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On 1/2/2020 at 12:09 AM, mikeszekely said:

I'm not pointing that out to be critical, mind you. I'm just lamenting that I myself don't have a network of like-minded collectors willing to loan me stuff. My reviews are limited to just what I buy.

And that's the issue with most 3P Transformers reviewers: very few can get or afford the full range of figures.

Some reviewers are fun to watch, but they put out reviews (that I'm interested in) so infrequently. Vangelus definitely falls into that category.

optibotimus took a lot of flack for asking people to donate to him in Oct 2015, but he could just be ahead of the curve.

His video: 

I just checked his channel and he still seems to be going strong.

OTOH, there are now more Chinese reviewers -- uploaded to YouTube from other sites. Sign of the times, I guess.

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Something I didn't think I would ever say.

Tactical Mini Cooper!!!

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I always enjoy your Iron Factory reviews, Kuma. One Man Army looks great, and the Mini-Cooper alt is perfect for a mini-bot. Pretty sweet.

I wish this was official, as it already has a leg up on the upcoming Siege Cliffjumper by eschewing the need to parts-form, and AFAIK, there is no official Mini-Cooper alt mode, which seems a bit of an obvious omission so far as the smaller bots go.

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24 minutes ago, sh9000 said:

XTB Gravestone is now in my stack at TFSource.

I told them to ship mine already.

And it looks like I'll have Gravestone before Capone, despite Capone shipping over a month ago.

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7 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

And it looks like I'll have Gravestone before Capone, despite Capone shipping over a month ago.

DX9 has the worst luck when it comes to their big releases.

It looks like none have made it to USA yet, including the US retailers?

Is it that it shipped at a bad time (first week of December) or it was flagged for inspection?

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7 minutes ago, nhyone said:

Is it that it shipped at a bad time (first week of December) or it was flagged for inspection?

I can't speak for every Capone (in fact, I know @Dangard Ace got his from China to Canada), but it seems that several of us in the US that ordered from some popular Chinese sellers (in my case ShowZ) had them ship in early December and are still waiting.  I paid my invoice in late November, ShowZ shipped it on December 3rd, and the last two status updates are that it was loaded on a plane in Beijing on December 6th and that the plane took off.  Having flown from Beijing to the States more than a few times I can safely say that unless that plane crashed or got diverted it would have landed in the US on the 6th, so yeah, it seems like customs is the hold up.  What they're doing, whether the shipments are getting flagged (someone suggested that the shape of the box could make it look like it's got a gun in it), or if they're just slow from the holidays, I don't know.  If it doesn't come in a few more days I'll ask ShowZ about it.

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4 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

What they're doing, whether the shipments are getting flagged (someone suggested that the shape of the box could make it look like it's got a gun in it), or if they're just slow from the holidays, I don't know.  If it doesn't come in a few more days I'll ask ShowZ about it.

The shape of the box?

*looks for an unboxing video*

Okay, yeah, that is long enough it could be mistaken for a short rifle box, I GUESS. The giant purple truck painted on each side might be a counterindication, though.

 

 

My assumption is it is buried under a ridiculous pile of holiday shipments.

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9 hours ago, JB0 said:

The giant purple truck painted on each side might be a counterindication, though.

It might if ShowZ just slapped a shipping label right on Capone's box, but he typically fits styrofoam around whatever he's shipping and then covers the whole thing in tape.

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9 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

It might if ShowZ just slapped a shipping label right on Capone's box, but he typically fits styrofoam around whatever he's shipping and then covers the whole thing in tape.


it’s packaged in a long brown box, no styrofoam.  

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4 hours ago, Dangard Ace said:


it’s packaged in a long brown box, no styrofoam.  

Good to know, I guess.  In any case, like I said the tracking clearly states that it left Beijing by airplane, so it's 99% for sure in the States.  And another TFWer said he talked to the post office, and their response was basically "we have no record of your package entering the country."  Despite being on US soil, something doesn't officially enter the country until it clears customs, and that's pretty much the smoking gun that tells me that the hold up is US customs.

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BBTS is selling Warbotron's Computron set for $149.99.  I bought this set years ago, and while it's probably not going to be anyone's idea of a proper MP Computron the individual Technobots might work on an MP shelf, and it's really not a bad set for the price.

