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Posted (edited)

Probably posted before, but this was the first time I saw it.

Edited by peter
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Posted (edited)

Just got my MPM Barricade. Here's a quick comparison with HA Barricade in vehicle mode.

HA Barricade on the left, MPM on the right.

HA-_Barricade-1.jpg MPM-_Barricade-1.jpg

Barricade-2.jpg

Barricade-3.jpg

Barricade-4.jpg

Baricade-5.jpg

HA Barricade has actual interior and the underside of the HA look neater an tighter than MPM.

HA-_Barricade-2.jpg

Overall, the tampo printing and paint scheme on the MPM is sharper and look closer to the movie. It also spot more details silver painted rear mirrors, fog lights and exhaust. MPM is a tad smaller than the HA counterpart. 

Edited by Firefox

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On 4/3/2018 at 8:53 AM, Firefox said:

Just got my MPM Barricade. Here's a quick comparison with HA Barricade in vehicle mode.

HA Barricade on the left, MPM on the right.

HA-_Barricade-1.jpg MPM-_Barricade-1.jpg

Barricade-2.jpg

Barricade-3.jpg

Barricade-4.jpg

Baricade-5.jpg

HA Barricade has actual interior and the underside of the HA look neater an tighter than MPM.

HA-_Barricade-2.jpg

Overall, the tampo printing and paint scheme on the MPM is sharper and look closer to the movie. It also spot more details silver painted rear mirrors, fog lights and exhaust. MPM is a tad smaller than the HA counterpart. 

I was hoping to pick up Barricade at my local TRU... but like two months after other people started getting theirs and my TRU still doesn't have any, and with their liquidation going on I doubt they ever will. Guess I'll preorder the Takara version, since it's actually cheaper than the Hasbro one most places now.

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On ‎4‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 10:17 PM, peter said:

Probably posted before, but this was the first time I saw it.

First time seeing it, too, but this is a good approach, IMHO. There's still a little bit of a fragmented look to the bots, but at least they look more coherent and both less shard-y and less skeletal. I figure much like insects, reptiles, and other critters with scales or some form of carapace, there needs to be separation between the exterior plating to allow for movement, otherwise they'd be statues. Moreover, it's a better, more realistic solution than having the metal bend and stretch like skin. 

Anyway, my G1 nostalgia overfloweth watching this; I have to admit, I'd be down to see this expanded into a full length film. I'd also be interested to see this approach taken to the reboot regardless of whether any of the G1 characters were even in it; marry this aesthetic to a good Transformers-focused story with well-written dialog, a good plot,  Autobots waging their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons, and I'd buy a ticket to see that.

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Posted (edited)

Flame Toys released new pictures of their Tarn and he has all the beef:

02-Flame-Toys-Tarn.jpg

http://news.tfw2005.com/2018/04/04/flame-toys-kuro-kara-kuri-tarn-official-images-361838

That and Kumas review convinced me that I need to get into this line so I went ahead and ordered their Drift (even if I would have preferred Deadlock) :)

Edited by Scyla
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"When ordered directly from the D4toys store, Tarn comes with an additional faceplate (that's clean with no battle scars), and a pair of sound boosters."

BOMBAAAA!

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On 4/6/2018 at 7:31 AM, JB0 said:

"When ordered directly from the D4toys store, Tarn comes with an additional faceplate (that's clean with no battle scars), and a pair of sound boosters."

BOMBAAAA!

They also announced a Optimus Prime in their Kuro Kara Kuri line. 

Flame-Kuro-Kara-Kuri-Optimus-Prime.jpg

http://news.tfw2005.com/2018/04/06/flame-toys-kuro-kara-kuri-optimus-prime-prototype-361969

It looks good but since I'm a Nemesis Prime collector I wonder if someone can ask Flame Toys if they do a black repaint.

I'm interested in that Prime but I would rather have a black and teal one instead of spending $300+ on a  blue and read one just to find out I need to spend the same amount again for the version I really want. 

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On 4/5/2018 at 5:26 PM, Scyla said:

Flame Toys released new pictures of their Tarn and he has all the beef:

02-Flame-Toys-Tarn.jpg

http://news.tfw2005.com/2018/04/04/flame-toys-kuro-kara-kuri-tarn-official-images-361838

That and Kumas review convinced me that I need to get into this line so I went ahead and ordered their Drift (even if I would have preferred Deadlock) :)

Did you end up getting Drift yet? If so, thoughts?
 

 

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Kuma Style said:

Did you end up getting Drift yet? If so, thoughts?

*snip*

I ordered him but haven't received the package yet. I will try to write down my thoughts down here. 

Kuma, if you know someone at Flame Toys let them know that I want a Nemesis Prime from that Kuro Kara Kuri Optimus and they should hurry up with the announcement. :p 

Edited by Scyla
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LMAO: Can do. Any specific color scheme? I've always preferred the Wonderfest (nucleon quest) color scheme.

The full review and gallery for MP-39 Sunstreaker is up! http://kumastyledesigns.com/masterpiece-sunstreaker-review/

title-facebook-MP-sunstreaker.png 

The review on site breaks it down but really it gets about nothing but praise from me personally. It's well-made, great looking in both modes, and dynamic as hell. I'm not "huge" on MP-scaled stuff but this thing takes the cake. 

