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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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  1. The other Maketoys clearance item I had to pick up was (sadly) the only other release in their Manga Mech line... Rearend (with Hurricane add-on kit). Readend is, of course, IDW Tailgate, from the same beloved More Than Meets the Eye and Lost Light series that their Swerve is based on. And just like that figure, Rearend is about the same size as a Generations figure released around the same time that also borrowed from the IDW design. Just like that figure, Maketoys' version absolutely nails the character. The only big difference is that Generations Swerve was good enough, while Generations Tailgate is kind of a mess. On the flip side, if you're more into regular G1 than IDW the Power of the Primes Tailgate is still a solid choice that's definitely more G1. But like I said, Rearend is IDW Tailgate, and the only flaws I can really find are the red accents on his thighs and at the tops of his shoulders, which help break up all the white but weren't in the comics (the red on the edges of his torso are in the comics, though). Rearend's accessories are a bit different. He doesn't come with any guns, which I suppose is fair since I don't think he ever fired one in the comics. Instead he comes with an alternate head with his stressed-out glowing/crying eyes, and a pair of mangled legs. And while he doesn't come with a second remold you don't really want the way Maketoys' Swerve does, Rearend does come with the Hurricane add-on kit. That kit is a new head, hands, sword, sword holder, and waist armor for Universe Cyclonus, to give him more of an IDW look. Rearend's head is on a ball joint with a hinge that allows him to swivel, look down a little, tilt his head sideways about 45 degrees, and tilt his head so he's looking straight up. His shoulders have the same ball joint with a hinged cup that Swerve's do, so they can rotate and extend laterally, but he can't quite get 90 degrees due to his shoulders banging into his head. His biceps swivel, his elbows bend 90 degrees, and his wrist swivels. His waist is a ball joint for swiveling and leaning. His hips are ball joints that can bend 90 degrees forward and backward but, due to the shape of his thighs, only about 45 degrees laterally. His thighs do have some swivel around the ball joint, and his knees are double-jointed and can bend 180 degrees. His feet are on ball joints, so they cans swivel and tilt, but for transformation the ball is on a hinge, which effectively gives him 90 degrees of ankle pivot. Although Rearend doesn't come with weapons, his hands are the same size as MT's Swerve and Gears, so he can use either of the guns that came with that set or the M.F.B, if you reel the need to arm him with something. As for his other accessories, you swap the head and legs by pulling them off at the ball joints and pushing the alternate parts on. As I mentioned, the glowing eyes thing was something from the comics when Tailgate was stressed and/or crying- you can see an example of it in MTMTE #11 when he's trying to defuse the bomb. As for the mangled legs, they're from his first appearance, when he fell through the ground on his way to the Ark, got hurt, and got stuck there for six million years. I suppose they're nice display options, but they're not super useful ones. He can't even transform with them. Speaking of transformation, Rearend transforms into some kind of Cybertronian car, in stark contrast to the two Hasbro versions of Tailgate. While nowhere near as complex as larger 3P toys Rearend's transformation is slightly more complex than the other Manga Mechs. James Roberts' wrote character-driven stories- More Than Meets the Eye was less a book about Transformers transforming and fighting and more about the happenings of the dysfunctional crew of a starship that just happened to be Transformers. A result of that is that many characters don't spend a lot of time in their alt-modes, and it was tough finding artwork of Tailgate in his alt mode to compare Rearend with. That being said, from the one panel I could dig up, Rearend does seem to be very comic-accurate. He's a little lower, and not as angular on the nose, but the basic shapes and colors are all correct. Now on to that add-on kit. While you could, in theory, install it on any version of the 2008 Universe Cyclonus mold, it's color-matched to and seems intended for the one from the 2010 "Battle in Space" pack that came with a repaint of Classics Rodimus. I'd think the Asian-exclusive "Challenge at Cybertron" version and the Japanese Henkei versions might work, too, but I don't recommend the original Universe version unless you plan to do some painting. Installation isn't difficult. You have to remove the old head by removing three screws and splitting it in half, then the new one goes on with two screws. Two screws come out of each forearm so you can separate them and pull out the old hands, then you slide the new ones in and screw the arms back together. Lastly, you remove a screw from his butt, then the waist armor fits onto his