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Just got tracking on Civil Warrior General Grant x2.

ECvTgqDU4AEmXC2.jpg

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9 hours ago, sqidd said:

Just got tracking on Civil Warrior General Grant x2.

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Does this mean Megatron is Robert E Lee?

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I cancelled this OP. The other company did it better this one his head sits to low and you cant see it 

 

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1 hour ago, slaginpit said:

I cancelled this OP.

You mean you pre-ordered this knock-off Optimus Prime, but then cancelled your KO OP PO?  OMG!  :p

1 hour ago, slaginpit said:

this one his head sits to low and you cant see it 

Now I can't unsee it.  <_<

1 hour ago, slaginpit said:

The other company did it better

You mean Spark Toy's "Alpha Pack?"  I agree, but it was closer to CHUG scale...

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...and these days, third-party figures are either Masterpiece- or Legends-scale.

Plus, it hasn't been on the market for years.

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3 hours ago, tekering said:

You mean you pre-ordered this knock-off Optimus Prime, but then cancelled your KO OP PO?  OMG!  :p

 

:D

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Hmmm. Wonder if I should sell Alpha Pack and pick up General Grant? May be moot, as I anhiliated my TF budget for January. And MMC's Onslaught looks to be coming before CNY... I'm hoping I can work it into February's budget.

Oh, and it's official- Gravestone made it to me before Capone. With CNY hitting next week I think I'll contact ShowZ and ask him to resend.

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I still don't know when I'll actually have hands on Capone, but as a wise old Jedi once said, "There is another."  It's X-Transbot's Gravestone, their MP Motormaster in the great Stunticon Wars of 2019-2020.

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So, yeah, even though I own and have reviewed FT's Roadking, and that would be the logical thing to compare Gravestone with, I'm just going to wait until Capone gets here (whenever that may be) to compare them all at once.  So for now Capone's just going up against Transformission's IDW-style Motormaster (who also appeared in the Roadking review).

It's hard to express my thoughts on Gravestone's aesthetics.  It's like the things they got right they got really right, but the things that bug me really bug me.  I like the simplified look to the fake-cab feet, but I hate that tab sticking off of his right toe.  I like the molded detail on his thighs, but I don't like the MP-10-esque angles.  I like the translucent plastic on his chest and his shins, but the paint on the fake cab doesn't match it (and the third purple spot on each shin is left black).  His arms look good, save for the random chunk of black on the back of each forearm.  The front of his torso looks excellent, but when you start to see him from other angles his sides have some smashed up panels  and his back is kind of mess.  The top of his torso is basically the entire real front of his alt mode, but the roof windows end up in the small of his back.  And he kind of looks a little frumpy in a straight-on stoic stance like this (although that seems to match the character model).

This will be clearer, I think, when I review Capone, but Gravestone is still taller than GT's Motormaster/MP-10/MP-44/MS-01/TE-01, but he's actually a little shorter than Roadking or the Zeta torsos.

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Gravestone comes with the exact same accessories as Roadking; a rifle, a sword, and a yelling face.  All of his accessories are painted, and yes, the sword is entirely painted metallic black.  That seems to be a deliberate choice to match the character model, which has a black sword.  However, this is one instance where the character model didn't match the animation, where the blade of the sword was silver.  I don't imagine it'd be too hard to paint it yourself if it really bothers you.

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Gravestone may look frumpy in a stoic pose, but I think he really shines in more dynamic poses.  While there are probably a few areas where things could have been improved Gravestone's articulation is quite good.  His head is actually on a ball joint, but due to the shape of the box it just swivels.  But his face is on a hinge, so it can tilt up and down inside the box.  His shoulders rotate on ratchets, and move laterally 90 degrees on more ratchets.  Plus he's got dedicated butterfly joints.  His biceps swivel, and although his elbows are a single hinge they bend around 120 degrees.  His wrists can swivel.  His thumbs are on ball joints at the base, with one addition pinned hinge knuckle.  The rest of his fingers are all individually articulated, with pins at the base knuckle, mid-knuckle, and upper-knuckle.  Plus there's an additional hinge between the base and mid-knuckles that allows the fingers to splay out.  His waist swivels, and he has over 90 degrees of ab crunch (although the hinge is at the front of his waist and using the ab crunch leaves a gap between his upper and lower body).  Hinges move his hip skirts out of the way so that they can move forward and backward nearly 90 degrees on a ratchet, and laterally 90 degrees on a slightly softer ratchet.  His thighs should swivel around his hips, but the joints are very tight on my copy and they don't seem to have a ton of range.  His knees are a single ratcheted hinge, and can bend a bit over 90 degrees.  His feet have just the slightest downward tilt, but a dedicated ratcheted hinge that lets them bend up 90 degrees.  Finally, a friction hinge gives him about 60 degrees of ankle pivot.