A few pics from the gallery section:

6-175.png 

10-146.png 

16-91.png 

22-46.png 

12-135.png

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Posted (edited)

I prefer the teal highlights so I would go with classic Nemesis Prime. :p

 

Nice Sunstreaker review. He can do cool John Wick shooting poses.

It makes me a bit sad that the MP Transformers I care about are not as nice as Sunstreaker (Star Saber, Shockwave, Tracks). 

Speaking of Star Saber, the Flame Toys version looks superb. The prototype alone made me buy into the line so it must be spectacular. :D 

Edited by Scyla

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Concerning MP Sunstreaker, I think Takara set a new bar for themselves, especially in the articulation department. There was a lot of love and affection put into the car mode, too, even if some of that was mandated by Lamborghini, we got a nice dual option out of it. Yeah, he has a sizeable backpack as the price, but really, in-hand, it's compact and light and doesn't hinder the figure's poseability at all. It's a little unsightly at first, but after putting him through his paces, it's a compromise that I'm willing to accept for everything else that Takara did right.

Of course, as they make their way through the pantheon of characters, the cost of progress is wishing that some of the older MP figs could be updated. Case in point, placing Sunstreaker next to his brother Sideswipe, the first of the MP carbots, really illuminates the progression in techniques and articulation. Looking forward to the next G1 release, whoever it may be.

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Sunstreaker pic above is priceless- good start to my morning. The happy countenance on MP Streaker's face is  perfect, along with the posing. Thanks, Kuma.

The new Star Wars TFs are mildly interesting; I don't feel the same enthusiasm for them, despite their being better than the originals, IMHO. I have the original Falcon, and this is an improvement in just about every way. Love Chewie's bot form, especially.  I'll probably skip them, though, unless they do a new Tyderium or a better version of the Eta-2 Jedi Interceptor, or a decent Naboo fighter. Then again, I say this, but I often cave if I find these things in store where I can pick them up and look at them. I'm a sucker for  this stuff.

I'm still feeling non-buyer's remorse for passing up TR Blitzwing after finding him in-store. Now he's nigh impossible to find in stores, and internet pricing is exorbitant- I won't pay it. I was even contemplating just sucking it up and getting the Takara version, but he's double the US price or more- it's just crazy the pricing shenanigans. I've paid it before for Takara versions, but I'm getting to the point where I'm just willing to live without it.

Speaking of overpriced TFs, I PO'd MP Dinobot at AmiAmi for 21340 Yen, one of the better priced options I found, but still expensive. He's going to be a pretty sizeable figure, though, looking at pics of him alongside Primal and Cheetor. Makes me wonder how big, and thusly how big the pricetag for, the eventual Megatron is going to be. Second mortgage. :huh:

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15 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

Then again, I say this, but I often cave if I find these things in store where I can pick them up and look at them. I'm a sucker for  this stuff.

Tell me about it.  I say I don't like the Bayformers designs.  I say that I'm done with Hasbro.  But the Leader-class Studio Series toys are probably something I'd buy if I see them in stores.  Maybe Starscream, too- I did rather like the Deluxe version...

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Posted (edited)

Likewise, concerning Bayformers, which I can usually pass on with ease. However, I've wanted a decent Blackout from the start, so the Studio version has my attention. I just don't like the hands. Moreover, with Takara doing MP versions of the Bayformers, I'm content to wait for what may prove to be a better figure. Again, I say this, but if I see these things in stores, I'll likely come home with one or two, most likely Brawl and Blackout, both of whom have bot and alt modes I like. I have a few Deluxes of SS, but I may grab the Studio version of him, as it looks pretty well done overall. We'll see. I haven't seen the Studio toys anywhere yet, so I've not been tempted.

Edit: After posting, I watched a vid of Studio Starscream; as it turns out, he's essentially an upscaled version of Deluxe Dark of the Moon Starscream, just at voyager scale with some aesthetic improvements. I believe I have the deluxe version, so I'll likely pass. After watching the review, there's still a lot of bot showing along the sides of the jet, even though everything tucks in pretty neatly. But I have to ask the question, 'would this ever pass muster with a car bot?'. Why can they make a smooth car, but not an aircraft? 

Edited by M'Kyuun

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

Why can they make a smooth car, but not an aircraft? 

Because cars are taller proportionally, I think.

 

EDIT: And, yep, I was at Target and they had the entire wave of Studio Series toys in all three classes.  I skipped the Deluxes... I have no attachment to Stinger or the dreadlocks guy, who were both pretty much "blink and you'll miss them" characters, and as big as Bumblebee is I want new Camaro Bee or none.  I'll possibly go back for Ratchet.

I did wind up buying both Voyagers and Leaders, though (despite having a far superior movie Optimus in MPM-04).  I guess I bit because one of the gimmicks with the Studio Series is that they're all supposed to be in the correct robot scale, and I feel like we're more likely to actually get a decent representation of movie characters I like in-scale with each other in the SS line than the MPM line.  I mean, as long as you count any version of Megatron then every movie 1 character except Barricade, Bonecrusher, and Ironhide will be represented by the second wave (although Megatron is going to be RotF Megatron).

