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1 hour ago, technoblue said:

Thank you @mikeszekely. I appreciate it.

Update: I just checked Toy Dojo and Grassor is back in stock! 

Did you get it? I just looked and saw they're out of stock.

I looked for a chrome Guttur, too, but they're all gone. I hear Giga is doing a reissue in April, though.

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10 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

Did you get it? I just looked and saw they're out of stock.

I looked for a chrome Guttur, too, but they're all gone. I hear Giga is doing a reissue in April, though.

I think so. At least, TD sent my order confirmation number. I guess I'll know tomorrow if Grassor ships.

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On 1/29/2018 at 10:08 AM, valhary said:

Added to my fans hobby Ginrai a red eyes like the original toy 

unfortunately with the LED ON looks like purple however OFF mode looks good

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That's beautiful! I want one!

 

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Got the full review for Fansproject's LER-07 Pinchar up. http://kumastyledesigns.com/fansproject-pinchar-review/

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Honestly this is the most overall solid release of the line for me even though it does have a couple of nitpicks in itself that I delve into. I think it's a better face sculpt away from benig the best in the line, TBH. Here are a few pics from the gallery:

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Ok, my wife is back, it's my birthday, and I could finally get some pics!  This, finally, is Gigapower Grassor (chrome version), their take on a Masterpiece Slag.

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So... I own four Slags, and all of them have toy-style black heads and thighs.  Grassor's silver face is more G1 box-art than G1 toy, but silver is also what ToyWorld, GCreation, and (AFAIK) Perfect Fusion went with, so I guess silver is fine.  We also have a very G1 toy-style red visor.  Some lighter silver paint with some blue painted marks, little bits of greenish paint on his knees, and some molded and painted details behind translucent panels on his shins all call to mind some of the toy's sticker details.  And, at least for this picture, we also have the toy-style dino legs on the outsides of his lower legs.

While some of the molded detail, like his elbows, are definitely G1 toy, you'll note that Giga came up with some of the greebles on his torso on their own, and picked them out with black and silver in a way that's neither cartoon nor toy.  So while it's tempting to generalize Grassor as being a more G1 toy-based figure and FT's Scoria or PF's Cesium as more G1 cartoon-based I don't think that's entirely accurate.  He definitely could have used a little more black on his abs to be more accurate to both toy and toon.

Regardless of the overall degree of accuracy Grassor is unmistakably Slag, though, with his dino paw wrists, wings, little gold feet, silvery gray arms and shins, red torso with his silver bib, and squarish robot head wearing his dino head like a hoodie.  He's got a properly broad chest that gets round near his shoulders that tapers to a narrow waist.  Plus, as this is the chrome version, his dino toes and bib are silver chrome, his feet and dino head are a deep gold chrome that's much richer in color than GCreation or ToyWorld's, and the red is either a red chrome or a very metallic, very shiny red paint.  All-in-all, I think he looks quite good.

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Grassor comes with a ton of accessories.  You've got some stickers (not pictured) that I'll talk about later, some rubbery plastic flame parts (that maybe aren't supposed to come with the chrome version; it looks like the seller wrapped it separately and added it to the box), two (non-firing) misile launchers that are very similar to the G1 toy, a rifle that is G1 toy in shape but dumps the silver chrome for black with a red tip, a sword with a G1 toy-style red blade but a black hilt that's a little different in design, an alternate red head with a blue visor and silver angry face, alternate red stoic and angry faces, some translucent parts, and some leg fillers.

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Leg fillers, you say?  Yep, if you go for the toy-style dino legs on the outside look you can fill the inside of his legs with these nicely molded and painted leg fillers.  And the reason the inside of his legs would need filler is because, by design, the dino legs can fold around to the inside nestle up in there, giving him a more cartoonish smooth side to his legs.  It's almost a shame that Giga made those fillers look so nice, because I'm betting most people are going to fold the dino legs in and keep the filler in a box somewhere.

Some people have complained that the dino tail is basically just hanging off of his calves.  I'll agree that it's not the best, but it seems like the alternatives have been to fold the tail inside of the leg, forcing you to leave the dino legs on the outside (Hasbro, GCreation), have the tail haning off the sides of the legs (ToyWorld), or turn it into a ugly backpack (Fansproject, FansToys, GT toy).  Even Perfect Fusion, who did manage to integrate the tail into the leg a bit more neatly, did so at the expense of a thinner tail and thicker legs.  On the whole, I don't really mind how Giga handled the tail.

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What I would have liked is a little more cartoon-accurate options.  You can mix-and-match heads, faces, and visors to get yourself a cartoon-accurate red head, red face, blue visor, but that doesn't quite look right with black thighs.  I'm not really into black head/red visor Slag, though, so for now I'm going to go with red head, blue visor, and silver face.  It's worth noting here, though, that Gigapower also released a metallic version that swaps the chrome for metallic paint.  That version definitely comes with flame accessories, and it also comes with both black thighs and silver replacement thighs.  For what it's worth, I contacted Gigapower to inquire about buying a set of those silver-painted thighs. What they told me is that they're planning to release and sell a set of silver chrome thighs (and horns, more on that in a bit) at a later date.  When they do, I'll probably buy them, swap the black thighs for chrome, and then swap the silver face for a red one.

Oh, and since comparing Grassor to the Slags I have probably isn't totally useful for size I put him next to MP-10.  He's quite a bit bigger!

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In fact, he's only a head shorter than Power Baser.

I don't have the FansToys Dibots, but I can tell you that Grassor is over a head taller than Scoria, and roughly half a head taller than Cesium.  Which size you think works best for an MP Dinobot will probably depend how how you feel about scale charts or which episode of the cartoon you watched last, but suffice to say I think Grassor is on the bigger end of just fine.

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Grassor's head is on a ball-joint that can look up a little, not much down, and can tilt sideways a bit.  The swivel is slightly hindered by the dinosaur head.  His shoulders rotate on ratchets, and a seperate ratchet that gives him a little under 90 degrees of lateral movement.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows are ratcheted affairs that bend almost 90 degrees.  His wrists swivel, and his hands are very KFC/X-Transbots-esque affairs with each finger connected to the palm via a ball joint (with an extra cut to allow the thumb to move from the side of the hand over the palm), and two additional pin hinge knuckles per finger.  All of his hip skirts have hinges.  His hips themselves ratchet forward and backward a little under 90 degrees and laterally a full 90 degrees.  Interestingly, the lateral ratchets click louder than the forward/backwards ones but they're less able to handle the massive weight of his lower legs.  That's not to say he's loose; you're not going to find him suddenly doing the splits like an old TFC combiner, but he probably won't manage a to hold a high kick, either.  He has thigh swivels, and his knees bend maybe 60-70 degrees on ratchets.  As for feet, his toes can bend down and turn in to give him a bit of faux ankle tilt, but for the most part he's going to perch on the inner edge of his massive legs.  That said, due to his transformation his lower leg can bend toward each other at the knee.  If you don't put him in too wide of an A-stance you can use that joint to keep the bottom of his legs flat and it doesn't look too bad.

As far as holding his weapons go, they go for the usual MP-style gig of having tabs on the handles that fit into slots on his palms.  His rifle is a little loose, but the tension from his fingers seems adequate to keep in place.  The trigger guard is a little too high for his finger, though.  The sword is much more secure in his palms.  You can peg it in and have him hold his hand out, fingers open and palm down, and the sword will stay in place.  Both the gun and the sword (as well as the eyes in both heads) have LED light up gimmicks, but I don't have the right button cells.  As for the missile launchers, there's no peg holes on his shoulders.  There's peg holes on the outside of his elbows, but I'm not sure I like that look.

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If you like (and have) the flame accessory, you can open it up and you'll find a space inside for the blade of his sword.  The effect is pretty cool, but it adds a ton of weight to the sword.  It'll stay pegged into his palm, and the ratchets in his shoulders and elbows seem up to the task, but his wrist swivel gives out here, limiting your poses to pretty much holding the sworld straight up.

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Grassor turns into a Triceratops, as Slags are wont to do.  The details on the neck frill are basically what you got on the G1 toy, just blown up.  He's also got toy-colored red chrome horns.  Strangely enough, while I find myself wanting my Slags to have cartoon colors for robot mode I think I actually prefer red horns to silver.  I do prefer blue eyes, though, but the sticker set I mentioned way back at the beginning of this review are a pair of blue eyes and a pair of red ones.

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Peeking around the side, we see he's also got a gold tail (what was up with GCreation and the new Hasbro ones using silver?) and silver chrome dino toes and some other silver chrome molded parts on his back.  Molded and painted wiring on his sides is copied from the G1 toy's stickers, and the chrome protusions beside them and the vents above them are similarly pulled from the toy.  He has either gold paint or gold chrome underneath translucent discs on his shoulders and hips, a toy detail basically everyone that makes a Slag uses, and the ones on the hips have a peg hole in the middle that you can mount the missile launchers on.  Alternatively, you can use the ones on his elbows.  There doesn't seem to be any way to stow his rifle or sword in dinosaur mode.  His lower jaw is the same gold chrome that his head is covered with, because it's not made from the silver chrome bib.  I think his dino head is perhaps a touch too big, but his body has a pretty good shape overall that makes me feel like this is possibly the best-looking Slag in dino mode.  Now, normally I'd say it's better to make concessions in alt mode to have a better robot mode, but the Dinobots are some of the rare few characters I prefer to display in alt mode, so Giga scores big points from me here.

