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About mikeszekely

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    Pensburgh, PA
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    3P Transformers, video games, quantum gravity, hockey

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  1. Well, for me a part of it is that I was a bit younger... these weren't toys that I bought in my teens and wished looked more like the show, these were toys I got for Christmas when I was six, and I have very fond memories of playing with them on the kitchen floor. This is actually another aspect of it. The old toys paired with their modern mainline, 3P Legends, or MP counterparts makes for (what I consider to be) an interesting display. Case in point-
  2. My brother took me to a place in Ligonier, PA with a few G1 Transformers, and I was lucky enough to snag a Kup and Blurr still with their guns and instructions. And since I already had a reissue Hot Rod, I decided to take these- 1986 vs Studio Series 86 Hot Rod Kup Blurr Boy howdy have things improved in terms of articulation and cartoon accuracy in the last 35 years!
  3. Carnage is looking pretty good, but I wish they'd find a way to give Venom his spider symbol.
  4. Too bad I already have all those figures! At those prices, if you don't I'd highly recommend the Studio Series 86 ones. Anyway... what I do have is Kingdom Deluxe-class Wingfinger. Wingfinger is a Fossilizer, so I guess it makes sense to compare him with Paleotrex and Ractonite. As an original character I don't have any prior media to compare him with. I guess he looks pretty cool. He's got actual hands, for one thing, but he's a bit skinny and his shoulders are pretty close together. Honestly, my biggest aesthetic gripe is that he's got a big Maximal logo on his forehead. Sure, technically Dracodon, Transmutate, and the upcoming Tricranius are also Maximals, but all three are repaints I don't intend to get, and two of those three are Gen Selects releases. Of the three Deluxe-class Fossilizers to be released in the mainline at regular retail and of the four skeleton guys I own Wingfinger is the only Maximal. My headcanon refuses to accept that they're Maximals or Predacons. I like the think of them as their own skeletal faction. Oh, one other thing. The top of Winfinger's head does fold down over his face, but it's a transformation thing. Unlike Paleotrex and Ractonite, he doesn't have a mask. Actually, one more other thing- note his hips in the above photo. That's how he came out of the box, it gives him a double-knee, and I think that looks the best. I'll note here, though, that his instructions have them turned the other way, with the 5mm ports on the fronts. Like the other Fossilizers, the base robot doesn't use all the pieces. If you think of what's left over as accessories, then he comes with a pteranodon skull and two bony bits. Wingfinger's head is on a ball joint, so it swivels and has limited up/down tilt and even more limited sideways tilt. His shoulders rotate and can extend something like 140 degrees laterally. His biceps swivel, his elbows bend 90 degrees, he's got a second swivel below the elbow if you need it, but you shouldn't because his wrists swivel. He's got two torso swivels, one above the 5mm peg just below his chest and one below the same peg. His hips move about 45 degrees backward, due to the shape of his butt, slightly under 90 degrees laterally, but far beyond 90 degrees forward. If you have him like I do, with the ports on his hips pointed backward, then he has a double-knee bend with each joint capable of bending 90 degrees. However, his thigh swivel is below the upper knee joint (it's likely the instructions have you orient him ports forward precisely so you can't use the upper joint as a knee). His feet have a ton of up/down tilt, but in a throwback to the pre-WfC days he's got no ankle pivots. Now, I think the best configuration for Wingfinger is to take the skull and peg it into his back using the peg under the eye sockets. Then you can use the remaining bony bits as short swords for him to dual-wield. I'd be remiss, though, if I didn't point out that the bone swords can also be stored by using small tabs on the backs of his biceps, and then the skull can be used as a kind of... I dunno, gun? Pokey thing? I have him holding the skull with the peg behind the head crest, but the instructions show him holding the skull using the other peg, and plugging it in from the underside of his fist. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. Of course, as a Fossilizer Wingfinger's entire body is really a collection of accessories, and a bit of his transformation will involve pulling parts off of him and sticking them back on elsewhere. You don't need to totally pull him apart first, but for the sake of record here's how he looks fully disassembled. Once reassembled you'll have yourself a skeletal pteranodon. Generally speaking, I think all the Fossilizers look better in their dino-skeleton modes than in their bot modes, and that's certainly true for Wingfinger. In fact, I think Wingfinger might be best of the three. My only complaint's are the visible fists on his dino toes, and the fact that I think the claws on his wings should bend the other way. You can pose him in a sitting pose like this... ...or you can spread his wings, straighten his legs and toes, and pose him in flight. His mouth can open, and you'll note the 5mm port inside (as well as the ones on his shoulders). And of course, there's the usual Fossilizer gimmick of becoming weapons for other Transformers. As always, the only limits are where you can match pegs and ports and your imagination, but these are the two examples given in the instructions. You have something like an arm-mounted bow, with a bunch of leftover parts, or you can build a winged backpack and a giant pick. Not gonna lie, that backpack is actually pretty cool. Normally, this is where a review of a Fossilizer would end. However, there's one more thing. You see, Hasbro was pretty impressed by the fan-made combinations of multiple Paleotrexes, and they seemed to take this into account when they designed Wingfinger. This isn't in any of the instructions, however it was shown by Hasbro Senior Model Artist Mark Maher on the 2021 Pulse Fest livestream, so I guess it's semi-official: That's right, if you have Paleotrex, Ractonite, and Wingfinger they can combine into... well, whoever this is supposed to be. Oh, and the fact that we have two Predacons combining with a Maximal just strengthens my argument that Wingfinger shouldn't have been a Maximal. What's interesting is that this makes use of some design elements of Winfinger, namely that the back of the crest can pop off, and a hinge allows it to open a little to reveal the painted blue visor used for the combiner face, that serve no other purpose. When your consider this mode official, semi-official, or just an easter egg the designers stuck in, it's clear that Wingfinger was designed purposely with this combination in mind... ...but maybe the others weren't? Joints that involve a lot of pull-apart peg swivels that can hold up under the weight of one Deluxe-class figure don't do as well with the weight of three of them. Likewise, Ractonite's little feet don't give them a ton of surface area to balance on. Plus, you will have a small pile of parts leftover. While you can probably find places to stick them, or ways to make a weapon out of some of them, I'll note at this point you'll have an abundance of pegs and a dearth of ports to stick them into. I'll say this much for Wingfinger- he's definitely my favorite of the Fossilizers. If you were interested enough to pick the others up, then definitely grab Wingfinger. He's a decent figure, and you'll get the combined mode. But once again, If a dinosaur skeleton original character doesn't do anything for you and you already passed on the other two there's really nothing new here that makes Wingfinger a must-buy.
  5. I swear, it feels like I've been waiting forever for the new wave of Kingdom stuff. I swear almost every YouTube personality has reviewed the whole wave, with Emgo recently putting up a video for the Ark that I've been careful to avoid. And I'll tell you what, I preordered the second wave at Amazon and wound up regretting it, because Pulse stocked everything first. This time I was sure to preorder everything from Pulse- I even bought Pulse Premium- and everything's still listed for September. Meanwhile, Amazon got a bunch of stock in, and apparently already sold out of Scorponok and Tracks.