And yeah, I still the most Bayformers look like someone tossed the cutlery drawer into a blender.  And yeah, the movies are still mostly terrible.  But after 10 years they've become a part of the franchise I can't really overlook anymore.  Some of the characters I still loathe (Skids and Mudflap, are going to top that list), but some of them like Blackout and Barricade have really grown on me to the put where I want psuedo-G1/IDW versions (Micromasters don't count!).  And for as terrible as the sequels were, I watched the first Bay movie the other day with my little girl (she loves Bumblebee), and I think it's actually not too bad.  The bit at the beginning with Blackout attacking the miltary base was especially pretty cool in the theater.

Anyway, I'm rambling.  It's late here.  I'll try to put up some reviews later in the week.

Edited by mikeszekely

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Well, I guess I'll start with Grimlock, since I suspect he's the one most people will be interested in.

IMG_20180416_142119.jpg.7a992c8cb9a476d5252482ff356798de.jpg

So my initial impression is kind of "wow!"  For one, as near as I can tell it's much more screen-accurate than any previous movie Grimlock toy.  The dino head shoulder pads are a little large, maybe, but the head, the shape and sculpt of all the armor, the robot proportions, they're all pretty much spot-on.  And, in a statement you're unlikely to ever hear me utter about a mainstream Hasbro toy every again, the paintwork is phenomenal.  He's basically molded entirely in two shades of gray, but maybe 80% of him has this greenish-silver airbrushing to give him a burnished metallic look.  He's all plastic, and at about the height of MP-08 he's too small to scale with MPM-4, but he's still large enough, detailed enough, and has enough presence that he definitely makes for a nice display piece.

IMG_20180416_144116.jpg.ac1975e8194e92442860ebab56ec14c3.jpg

This is the part where I'd talk about accessories... except he doesn't come with any, unless you count he cardboard diaorama insert in his box.  Which reminds me, I'm going to establish this now- all the Studio Series toys have a cardoard insert in the box that you can pull out and make a little background for the toy.  I'm not going to really talk about them, though, because they look kind of cheap and crappy to me, and I consider them packaging more than accessories.

Anyway, here's a picture of Grimlock's back instead.  Again, beautifully painted and accurate down to the long butt flap.

IMG_20180416_142934.jpg.4a8fe9f8a33ada4c4b154e204eff7eae.jpg

For articulation, his head is on a ball joint and can get some sideways tilt, good downward tilt, and no upward tilt.  The ability to turn his head is also a little limited to under 90 degrees to either side, but I think that's fine.  His shoulders rotate on ratchets, and he's got ratchets for lateral shoulder movement as well.  Unfortunately, his armor limits him to about two clicks outward, or about 45 degrees.  His bicep swivel, and his elbows bed about 90 degrees.  However, his elbows are wrong; the hinge bends foward when his arms are in a position like my first picture, when it looks like his elbows should bend inward.  In fact, arms have a curl to them that looks like he's already bending his elbows in a bit.  That's it for the mace hand.  The other hand, though, has a tranformation joint you can bend in place of the elbow (which has less tension, but looks more "correct" to me), as well as a wrist swivel.  He has a waist swivel, but it's limited to about 45 degrees in either direction due to his hip armor, but again I think that's fine.  The hip armor, butt flap, and crotch flap are all hinged and can move out of the way of the hips (at least a little), which can ratchet 45 degrees forward or backward, and a little over that laterally.  His knees have a soft ratchet good for 90 degrees, but if you unpeg the knee and use the tranformation joint you can fake a much deeper double-jointed knee bend.  Finally, his ankles are basically big ball joints so they can swivel as well as tilt up, down, or pivot, although I'd have liked a little more pivot.

IMG_20180416_143437.jpg.e63670f41d71e4ee43fcea338ae95b1f.jpg

Transformation to dinosaur mode is fairly straightfoward.  And at a glance he looks pretty good, with the painted red dino eyes practically glowing amid the gray and silver face.  The paint still stands out as being very impressive in this mode.  And he's still a pretty decent size.

IMG_20180416_140523.jpg.2defdfb1faf013f475cccd659afc4e7b.jpg

There's not a ton of dinosaur articulation, though.  The jaw can open about as far as in the previous picture, or close to the position of this picture.  He has no dino neck articulation.  His robot shoulder gives him a sort of ratcheted mid-body swivel, but it kind takes the front of his dino chest and his dino arms with it and don't look very good.  The dino arms are on ball joints so they can rotate and wiggle in and out a little, but that's all he's got there.  His tail is a lot like his chest, in that his shoulder joints can be engaged but doing so pulls apart the tail more than it articulates the tail.  His dino hips, thigh swivels, and ankles are all the same as his robot ones.  His knees change a little, engaging an aforementioned transformation joint to switch to a digitgrade stance.

Articulation isn't the only drawback to his dinosaur mode, either.  While it looks pretty good from some angles and with casual looks, closer inspection starts to bring out some flaws, like the fact that the dino head is hollow in the back.  From the side you can see his chest is just a folded up arm, and there's some gaps you can see through.  The bony look of his flank is only on one side of his body; the other flank is his robot mode back.