As far as dino articulation goes, the hinges at the base of the dino head give him the ability to look up an down a taste, and he can turn his head but he can't look to either side.  His dino mouth can open and close.  His front legs are his arms, so he has the same shoulder articulation and bicep swivels.  In addition to being able to bend his elbow-knees just under 90 degrees forward they can also bend backward, and his dino toes can ben up and down a bit.  His rear hips are ball joints so they can rotate and he can get a little spread out of them.  No thigh swivels, and his knees can bend about 90 degrees, with his rear dino does also being able to bend up and down.  His tail has a hinge so it can swing side to side a little.

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If you open his mouth you'll find a flame thrower on a hinge in the roof of his mouth.  While you can just open his mouth and pose it like it's about to fire and have a pretty nice display just like that, if you have the flame accessories you can attach them to the flame thrower.  Now, instead of looking like he's about to breath fire, you can display him mid scorch.

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One last thing for the G1 toy fans; those translucent bits.  There's basically two halves that wrap around the base of the tail, two halves that wrap around the rest of the tail, and a helmet that fits down over his head to recreate the toy's translucent plastic over gold chrome look.  As an added bonus, if you find yourself waffling between blue or red dino eyes you can always put the blue eyes on the helmet, or put blue eyes on the head and red on the helmet, and essentially get the best of both words.  The only downside is that the tail pieces have to come off for transformation.  That might bother me more if I weren't going to put them in a box with the extra head, faces, missiles launchers, and leg fillers.

At this point, I think the question a lot of people have is whether to buy Grassor, Scoria, or Cesium.  Now, I can't really answer that as I haven't handled Scoria or Cesium.  All I can tell you is that, based on looks, I personally prefer Grassor (although, again, I would prefer silver thighs and a red face), although I will readily admit that Cesium looks the most cartoon-accurate.  I can tell you that Grassor is a hefty figure with a build quality and overall finish that is on par with or better than the FansToys figures I have handled.  I don't think this is one of those cases where one is clearly better than the others, or even which one has the flaws you can live with the best.  I think this is one of those rare cases where whichever way you go you're going to wind up with an excellent toy.  To that end, would I recommend Grassor?  Absolutely.  I think he's easily one of the best toys I've bought (and regular readers will know I've bought a lot of toys).  That doesn't mean I'm telling you to sell your Scorias to buy him, or if you were shopping for a Masterpiece Slag and you kind of had your eye on Cesium it doesn't mean I'm telling you that you should change your mind.  What I am saying is that if you've been looking at Grassor and thinking, "Y'know, this might be the Slag for me" that you won't be disappointed when you have him in hand.

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Grassor looks to be an almost-perfect Slag.

If his robot wings were broader, the dinosaur radiator boxes on the shoulders were square(which would really be automatic with broader robowings since there's a space issue there right now), the missile launchers pegged into his shoulders instead of hips(fixable with a small drillbit and a couple minutes?), and HIS DINO JAW WAS SILVER SERIOUSLY WTF?!?!... he'd be the perfect Slag.

 

But he's got a lot of good points. Comes with translucent dinobits and a proper black robot head as well as the bare-gold/red head nonsense, so he can be toy-accurate OR wrong, and everyone's happy(except for the whole tail transformation issue).

His frill isn't so wrong as to be an instant dealbreaker. Not top-tier, but not awful.  It is a pretty good frill.

 

The problems he has aren't dealbreakers, and they are smaller issues than the problems every OTHER Slag has.  This is the first I've seen and thought "I want this on my shelf".

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Great review, Mike. Giga did a splendid job on their Slag, and I concur that, although his dino head is a little too big, I think it works and compliments the whole. It's also a really nice touch to include the translucent plastic coverings, although I think it would benefit the look if those eye stickers were applied to the head cover, as the painted eyes are a little difficult to see. That, or just make corresponding cutouts so the eyes show through. I'm nitpicking. Overall, the shaping looks lovely and he's unmistakably Slag, moreso than Cesium, who looks like he's had a few too many cesium salami sandwiches.:p I also like Giga's shaping for the head, as they add a nice hump over the eyes; Cesium shares this feature, albeit with a subtler curve. This is one of those instances where license is preferred over direct copy, as G1 Slag's head looks like a ski slope with horns. Out of curiosity, I looked at PotP Slag- he has the ski slope, too. :) Despite my owning and enjoying Cesium, perusing your review, I think Giga did a better job overall. Still Cesium is a solid effort, and a solid toy that doesn't stray too far from the G1 toy aesthetics, especially the legs. (I like Grassor's legs better, btw. Absolute G1 accuracy isn't always the best.) I concur with JBO, Grassor's near perfect.

The allocation of the tail doesn't bother me in the least; it's better than the odd backpack solution of the G1 toy. Both Grassor and Cesium have the tail halves tucked in the aft area of the lower legs, which is a creative, and more visually appealing, solution to me than turning it into a backpack, or having tail parts hanging off the legs near the knees. Heck, even PotP Slag tucks the tail halves behind the legs, albeit not as neatly, but they do function as movable heels to help stability and posing. So, it's officially a canon solution. 

As Mike said, depending on your preferences, I don't think you'll go wrong with either Cesium or Grassor (I can't weigh in on Scoria, as I've never handled a copy. I know I preferred Cesium for his more G1 accurate, less potato-esque, dino mode and for how the bot mode cleans up better). Fanstoys wowed me with their Snarl, and from there I was all in to get the rest of their dinos. Can't recommend them enough. That said, if you're not attached to any particular company and you just want a nice Slag, my recommendation would be Grassor.

- Giga's decision to make the lower dino jaw rotate into the dino head rather than become the "bib" in bot mode is interesting, and allowed for some cool shaping on his chest in bot mode. At least that's how it looks to me, and I find it an interesting departure from convention.

Edited by M'Kyuun

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10 hours ago, JB0 said:

This is the first I've seen and thought "I want this on my shelf".

I'd be really curious to hear your thoughts if you actually get him.

9 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

Fanstoys wowed me with their Snarl, and from there I was all in to get the rest of their dinos. Can't recommend them enough.

When I started to switch to Masterpiece I knew the Dinobots were going to come up (ToyWorld and GCreation's weren't going to cut it... heck, for scale, MP-08 doesn't cut it).  At the time Giga only had Grassor and Guttur out, but all five FT Dinos were out and I was aware of Cesium.  I think between Guttur and Sever it's really close, but I might have leaned toward Sever.  Grassor was clearly a winner in my eyes over Scoria, and I think ultimately over Cesium, but Cesium looked perfectly acceptable.  Grinder had sort of weird proportions in robot mode, but certainly looked great in dino mode.  Aesthetically, I have no real issues with Soar or Stomp, and I'd especially heard a ton of good things about Stomp.  Plus, if I'd gone with FansToys, I could have had a complete set of Dinobots.

So what finally made me hop into the Giga camp and pull the trigger on MP Dinobots?  Wait for my next review and see... ;)

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I came to the third party dino scene late in the game. I was aware of the combiners, and although I thought that was cool that they made them combine, ultimately that's not what I was after, as there was a lot of license taken with them, and they weren't MP scaled.  Once I committed to getting some MP Dinos, getting Sludge was my goal, since he was the only G1 Dinobot I owned. Well, Stomp was unavailable at the time, but Sever was, and he looked good-really good- in the promo pics, so he was my first, and that kickstarted me on the FT Dinos. I remember FT had released Scoria, and all the 'potato' talk; I didn't pay it a great deal of attention then, but when it came time to finalize my Dinobot team, Slag was the missing piece, and so I compared Scoria, who was available, to pics of the then upcoming Perfect Fusion Cesium. Cesium won by a landslide- just a lot of improvements overall. I never really gave Giga a fair shake, so now that these reviews are being posted, I'm looking forward to them. Between FT and Giga, there's a lot to love whichever way you go. Looking forward to your surprise review, Mike.

Mentioning issues, of all the FT dinos, Soar is really the only one that I wish had had some additional engineering to try and integrate the arms more into the ptero body. I think Has/Tak did a better job with their PotP version in this regard. It just seems to me they could have been 'absorbed' somehow, at least partially, at a nice angle to give his body a nice inverted triangular look. As he is, he's very boxy in dino mode, but his bot mode is pure :wub:. When I bought him, there were no blue painted versions to be had at any of the standard netailers, so I ebay-ed him from a Chinese seller for a really decent price. Glad I did. That blue really stands out against all of his red painted compatriots, and being a deep metallic blue, looks lovely. I still get happy thinking about these figures- five dreams come true in spectacular fashion.

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10 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

I'd be really curious to hear your thoughts if you actually get him.

I'm honestly thinking about it. Usually, I just put it in the "too expensive" category and content myself with photos, but this is SLAG.

If I do, I'll be using the filler plugs for the legs. Slag looks wrong to me without the dino-legs hanging off his ankles.

10 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Grassor was clearly a winner in my eyes over Scoria, and I think ultimately over Cesium, but Cesium looked perfectly acceptable. 

My impression is that Cesium does its best to look as much like the cartoon as possible. Which is A LOT of the problem, as my preferece on the dinobots is VERY toy-biased.  I think it also left them with some difficult dino proportions to engineer around.

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On 2/4/2018 at 12:48 PM, mikeszekely said:

So what finally made me hop into the Giga camp and pull the trigger on MP Dinobots?  Wait for my next review and see... ;)

And that review would be for Gigapower Graviter, their MP-style Sludge.

