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3 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

If we go by what's depicted on screen, then I could make an argument that Assaultus is too big and Iron Factory's is MP scale, because Bruticus is the same size as the individual Combaticons.  Who he sometimes hung out with.

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On 9/7/2020 at 12:05 AM, mikeszekely said:

Oh yeah.  With all five members in hand and no additional partsforming trailers needed *cough all five XTB Stunticons since February cough cough still can't build Menasor cough* we can put these guys together.  Start by putting everyone into their combined modes.

 

Now, you'll recall from my Incursus (Onslaught) review that I bought the upgrade kit for this set.  If you're using it take the silver boxes and transform them as above.  They fit over the built-in feet by sliding the edge where the individual robot feet meet into the u-shaped gap in the middle of the shoe.  The upraised bits at the back will tab into slots on the heel.  The fold the front up in a way that the one pin hinge sits above the other, not in front, and the sides will fold it and tab into the sides of the toes.

 

Now, to connect Probus (Brawl), bend the connector port back and slide it into the groove in the top of Probus.  Straighten the gestalt thigh, sliding over the gray upraised bit, then lock it down by tabbing the two tabs on the front of Probus into slots on Incursus' toe.

 

You're basically doing the same thing for Fraudo (Swindle), but you have to open him up a little to get the clearance to slide in the combiner port.

 

Connecting the arms is easy, and works the same on both arms.  Lift the switch on Incursus' port, then slide in the forked connector on the arm bot.  Pushing the switch back in will lock them in place.

 

And here we have Assaultus, MMC's finished Bruticus.  A part of me wants to say "we finally have," but honestly MMC was pretty quick with this one.  It only took them about a year from the first release to the last one.  In the same time period Fans Toys has released three Stunticons and three Aerialbots, and despite a one-year head start neither DX9 nor XTB have finished their Menasor.  But I digress.

Assaultus is, without question, the best-looking Bruticus I've seen.  People talk about how pantsforming improves a combiner's proportions, but Assaultus has longer thighs than Zeta's Bruticus, and Assaultus is the only one whose fingers don't reach all the way down to his knees.  True, he does have T-shaped torso with a broad chest and narrow waist, plus wider hips, and while that might not match Sunbow Bruticus' gently tapered torso it's the spot-on shape of toy/Studio OX Bruticus, my preferred Bruticus.  Likewise, while some of you may prefer the cartoony head and chest painted like Blast Off's cockpit that Incursus originally came with I absolutely adore the silver-painted chest and dead-on Studio OX head that came with the upgrade kit.  Of the seven Bruticus figures I have now Assaultus is one of only two that has the arm connection on the top of the shuttle, one of only two that has the front of the tank leg bent over, and the only one since the G1 toy that does both.  There's little in the way of folded-up kibble, Fraudo (Swindle) manages to turn into a yellow rectangle with a purple stripe like the cartoon despite being a jeep, and the alt modes of the other three limbs avoid being stylized like almost every other version.  Now, if you want a 100% Sunbow-accurate Bruticus it's possibly someone like DX9, XTB, or Fans Toys could still come along and do better.  Likewise, a 100% toy-style set might have a more toy-accurate Swindle leg.  But the fact is, at the time of writing, Assaultus is the most accurate, best-proportioned Bruticus you can buy.  And it's even more impressive when you realize that's the case even with his hands, head, chest and pelvis armor, and most of his feet built into the individual members.  The only parts I added, which aren't even required, are the shoes.

Now, I feel like size is going to be contentious issue for this set.  For a lot of people ToyWorld's Constructor seems to have set the unofficial standard for an MP-scaled combiner at roughly 20".  Zeta continued that with their Superion and Bruticus, DX9's Menasor in the same size, and it's expected that XTB's Menasor and both of Fans Toys' combiners will hit that mark as well.  Even with the add-on shoes Assaultus misses that 20" mark, standing right around the same size as Unique Toys' Bruticus and, for that matter, HasTak's Titan Devastator and Predaking (as well as some KOs like Jinbao's Feral Rex, Jinbao's Gravity Builder, and Ju Jiang's Superion).  Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again, until Takara releases a combiner in the official MP line there is no definitive standard.  Devastator's appearance on the Decepticon line of the Sunbow scale chart suggests that Megatron should come up to around Devastator's knee.  On the same page he appears on a line with Omega Supreme and Optimus Prime, and Prime comes up to Devastator's waist.  A third chart made for The Headmasters has Prime and Galvatron at the top of Raiden, Devastator, and Predaking's shins, right below their knee.  So if you prefer the size of Zeta's Bruticus official materials will back you up.  However, the same materials suggest that MMC isn't necessarily wrong at this size.  Ultimately, it may come down to your display preferences.  If you think all combiners should be the same size and you're planning on displaying a Bruticus right next to Constructor and/or one of the Menasors then you might think Assaultus looks too short.

