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On 7/27/2020 at 12:27 AM, David Hingtgen said:

I'd much rather see a re-done Trypticon.  :)

(really, they kinda doubled down on the goofier aspects IMHO, it could have been done so much cooler/better I think)

I dunno.  I mean, Trypticon's not perfect.  I'd have preferred a darker gray, maybe some wrist swivels, and a neck swivel that didn't move the back gun/towers with it.  But otherwise I think he's pretty good.  He looks the part in dino mode and has good articulation in the shoulders, elbows, claws, hips, and knees, as well as ankle pivots and even a little tail curl.  He's got the mouth guns and the nose gun.  The city mode is very close, too, really just missing some antenna and the parts that make up Brunt.  The biggest departure from G1 is that they've traded the original's third mode (which, to be fair, is really just transforming him halfway between dino and city mode and technically still doable on the Titan) for a spaceship mode that I'm actually pretty fond of.

Not sure what goofier aspects you're referring to.  The Titan Master eating thing?  Doesn't really affect much besides giving him a hollow space inside, but it's Hasbro we're talking here.  He was going to have hollow spaces regardless.

I'm with you on one thing, Trypticon is my favorite city bot.  But honestly Metroplex and Fortress Maximus are both in more of a need of do overs.  Right now I feel like I have three good citybots (we'll count Omega for the purposes of this discussion) and two that are bad enough that they don't really belong with the other three.  Metroplex has awful proportions in all three modes.  I'd want articulated hands, hands that fold away in alt modes (c'mon, we know the forearms are going to be mostly hollow anyway, blockier arms that collapse, shorter legs, longer chest, ankle ankle pivots, more accurate shoulder spike towers, more accurate shoulder guns, Slammer, a better Deluxe-class Scamper (both can even be sold separately for all I care, as long as they get made).  Max fares a little better.  The proportions and the shape of his arms on that mold work better on him, almost as if they'd always intended to get Max out of it.  But he still needs articulated hands, ankle pivots and tilts (I want the whole foot  to move for alt mode, not just the toes), ankle pivots on Fortress/Cerebros, a better bridge section that's complete without stuffing Fortress/Cerebros inside and contains his hip guns, and a G1-accurate city mode that isn't the best Hasbro can come up wtih because Metroplex's legs werent' designed to bend that way.  If HasTak can give me both of those I don't mind if they want to redo Trypticon, but if they don't I'll at least feel like I have five city bots that belong together.

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Full sketches of MP Starscream V3, thanks to Transformers Never Die on FB.. He's looking pretty thick from front to back; his intake ramps are completely behind his head, and his cockpit canopy extends out like a beer gut. The trapezoids on his shins are flat and too wide. (I hope at least they'll include optional shin thrusters).  There's a lot going on on his back, so it's tough to make out, but par for the course with recent MP figures, he's got a MT. Everest summit-worthy backpack. I was hoping this would rival the Maketoys, as I only have Skycrow, and was holding out to see if Takara would make a new Seeker. Well, they have, and I've got a bad feeling....

116289979_10158746840378829_4551260436077782427_o.jpg?_nc_cat=101&_nc_sid=b9115d&_nc_ohc=cuniIPVPkZEAX87hUvN&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&_nc_tp=6&oh=deb04b58ed0ce5dda087e1318e5c17fc&oe=5F476C59116339110_10158746840368829_6339918050424076060_n.jpg?_nc_cat=107&_nc_sid=b9115d&_nc_ohc=M4z9vBTlKvUAX9qNytL&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&_nc_tp=6&oh=f20137580f50b771a006b9a61b25e505&oe=5F46127A

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53 minutes ago, anime52k8 said:

I kinda like it.

Same. I've been going back over the CAD drawings since they popped up on a certain other Transformers forum. There's already some good speculation from our own @David Hingtgen noting how the vertical stabs will fold into the backpack. I think it's a clever way to do it, especially since it could avoid adding visible alt mode hinges like the MT implementation if the speculation proves accurate.

Other design cues that I like in Takara's CAD sketches include:

  • The proportionate head sculpt
  • Wings with no wing gaps
    (IMO, really. This was a major pet-peeve of mine on the MT seekers, especially since my wing fillers didn't work)

I'm curious to see the nose cone transformation and how (or if) this will add a waist swivel, and how the waist swivel might differ from MT's implementation. And will the waist skirt slide out of the way at all for transformation? I have to admit that part was clever on MT's seekers, but it only worked well on my copy of Meteor.

Edited by technoblue
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Honestly, given that articulation , as well as toony smoothness, top the requisite list for Takara's MP line, I wouldn't be concerned about waist swivel or ab crunch, or knees and elbows capable of bending well beyond 90 degrees.  While I'm not a big fan of the absolute Sunbow aesthetic, I absolutely love and laud the new direction Takara has taken in regards to articulation in the MP line.  Growing up with TFs that had no articulation below the waist, and often minimal articulation above,  articulation, or the lack thereof, has long been one of my major peeves with Transformer toys. Although I've been steadily moving away from official MP figures for the last few releases, it's the one positive that I can point to consistently.  It seems to come at a price though, as concessions to sculpt are made to allow for buttefly joints and such.  

