus, although he's much heavier. He winds up just a head or so taller than Voyager Prime. Now, a lot of people are complaining about this, saying that Leaders are shrinking. Personally, this doesn't bother me. Honestly, I didn't buy a lot of Leaders even at the height of my CHUG collecting, because Leader-class figures tended to be wildly out of scale with the rest. A head taller than Optimus seems like the ideal height for Ultra Magnus. And let's be fair, they're using more plastic than the previous Leader. You're also getting better articulation than the previous Leader-class. His new head is still ball-jointed; not much sideways tilt, but he can look up and down, and rotate his head. His shoulders can still rotate and extend over 90 degrees laterally (I at first didn't like how his shoulder missiles sat up above the blue part of his shoulder, but that's how they stay out of the way of the lateral movement). He's still got his bicep swivels, elbow bends, and wrist swivels. His waist still swivels. His thighs, hips, and knees use the smaller robot's joints and have basically the same range. His ankle still don't have any up/down tilt, but he's got almost 90 degrees of ankle pivot. One thing to note about that ankle pivot, though, is that his feet are molded at an angle to his shins, so he's always got a bit of an A-stance. As far as 5mm holes, they're similar in number. The one on his truck bumper is on his butt instead of his back, but he did get another one on his back. His forearm covers plug into the ones on his smaller robot forearms but those covers also have a 5mm port on the outside. His new legs have a port each on the outside, just below the knee, and the number on his feet jump from one to two on each sole. The ones on his smaller bot shoulders are covered, but he's got a pair just inside of his shoulders on top of his torso, plus one each on the outside of his new shoulders (although you're probably going to stick missiles there for that traditional Ultra Magnus look). Since his hands are the same as the smaller bot's, he still holds his weapons fine but still holds other weapons loosely. All that armor's not just for robot mode. The torso section stretches out to make the roof of a trailer, with the head tucked in and his forearm guards pegged in behind his head. The sides of the legs unfurl and snap together, encapsulating the roof as they do. The backs of the shoulders fold down, the shoulders tab together back-to-back, then the shoulders are pushed so the circles on top of the pylons lock into grips behind the ankles on the boots. The white parts of the boots do not fold down. And because the feet are molded at an angle the back of the trailer isn't level. And there we have the cab and trailer together. Although shorter than the older Leader-class they're about the same length front to back, with a bigger cab on the newer one. Plus the wheels are actually painted this time. Unfortunately, since the trailer doesn't really open and since his head and forearms are taking up room in there you can't really fit a Deluxe-class (or larger) vehicle into the trailer. The cab also doesn't turn. I put the Magnus missiles near the front of the trailer for maximum G1-ness, but this alt mode really isn't G1 at all. In fact... Yeah, it's totally RiD Ultra Magnus, isn't it? The way the front of the cab slopes in, the giant cow-catcher bumper, the little slit headlights, the extra side panel grating, it's all RiD Magnus, just in more G1 colors. And although I put the missiles forward, the instructions actually suggest putting the missiles where I have the black guns pegged on, and the black guns pegged on where I have the missiles and pointing straight down. The shape of those guns, now that I'm looking at them, is very close to that blue part behind the cab on RiD Magnus. In addition to those two pegs on each side of the trailer you've still got the hole in the bumper. Plus, there are two holes on top of the trailer you can use, so while he can't accommodate a ton of extra weapons or Micromasters in this mode you'll have no problem storing all the accessories he comes with, at least. Ultra Magnus is a great figure, once you accept that he's a bit shorter than you might expect a Leader-class toy to be. He's got good articulation that isn't hampered by his armor, the cab is a unique mold and not a repaint of another Optimus, and he's the first Ultra Mangus toy since the G1 version to do both the white Optimus and traditional Ultra Magnus (by design, so I'm not counting Fansproject's City Commander). While I would have liked the truck mode to be more of a G1 Ultra Magnus it doesn't bother me now that I recognize the RiD homage, and these are technically still supposed to be Cybertronian modes anyway. Easy recommend from me.
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