😒 I was able to get a Galvatron, though, to send back to @Wolf-1 (who'd graciously sent his own copy to me so I could review it), and two others. One of them being Voyager-class Rhinox. Of all the Beast Wars Kingdom releases Rhinox is, perhaps, the most curious. Primal, Blackarachnia, Megatron, and Airazor haven't really had updates since the '90s (at least, not that particular version of Primal). Cheetor and Dinobot got new toys in more modern Universe line, but those figures were still old enough and different enough that the Kingdom figures were clear improvements. Rattrap had an excellent release in the Thrilling 30 portion of Generations, just before the Prime Wars Trilogy, and while I think it's honestly better than the newer Core-class figure there's something to be said for the different scales. But Rhinox? Rhinox also had a pretty great figure in Thrilling 30, and this new Kingdom release is pretty much the same exact size. So what's changed? Well, there are some aesthetic changes. I think some of the changes are good and some aren't so much. I think the old head looks better; the new one is kind of mushy and less-defined. Although the teeth aren't as big and he's still got more mechanical detail than he had in the show, I like that his torso seems broader, more solid, and has a bigger faux rhino jaw. I like that the robot parts of his arms sit more flush. The solid green color is probably more show-accurate, but I kind of like the color breakup from the bits of gunmetal on the T30 version. Kingdom has wider hips, T30 more accurate thigh sculpts. Kingdom has longer feet with fake rhino toes. I think the brownish tinge on T30 is more show-accurate, the gray on Kingdom is more like actual rhinos I've seen. Oh, here's something weird. I don't know how well it's showing up in my pictures, but in hand it looks like they used two subtly different shades of green plastic. That'd be cool if it were used uniformly, like to break up the color, but it's not. On my copy, his left hand, around his collar, a transformation joint on just one side of his chest, his right elbow, and his left knee are all slightly darker than the rest of him. I think they have comparable amounts of kibble. They've both got Rhino legs for shoulders, biceps, and the outside of their forearms. They've both got skin panels on their hips and lower legs. They've both got backpacks; Kingdom's hangs a little lower, but it doesn't stick out as far behind him. Rhinox comes with his signature spinning-blade-chain-gun things. Again, mixed feelings. I love that they're actually painted now, and I'm not sorry that the spinning gimmick is gone. But they're smaller, shorter, and all-around less substantial than T30's. With the improvements Hasbro's been making in the War for Cybertron Trilogy lines you might expect that Kingdom Rhinox would have better joints and articulation. And you'd be right... but not by as much as you might hope. Head is on a ball joint that can look up a bit, nothing really down, slight sideways tilt. His shoulders rotate, with a hinge that allows 90 degrees of lateral movement (including when the arm is raised, so that's an improvement). Also, due to his transformation, he's got butterfly joints that bring is arms across his chest. His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees. Just like the T30 version there is no wrist swivel. And while T30 had a waist swivel, but the non-rotating crotch flap got in the way, Kingdom Rhinox has a waist swivel that includes his crotch armor but his rhino jaw bib can't turn past his hips, so it's still limited. His hips can go forward and backward 90 degrees, and a little less than that laterally. His thighs swivel just above his knees, which are double-jointed but don't bend too much more than 90 degrees. His feet don't tilt up or down, but they have 60 degrees of ankle pivot. That's a bit more than T30. The biggest improvement may not be the range, though, but the stability. T30 Rhinox is notorious for having pretty loose hips. Between that and his smallish feet I was actually having a hard time getting him to stand for pictures. Kingdom Rhinox has much stiffer joints; the lateral shoulder hinges could be a bit tighter, but the hips and knees don't move when I give him a gentle shake, and the larger feet are easier to balance on. Rhinox holds his weapons in the usual stick-peg-into-fists sort of way. This version, though, also has storage in bot mode. The backpack has 5mm ports on the sides, and you can plug the guns into them with the business ends pointed backward. They kind of look like propellers... of death. Another area I think is a definite improvement is the transformation. I don't know why, but I always seem to get hung up transforming T30 Rhinox. For this review I couldn't figure out for awhile why the back legs weren't lining