 

However, if you put some space between them and blend in other MP figures like Starscream (or Meteor, as it were) I don't think this looks bad at all.  Starscream is roughly knee-high here, and Prime or Megatron would be a little below the hip.  Alternatively, you could stick him with your War for Cybertron Trilogy figures if you like the Headmasters scale.

 

After all, Assaultus looks much better than the Combiner Wars Bruticus.  As I said, he even beats out my second-favorite Bruticus, Iron Factory's War Giant.

 

So, Assaultus' head can swivel and he can look up, but due to the way his head encapsulate's Incursus' he can't look down at all.  His shoulders rotate on ratchets that are just tight enough to hold a pose, but loose enough that a shake or a tap will cause his arms to drop.  His shoulders can move laterally on ratchets, too, but unfortunately the lateral joint is on the torso side of the rotation, not the arm side.  His biceps swivel.  Both arms can bend 90 degrees on ratchets at the elbow.  The Impetus (Vortex) arm can actually use his own hip joints to bend the elbow a little further, but Volatus' (Blast Off) hip skirt design keeps the hip joint trapped.  Both wrists can rotate, but due to the "all built-in" gimmick they can't rotate 360 degrees.  They can go from palms flat down to palms halfway turned up.  Each finger is individually articulated with pins at the base, middle, and upper knuckle.  The thumb has hinged ball joint at the base plus two knuckle hinges, giving his thumbs quite a bit of range.  He's got a ratcheted waist swivel and even an ab crunch.  His hips can go 90 degrees forward, 45 degrees backward, and 60 degrees laterally, all on ratchets that are, again, too loose for my tastes.  He's not going to start doing the splits or collapse under his own weight when you pose him with both feet on the ground, which will likely be most of the time, but the joints do not support the weight of limbs for kicking or anything like that.  He's got ratcheted thigh swivels, and ratcheted knees that bend 90 degrees and, like his hips, will support him in a bent-knee pose but do not support the weight of the limb.  Finally, as his feet are essentially Fraudo and Probus', they have a little up/down tilt and ankle pivots of around 30 degrees.  Because they're friction joints you need to watch out a little for leaning in the ankles, but on the whole he's better balanced, more stable, and with sturdier limb connections than many combiners included Zeta's Bruticus.

The OX-style gun that came with the upgrade kit has a larger handle with a tab that fits into Assaultus' palm.

 

If you don't have the upgrade kit Incursus' original gun works the same way.  And the tabs are on both sides, so you can technically have Assaultus dual-wield.

 

A quick look at the back.  You can see how clean Assaultus is overall.  His backpack doesn't sick out any further than it has to, hugging his torso much more closely than Zeta's, Unique Toys', or Warbotron's, and even Probus' double-barreled cannons and all of Fraudo's accessories fill in cavities in the back of the legs rather than protruding from them.

Speaking of, I'll remind you that the "all built-in" gimmick doesn't just mean the combiner parts like the hands and chest armor.  It means that, aside from alternate replacement heads, all of the individual accessories are stored on Assaultus' body.  I've already pointed out Brawl's double-barreled cannons and Swindle's accessories fit in the back of the legs and Incursus' gun is meant to be Assaultus' gun as well.  And as I mentioned in Probus' review his gun can sit in the 5mm port on his turret.  You can just barely see in the above image Volatus' gun folded up in Assaultus' right elbow, and Impetus' arm guns stay on the tail of the helicopter.  Now, that just leaves Impetus' gun.  Well, if you look as Fraudo you'll note that the part that stem that holds his cannon and missile on the back of the jeep uses one peg hole to tab onto the back of Assaultus' leg, but the other is facing forward.  You can put Impetus' gun in that peg hole.  However, I kind of like to put Probus' gun there, to keep the front of Assaultus' shin a bit cleaner.  Besides, although it's not mentioned in any of the instructions it seems the designers actually did include a more official storage spot for it.

 

While transforming Incursus into combined mode at some point you'll have his back cannons folded down and a door on his back opened.  You'll notice that there's two rectangular holes on it.  And, if you fold in the handle on Impetus' gun you'll find that it has two tabs that line up with those holes perfectly.

 

There's enough of a gap on the part that Assaultus' head sits on and the door itself that the barrel has room to peak out.  But, with the back cannons put back into place you won't even see it from most angles.