IMG_20180416_140604.jpg.9139d724730f3296caab1e68e10ff8e7.jpg

The worst might be his tail, though.  The mace hand kind of unfolds to make the tip of the tail, but otherwise he's basically just holding his arm out to the side.  The faux dino head that formed his shoulder pad unfolds over it to hide much of it, but it doesn't lock in place in any way.  And his soft plastic butt flap kind of tucks up onto the bottom, but again doesn't lock in place  The contours don't even really match, so it's not a very cohesive look.  

As I said, though, I think he still looks ok overall, as the Bay designs are busy enough to distract from the flaws.  That said, especially given how little screen time his robot mode had, Grimlock's one of the few characters where they'd have been better off compromising the robot mode for a better dino mode than compromising the dino mode for a great robot mode.  Overall, he's no Masterpiece, and the lack of accessories and somewhat limited articulation lower his "play" value, but I think he's definitely a pretty good display piece for the modest $50 price tag.  This isn't a toy that's going to suddenly sell you on the Bayverse design if you already hate it, but if a good-looking movie Grimlock is something you've been wanting I can give the Studio Series Grimlock a recommend.

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On 3/30/2018 at 2:02 PM, mikeszekely said:

This is brilliant, and I would totally steal your idea except that I've never seen a CW Sky Lynx outside of a Youtube review.

I think Sky Lynx is actually the only Combiner Wars toy I saw that didn't leave me terribly underwhelmed.

 

Anyways, I know I promised pics of Dino-Soar, but aside from a lack of motivation, I've run into a huge problem... Swoop.

As near as I can tell, Swoop's the only one that makes a good leg. And everything else looks worse for being next to Swoop, but he makes such a good leg I don't want to move him to an arm slot. 

Sky Lynx's joints are all REALLY loose too, but that is such a distant second-place issue that it is only barely worth mentioning.

 

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On ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 10:58 AM, mikeszekely said:

Because cars are taller proportionally, I think.

Actually, not really, at least not the larger fighters like the F-15 and the F-22, which are both wide and relatively deep in profile. The F-16 is pretty small, but still has a side profile that's on par with a small convertible, at least from the intake back. The forward fuselage on that plane is tiny, though- almost makes you wonder how these 6' tall pilots can cram themselves in there. Moreover, we've had TFs of small cars and Takara still managed to fit all the bot into them- consider Classics Mirage, as well- a brilliant design of a very low profile car, not to mention MMC's Sphinx. So, I don't think profile is really the issue, esp when a lot of the fighter TFs are bulkier, esp in profile, than their real life counterparts. As Macross fans, we've been spoiled by Kawamori's valk designs, all of which hide or utilize the arms within the aircraft mode to give a realistic looking jet, so we're especially aware of what's possible with integrating all the bot's limbs within a svelte jet mode. Concerning the latest jet TF designs, I'm inclined to say it is just pure laziness on Has/Tak's part. They've been making their jets like this now for some time, people accept it and buy the toys, so why change. I'll give them props for leader class Jetfire and TR Powerglide, both of which integrated the arms in a way that benefited their jet modes. I still don't understand why they don't use the transformation design from the G1 seekers, where the arms rotate in and form the spine of the plane, at least on non-combining jet TFs. It seems to be the most eloquent solution, and yet they've only used it twice AFAIK: the G1 F-15s, and then again on the Robot Spirits F-15s. 

As for the Bayformer Starscream design, I didn't honestly care for it initially, but I will give props to its originality and departure from convention. It has grown on me, a little, over time, although I still don't like the head design. Digression aside, at least, throughout most of the various toy iterations, the arms were contained within the fuselage (except for the protruding hands on the one design-forget which one that was). The F-22 is a big plane, rather boxy, and pretty forgiving as an alt mode, so, in my mind, little of the bot should have been evident in jet mode. That hasn't been the case with any of the toys, not even the leader class, which was pretty well done, but still revealed its true nature rather apparently, esp if you set it next to any Valk.  So, again, I don't get why ground vehicle TFs are crafted with such care as to hiding all bot parts, but that same consideration is ignored for aircraft. It's a design dichotomy I find most irksome. To that end, Yay Macross! Yay Kawamori-san!

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Continuing my little look in to the Studio Series, today we'll go over Optimus Prime.

IMG_20180416_232929.jpg.3c804e25fb62b9a3a5c0f380be398fe7.jpg

Now, I originally wasn't going to bother with Prime, because obviously MPM-4 is a much better, much more accurate toy.  In fact, despite the notion that the Studio Series would be more screen accurate than previous movie toys, I'm not sure if SS Prime is actually better than the Voyager Battle Blades Prime from Revenge of the Fallen (which, sadly, I don't have to compare it with.  The way the wheels fold onto his hips seems wrong, with the lower wheels being obscured by the folded armatures the upper wheels connect to.  Hinges on his chest obscure details.  His backpack, while not the biggest backpack I've seen on a movie Prime, is wide enough that it makes his torso's proprtions seem off.  It doesn't show well in photos, but the red plastic is much too dark, almost a maroon color.  And, especially after seeing all the paint on Grimlock, Prime's definitely lacking in that department, which is even more dissapointing when you realize he's a little smaller than older Voyager Primes (like my movie 1 Target-exclusive, who's pretty terrible) but carries a higher $30 price tag.