He holds his gun in the standard MP fashion, with a tab on the handle that fits into a slot on his palm.  The fit is pretty snug, too.

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He holds his sword the same as his gun, with a tab on the handle.  Although the handle isn't really long enough for him to hold with two hands, the butterfly joints in his shoulders do allow him to pose as if he is holding the sword with two hands.  And if you don't want him holding a weapon there are a pair of hinged pegs on his back, in what becomes the real bumper on the real cab.  These pegs fit into little holes on the weapons.  You can fit both on his back at the same time, but in my experience it works best with just one weapon on his back at a time.

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While Roadking is the only Motormaster that's incorporated the entire trailer into the robot, XTB is taking the opposite approach and making the only Motormaster (that isn't a repaint of Optimus) that's only the cab.  Fansproject, Transformission, and DX9 all use a portion of the trailer in their Motormasters.  And the engineering XTB used is similar to Unique Toys' movie bots, as Gravestone sort of turns himself inside out and doesn't have much in the way of obvious robot parts in truck mode.  However, it's not as impressive as UT's, which hide the alt mode parts better in robot mode.  It's not as complicated as Roadking's engineering, but again I think Roadking's engineering feels a little more clever, like how FT used enough of the actual cab to make his feet but still ultimately had an MP-10-sized cab, or how Roadking incorporates an entire trailer into his robot.  The truck is very solid, aside from a loose smoke stack on mine.  This is in contrast to the robot mode, where part of his collar or his calves like to come untabbed.

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The engineering might not be as impressive, but the aesthetics certainly are.  XTB seems to be using a style that will appeal to a lot of older MP collectors, with a cartoony robot but a very realistic truck mode.  The designer was definitely looking at a real Kenworth K100, and he seems to have copied a lot of little details down to a little vent over the air intake for the turbo (thanks, David) that's on one side of the grill and only one side of the grill.  The only obvious robot kibble is the fake wheels from the sides of his feet, but even those could sort of pass for custom reflectors.

One thing I do find a little curious... the G1 toy and cartoon did have Motormaster with purple fuel tanks, and I suppose a lot of the other purple accents fit the theme.  But neither the cartoon nor the toy had a purple grill or bumper.  I'm not saying that it necessarily looks bad, mind you, but it's a weirdly inaccurate choice.

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Gravestone has rubber tires and rolls just fine.  Due to part of his transformation, the front wheels can even turn.  And while he might not come with his own trailer he does have slots for you to connect MP-10's trailer to him.

About his trailer... apparently it'll be sold separately, and the trailer will turn into the bulk of Menasor.  We have no idea right now what XTB is planning on charging for it, so it's something to watch out for if you're into this for combined mode.  I've heard some people suggest that it's a rip off, but frankly I don't see much difference between selling the trailer separately as XTB is doing and packing the combiner parts with the last car, as FT is doing.  If the price is reasonable XTB's Stunticons could still wind up being the cheapest.  There is the possibility of gouging, though.

The decision to recommend Gravestone or not isn't an easy one.  On the one hand, if you've only been collecting the XTB Stunticons and you want to complete the set I think you'll be very happy with Gravestone, as he's easily the best of the five and one of XTB's best releases overall.  Or, if this were the only MP-style Motormaster I think I could definitely recommend it and I think most people would be satisfied.  There's also the fact that a lot of people will buy whichever set gives them the best Menasor, and despite releasing all five of their Stunticons we still don't have a completed Menasor.