Which brings us to the end of our journey.  We've had five releases that have ranged from good to excellent, three of which I'd definitely recommend on their own, one of which is a very good figure but faces tougher competition from a very good release by Unique Toys, and one of which suffered the most from the all built-in gimmick.  And we put them together into one fantastic gestalt that could have used stronger ratchets in the shoulders, hips, and knees.  The all built-in gimmick made for some extremely impressive engineering, but I have to confess that I'd have taken a partsforming head, chest armor, pelvis armor, and hands if it'd have improved Incursus' robot mode proportions and allowed for Volatus and Impetus to have proper ankle pivots.  With the exception of, perhaps, Probus, neither the individual Combaticons nor the combined Assaultus are perfect.  However, unless you're a display-only guy holding out for a 20" Sunbow-perfect Bruticus then I definitely recommend Assaultus with the upgrade it.  Of all the combiners I have (and I own or have owned almost all of them) Assaultus is, handily, my favorite.  Indeed, Assaultus is the only one I like enough to say that I'd buy a repaint if MMC wants to do Baldigus/Ruination.

(Special mention to TFW2005 use NameForComments for finding the storage spot for Impetus' gun in combined mode).

 

very nice write up!  personally i think assaultus looks good but the combined mode legs are too long in the thighs i feel.  zeta's overall proportions look more right to me even if his fingers almost reach his knees....thats an issue with oversized hands a slightly too shoft thighs.   i too like brawl's tranformation for the combined mode being more g1.  makes it look more interesting than a tank standing up.  i do think assulatus' chest shield is also a bit too small...not enough coverage.  as for combiner scale...i'm in the whatever looks good to you boat.  personally i have combiners of all sizes, rarely all combined and next to each other though so its not big deal in theory, but what i do like is that i will have assaultus and combiner wars devy compatible with each other size wise - although if you get wihtin 3 feet of them you can tell one is way more content/quality than the other.  and they do have an iconic fight with each other.  also i have zeta superion and eventually xtb's menasor (WTF is that trailer/frame?!) in roughly the same scale and evnetually cang's very non g1 predaking. will be in that size class too.  i'll also have some smaller guys...GT's GB and TFM's havoc....both not too G1 (unless you only mean combined mode for GB).   to be honest i'm more fussed with the individual bots to be in sort of the right size (which is why i can't do FT's stunticons).  anyway i also look forward to what mmc does with the protectbots.  GT has released 4/5 in their smaller no pants scale (where individual bots are about the right size)...but have been late with hotspot FOREVER.  its stylized and cool but let's see what mmc does.  lastly i hope mmc's ratchets are up to task and they won't need to ship replacements the next time.  lol.

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In addition to Browning I picked up one other figure in TFSource's recent sale.  It's KFC's Stratotanker, their MP Octane.

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KFC was obviously trying very hard for a cartoon-accurate Octane.  They even painted part of his shins gray to match his thighs in an attempt to match the weird shape of Octane's legs in the cartoon.  His pelvis has all the right geometric shapes molded into it, and he's even got the two white rectangles just above his waist.  His torso has the white sun visor (pardon the askew marking light, I rotated it back into place later) breaking up a dark torso made from the truck cab.  The proportions of his torso aren't exactly the same as the cartoon, but without faux parts the truck's nose can't just disappear like it did in the cartoon.  That said, he's arms seem a tad too long, his head too small, and the sculpt of his head seems a bit derpy.

While I chose to photograph him with his Titans Return counterpart for an interesting visual comparison, size-wise he's the same height as MP Starscream (assuming the new one won't be bigger), which makes him smaller than KFC or DX9's Blitzwing, smaller than DX9's Astrotrain, and a little bigger than Fancy Cell's Astrotrain.

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Then there's this.  He's got a backpack, which I guess I can forgive, but he's got prominent armatures running from his backpack up the sides of his body to his shoulders.  I can't help but think it looks a bit messy.

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Stratotanker comes with a couple of accessories.  You get an alternate yelling face, and a screwdriver you can use to take apart the head to perform the face swap (as well as correct some factory arm misassembly).  You get a flight stand that, aside from the KFC logo molded into it, is identical to the one that came with XTB's Scourge.  You get a shield, because the G1 toy had one, although this one isn't a partsforming bit.  And you get a purple rifle with a sculpt that isn't far off the cartoon but seems more toy-accurate than anything.  The gun does have a button and a light-up gimmick, but I don't feel like taking it apart and looking to see what batteries go in it.

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Stratotanker's head is on a ball joint, and he can look up a little (more if you want to lift the flap his neck connects to; it's not locked down in any way), nothing really down, but some sideways tilt in addition to swiveling.  His shoulders rotate on a ratchet, then they can move around 60 degrees laterally on a friction hinge plus a second ratchet provides an extra 90 degrees of lateral motion.  His biceps and wrists can swivel.  His elbows, well, they're a little weird.  In the above image his left arm is correct, and like that his elbow can bend a little under 90 degrees despite being double-jointed.  If you rotate his bicep 180 degrees, then do the same for his hands, despite technically being backward he'll be able to bend 180 degrees at the elbow to touch his own shoulders.  It just doesn't look as pretty.  There's a little up/down tilt in his wrists, and his hands are the old-school KFC/XTB hands, where the base of the thumb and each finger is a tiny ball joint, and each digit has two additional knuckles that are hinged but not pinned.  Gonna be honest here, while I like good articulated hands like what FT does I'd rather have MP carbot-style typewriter hands with the fingers molded as one piece and the only articulation is at the base than KFC's fragile, floppy hands.

