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About mikeszekely

  • Birthday 02/03/1980

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

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  1. I'd have preferred a translucent yellow chest (and doubly so for the real cockpit). But mostly Dreadwing's problem is that (aside from accessories) he's a straight repaint of Skyquake, and Skyquake was an amalgamation of Prime and Euro-G1, and the nods to Euro-G1 on Skyquake aren't actually applicable to Dreadwing. In other news, did you get the Walmart-exclusive G2 Dragstrip (sorry, "Shadowstrip")? Do you want a G2 Wildrider to go with him? Well, good news, I hear he's coming! Bad news, he'll be exclusive to Target. Worse news, in a two-pack. You want G2 Wildrider, you to buy him with '86 movie Prowl. "'86 movie Prowl?" I hear you saying. "I missed the Amazon two-pack and I need an Earth-mode Prowl! I actually want him more than Wildrider!" Yeah, I could see that, if he were simply the same Prowl figure with something like blue-painted windows or something to be more cartoon-accurate. But I didn't say cartoon, did I? I said '86 movie. So he's got a new head, complete with that "I'm dead" face he makes before coughing up orange smoke. And he's sporting his gunshot wound.
  2. Sometimes you preorder something because you know you're going to want it. A new CHUG-scale Optimus for my Optimus Detolf? Heck yeah! Sometimes, though, it's FOMO. Fans Toys' insistence on small runs of overpriced figures sometimes means they don't just sell out, they pre-sell out, so you preorder their Jazz then later come to your senses when the early reviews talk about a PITA transformation and honestly it doesn't really look better to your eye than the Maketoys one already on your shelf, so you cancel that preorder. And occasionally, you FOMO preorder, forget about it entirely, then realize that you bought a new figure after you see the PayPal email. That last scenario is how I wound up with Fans Toys Parkour, their take on an MP Cliffjumper, despite feeling like I was pretty content with MMC's Hellion. Was I really content, though? I mean, I don't think Hellion looked out-of-place on my MP shelf, but the head sculpt was always kind of smallish and not one of their stronger sculpts. And his proportions are kind of weird with thin arms, a long, wide torso, a ton of gray tummy, and a short, narrow pelvis. Then there's Parkour. Now, I'll be the first one to call out Fans Toys' flaws, but sculpt isn't usually one of them. Parkour's proportions are pretty much spot on, and he really nails that Sunbow look down to the lines around his wrist. Credit to MMC where it's due, Hellion's overly-large chest is the actual alt mode roof, and while Parkour is able to nail that Sunbow look largely via a faux chest. Of course, MP-45 Bumblebee (as well as X-Transbots Toro) did the faux chest, and the results led to big, messy backpacks. And I can't really say that Parkour's back is the neatest, as he does have some flaps hanging on his back (basically the rear window and spoiler folded over the front windshield) like a cape. It's not the prettiest, and from the sides you can see gaps around the enveloped windshield. But I can't honestly say it's the worst, either. It's not nearly the gappy mess of origami panels that Bumblebee's is. Indeed, his actual sides under his arms are solid. Nor is his little kibble cape as massive as the half a car that dangles on the back of Toro. Parkour comes with the same sort of accessories you've probably come to expect with a Cliffjumper figure. You've got the skis for alt mode. You've got the bazooka. You've got a smaller blaster that looks nice, although I'm not sure how cartoon accurate it is. And you've got three replacement faces you can use instead of the default stoic one. There's a happy open-mouthed one, a more angry open-mouthed one, and a... well, I don't know what that expression is supposed to be. A slightly open-mouthed "uh, I'm going to forget I saw this" expression after stumbling on Wheeljack's search history? I don't know, but weirdly enough (given that I usually prefer the more neutral expressions) I kind of like it. Swapping faces is easy enough. There's a tab behind the face, and you pull it forward toward you, along with most of the head. Parkour's articulation