On the other hand, Gravestone has been released into a world that already has Roadking in it.  Now, Roadking isn't perfect.  And there's a lot I really like about Gravestone.  But if I'm being totally honest I think Roadking is the better figure overall.  So while I do think Gravestone is quite good, and that the people who buy him will be content with him, if I'm only going to recommend one figure to people who simply want the best MP Motormaster then my recommendation still goes to Fans Toys'.

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Glad I cancelled toy World I really like this one more

And Fire Scorpion is weijiang? Not Model Wizard...im confused. Looks like Weijiang was able to pump this out way before Toyworld. And my Ayoi version shipped yesterday. Poor Toyworld. 

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1 hour ago, slaginpit said:

Glad I cancelled toy World I really like this one more

And Fire Scorpion is weijiang? Not Model Wizard...im confused. Looks like Weijiang was able to pump this out way before Toyworld. And my Ayoi version shipped yesterday. Poor Toyworld. 

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You got shipping notification on this?

This is the weijiang M09 correct?

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6 hours ago, sqidd said:

You got shipping notification on this?

This is the weijiang M09 correct?

i got shipping notice on my AYOI aka black Mamba

I had switched my pre-order from Toyworlds version to the Scorpion version and SZS updates now show the name of this called Weijiang formally known as Scorpion. And weijiang not to long ago used went by another name Model Wizard. So really they have three names, Scorpion toys, Weijiang and Model Wizard. This is due for release before march. Which if you look at the stand point from an announcement to go to market timelines is very efficient. Toyworld announced their version many months ago with 90% completed prototypes and yet they are still not releasing it. Weijiang announced late but were already in the advanced stages of completion 

Something Toyworld would do well to learn. However, the first one to advertise gets the worm....so to speak. But if you have to wait this long for the final product you risk a newcomer with better designs and ideas releasing it earlier. 

 

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I'd like whichever BB Prime is the closest to MP-10 in size.  I don't understand ToyWorld (or Zeta's, with Pioneer) thinking behind scaling them with ThreeA's non-transformable figures (especially when ThreeA did both Bee and BB Prime) instead of the established scale for transforming figures.

Edited by mikeszekely

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I dont care about scaling 

I dont get why people do. The bigger the better. 

If to save costs to make a great figure means it being smaller than so be it

if it means making a figure look fantastic i dont mind making a figure bigger. 

Thus I dont care about scaling. Just give me a fabulous figure. I dont care about toy armies. Im 45 not 10

Edited by slaginpit

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16 minutes ago, slaginpit said:

I dont care about scaling 

I dont get why people do. The bigger the better. 

If to save costs to make a great figure means it being smaller than so be it

if it means making a figure look fantastic i dont mind making a figure bigger. 

Thus I dont care about scaling. Just give me a fabulous figure. I dont care about toy armies. Im 45 not 10

I mean, it's fine if that works for you.  Some of us do prefer things to be in scale, though.  Not sure why getting older would make you less concerned about scale; when I was little I didn't care what I was playing with, but as an adult I'd prefer things look good when they're placed together.

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I'm not too concerned about scale.

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51 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

Not sure why getting older would make you less concerned about scale; when I was little I didn't care what I was playing with, but as an adult I'd prefer things look good when they're placed together.

That's because there is no correlation between the two, it's an idiotic non-point. I don't want a BumbleBee Movie Prime, but if I did, I wouldn't want over-sized, I'd want roughly MP-10 or TE-01 size as well. Honestly, all the options look quite good to me, and pretty much all of them blow the official Takara ones away. 

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Maketoys, once on of my favorite 3P companies, seems to be on its last legs.  Late last year (but before the holiday sales started) they shuttered the door to their online store.  Not long after a few other online retailers began putting up preorders for some Maketoys stuff, including some old Maketoys stuff.  If I had to guess, Maketoys was liquidating whatever inventory it still had on hand.  I decided this was my possibly my last chance to pick up some stuff I'd neglected for one reason or another over the years.  In this case, I'm talking about Trashtalk and Cogwheel, a two-pack set from their short-lived "Manga Mech Series".  Basically, an IDW-style Swerve and a remold of same as Gears.