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Anyway... he's got a ratcheted waist swivel.  His hips can go 90 degrees forward, 90 degrees laterally, and almost 90 degrees backward on ratchets.  Problem here is that there's quite a bit of space between clicks (four clicks goes from stock straight to 90 degrees laterally), and between clicks he feels kind of wobbly.  I like a good ratchet, but especially on outward hip movement I'll take a good friction joint over a bad ratchet any day.  His thighs swivel.  Now, his knees bend 90 degrees on a ratchet, but for some reason a little over halfway up his thigh there's another ratcheted hinge that also bends 90 degrees (no, it's not used for transformation).

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And then we come to what I dislike the most about the robot mode- the feet.  They can tilt down, he's got a toe tilt up, and they can pivot 90 degrees, which doesn't sound too bad until your realize that the entire figure rests on a tiny pin hinge connected to the (diecast) foot by a single rivet at the back.  Worse, that pin hinge is  actually part of a larger thin armature.  It's tabbed into the leg at the blue arrows, the but true connection is all the way up by the screw marked in orange.  As I understand it issues with this part on review samples caused KFC to switch materials and/or change the design a bit to make it stronger and more flexible, but I can't say I'm crazy about a design that relies on such small joints on a such a thin armature for something as important as standing on his feet.

I digress (again).  Stratotanker can hold his gun, but I had to file out the slot in his palm for the tab on the handle to actually fit.  As for the shield, there's a slot on the back that fits over a tab on his forearm. Note that it's meant for the tab on the "correct" outside of his forearm; if you turned his arms around to get more articulation it looks like it might fit on the tab on that side, but it'll sit lower, and I didn't bother to test it because (spoilers) I have no use for the shield.

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Because, yes, Stratotanker turns into a an airliner.  The engineering here is, with the exception of a few flaps on sliders and the multiple hinges that connect his arms to his backpack surprisingly straightforward.  Again, it's pretty cartoon accurate.  The front is a little more streamlined, lacking the bit of a hump where the cockpit is, it's got that bit of gray paint on top where his shins end up, his arms curl under the wings instead of sticking straight out like the G1 toy and cartoon model, and he's missing the blue swoosh on the sides of the fuselage.  On the other hand he's got a tail without partsforming, and there's no big wheels under the nose or sticking out of the spine.

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From some angles the plane actually looks pretty good, I think.  Not a real-world accurate Boeing 767, mind you, but sleek enough with molded doors and translucent windows and without much in the way of obvious truck or robot kibble.  From other angles you notice that bit of tire in the vertical stabilizer or the gap in the fuselage a little past the wings.  Or the fact that, just like the G1 toy, the truck cab forms rear of the plane and tail, and from just the right angle you can see the truck's windshield.  To be fair, though, it's kind of G1 toy accurate, and of the five takes on this character I can think of (G1, Classics Tankor, Titans Return Octone, Unique Toys' Provider, and this) Stratotanker is probably the most cartoon-accurate, it's in the running for cleanest plane, and the one plane that gives it the most competition in my book has a worse tail.

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Top looks good, save for the aforementioned gap in the fuselage and some double hinges near the tail.  From the underside there's a larger gap, some obvious truck kibble, and some recognizable robot arms and thighs.  Also some landing gear; one under the nose, and one each in his robot armpits.

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Of course, you can leave the landing gear folded in and tab Stratotanker onto the flight stand.  Now, I think that actually looks pretty good.  Not perfect, but considering how many triple changers suffer for their gimmick I can cut Stratotanker some slack and accept the plane mode as one of the best we've gotten from an Octane toy.

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The plane's tail might not be made from a partsforming shield like the G1 toy, but if you haven't tossed that shield into a drawer or put it back in the box yet you can store it on the plane mode.  There's a tab on the spine, and you just clip it on.  It doesn't look good there.  It seems a bit pointless that they included it, because there's nowhere to store his gun in plane mode that I can find.  Not even on the stand, with those small pillars on the back.