I'll reserve actual judgement once we have a fully colored prototype to gawk at. I really want this to be a good figure. I have holes in my collection begging to be filled, and it has been awhile since I last bought an official MP toy. Already, many of the issues with the first two versions have been addressed, especially the fuselage/head sitting too high in relation to the intake ramps in bot mode. I hated that about MP3/11.  So, now it's just a matter of waiting until Takara decides to tease us with some actual proto shots. I'm being cautiously optimistic about this one.

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I mean, Starscream looks fine, as a drawing.  I'm sure I'll have a stronger opinion when I see a prototype, and a stronger opinion still when I see it painted and know the price.  Takara does have a strong record of cartoon likeness and articulation these days... but they also have a reputation for fake parts, cramming a lot of the real alt mode into a backpack, QC issues (knees seem to be their weakness), and high prices.  Given what the old Seeker molds were going for by the time the last Conehead was released I feel like I can reasonably expect that Takara will deliver something that'll be better than Maketoys, but not so much better and carrying a price tag that all but guarantees I won't upgrade.

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I'm still looking for an MP Seeker that will fit into my collection, which is why I'm willing to give this new official mold a chance. I've owned (and sold) MP-3 and MP-11 Starscream, MP-11 Acid Storm, and MT's Meteor, Skycrow, and Lightning.

Even though Maketoys had the least accurate alt mode of the bunch, they were well ahead of Takara with their third-party toon accurate hyper-articulate bot mode design. Looking back, I wish they had taken the benefit of their lead to iron out the identified quirks. Hindsight and all...MT is one of the few unofficial companies I really value at this scale, especially since they seem willing to take chances that other manufacturers are unwilling to take (see their Headmasters...sigh).

But I digress. Takara's new design is making some curious changes. For instance, the cockpit looks to sit out further from the torso in bot mode when compared to MP-3/11. I wonder why that is and how that works? The lower leg, calf area is better defined like it is on MP-36 and MP-44. It looks like the mechanism attaching the null rays might have changed? I'm not sure. The new mold seems to improve the feet with more surface area and added ankle tilts, but the engines still work as heels. The lines make it look like the chest missile gimmick is sticking around too, but will Takara also keep the turbine transformation or will that change to be more like the old G1 seekers? I'm finding the alt mode silhouette is unclear on this last point.

More questions than answers to be true, but I guess I'm already on board the hype train for this one. :p

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I really can’t understand what’s going on with the wings. Why is there a big hinge on the leading edge of the wing? It looks as if the wing has 2 halves...almost bi-plane like. That seems...odd. I fear for how the alt mode will look. The F-15 is a great aircraft to use for a transformer, I don’t see why they can’t make a toon accurate bot while still making a good looking F-15. The previous examples have come close as did MT. Just a few tweaks and we could have the best of both worlds. 

Chris

Edited by Dobber
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It'll be nice when Takara gives us proto shots as well as a couple different views of the alt mode to kinda see what's going where, and how much of this guy's alt is going to end up on his back. I forget who mentioned it (sorry, but thanks for the observation) that both sets of stabilizers are part of the backpack in order to clean up the legs. That's fine I guess, if they can compress them down. Still, as I pointed out, ole Screamer's looking a bit thick from back to front, with a fair bit of backpack, that extends below his crotch (don't like that<_<), and a beer gut courtesy of his protruding canopy.  I would think they can do better, but, again, a drawing doesn't equal a working prototype so far as visual appeal. It may look fantastic. I hope so.

Looking at the arms, it does look like there are linkages on the null rays.  If they just swing into place without being removed, I'm all the happier for it. Perfect transformation, baby!

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23 minutes ago, Dobber said:

I really can’t understand what’s going on with the wings. Why is there a big hinge on the leading edge of the wing? It looks as if the wing has 2 halves...almost bi-plane like. That seems...odd. I fear for how the alt mode will look. The F-15 is a great aircraft to use for a transformer, I don’t see why they can’t make a toon accurate bot while still making a good looking F-15. The previous examples have come close as did MT. Just a few tweaks and we could have the best of both worlds. 

Chris

The entire tailboom/vertical stabilizer/taileron sections fold up, and it looks like the verticals rotate 180 and get stuffed between the wing halves like a sandwich. The lower wings halves extend from the tops via those double hinges at the leading edge. Looking at the alt mode silhouette, the tailerons look like they fold in half and get jammed into that glorious backpack somehow.  I'm guessing most of the nose section gets hidden behind the backpack, and that chest canopy may be fake.  This Screamer is THICK.

 

edit: M'Kyuun beat me to it.

Edited by ghostryder
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58 minutes ago, David Hingtgen said:

Or the short version:  The wings split top/bottom, so that you can stuff all the tailfins inside them, for a fin-less bot-mode.  