However, I don't want to give the impression that it's all bad, though.  There's a lot of accurate molded detail here, and if you actually look at just his body and ignore the backpack he's also a very well-proportioned Prime, possibly the best-proportioned Voyager-class prime to date.  I really feel like a customizer who's handy with an airbrush could really make this figure shine.

IMG_20180416_233128.jpg.e41e0cc23011a05fb10cb6e9a0d680e6.jpg

As I mentioned before, though, he's not the biggest Voyager-class toy, coming in about a head shorter than figures like AoE Evasion Mode Optimus or Battle Blades Optimus, and only standing a head taller than a Deluxe-class movie Prime.  However, by some quirk of fate he seems to be just the right size to go with Dark of the Moon Voyager-class Megatron, which pleases me (probably more than it should).

IMG_20180416_224606.jpg.4fa711659ceab0eb1ac57b7e1e2e5a6e.jpg

Accessory-wise, Prime just comes with his arm blades, which look pretty good.  One side has a 5mm peg hanging on an arm off the bottom, the other side has a tab on the blade.

IMG_20180416_233404.jpg.3740e97250552e218391e1dd48d92766.jpg

If there's one thing that Prime does do well, at least as a Voyager, it's articulation.  His head is on a hinged swivel, so he can look up a decent amount, down a taste, and turn his head.  Like Grimlock, the rotation is a little hindered but he can get nearly 90 degrees to either side, and that's enough.  His shoulders can rotate, and the blue flap is on a hinge that gets out of the way so his shoulders can move maybe 120 degrees or so laterally.  He's got bicep swivels, 90 degrees of elbow bend, and wrist swivels.  He's got a waist swivel and thigh swivels just above his knees.  His hips can kick forward something like 140 degrees, enough to kick a Decepticon of similar height in the face.  Backward is more limited due to his backpack, and laterally the tires on his hips limit him to about 60 degrees, but that's enough for plenty of action poses.  His knees can bend until his calves start bumping his thighs, maybe 160 degrees.  His feet can tilt up about 45 degrees, down nearly 90 degrees, and can pivot a little under 45 degrees (which isn't a lot compared to MP and 3P, but is fantastic for a mainline Voyager), so you can keep his feet flat as well.  As a bonus, he's got a small hexagonal peg hole on the underside of his crotch that is probably compatible with some kind of action base.

As far as the weapons go, the 5mm peg goes into his fist, nothing fancy.  However, they're meant to go in the bottom of his fist, creating the illusion that they're popping out of his wrists.  When he's not wielding them you can use the tabs on the blades to store them on Prime's back.

IMG_20180416_224451.jpg.ff72c7e86fe9cbfdad5ce5fb2183de00.jpg

I'm a little surprised that Hasbro/Takara didn't do the whole stretch out the legs, then sit down and touch his toes transformation considering how well it seems to work for this Prime (it's been used now for MPM-4 and at least one Leader and one Voyager-class Prime that I know of).  The legs actually transform a little more like Evasion Mode Optimus' do, and that results in a much messier hitch section.  Maybe this totally original mold opted for a different transformation for scale reasons, because Prime folds up into a pretty tiny truck that's utterly dwarfed by the movie 1 Voyager and MPM-4.

IMG_20180416_224432.jpg.9555d87d0a74a0d8634683dbb730a3e5.jpg

Indeed, he's fairly similar in size to the Deluxe-class.  Which, again, makes him seem like a good fit with DotM Megatron, and that still makes me happy.

And honestly, the truck mode doesn't look too bad.  There's the earlier issue I mentioned of the red being too dark.  Some yellow/orange airbrushing, the silver pinstriping, or both would have helped the flames on the front pop more.  The unpainted hubcaps are a real shame, as is the choice of red plastic instead of blue or gray for the the part connecting the fuel tank.  Oh, and the smokestacks are too short.  But once again the molded detail, especially on the front half of the truck, is pretty spot-on.

IMG_20180416_224540.jpg.f45be1297667a2fdb55d807101a1d014.jpg

In truck mode, you have options for weapon storage.  You can tab them into the bottom of Prime's feet for neat storage, or you can tab them into his roof if the thought of a murderous semi with giant blades barreling down the highway tickles your fancy.

Studio Series Prime isn't a bad toy, but a I do feel like he's a harder sell.  As a display piece, he obviously lacks the presence of a figure like MPM-4.  As a Voyager-class toy I'm not convinced that he's better than Battle Blades Optimus or Evasion Optimus.  On his own, I'd probably pass.  However, if you're thinking about picking up more than one or two of the other Studio Series figures then the fact that they're in-scale (despite being spread across three size classes) is definitely a draw, at least for me.  If you want to make a little movie display but don't want to pay MPM prices and/or wait for more than 3 released/4 announced figures in that line then the Studio Series seems like a possible alternative and Prime is worth checking out.