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When I'd first seen Stratotanker's alt truck mode I didn't like it.  Even if it's G1 toy accurate the wings just laying flat across the sides of the tanker trailer seemed lazy, especially when neither Unique Toys' Provider nor Titans Return Octone did it.  But then I went back and looked at the Sunbow model and sure enough his truck mode was drawn with the wings folded onto the sides of the trailer.  So, points for cartoon accuracy, then.  Speaking of cartoon accuracy, Stratotanker goes for the black roof and nose and gray sides of the animation model instead of the white sides and striped nose of the G1 toy.  The cab in general is more realistic than the G1 toy, with fuel tanks on the sides, smokestacks, a proper grill, and lights.  He also doesn't have his robot arms just hanging off his sides.  It'd be cartoon accurate if he did, but I'm glad he doesn't.

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His wheels are plastic, which seems like a bit of a letdown on a 3P MP figure, but he rolls well, and the cab is articulated.  That is, unless you store the gun on the underside, which you can do, but it'll bock him from turning.  There's no partsforming chrome section for the trailer, but once again you can mount the shield if you want.  Honestly, as it's not really useful in any of his modes I'll be putting it in storage with the spare face and instruction book.

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The cab isn't just articulated, mind you.  There's a small switch behind the cab that will release it from the trailer, and the back of the truck has some molded skid plating and a fifth wheel.  The trailer, meanwhile, has small fold-down landing gear to prop up the front when the cab isn't connected.  Now, it's the sort of gimmick that I love in truck mode, but there is a part of me that wonders if his arms would have needed the complex armatures if they hadn't included a gimmick that allowed most of his torso to separate from the rest of his body.

OK, down to brass tacks... at the time of writing there aren't a lot of options for an MP Octane.  Really, it's this or Unique Toys' Provider.  From a purely aesthetic and objective point of view Stratotanker is much more cartoon accurate as Provider is fairly stylized in all three modes (especially his alt modes).  It's been four years since Provider came out, it took two years after that for Stratotanker to provide an alternative, and there hasn't been a hint of anyone else doing the character in the last two years.  What Stratotanker does for me is crosses a character off the list, and I do like both of his alt modes.

Thing is, some of the engineering here seems like KFC had some ambitious ideas but they could have been executed better, and his robot mode suffers for it.  His sides are messy.  The design of his feet, with the thin parts and tiny pin hinges, is awful.  I hate the KFC hands.  The materials don't feel great, and the ratchets have entirely too much play between clicks.  I feel like when choosing an Octane I had to choose between build quality and cartoon accuracy, I went for accuracy, and there's a tiny part of me that wonders if I shouldn't have gone with Provider instead.  Stratotanker is a little disappointing.  Not as bad as Ditka, mind you, but still worse than most of the other MP Decepticons in that Detolf.

So do I recommend Stratotanker.  That's a tough call.  I mean, he's not awful, but the quality is definitely below what most 3Ps today are doing (including Keith's own XTB brand).  If there was some sign that anyone- Fans Toys, MMC, DX9, Transform Element, anyone- were doing an MP Octane I'd say no and tell you to wait.  But with no new competitors in sight and the only one from the past being very stylized this may in fact be the best Octane available.

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This might be a goofy question.. but are the wings upside down?  The airfoil is shaped like the white side of the wings should be facing upwards, and all the details like control surfaces seem to be on that side.

I guess not, since the slots for the engines are on the white side.. but I can't say it doesn't look backwards.

Edited by Chronocidal
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8 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

This might be a goofy question.. but are the wings upside down?  The airfoil is shaped like the white side of the wings should be facing upwards, and all the details like control surfaces seem to be on that side.

I guess not, since the slots for the engines are on the white side.. but I can't say it doesn't look backwards.

They're not upside now. The gray on the one side facing forward in bot mode and on top in plane mode matches the animation model, plus as you've noticed the slots for tabbing the wings to his arms are on the white side. The molded details are actually identical on both sides, but they're obscured by the gray paint on the top. But yes, the top is flat as a board. Maybe for cartoon accuracy, or maybe so they lie more evenly against the sides in truck mode? But you're right, that shape wouldn't be useful for generating lift.

EDIT: Now that I'm thinking about it... a plane that turns into a truck... I bet @David Hingtgen has some thoughts on this one. :lol:

Edited by mikeszekely
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OK....opinion time, I have REALLY been enjoying my NewAge Seekers and I'm liking the Legends-ish size scale, for me it just works great as I'm out of room for anymore big stuff..SO..Question is for people who might already have them -- Do I go for NewAge Soundwave OR Magic Square Soundwave, Newage Megatron OR Magic Square Megatron and the biggest question...do I go for Magic Square Optimus or wait for NewAge to drop their Optimus (assuming they do next year)...I've watched a could of VS reviews for the Megatron and damn....I just can't decide! Same with Soundwave! 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, derex3592 said:

OK....opinion time, I have REALLY been enjoying my NewAge Seekers and I'm liking the Legends-ish size scale, for me it just works great as I'm out of room for anymore big stuff..SO..Question is for people who might already have them -- Do I go for NewAge Soundwave OR Magic Square Soundwave, Newage Megatron OR Magic Square Megatron and the biggest question...do I go for Magic Square Optimus or wait for NewAge to drop their Optimus (assuming they do next year)...I've watched a could of VS reviews for the Megatron and damn....I just can't decide! Same with Soundwave! 

