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4 hours ago, Kuma Style said:

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Kawaii! Those are awesome.

Got my copy of Thomas, via ShowZ, yesterday, and cracked into it today.  FT did a great job capturing the G1 look across modes with this fig. It's not perfect; there are compromises, as there usually are with triple changers, but they're not egregious. Transformation across modes was fairly hassle-free and mostly intuitive although I did have some trouble getting the arms to snap into the engine section, and the leading edge roots proved to be a bit of a pain with their sliders. After consulting the instructions and a vid review to make sure I was doing things correctly, I finally conquered the transitions to locomotive and orbiter, and I'm really pleased with how he looks in both alts  as well as bot mode.  Too, this is a hefty beast, with plenty of die cast  for that premium feel.

FT managed to hide the gun in loco mode, but there is no internal or obscured storage in orbiter mode, with the gun just pegging onto the left or right side, ruining the sleek look of it. Some may not care about it, but I personally dislike external weapons storage on anything that normally doesn't have a weapon stuck to it- it's tacky at best.

The loco wheels do not spin very well, as they don't have much friction. Too, the connecting rods tend to hinder rotation especially when only one or two wheels want to spin due to lack of friction. I think the functionality of the drive wheels would have improved significantly had they put some thin o-rings in grooves on each of the drive wheels. Alas, it wasn't to be.

Overall, this guy scratches a long suffered itch for a nice looking G1 Astrotrain figure.  I'm looking ever forward to their take on Blitzwing, and hope it's done just as well or better.

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1 hour ago, Dobber said:

BBTS has Make Toys Meteor re-release on Pre-order. 
https://www.bigbadtoystore.com/Product/VariationDetails/141362

Chris

 

Got one and some wing fillers, which should have been part of the upgrade, but whatever. Thanks Dobber!

Hopefully, their Thundercracker will se a re-release soon, too, and then my original MP Seeker trio will be complete. 

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On 10/29/2020 at 5:34 AM, tekering said:

FRAK! :o

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Wow, looks amazing. I thought it was a drawing at first. Slight regret at having gone in on the Haslab, as the bot mode on this guy is leagues better, and that toon deco is just incredible.

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48 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

Got one and some wing fillers, which should have been part of the upgrade, but whatever. Thanks Dobber!

Hopefully, their Thundercracker will se a re-release soon, too, and then my original MP Seeker trio will be complete. 

You bet! 
I was a little disappointed they aren’t including those fillers too. I really hope the re-release will have the nose C clip improvement that their Dirge has.

Chris

Edited by Dobber
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15 hours ago, Dobber said:

You bet! 
I was a little disappointed they aren’t including those fillers too. I really hope the re-release will have the nose C clip improvement that their Dirge has.

Chris

I hope they improve the C-clip, too. It's the Achilles heel of an otherwise solid toy.  I don't have any of their Coneheads, yet, but I've had their version of Thrust PO'd for what seems like an eternity. The bonus of that fig is that he comes with Skycrow's wing fillers. Skycrow's the only MT Seeker I own currently. I don't intend to buy the other Conies, so I already picked up some fillers for Meteor, and will have to do likewise when they re-release their Thundercracker. And yeah, as improvements go, those fillers should have been part of the fig proper rather than an add-on.<_< It's like buying a car and paying extra for the body panels. grrrr

 

@Kuma Style Nice group shot, man. I adore Striker Manus' bot mode, but can't abide the fugly truck mode. Nothing is so unappealing as a cabover with an underbite.:bad: I realize it's a Cybertronian alt, but this is, ahem, a Prime example of why I generally dislike Cybertronian alts.:p I thought the Quinjet inspired alts for the Buster Stealthwing figs was a cool choice. 

Wow! Sweet cell shading job on that Studio Cell Unicron.  Too bad it doesn't come like that.

Edited by M'Kyuun
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MT included the improved C-clip and pre-installed the wing fillers on their G2 Screamer release, and that was also packaged with a set of extra faces so I will be very surprised if they do not outfit Meteor EX with these same enhancements (plus the effects parts). Looking back, I'm still scratching my head wondering why MT didn't take the extra time to make sure that these items were pre-installed from the start. It seems like an about face to their original design philosophy. Anyway, water under the bridge.