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Next up is a figure that I think a lot of people are lukewarm on for essentially being an upscale of an old Deluxe-class figure: Studio Series Voyager-class Starscream.

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When I first saw the Bayverse Starscream I was a little off put, becuase it's a design that doesn't really say "Starscream" to me.  It's grown on me over time, though, as alien and menacing... something the original Voyager toy never captured.  In fact, aside from a pretty good leader-class toy (that actually wound up becoming the first MPM in Japan), the best Starscream toy was probably the Dark of the Moon Deluxe-class (which my daughter has, in its place is the Thundercracker repaint).  It's so good, in fact, that the engineering and and transformation are pretty much carbon-copied to the SS version.  However, the Deluxe was already one of the most movie-accurate Starscream toys around, and scaling it up to Voyager makes SS Starscream even more so.  The tail on his back, the little chunks of wings on his shoulder, and the mechanical junk in his torso are all accurate.  Indeed, scaling up to Voyager allowed for more molded detail like the wires in his biceps, and the the fold out torso chunks have an additional flip out panel to better fill him with even more movie accurate detail.  Aside from color, which is based on the first movie instead of his tatooed Revent of the Fallen appearance, the better torso filler parts, and the sharper molded etails he sports entirely different, more accurate details in some spots like the backs of his legs and front of his forearms, the thrusters on the backs of his knees aren't hollow and have additional molded detail, and his hips are different.  Just a little more paint and those spikes on the tops of his feet and he'd be giving MPM-1 a run for his money aesthetically.

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Accessory-wise he just comes with this little bladed missile launcher.  As near as I can tell it's accurate, but it'd have been nice if he had his gatling guns, too.

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His aesthetics aren't the only improvement from the Deluxe class. Some of the joints have been changed as well.  His head is on a swivel, but unlike the Deluxe there's a hinge so he can look up.  His shoulders, previously ball joints, are now hinged swivels that give him a little over 90 degrees laterally.  He retains the transformation hinge on the bicep, but instead of all ball joint at the elbow he's got a real bicep swivel and a hinged elbow.  The hinge is about 90 degrees, but you can use the bicep hinge to fake a double-jointed elbow and 180 degrees.  His wrists have a hinge for transformation, but where the Deluxe had a second transformation hinge SS Starscream has a ball joint at the wrist so he's got a swivel and some bend.  His has universal hips instead of ball joints, and can move 90 degrees forward or backward and slightly over 90 degrees laterally.  His knees, feet, and lower leg swivels are the same as the Deluxe.

Other improvements include some extra tabs and slots that help lock everything in place in both modes a little better.

Starscream's weapon has clips on the rear that fit into notches that are revealed on his wrist when you fold his hand in.  This is the movie accurate way for him to wield it.

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It also has a peg, though, that can plug into the peg holes on his forearms, as would any weapon with a 5mm peg.  Or, if you don't want him wielding it at all, you can store it on one of the peg holes on his back.  Peg holes that I'm hoping could accomodate movie-accurate thrusters... get on that, Shapeways!

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Like I said before, the transformation is identical to the Deluxe, so the main aesthetic difference is the paint.  Looks like he was molded in beige plastic, then they put a gray wash on him before adding some white and tampoing his wings.  The transformation hinge in the spine is blended better, and the screw holes near the wing root isn't as obvious.  I'd have preferred they started with a gray plastic, but I think it ultimately looks fine.

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Speaking of looking fine, yes, he's got some kibble on his belly, like oh-so-many jetformers (including MPM-1).  SS Starscream is no exception, although compared to the recent spate of Voyager-class toys that are jets with very obvious robots underneath Starcream at least folds up.  I don't really know what to tell you here... if the kibble bugs you, it bugs you, but like I said I've seen much worse.  From most angles he actually looks fine; you have to be looking on at the side or from underneath to really see it, and the crotch kibble especially gives you a convenient place to grab with your fingers and swoosh him around.

Like the Deluxe, SS Starscream has flip-out landing gear, and like the Deluxe the wheels are molded on and don't spin.  And his weapon has two slots on in that fit two little tabs just to the front of his exaust nozzles for weapon storage.

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Or, again, you can use the peg to peg it into one of the many peg holes on the underside of the jet.  You can also see the intakes are painted black vs. totally unpainted on the Deluxe.

If you stop reading, thinking, "I already have the Deluxe some I'm good" or "why would I want to pay $30 for an upscaled Deluxe?" I suppose I'd understand.  But the fact remains that the Deluxe was one of the best movie Starscream toys.  Despite lifting most of the engineering and all of the transformation from that toy, the improvements in engineering and aesthetics take a good toy and make it a great toy that has the benefit of being in-scale with the other Studio Series figures.  And of the SS figures I've got my hands on, I'd say Starscream is actually the best one.  Recommended.

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26 minutes ago, sh9000 said:

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Blackout and Starscream look cool but I passed on all of them.

Is that a Walmart or a Target? I've seen the entire line at my Target but nothing at three different Walmarts, but it sounds like it's the other way around for a lot of people.

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4 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Is that a Walmart or a Target? I've seen the entire line at my Target but nothing at three different Walmarts, but it sounds like it's the other way around for a lot of people.