butt with a longer screw that runs through the armor back into the screw hole. The result, surprisingly enough for as little as we changed, is fairly accurate to the comics' design. In the comics his biceps, thighs, and the wings on the backs of his shoulders were white, he had some extra thrusters around his wrists, and he didn't have the fins on his lower legs, but the overall shape of his arms and legs are pretty accurate, and the waist armor and new head go a long way toward finishing the job. The biggest difference is really that his torso details are more G1 than the monochrome paneled design he sported in the comics. He can hold the sword with his new hands, but the overall shape is still basically a 5mm grip so he can still hold his Targetmaster buddy... in both hands now! I'll note here that the grip was extremely tight out of the box, and I actually had the file in the inside a bit before I could even get the sword in. Maketoys also put the new hands on mushroom pegs, so with them he has wrist swivels that he didn't originally. When Cyclonus isn't carrying the sword in his hand a small purple holder can plug into the 5mm port on his back. You have to remove it to transform him, though, as it blocks his torso from opening enough to pull the nose out. That's the only part you have to remove, though, and the transformation is almost exactly the same. The new fists fold in the same as the old. They also have thruster details on the other side, and unlike Hasbro Maketoys even painted them. The new head turns around and tucks under the nose the same as the old. The only extra step is that you have to fold the waist armor down and spin them around on ball joints. They'll wind up laying over the bottom of his legs and feet, with the armature they're attached on sitting snug between his calves. I gotta say, I actually really like how this looks. The armature and and extra armor hide some of the gaps the toy has and makes the alt mode look more cohesive. Once Cylconus is transformed you can plug the purple part back in and have the sword lying on top of the jet, if you like. I'm not super keen on how it looks, but I couldn't find anywhere else to put it. Which also means that you've got a choice, you can either plug the sword in there, or you can plug the Targetmaster in there. His alt mode's only got room for one. Recommending Rearend and the Hurricane add-on kit is a bit easier than the other Manga Mech set. For one, you're still getting a major fan-favorite IDW character, and as a toy I think it's just as accurate and a bit better engineered than their Swerve. For two, it's slightly less expensive, and you're not being strong-armed into buying a second character you don't really want. What you are getting are some parts that, if you have a matching Cyclonus, turn that figure in the IDW version. And unlike Gears, Cyclonus was a major character in the IDW-verse, so the kit is something you're more likely to want. My only real complaint is that I'd still prefer to have an MP-style IDW Tailgate.
  2. Quick question, for those of you with 4K displays and adequate GPUs- do you prefer to play PC games in 4K with the visual settings turned down, or do you prefer to crank up the settings even if it means playing in QHD or 1080p?
  3. Well, the thing about LibreOffice is that it's free. Give it a shot, maybe it's better than the last time you used it. If not, you can uninstall it and all you'll have lost is a little time.
  4. You'd be better off asking my wife if spreadsheets are your thing, I'm more of a word processor guy. And yeah, I prefer Word's interface... I'll have to see if I can recover the license from my old PC if I decide I want it on this one. But LibreOffice opens all the files I created in Word, and I don't prefer Word's interface enough to pay for it.
  5. Maketoys, once on of my favorite 3P companies, seems to be on its last legs. Late last year (but before the holiday sales started) they shuttered the door to their online store. Not long after a few other online retailers began putting up preorders for some Maketoys stuff, including some old Maketoys stuff. If I had to guess, Maketoys was liquidating whatever inventory it still had on hand. I decided this was my possibly my last chance to pick up some stuff I'd neglected for one reason or another over the years. In this case, I'm talking about Trashtalk and Cogwheel, a two-pack set from their short-lived "Manga Mech Series". Basically, an IDW-style Swerve and a remold of same as Gears. A few months ago, when I looked at options for minibots to use with Siege, I mentioned that the Generations mold worked pretty well for Swerve, but that it didn't capture the goofy cartoon look enough for me for Gears. Well, basically that... again. Trashtalk (Swerve) looks great. Unlike the Generations mold, which borrowed heavily from Alex Milne's IDW design for the robot mode but still ultimately turned him into a red truck, Trashtalk is IDW Swerve, no compromises. I have to really nitpick to find flaws: the tires on his legs don't turn inward in the comics, his rims are a little different, and he doesn't have that splash of red on his abs