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Graviter is part G1 toy, part G1 cartoon, and a little mix of original detail that some say breaks up some of the blandness of the cartoon, some say is too busy, but in either case makes him a nice aesthetic fit with Grassor.  Graviter maybe has an advantage over Grassor (and presumably Guttur, Gigapower's Snarl) in that the dinosaur legs on the outside of his legs aren't just a toy detail, they're present on the cartoon as well.  Interestingly, that also means that Graviter is more similar to his closest competition, FansToys' Stomp, than Grassor is to Scoria or Cesium.

So as we take a look, we've got the same deep gold chrome on his feet, the same silver chrome in places, the same red chrome/paint on his torso, and the same silvery gray baked-on finish that Grassor has.  The head and ears are suitably Sludge-shaped, with silver accents on his forehead.  Out of the box he has red eyes, which I guess would be an aesthetic match if you're going with other red-eyed Dinobots but technically isn't cartoon or toy accurate.  The shoulders and arms are also very Sludge-tastic, although GP eschews the cartoon and FanStoys practice of putting one toe on the front/two on the back of the wrist.  I think I actually prefer it this way, as it's more cohesive with Grassor and presumably whatever they call their Grimlock.  Wings that are unmistakably Sludge's hang from his back, with lots of molded and painted details on the inside.  The dino neck mostly collapses into a fairly tidy backback, with the dino head tucked into a crevice along his spine.  His torso has a properly Sludgey broad chest and narrow waist, and some of the detail is the sort of molded detail that was molded on the G1 toy, athough Giga chose to paint it instead of leaving it all red.  The center of his torso is adorned with a panel of gold chrome covered by a piece of smoked translucent plastic.  Painted detail on his hips is somewhat evocative of the G1 toys's stickers.  I think the big departures here come from his torso having what I'd consider a more natural taper toward his waist and an overall less flat torso than the G1 cartoon or toy, with a pelvis shaped more like Grassor's than G1 Sludge.  The overall shape of the chest even affects the shape of the translucent bit and where certain details are, namely that the space for the Autobot insignia some molded detail meant to mimic some sticker detail from the G1 toy are on the same plane and the space for the Autobot insignia a little on the smallish side.  If cartoon accuracy is your thing Graviter's torso may not be Sludge enough for you, but I personally am finding that I actually like it better.  It's Sludgey enough that it doesn't look wrong to my eye, but looks more like a barrel-chested bruiser of a body compared to the cartoon's T with arms, legs, and a head.  Continuing down the body he's got thighs that are a little less rectangular, which is again something I actually prefer, and lower legs that are unmistakably Sludge with silver chrome kneecaps and ridges, mushed up dino legs on the sides, and gold chrome toes complete with molded vents where the G1 toy had stickers, and a stripe of molded and painted detail covered by more of that smoked translucent plastic to again replicate some sticker detail (detail that was present in the cartoon as blue-outlined black stripes).  The tail collapses into the hollow space on the insides of his lower legs.

Ultimately, and this is very subjective, I think Stomp looks more like the cartoon, but Graviter is an aesthetically better robot that doesn't deviate so much that it stops looking like Sludge.

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Graviter's accessories are similar to, but slightly fewer, than Grassor's.  You've got more smoked translucent bits (that, perhaps, could have been a tad smokier.  You've got a black rifle that's molded very similarly to the rifle that came with the G1 toy (it's just missing a little bit of the rear behind the handle), with a red tip like Grassor's.  You've got a sword, again very G1 down to the molded circular piece where the G1 toy had a peg hole, with a translucent red blade and a black hilt.  As with Grassor, both the sword and the rifle have LEDs that I don't have the batteries for (although I did order some).  You've got a pair of smaller cannons that are molded fairly similarly to the G1 toy's missile launchers, which themselves seemed to be the basis for for the gun Sludge used in the cartoon.  While I suppose the simple black plastic is fairly accurate to the toy, I find myself wishing they'd put some gold chrome on them to match the cartoon and the gun that Stomp comes with.  Maybe I'll paint them myself.  There's a second head that trades the red eyes and stoic face of the default head for blue eyes and an angry face.  Unfortunately, Graviter's heads lack the mix-and-match nature of Grassor's; if you want blue eyes, you're stuck with angry face.  If you want stoic face, you're stuck with red eyes.  Lastly, there is an included flame accessory, but it's not for Graviter.  Graviter will have a flame accessory that may be sold separately later and will come with the metallic-painted version of Graviter that will be released a few months from now, but for now this flame is actually for Guttur, Gigapower's Snarl.

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Graviter's head is on a ball joint that can swivel, look up a fair amount, tilt sideways a little, but is pretty limited downward.  His shoulders rotate on strong, loud ratchets, and a second ratchet lets him extend his arms laterally 90 degrees.  His biceps can swivel, and his elbows can ratchet 90 degrees, revealing some silver-painted detail inside.  His wrists can swivel, and due to the transformation they can even tilt up and down a little.  The hands themselves are something of an improvement from the KFC-style hands on Grassor.  Each finger and the thumb still have two pinned hinges, but the base of the thumb is a hinge that moves it from the side of the hand to the base of the palm.  As for the other fingers, they can still splay a bit but they're either hinges in the palm or ball joints covered by the palm in such a way that they allow the splay but do not allow the fingers to bend (that knuckle instead being the first pinned hinge).  The result are hands that trade just a tiny bit of articulation (since the second hinge is the mid knuckle instead of the fingertip), but feet sturdier, don't have fingers spinning in their ball sockets, and have tighter tolerances than, say, my Andras.  His wings open and close on ratchets, and his wings can angle upward a little on friction joints.  His waist can swivel.  His hip skirts are hinged the same way as Grassor's, and his hips can go forward and backward nearly 90 degrees on ratchets that are sturdy enough to keep him in standing poses but a little too weak suspend his lower leg off the ground, and laterally 90 degrees on ratchets that are actually strong enough that you can go ahead and pose Graviter doing a high kick.  His thighs rotate over the hip joints, and his ratcheted knees bend about 60 degrees.  Do to transformation, they have the same ability as Grassor to bow out at the knee.  As for his feet, the gold toes can tilt upward a bit, and they can pivot about 45 degrees to give him a faux ankle pivot.

Again, he holds his rifle and sword just fine using tabs on the handles that fit into slots on his palms.  The handle is long enough and the tab low enough of the sword, and the rifle ends abruptly at the handle, so dino toes on his wrists don't hamper his ability to wield either.

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As for the cannons, they have small holes on the sides disguised as molded detail.  They fit onto tiny pegs in the middle of circular depressions on the larger circles of translucent plastic covering chrome on his shoulders and hear his ankles.  They can be plugged into either spot.  Alternatively, they have fold down handles that let him carry them as large pistols.  Between the angle of the butt of the cannon, the ability to bend the dino toes up a little, and the ability to bend the wrist down a little, there's no problem having Graviter hold them, either.

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As we all know, Sludge transforms into a Sauropod dinosaur (what, you think I'm going to wade into the Apatosaurus/Brontosaurus debate?), and Graviter is no exception.  I think he really shines in this mode.  He naturally has his gray neck that turns into translucent-covered gold before reaching his not-too-big, not-too-small head, chrome silver back, gold chrome bump (with toy-accurate molded circles), chrome silver ridges over his rump that flow into his chrome silver tail, and feet with a pair of chrome silver toes on the front and a chrome silver dewclaw on the heel.  Translucent panels cover gold chrome on his rear hips to emulate the G1 toy, and also sit on his shoulders because the cartoon used dark circles for both, I guess (the G1 toy just had a stripe of a sticker).  Molded detail and sometimes painted details on his body mimic and sometimes exaggerate molded details and stickers from the G1 toy.   Even though the rear dino legs have to compactify onto Graviter's lower legs and the front dino legs form his arms Graviter manages to have rear legs that are significantly larger than the front legs, with little tabs on the front and back of the hip that were on the original toy.  My only real complaint is that his eyes aren't just red, but they're a sort of translucent plastic that makes me wonder if LEDs or light piping was on the drawing board at one point.  They look pretty dull unless you're starting head on at one eye with a light source directly behind the other.

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For dino articulation, Graviter's head is on a what seems to be a universal joint on a curved slider.  Just at that joint the head has an up/down range of about 90 degrees and a 360 degree swivel at a slight angle.  At the base of the translucent & gold part is another hinge with about 45 degrees of tilt and a 360 degree swivel.  Near the base of the neck is another hinge with a much more limited range, I'd guess between 15 and 30 degrees, and a third 360 degree swivel set abotu 45 degrees from vertical.  Based on what I've seen, Stomp has similar joints with slightly greater range, but Graviter's joints are less noticeable and the taper of the neck from the torso to the head is smoother.  The transformation hinge at the dino collar is also much less obvious.  The front legs are his robot arms and retain their retain their articulation; ratcheted rotation at the shoulders, ratcheted lateral movement at the shoulders, bicep swivels, and ratcheted elbows that bend 90 degrees.  His dino feet have a little up down tilt, and each dino claw can tilt up a little and down until they fold into the feet independently of each other, but he has no ankle pivots in the front.  The rear leg seems to be on a large ball joint at the hip.  You don't get really any lateral movement to speak of, but they rotate fine and are well-toleranced.  No thigh swivel.  Ratcheted knee bends a little bit forward and backward, maybe 45 degrees of motion total.  The toes are the same as the front feet, but the feet themselves can bend up a little more than the front and down nearly 45 degrees.  The rear feet also have ankle pivots.  The tail has a single hinge for a little swish.  Graviter's jaws can open, revealing a pair independently-hinged black flamethrowers for a tongue.