That would be an elegant solution that, in my mind, would eliminate the need for a voluminous backpack. From the CAD, I don't think that's the direction they took. I'm thinking  stuff sandwiched under more stuff, with even more stuff sandwiched under that. It's the Takara way.^_^

 

Digressing from Starscream, I took a cue from @mikeszekely and did some customizing of my Earthrise Prime. Instead of the Toyhax labels, which I'm still deciding whether I'm going to get, I opted to spray OP and his maintenance droid, and hand paint the rest of the details. I took Op for a roadtrip to Hobbytown, where I and a couple associates tried to eyeball match the color to ER Prime's hands. We settled on Tamiya TS-51 Racing Blue, which in reality is a smidge darker than the color used by Takara. Had I to do it over, I'd probably go with Pearl Blue, as it looked a little lighter. However, it's pretty darn close, so I'm not losing any sleep over it. It has a nice metallic sheen to it, and for the most part, despite my lack of experience spray painting, I managed to do a fair job on it. However, close inspection will reveal areas that got a lighter spray, and there are a few droplet marks on the bottom of one of the legs and feet.  I sprayed some paint into the cap and did a little touch up by hand, but it pales in comparison to handiwork of many our fellow members. I ended up painting the canopy on the maintenance droid twice, as the acrylic mixture I was using wasn't laying down very smoothly, and after I finally had it where it was satisfactory, my hand accidentally brushed up against it and made a slight ripple. I made a valiant effort to fix it, but it was beyond helping. So I wiped it off, made a new mixture, using two different paints, and tried again. the result is what you see in the pic. It's still not as nice as a spray job, but it's the best I could do by hand. Fortunately, if I do end up getting the Toyhax labels, the acrylic paint wipes off fairly easily with a wet rag. 

I generally don't bother customizing my Transformers, but I felt that this figure could really benefit from it, especially after seeing Mike's and another custom on the TFW boards. This definitely entailed the most masking I've ever done for anything. It was an exercise in deliberate tedium, but I believed the end result would justify the labor, and it did. I wish my painting skills were better, but I gave it my best effort, and while it's not as crisp as I'd like, it looks better now than it did before my labors. I have to live with the mistakes, but I'm pretty sure I won't be losing sleep over it. Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple pics.

100_4633.JPG.d1457b8c38deb0489a87e2e597e39d1e.JPG100_4635.JPG.1ea0f4eca7607775116a40a66b78296b.JPG

 

Edited by M'Kyuun
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Ok, as much as I want a newer/better Starscream mold, what in the blue blazes is going on with those giant hinges on the leading edge of the wings?  I would be thrilled to see them fold the tails and stabs up against the backs of the wings like some of the smaller Seeker 3rd party molds have done, but... I can't see that looking passable in alt mode at all.

Though, I'm an outlier who thought the later modifications to the original Greenscream mold were some of the best ones they ever produced... just needed to keep the Kawamori-style legs with the later lack of FAST packs and the sliding tail sections.

Edited by Chronocidal
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5 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

Ok, as much as I want a newer/better Starscream mold, what in the blue blazes is going on with those giant hinges on the leading edge of the wings?  I would be thrilled to see them fold the tails and stabs up against the backs of the wings like some of the smaller Seeker 3rd party molds have done, but... I can't see that looking passable in alt mode at all.

Though, I'm an outlier who thought the later modifications to the original Greenscream mold were some of the best ones they ever produced... just needed to keep the Kawamori-style legs with the later lack of FAST packs and the sliding tail sections.

Me too, I asked that same thing above and a few members answered. I’m really curious to see what’s going on here and to see how it is executed. Also hope that canopy is a faux canopy for the chest as it looks NOTHING like an F-15’s canopy, particularly from the side. 
 

Chris

Edited by Dobber
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I hadn't noticed the LE hinges until I went back and reread some the latest posts with full attention. I don't see how they're going to hide those, unless they act as clips for the underside part of the wing, and fold away in jet mode. Still, even if that's what's happening, there needs to be a recess or a tab somewhere on the upper LE for it to latch on to. Either way, the LE is spoiled, figuratively and aerodynamically. Like Chronocidal said, it's a livable solution just to have the tail booms fold up onto the back, and have the stabs fold accordingly for flatter stowage. It's not the prettiest, but it gets the job done without compromising  the look of any of the other structures. This looks like another case of overengineering for the sake of it. I really hope that's not a fake cockpit; there's absolutely no reason for it. I can live with it for a character like Sunstreaker, where the dimensions of the windshield vary greatly between car and bot modes, and the concession offers a better version of each. But the Seeker design, like so many of Kawamori's  variable jet designs, is built around the entirety of the plane becoming the robot, and if companies like Maketoys and New Age can pull it off without resorting to fakery, Takara should be able to do likewise.

I feel my cautious enthusiasm for this slowly ebbing away.:(

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Starscream is looking good in those drawings.

  • No raised head
  • Intake ramps have a nice curvature to them (looks like they are collapsible to make them straight for fighter mode)
  • Forearms are not stubby and fat
  • Tapered biceps
  • Chest intakes align with the rest of the body
  • Lower legs are angular with only the back calf part being rounded
  • Finally some proper feet that don't look like weird high heels
  • No more split wings

The only thing I don't like is how the leading wing edges go below the pelvis with that squarish back plate.

Can't wait to see what type of articulation Takara has implemented in this guy.

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With all the wing origami going on in that new backpack, I’ll be really surprised if Takara has room to add in a false cockpit. But maybe it is necessary to make the new bot torso toon accurate? I don’t know. I’m thinking that the nose compresses into the backpack and will still have “sections” — one thought is that the cockpit section is getting pushed out due to the way the new transformation is implemented; another thought, if the visible piece is indeed false, maybe Takara is using a sliding cover similar to the heat shield on Bandai/Arcadia Valkyries? 