is fairly standard, the sort of C+ effort where he checks all the required boxes but doesn't really go above and beyond, which is kind of typical for Fans Toys. His head can swivel, and a hinge allows him to look up 90 degrees, but there's no downward or sideways tilt. His shoulders swivel and extend laterally 90 degrees. His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend about 120 degrees on a single hinge. His wrists swivel, his thumb is fixed, but the other fingers are a single perma-curled part hinged at the base. His waist swivels, but there's no ab crunch. His hips are soft ratchets that go forward 90 degrees but only about 40 degrees backward, with the hip skirt moving up under the waist going forward (and sometimes needing a little manual adjustment coming back down). Hinged flaps on the side lift to give him a little over 90 degrees of lateral hip movement on friction joints. His thighs swivel, and his knees bend about 120 degrees on a single hinge. His ankles are actually ball joints, they swivel and he's got some limited up/down tilt. Unfortunately, his ankle pivot is similarly limited to well under 45 degrees. Parkour's guns have tabs on the back of the handles, and those tabs plug into the base of the palm going in toward the wrist. It works. And the working bipod and strong upward head tilt does allow Parkour to lay on his belly and aim his bazooka. Well, it's a Fans Toys figure, so you gotta figure that I'd have some complaints sooner or later. And, in a shocking revelation that I'm sure will surprise exactly no one, Parkour isn't very fun to transform. The rear bumper unlocks from his armpit and the entire rear third of the car explodes from his back, sandwiching his arms in front of his chest. That in and of itself wouldn't be bad, except that Fans Toys mixed double-hinged armatures, sliders, parts on ball joints, thin panels, and swiveling armatures into the mix. Now, generally speaking, what you're supposed to do will be pretty obvious, especially on subsequent transformations, but he's a tad finicky and in things are lined up just right the rear of the car won't want to tab together. Meanwhile, his legs collapse with minimal clearance an the entire nose and the doors unfurl from his feet. Then, just when you think you've got that in place, you're left with the backpack flap that forms the rear window, spoiler, roof, and front windshield, and the challenge becomes unfolding it so that the windshield tabs under the roof, then under the hood, and the spoiler into the rear while also lining up tiny pegs on the side windows to the underside of the roof. Really, I think Parkour's transformation is more intuitive than Hellion's, but Hellion's is easier to actually pull off. All that being said, Parkour's transformation isn't the worst Fans Toys has delivered, and it's a picnic compared to The One from yesterday's review. And hey, you might actually want to transform Parkour! OK, so I'm sure I've told this story before, but I was in my 30s before I realized Cliffjumper was supposed to be a Porsche. The penny racer style of the original toy carried over into the animation, and I took Cliffjumper for some kind of Japanese kei car with similar proportions to a Beetle. Indeed, even after knowing that Cliffjumper's supposed to be a Porsche I still have a hard time seeing the animation model's hard angles, big red bumpers, and continuous rows of red rectangles for headlights as the more tapered nose, black bumpers, pop-up headlights, rectangular marker lights/turn signals flaking a front plate bracket, etc of a Porsche 924. So when it came time to choose between Toro's realistic 924 alt mode (that didn't really look like Cliffjumper) or Hellion's semi-realistic, semi-chibi car I went with Hellion. And as good as Parkour's bot mode is, I'm pretty sure his alt mode is why I preordered. Parkour doesn't even pretend to be a Porsche 924. Fans Toys went all-in on the Sunbow look, actually delivering the "kei car" I remember from the animation. He's even got the overly-simplistic raised circle on a recessed circle rims the animators drew. But that's not to say that Fans Toys phone it in, though. Parkour's got wing mirrors, sometimes but not always seen on the animation model. The windows are tinted blue, but aside from the rear window they're translucent, not