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A few months ago, when I looked at options for minibots to use with Siege, I mentioned that the Generations mold worked pretty well for Swerve, but that it didn't capture the goofy cartoon look enough for me for Gears.  Well, basically that... again.  Trashtalk (Swerve) looks great.  Unlike the Generations mold, which borrowed heavily from Alex Milne's IDW design for the robot mode but still ultimately turned him into a red truck, Trashtalk is IDW Swerve, no compromises.  I have to really nitpick to find flaws: the tires on his legs don't turn inward in the comics, his rims are a little different, and he doesn't have that splash of red on his abs in the comics.  On the other hand, he's got more proportional hands, better shoulder placement, more accurate colors, and a more accurate sculpt (especially in the the legs) than the Generations figure.  If you look carefully, MT even molded only three fingers on each hand, which is accurate to Milne's artwork.  My biggest complaint might honestly be that Trashtalk is the same size as the Generations figure.  At the time this came out Maketoys was, like Fansproject, iGear, MMC, and the other big 3Ps of the day, making figures meant to go with Hasbro's CHUGs.  And while I don't feel a strong urge for a cartoon-accurate MP Swerve, I would absolutely buy an MP-style IDW Swerve.

As for Cogwheel, it's harder to say how IDW accurate he is.  While he was on the Lost Light I can't recall him actually doing anything.  He more or less showed up from time to time in the background.  On that note, from one low-detail background image I could find of him the wheels in his legs, the blue feet, and the overall shape are accurate, and Maketoys seem to have filled in the blanks by copying the basic design of his chest from the G1 toy and retaining the head-within-a-box engineering of Trashtalk (a route taken by Generations Gears, which came out just a few months after this set if I'm not mistaken).  A more detailed image of Gears in the foreground, but only from the chest up, does show that IDW Gears did have the head-in-a-box thing going on, but his head was red with a silver face and he lacked the vents on the sides, plus he had a different design on his chest and some blue parts covering much of the tires on his shoulders.  I'd say this is basically irrelevant, though.  Like I said at the beginning, Gears to me is the goofy Sunbow design, with the grumpy face in the middle of a box that was his entire head.  An IDW-Swerve-ish design wasn't really Gears enough from me to keep the Generations version with my Siege stuff, and Cogwheel's not going to replace the Mechanic Studios figure I picked up to replace the Generations one.

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Inside the box you'll find a few accessories.  Each figure has an alternate head- Trashtalk's is based on the time Swerve accidentally shot his own face off in the comics, and Cogwheel's is based on the G1 toy.  There's a tray with a pitcher and two cups, and fans of the IDW series will know that's for Swerve, as he opened a bar on the Lost Light.  Finally, there's two guns.  Although the instructions don't specify it product photography on the box suggests that the gun with the scope is for Trashtalk and the one with the round bit in the middle is for Cogwheel.  I don't know if Cogwheel's is supposed to reference anything, but Trashtalk's does bear a resemblance to the "Shoomer" that he shot his face off with.

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If you're really a fan of the IDW comics, though, chances are that there's an accessory you're going to want for Trashtalk that is, unfortunately, sold separately.  That would, of course, be the Maketoys M.F.B.  The M.F.B. doesn't come assembled.  Instead, you have to cut the parts off of the sprues and assemble them yourself.  Despite the assembly-required approach Maketoys still painted the yellow circles on the barrel and the "My First Blaster" graphic to the necessary parts before packing the sprue in the box, and the sculpt is very accurate.  One thing to note is that the handle is a peg, but it's smaller than the 5mm pegs used by many official and 3P CHUG-style figures, so I don't recommend buying the M.F.B for a Generations Swerve or other CHUG figure unless you're prepared to modify the handle.

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Both figures have the same articulation.  Their heads are on ball joints that can swivel and have good sideways tilt, but nothing really up and down.  Also, it's pretty difficult to pose their heads while they're in their boxes anyway.  Their shoulders are on ball joints for rotation and a slight butterfly, but the sockets are a separate piece with a hinge that that allows the shoulders to move almost 90 degrees laterally.  Their biceps swivel, and they have elbows that bend 90 degrees on tight, detented hinges.  Their wrists are actually ball joints, so in addition to swiveling they can bend up/down/in/out a bit.  Their waists are also ball joints, which gives them a swivel, a little ab crunch/back arch, and even a little sideways lean.  Their hips are still more ball joints, and they allow the hips to move forward a little under 90 degrees due to the shape of the pelvis, as well as backward and laterally 90 degrees.  Their thighs can swivel, and their knees can bend a little over 90 degrees.  Finally, their ankles are, surprise, more ball joints.  This allows their feet to tilt up, down, and swivel, plus their ankles can pivot about 45 degrees.  And yes, that's normally a lot more ball joints than I'd like, but on a figure this size it doesn't bother me.