As for the visible hinges, yeah I’m also hoping that those are hidden well underneath the F-15 alt mode detail and that they don’t stand out in any obvious way. It’s hard to tell just looking at the side profile, but I also don’t usually look at CAD drawings so maybe I’m missing some important detail? :unknw:

It’s too bad more news wasn’t shared in the recent Figure King magazine. I was hoping for some early prototype shots. Oh well, need to wait a little longer.

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anyway as far as the released sketches go a few questions and observations


1. i'm not sure how the waist swivel is gonna work - going by takara's record it will have one and an ab crunch hopefully but again don't see how it gonna work.
2. THICK. this guys is thick. he's got a lot of stuff folded up onto his back- a transformation strategy we are seeing a lot of recently hopefully this dosen't effect the stability and posability too much. also he has a bit of a potbelly with that cockpit and stuff sticking out further than one would normally imagine.  also is that a fake cockpit? 
3. can his wings angle upwards in bot mode like mp3, mp11 and some others do?
4. he has a big head but that is consistent with the model they are going with even though his head is often shown not to be THAT big (its oftentimes shown bigger). still i think its a touch too big. hopefully the aftermarket addresses that?
5. what does his f-15 mode look like?  hope its a real as they can make it and not intentionally cartoonified.
6. proportions wise...he's a bit lanky and i guess sometimes he was drawn that way. i do prefer when he was drawn less so, but its just a preference.
7. his shin "thrusters".... are wide and flat and look like design details...not a 3D part.  this is dumb.  it needs them.  earthrise got this right.  as did previous mp3/11.
8. YEAH no more elevated head/collar/fueselage area!  I realize that is why mp-03 boxart photo was a top down view looking back in retrospect.  you notice it much less!
9. he has no buttflatp BUT, his backpack goes lower than his butt kinda ruining the silhouette (blacked out you'd thing his butt is that low and his legs shorter)...i think this is worse than a buttflap honestly.
10. his hips, knees and ankle joints basically are in straight line....thats good!! unlike mp-44 btw.

11.  the main thrusters appear a bit too small, this can be seen by how small they are compared to his feet.

12.  I wish his hands are rounder, chunkier, and more bubbly.  on a side note his forearms look good.  most of the sculpting/curvature looks well done. 

13.  his intake stack being behind his head (looking form the side) is a good choice.  he was often drawn that way and hey...he can look sideways not wihto9ut staring into his intake stack.

overall i am cautiously optimistic. he isn't as toon simplified as some others so it looks better to me than some recent releases...hopefully price isn't rdiculous and QC is good as well as engineering chioices.   i have meteor but i'm lukewarm on him these days. i also have a dozen + of older seekers (mp3/6/7/11, igear, coneheads, igear coneheads) that i guess i wont' be unloading...they each have their own charm.  i even love greenscream still FWIW.  the only design i have more of than seekers is VF-1 Valkyries.  lol.

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So I completely forgot this was a thing but apparenty I have an earthrise commander Sky Lynx coming in the mail tomorrow. :unknw:

Edited by anime52k8
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1 hour ago, anime52k8 said:

So I completely forgot this was a thing but apparenty I have an earthrise commander Sky Lynx coming in the mail tomorrow. :unknw:

Same-ish. Mine won't get here until Friday.

Meanwhile Amazon said Snapdragon isn't coming until September, but I just picked one up at Walmart.

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So yeah... while Siege was sort of a soft reboot of Hasbro's main Transformers line, right from the first wave they were kind of picking up where the Power of the Primes Trilogy left off and delivering Skytread (aka Flywheels), complimenting the previously-released Duocon Battletrap.  Later they inched closer to completing the Headmasters with the release of Siege Apeface.  And no sooner was Apeface revealed than the fandom started asking, "Where's Snapdragon?"

Well, here's Voyager-class Earthrise Snapdragon.

IMG_20200805_203555.jpg.58ac14cd7862a2e03882465b92db9f29.jpg

With none of the Siege dirt splatter, Snapdragon is quite a bit cleaner than his fellow Horrorcon.  He's sporting Decepticon badges on both sides of his chest, which seems to be accurate to The Headmasters anime, although they're lacking the white backgrounds.  He's got lots of purple and black, which is accurate, but he's missing any teal details from his legs.  Instead, he's got some white and yellow on the sides of his legs that aren't on either the G1 cartoon or toy.  I'll also note that he's got molded details, especially on his shins and hips, that call back to the G1 toy's stickers, but they're not painted.  The overall effect is that he looks a little bland.

IMG_20200805_210840.jpg.02382a057de6428ef81e608a6a4f1a9f.jpg

I'll say this, though.  Aside from some G1-accurate kibble on his arms he's got a very clean body, lacking Apeface's huge backpack and belying the fact that he's a triple-changer.  He doesn't have have the cockpit dangling from his back; this is because much of the fuselage is actually formed from his legs.