The smaller cannons uses the same small holes to peg onto his dino shoulders or hips that they used in robot mode.  As with Grassor, I couldn't find any way to stow his larger rifle or sword.

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And once again, for fans of the toy look, a translucenet helmet can be fit over his head.  It's fairly loose, though.  It's not toy accurate, but there are also translucent bits to fit over the tail.  As was the case with Grassor, they have to be removed and set aside for the transformation to robot mode.  What's nice about the tail parts, though, is that they continue the taper of the tail to a finer point, and add nearly an inch of extra length.

So here's the thing... in the MP Dinobot space, it's really between just Graviter and Stomp.  I've already said that I think Graviter looks better in bot mode despite Stomp being more accurate.  Now when it comes to dinosaur mode, neither are exactly cartoon or toy-accurate, and the thing is they tend to deviate in the same areas (the dino head, translucent plastic over gold chrome for the dino shoulder, etc).  Stomp seems to have a bit better dinosaur articulation, but that articulation comes at the expense of aesthetics.  Stomp has a tiny head, a prominent hinge between the chrome part of his neck and the gray, the base of the first gray segment is much smaller in diameter than the second, and there's an obcenely prominent transformation hinge at his collarbone.  Graviter's neck tapers evenly from the base of his skull all the way to his chest.  Stomp's dinosaur legs are fairly similar in size, Graviter's rear legs are significantly larger due in part to having larger hips and in part because Gigapower engineered the robot bicep to collapse and shorten when shifting to a dino leg.  So while I'm forced to qualify my belief that Graviter's robot mode looks better with the whole, "but Stomp is definitely more accurate!" bit, I feel I can unequivocally state that Graviter's dino mode is a clear winner.  What's more, I think the dinobots are one of those rare instances when the alt mode is actually more important than the robot mode.

Of course, without having handled Stomp I can really only compare him with Graviter on aesthetics alone.  But the paint, the diecast, the joint tolerances, the overall fit and finish of Graviter are easily on par (or dare I say better?) than any of the FansToys figures I do own.

Needless to say, I think Graviter is an easy recommend.  Unless you're really hardcore for about cartoon-accurate robot modes for your dinobots I think Graviter stomps Stomp, as it were.  When looking at the Dinobots available I thought FansToys had a slight edge on Snarl, I thought Grassor edged out his competition but I could see the case for Cesium, but Graviter beat out Stomp so handily in my book that he single-handedly made me decide it was time to start getting MP Dinobots and that Gigapower would be the way to go.  That being said, if the robot mode bothers you, or if you already have and are satisfied with Stomp or the other FT Dibots, you probably don't need to switch sides now.

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I actually stumbled upon a chrome Grassor, new, while dicking about last night. I deemed it fate and ordered it. It was apparently the last one they had.

 

I'll have my take in a few days. Hopefully this doesn't become an addiction that bankrupts me.

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22 minutes ago, JB0 said:

I actually stumbled upon a chrome Grassor, new, while dicking about last night. I deemed it fate and ordered it. It was apparently the last one they had.

 

I'll have my take in a few days. Hopefully this doesn't become an addiction that bankrupts me.

Ah, I remember how it started for me...

"These Combiner Wars guys are pretty cool!  Too bad they don't have Predaking, though.  I guess I'll get Feral Rex.  One 3P purchase can't hurt..."

 

EDIT: Oh yeah, almost forgot.  Be careful moving the dino head backward when you're trying to get more space for his robot head.  The back of the gold parts are a little pointy near the base of his jaw, and it can (and in my case, did) scratch the red chrome/paint near his collar.

Edited by mikeszekely

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Thanks for the warning.

 

And yeah, I remember your initial "I need a Predaking, but that's all I'm doing" quest. 

Edited by JB0

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Graviter looks nice, but he's no Stomp. FT still does it for me, perfect bot and dino modes in my opinion. Giga just doesn't do it for me in bot mode, dino looks really good, but the super puffy stung by and allergic to bees look for bot is a pass. I prefer the toon look of FT, not the roided out G1 toy look of Giga. At least there's options, MP Dinos for everybody. I personally feel if Takara announced MP dinos a large number of fans wouldn't bother because FT and Giga have done so good on there dinos. I know I personally wouldn't bother with official Takara MP dinos, the FT ones are some of the nicest third party figures I own, and they stand among several figures I wouldn't trade away if a Takara version were announced. Also, I am 100% positive Takara would go with a super ugly, toon accurate yellow plastic on them instead of the gold chrome of FT, Giga, and MP-08. I like my toon accuracy with is why I prefer FT dinos, but yellow plastic would be a step too far.

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I was legit excited to get my Gigapower Dinobots (I will be over the moon if I can find a chrome Guttur in the near future), but a few other things released recently that allowed me to ship my stacks and stashes.  This guy, Kalecgos, is one of them.  He's the Unique Toys Onslaught, and since I don't care for the goofy World of Warcraft names I'm just calling him Onslaught from here on out.

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My first impression is that, compared to the Unique Toys Brawl and Swindle, he's a little greebly, especially on the shins.  And yet, as with the other UT Combaticons, he's still the most cartoon-accurate Onslaught as pretty much every other version besides Warbotron's has gone for the toy-style chest (inlcuding Zeta's upcoming version).  He's got the predominantly blue color, although perhaps they could have gone a bit darker.  His head is pretty cartoon-accurate, although his mouth plate could have been a little more recessed in his helmet.  Instead of the toy's window of circuits sticker Unique Toys went the cartoon route of having his chest be two large panels with a little block underneath (just waiting for a Decepticon emblem).  Likewise, he's got the two faux lights on his pelvis, done in translucent plastic.  Green lines on the cartoon's thight have become slightly longer light gray lines, and the green blocks on his knees are present in translucent plastic, but those are the basic cartoon details.  All he's really missing are the forearm wheels, and it's not that they're missing, they're just halved in number and on the underside of his forearm instead of the top.

One strange new detail Unique Toys added are some little missile launchers, in olive plastic with some gray and silver paint.  I say odd because they're not on the G1 toy or cartoon, they kind of get in the way, and they don't serve any purpose in alt mode.  Unless they do something for combined mode, which I'm kind of doubting, he'd actually have been better off without them.

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In case a size comparison with other Onslaught's isn't helpful, here he is with MP-10.  And he's actually a smidgeon taller.  I'm kind of ok with that, though.  To be honest, I have no idea where the individual Combaticons fell on the scale chart, and I don't really care.  

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Anyway, Onslaught comes with pratically nothing.  You get toy-style chest plate for Bruticus, and some crotch armor for Bruticus.  That's it.  Onslaught doesn't get a gun.  Even though the G1 toy came with a rifle for Onslaught, and even though he had one in the cartoon, not giving him one seems to have become something of a thing.  Neither Combiner Wars nor Warbotron's Onslaught came with a gun; however, in both of their cases the cannons on his back could be removed and held in his hands as guns.  Unique Toys' Onslaught can't even do that, as his cannons aren't meant to come off.

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I'm counting the crotch armor as an accessory since it's removable and that'll help pad the accessory count, but technically it's pegged into Onslaught's butt in the box.  With the crotch armor on his butt, though, he cannons on Onslaught's back don't quite have the clearance to get around it.  That limits his waist articulation.  However, the problem is easily solved by simply unpegging it from his butt.

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The chest shield can explode apart into several pieces.  There's a reason for it that we'll get into in the future, when we look at the combined Bruticus, but for those of you that hate having combiner kibble that doesn't serve a purpose outside of the gestalt UT does sort of have you covered.  You can use the chest shield to combine Brawl's guns with one of the combined-mode feet.  Of course, now Brawl doesn't have a gun, and we're still left with the other foot and (presumably) the combined mode hands.  Plus the crotch armor, if you pulled it off.

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Onslaught's head is on a hinged swivel.  He can rotate his head and look down, but up is mostly limited.  His shoulders rotate on soft ratchets and can move laterally on a friction hinge just over 90 degrees.  The missile launchers on top of his shoulders are on ball joints so you can lift them or twist them to keep them from interfering with his articulation, but like I said it would have been better if they just weren't there in the first place.  He's got a tight bicep swivel.  Friction elbows bend just over 90 degrees.  His wrists swivel.  His thumb is on a ball joint at the base so it can rotate and fold over the palm.  The fingers are pinned at the base knuckle and again at the mid-knuckle, and each finger can move independently.  His waist swivels.  As I mentioned, removing the crotch armor from his butt will keep it from hindering his waist swivel.  However, his hip skirts are on hinges, and if you lift them to their fullest extent they'll totally block his waist swivel.  What this means is that his hips can move forward 90 degrees if his body is straight, but if his waist is turned you'll fall one click shy.  Likewise, he can technically bend his hip backward 90 degrees, but practically you're going to have his legs start bumping his backpack.  Laterally, his hips get just about 90 degrees.  His hips are ratcheted all the way around, but the forward/backward ratchets are obnoxiously tight.  A part of me thinks this is so he'll be stable in combined mode, which is what you want, but as a stand-alone figure his hips are ridiculous.

Moving along, his thigh swivels are just above his knee, which isn't really my favorite but it might be necessary due to how his hips transform for combined mode.  Knees are ratcheted and good for 90 degrees.  His feet can bend down at the ankle or at the toe, plus his heel can bend down, but you don't really have anything up.  As for ankle pivots Onslaught can do a full 90 degrees, so no issues there.

