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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. Got myself a Core-class Studio Series 86 Ratchet. Aesthetically-speaking, sure, we're still dealing with a Core-class and the budgetary limitation that go along with it. But, I can't help but think that Ratchet might be one of the better ones so far. I mean, in a lot of ways he's more accurate than the Earthrise version that came packed with the Paradron medic... no red stripes or vehicle panels on his shins, no red greebles on his shoulders, red-painted hands and pelvis without having to do it myself... heck, while trademark issues with the Red Cross prevent modern Ratchet toys from having the said red crosses on his shoulders, at least he has something there, which is again an improvement from the Earthrise version. Of course, you're not going to get perfection from a $10 Core-class, so we've got the stubby suggestion of feet, visible wheels on the sides of his legs, and if I'm being nitpicky I might have painted some silver on his abs and the rectangular lights on his chest. Sure, I expect that the inevitable Voyager-class SS86 Ratchet based on the upcoming SS86 Ironhide will have a lot of these same improvements over the Earthrise mold, and then some. I might also point out some hollow gaps on the backs of his legs you can see from the sides and a chest that just abruptly quits aren't necessarily the best. But compared to a lot of other Core-class figures, which have needed a lot more paint, and the fact that this little guy is more cartoon-accurate than a Deluxe with twice the budget, and yeah, I'm kind of impressed. Ratchet comes with two accessories, a pair of pistols he used in his brief appearance in the 1986 movie. Happily, while molded in white plastic (I'm pretty sure the entire figure is white plastic), they're sporting some nice silver paint. Ratchet's head is on a swivel, so there's not really much tilt. His shoulders swivel and have some backwards butterfly movement on ball joints that have the balls in his torso. A second ball joint at the top of his biceps with the ball inside his shoulder armor gives him both a bicep swivel and a little under 90 degrees of lateral shoulder movement. Hinged elbows bend just over 90 degrees, no wrist articulation. His waist swivels, but you have to move the backpack a little to get it to clear the bumper on his butt. His hips are (slightly loose) ball joints that give him just about 90 degrees forward, backward, and laterally. Another ball joint at the bottom of the thigh acts as the thigh swivel and knee bend, which is unfortunately limited to about 45 degrees. The little peg handles on Ratchet's guns are ostensibly meant to go into his hands. However, there are holes in his forearms where they friction clip onto the elbow hinge. These holes happen to be just the right size to plug his guns onto the outside of his forearms, if you prefer. Ratchet's transformation is pretty basic and extremely intuitive; I didn't even bother with the instructions. What I really find significant here is that they've improved on the Deluxe-class Ratchet again, this time by transforming him into a fan without partsforming. And he looks pretty fine, too, if a bit bland. There's molded details, like the windshield wipers on the front and back, taillights, etc, that just aren't painted, which is kind of a shame because Hasbro had already used some blue on the front windows and some red on the light bar. Speaking of red, maybe some stripes along the sides would have been nice. There's also that hinge halfway down the side, but it feels petty to complain about it here when the Earthrise vans have it and the upcoming Voyager Ironhide has it. Honestly, my biggest complaint with the alt mode is actually that spoiler on the back. It throws off the vannette shape. However, it's necessary for bot mode, unless you want him falling over all the time. That spoiler is his heels. Ratchet's guns have tabs on the sides, and there's slots on his side windows you can plug them into. I'll note though, that for whatever reason there's a hole in his light bar, and you can plug one of his guns in there instead. Reviewing a figure like this is tough. Like I said, it's pretty good for a Core-class release, better in a lot of ways than the Deluxe mold. So, it's a definite recommend if you're collecting Core-class figures. But... why are you collecting Core-class figures? What is this figure's purpose? I mean, Core-class makes sense for doing important but smaller characters like Spike in his exo-suit, and it kind of makes sense for cramming in guys who might not rate taking up a Deluxe slot like Iguanus. But for a guy like Ratchet you probably are holding out for the Voyager. Heck, for other Core-class guys like Prime, Megatron, Shockwave, etc, you probably already have a larger figure that the smaller one was copying details from. So why do these exist? If you want a collection of smaller robot that take up less space you'll get much better figures from guys like Magic Square or NewAge. Hasbro's official reasoning is that you can display these guys with your Titans to make them look bigger, but Dr Wu is making figures that are arguably better and half the size, which makes you Titans seem even bigger. So while I really do like this figure, I ultimately have to acknowledge that there isn't a ton of reasons to actually own it.