IMG_20200805_203616.jpg.cf10f6c80a55f05016a7436d6c0b1901.jpg

Snapdragon comes with two identical purple rifles, which is G1-accurate.  And he comes with his head/Titan master.  It's been some time since I watched either "The Rebirth" or The Headmasters, so I can't comment on how cartoon-accurate he is.  The G1 toy had the red color on his thighs, not just his shins and legs, and his body was purple, not black.  His head was also fully purple, with no white... but I do like the red-painted visor.

IMG_20200805_204537.jpg.1398627c3b48e0a9c798600223bc7dc5.jpg

Most of Snapdragon's articulation is pretty standard Siege/Earthrise stuff.  The ball joint on the TItan Master neck means he can turn his head and he's got a little bit of up/down/sideways tilt.  His shoulders can rotate and extend laterally 90 degrees.  His waist swivels.  His hips can move forward and backward 90 degrees and laterally slightly over that.  His thighs swivel where the purple meets the black on his hips.  His knees bend 90 degrees.  His feet can't tilt down, but they do tilt up and his ankles can pivot nearly 90 degrees.  Where he runs into trouble, though, are his arms, and it's entirely due to his kibble.  Like, his biceps can swivel, but if his elbows are bent they'll almost totally block the swivel.  His elbows can only bend about 45 degrees when his biceps are straight, but if they're turned to the outside that bit of wing kibble on his upper arm will stop all but the slightest of bends.  And he's got no wrist articulation.

He holds his rifles just fine.  He's got an additional 5mm port on his back, two on his chest, on the wing that's on the inside of each forearm, in a screw hole on the outside of each forearm, on the outside of each shoulder, on the outside of each leg just below the knee, and under each foot.

IMG_20200805_204849.jpg.7291d1962714488b36de78d41e2bb8f6.jpg

Snapdragon's first alt mode is a jet, much like Apeface.  Except, unlike Apeface, he's much sleeker, he tabs together more solidly, and the transformation is much easier.  The jet mode looks pretty G1, and even has a painted teal spot where the G1 toy had a hinge.  The fuselage does flare out a bit more, though, and he's got translucent yellow both where the G1 toy had gold paint and where the G1 toy had a large black section.  I don't mind it.

IMG_20200805_204903.jpg.6efebcff6df2935b0ffbdec1f7b4009b.jpg

What I do mind is that the back looks a bit unfinished.  While the G1 toy was solid white the whole way back here we have exposed elbows, some exposed black and teal, and a gap between the engine nacelles and those exposed black and teal bits.  I find myself wishing the arms could have collapsed, like Titans Return Overlord's, and/or that there could have been one more folding flap to cover over the back of the jet a bit more.

Oh, and the exposed hands breaking up the exhausts are just lazy.

IMG_20200805_210623.jpg.60410e74888732c308b63905d34ef99e.jpg

The jet mode does have a fold out landing gear in the nose, but the rear just rests on his robot mode chest.  The larger translucent yellow section can open up, and the titan master can sit inside.  There's even some teal-painted cockpit details.  The instructions indicate that the purple guns should go into the 5mm ports under his wings.  There's also one port on either side of the nose, two just behind the titan master cockpit, one behind the teal pain on the spine, one on the side of either engine nacelle near the intakes, his visible fists under the jet, and two on the bottom where his robot chest is (although anything you stick in those last two will interfere with the jet's ability to sit on the ground).

IMG_20200805_210236.jpg.78494c968be15682bdf41712d36f3b28.jpg

As previously mentioned Snapdragon is a triple-changer, and his third mode is... well, it was called the "reptile" mode.  Could be an anatomically-inaccurate T-Rex, or a dragon, or maybe a kaiju.  Whatever it is, it's once again saddled with less kibble from its other modes than ol' Apeface.  And T-Rex/dragons/kaiju are cooler than apes anyway (sorry, Kong, you know I'm rooting for the big G in the upcoming Godzilla vs Kong movie).

The transformation is, again, rather simple but extremely effective.

IMG_20200805_210322.jpg.5fd08ed120139617c79f10d7e198d5d1.jpg

The basic design is very G1- mostly black tail and body, legs made from the jet's nacelles, purple neck, white head with red jaws, little teal arms.  The proportions are much better than the original toy, though, with wider hips and a narrower chest, no kibble dangling from the underside of said chest, and the dino arms are connected to dino biceps and shoulders instead of dangling off scrunched-up, poorly disguised robot legs.

As was the case with Siege Apeface his monster head isn't just his half-unfolded robot head like the G1 toys.  The top half of his monster head is part of the alt mode, so you don't have the robot face staring up from the top of his head.  Instead there's a titan master port on the roof of his mouth, and you jam the titan master up inside so his legs are the lower jaw.  His arms don't make the red on the upper jaw; that's just painted detail molded onto the rest of the monster head.  But what's interesting is that the eyes are just empty sockets.  There are fins on the titan master's arms, and when you plug him in you bend his arms up so the fins fit into slots.  The fins fill in the sockets and give the monster mode his red eyes.