Normally I'd talk about the fit of his weapons here.  I will say I tried loaning him one of Brawl's guns, and it doesn't really work because of how big the area around his wrist is.  The handle of a weapon needs to be pretty long, plus his palms and thumbs don't have that molded 5mm port built into them the way Brawl and Swindle do.  There is a little groove at the base of his palm, so tab-style MP weapons might work.  I managed get him holding a spare KFC MP-10 gun, but it was relying a lot on the tension of his finger joints to stay in place.

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Onslaught's truck mode is pretty good.  In this case it is closer to the G1 toy than the weirldy-drawn vehicle of the cartoon, but that's fine with me.  It's certainly an improvement from whatever the heck the Combiner Wars version was supposed to be, and it's got a certainly G1 simplicity that Warbotron's was lacking (plus the cannons actually stay on!).  I'd say the biggest difference is that the fenders stick out from the trailer, but that's pretty small potatoes.  The tires are rubber, and the instructions do show the crotch armor being attached in this mode.

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It's still totally removeable, though.  You do have space on the trailer to put one of the other Combaticons, if you like.  Curiously, there are even a pair of peg holes near the rear, on what would the top of his heel spurs in bot mode.  Could it be used in some way to secure Vortex or Blast Off?  Maybe.  Or maybe something to do with the combined mode, which I haven't looked at yet but will review when the other two come in.  The cannons can tilt back and the barrels can be extended, but they can't be moved independently of each other.  And there's even a hinge on a sliding joint that extend from his waist that allows him to look like the truck is hitched to the trailer and can turn at the hitch.

So, there are some things that definitely bug me about this Onslaught.  I've already mentioned the little missile launchers on his shoulders.  There's a lot of sprue marks on him.  I think UT wasn't precise enough when laying out where the tabs on this thing go, and the tolerances on some of them are far too tight, resulting in some serious stress marks on a few of them.  The blue armor around his shoulders just lays over his shoulders; it doesn't peg or tab in anywhere, can come undone when you're manipulating him.  Out of the box I have scratches on the chest shield, and it boils down to UT not putting any kind of plastic, foam, or tape as a barrier between it and Onslaught in the box.  And for as much as this toy costs it was really cheap of UT not to include any kind of gun for Onslaught.

There's a lot I do like, though.  I think he looks great in both robot and alt mode.  He's easily the best-looking Onslaught toy I've come across (and I don't see Zeta's changing my opinion any time soon).  He's solidly built with good joint tolerances (minus the hip ratchets that are actually too tight), and he's got a fair amount of articulation.  Transformation, at least between robot and truck mode, is fairly intuitive and fun.  Unless you're one of those people who think that every combiner must be as tall as Constructor now, I'm ultimately going to recommend him.  In hand he's a definitely upgrade from the Warbotron version. 

 

Edited by mikeszekely

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Now, I was waiting for Onslaught to come in before shipping my stack at one retailer that I don't often use because I wanted free shipping before mailing out this guy, who I've owned since Thanksgiving.  This guy being Open and Play's Big Spring, their first product and a mostly MP take on Springer.

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Ignoring his face for a minute, I'm not really seeing a lot to complain about.  Upper body is primarily two shades of gree, with yellow on the shoulders, his belly button, and the grill on his chest.  The grill even has that small blip of green on the lip, and the right amount of vertical bars.  His shoulders have those little circular pieces on the inner part.  Thighs and hands are (correctly) an extremely pale green and properly rounded.  His shins are gray, and have cartoon-accurate kneepads with darker gray trapezoids and similarly cartoon-accurate molded panels running down his shins.  Even his head (again, ignoring the face for a minute) is properly Springer.  I think the only things you could really quibble with are that the shoulder pads don't quite lay on his shoulders exactly as the cartoon, that the sweep of the yellow part of his chest could be adjusted so that the yellow starts higher on his chest, and that his waist is a tad smaller than you might like in a Springer, but those are fairly minor complaints.  No two ways about it, Big Spring is a very good-looking Springer.  Except for that face.  Squinted eyes, flat nose, thin lips... it's like Open and Play's desginer was watching Down With Love and decided to model Big Spring's face off of Renee Zellweger.  It's not as bad as it looks in photos, and it's easily removable so there's still hope that someone, maybe even O&P themselves, will release a better face for him.

Size-wise, I'm not sure how the '86-'87 scale chart is supposed to look (this is around the time when the animators started drawing everyone except Wheelie as basically the same height), but here he is with MP Hot Rod and DX9's Carry.  I would have been ok with him being slightly shorter, but I do think he's actually already slightly shorter than FansToys' Apache or Unique Toys' Allen, the only other MP-ish Springers available (for now).

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Big Spring comes with pretty much all the accessories you'd want with a Springer.  He comes with a rifle.  The sculpt on it is fairly interesting, but not sure how they come up with it.  Would have liked some paint.  He's got a sword with lovely silver and metallic blue paint... maybe the blue would have been better green, though?  He's got the shell he loads into the giant crossbow thing in the movie, and that definitely needs some gold paint, but it's also kind of a toss-it-back-in-the-box sort of accessory, so I'll let it slide.  And he's got a green loop.

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What the loop is for is pluggin into his back, then you can slide the sword down into it so Big Spring can carry the sword on his back.  It's a nice little touch.

While we're back there, take a look at how clean Big Spring is.  There's very little kibble and almost no backpack on this guy.

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His articulation is pretty good, too.  His head is on a hinge at the base of the neck and a ball joint at the base of the skull.  Combined he can look down a good bit, up a good bit, tilt his head sideways, and even crane his neck forward and backward a little.  His shoulders rotate on ratchets, and a double hinge allows him to slump his shoulders or get the clearance to extend his arms laterally just over 90 degrees (and he can rotate his shoulders and move his arms laterally AT THE SAME TIME! You don't see Apache doing that...).  His biceps swivel, and he's got double-jointed elbows that can technically curl 180 degrees but your practically limited by his shoulder pads.  His wrists can swivel.  His thumb is fixed, and his fingers are all pinned just at the base like an MP carbot, although the index finger is separate.  His waist can swivel.  His hips ratchet forward 90 degrees, backward maybe 60 degrees, and laterally 90 degrees.  His soft-ratcheted knees can bend 90 degrees.  His entire feet can tilt up and down a little, plus he can bend the front half of his foot down 90 degrees, his heel down 90 degrees, or even bend down at just the tip toes.  His ankles can also pivot about 60 degrees.

His grip on his weapons is a tad loose.  Basically his thumb and his palm have rounded spots that the weapons slide down into.  They're a little loose, but with his hands closed they're tight enough that the weapons won't fall out.  They do turn a bit in his hands sometimes, though.

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This would be Big Spring's car mode.  It's... ok.  To be totally fair, the original G1 toy didn't look much like a car, and Floro Dery's animation model wasn't much of an improvement.  If I'm being totally objective, the front fenders are too long on the back side and don't taper down.  The rear fenders are too small, too low, and stick out too far, leaving the rear a little short and looking a little unfinished.  That said, I'm of a mind that while the back could have looked a little more cohesive that most of the rest of the departures from the animation model actually make this mode look a bit more car-ish.  In any case, the general idea is still quite Springery.

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If weapon storage in alt mode is important to you, you can use the loop to store the sword on his roof.  Meanwhile, a hexagonal port on one side allows you to mount the gun on that side.  Technically, if you want to you can swap them.  The round peg on the loop still fits into the hexagonal hole.  Meanwhile the rifle can sit in the top like some kind of tank turret.  The downside to doing it that way is that the rifle spins super easily plugged in there.

To round out the car stuff, the tires are rubber.  And he's got flip-out translucent blue headlights.

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When Springer transformed in the cartoon it was usually into his helicopter mode, and that's because Dery's copter design was pretty good.  Big Spring pulls it off fairly well, too.  What's more, while the transformation between car and copter isn't particularly difficult or involved there's still some interesting things going on.  The geometry of the front end actually changes, and the cockpit actually shrinks.  My only complaints are that the yellow fins are a just fins and not the more substantial landing skids and that the tail boom sits a little low instead of flowing from the back, but those are again two things I'm not sure the competition has really gotten right either.

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The headlights still work in copter mode, and the sword splits down the middle and unfolds to become his rotors.  They spin freely, and the tail boom is short enough not to get in the way.  The rifle can plug into the same hexagonal port used in car mode.  If you're looking for a place to store the loop, I've found that the there's enough space inside the cockpit, and it's enclosed enough that it won't fall out.  Big Spring doesn't have any landing gear, but he sits nicely on his car tires and can even still roll.

So what's the deal with this guy?  He's cheap... you can expect to pay between $60-$80 dollars for him, and that's not even a clearance price like poor Allen.  When a no-name comes out with a cheap toy and they run it against a heavyweight like FansToys I feel like direct comparisons are inexcapable.  So here we go...  Big Spring's solidly built.  I think he looks better than Allen in all three modes, and better than Apache in car mode.  Although I think Apache probably looks better in robot and helicopter modes, I think it's a pretty close race between them.  Spring's got a fairly clever, fairly simple transformation that makes him fun to flip between modes (in one day I've already transformed him more times than either of the Giga dinos or Onslaught), and he's got good articulation.  His only real flaws are his ugly face and a tab in his abdomen that comes out a little too easy (but no worse than the Ironwill's chest).  Now, Spring doesn't have a ton of paint apps, and there's no diecast in him, so he's arguably lacking some of that "premium" feel you might get from a more expensive toy like Apache.  If you're the kind of collector that wants the best-looking robtot mode to display on a shelf and never touch again, then sure, maybe you go with Apache.  If paint and heft are more important than price and playability, by all means, get what you like.  To me, Spring is good enough and Apache flawed enough that it doesn't make sense to spend literally twice the money on Apache.  While it's still possible that MMC or X-Transbots' Springers could wow me, as of this writing Big Spring is my recommened MP Springer.