  2. Really? The first wave of Evolution is more interesting to me than the second two waves of Legacy. I guess a lot of that has to do with the fact that I'm more into Lio Convoy and Tarn than Jhiaxus, a repaint of Siege Soundwave, or Beast Wars Inferno. Armada Starscream might be my favorite Legacy Voyager after Blaster, but even he isn't as exciting to me as Tarn. I guess the Deluxes are more of a wash. The Stunticons cancel each other out, Scraphook is kind of the biggest loser, but I have about the same level of enthusiasm for Needlenose as I do for Elita-1, Knock Out, Tarantulas, Crankcase, and Skullgrin (although I'm really wishing that they'd given more of Skullgrin's budget to Breakdown, made Skullgrin a Core like Iguanus and Bomburst, and maybe used a more straight redeco like Crosscut for that Deluxe spot). Armada Hot Shot's slightly ahead of those guys (again, I hate the show, but I generally dig the aesthetic that blends fairly well with G1 out of the box), as is Pointblank (although I really wish they'd given him the toy/Headmasters head instead of the crappy Sunbow one). G1 accurate. Maybe less so for Breakdown, but that's the least of Breakdown's issues. In a word, money. Then planning that goes into each wave is very much on a budget, and not just "this figure is a Deluxe, so it must be within this amount." The budget is spread over the wave, so more money spent on one new mold can limit how much retooling can be done to another. This does NOT excuse them, though. As I've pointed out, there have been several other decisions like making a brand Deluxe-class mold for Skullgrin when the other Pretenders have been Cores, making a brand new mold for Elita-1 (that isn't even particularly cartoon-accurate), or having slots at all for lower-priority characters like Crankcase, Knock Out, Needlenose, Pointblank, and Scraphook (or the other new Junkions that are going to clog up a lot of slots in Evolution). Just cutting the costs on one of those figures a little (like, as I suggested, dumping the Skullgrin Deluxe and replacing him with a repaint or partial retool, maybe an Earth-mode Hound from Siege Hound) and simply making Breakdown's hood different would have made a huge impact. I don't know, I don't want to keep beating a dead horse about it, because it's clearly not something Hasbro's going to change before release and I'm not going to bail now. But it is super frustrating to me, and all the more so for all the people on TFW2005 acting like it's not a big deal and we're just big nerdy man-babies for complaining about it. For now, all I'll say is that if someone wants to get into 3P and they don't want to fill in the few remaining gaps in 3P MP or compete with Magic Square and NewAge's near-monopoly on Legends, I don't think the demand for 3P CHUG has been this high since TFC was making Hercules.
  3. Sorry to keep bumping this thread, but a couple more things... First up, I was talking with Alex Milne today... For those of you who might not be aware, Alex Milne was the artist on Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye and man responsible for designing Tarn in the first place. He seems a bit less salty about Hasbro making toys based of his designs than Don Figueroa was... Next up, I'd been hearing some rumors, not from my usual sources but in a very "my uncle that works at Nintendo" sort of way, that Deathsaurus would be 2023's Commander-class. Don't count on it. I'm hearing from more reliable sources that if you look at the Evolutions poster carefully you'll find both the next Commander-class and the next Titan-class. I'm telling you now, the Commander is Armada Optimus Prime. Matter of fact, if you look at the original Armada Optimus, in both toy and cartoon, the lines across his grill are straight. The Armada Optimus on the poster, though, has a kind of zig-zags near the edges. You know where we've seen Armada Op with a grill like that? Harder to make out, but you'll also note that both Wonderfest Optimus and the one in the poster has the same chin cutout on their mask. I think it's finally happening. But what about the Titan? Well, believe it or not, I think it's staring you in the face. See that big purple head that looks like a Decepticon symbol? Bmac and Mark seemed pretty content to let you think that's Tarn- you see a robot with a face like a Decepticon symbol and that's just your go-to. But, if you really look at Tarn's mask, and you look at the head in the picture, they're pretty different. Well, you'll recall it wasn't that long ago that we got a Titan with a face modeled after The Last Autobot from the Marvel comics... and the Last Autobot's face was basically an Autobot symbol. Of course, that Titan was the Autobot's ship, the Ark. And