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His monster legs benefit from his robot arm articulation.  They also suffer for it, but the hindrances bother me less in this mode.  Although his tail doesn't have a ton of articulation there is the hinge near the tip that the G1 toy has.  He can't tilt his head sideways or rotate it at all, but he's got hinges where the purple meets the black and where the white meets the purple, which is helpful, and his titan master's hips and knees become joints in his lower jaws.  My only real complaint here is the dino arms.  The shoulders, which are riveted, can rotate but they can't move laterally at all.  And the dino elbows are ball joints, which does give them a bicep swivel but he can't straighten them.  The ball has 90 degrees of range, but that's from a 90 degree bend to a 180 degree bend.

The instructions suggest using the two pegs holes on his back (what was his robot chest) to store his guns.  You also have one on each side of his tail, near the hinge, two on the underside of his tail near his pelvis, one on his crotch, one on the outside of each hip, one on the outside of each lower leg on the wing kibble, on on the inside of each lower leg near the ankle, and one in each heel where his robot fists are stored.

When Apeface came out I thought it was cool that Hasbro was finishing up the Headmasters, but the figure was pretty disappointing.  I'm pleased to say that Snapdragon, while not perfect, is pretty great.  If you can look past a few arm articulation issues in robot and monster mode and the slightly unfinished rear of the jet mode the I think you'll be quite happy with what I feel is the second-best triple-changer Hasbro's released after Springer. 

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I've got a copy PO'd with Target, but if ER prime is any indication, they probably street dated it for 1 Sept.<_<

Toy Galaxy pretty much summed up my frustration  with buying toys these days.  Rated R for language.

 

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Guess what came a day early?  And by weird coincidence, is similarly-sized to the MMC Blast Off I just reviewed in the 3P thread?

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I'm messing with him tonight, full review tomorrow.

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That's lovely.
I still appreciate the actual NASA logo. And I adore that his shuttle mode has an actual name, and that it is the Magnificence.

 

I am a little grumpy about the lack of either pair of three OMS thrusters in the top of the nose. I sort of feel it is an iconic part of the space shuttle's look(you know, after "white plane shaped like a stick of butter with wings"), there's so much OTHER detail molded in that isn't accurate to anything, and both the original and Combiner Wars Lynxes of the Skies have had both sets of three*. But I'll get over it.

 

 

 

*And the CW Sky Lynx had 'em even though he wasn't even close to a proper space shuttle.

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HasTak did a lovely job with Sky Lynx. The only real improvement I would have liked is for the toes on his bird feet to be able to spread out. It would have helped with posing and balance, not to mention it would have looked more natural. They took a bit of license with the shuttle mode, but it's still recognizable as such, and I like the sheer amount of detail they put into it, even if all the details aren't real world accurate. By all accounts, it's a good figure in hand, and I'm patiently waiting for my PO to be fulfilled.

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Posted (edited)

So, Earthrise Commander-class Sky Lynx...

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Sky Lynx has always been a bit of an odd duck.  He wasn't a Takara toy (and, IIRC, wasn't released with the Transformers branding in Japan until a fairly recent reissue), and it kind of seemed like the cartoon's writers (and I think Marvel's, too) were a bit unsure what his deal was.  This new toy copies in the original in that it's very clearly some kind of bird and some kind of two-tailed cat-thing that combined into a larger robot.  Yet I can't recall that the uncombined bird ever appeared in fiction, and the lynx was often treated as an alternate transformation of the larger combined mode.

So, here they are.  The bird has less shuttle kibble on his neck, which seems to be mostly cartoon-accurate, and he's got gold paint where the original toy had stickers.  The biggest change is probably in the wings.  While they don't flip over the way MMC or the Combiner wars versions do, they are hinged to lift up and away in a manner the original's didn't, and he's got an extra fold out blue section.  The lynx, meanwhile, sports some additional dark silver painted details, including most of his back, and trades the gold chrome on his head for paint.  His feet don't quite have the toes the original toy did, and he's sporting some new cannons or thrusters on his collar.  Aesthetically they're very good updates of the G1 design.

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As mentioned, the bird and the lynx can combine into what I think is best described as a dragon mode.  Note the little white tab sticking out from where the lynx' head is tucked away.  That's actually a button that you use the lock and unlock the bird, so it holds together well enough that you can pick the dragon up by the bird section and the lynx won't come off.

For a size comparison here's Alternate Universe Optimus Prime.  I don't have any other Sky Lynx to compare him with, but as near as I can tell he's significantly bigger than the Combiner Wars version, a little bigger than the G1 toy, and maybe about the same as MMC's.

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The original toy didn't come with any accessories, but I guess Hasbro felt they needed to do something to justify an $80 price tag.  So, you get two of these weapon-things... I guess they're some kind of double-barreled guns?  You also get two small blast effects and one larger one.  The larger one can break down into five parts.