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You ask, I respond!

My Grassor came in, and I've had a chance to mess with him.

 

My first impression: Holy crap, this thing's big.

Second impression: No, really, this guy is HUGE! I knew he was tall, but I forgot how bulky Slag is.

I was going to get my original Slag out for some comparison photos, but... I think his entire body is roughly the size of one of Grassor's "boots."

 

I have very little to complain about. I wish the dino head could come forward a little so the frill could slant back more is really about it(and the frill is going to get in the way no matter what, really, though Scoria's frill looks fantastic and I'd love Scoria's dinohead on THIS robot.). Proportions are really good in both forms, the transformation is largely straightforward, all the extra techno-detailing on the humanoid torso looks sweet, and was kind of necessary at the new size.

I also really like that the backside of the boots is used for the dinosaur hindquarters instead of the traditional frontside. It lets them have a good boot and a good dinobutt both, without any ridiculous origami shells to make up the difference.

Basically, this is my default Slag now.

 

Nice touch on the rocket launchers, that is also kind of annoying: the mounting peg can fold down, which makes them a pain to connect. BUT the good thing is it gives Grassor a side-aimable rocket launcher, like the original Slag had, instead of one that is locked to straight-forward firepower. Get about 45 degrees out when pegged to the dino-hip, which isn't bad at all for something snugged right up against the body. I don't understand for the life of me why there isn't a hardpoint for them on the shoulders where they belong, but they look pretty good on the dino-hip even in robot mode.

 

 

Big problem, though: I turned him to a triceratops, and when taking him back to robot, I... can't get the hands back out. The fingers seem to have unfolded inside his forearms and locked the hands in place. I had to disassemble the forearms to liberate the fingers.

The instructions were modern-Hasbro levels of vague, with a lot of hand-waving and omitted steps,  and it seems like there is a single "safe" orientation to fold them in. Really, guys, copy the GOOD parts of the franchise and leave the bad parts in the trash.

Edited by JB0
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And I thought Jaguar was awesome; the poseability of these guys is incredible even by today's standards. I've got their Rumble (the purple one, of course) on order, along with the condors. Can't wait to get them. As I've mentioned in the past, the cassette bots have been among my favorites within all of the Transformers pantheon, and I hope they continue to make the rest of them.  The only drawback to them is that, because of the scale of their cassette modes, they don't fit in MP Soundwave, or any bot for that matter. If they make a Soundwave that these will fit in, that'd be interesting. However, I'm happy just having the cassettes with their highly articulated bot modes.

Thanks for sharing the pics- definitely whets the appetite for more.

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The cassettes were my favs back as a kid.  Small.  Portable.  Enough articulation but you still needed your imagination to play with them.  

 

That said even if OM does stumble on a few bots I’m overall very happy with their stuff.  

And I need a new background and a bigger lightbox   

 

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I always liked that scene from Sherman Dam in the original 3-parter.  To me there was always something endearing in all the automotive related puns and metaphors that peppered many of the Autobots' language throughout the first season.  In the Sherman Dam scene, Hound cautions Spike about almost flooding his engine after nearly drowning trying to save Hound following a tussle with Rumble on the riverbed. Love it. ^_^

As for the Ocular Max cassettes, I say keep 'em coming. Given the level of engineering brought to bear thus far, I'd like to see what they do with the combiner cassettes, but I also want Ramhorn, Steeljaw, and the dino cassettes, too (all of them, including the Japanese only releases, which also combined). They're like Pokeman- gotta catch them all!  

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I'm still passing on the condors.  I think MMC did some interesting things with them, but the officials did a pretty good job of nailing those two, and unlike Ravage, Rumble, and Frenzy the smaller size works better for them.  I have Rumble is Blue, Frenzy is Red on preorder; as soon as they drop I can ship them with GT's Streetwise.

In the mean time, I'm still working through my last batch, and today we're looking at Zeta Toys' Air Strike, which is... a version of Air Raid, but I'm hesistant to call him a Masterpiece.

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For $60 I'm not going to complain about the level of paint, the tampos, or the light materials (which could be a postitive in a gestalt).  I don't think a toy has to have x amount of diecast or a finish on every surface to fit in an Masterpiece collection; just look at my previous review for Big Spring.  What I do expect is that the toy look like who they're supposed to be, and if I'm being honest I'm not sure Air Strike is doing it for me.  I'll ignore the head for a bit, as it's fairly toy-accurate (even though I would prefer a cartoon-style head).  The translucent plastic over the yellow and red details on his knees are also sort of reminiscent of the G1 toy's stickers.  It's reasonable to assume that the translucent bits on his chest and hip skirts were also meant ot minic the toy's stickers, but they're really too dark and I find myself wishing they'd just painted them red.  Speaking of red, it continues up and around his collar and shoulders where it really ought to be white.  Pretty much all the silver you see should be white, in fact- his feet, the space on his shins above his feet, his thighs, and on his chest.  That white should actually continue over the red all the way to his waist, and there's some ugly molded detail right where you'd want to stick an Autobot insignia.  Note that his official robot mode folds away the nose of the jet, but at least it uses the horizontal stabilizers to give him his wings.

I guess he's at least closer to Air Raid than TFC's...

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Oh, and apparently the logic amongst TF fandom is that since the Aerialbots turn into jets they should be the same size as Starscream; nevermind that the size of each jet in the team varies wildly, nevermind the fact that scale is based on robot modes as the Seekers are already wildly out of scale with the carbots in alt mode, and nevermind that I've yet to see an actual source indicating where the Aerialbots official fit on a scale chart.  But there you go, Air Strike is as tall as Meteor.

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For accessories, Air Strike comes with a gun, four missiles, and two pegs with a pair of c-clips to hold the missiles.  The gun ok, with a spot of blue paint to break up the black plastic, but I wish they'd molded a hole in the barrel.  As for the missiles, they pop off the c-clips way too easily.

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His head is on a ball joint, and he can look up a little, down just a fraction, and tilt his head sideways a decent amount.  His entire shoulder rotates, and it moves laterally inside the shoulder armor 90 degrees.  He has bicep swivels and single-hinged elbows that can bend 90 degrees.  His wrists cans swivel, although they're a little hindered by his cuffs.  His hands are kind of terrible; the thumb is on a weedy little ball joint for rotation and cut to allow it to fold over the palm.  Each finger individually articulated, pinned at the base knuckle with one additional hinge near each fingertip.  They're basically too small, with too thin plastic, and the hinges at the fingertips aren't even pinned.  I'm not against individually articulated fingers on larger figures with metal pins through the joints, but these tiny, delicate digits are exactly why the single pin, fingers molded together "flipper" hands are my preferred choice for smaller hands.

I digress.  He's got a waist swivel, and hips that can go foward just under 90 degrees and backwards 90 degrees (if there weren't a massive backpack in the way).  His hips can move laterally slightly over 90 degrees on what is one of of the few ratchets on this figure.  The other ratchets being the knees, which are good for 90 degrees.  His thighs swivel around his hip joints, so they're limited to about 35 degrees, but that seems like a fairly natural limite.  His feet have a hinge at the base of the leg that runs into a ball joint into the foot itself, so he's got great up/down range, foot swivels, and 45 degrees of ankle pivot.

The missile clips can peg onto the wings folded up on his legs.  His gun has grooves in the handle that mate with tabs on his palms, but the grip is fairly loose.  Tension from his fingers does help hold it in place.  Alternatively, he's got peg holes on top of his shoulders for some reason, and you can plug his stuff into those.  Personally, I'm content to have him holding his gun and the missiles with their clips can go back into the box.

For a more accurate G1 look, you can leave the nose unfolded.  It doesn't affect anything in robot mode.  If you're cool with partsforming you can also remove his wings for a cleaner look.

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Well, his alt mode looks pretty good, at least from higher angles.  I'll let @David Hingtgen nitpick the details, but that reasonably looks like an F-15 to me.  The stripes are pretty toy-accurate, just missing some black lines through the yellow on the vertical stabilizers.  In this case, I'm ok with the stripes being more toy than the cartoon's simple white stripes.

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Of course, when viewed from lower angles the brick of a robot hiding underneath the plane becomes more apparent.  While Takara and Maketoys have done a pretty good job of showing that you can make a transforming F-15 that doesn't look like a jet with a folded up robot stuck underneath, given that he's also part of a combiner I think that's just the cost of doing business with the Aerialbots.

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And again, for those wondering, yes, he's about the same size as Meteor.  Close inspection will reveal that the finer details don't all line up exactly, but I think they look good enough together.

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A quick flip to the underside and we can see landing gear with rolling wheels, and ports on the wings where you can plug in his missile racks or his gun.  Not shown here, but the gun actually has shallower pegs on the sides that you can use to plug the gun in.  Also, I forgot to show that his canopy can open to reveal two molded seats inside.

While we're looking at the underside, yes, it's a brick, but I'll give Zeta credit for making it look like a fairly seemless brick and not an obviously folded-up robot.  And that circle on his crotch is a spring-loaded point that works with the ToyWorld flight stand that came with the ToyWorld Coneheads.