in the comics. On the other hand, he's got more proportional hands, better shoulder placement, more accurate colors, and a more accurate sculpt (especially in the the legs) than the Generations figure. If you look carefully, MT even molded only three fingers on each hand, which is accurate to Milne's artwork. My biggest complaint might honestly be that Trashtalk is the same size as the Generations figure. At the time this came out Maketoys was, like Fansproject, iGear, MMC, and the other big 3Ps of the day, making figures meant to go with Hasbro's CHUGs. And while I don't feel a strong urge for a cartoon-accurate MP Swerve, I would absolutely buy an MP-style IDW Swerve. As for Cogwheel, it's harder to say how IDW accurate he is. While he was on the Lost Light I can't recall him actually doing anything. He more or less showed up from time to time in the background. On that note, from one low-detail background image I could find of him the wheels in his legs, the blue feet, and the overall shape are accurate, and Maketoys seem to have filled in the blanks by copying the basic design of his chest from the G1 toy and retaining the head-within-a-box engineering of Trashtalk (a route taken by Generations Gears, which came out just a few months after this set if I'm not mistaken). A more detailed image of Gears in the foreground, but only from the chest up, does show that IDW Gears did have the head-in-a-box thing going on, but his head was red with a silver face and he lacked the vents on the sides, plus he had a different design on his chest and some blue parts covering much of the tires on his shoulders. I'd say this is basically irrelevant, though. Like I said at the beginning, Gears to me is the goofy Sunbow design, with the grumpy face in the middle of a box that was his entire head. An IDW-Swerve-ish design wasn't really Gears enough from me to keep the Generations version with my Siege stuff, and Cogwheel's not going to replace the Mechanic Studios figure I picked up to replace the Generations one. Inside the box you'll find a few accessories. Each figure has an alternate head- Trashtalk's is based on the time Swerve accidentally shot his own face off in the comics, and Cogwheel's is based on the G1 toy. There's a tray with a pitcher and two cups, and fans of the IDW series will know that's for Swerve, as he opened a bar on the Lost Light. Finally, there's two guns. Although the instructions don't specify it product photography on the box suggests that the gun with the scope is for Trashtalk and the one with the round bit in the middle is for Cogwheel. I don't know if Cogwheel's is supposed to reference anything, but Trashtalk's does bear a resemblance to the "Shoomer" that he shot his face off with. If you're really a fan of the IDW comics, though, chances are that there's an accessory you're going to want for Trashtalk that is, unfortunately, sold separately. That would, of course, be the Maketoys M.F.B. The M.F.B. doesn't come assembled. Instead, you have to cut the parts off of the sprues and assemble them yourself. Despite the assembly-required approach Maketoys still painted the yellow circles on the barrel and the "My First Blaster" graphic to the necessary parts before packing the sprue in the box, and the sculpt is very accurate. One thing to note is that the handle is a peg, but it's smaller than the 5mm pegs used by many official and 3P CHUG-style figures, so I don't recommend buying the M.F.B for a Generations Swerve or other CHUG figure unless you're prepared to modify the handle. Both figures have the same articulation. Their heads are on ball joints that can swivel and have good sideways tilt, but nothing really up and down. Also, it's pretty difficult to pose their heads while they're in their boxes anyway. Their shoulders are on ball joints for rotation and a slight butterfly, but the sockets are a separate piece with a hinge that that allows the shoulders to move almost 90 degrees laterally. Their biceps swivel, and they have elbows that bend 90 degrees on tight, detented hinges. Their wrists are actually ball joints, so in addition to swiveling they can bend up/down/in/out a bit. Their waists are also ball joints, which gives them a swivel, a little ab crunch/back arch, and even a little sideways lean. Their hips are still more ball joints, and they allow the hips to move forward a little under 90 degrees due to the shape of the pelvis, as well as backward and laterally 90 degrees. Their thighs can swivel, and their knees can bend a little over 90 degrees. Finally, their ankles are, surprise, more ball joints. This allows their feet to tilt up, down, and swivel, plus their ankles can pivot about 45 degrees. And yes, that's normally a lot more ball joints than I'd like, but on a figure this size it doesn't bother me. As I alluded to earlier, their weapons use pegs for handles, and their hands are molded to be into peg holes. Either figure can use either packed-in gun or the M.F.B. The serving tray has pegs on the bottom that allow Trashtalk to hold onto it. The surface of the tray also has peg holes, and the cups are pegged in. They can be removed, and the same pegs allow