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If there's one area that this new figure improves on over the G1 toy it's articulation.  The bird's jaw is hinged so it can open, and inside you'll find a gun molded onto a tongue that's it's own separate piece.  The head itself is on a ball joint that gives him some up/down/sideways tilt and rotation.  The ball joint is connected to a red neck segment, and that segment connects to second one via a friction hinge, which connects to a third via a friction hinge, which connects to a forth on a ratcheted hinge, which connects to the body via a ratcheted hinge.  None of the hinges have a ton of range on their own, but combined you'll be able to get some dynamic poses out of his neck.  The wings are connected to the body on a ratcheted swivel, which has a hinge that moves them out away from his body, another hinge that tilts them up and down, and a mushroom swivel.  Aside from the ratcheted swivel the wing joints are all friction and a little looser than I'd like, plus the wings have a tendency to pop off the mushroom swivels.  The legs have ratcheted hips for both forward/backward and lateral movement, ratcheted knees, and ratcheted up/down tilt on his feet.  However, he's got friction swivels at the thighs and just below the knees, plus friction ankle pivots.  Those fiction joints are the weak link that make his legs prone to bowing out and not supporting his weight unless you're also using the tail as a third contact point.  Speaking of the tail, it's got a friction hinge at the base, a double hinge between each red segment, a hinge between the red and the gray, and then the tail fin can fold to either side.  Oh, and his toes (including the dewclaw on the back of his foot) are hinged.

If you're looking for places to stow his accessories he's got a 5mm port on either side of his neck, and one on either side of his tail near the base of the fin.  There's one inside the shuttle bay doors, too.  More on that in a bit.  You'll also find plenty of spots where you can use the blast effects.

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The lynx can also open his jaws, and he also has a gun-tongue.  His neck is technically on a ball joint attached to a hinge, but practically speaking those blue panels alongside his head prevent him from doing much more than looking up and down.  His front legs have a bit of a backward butterfly joint, then all four of his hips can rotate 360 degrees and extend laterally 90 degrees, all on ratchets.  He's got mushroom thigh swivels, ratcheted double-jointed knees, ratcheted up/down foot tilt, and friction ankle pivots on all four legs.  His twin tails are hinged at the base.

He's got a 5mm port on each of his four hips and one on his chest, plus the two cannon/thrusters on his collar are 5mm ports.

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The combined mode is really where it's at, though.  After all, it's how he's most often appeared in fiction.  You get the benefits of the bird's neck but with four sturdier legs to better support it.

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The duo can stay combined in alt mode.  Indeed, that's how he usually appeared in fiction and it's the only alt mode the Combiner Wars toy had.  Again, I wish I had another Sky Lynx toy to compare it with, but you'll have to settle for AU Optimus.

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The bird and the lynx can still separate into individual components, though.

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The shuttle's pretty good.  As @JB0 noted it's missing the six thrusters on top of the nose, but it does have the three on the sides of the nose.  As for the top, where the maneuvering thrusters would be there are a pair of longer ones, almost like nostrils.  Perhaps that was what they were going for?  In keeping with the Siege/Earthrise motif there's a lot more sculpted detail than a real shuttle would have, but the overall proportions are good, and I love the '80s NASA logo on the side.  Oh, and unlike MMC's Blast Off yesterday Sky Lynx has all three main engines and the two bells for the orbital maneuvering thrusters (but not the smaller verniers).  The shuttle is also sporting landing gear, and the cargo bay doors open to reveal some gold-painted details, much as the G1 toy did.

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There's a 5mm peg hole in the middle of those gold details.  Since the ones on the bird neck and tail are kind of covered in this mode that port is the only place you can really stick the accessories.  The flame effects look really good in the main engines.

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It's less clear what the lynx is even supposed to be on his own.  The way he was carried in the cartoon would suggest some sort of under slung cargo container, but the faux treads on his feet and the fact that his other half is a space shuttle orbiter sort of suggest he's a crawler-transporter, like the kind NASA used to carry the shuttles and the mobile launcher platforms.  If that's the case, though, he's missing any sort of windows or crew areas, and he's much too small.  Also, new to this figure, are smaller molded treads on the top of the vehicle.

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There's not a ton that you can do with this mode.  It does roll, though, and the 5mm ports on the hips are still available for mounting accessories.  On the back side is a hatch.  I like to imagine that's where Autobots would enter/exit from Sky Lynx, since he was used primarily as the Autobots transport in Season 3.

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Perhaps understanding how unexciting the lynx's alt mode is Hasbro did work in a third mode.  The lynx can also turn into a base.  5mm peg holes on the upraised feet give you places to plug in the accessories- this configuration is how the instructions tell you to to do it, but there's no reason you can't have both pointed up or both pointed forward.  If you look near the top of the back you'll see some pegs and a peg hole, arranged to match the main engine bells on the shuttle.  To fit the shuttle on, you'll need to life the gray ramp.

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That ramp then can rest on a ledge inside the shuttle's open cargo bay doors, and what you end up with is a fairly competent-looking launch platform (for a fictional Cybertronian space shuttle that doesn't need a massive LOx tank and a pair of solid-fuel boosters to take off).  The ramps all end in the Siege/Earthrise connectors, allowing you to connect Prime's trailer, Omega Supreme, Ironworks, etc.

Again, though, there's a little problem with tolerances.  While the ratchets in the lynx's hips are certainly strong enough there's too much play between detents, so the legs sticking up as towers always seem to be leaning one way or the other.  Plus the holes in the shuttle's main engines are slightly too small, so the shuttle keeps popping off the launch pad.  After pushing and pushing to get it to stay on for this picture I can see a stress mark in one of the bells.  I get that Sky Lynx is still part of Earthrise and not an MP-level figure, but for $80 you'd think Hasbro could work out the tolerances correctly.