paint. The tires are rubber, and he rolls great. The rims are chrome, and even the lights are done in red chrome to make them stand out but still cartoon-red. He's got a little molded scoop from the G1 toy, and unlike the animation model he's got molded door handles. Speaking of the door handles, Parkour's doors can open in alt mode. It's a nice touch that can be used when displaying him with some human figures from some angles, but if you actually look inside there isn't much to see besides Parkour's crotch. He doesn't have an actual interior the way Hellion does... but that's fine with me. Frankly, I think Hellion might have wound up a lot less compromised if they didn't try to give him a more realistic interior. As for alt mode accessories, he's got the skis. They attach by wedging the wheels between the silver outside of the skis and a curved inner edge that grabs onto the axels. Parkour can carry his guns in alt mode, too. However, the smaller gun doesn't attach directly. You need to first fold up the handle of the bazooka, which will reveal a tab. That tab plugs into a notch where the rear window meets the roof. The smaller gun's handle folds back, and the barrel twists, revealing a slot that fits over the fin on the back of the bazooka and allowing the gun to have the clearance to lay along the bazooka's barrel. Personally, as I don't care to display my Cliffjumpers with the bazooka, I'd have preferred a way to store just the small gun. But I'll note that Hellion lacked any way to store his rifle or bazooka, and the only way to stow his smaller pistol was to toss it (loose) into his cabin. When given a choice between Fans Toys and a competitor I tend to prefer the competition. Sure, the paint and diecast do make for premium-looking figures to stick on a shelf, but I'm not a display and done guy. I like to mess with my figures, so I usually prefer figures with more articulation than Fans Toys offers, and with more fun transformations than Fans Toys will give you, and that's without mentioning that Fans Toys are almost always more expensive. I went with XTB over Fans Toys for both Perceptor and Kup. I decided against replacing my Maketoys Jazz with Fans Toys'. My Huffer and Brawn are both still BadCube. With their track record of good articulation, fun transformations, and solid build quality I'm especially inclined to go with MMC over Fans Toys. I actually sold off Fans Toys' Arcee and replaced it with MMC's, and consider the Fans Toys one to be one of the absolute most miserable figures I've ever handled. I never once considered Fans Toys' Springer, using Open & Play's as a stand-in until MMC released theirs. I was totally prepared to hate on Parkour, then sell him off and keep Hellion on my shelf. And yet, while it's true that Hellion has better articulation and a smoother transformation, as I noted Parkour's not the worst Fans Toys has done on either of those categories. But really, Parkour absolutely murders Hellion when it comes to looks. Side-by-side I can't help but see how goofy Hellion looks, and how spot-on Parkour is. And so far Parkour is the only MP-scale Cliffjumper that totally eschews any semblance of a real Porsche 924 and goes all-in on the animation model the way I want. Really, it's no competition. Parkour is hands down the better Cliffjumper. Even if you already have Toro or Hellion on your shelf, Parkour is worth picking up as an upgrade. The only reason not to is if you're holding out for the Takara one, but even then from what I've seen I'd probably still go with Parkour.
  3. So, no joke, if Hasbro wanted to revive the Rock Lords brand as a separate toy line (or even as part of a Go-Bots revival) I'd be right there for it. My issue isn't with Rock Lords per se, it's with Rock Lords as new Transformers characters getting development budgets and slots in the lineup when they can't find the budget to make Breakdown a different car than Wildrider and a G1 season 1 cartoon mainstay like Gears hasn't had an update in almost ten years. I genuinely don't know what's going on over there, if they're giving designers free reign to get out the deep cuts like Devcon or mandating gimmicks like Fossilizers in a line aimed primarily at adults nostalgic for the '80s cartoon or what, but Hasbro needs someone else running the show for the Transformers brand.