Swerve to hold the cups. The pitcher attaches to the tray via a pair of tabs, but the handle of the pitcher is a peg that Swerve can hold in case you want him pouring drinks. As for swapping the heads, Trashtalk and Cogwheel have a clever gimmick for getting access to the head inside the box. The front of the chest, shoulders, collar, and head untab from the middle and slide off the torso along some rails in the collar. With unobstructed access to the head you have to remove one screw in the back of Cogwheel's head, or two on Trashtalk's, to split the head in half. While I'm not going to use Trashtalk's skull face I decided I'd swap Cogwheel's, then pretend he's a different character than Gears. And just because I know someone out there is curious about it, you can put Cogwheel's head, chest, and arms onto Trashtalk's body. However, because the tolerances are a little tighter on Cogwheel (at least on my copy, anyway), trying to put Trashtalk's head/chest/arms onto Cogwheel's body felt like I was forcing it, so I don't recommend doing it. Based, as it is, on Milne's IDW design Trashtalk has a Cybertronian alt mode that is, again, fairly accurate to the comics. Not that Swerve was in his alt mode all that often. His robot arms seemed to disappear in the comics, whereas they sit between the wheels on either side here, and in the comic his roof might have hung over the orange cockpit a bit more, but that's about all I can find fault with. It's by far more accurate than the Generations toy, which for all its IDW-ishness in robot mode is a G1 red truck in alt mode. As for Cogwheel, I appreciate that Maketoys remolded some parts to give him a different roof, cockpit, and hood. As far as accuracy, I do recall Gears looking a bit like this, but even after looking up his appearances in IDW I can't find a panel to compare it to. Honestly, my feelings are the same as for the robot mode; it's fine, but not really what I think of when I think "Gears." There are two pegs on Trashtalk's roof that allow you to plug the whole tray onto it. I guess if you're sitting at a table at Swerve's instead of at the bar he can drive the drinks over. There's also a slot on either side of the vehicle. Tabs on both the "Shoomer" and the M.F.B. allow them to attach to these slots. The tabs are even on opposite sides, so both guns can be attached at the same time. Finally, Swerve's cockpit opens to reveal a little camera eye or sensor. I don't recall anything like it in the comics, but it's still cool. The eye is on a ball joint so it can move up and down, but the way the socket it shaped it can't move sideways. Cogwheel doesn't have the peg holes on his roof, but he doesn't really need them. He does have the slots on the side for attaching a weapon, though. The tab is on top of the round part, and the front half of the gun rotates so you can attach it to either side and still have the handle pointing downward. His hood also opens a little (his clear windshield doesn't give it a lot of clearance), and he's got two clear sensors inside. His sensors don't move, though, because his windshield is attached to the hinge that opens Trashtalk's cockpit, and his hood is actually on a ball joint that's plugged into the socket where Trashtalk's sensor is. As Legends-sized, CHUG-scaled minibots both of these figures are fine. They're built better and have better articulation than Hasbro's versions. I'd prefer better hardware if they were MP-scaled, but at this size Trashtalk is pretty much a perfect Swerve, a beloved main character in Roberts' and Milne's More Than Meets the Eye and Lost Light series. Unfortunately, while Gears might have been an obvious re-use of the mold he was such a minor background character not just through those series but through the entire IDW run that I'm not really interested in owning an IDW Gears, and that's a big part of the problem with this set. I don't recall the original retail price, but I remember it seemed more than I wanted to pay when all I really wanted was Trashtalk. The problem is only compounded when the M.F.B is a separate purchase that further drives up the cost. Ultimately this set winds up being something I can't recommend to the average G1 fan. This is the best Swerve on the market, but it's not G1 Swerve and G1 Swerve is a minor character anyway. If you're an IDW fan, though, you should probably get this set because Trashtalk is such a good IDW Swerve, even if Cogwheel winds up stuffed in a closet. And if you currently own or one day acquire Trashtalk then you really should try to hunt down an M.F.B.
  6. I mean, it's fine if that works for you. Some of us do prefer things to be in scale, though. Not sure why getting older would make you less concerned about scale; when I was little I didn't care what I was playing with, but as an adult I'd prefer things look good when they're placed together.
  7. I'd like whichever BB Prime is the closest to MP-10 in size. I don't understand ToyWorld (or Zeta's, with Pioneer) thinking behind scaling them with ThreeA's non-transformable figures (especially when ThreeA did both Bee and BB Prime) instead of the established scale for transforming figures.