up in the right corner there, we can see the Decepticon's counterpart ship, the Nemesis... I'm calling it now, 2023's Titan is the Nemesis, and that's the Nemesis' head, not Tarn's, in the middle of that poster. Lastly, it's been pointed out to me that the Core Dinobots are a bit curious. Like, why are their six? There are two obvious answers- one, because you can get a cheap remold of Sludge into Paddles and two, because if they're all Cores using two of them to make the torso will probably make for a more proportional gestalt. But, given that Volcanicus has Grimlock for a torso in both Prime Wars and Cyberverse, it's a bit curious that Slag is forming the upper torso and Sludge is forming the lower torso and thighs. But then people started pointing out a few things... like, there was a G1 combiner that was smaller than the rest. And it had six members. And, in Japan at least, the torso was made from two robots whose Pretender shells were a triceratops and a brontosaurus. And we do have an established pattern of making Core-class Pretenders with one mode based on their Pretender shell. Then it sort of all clicks into place. The Core-class Dinobots? They're pre-tools. While I expect that they'll use the American names (that is, Slog instead of Kakuryu) and possibly the American colors, I suspect we're going to get the Dinoforce with alt modes based on the Japanese Pretender shells. That'd make Grimlock the left leg, Snarl the right leg, and Swoop the right arm. The left arm of Dinoking (Gairyu, analogous to Bristleback) had an ankylosaurus for a left arm, which isn't super Paddles like. But, you'll recall that Evan never said Paddles, he said "we pulled from some of our history to make the 6th Dinobot." I'll refer you to RID 2015, which had a Dinobot named Scowl, who turned into (drumroll)... an ankylosaurus. Of course, if they use the American names G1 Scowl is a Pretender Monster. And RID Scowl is brown, which doesn't match the G1 Dinobot aesthetic... so I expect that they'll actually use Skar, a character from IDW's Monstrosity comic series, who didn't have a dino mode in the comics. He'll be an ankylosaurus now. So, yeah, long story short I think we're getting a Core-class combiner Monstructor/Dinoking, and the 6th Core Dinobot is an ankylosaurs named Skar. One more thing... here's some stuff that's rumored to be coming in future waves of Evolution Deluxes Shrapnel Prowl (it's probably the one that came with Ironhide in that Amazon box set) Crosscut Junkion 2 (possibly Detritus) Voyagers Ramjet (this is specifically mentioned as a package refresh, I fully expect it's the one from the Amazon boxset with Dirge) Metalhawk Nemesis Leo (emphasis for @Scyla) Junkion (I think another Wreck-Gar retool) Bludgeon Leaders Armada Megatron Prime Skyquake Prime Dreadwing TM Megatron* Laser Optimus* *Package refreshes, possibly the first wave leaders, likely what they were referring to when they said there weren't new leaders in the first wave.
  4. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. Previously, Legacy wave 1 was announced around the time the last wave of Kingdom was hitting. Wave 2 was announced when wave 1 started hitting shelves, and wave 3 was announced when wave 2 started coming out. Even though that was just a month or so ago, we have Evolutions announced today. Could wave 3 be hitting sooner than expected? Apparently some of the Deluxes have already made it to retail in the Philippines. So, yeah, while the official date in Pulse is still January I'm expecting they'll actually start hitting before the year is out.
  5. There's some similarities in that they're both long tanks with double-barreled main cannons. There's some big differences, too, in how Skullgrin's feet are the front of his tank, and Tarn's legs fold up over the back and lie across the top, and that's his arms at the sides of the back. If I had to guess, Skullgrin is lying on his back side in tank mode, with his back flipped up and his arms tucked into the space. I think Tarn's laying on his belly, with the chest flipped up and over his head to form the front, his legs folded over his butt, and his arms spinning 180 degrees at the shoulders then splitting to form the rear treads. Anyways... I updated my first post with pictures now.
  6. Those are screen grabs. While they'll be largely the same as the blue-background ones (although I hope we have some better angles for stuff like Hot Shot's bot mode), I'm waiting for Hasbro's official press.
  7. I'm waiting for Hasbro to release the official images, when they do I'll update the post. BTW, I know Black Lio Prime has an MP version coming up. I haven't heard if LE Leo Prime is going to get the redeco, but I'm thinking the odds are very high.