All-in-all, though, I think Earthrise Sky Lynx does what Hasbro set out to do- offer up an appropriately large G1-but-improved version of Sky Lynx.  If that sounds appealing to you then you should definitely get it, especially as most of the tolerances issues aren't a big factor in dragon mode.  But if Sky Lynx was never your favorite character then I don't think the Earthrise version is going to change your mind.

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Edited by mikeszekely
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Great review, Mike. One correction: JBO mentioned the lack of the verniers on the nose, not me.  I acknowledged all the molded detail, much of it stylized (for instance, SL has a hatch on both sides, whereas the actual orbiter only has one on the port side), as well as the inaccurate OMS pod shaping. But, at least it has the suggestion of OMS pods. With scalloped leading edges, misshapen OMS pods, and huge grey hinges interrupting the blended wing, the obvious departures from real world accuracy spoil any attempt at believability. That said, I don't think Takara was under any illusion either, in spite of using the official NASA logo, and just went for it when designing all the sculpted details. I think the toy is better for it.

I have been a fan of Sky Lynx neither as a character nor a toy since the 80's. He just never really appealed to me. But this toy does so much right. I've never paid attention to third party Sky Lynxes, so to my eyes, this is the best version of him. Or at least the best official version. I'm looking forward to getting him.

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8 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

One correction: JBO mentioned the lack of the verniers on the nose, not me. 

Fixed.

A part of me kind of wants the MMC one, but it's pretty much sold out and aftermarket prices are over $300, and I don't want him that badly.  That's more than I paid for Unicron.

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22 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

As @JB0 noted it's missing the six thrusters on top of the nose, but it does have the three on the sides of the nose.  As for the top, where the maneuvering thrusters would be there are a pair of longer ones, almost like nostrils.  Perhaps that was what they were going for?

Works for me. I'll rescind my complaint. 

 

He does look pretty fantastic. And has a good long tail too! (the CW one had a tail that was just long enough to remind you it should be longer)

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3 hours ago, JB0 said:

Works for me. I'll rescind my complaint. 

 

He does look pretty fantastic. And has a good long tail too! (the CW one had a tail that was just long enough to remind you it should be longer)

Are you going to pick this one up?  I recall that you have the MMC one, and I'd love to see them side-by-side.  I'm debating on whether or not to track MMC's down myself.  That and their Springer.

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It is highly probable. I almost put an order in last night(there is exactly zero chance I will ever see this in stores, and it gets high enough on my interest to be worth actively ordering)

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I had it in my cart (25% off at Gamestop) but never checked out.  Too many little things bug me, mainly as a shuttle fan, but partly also as a Sky Lynx fan:

1.  Wings aren't a double-delta, they're just single triangles.  This is the single biggest issue I have with shuttle mode.  Even the most simple, stylized shuttle silhouette shows the leading edge changes angles drastically:

444px-STS-107_Flight_Insignia.svg.png

2.  Goofy legs in bird mode.  Somehow, G1 looked better IMHO.  Is it the feet?  

3.  Pointy, rat-like nose.  The CW version was even worse, but I just don't "get" this trend with Sky Lynx lately.  He has NEVER had a pointy nose.  Until recent toys. 

4.  Central window for cockpit.  Makes him look like a cyclops.  WHY?   Now his "face" is kinda weird, due to this+pointy nose.  The actual shuttle AS-IS makes for a perfect "face".  But they're straying further and further from that.  Sky Lynx has no robot mode, the shuttle's nose and cockpit is his face.  I don't get how people can argue for hours over minor differences in the toon for MP characters (see latest MP V2 Starscream discussion about his upper-forehead vent-scoop width, movie vs series), yet "completely messing with the entire face" for Sky Lynx is just kinda glossed over, when NO appearance of him was like this at all?  

5.  Everything else everyone has mentioned. 

 

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14 minutes ago, David Hingtgen said:

1.  Wings aren't a double-delta, they're just single triangles.  This is the single biggest issue I have with shuttle mode.  Even the most simple, stylized shuttle silhouette shows the leading edge changes angles drastically:

I actually noticed that, though I didn't have the right words to describe it. They actually look like it was designed with the double-delta, then the armature that lets the wings rise up to spine level in creature mode got added, and that took up a lot of the front slope area.

The wings were each left with a "fang" sticking forward to complete the outline, that was then cut off and rounded for child safety. You can actually see the change in wing slope starting right before they cut off.

 

To my eye, the shuttle wing outline is still implied, though the armature gets in the way. I would've molded the forward delta into that armature. It doesn't look like it would interfere with articulation, and it would make the shuttle look more complete.

19 minutes ago, David Hingtgen said:

4.  Central window for cockpit.  Makes him look like a cyclops.  WHY?   Now his "face" is kinda weird, due to this+pointy nose.  The actual shuttle AS-IS makes for a perfect "face".  But they're straying further and further from that.  Sky Lynx has no robot mode, the shuttle's nose and cockpit is his face. 

Oh god... I can't unsee it. He's got spider-eyes now!

 

 

It isn't the shuttle I would've made, admittedly. 

Honestly, I'm amused that they molded so much faux-tech detailing into a toy that would've been more accurate to the real-world inspiration if they'd just done it on the cheap with featureless flat surfaces like it was still nineteen-eighty-something.

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