 

 

Just my opinion, but I tend to like the size, engineering, and price of Magic Square's stuff, but the materials are usually better on Newage.  I personally think that both Soundwaves look extremely good but I think Magic Square's Megatron looks far better than Newage's.  It's kind of early to say for Optimus, but based on the image of their Magnus I'm not a fan of the MP-44 super square chest windows, short torso, and giant diaper pelvis, so I expect I'll prefer Magic Square's Optimus.  That said, some people really like that super Sunbow style, and if you're in that camp you might like everything I hate about Newage's.

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Skullface did a pretty good comparison of the two Megatrons.  It boils down to the MS has beefier proportions and just looks better (to my eyes as well as his), and the NA, as Mike said, feels more solid due to better materials, and is easier to transform. I have the NA, and its a fun little figure, but I have to confess, on looks alone, I prefer the MS.  One more thing, the MS fig cleans up better in bot mode; the NA doesn't look so good from a rear view.

As for the Soundwaves, there are things I like about both.  Appearance wise, both capture the essence of G1 Soundwave really well, but there's a quality I can't quite put my finger on about NewAge's that I like better. It's not as rigid or cubic as the Magic Square- it has more presence to me, even if the MS cleans up better in bot mode. Too, I think they sell it better with their production photos- the NA just seems more "alive" to me. The MS cassettes are bigger, better sculpted, and have much more articulation than the NewAge cassettes, or even Hasbro's ER/Siege versions for that matter. They're nigh MP quality at about a quarter of the scale- these things are tiny. The NA cassettes are even smaller, and have simpler, less accurate sculpts and far less articulation. About the only thing the NA cassettes have over the MS are that when put in their rectangular configurations, they are slightly thinner in profile than the MS cassettes. Neither company's cassettes are really fooling anybody, though.  But they tried. One other caveat that I've seen in a coupe MS reviews is that it's a tight fit for the cassettes to fit in his chest, generally necessitating sticking a finger through a hole in his back to forcibly eject them. Not the best when it's designed to do this as a signature feature.<_<

The sticking point for me is that I prefer NA's Soundwave, but I'd rather have MS' cassettes. Unfortunately, because MS makes their figures slightly larger than NewAge, the cassettes are not cross compatible.  I'm still on the fence myself, but I hope this bit of info helps.

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I've watched two reviews of Nicee (I think both were done by the same guy), and while he shows off her articulation and transformation, he never shows whether her gun can store in her thigh, a la Robocop, as was shown in the concept artwork. I'm hoping its there- I always loved that . But yeah, pretty straightforward transformation that still turns out to be more elegant than what Hasbro's doing. It does suck that a huge chunk of the back of her car parts-forms.  I don't recall if that had to be removed or like ER Arcee's car shell, could remain attached on some sort of armature. I don't feel like watching the vid again to find out. I should be getting my copy within the next week or so, so then I'll know.^_^

Big Firebird did a beautiful job on the sculpting of this figure; whether or not you agree with the hyperfeminine appearance, you can't deny the style and artistry put into her.  I'm very curious to see how their Windblade is coming along. In light of the crackdowns on Lepin and some other third party Transformer companies, I wonder if they're even going to bother, what with the possibilities of enormous fines and jail time. I think our golden age of options is sadly coming to a close.

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Sheesh.. I feel like I would want that figure even if it didn't transform.  The styling and paintwork look amazing, and it just pops on the screen, making all the other versions look pretty bland by comparison.

I'm sold, just ordered one. :lol:  Also I did see in one pic that you can leave the front fenders from her car form attached to her hips like skirts, and while it looked good in that one pic, I can't say how it'll be from other angles.  Other poses leave them attached, and have them flared out like wings, which doesn't look terrible.

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Thanks for the opinions guys! I think I've settled on MS Megatron, just because it nails the robot mode sooo much. I know I'll prob agree that the NA materials are better once I have it in hand, but I can't not go for the most toon accurate bot mode. I did order the NA "Jazz" Limited Edition as my 1st NA Legends scale Autobot, so we'll see how I like him here in a few days! Still undecided about Soundwave, but leaning toward NA at the moment, even though as stated above the MS cassettes are amazing! 

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3 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

Sheesh.. I feel like I would want that figure even if it didn't transform.  The styling and paintwork look amazing, and it just pops on the screen, making all the other versions look pretty bland by comparison.