up until I realized I bent his pelvis the wrong way. Kingdom Rhinox is more straightforward across maybe 80 percent of his transformation, and that last 20 percent is unfolding his back rhino legs from his robot shins. Aesthetically, the rhino mode is again something of a mixed bag. As I mentioned before, I think the browner skin color is more show accurate, as is the white eyes with black pupils. I'm not sure what kind of rhino Rhinox is supposed to be, but I think T30 looks more like the white rhinos I've seen in the zoo that makes me think it has more realistic proportions. While Kingdom could be going for a different species, like say a black rhino, the fatter body and limbs, lack of shoulder hump, and beady red eyes recall the original toy more than an actual rhino, which seems kind of weird when it seemed like Hasbro was going for more realistic alt modes than show or toy accuracy on the previous Beast Wars characters released under the Kingdom banner. The prominent green joints on the shoulders are also unfortunate in this mode, as are the hollow spots on the rear legs. That said, I do like the texture of the rhino skin better on the Kingdom figure, there's no green folded-up feet on the backs of his rear legs, and the amount of green showing on the front legs is a bit less. But hey, where T30 Rhinox was kind of an immobile brick in rhino mode, Kingdom Rhinox actually has a bit of articulation. His head as some slight up/down tilt. His shoulders are a bit blocked from rotating, but he can still spread them laterally, and his robot elbows can still bend his front legs inward so he can clap. His rear legs can bend forward a bit at the knees. His mouth can open, in a way that looks a bit more natural, without his robot head showing inside. Instead, you get a bit of pink paint. Like T30, Kingdom's weapons do store in alt mode. It's a bit more clear how they're supposed to sit. Better, the rhino mode is ok even without them. They're not necessary to fill a major gap or to provide structural integrity. I'd say Kingdom Rhinox is a pretty good figure that many Beast Wars fans will want to pick up. For the most part, I think the differences between this figure and the T30 one are more for the better than for the worse, making this figure the overall better Rhinox. That said, I think it's safe to assume that a lot of you were hoping for a more slam-dunk, all-around definite improvement that made upgrading from the T30 version a no-brainer. Instead, I'm forced to say that if you have the T30 (or the Takara version of that mold) and you're happy with it then you probably don't need to upgrade. In my case, though, the fact that I can pose him and get him to stand more easily is, on its own, enough of a reason to upgrade.
  6. That person would be Tim Heada, whose upgrade kits have more more miss than hit. Dr. Wu, though, has been pretty reliable and his stuff isn't 3D-printed, so there's hope for it.
  7. Oh, snap. I was off by a few entries, but kinda... https://www.destructoid.com/fatal-frame-maiden-of-black-water-pc-xbox-playstation-switch/
  8. As far as I know, no on Magnus, Devastator, and Astrotrain (although I want them, too). Percy and the Insecticons are being discussed, so we'll call them maybes. Dinobots, Blitzwing, and Blaster are coming, I just don't know if they're going to be in the trilogy after WfC or if they're SS86, or if the tapes are involved. As for what you missed, I'd like a new Octane. Maybe a Megatron- I like the Siege and ER versions, but I could do with less partsforming. New Titan Metroplex with actual ankles, better proportions, and a Deluxe-class Scamper. New Fort Max that isn't a retool and has an accurate base mode. More cartoon-accurate Deluxe-class Cosmos. Earth-mode Hound. Skids. And do-overs on all the combiners- ditch Scramble City, less retools, make the torsos Leader or even Commander-class with partsforming elements if they have to, whatever it takes to make better limbs that turn into better gestalts. Unfortunately, the only thing on my wishlist I'm hearing is in the works is a new Menasor.
  9. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, as this is just a rumor and it might not come to fruition, but I'm hearing rumblings that the Hasbro team wasn't satisfied with the Earth-mode retools of the Siege versions of Ironhide and Ratchet, neither of which were mainstream retail releases in the first place, so they're considering doing a new Vannette mold under Studio Series 86.