As far as engineering goes, Air Strike isn't perfect.  His knee pads don't lock in place in robot mode.  His backpack comes undone fairly easily.  His arms are a little too easy to pop open, and his sides collapse back in a little too easy.  His front landing gear is spring-loaded so it's hard to get back in and gets stuck coming out, but you have to pull it out to make clearance for the armature it's on when transforming him between modes.  Speaking of, to deploy or stow it in jet mode you actually have to untab the front of the jet.   It's a really dumb design.

And, again, there are all my aesthetic complaints.  I'll be honest, I only decided to go in on this set because $60 is cheap for a figure this size and while we've got a plethora of Predakings, Devastators, Bruticuses, Defensors, and an impending Menasor war Uranos is still basically the only 3P option for Superion.  And I'm already wondering if I should try to paint him to be a little more cartoon accurate or if I should just box him up and wait and see how FansToys' shakes out, whenever that may be.  At $60 I suppose he'll do as a placeholder, and it's always possible that the combined mode will pay off, but if he were any more expensive I'd definitely say to pass on him.

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Outside of Thunder Eberus there really isn't much dropping that I'm insanely hyped for this next quarter or so... I'm starting to wonder if I'm about at my peak with 3PTF stuff... would be nice!

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2 hours ago, Kuma Style said:

Outside of Thunder Eberus there really isn't much dropping that I'm insanely hyped for this next quarter or so... I'm starting to wonder if I'm about at my peak with 3PTF stuff... would be nice!

Could be. Or it could just be the lull from Chinese New Year.

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2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Could be. Or it could just be the lull from Chinese New Year.

I hope its's the former. I'm really at a point to where I could stand to stop buying outside of non-G1 stuff. Collecting too many other lines at this point.

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On 2/11/2018 at 11:25 AM, M'Kyuun said:

I always liked that scene from Sherman Dam in the original 3-parter.  To me there was always something endearing in all the automotive related puns and metaphors that peppered many of the Autobots' language throughout the first season.  In the Sherman Dam scene, Hound cautions Spike about almost flooding his engine after nearly drowning trying to save Hound following a tussle with Rumble on the riverbed. Love it. ^_^

As for the Ocular Max cassettes, I say keep 'em coming. Given the level of engineering brought to bear thus far, I'd like to see what they do with the combiner cassettes, but I also want Ramhorn, Steeljaw, and the dino cassettes, too (all of them, including the Japanese only releases, which also combined). They're like Pokeman- gotta catch them all!  

The MTME miniseries is what hooked me on TF.  Sherman Dam with Rumble and Hound just made love the characters.  

I like almost all of OM Remix.  I would love them to give me the Autobot cassettes.  I just can’t bring myself to buy the KFC cassettes to go with Transistor.  

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Well, I didn't just get Zeta's Air Strike.  I went in for both of their Aerialbots, so this is Flyfire, their version of Fireflight.

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Once again we find that Flyfire is a bit more toy-inspired than cartoon, but if I'm being honest I kind of don't mind.  The Aerialbots on their own weren't exactly the most memorable of characters to me, but Silverbolt had the whole scared of heights thing, Slingshot was a jerk, Skydive was the black one, and Air Raid was the same jet as the Decepticon Seekers.  Fireflight wound up being the most forgettable of the Aerialbots, and the super generic head the animation gave him didn't help.  In this one case, I think I actually prefer the toy-style head.

That isn't to say that he isn't suffering in other ways, though.  We still have silver on the chest, thighs, and feet that should still be white (or red on the thighs, if you want to go toy-style).  We still have smoked translucent plastic in place of sticker details.  Ultimately, I think the translucent bits are the worst thing about this set.  They lack the color of the actual stickers, and using the same smoked translucent plastic for both toys ignores color differences that would have helped them stand apart.

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Seriously, when you look at them side-by-side, you really have to stare for a bit to even tell them apart.  Both have white and silver heads, white arms and lower legs, silver thighs and feet, and red torsos with silver in the middle flanked by translucent pieces on the chest with additional translucent pieces on the knees and hips.  Now imagine instead that Air Strike's silver went the whole way to his belt, and his translucent pieces on his chest and hips were red, while Flyfire's translucent bits where white on his chest (possibly with toy-style blue and yellow stripes) and blue on his hips.  Suddenly they'd look a lot more distinct, wouldn't they?

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In any case, Flyfire's accessories are basically the same as Air Strike's.  You've got a black gun, still missing a hole in the barrel, still with a little blue paint, and four unandorned black missiles on a pair of clips destined to go back in the box.  The missiles at least stay clipped on better than Air Strike's.

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His head is on a ball joint, and he can look up a little, down just a fraction, and tilt his head sideways a decent amount.  His entire shoulder rotates, and it moves laterally inside the shoulder armor 90 degrees.  It's actually on a double-hinge for transformation, so he can shrug a bit, too.  He has bicep swivels and although his elbows are double-hinged, they can really only bend 90 degrees.  His wrists cans swivel, and he's got the same crappy hands as Air Strike.  If anything, they're actually worse.  The thumb on his one hand has fallen off repeatedly.  Continuing on, his waist swivels.  His hips are basically identical to Air Strike's in function and range, although the ratchets for the lateral movement are a bit looser.  His thighs and knees are the same as Air Strike's.  His feet can bend down, but not up, and he's got about 30 degrees of ankle pivot.  No ankle swivel.

He holds his gun the same way as Air Strike, with a slot on the handle fitting over a tab on his palm.  On Flyfire, though, it actually clicks into place and feels quite secure.  Also like Air Strike the missiles seem to be meant to clip onto the wings on his legs.  However, while the missiles themselves stay on their clips better, the peg doesn't seem to fit into the holes on the wings that well.

As with Air Strike, the wings themselves are removable if you want a cleaner look.  In addition the the hole the wings plug into there's another hole below it.  The missile clips don't fit into these holes any better than the ones on the wings.

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Flyfire is a far more accurate F-4 than the cartoon, which was drawn more like an F-94 than a F-4.  It also eschews the white sides from the G1 toy, but it does use the toy's blue, white, and yellow markings for the wings and (mostly) the vertical stabilizer.  The unpaintable gray plastic used for the joints on the wings and the armatures for the cockpit and tail is a bit more of an eyesore here than against Air Strike's black, but on the whole I feel like Flyfire pulls off the jet mode better.

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Part of that, I'd recon, is that taller, narrower fuselage compared to an F-15 simply lends itself better to a transforming robot.  It makes him look less like a jet with a brick on the bottom.  But the attention to detail is honestly pretty impressive.  Those flaps between the intakes and the cockpit?  F-4 accruate.  The dogtooth on the leading edge of the wings right where they angle upward?  F4-accurate.  The lip on the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizers?  F-4 accurate.

And we have the landing gear, which fold out of the wings in an F-4 accurate manner and do roll.  The cockpit opens to reveal a single molded seat.

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And taking a peak at the underside we can see that the wings have two points for mounting weapons.  As with Air Strike, the gun has shallower pegs on the sides for plugging into the wings.  We have some unfortunate gaps where some hip skirts might have helped, and a bit of a visible head thing going on, but on the whole not too shabby.  And we have a spring-loaded square on his crotch for mounting him on a flight stand.

In some ways, Flyfire is a little more frustrating than Air Strike.  Air Strike's transormation was pretty smooth, but Flyfire has some clearance issues folding in his hands, folding the panels on his collar into his torso, and collapsing his arms under his chest flap.  On top of that, we still have innaccurate colors and smoked translucent plastic that detracts more than it enhances, plus weaker ratchets to boot.

That said, for whatever reason Flyfire looks more passably like Fireflight than Air Strike looks like Air Raid, at least to me.  His jet mode is superior to Air Strike's.  Now, the problem with these combiner teams is that for most people they're an all-or-nothing sort of deal, we already know FansToys is doing what appears to be a more cartoon-accurate version of the Aerialbots, and I've already suggested that if it weren't for the fact that he was so cheap that Air Strike would have been a definite pass.  But I kind of like Flyfire, despite having a lot of the same engineering and issues.  Maybe FansToys' will turn out to be better in the end, but for now there are worse ways to spend $60.

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OK, last figure from my last shipment (although the next one is on the way), and this one is a doozy.  It's FansToys' Sovereign, their MP Galvatron.

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I'll say upfront that due to their overwhelmingly positive reputation vs my actual experience with them I tend to give FansToys a hard time, accusing them using excessive paint and diecast to create an illusion of quality that sometimes has people sweeping flaws under the rug.  And to start off, we definitely have an excess of diescast and paint here.  Pretty much the only unpainted plastic you're seeing is the light gray on his ships, hip armor, elbow joints, treads, the tops of his shoulder pads, and the rear of his cannon, plus the translucent red pieces on his abs, belt, and knees (I can't tell if the black on his knees/shins is painted or not).  And while I'm not sure what all is diecast and what isn't, Sovereign is defintely a heavy figure. I recently got a new kitchen scale so I figured I'd weigh him along with some of the other heavier figures in my collection.  I clocked him at 860 grams, with only Graviter (1388 grams), Grassor (1182 grams), and Power Baser in his combined mode and fully armed (1174 grams) being heavier.  He's nearly twice as heavy as DX9's Tyrant (448 grams).

In the interest of being objective, though, even if I imagine he was all purple plastic Sovereign is unquestionably a good-looking Galvatron.  Compared to Tyrant, his closest competition, he's got thicker arms, thicker thighs, and especially better boots and feet.  While Tyrant's hooves didn't actually bother me Sovereign's feet look ready to smash Starscream's crown.  His torso is broader, more cohesive, and less barrel-shaped, with a chest that doesn't jut out as far.  I was a big fan of Tyrant's scowling head sculpt, but Sovereign's looks exactly like the '86 movie.  And while I personally kind of liked Tyrant leaving the treads on his back Sovereign wearing them on the backs of his arms is unquestionably more cartoon-accurate.