I'm sold, just ordered one. :lol:  Also I did see in one pic that you can leave the front fenders from her car form attached to her hips like skirts, and while it looked good in that one pic, I can't say how it'll be from other angles.  Other poses leave them attached, and have them flared out like wings, which doesn't look terrible.

I agree wholeheartedly; place her next to any other version of Arcee, and she's going to be the standout figure. Even if they'd given her a blockier chest to simulate the look of G1 Arcee, all the other flourishes elevate her visually. BF were also very clever in their engineering to allow her shoulder pods to change positions, which only increases the options with this figure. I lament that they didn't include the Arcee head; I think it was beautifully sculpted, and as much as I like the secondary head they created, I really wanted this to be an alternate take of Arcee. Hopefully, as someone mentioned, they'll sell it separately. Regardless, as is, Nicee is a unique and eyecatching addition to anyone's collection.

I just got my shipping notification from ShowZ yesterday, so my earlier delivery estimate was off by about a week or two. No hurry. i still have to figure out where I'm going to display her and my Sentinel Legioss that just shipped. Too many toys, not enough house.

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48 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

I just got my shipping notification from ShowZ yesterday, so my earlier delivery estimate was off by about a week or two.

Maybe more than that.  I have an order with ShowZ that they shipped a month ago today, and there's no sign of it.  Whatever shipping method he used only has tracking for USPS, and from they're apparently still waiting for it.  I'll give another month then contact ShowZ for a refund.

Edited by mikeszekely
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2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Maybe more than that.  I have an order with ShowZ that they shipped a month ago today, and there's no sign of it.  Whatever shipping method he used only has tracking for USPS, and from they're apparently still waiting for it.  I'll give another month then contact ShowZ for a refund.

Ugh, that doesn't sound promising. Once I start receiving tracking info on it, I'll have to keep an eye on it in the event it gets lost. Sorry to hear that on your end, and thanks for the heads up. Hopefully, both of our orders will show up.

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21 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

I've watched two reviews of Nicee (I think both were done by the same guy), and while he shows off her articulation and transformation, he never shows whether her gun can store in her thigh, a la Robocop, as was shown in the concept artwork.

No it doesn't. I've also ordered one from taobao after watching the review. It's a real pity we won't be getting the arcee head. 

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Big Firebird's not-particularly Arcee doesn't really interest me, but I saw that's not the only thing they've been working on.  Seems another project, Kalavinka, might be of interest to fans of a certain anime about jets that turn into robots...

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Doesn't sound like it'll be particularly large at around 7" in robot mode, but for a 3P toy it's not looking to be very expensive, either.  Preorders are starting to pop up- ShowZ has it listed for $71 plus $4 shipping.  If you're in the States and have been having issues with packages coming from China TFSource has it listed at $80, and The Chosen Prime for $95.

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10 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Big Firebird's not-particularly Arcee doesn't really interest me, but I saw that's not the only thing they've been working on.  Seems another project, Kalavinka, might be of interest to fans of a certain anime about jets that turn into robots...

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Doesn't sound like it'll be particularly large at around 7" in robot mode, but for a 3P toy it's not looking to be very expensive, either.  Preorders are starting to pop up- ShowZ has it listed for $71 plus $4 shipping.  If you're in the States and have been having issues with packages coming from China TFSource has it listed at $80, and The Chosen Prime for $95.

that thing looks awesome.  i may have posted the plane mode before here?  dont' remember.  speaking of 3P TF guys doing transforming jetplanes....

https://tieba.baidu.com/p/6944697929

thats a CLEAN J-20 for a transforming toy.  my only gripe is that i don't see what scale it is and i bet a certain military profits form this somehow....do want!  also i'm totally gonna get this and that kavalinka.  its what i always wanted some non TF transforming jets and scifi jets.  i say non TF because as much as i like TF them alt modes got too much robokibble in jet mode wiht the seekers having the least so far .... and the upcoming maverick will bethe cleanest ever.  hope the kavalinka is sort of clean underneath (looks teo be ok for a TF but not so clean compared to say macross).  lol

Edited by Mechapilot77
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Referring to Big Firebird's Kalavinka, to my eye, it kinda has a Zone of the Enders feel to it. I like it overall, but I'm not crazy about the feet.  Not sure I'd be willing to invest without seeing a vid review with transformation. I do give then a thumbs up for making their own thing, though. It looks cool.

I'm trying to figure out where the cockpit and nose go. I'm guessing it rotates 180 to form the middle chest, and then the nose slants down on the back. If so, cool- ever since the VF-4 and Yf-19, I tend to favor transforming jet designs that hide the cockpit, as it makes no sense to put it out front on a combat machine.