What I hope this EX release avoids are the quality issues that were packed in with some copies of G2 Screamer. Just my luck, this includes my own copy which arrived last week. My copy of Screamer has loose joints caused by loose/stripped, even missing screws. Some of these issues were expected after reading through Screamer's thread at TFW, but I wasn't expecting the missing screws bit. Oh well. You win some and you lose some. Luckily, MT's Blue Delta Manus arrived in the same shipment and that is in excellent shape so I'm not too fussed about having to return Screamer.

Edited by technoblue
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6 hours ago, technoblue said:

MT included the improved C-clip and pre-installed the wing fillers on their G2 Screamer release, and that was also packaged with a set of extra faces so I will be very surprised if they do not outfit Meteor EX with these same enhancements (plus the effects parts). Looking back, I'm still scratching my head wondering why MT didn't take the extra time to make sure that these items were pre-installed from the start. It seems like an about face to their original design philosophy. Anyway, water under the bridge.

What I hope this EX release avoids are the quality issues that were packed in with some copies of G2 Screamer. Just my luck, this includes my own copy which arrived last week. My copy of Screamer has loose joints caused by loose/stripped, even missing screws. Some of these issues were expected after reading through Screamer's thread at TFW, but I wasn't expecting the missing screws bit. Oh well. You win some and you lose some. Luckily, MT's Blue Delta Manus arrived in the same shipment and that is in excellent shape so I'm not too fussed about having to return Screamer.

Still, issues like that give pause. I kinda hope Meteor doesn't come with fillers now, as I bought a set for $10 anticipating that they weren't coming with it. They're not listed among the accessories on BBTS, so I assumed they weren't in there. If they coming with, it'd be nice if they let these e-tailers know that so they can list them, otherwise there are going to be a lot of folks with an extra set of fillers for which they have no use.  It's only $10, but I'd rather not spend it on something I don't need. I have enough clutter.

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1 hour ago, M'Kyuun said:

Still, issues like that give pause. I kinda hope Meteor doesn't come with fillers now, as I bought a set for $10 anticipating that they weren't coming with it. They're not listed among the accessories on BBTS, so I assumed they weren't in there. If they coming with, it'd be nice if they let these e-tailers know that so they can list them, otherwise there are going to be a lot of folks with an extra set of fillers for which they have no use.  It's only $10, but I'd rather not spend it on something I don't need. I have enough clutter.

Yeah, I hope it was a one-time thing for Screamer.

In regard to the fillers, I can understand buying them for the sake of insurance. As you say, there is nothing in the store listings to reassure anyone that they'll be included. I'm just thinking that it would be odd not to, since MT has given us special seeker box sets before. Added to which, if you do need to use the fillers, I recommend attaching them with glue/epoxy if they don't pop into place. The included 3M tape won't fix any gap issues and works for a best case fitment. A glue/epoxy is better for corner cases where the fitment isn't spot on.

Edited by technoblue
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On 11/3/2020 at 3:30 PM, technoblue said:

Yeah, I hope it was a one-time thing for Screamer.

In regard to the fillers, I can understand buying them for the sake of insurance. As you say, there is nothing in the store listings to reassure anyone that they'll be included. I'm just thinking that it would be odd not to, since MT has given us special seeker box sets before. Added to which, if you do need to use the fillers, I recommend attaching them with glue/epoxy if they don't pop into place. The included 3M tape won't fix any gap issues and works for a best case fitment. A glue/epoxy is better for corner cases where the fitment isn't spot on.

I appreciate the advice, as I have no experience with the fillers, and haven't read or watched anything pertaining to them. I assumed they just friction pegged on and that was that. But for getting the edges nice and flush, glue is probably the way to go.

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You guys may or may not have heard about Hasbro cracking down on Wei Jiang a few months ago.  While there were rumors that it was actually Disney and some KO Iron Man stuff that set it off there's little question that their modified KO Transformers were involved.  Since then it's been business as usual for many 3P companies; a knock off is clearly a knock off, but China's IP laws seem to have some leeway for original toy designs as long as they're not using any infringing trademarks, but the Wei Jiang raid seems to have spooked at least a few 3Ps.  One of them is Unique Toys, who have basically said they're going to finish up their Age of Extinction Galvatron then close up shop.  Now, I'm not a huge fan of the movie designs, but I did pick up Peru Kill (Lockdown) and Challenger (AoE/TLK Optimus) and I was extremely impressed by their clean robot modes and the impressively clever ways that they got those robots to transform.  I guess you could say that even though I'm not a fan of the designs in the movies, I'm a fan of what UT was able to do with them.  So even though I'd been dragging my feet on it I finally broke down an picked up Unique Toys Dragoon, their take on The Last Knight Megatron.