  8. I still don't know when I'll actually have hands on Capone, but as a wise old Jedi once said, "There is another." It's X-Transbot's Gravestone, their MP Motormaster in the great Stunticon Wars of 2019-2020. So, yeah, even though I own and have reviewed FT's Roadking, and that would be the logical thing to compare Gravestone with, I'm just going to wait until Capone gets here (whenever that may be) to compare them all at once. So for now Capone's just going up against Transformission's IDW-style Motormaster (who also appeared in the Roadking review). It's hard to express my thoughts on Gravestone's aesthetics. It's like the things they got right they got really right, but the things that bug me really bug me. I like the simplified look to the fake-cab feet, but I hate that tab sticking off of his right toe. I like the molded detail on his thighs, but I don't like the MP-10-esque angles. I like the translucent plastic on his chest and his shins, but the paint on the fake cab doesn't match it (and the third purple spot on each shin is left black). His arms look good, save for the random chunk of black on the back of each forearm. The front of his torso looks excellent, but when you start to see him from other angles his sides have some smashed up panels and his back is kind of mess. The top of his torso is basically the entire real front of his alt mode, but the roof windows end up in the small of his back. And he kind of looks a little frumpy in a straight-on stoic stance like this (although that seems to match the character model). This will be clearer, I think, when I review Capone, but Gravestone is still taller than GT's Motormaster/MP-10/MP-44/MS-01/TE-01, but he's actually a little shorter than Roadking or the Zeta torsos. Gravestone comes with the exact same accessories as Roadking; a rifle, a sword, and a yelling face. All of his accessories are painted, and yes, the sword is entirely painted metallic black. That seems to be a deliberate choice to match the character model, which has a black sword. However, this is one instance where the character model didn't match the animation, where the blade of the sword was silver. I don't imagine it'd be too hard to paint it yourself if it really bothers you. Gravestone may look frumpy in a stoic pose, but I think he really shines in more dynamic poses. While there are probably a few areas where things could have been improved Gravestone's articulation is quite good. His head is actually on a ball joint, but due to the shape of the box it just swivels. But his face is on a hinge, so it can tilt up and down inside the box. His shoulders rotate on ratchets, and move laterally 90 degrees on more ratchets. Plus he's got dedicated butterfly joints. His biceps swivel, and although his elbows are a single hinge they bend around 120 degrees. His wrists can swivel. His thumbs are on ball joints at the base, with one addition pinned hinge knuckle. The rest of his fingers are all individually articulated, with pins at the base knuckle, mid-knuckle, and upper-knuckle. Plus there's an additional hinge between the base and mid-knuckles that allows the fingers to splay out. His waist swivels, and he has over 90 degrees of ab crunch (although the hinge is at the front of his waist and using the ab crunch leaves a gap between his upper and lower body). Hinges move his hip skirts out of the way so that they can move forward and backward nearly 90 degrees on a ratchet, and laterally 90 degrees on a slightly softer ratchet. His thighs should swivel around his hips, but the joints are very tight on my copy and they don't seem to have a ton of range. His knees are a single ratcheted hinge, and can bend a bit over 90 degrees. His feet have just the slightest downward tilt, but a dedicated ratcheted hinge that lets them bend up 90 degrees. Finally, a friction hinge gives him about 60 degrees of ankle pivot. He holds his gun in the standard MP fashion, with a tab on the handle that fits into a slot on his palm. The fit is pretty snug, too. He holds his sword the same as his gun, with a tab on the handle. Although the handle isn't really long enough for him to hold with two hands, the butterfly joints in his shoulders do allow him to pose as if he is holding the sword with two hands. And if you don't want him holding a weapon there are a pair of hinged pegs on his back, in what becomes the real bumper on the real cab. These pegs fit into little holes on the weapons. You can fit both on his back at the same time, but in my experience it works best with just one weapon on his back at a time. While Roadking is the only Motormaster that's incorporated the entire trailer into the robot, XTB is taking the opposite approach and making the only Motormaster (that isn't a repaint of Optimus) that's only the cab. Fansproject, Transformission, and DX9 all use a portion of the trailer in their Motormasters. And the engineering XTB used is similar to Unique Toys' movie bots, as Gravestone sort of turns himself inside out and doesn't have much in the way of obvious robot parts in truck mode. However, it's not as impressive as UT's, which hide the alt mode parts better in robot mode. It's not as complicated as Roadking's engineering, but again I think Roadking's engineering feels a little more clever, like how FT used enough of the actual cab to make his feet but still ultimately had an MP-10-sized cab, or how Roadking incorporates an entire trailer into his robot. The truck is very solid, aside from a loose smoke stack on mine. This is in contrast to the robot mode, where part of his collar or his calves like to come untabbed. The engineering might not be as impressive, but the aesthetics certainly are. XTB seems to be using a style that will appeal to a lot of older