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As I alluded to earlier, their weapons use pegs for handles, and their hands are molded to be into peg holes.  Either figure can use either packed-in gun or the M.F.B.

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The serving tray has pegs on the bottom that allow Trashtalk to hold onto it.  The surface of the tray also has peg holes, and the cups are pegged in.  They can be removed, and the same pegs allow Swerve to hold the cups.  The pitcher attaches to the tray via a pair of tabs, but the handle of the pitcher is a peg that Swerve can hold in case you want him pouring drinks.

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As for swapping the heads, Trashtalk and Cogwheel have a clever gimmick for getting access to the head inside the box.  The front of the chest, shoulders, collar, and head untab from the middle and slide off the torso along some rails in the collar.  With unobstructed access to the head you have to remove one screw in the back of Cogwheel's head, or two on Trashtalk's, to split the head in half.  While I'm not going to use Trashtalk's skull face I decided I'd swap Cogwheel's, then pretend he's a different character than Gears.

And just because I know someone out there is curious about it, you can put Cogwheel's head, chest, and arms onto Trashtalk's body.  However, because the tolerances are a little tighter on Cogwheel (at least on my copy, anyway), trying to put Trashtalk's head/chest/arms onto Cogwheel's body felt like I was forcing it, so I don't recommend doing it.

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Based, as it is, on Milne's IDW design Trashtalk has a Cybertronian alt mode that is, again, fairly accurate to the comics.  Not that Swerve was in his alt mode all that often.  His robot arms seemed to disappear in the comics, whereas they sit between the wheels on either side here, and in the comic his roof might have hung over the orange cockpit a bit more, but that's about all I can find fault with.  It's by far more accurate than the Generations toy, which for all its IDW-ishness in robot mode is a G1 red truck in alt mode.  As for Cogwheel, I appreciate that Maketoys remolded some parts to give him a different roof, cockpit, and hood.  As far as accuracy, I do recall Gears looking a bit like this, but even after looking up his appearances in IDW I can't find a panel to compare it to.  Honestly, my feelings are the same as for the robot mode; it's fine, but not really what I think of when I think "Gears."

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There are two pegs on Trashtalk's roof that allow you to plug the whole tray onto it.  I guess if you're sitting at a table at Swerve's instead of at the bar he can drive the drinks over.  There's also a slot on either side of the vehicle.  Tabs on both the "Shoomer" and the M.F.B. allow them to attach to these slots.  The tabs are even on opposite sides, so both guns can be attached at the same time.  Finally, Swerve's cockpit opens to reveal a little camera eye or sensor.  I don't recall anything like it in the comics, but it's still cool.  The eye is on a ball joint so it can move up and down, but the way the socket it shaped it can't move sideways.

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Cogwheel doesn't have the peg holes on his roof, but he doesn't really need them.  He does have the slots on the side for attaching a weapon, though.  The tab is on top of the round part, and the front half of the gun rotates so you can attach it to either side and still have the handle pointing downward.  His hood also opens a little (his clear windshield doesn't give it a lot of clearance), and he's got two clear sensors inside.  His sensors don't move, though, because his windshield is attached to the hinge that opens Trashtalk's cockpit, and his hood is actually on a ball joint that's plugged into the socket where Trashtalk's sensor is.

As Legends-sized, CHUG-scaled minibots both of these figures are fine.  They're built better and have better articulation than Hasbro's versions.  I'd prefer better hardware if they were MP-scaled, but at this size Trashtalk is pretty much a perfect Swerve, a beloved main character in Roberts' and Milne's More Than Meets the Eye and Lost Light series.  Unfortunately, while Gears might have been an obvious re-use of the mold he was such a minor background character not just through those series but through the entire IDW run that I'm not really interested in owning an IDW Gears, and that's a big part of the problem with this set.  I don't recall the original retail price, but I remember it seemed more than I wanted to pay when all I really wanted was Trashtalk.  The problem is only compounded when the M.F.B is a separate purchase that further drives up the cost.  Ultimately this set winds up being something I can't recommend to the average G1 fan.  This is the best Swerve on the market, but it's not G1 Swerve and G1 Swerve is a minor character anyway.  If you're an IDW fan, though, you should probably get this set because Trashtalk is such a good IDW Swerve, even if Cogwheel winds up stuffed in a closet.  And if you currently own or one day acquire Trashtalk then you really should try to hunt down an M.F.B.