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For starters, Dragoon is a big boy.  I don't really hate it, though.  I don't follow the Bayverse scale very well, but the MPM and Studio Series lines have made it clear that Megatron was bigger than Optimus in at least the first three films.  I buy that he's bigger than Prime in The Last Knight, too.  The sculpted details are, with the exception of his hip skirts, very screen-accurate, although I'd argue that the copper and gold details could have used a black wash, if not his whole body.  If I have one aesthetic gripe here it's that his proportions are a little off.  I really feel like his torso should be a bit broader, but that seems to one of the sacrifices UT had to make to work their black magic on this design.

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Dragoon comes with a few accessories.  You get his cannon/flamethrower, which has a really nice braided chain.  It also has a light-up gimmick.  The instructions don't say anything about it, and I don't know for sure what batteries it's supposed to use.  I crammed a trio of CR1025s into it, but that's 9v total and that seems like a bit much, so I'm going to try a pair of AG9s after I pick some up.  For now, I can say that pushing the button on the cannon's underside turns the light solidly on.  Pushing it again causes it to pulse, pushing it a third time causes it to pulse more rapidly, and pushing it a fourth time turns it off.  You also get a sword, as seen in the movie, and a shield, as seen on the Prime 1 figure but (and I checked) not actually in the movie.  I'm not sure why the shield has a peg hole in it.  Lastly, you get a replacement head for Challenger.  Or, that's all you get now.  The first batch that went out apparently went out with a display stand.

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I was pretty satisfied with Challenger's old head (right), but the new one (left) is apparently more screen-accurate.  One immediate, notable difference is that the eyes on the new head are painted blue, and lack the light-up gimmick the original head had.

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The biggest change, though, is that you no longer have to remove his face and swap it with another to go from a mask to a mouth.  Instead, you rock part of his head back then simply pull slightly and spin the face 180 degrees, similar to MPM-4.  This alone is reason enough for me to swap out the old head with the new.

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Dragoon himself has a similar gimmick.  Lift the top of his head, spin it 180 degrees, then push it back down and spin the entire head 180 degrees.  Then just tuck in the tusks (which can actually tuck in slightly more than I have them in the above picture.

While we have a close up of his face, I have to say that while the sculpt is perfectly fine I do wish they'd given him an expression that showed his pointy teeth.  Oh well.

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Dragoon's articulation isn't great.  His head can rotate and look down, but nothing really up and no sideways tilt.  His shoulder pads are on hinged ball joints to get out of the way of his shoulders, which rotate on friction joints and move laterally on a ratchet well over 90 degrees.  They also, due to his transformation, have a bit of a backwards butterfly.  His biceps swivel just above his elbows, which bend a little over 90 degrees on a single ratchet.  Be mindful, though, that there's a second friction hinge above his elbow that's used for transformation.  It's not locked into place making it easy to bend his arm backward while posing him.  His wrists can swivel, and they can bend downward which I think is essential for characters like Megatron with a cannon on their arm.  His index finger is individually-articulated while his other three fingers are molded together, but they're all pinned at the base with two additional knuckle joints, while his thumb has a ball joint at the base and one additional knuckle.  His waist can swivel, but be careful because it can get caught on his side skirts which are oddly spring-loaded, making it difficult to situate them exactly as you'd like.  Speaking of skirts, due to his hip and butt skirts he can only move his hips forward or backward about 45 degrees on friction joints, and 90 degrees laterally on ratchets.  His thighs swivel under his hip joints.  His knees are on a single hinge, set weirdly far back.  The location allows him to bend them probably around 150 degrees, but at 90 degrees his knee will look weirdly empty and hollow.  Dragoon's toes can tilt up, and the bottom of his foot can even move to help support him in such a pose, but his whole feet don't really tilt up or down.  He does have some ankle pivot, but it's very (and disappointingly) minimal.

I need to point out here that pretty much all the joints, friction and ratchet, are a bit looser than I'd like.  I had a few issues trying to pose him in a more dynamic stance.  His right knee in particular crosses the line from being a little on the loose side to straight up floppy.

Dragoon's cannon uses a peg to plug into a port on either arm, although his right arm is movie-accurate.  The chain has a peg on the other end that plugs into a screw hole on the back of his shoulder.  His shield also has a peg, and it can fit into whichever arm that you're not using for his cannon.  As for his sword, it has a tab on the handle that fits into a slot on his palm.