  4. It seems like not that long ago when I was buying 3P stuff left and right, and actually swore off the mainline. Now? The last 3P stuff I looked at was in January. Like half a year ago! I guess it's a combination of having 3P MP-ish representations of most of the seasons 1-3 Sunbow cast and $150-$250 becoming the norm, but I've slowed down. To the point where I actually bought this figure months ago, but had it sitting in a pile waiting for that magical $150 "free shipping" milestone. This is SND's The One, a CHUG-ish take on IDW Optimus Prime. OK, it's not the more popular Don Figueroa IDW Optimus that's been done a few times by 3Ps (including the little guy on the right), this one's based on Andrew Griffith's design that first appear in Robots in Disguise #28. And in some ways, SND absolutely nailed it. The details on the legs, the gray joints at the top of the thigh, the wing mirrors on his chest, the outward-curving smokestacks, the (faux) arm wheels, the lights on the waist... it's all spot on. In terms of sculpt, my only real complaints are that he's a tad too skinny, and there's something just a little off with his head. I'm having a hard time putting my finger on it, though (aside from suggesting it might be a tad large). And The One doesn't just nail it from the front, either. He's not trying to hide a ton of kibble on his back. Indeed, the backpack he has is accurate to the comics. The only real deviation is that you can see the hitch on his heels, but Griffith drew the hitch on Prime's calves in the comics. What I do find disappointing, though, is the white. The comics are colored with a metallic sheen that tells you that pretty much everything you see as bare white plastic on The One should have been silver. Now, I'm not the type of collector that demands paint. I'm ok with bare plastic... when it's the right color. The white's just off, but I suspect that the designer was taking inspiration from Gunpla. Yeah, a lot of the parts on this guy are just kind of snapped on. The designer forgot to account for one thing, though- Gundam is white, Prime isn't. I guess I should also point out that although he's a bit shorter than a lot of MMC's Reformatted stuff, he's still a bit too tall to scale with Hasbro's mainline stuff. The One comes with a few accessories, and most of them are replacement hands. I know hands are more common with Legends stuff these days, but on a figure this size it again suggests to me that the designer was coming at this figure almost like Gunpla. Aside from hands, you get Prime's trusty rifle, a stand adapter, and a pair of energon blades that I want to blame on the legacy of Bayverse Prime, which might be true, but Prime did actually use them in the comics, so it's fair to include them. Oh yeah, The One also comes with a diecast Matrix. Would have been nice to have paint or colored plastic, but it is what it is. The One's head is on a hinged swivel, so he can look up a good bit, down a little, but no sideways tilt. His shoulders swivel and can move laterally over 90 degrees, and if you unlock them for transformation he's got some forward/backward butterfly. His biceps swivel, and his double-jointed elbows bend nearly 180 degrees. Note that the faux tires on his forearms don't really lock in place, so after posing his arms you will probably have to adjust the wheels separately. His wrists swivel, and there's a little inward wrist bend. His thumb is on a ball joint that can swivel and fold over his palm. His other four fingers are molded as a single part, permanently curled with a hinge at the base. That is, unless you swap out the hands- the others are perma-posed with no articulation. His waist swivels, and he's got a small amount of ab crunch/back bend. His hips move laterally nearly 90 degrees on friction joints, then nearly 90 degrees backward and 90 degrees forward on a ratchet. On his sides and back hip skirts flip up to get out of the way, but what's interesting is that in the front his hip skirt moves up with the hip, under his waist. And, since his waist doesn't actually leave enough clearance for the hip to get the full 90 there's a small joint at the top of his thigh that hinges just enough for him to get to 90. Sadly, as his legs contain a bit of diecast, they're a tad heavy and the friction between clicks is a little loose on the hips. Not ideal. His thighs swivel, and his knees are double-jointed. You won't get 180 degrees, but you'll be able to bend his knees until his calves touch his thighs. His feet have a slight up/down tilt, and about 45 degrees of ankle pivot. Unfortunately, this little bit of up down tilt is probably among the weakest of joints on him, so while he can pull off some cool poses it's not uncommon for him to just tip over backward because his ankles gave out. The One holds his rifle MP-style, despite being more CHUG-sized: tabs on the handle fit into slots on his palms. Swapping the hands is pretty easy, they're just pegged in. Simply pull and his hand will come off, then you can plug in whatever hand you can choose. The default articulated hands are the only ones that can hold his gun, though, and they fit for transformation. I didn't try the others, but the open hands and pointing hands definitely wouldn't, and I suspect the thumbs on the fists won't fit. So while they're nice options, I'll probably leave mine in the box in the closet. To use the energon blades, you open the outer flap on his forearm up toward is elbow (don't open the entire kibble flap backward toward