This was at Target.  I also saw Stinger and the some Decepticon black SUV? last time there.

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36 minutes ago, sh9000 said:

This was at Target.  I also saw Stinger and the some Decepticon black SUV? last time there.

Ah, ok.

And yeah, the full line so far goes like this:

Deluxe
Bumblebee (Transformers)
Ratchet (Transformers)
Stinger (Age of Extinction)
Crowbar (Dark of the Moon)

Voyager
Optimus Prime (Revenge of the Fallen)
Starscream (Transformers)

Leader
Blackout (Transformers)
Grimlock (Age of Extinction

As far as I know, the only other announced figures are Deluxes Jazz (Transformers) and Lockdown (Age of Extinction) and Voyagers Brawl (Transformers) and Megatron (Revenge of the Fallen).  I do hope they plan on continuing the line, though, as Ironhide, Barricade (with Frenzy), and Bonecrusher are the only movie 1 characters not represented.  I have to admit, as spoiled as I've been my MP and 3P and as disappointing as the mainline toys have been for awhile the Studio Series is turning out better than I expected.

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Posted (edited)

"Fascinating. A harmonic subcarrier in the dinosaur transform static seems to have caused a gestalt resonance in the-"

"Dino-Soar does not care WHY it happened, you pontificating poindexter! Can you FIX IT?"

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"Really? That's the name you're going with? Dino-Soar?"

"Shut up. Just... stop talking."

 

 

So yeah. This actually looks pretty darn good, all things considered. The dinobot colors mesh surprisingly well with CW Sky Lynx.

One sword is Sky Lynx's tail blades. The other is stolen from... Cybertron Vector Prime, I think.
 

Of course, one may reasonably ask... what would Dino-Soar fight? And what the heck is Grimlock doing during all this?

 

"Me Grimlock have touch! What me called now? Lockimus Prime? Primemus Grim? Grimlockimus Rex?"

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"Dino-Soar would kindly request you cease your inane banter and lend a modicum of assistance! We can have a coronation later if it would please you! I've heard that you Grimlock kick butt, so PROVE IT!"

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Slag and Sludge are arms because they both make terrible legs. Slag just looks like he sat down on his rear and DARED them to make him a leg. He's not the worst leg, but he's the LAZIEST leg. In fact, this is my canon. He refused to put any effort into being something that didn't wield a weapon.

Sludge has a big brontosaurus neck sticking out of the kneecap. It just isn't ignorable. And since they share shins/haunches, they both put some dainty girly ankles on the legs as they taper inward to make a tail. With both of them as arms, the triceratops head balances the brontosaur head(also, Slag's head doesn't look upside-down this way).

Snarl... Oh, Snarl. You try so hard, but you don't make a good ANYTHING. But at least I'm not staring at your insides this way, and you're mostly solid. I don't hate the stego-tail running up the thigh as much as I expected, either.  Seriously though, as an arm he has an open wrist, and the hole the hand pegs into is a tiny piece of plastic that hinges out. It is completely unacceptable.
 

Sky Lynx? I expected better of you. Your joints are all so loose that it is a miracle I got you to hold any pose at all.

Swoop, you are the champion here. You make a good arm AND a good leg, and do it without any complaints or wobbliness. You're a good guy, Swoop.

 

 

All that said, I really like this combination. In conclusion: Dino-Soar. About seventy times smarter than Volcanicus, and twelve times more dashing.

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And yeah, I know these aren't the best photos. I didn't have a clear place to photograph, and I was kind of just playing around. I mean, you guys have seen plenty of photos of Primes Dinobots and CW Sky Lynx already, you don't need a clean documentary of my fan-character.

Edited by JB0
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On 3/29/2018 at 10:14 PM, mikeszekely said:

Disappointingly, neither of their mouths open.  I could live with Snarl's not opening, but Sludge's really looks like it could have with minimal effort on Hasbro's part.

Actually, Sludge's mouth DOES open. It is just REALLY REALLY stiff.

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Alright, I've left you hanging long enough.  We'll do the other more-anticipated figure in the Studio Series line, Leader-class Blackout.

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For a Leader-class figure Blackout is decidedly short.  He's not much taller than the original Voyager-class Blackout from the first movie, and to the head he's actually a smidge shorter than the movie 1 Voyager Optimus Prime.  Such is the sacrifices we make to keep everyone relatively in-scale.

That said, for a character who had probably one the best scenes in the entire five (so far) film franchise, Blackout's been a pretty neglected character, one who's best toys have actually been repaints of that original crappy Voyager.  And this new Leader class, despite his shorter stature, is wonderfully screen accurate.  I'd have prefered more paint, with the gray parts being a darker gray and the silver parts being a more metallic (and maybe bluish-tinged) silver, but the biggest differences from his silver screen appearance are that he's got panels on the soles of his feet, and that his forearms are covered in helicopter kibble.  But the rest of it, from the spot-on head to the junk splitting the copter on his torso to the kibble behind his head to the skinny chicken legs to the knee armor poking up through the shins is all movie-accurate.  In fact, my only real complaints are his refueling probe and his hands.  For the probe, it's a question of why did they choose to have it sticking out so far with no way to retract it?  There's a hinge on it so you can point it down or try to tuck it under his chest, but it doesn't quite work and still seems in the way.  For the hands, well, they're technically accurate with two big fingers and one thumb arrange in a pinching manner, but aside from the transformation hinge they can't move, so unless his arms are slightly out turned and relaxed at his sides they look like they're oriented the wrong way.