With that out of the way, we can stop ignoring the paint.  This is the part where I talk about aesthetics, afterall, and that purple is aesthetically gorgeous, with a stunning metal flake finish.  The barrel of his cannon also has a metal flake finish and looks better in person than I expected, but we'll talk more about his accessories in a minute.  And the one place that DX9 painted that FansToys didn't still comes out in Sovereign's favor.  Often translucent plastic comes across looking cheap, but FansToys used it perfectly on Sovereign's abs, belt, and knees, giving them a brilliant, jeweled appearance.

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Arguably, some of that perfection comes at the expensive of having a little bit of kibble on the back.  It's not terrible, but unlike Tyrant and the G1 toy Sovereign doesn't use the purple spike on his back as the rear strut in alt mode; instead, it's folded up below it as a backpack. (Kudos to Mania King for having the cleanest back, by the way).  In any case, it's not like you're going to display Sovereign with his back facing outward.

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Accessory-wise, Sovereign's got a good bit.  We've got a flight stand that looks an awful lot like the one that comes with Soar, an extra grimmacing face, a segmented purple rubbery blast effect part, and two cannons.  One cannon is painted with a metallic orange, the other is translucent orange plastic.  He also comes with a Matrix attached to a chain.  The Matrix is diecast with blue translucent plastic inside, and unlike Tyrant's is roughly the same dimensions as MP-10's.  The chain doesn't seem to be removable.

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Comparing the cannons to Tyrant's directly, this perhaps Tyrant's first clear win over Sovereign.  The solid barrel is, perhaps, a more cartoony orange but I definitely prefer the metallic copper DX9 used.  As for the translucent orange, the color is way off.  The only reason to even have it is as a homage to the G1 toy, and the G1 toy was a lighter orange with silver sparkles.  Almost exactly like the DX9 version.  It's not just the colors, though.  FansToys designed the cannon's transformation so that the rear goes inside the barrel, and the result is a barrel with less tapering at the ends and a tinier rear portion.  All-in-all, I find myself wishing that Tyrant's cannons fit on Sovereign's arms.

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Sculpt and paint will only get you so far when it comes to looks.  Fortuantely, Sovereign's articulation is excellent.  His head is on a hinged swivel that can look up a fair bit and down just a hint.  His shoulders are ratcheted for rotation with another ratchet giving him 90 degrees of lateral movement.  He's actually got two bicep swivels, one just below the shoulder and one just above the elbow, so no matter how you pose him the treads stay on the back/underside of the arm.  The elbow is double-jointed and gives you basically 180 degrees of range.  His wrist can swivel, but due to transformation it can also bend downward which should be standard for all Galvantron and Megatron toys because it looks great in a firing pose.  I'm not sure if it's intentional, since it throws off the sculpt of his forearm, but there's actually a third swivel on his forearm.  By using that swivel, you can make his wrist bend up instead of down.  Attached to his wrists are his hands, with individually articualted fingers.  The thumb is on a ball joint for rotation and folding over his palm, with one pinned hinge above the stem.  The other fingers are pinned at the base, pinned that the mid-knuckle, and pinned at the end, plus the middle finger is a little longer and the pinky a little shorter than the index and ring fingers.  His hands are possibly a little large for him, but if you're going to do individually articulated fingers like this I'd rather the hands are robust enough to handle it and the use of ball joints avoided.

Moving along, his waist swivel is actually ratcheted.  It's a little limited because his back kibble can't clear his hip armor, but if he could swivel farther his view would be blocked by his shoulder pads.  His hip armor and hip front hip skirts are hinged so they can lift out of the way, and he can 90 degrees forward and 45 degrees backward on a ratchet, and nearly 90 degrees laterally on friction joints.  His thighs can swivel, and the cut for the swivel is hidden in the ridges on his thighs.  His knees are ratcheted and double-jointed for about 180 degrees of bend, and the purple thigh armor is on its own hinge on the diecast knee joint itself so you can position it however you think looks best when you're posing him.  His feet are hinged to allow over 45 degrees of downward bend, plust his toes have their own hinge for transformation that can bend down even farther.  Another hinge provides nearly 90 degrees of ankle pivot.  If utilizing the pivot breaks the sculpt too much for you, his toes have a swivel for tranformation that can double as a faux anklt pivot.

The chain on Sovereign's Matrix is big enough that it can slip over his head, but I'd have liked it to sit a little lower on his chest.  Plus, because the chain is so short, it's hard to work it back off of his head.  His cannon, as you'd expect, plugs into his forearm.  I've noticed that the translucent cannon fits a little more securely and doesn't pop out as easy as the painted one; my guess is that FT didn't account for the paint and it's actually pushing itself back out of the socket.

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The stand works by plugging into both Sovereign's anus and perineum.  There's one joint near the top of the stand.  The two peg system means that how you tilt the joint moves Sovereign from upright to nearly vertical.  Due to his weight tilting him too far will caust the stand to topple.

The blast effect parts are kind of neat, but because they're rubbery and multi-segmented they have a tendecy to droop no matter how you arrange them.  Worse, the ratchets in his right shoulder feel like soft ratchets and are totally incapable of supporting the weight of the effect part.  Plugging it in will cause his arm to drop faster than Bitcoin's value.  Fortunately, he has a socket on his left arm for a cannon, and his left arm supports the blast effect without any issue.  Plus, dual-wielding cannons!

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Sovereign's transformation is interesting, at least to me, because the basic idea is folding up the legs on the back of the cannon and turning the torso inside-out so that it's more gray than purple for the front of the cannon before transforming and plugging in the barrel, same as Tyrant.  They end up with the same basic shape.  But the actual how of folding up the legs and turning the torso inside out is so totally different.  I'd say that Sovereign's legs are easier to transform and get into place, but Tyrant's torso is easier.

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Honestly, though, if Sovereign has one real flaw it's his alt mode.  His front struts are clearly his robot arms.  The treads molded and painted on the gray plastic, with molded and unpainted wheels inside the treads and actual wheels underneath.  They look kind of cheap next to the working tracks on Tyrant.  From the front, the area around the barrel is unpainted gray plastic that could have used some of the silver FansToys put around Sovereign's collar.  From behind we've got hollow bits and folded-up feet.  The whole thing feels less cohesive than Tyrant does.  There's very little question that Tyrant makes ofr the better space artillery.

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Possibly the only advantage Sovereign does have in alt mode is that you can use the joints in his rear struts and shoulders to raise or lower the cannon's angle, while Tyrant was more or less fixed.  You can also use the blast effect in cannon mode, although again it's pretty droopy.  As I mentioned there are wheels in the molded treads, and another wheel on his rear strut, so he can roll.  I suppose you could hang the Matrix from the barrel, but the stand serves no purpose in this mode.

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I've gone with Maketoys for Reflector, Maketoys for Hound, Gigapower for my Dinobots, and Open and Play for my Springer.  If someone does a better Perceptor Tesla is gone.  I'm waiting for X-Transbots Neptune and hoping it'll make for a better Seaspray than Spindrift.  Only FansToys' Bombshell feels definitively better than BadCube's Insections.  I'm passing on FansToy's Kup and hoping that X-Transbots releases theirs and that it doesn't suck.  It almost seems like, when given a choice between FansToys and another company for the same character, I pick the other company.

Plus, when people are always talking about "FansToys' quality" I wonder if they're thinking of the same stuff I am.  Tesla is cheap plastic trash.  Inconsistent joint tolerances have plagued them pretty much from day one.  A few figures have had a reputation for breaking.  Heck, my FT Kickback broke on the second tranformation, and not even in the usual spot other people where having issues with.  And if I'm being upfront, Sovereign's got little issues too.  I already talked about how his solid cannon pops off more easily than his translucent, and about how the ratchet in his right shoulder is much weaker than his left and can't support the blast effect parts.  There's also the fact that one of those little white bits at the end of the cannon is loose and spins freely.  Or the fact that the tab that plugs his shoulder pad into his torso is looser on the left arm than the right arm.  None of those things are deal breakers, but they're little annoyances that combine with aesthetic issues surrounding his cannon and his alt mode that hold Sovereign back from being truly perfect.

That being said, unless we're talking Dinobots where I might prefer to display a character in alt mode, I'd rather concessions be made to the alt mode for a better robot than concessions to the robot for a better alt mode.  And Sovereign capture's Galvatron's robot mode exceptionally well, in a figure with the articulation to get some really dynamic poses.  If you already have Tyrant and you're happy with him I don't know that you have to drop $160 to replace him the way I did, but if Galvatron is a hole in your Masterpiece collection then this is definitely the version you want.  In fact, had I bought him earlier I probably would have named him my top figure of 2017 (I guess Grassor was the tail end of 2016, eh?).  Strong recommend from me.

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Tempted to add Terminus Giganticus to the POL before it ships on the 24th.  Maybe the next POL shipment.

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6 hours ago, sh9000 said:

Tempted to add Terminus Giganticus to the POL before it ships on the 24th.  Maybe the next POL shipment.

Wait for Gabriel.

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19 hours ago, sh9000 said:

Tempted to add Terminus Giganticus to the POL before it ships on the 24th.  Maybe the next POL shipment.

Same. Also really going back and forth on their Springer. 

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