the back of his arm). You'll see a slot near the end, that slot fits a tab on the base of the blade. As for the stand adapter, it clips around The One's undercarriage. And now, for the part where every positive thing I've said goes straight out the window. Transforming The One is a nightmare. I mean, you're probably not familiar with SND, right? Or if you are, maybe you might remember that they did an upgrade kit that turned Combiner Wars Optimus into a more MP-sized, Don Figueroa IDW Optimus. Well, there's a certain familiarity in the way the instruction book is formatted, but you don't even need to open the box to know why. The box is sealed with X-Transbots stickers, and The One ranks right up there with the very worst of Keith's over-engineered messes. Seriously, it took me over an hour to get this guy into truck mode, and I have cursed this much transforming a figure since Fans Toys' Rouge. There's a minimum of eight sliders that I counted. The front of his shins turn out to the side, rotate one one axis, then rotate on another axis just to flip around to the backs of his legs when there really isn't any reason for the front of his legs to end up there in the first place. But the worst is trying to tab his arms onto the middle section of a double-hinged armature. Everything has to be lined up just right, then you tab the parts with the tires in, and if you manage all that the next step is to bring the front of the cab over between the chest windows, which don't actually open with enough clearance to do so, and chances are something is going to pop off and his arms are going to come untabbed, forcing you to go back to three steps to try to line it all up right again. I very nearly quit at that point. This figure came out months ago, you guys don't actually need me to review it. But I powered on. It's a shame that transforming The One is such a colossal pain, because the truck mode is honestly pretty good. The cab is basically spot-on to the comics. We do encounter a bit of problems as we come to the rear, though. He's a tad too long, and most of that is because there's so much stuff extending back further than the rear wheels. Really, all that over-engineering and they couldn't find a way to collapse the legs better? If you could move the hitch forward, so it's over the wheels, then eliminate everything past the wheels he'd be pretty much exactly what you see in the comics. The One's hitch does have a shallow depression that looks like it can fit a trailer, but I don't really recommend it. For one, it's not a snug fit. For two, The One's a hitch is slightly too tall. But, and this is the big one, it's back waaaaaaaaay too far. The trailer would look a lot more natural if it actually pegged so it was just behind the red part on the sides, directly over the rear wheels. The One puts me in a bit of an awkward position. I would really like to see 3Ps get back into the CHUG game, so I wanted to support this project. I'd like to see more reasonably-priced figures, and this guy runs between $75 and $90, depending on whether you're buying from a domestic store or directly from China. And there are some definite positives here, like the articulation and the dead-on sculpt. If you'd also like to support more 3P CHUG offerings and you're interested in a pretty slick Optimus Prime action figure then this might be worth checking out. But do you want to transform your figures? Then stay far, far away from The One. Transforming this figure is enough to make you want to quit this hobby entirely and collect something less frustrating, like sneakers. Bonus fact! It's probably a little hard to tell, but Griffith's design was the basis for the "evergreen" design that became Combiner Wars Optimus Prime as well as Cyberverse Optimus Prime. I'm not exactly sure how evergreen the design truly is, though... while it was used for variety of merchandise and mobile games during Cyberverse's run, Earthspark has replaced it on TV and Rise of the Beasts Optimus has replaced it on merch.
  5. I'm just frustrated. Most of the time Hasbro's been doing pretty well by me since Earthrise, right? Like I'm losing interest in spending $100-$200 on MP figures when $30 mainline figures are delivering what I want. But sometimes they just miss the mark (like Astrotrain). And they keep doing stuff like finding the budget for deep-cut characters like Devcon or newly-invented characters like a bunch of new Junkions (or, if the leaks are to be believed, guys who turn into rocks), but they can't manage to budget for important characters like Bombshell or Breakdown without retooling another character into a semi-accurate facsimile. Doubly frustrated because the characters Hasbro keeps cheaping out on are my favorite ones. If I had the money to get a 3P going, I'd focus on re-doing the figures Hasbro screwed up.
  6. Following on that leak of Shadowstriker, here's another wave 4 Evolution figure: Bombshell. *sigh* Breakdown's my favorite Stunticon, Hasbro cheaped out and made and him 90% a retool of Wildrider. Bombshell's my favorite Insecticon, and wouldn't you know it, he's a retool of Shrapnel. Near as I can tell, it's a new torso, new head, new shoulders, but Shrapnel's arms from the biceps down and entirely Shrapnel from the waist down. I'll note that they don't show the back end of Bombshell's alt mode... probably because people are going to be miffed when they see toes pointing out the back. You know, people like me. I'm also not loving the black hips, gray hands, and gray biceps.