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The other Maketoys clearance item I had to pick up was (sadly) the only other release in their Manga Mech line... Rearend (with Hurricane add-on kit).

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Readend is, of course, IDW Tailgate, from the same beloved More Than Meets the Eye and Lost Light series that their Swerve is based on.  And just like that figure, Rearend is about the same size as a Generations figure released around the same time that also borrowed from the IDW design.  Just like that figure, Maketoys' version absolutely nails the character.  The only big difference is that Generations Swerve was good enough, while Generations Tailgate is kind of a mess.  On the flip side, if you're more into regular G1 than IDW the Power of the Primes Tailgate is still a solid choice that's definitely more G1.  But like I said, Rearend is IDW Tailgate, and the only flaws I can really find are the red accents on his thighs and at the tops of his shoulders, which help break up all the white but weren't in the comics (the red on the edges of his torso are in the comics, though).

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Rearend's accessories are a bit different.  He doesn't come with any guns, which I suppose is fair since I don't think he ever fired one in the comics.  Instead he comes with an alternate head with his stressed-out glowing/crying eyes, and a pair of mangled legs.  And while he doesn't come with a second remold you don't really want the way Maketoys' Swerve does, Rearend does come with the Hurricane add-on kit.  That kit is a new head, hands, sword, sword holder, and waist armor for Universe Cyclonus, to give him more of an IDW look.

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Rearend's head is on a ball joint with a hinge that allows him to swivel, look down a little, tilt his head sideways about 45 degrees, and tilt his head so he's looking straight up.  His shoulders have the same ball joint with a hinged cup that Swerve's do, so they can rotate and extend laterally, but he can't quite get 90 degrees due to his shoulders banging into his head.  His biceps swivel, his elbows bend 90 degrees, and his wrist swivels.  His waist is a ball joint for swiveling and leaning.  His hips are ball joints that can bend 90 degrees forward and backward but, due to the shape of his thighs, only about 45 degrees laterally.  His thighs do have some swivel around the ball joint, and his knees are double-jointed and can bend 180 degrees.  His feet are on ball joints, so they cans swivel and tilt, but for transformation the ball is on a hinge, which effectively gives him 90 degrees of ankle pivot.

Although Rearend doesn't come with weapons, his hands are the same size as MT's Swerve and Gears, so he can use either of the guns that came with that set or the M.F.B, if you reel the need to arm him with something.

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As for his other accessories, you swap the head and legs by pulling them off at the ball joints and pushing the alternate parts on.  As I mentioned, the glowing eyes thing was something from the comics when Tailgate was stressed and/or crying- you can see an example of it in MTMTE #11 when he's trying to defuse the bomb.  As for the mangled legs, they're from his first appearance, when he fell through the ground on his way to the Ark, got hurt, and got stuck there for six million years.  I suppose they're nice display options, but they're not super useful ones.  He can't even transform with them.

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Speaking of transformation, Rearend transforms into some kind of Cybertronian car, in stark contrast to the two Hasbro versions of Tailgate.  While nowhere near as complex as larger 3P toys Rearend's transformation is slightly more complex than the other Manga Mechs.

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James Roberts' wrote character-driven stories- More Than Meets the Eye was less a book about Transformers transforming and fighting and more about the happenings of the dysfunctional crew of a starship that just happened to be Transformers.  A result of that is that many characters don't spend a lot of time in their alt-modes, and it was tough finding artwork of Tailgate in his alt mode to compare Rearend with.  That being said, from the one panel I could dig up, Rearend does seem to be very comic-accurate.  He's a little lower, and not as angular on the nose, but the basic shapes and colors are all correct.