  8. Pulsecon time. Legacy Evolution reveal. Core-class Dinobots. The goal is to release all dinobots in one year. They showed Slag and Sludge, Slag looks pretty decent, Sludge looks a little wonky. There will be SIX Dinobots (they didn't say who the sixth is, but my money is on Paddles), and they will combine. Core-class Soundblaster. It's a retool of Core-class Soundwave. I though Soundwave was a good Core, but eh. Breakdown. They're talking him up, but they're getting savaged in the comments. The evolution is apparently that you can plug the spoiler into his gun and turn it into an axe... like Siege Red Alert? Deluxe-class Scraphook. It's a new Junkion character and new mold. Junkions are going to be the Weaponizer/Fossilizer gimmick, where you can can pull parts off of one and mix and match with other Junkions. Which is cool, I guess... but again I'm kind of PO'ed that Hasbro's finding the budget for this but not the money to retool Breakdown's hood. Deluxe-class Armada Hot Shot. I can't begrudge Hasbro for catering to later fans. I actually don't mind collecting the core cast from Armada. Hot Shot looks pretty good. Deluxe-class Needlenose. @M'Kyuun's not going to love the fact that he's a lot of kibble under a jet/robot with a jet on his back. Voyager-class Leo Prime. Looks great. Japanese Beast Wars is maybe a little obscure, but I've always thought Lio Convoy was was a great design. Yes, there's still some G1 that needs doing, but I'm not mad at this at all. Voyager-class Tarn. Looks amazing. If you're not a fan of IDW you might not care, but the story Tarn is from is probably my favorite Transformers fiction. Maybe Hasbro will do the whole DJD. No Leader in wave 1. They expect they'll keep TM2 Megatron on the shelf. The poster has some other stuff. More Junkions, Bombshell, Shrapnel, Armada Prime, and Getaway that I can see. Transformers is getting added to Magic the Gathering. I don't know how I really feel about Optimus being a card in a fantasy-themed card game, but I also don't play Magic, so... A Hero is Born 2-pack. We've seen it already, but when it was announced it was announced as a Pulsecon exclusive, so it's more like goes on sale today (5:00pm EST for Pulse Plus members, 6:00 for everyone else). Lugnut wins the favorite Animated character in the Hall of Fame poll, FOR THE GLORY OF MEGATRON! Motormaster wins the Legacy toy of the Year. Bmac said something about Motormaster being an example of what they can do with Combiners in the future. PLEASE DO MORE COMBINERS IN THE FUTURE! Start with Bruticus. Transformers Lite Brite. Transformers Earthspark. The new Transformers show, we've heard about it plenty already. I guess I should actually watch the show before I judge, but it's giving me RID vibes. Which isn't good. Outright Games (never heard of them) will be making an Earthspark video game. More news in a week or so at NY Comic Con. Interview clip with Nick Roche. Haven't read The Last Bot Standing. Shattered Glass Soundwave. Bmac is the reason Soundwave was the last reveal. As I promised, it's based on the Netflix mold, and he comes with Ravage and Laserbeak.
  9. I am so disappointed. It looks like they remolded the chest, head, guns, the car parts on the back of the legs, added a spoiler, and that's it. The spoiler doesn't even split, so it has to be removed for robot mode. The car doesn't look like a Countach, and too many robot details are leftover from Wildrider. His feet aren't even the right color! Figures Hasbro would nail 4/5 then drop the ball on my favorite one.
  10. I'm curious why, if you disliked it so much, that you kept playing to completion? While I thought it was kind of mediocre, I clearly didn't hate it as much as you did, yet I decided to move on to better games shortly after that boss in the pump room. On a totally unrelated note, I bought God of War for my original non-pro phat PS4 when it launched. I liked it, but it happened to come out when my wife had a two-week business trip in China and I was left at home with our then 2yo daughter, which didn't leave me with much in the way of time/energy/focus to play it. Long story short, I didn't finish it. Fast forward, and I'd decided to start over and really play God of War before Ragnarok comes out. This time, I'm playing on PS5. Two things- First, God of War is better than I remember! If Ragnarok is as good it might be the first game I'm willing to spend $70 on. Second, I've played a lot of PS4 games on the PS5 now, and for the most part there hasn't been much of a difference. Maybe better load times or something, but it's basically the same experience. Not so for God of War! The HDR is better, the world looks more detailed, and the framerate is noticeably better. After playing on PS5 I couldn't go back to playing it on a PS4.