  7. The articles mention who's producing it, but not who's animating it. The style seems awfully similar to Avatar: The Last Airbender (JM Animation) or Legend of Kora/Voltron: Legendary Defender (Studio Mir). Wouldn't be surprised if it's Studio Mir, they've worked with WB/DC before (the two Mortal Kombat Legends films, Death of Superman, Batman: Soul of the Dragon, and Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons.
  8. I think Takara's Hoist looks better than their Trailbreaker, but I don't really care for Hoist enough to replace the X-Transbots version I already have. Annoyingly, I don't actually have a Trailbreaker, and I might wind up with Takara's, but I really don't like the dark gray paint instead of black.
  9. To be totally fair, this is Hasbro. There's a non-zero chance that he's mistransformed there. I'm in, regardless. Heck, I'm in it for the shaving cream accessory.
  10. I was pretty much console-only back in the days of Diablo, and while I was aware of Diablo II as a major thing it sort of passed me by. I loved Diablo III... on console. I know a lot of PC Diablo fans complained that the skill trees were less trees and more like a straight line, and they have a hard time understanding why I preferred to play with a controller, but I think I was approaching Diablo III more like a twin-stick shooter than an ARPG. I did try Diablo II Resurrected and... I dunno. I think DII needed more than just a graphical overhaul. I'm sure it was fine at the time, but the grid-based movement just seemed too archaic to me. Couldn't get into it after playing games like DIII and Titan Quest. I'm definitely interested in DIV, but I'm not really in a huge hurry for it. I'm still working my way through Tears of the Kingdom, and my neighbor's been on me to play Jedi Survivor. I hear you can use a controller on PC this time? I think that'll be what I do... maybe pick up an ROG Ally and take it on vacation.
  11. I was under the impression that the first Jurassic Park crossover didn't sell so well (it's still available and marked down to like $50 bucks), which, y'know, I kind of get that us '80s kids aren't as nostalgic for the '90s, but I thought it was a pretty decent set. But, yeah, I guess they're doing another one? Both figures appear to be new molds, so, neat. I'm in. This one's an Amazon exclusive. I don't know if it'll be on Pulse or not, so far no. Nevermind, it's on Pulse here. In other news, looks like Takara is looking to do a collab with Toyota and JAXA on a new Optimus Prime figure that turns into Toyota's new Luna Rover. Thing is, right now it's being crowdfunded on camp-fire.jp. If it gets funded, it will likely also make it's way to regular Japanese retail, but for right now it's a little out of my reach.
  12. I think this was probably inevitable after Evolution Prowl... Prowl's not one of my favorite Legacy/Evolution figures (and Legacy/Evolution has usually been less appealing to me than Earthrise and Kingdom), but yeah, I'm in.
  13. Shadowstriker (Deluxe, Evolution Wave 4) was leaked. And... oof. That's a lot of kibble. And sure, her limbs are the sort of thin you tend to associate with fembots, but then I'm also thinking that aside from the head it doesn't really look like Shadowstriker. I mean, there's no front-end on her chest, no doors on her forearms, no wheels in her ankles, etc... For reference, But I kept thinking, I've seen that chest before. I know I have. Shadowstriker's gotta be a pretool, but for what? After racking my brain for a bit, it hit me. That's 100% Shadowstriker's head on RID 2001 Sideburn's body, kibble and all. All I have to say is if they're hitting the RID 2001 cast I better get a Leader (or Commander!) Optimus Prime/Fire Convoy...
  14. This. Don't get me wrong, I love the open-world approach, but part of BotW's mystique was the way you felt like you were journeying into unknown, untamed wilderness with tiny pockets of civilization. You get some of that in the depths, but it's also a lot of been there, done that. Keep playing. Impa will give you a quest to check out these big glyphs. Doing so will unlock memories that reveal that Zelda's story is much more interesting this time around.
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