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We've got some other storage options, though.  There are two diagonal tabs and a peg hole on Dragoon's (extremely clean) back.  A rectangular hole on the sword's blade can fit onto the back tabs for movie-accurate storage.  The shield can plug into the peg hole, which covers the back tabs, but the shield itself has a tab so the sword can still tab onto the shield and be carried on his back.

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Peru Kill and Challenger were both revelatory figures.  Their robot modes showed little in the way of them actually being transforming figures, but transform they did.  More than that, they did so in a way that was clever and involved but also fun and somewhat intuitive.  "Black magic," more than one fan has called it.  And Dragoon... well, he starts of that way.  His clean robot mode does bely the fact that he transforms, and as his torso becomes the nose of the jet so simply and smoothly you definitely think you're in for the UT experience.  But then you get to the legs, and things start to fall apart.  They have to fillet apart, unfolding and rotating panels to merge with his arms and become almost the entire rear of his jet mode.  It's not intuitive, and it's not at all helped by the unclear instructions.  You're basically left to move things around until parts start to line up, then moving other things around hoping that other parts will line up without knocking the stuff you already lined up askew.  Fortunately, when everything is lined up you can start to tab it together, and once everything's tabbed in place the jet is quite solid.

You don't get a good look at Megatron's jet mode in the film, but based on Josh Nizzi's concept art Dragoon's quite accurate, at least from most angles. 

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His cockpit can open.  Not sure why they left it the same color as the rest of him; the official toys and the concept art seemed to suggest that it was gold.  His cannon, which wasn't part of the art, sits between the nacelles on a longer peg that still allows it to pivot up and down.

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He has a landing skid under his nose, but at the rear he's just sitting on what is his knee armor.  You can see, alongside the odd-yet-accurate forward-pointing engine bells equally accurate guns.  Similarly-accurate rear-pointed guns are on the back of the alt mode.  From these angles, though, you can start to see more trouble in paradise.

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Like many jetformers much less care was given to Dragoon's bottom.  You can see too much of what's obviously his bot mode armor, and some gaps where said armor don't quite fill in the space.  Maybe it's due to the Cybertronian nature of the jet.  Maybe it's necessary for UT to work their magic, and it's just more noticeable because you see the bottom of the jet when you're swooshing it around but Challenger (who has his own gaps and visible armor on the underside) gets away with it because he's driving on the ground.  For what it's worth, while Dragoon's underside isn't the prettiest at least he doesn't seem thicker than he needs to be and doesn't look like a jet carrying a barely-transformed robot brick underneath.

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In addition to the cannon pegging in between the nacelles Dragoon's sword can be carried in alt mode.  The cannon actually has a little tab on the top, and the same rectangular hole in the sword that fit onto the back tabs fits onto the cannon's tab.  Again, not pretty, but it's storage.  Unfortunately the shield has no such storage.  I'd be a bit more upset about that, but like I said I checked every scene with Megatron in The Last Knight and it doesn't look like he uses his shield in the movie.  I might just leave it in the box and call it a day.

Dragoon's a bit of a mixed bag.  Had Unique Toys released this figure first before Peru Kill and Challenger (and before G-Creation's Grimlock) I think we'd be talking about how amazing it is that they got such a clean, screen-accurate robot to to transform into a mostly accurate jet.  We'd just accept the less-fun leg transformation and mediocre articulation as the cost of doing business.  But, he didn't come first, and frankly those other figures were able to pull off the same feat with better articulation and transformations that were more fun.  I don't know if this was simply a more challenging design to work with or if UT was resting on their laurels, but Dragoon feels like a step back from their previous efforts.  Despite this, at around $130 from ShowZ he's the same price or cheaper than a lot of other, smaller, and often less impressive figures (like FT's Aerialbots or MPM Starscream).  If you're a fan of the design, or a fan of UT's other Bayverse figures then Dragoon's still worth checking out, especially if you're looking for a Megatron to go with Challenger.  I just hope they end on a higher note with Galvatron.

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BBTS has a preorder listing up for FT Phoenix reissue.  Went with The Chosen Prime since they have free shipping and no tax.  TFSource has it for $20 more and I just noticed that they charge tax now.

Edited by sh9000
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XTB's Kup is probably going to be a "good enough" sort of thing.  I passed on FT's the first time it came out due to a mix of it's big backpack, annoying transformation with clearance issues, and a growing sense that I'd rather give my money to FT's competitors.  Reissue prices have been pretty ludicrous, too.

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