  11. Sure, but still, what I'm saying is that there's a difference between a game that was probably ok at the time of its original release but has aged horribly and a game that's kind of so-so from the start.
  12. The regular Turtle mechs are cool, but a pass for me. That Leonardo that transforms into the party wagon, though...
  13. And for those of us who are really old enough to remember, Urban Champion was fine... when it came out on Famicom, a year before Super Mario Bros. The problem was that it didn't release on the American NES until almost a year after Super Mario Bros. I cannot possibly overstate the impact that SMB had on the videogame industry. There's a marked difference between the simple, often single-screen arcade ports pre SMB and the more expansive adventures either designed specifically for home consoles or arcade games heavily modified to add depth (ala Section Z or Rygar). On the Famicom this progression was likely more natural, but in the States we had SMB at launch, then a lot of games that were pre-SMB in Japan came later and were already dated on day 1. But yeah... I gotta be honest, I didn't care much for Luigi's Mansion 3, either. It's one of the few 1st-party games on the Switch I couldn't be bothered to finish. That said, I've been playing my Switch a lot lately. Shin Megami Tensei V was my most-played Switch game in 2021, and this year I've had a ton of fun with Kirby and the Forgotten Kingdom, the KOTOR ports, and I've currently got over 100 hours into Fire Emblem Warriors: the Three Hopes. When I finish that, I've got Live A Live and Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 on deck. And that's not even counting that I picked up the multiplatform games like Lego Star Wars: the Skywalker Saga and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Collection for Switch.
  14. I guess, since Raiden is the first official combiner in an MP (sub) line, he's big news, but I've been out since they first started showing Shouki. It was apparent from the get-go that Takara's priority was the train mode. And, I mean, they nailed the train, but maybe the priority for a combiner should be combined mode. For me, at least, two other stories have been the bigger news. First, there's Victory Saber. Given that us backers paid for the thing like a year ago and we've seen colored samples for awhile now, VS himself is hardly news. What's interesting, though, is that the marketing at VS's stand indicates a release date (at least in Japan) of December. Combined with reports I'm hearing that VS is actually hitting US ports now, and hopefully we'll have him in hand by the end of the year. The other news is that there's a display with Legacy Menasor... a complete Legacy Menasor. Which means our first look at Breakdown. And... it's kind of disappointing. Obviously, we can't see his robot parts while he's in leg mode, but as near as I can tell he's got new legs that aren't super Lamborghini-ish, and no spoiler. But, most egregiously, from where the legs tab into the arms/doors and roof he's strictly a Wildrider repaint. Now, I think we all knew Hasbro wasn't going to license the Countach, and that Breakdown was going to be a retool of Wildrider, and as a retool of Wildrider he was going to be proportionally longer/thinner than Earthrise Sunstreaker and repaints or Earth-mode Sideswipe and repaints. But for as much effort as the design team has put into getting this set of Stunticons right it's extremely disheartening to see Hasbro drop the ball in the home stretch by making Breakdown a white and blue Wildrider instead of giving him a more extensive retool. And, look, I know Hasbro's real big on maximizing their returns on each mold... I mean, by this point I think every WFC mold was released at least twice except Omega Supreme, and with Shadowstrip coming soon in Walmart's Velocitron line so has the whole first wave of Legacy already. But do they really mean to tell me that they can find the budget for an all-new Deluxe-class Skullgrin mold but they have to repaint Wildrider to make Breakdown? Seriously? I mean, between G2 (which is already happening, assuming Shadowstrip isn't a one-off) and toy-style repaints there wasn't already enough potential repaints? It's stupid decisions like this, like the rumors of several new Junkions in the Legacy Evolutions line while guys like Gears and Windcharger are still getting passed over for Deluxe-class updates, and stuff like putting the retooled Prime Universe Knock Out in the mainline and the brand new Cosmos mold as a shortpacked store-exclusive that's really killing a lot of the goodwill Hasbro got for the brand with War For Cybertron. I've said this before, and I'll say it again- someone in charge there needs to be moved to a different brand or fired.
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