MP collectors, with a cartoony robot but a very realistic truck mode. The designer was definitely looking at a real Kenworth K100, and he seems to have copied a lot of little details down to a little vent over the air intake for the turbo (thanks, David) that's on one side of the grill and only one side of the grill. The only obvious robot kibble is the fake wheels from the sides of his feet, but even those could sort of pass for custom reflectors. One thing I do find a little curious... the G1 toy and cartoon did have Motormaster with purple fuel tanks, and I suppose a lot of the other purple accents fit the theme. But neither the cartoon nor the toy had a purple grill or bumper. I'm not saying that it necessarily looks bad, mind you, but it's a weirdly inaccurate choice. Gravestone has rubber tires and rolls just fine. Due to part of his transformation, the front wheels can even turn. And while he might not come with his own trailer he does have slots for you to connect MP-10's trailer to him. About his trailer... apparently it'll be sold separately, and the trailer will turn into the bulk of Menasor. We have no idea right now what XTB is planning on charging for it, so it's something to watch out for if you're into this for combined mode. I've heard some people suggest that it's a rip off, but frankly I don't see much difference between selling the trailer separately as XTB is doing and packing the combiner parts with the last car, as FT is doing. If the price is reasonable XTB's Stunticons could still wind up being the cheapest. There is the possibility of gouging, though. The decision to recommend Gravestone or not isn't an easy one. On the one hand, if you've only been collecting the XTB Stunticons and you want to complete the set I think you'll be very happy with Gravestone, as he's easily the best of the five and one of XTB's best releases overall. Or, if this were the only MP-style Motormaster I think I could definitely recommend it and I think most people would be satisfied. There's also the fact that a lot of people will buy whichever set gives them the best Menasor, and despite releasing all five of their Stunticons we still don't have a completed Menasor. On the other hand, Gravestone has been released into a world that already has Roadking in it. Now, Roadking isn't perfect. And there's a lot I really like about Gravestone. But if I'm being totally honest I think Roadking is the better figure overall. So while I do think Gravestone is quite good, and that the people who buy him will be content with him, if I'm only going to recommend one figure to people who simply want the best MP Motormaster then my recommendation still goes to Fans Toys'.
  9. All I know is that I've been building my own PCs since the Core 2 Duo was the new hotness, and for the first time yesterday I ordered a pre-built Asus ROG Strix desktop. Sometime in the last few years along it got cheaper to buy than build, and with a 4 year old always needing to be run somewhere I don't have the time anyway. But yes, Comet Lake will use a new socket (LGA 1200). But it isn't expected to be widely available for desktops until late this year or even next year. I wound up spending an extra $150 and bought a 27UK850-W instead.
  10. Hmmm. Wonder if I should sell Alpha Pack and pick up General Grant? May be moot, as I anhiliated my TF budget for January. And MMC's Onslaught looks to be coming before CNY... I'm hoping I can work it into February's budget. Oh, and it's official- Gravestone made it to me before Capone. With CNY hitting next week I think I'll contact ShowZ and ask him to resend.
  11. This thread's been quiet. Well, my love of old Gobots is no secret. Not to you guys, and not to my brother, who found the Loco figure we had as kids and he gave it to me for Christmas. Which prompted me to order Action Toys Steam Robo. Eh... I think aesthetically he's kind of a mixed bag. The basics are there; the silver with red dots on his shins, his yellow belt with two black dots and a red hexagon, the plate with "D-5147" on his chest, his red shades, the head that's designed to look like he's wearing a conductor's hat. But the red sticker on the original toy's tummy has been replaced with some mashed up hinges that they couldn't even bother to color red, his belt has two little squares cut out of it, his face is a simple, bland frown like you might have found on one of the older 3P Transfomers, and his head looks rather incomplete without the front engine on top. And that's before I even bring up that the insides of his forearms are as hollow as a Hasbro Deluxe, despite costing more than double. I'm not sure what's going on with Action Toys and scale, either. I don't have many of their Machine Robo figures, really just Steam Robo and Bike Robo (plus Bike Robo DX), and I can tell you that Steam Robo is over a head taller than Bike Robo. The original toys are the same size, they Loco and Cy-Kill looked to be the same size in the cartoon, and Bike Robo and Steam Robo looked to be the same size in the anime, so I don't really understand the size discrepancy. I guess you could say that a steam engine is bigger than a motorcycle, but with that logic Steam Robo should be a lot more than a head taller. Steam Robo's accessories are pretty basic. He comes with the parts to make the stand that all their non-DX Machine Robo figures come with. I'm not going to get into detail on them; you can scroll up a bit to read my Bike Robo review if you need to know more. Other than the stand Steam Robo comes with a stand adapter that plugs into his butt and a pistol. I think Steam Robo's articulation is better than Bike Robo's, but nothing amazing. His head is on a ball joint that can swivel as well as look up and down, but I couldn't get