  10. Bit of a scare, as I left Friday to take my family to Presque Isle for the weekend, and no sooner to I check into the hotel when I get a notification that a package was delivered. Fortunately, my neighbor grabbed it for me so it didn't get swiped or sit on my porch all weekend (I assumed it rained at home, since it's always raining in the Pittsburgh area). So tonight I'm able to provide you guys with my review of what's supposedly the final figure from Unique Toys; Nero, their take on an MPM Age of Extinction Galvatron. So here's the thing... I'm counting Galvatron as a Megatron, and then of all the version of Megatron in the movieverse Galvatron was in the running for my least-favorite. Literally the only reason I bought Nero is because the engineering Unique Toys' puts into their movie figures is such a treat, and this is supposedly the last one they're doing. But in-hand, next to the other MPM-style Megatrons I have, Nero's actually faring pretty well. A bit smaller than Dragoon, but with a bit more paint. And he certainly makes the official MPM Megatron look like cheap garbage. And here he is with his rival, Challenger. The two share a lot in common- they're similar sizes (Nero's just a bit taller with his hips fully extended), they both turn into trucks, but they both show very little to indicate that they transform. I mean, if you compare Nero to the Prime 1 Studio Galvatron, sure, you can find some seams and hinges that betray the fact that he transforms, especially the hinges jutting out of his sides, but for the most part UT did a very good job sculpting his body surfaces to be as movie-accurate as possible, with appropriate touches of paint to bring out some details. And again, this being Unique Toys and not Takara, this is true for his back side as well. This is not a robot carrying a backpack with his shelforming alt mode. UT's black magic is real. But before we get to that, let's talk about accessories. He comes with a hand cannon, and some diecast missiles. A small bag will also have diecast wing mirrors and a bar. Another small bag will have this little dude, presumably Joshua Joyce and not Agent 47. It may also have the curving horns that go on Galvatron's head; the first batch shipped with the horns already attached, but due to reports of the horns breaking during shipping UT recalled what it could and set subsequent batches out with the horns left unattached. Attaching them is as simple as plugging the tabs on them into slots on his head, and once attached they do not need to be removed again. Alright, so Nero's head is on a hinged swivel, so he can look up maybe 30 degrees and down a little bit, and his head swivels (but only until his chin starts colliding with his shoulders. His shoulders are ratcheted for rotating, and a ratcheted hinge moves them laterally a little under 90 degrees. Like some of UT's previous movie figures, the shoulder armor has hinges with springs that allow it to move out the way when the shoulders move laterally but to snap back into position when they can. His biceps swivel. His ratcheted elbows bend significantly over 90 degrees, but they don't quite straighten all the way due to armor on the back of his elbow. His wrists are ball joints, so they can flex up/down/in/out a bit in addition to swiveling. His thumb is on a ball joint at the base, with two hinged knuckles. His fingers are hinged at the base with two more knuckles. The index finger is separate from the rest, but the other three are molded as one unit. His waist swivels, although you may find you'll have to move the cables on his belly to get the pose you want. HIs hips move forward and backward 90 degrees on ratchets, and laterally over 90 degrees on a friction joint, plus due to his transformation they have something like a butterfly shoulder joint, but in his crotch. He has a "thigh" swivel, albeit just above his knees, and those knees bend slightly over 90 degrees on another ratchet. His ankles are kind of weird. Due to transformation, the actual weight of the robot hovers over his foot, and the joint that connects his foot to his leg is a hinge on the back of his leg. This joint technically gives him a bit of upward and downward tilt, but in practice due to the joint being just a too-loose friction joint the weight of the figure will cause him to lean forward until the bottom of the leg is resting on top of the foot. It gives him a bit of forward lean that you'll have to balance with subtle bends at the knees and or the hips. On, yeah, and he's got good ankle pivots. The blades on his arms have hinges, mostly for transformation, but they do not come off. I feel like they retracted in the movie, but I can't bring myself to actually watch it, so... *shrugs* The hand cannon cannons can be attached by kind of smushing his hand into a fist, then tucking said fist into a cavity on the back of the cannon so that a tab inside of it can plug into the armor on the back of his hand. I've heard some people say they're having trouble keeping it attached, but in my experience