The variable J-20 is pretty clean in jet mode- Takara, take notes.  Bot mode looks respectable, as well. I dig it.

The J-20 figure beggars the question of why the Bayformers couldn't have used this aesthetic- it's a practical transformation that results in a nice looking bot and plane, both sharing an equal amount of realism.

Edited by M'Kyuun
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4 hours ago, Mechapilot77 said:

hope the kavalinka is sort of clean underneath (looks teo be ok for a TF but not so clean compared to say macross).  lol

 

2 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

The variable J-20 is pretty clean in jet mode- Takara, take notes.  Bot mode looks respectable, as well. I dig it.

The J-20 figure beggars the question of why the Bayformers couldn't have used this aesthetic- it's a practical transformation that results in a nice looking bot and plane, both sharing an equal amount of realism.

Yeah... fans of transforming jets with clean alt modes might not like my next two reviews (over in the official section)...

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You know the funny thing about the J-20.. move the wings around and alter a couple of details, you've pretty much got an F-22/F-35. :p  I wonder if they'll do it.

Really though, part of me wishes more people would abandon real aircraft designs, and just focus on making something that looks cool and functional.

That Kalavinka looks like exactly that, and have to agree, the ZOE aesthetic gives it a nice presence.

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2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

 

Yeah... fans of transforming jets with clean alt modes might not like my next two reviews (over in the official section)...

Saw those. That's about all I've got to say about that.:ph34r:

1 hour ago, Chronocidal said:

You know the funny thing about the J-20.. move the wings around and alter a couple of details, you've pretty much got an F-22/F-35. :p  I wonder if they'll do it.

Really though, part of me wishes more people would abandon real aircraft designs, and just focus on making something that looks cool and functional.

That Kalavinka looks like exactly that, and have to agree, the ZOE aesthetic gives it a nice presence.

Yeah , but just about every stealthy fighter nowadays looks like the F-22 or the F-35- I'm thinking that's the extent of the technology for now, and that's the general shape it has to have to achieve stealth characteristics. Still prefer the YF-23- beautiful bird, that.

The more I look at the J-20, though, the more I see stuff that I like. It's not perfect- the forearms are visible on the lower fuselage (would have been nice if they'd used a little more panel-fu to make them conform and blend with the bottom, but as concessions go, they aren't that bad, and certainly no where near as egregious as HasTak jets. But I love how the exhausts move up to the calves in bot mode, and it appears that the forward fuselage splits, with the cockpit section facing down VF-1 style, and the lower section containing the nose gear hanging out as an elaborate butt flap. It skews more towards a variable Gundam aesthetic in bot mode that I don't mind at all. I'm not sure why they felt they had to have the wings split into three sections, though; it seems unnecessary, and if they don't snap together just so, it'll leave unsightly gaps in the wings in plane mode. Sometimes what seems cool on paper doesn't translate to 3D so well. Gripes aside, I'm intrigued.  It looks good. And I like the look of the J-20, which makes it more appealing.

The Kalavinka is definitely, in typical Big Firebird style, going for a more signature look, but I like it too, if just a bit less than the Chengdu J-20. I'd like to see more shots of it in both modes (def need a lower fuselage shot in jet mode) before I make a decision. I hope the final version has a head closer to the concept art. Not feeling the trans-red diamond they stuck on there.

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Both of these are exciting, though.  Kinda neat that neither, AFAIK, is tied to any particular media, but just exist to be what they are.

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So I picked up my first Autobot Newage figure. Limited Edition "Not Jazz". This little guy is sooo well done. The tampo printing is perfect, the paint apps are extremely well done and the engineering is very, very good. In car mode there are basically no gaps, you would think it's just a toy car. It's that good. The packaging is also cool! Very G1 retro.  I'm really happy with him. These Newage figures are not cheap and they are small, but there's a lot to them. I can't wait to see their take on Prime and others eventually! 

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New Age figures are generally too small to scale with my Iron Factory, Magic Square "Brobdingnag," or DX9 "War in Pocket" (not to mention the even larger MechFanToys) figures... 

2103900051_AutobotLegends.jpg.7be6da9ae8

...but I made an exception for their exceptional Bumblebee, who's fine being a little smaller.  :wub:

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Just received this in the mail today! TW-F09 Freedom Leader Deluxe, unfortunately this is how the head survive the shipping!! Over all the figure is outstanding except this major disappointment. Been waiting for months for this figure, Freakin' Covid!!! 

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1 hour ago, David Hingtgen said:

I want to guess cracked at the factory, before or during putting it in its tray. 

Nah, I imagine it just got jostled around too violently in the tray; there's nothing securing it in place, after all.  I can't imagine it happens very often, though.

Did it come from ShowZ, @RedLion?

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