any tilt out of him. His shoulders are ball joints for rotation, a slight butterfly, and about 75 degrees of lateral motion. His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees. His fists can fold in for transformation, but they don't swivel. His waist does swivel. His hips are ball joints that can go forward and backward a little over 90 degrees, or laterally 90 degrees. His thighs can swivel. His knees bend 90 degrees on a soft ratchet or some other detented joint. The front of his foot is on a ball joint so it can tilt up or down, or rotate on the ball for a faux ankle pivot. The handle of the pistol plugs into either fist. You guys know that I'm not the biggest fan of ball joints. I call Hasbro out when they don't use universal joints for the hips on a $20 Deluxe, you better believe I think Action Toys should be using some better hardware on a $50 toy. Ditch the elaborate stand, if they have to. The use of ball joints by itself would be bad enough, but this figure is poorly toleranced. His hips are a little looser than I'd like. His toes and the hinges that fold his hands in are looser than anyone will like, and the toes are a bit of a problem because his feet don't sit flat. He's got heels that extend beyond the bottom of his feet, so his toes kind of have to point down to keep his legs straight. And worst of all, the poor tolerances aren't limited to the joints. His lower legs split in half and unfold for transformation. There are two tabs that are supposed to hold the halves of his legs together, but the slots are too large for the tabs. There's zero friction holding them in, so simply picking him up is enough to have his legs start flopping apart. The transformation for the original toy is, like most Gobots, super simple. Push the arms into the torso, and fold him over. Steam Robo, on the other hand, has a surprisingly complex transformation that turns his upper body inside out, shifting mass from a top-to-bottom configuration to a front-to-back one, then his legs split apart and unfurl to become the bottom of the engine. I'm no expert on trains, but it seems to me that Action Robo's goal was a more realistic and realistically proportioned steam engine than the original toy. Everything fits together solidly here, making this mode the stronger of the two modes. Again, I'm no expert, but I think this is supposed to be a Japanese D-51 steam engine. I'm not going to go into great detail about what they got right and what they didn't, because I'm sure that David's got stronger opinions and a better eye than I do for what's right and what's wrong here. All I'll note is that the D-51 did have some kind of rounded element in front of the smokestack, and I think it's kind of clever of Action Toys to use that element to disguise a hinge (minus points for the itty bitty headlight, though). Oh, and there's no tender. You better believe I'm not forgetting about tenders after the crash course I got when I reviewed Siege Astrotrain. I looked, but I couldn't find a place to store Steam Robo's pistol in steam engine mode. The obvious (to me) spot would have been in the smokestack, but unlike the original toy it's not hollowed out. There is a coupler on the front of the engine (which does look to be something a real D-51 had there), but the handle of the gun steams too big to fit in it. Despite my love of Gobots Action Toys' Machine Robo line hasn't really caught on with me, and Steam Robo is really hammering home why. Bike Robo DX was an amazing figure and I would literally be willing to pay $100-$120 a pop for them to do almost any Gobot in that exact same size, even without many accessories, as long as they kept the quality and included at least one Hanna-Barbera face. I'm sure I'm not the only one, as Bike Robo DX was fairly well-received by reviewers and seems to have sold pretty well. Yet, despite promises that they were working on more Machine Robo DX figures, Action Toys seemed to double down on their regular Machine Robo line. It's probably not fair to judge that entire line by the two figures that I have from it, but both of mine are little floppy, don't stay tabbed together all that well, come with accessories I don't want or need, and simply aren't up to the level of quality I expect in a $40-$50 toy. And again I think I'm not the only one who felt that way, as many of the figures in the line took a lot longer to sell out (if they ever did). Steam Robo is simply not that good, and I don't recommend him. While I liked Bike Robo better, I didn't recommend him either. My advice to you, as consumers, is don't buy them. My advice to Action Toys, as toy makers, is to stop wasting time and money turning what seems like early Fansproject designs into overpriced toys of mediocre quality and give fans the Eagle Robo DX we've been wanting to buy for almost two years now.
  12. BBTS is selling Warbotron's Computron set for $149.99. I bought this set years ago, and while it's probably not going to be anyone's idea of a proper MP Computron the individual Technobots might work on an MP shelf, and it's really not a bad set for the price.
  13. Good to know, I guess. In any case, like I said the tracking clearly states that it left Beijing by airplane, so it's 99% for sure in the States. And another TFWer said he talked to the post office, and their response was basically "we have no record of your package entering the country." Despite being on US soil, something doesn't officially enter the country until it clears customs, and that's pretty much the smoking gun that tells me that the hold up is US customs.
  14. It might if ShowZ just slapped a shipping label right on Capone's box, but he typically fits styrofoam around whatever he's shipping and then covers the whole thing in tape.