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Blackout comes with two accessories.  The first is the tail rotor for the helicopter... yes, SS Blackout has partsforming.  The other is a little Scorponok figure.  Scorponok doesn't have a lot of articulation; two hinges in the tail, and elbows that can swivel in and out.  That's more than the Scorponok that came with the original Voyager got, though.  Plus SS Scorponok has some silver, gold, and red paint and enough molded detail that he looks good, like a Studio Series Scorponok should, and not just like a cheap toss-in accessory.

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So for articulation Blackout's head is on a hinged swivel.  Turning his head is slightly limited, but with all the kibble around it I'd say it's a fairly natural range, and he's got a little up/down movement.  His shoulders rotate, but again that's limted by his shoulder kibble to about 90 degrees forward or backward and maybe 60 degrees laterally.  As a bonus, though, the shoulder assembly can be untabbed at one spot (that doesn't really stay tabbed anyway) to get a little bit of a forward butterfly joint.  He's got bicep swivels, and his elbows can bend 90 degrees.  As previously mentioned there's no articulation in his hands, and he'd have really benefited from a wrist swivel and maybe a hinge for his fingers/thumb.  No waist swivel.  His hips are ratcheted and can get 90 degrees backward or laterally, no problem, but his hip skirts can only hinge so far forward so his hips are limited forward to about 60 degrees.  He has thigh swivels, and double-jointed digitgrade knees.  The upper knee can go from straight to 90 degrees backward.  The lower knee can go from straight to about 60 degrees forward.  And, happily, his feet can bend up and down a little and he has inward and outward ankle pivots about about 45 degrees.  All-in-all, his artuclation is a little limited, but on a bulky guy with Blackout's build I think it's alright.

As far as weapons, the tail rotor can peg into Blackout's arm.  Technically in the movie it looks like Blackout is using the round piece above his head, and it looks like it should be the main rotor with six blades, but you can clearly see him stalking down the street in Mission City using it while his copter blades are still on his back, so I guess this is the compromise.

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Scorponok sits on a peg on Blackout's back, and you can orient him head up or head down; I think head up is movie-accurate.  If you want to store him in a more hidden way, well, you can stick him on the inside of Blackout's backpack, but you have to unfold it, and I don't really think it's worth it.

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Blackout unfolds more than he folds to to transform, and the result is a pretty-accurate (to my fairly untrained eye) MH-53J Pave Low III helicopter.  There's a few places I wish things tabbed in a little better, but I've got no real complaints from most angles.

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I will note, though, that he's pretty big in this mode.  Any doubts you had about calling him a Leader-class in robot mode are out the window in copter mode, as he's a bit larger than even an MP Seeker.

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Even from the sides he looks good.  The rotors do spin, but not super freely, like you're swiveling them around more than they're spinning.  I could do without Blackout's name printed on the tail, but the red-outlined white stripe is accurate (if a little large), and he's also sporting a few other USAF markings, including the 4500X.

Blackout doesn't clean up quite so tidy underneath, but that's ultimately OK.  You can see how Scorponok tucks away inside the tail.

Ultimately, Leader-class Blackout definitely has some room for improvement, but the Studio Series isn't the MPM line.  He's not going to satifiy any desire you might have for an MPM Blackout.  He's a $50 mass retail figure, not a $100+.  And, I think in that light, he's a decent figure that makes for a pretty nice display piece, especially with other SS figures to display him with.  He's a major improvement from other toy versions of Blackout, and I think he's worth the price of admission.

I think it's also worth mentioning something else about the Studio Series toys... there's been a trend in recent years for Generations figures to be kind of cheap, hollow simple toys.  The Studio Series bucks this trend.  All four figures I've looked at so far have been detailed, fairly accurate, and have had more articulation than a lot of recent Generations toys.  They have transformations that sit comfortably between too easy and too hard.  They remind me, a lot, of when Generations was Classics or Universe, when the toys we were getting seemed like they were priced fairly, decently made, and fun to play with.

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Of all the Bayverse designs, Blackout and Brawl remain my favorites, so I had a lot anticipation for this figure when it was announced. I've since watched a few video reviews, read Mike's here, and maybe one or two others, and overall, I have to agree that Takara did a really good job on him, minus the two niggles Mike mentioned (hands and refueling probe), some of the arm kibble, and the panels on the feet. But for $50, not a bad deal. Just the same, I think I'll wait to see if they make a proper MP of him that, hopefully, gets even more right. However, if I stumble across him in the store, all bets are off.^_^

The pics I've seen of SS Brawl have my attention, though. Looks good so far, but I'll wait for a review or two to see if there are any niggles with that figure that can't be overlooked.

Also gotta throw in my $.02 that the Blackout scene in the first live action was indeed the best of the entire series- it truly had me hopeful, but then it all spiraled ever downward shortly thereafter.:(

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