if everything's tucked in right and the tab is in place then it stays on just fine. As for the other accessories, well, they don't seem to have a place in robot mode. There's nothing in the (crappy) instructions about them. The instructions also don't mention the fact that there are LEDs in his head, and with the right batteries you can get his eyes to light up. His eyes are painted, though, so I didn't bother. Like I said, UT's engineering is black magic. Nero's transformation isn't quite as simple and intuitive as Challenger or Peru Kill's, but I think it's a bit better than Dragoon's. Stuff mostly makes sense, but almost every part of him explodes open and turns inside out, and there's a lot of panels that need to be lined up just right to form the truck cab. Once it's all together, though, he's very solid. I put him with Challenger for scale, but I'm not familiar enough with these models of truck (or any truck, really) to tell you if they're in the same scale. I think Challenger looks smaller, though. As tends to the be the case, UT did have to make some sacrifices to the alt mode to get the robot mode looking so good. There are visible seems all along the cab, including some obvious ball joints under the windshield. The grill doesn't quite line up perfectly. And although some panels do fold out to try to help things, his robot arms are still kind of visible on the back of the cab. Oh, you can see where the wing mirrors attack to the side windows, and the bar on the bumper under the grill. Like his horns, once they're attached they don't need to be removed. That said, once attached you don't have a ton of clearance for folding everything back inside his robot torso, and I had one of the mirrors pop off- and take the window with it. Fortunately it was easy to pop back on. We'll take a quick look at the top and bottom, too. From above, it's not perfect but I think UT did an alright job flipping some of the leg around to form the fifth-wheel coupling, but you can also see how his pointy robo-butt sticks out of the back near the roof. And from below, well... you're mostly seeing his forearms, legs, and feet, with a bit of his arm blades peaking through. Now, I think UT did a good job making most of it not obvious robot parts, but at the same time it's definitely not what the underside of a truck looks like. In any case, Nero rolls on rubber tires, assuming you can get them all to touch the ground. The back tires on mine are sticking up a bit. The diecast missiles plug into the fuel tanks on the side; that much I know is movie accurate. Like Challenger, Nero's doors do open. Unlike Challenger, there's space inside. You can cram Josh in there if you want, but he's a bit too tall to actually sit. This is despite the fact that there are springed panels that automatically flip down. These panels serve no purpose in robot mode; they're tucked away in his torso. I think the intention is that these are Nero's seats. While the truck can use the missiles the robot mode couldn't, there doesn't seem to be a way to store his hand cannon now. I mean, you can kind of set it on his back, but it doesn't secure there in any way that I can see. Like I was saying, I bought Nero more because I liked UT's other figures more than I actually like the characters, plus I didn't want to miss out on their final release. Galvatron is hardly a character I felt I needed an MPM figure of. In hand, though, I really like this figure. In most ways, it feels like a definite step up in quality and engineering from Dragoon, and it certainly looks a lot more premium and has more shelf presence than MPM-08. If you're not collecting movie toys and have passed on all of UT's other offerings then you're probably not going to start now. However, if you enjoyed UT's movie figures then you're going to love Nero. He gets a recommend from me.
  11. This, in a nutshell. I don't like scalpers, and I wish more effort went into limiting the ability of scalpers with bots to get product (like the jerks who routinely slam servers to get 20 PS5s in under a second so they're all sold out before you can even get one in a cart), but at the end of the day they're just taking advantage of the supply/demand curve. On our end, all we can do is refuse to buy from scalpers (which really only works if everyone apps buying from them, but enough obviously still do). The better solution is to tweak the supply side of the equation. If Bandai /NECA/Fans Toys/etc would simply make more product more available there'd be no need to buy from scalpers. Oh, I guess they could also raise prices, too. Higher price = less initial demand. That seems to be Fans Toys' MO lately.
  12. I ordered the Reprolabels set for G1 Sideswipe. Can't believe the reissue doesn't include the Lamborghini badge.
  13. My wife seemed to think it was crazy to open it. She's all, "isn't it worth more unopened?" I told her I'm buying, not selling. It's not about what it's worth on the market, it's about what it's worth to me.
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