  15. Well, I didn't care for the Studio Series Deluxe WWII Bumblebee, and I thought Hot Rod was pretty terrible in The Last Knight, so it's safe to say I'm skipping the WWII Hot Rod repaint. So it looks like this will be my last review for the current wave of Studio Series figures... Deluxe-class Soundwave. Before sitting down to write I looked at the CGI model, I looked at the previous Deluxe-class and Human Alliance toys, and yeah, this one's more accurate. The tires on his back are sitting a little too high, and he's got door kibble on the inside of his forearms. His chest, mainly the grill, doesn't compact. He's got some car kibble around the tires on his calves. But this is a Deluxe-class toy, not an MPM, and I expect concessions to be made. And on the other hand, the faux car panels on his thighs, the discs on his forearms, in the gaps in his chest, and (not that you can easily see them) on the linkage between his shoulders and his torso are all spot on. His head sculpt is good. That is what his feet look like, and the car kibble does at least put the tires correctly in his heels. For a Deluxe-class, I think the sculpt is pretty good overall, and I like that he's painted silver and not simply made of swirly silver plastic. But, paint might actually be my main gripe with the aesthetics, because he winds up being very monochromatic, but the CGI model has red in its abs and blue in the chest and shoulders. All things considered, though, this is one of the better-looking Studio Series releases. Soundwave's only accessory is this tiny Laserbeak. The sculpt here is ok, but unlike Soundwave it's not painted (aside from the red eyes). The only articulation is at its hips. I guess as long as Hasbro is trying to keep things in scale for the Studio Series line the only way we're going to get characters like Laserbeak is as pack-in accessories. But then again, Barricade didn't come with Frenzy, we don't have Ravage, and I'd have been quite content without Brains, Wheelie, Igor, and the baby Dinobots. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'd have rather Soundwave came with a weapon. Soundwave's articulation is a little on the poor side. His head is on a ball joint. He can look up and has ok sideways tilt, but he can't look down and his collar impedes rotation. His shoulders rotate and extend nearly 90 degrees. His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees. No wrist or waist articulation. His hips are (a little loose) ball joints, and can go 90 degrees forward, about 60 degrees backward before his backpack is just too in the way, and only about 45 degrees laterally due to the shape of the faux car kibble causing it to dig into his waist. He has extremely minimal thigh rotation. His knees bend 90 degrees. With everything tabbed in properly he has no foot articulation. Sure, you can untab the front of his foot so it can tilt up, but that doesn't get you a pivot. There's a rail on the edge of either forearm, and Laserbeak's feet have a shape that's basically a c-clip, allowing him to clip onto those rails and perch on Soundwave's arm. And... that's about it. As he did in Dark of the Moon, Soundwave turns into a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, which is a pretty big car for only being a two-seater (probably due to Mercedes-Benz building a supercar that could hang with the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the era, but deciding to go with a front-engine setup instead of a mid-engine one). As big as the SLS AMG was, though, a Saleen Mustang was still bigger. Since Soundwave's bigger than Barricade in their alt modes this is another example of how having robots in scale usually means having alt modes that aren't. The engineering with Soundwave is, for the most part, quite straightforward. There is one bit that I found to be a bit of a hangup, and that's how his pelvis sits. Your instinct (or at least mine) is to bend him 90 degrees at the hips. And while everything will seem like it's in the right spot, and most of the car will start to line up, but there won't be enough room for his arms to tuck in and form the sides of the car. What you really need is to is give his pelvis an extra push, so the hinges tuck into a corner and his pelvis is sitting at an angle (as shown above). Soundwave's alt mode has a lot of the problems the other Studio Series cars do- at this size, with this engineering, it's nearly impossible to get everything to line up and tab in just right. No matter what I do I get at least some gaps, most prominently where the rear window and trunk tab into the rear of the car made from his legs. He doesn't roll so well, and I think that's at least in part because his ears hang down well below the front end of the car. And, at least on my copy, I've got some paint blemishes on the rear. I also think the car would have looked better if Hasbro used that black paint they have on the grill on all the other vents. Despite these issues the sculpt is pretty great, with lots of detail in the molding like the turn signals on the mirrors, the "SLS" and "AMG" marks on the rear, the "6.3" and the low door handle on the gullwing doors, and the Mercedes-Benz insignia on the rims. Laserbeak can come along for the ride in this mode. There's a small slot on the back of the roof. When you bend Laserbeak's legs backward you'll find a tab between his knees that plugs neatly into that slot. I'd still rather have a weapon, though. And there you have it, folks, a somewhat mixed-bag wave ends on a fairly high note. Soundwave is lacking in accessories and articulation, but his strong sculpt and copious silver paint still gives him a strong visual presence, and his straightforward engineering lets you flip between those modes with minimal hassle. That makes Soundwave one of the better Deluxes in the Studio Series line, and a recommend from me.
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