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Now on to that add-on kit.  While you could, in theory, install it on any version of the 2008 Universe Cyclonus mold, it's color-matched to and seems intended for the one from the 2010 "Battle in Space" pack that came with a repaint of Classics Rodimus.  I'd think the Asian-exclusive "Challenge at Cybertron" version and the Japanese Henkei versions might work, too, but I don't recommend the original Universe version unless you plan to do some painting.

Installation isn't difficult.  You have to remove the old head by removing three screws and splitting it in half, then the new one goes on with two screws.  Two screws come out of each forearm so you can separate them and pull out the old hands, then you slide the new ones in and screw the arms back together.  Lastly, you remove a screw from his butt, then the waist armor fits onto his butt with a longer screw that runs through the armor back into the screw hole.

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The result, surprisingly enough for as little as we changed, is fairly accurate to the comics' design.  In the comics his biceps, thighs, and the wings on the backs of his shoulders were white, he had some extra thrusters around his wrists, and he didn't have the fins on his lower legs, but the overall shape of his arms and legs are pretty accurate, and the waist armor and new head go a long way toward finishing the job.  The biggest difference is really that his torso details are more G1 than the monochrome paneled design he sported in the comics.

He can hold the sword with his new hands, but the overall shape is still basically a 5mm grip so he can still hold his Targetmaster buddy... in both hands now!  I'll note here that the grip was extremely tight out of the box, and I actually had the file in the inside a bit before I could even get the sword in.  Maketoys also put the new hands on mushroom pegs, so with them he has wrist swivels that he didn't originally.  When Cyclonus isn't carrying the sword in his hand a small purple holder can plug into the 5mm port on his back.  You have to remove it to transform him, though, as it blocks his torso from opening enough to pull the nose out.

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That's the only part you have to remove, though, and the transformation is almost exactly the same.  The new fists fold in the same as the old.  They also have thruster details on the other side, and unlike Hasbro Maketoys even painted them.  The new head turns around and tucks under the nose the same as the old.  The only extra step is that you have to fold the waist armor down and spin them around on ball joints.  They'll wind up laying over the bottom of his legs and feet, with the armature they're attached on sitting snug between his calves.  I gotta say, I actually really like how this looks.  The armature and and extra armor hide some of the gaps the toy has and makes the alt mode look more cohesive.

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Once Cylconus is transformed you can plug the purple part back in and have the sword lying on top of the jet, if you like.  I'm not super keen on how it looks, but I couldn't find anywhere else to put it.  Which also means that you've got a choice, you can either plug the sword in there, or you can plug the Targetmaster in there.  His alt mode's only got room for one.

Recommending Rearend and the Hurricane add-on kit is a bit easier than the other Manga Mech set.  For one, you're still getting a major fan-favorite IDW character, and as a toy I think it's just as accurate and a bit better engineered than their Swerve.  For two, it's slightly less expensive, and you're not being strong-armed into buying a second character you don't really want.  What you are getting are some parts that, if you have a matching Cyclonus, turn that figure in the IDW version.  And unlike Gears, Cyclonus was a major character in the IDW-verse, so the kit is something you're more likely to want.  My only real complaint is that I'd still prefer to have an MP-style IDW Tailgate.

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On 1/15/2020 at 12:33 PM, mikeszekely said:

XTB seems to be using a style that will appeal to a lot of older MP collectors, with a cartoony robot but a very realistic truck mode.  The designer was definitely looking at a real Kenworth K100, and he seems to have copied a lot of little details down to a little vent over the air intake for the turbo (thanks, David) that's on one side of the grill and only one side of the grill.

XTB is able to get an ultra-accurate front of the cab because that is its sole purpose. It hangs off the back in bot mode. I would be more forgiving if it isn't so big.

This is quite a common theme for XTB and their big backpacks. Their upcoming Springer looks like he is carrying a backpack too -- but then it could be inherent in this design.

 

On 1/16/2020 at 1:45 PM, mikeszekely said:

Not long after a few other online retailers began putting up preorders for some Maketoys stuff, including some old Maketoys stuff.  If I had to guess, Maketoys was liquidating whatever inventory it still had on hand.

I got the three MakeToys figures I wanted over the years (Meteor, Downbeat, Visualizers). I may have desired a few more, but I find their products priced too high. I feel the same way with MMC.

FansToys is expensive, but you feel it's worth it.

Edited by nhyone

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