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mikeszekely

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Everything posted by mikeszekely

  1. I mean, until I'd watched Dune last night I was totally unfamiliar. Never say the '84 movie, never saw the Sci-Fi miniseries, never read the books. I might be the minority, but I'm probably not the only one.
  2. I'm sure they'll be good, but when FT decided to charge $250 for freaking Skullcruncher and preorders still sold out in like 15 minutes that was the last straw for me. I'm going to do what I can to finish Menasor and then I'm just done with them. I've been too lazy to package them up, but I fully intend to sell Lupus, Dracula, and the three Aerialbots. FT's just not worth the prices or the headaches.
  3. I definitely felt, while watching the movie, that making it longer would have helped explained a lot more, and breaking it up into an episodic format would have given me more time to digest who the various players are and their motivations. A TV show like Game of Thrones I think would have worked a lot better, yeah. Plus they have a ton of material to mine for later seasons after they finish the first book. Speaking of... if I decide to read the books, should I just read the six Frank wrote, or should I also read the sequels/prequels his son wrote with Kevin J. Anderson?
  4. Couple of repaints to roundup. First up, we have the Target-exclusive Road Rage. I've actually been sitting on this one for awhile, waiting for something else to come in because I wasn't going to do a post just for one repaint. Anyway, yeah. From the neck down she's the same mold as Tracks, but she does have a new head with a slightly different helmet and more feminine face that's a bit narrower with larger eyes. Aesthetically, she's got a lot of the same issues as tracks, like missing stripes on her wings and molded but unpainted details on her shins. Worse, she can't even get the details painted that Tracks did, the ones on her forearms. Also, if the MP is the definitive version, her feet should actually be red with black on top, not all black, and her biceps should be white. Articulation and accessories are the same as Tracks (although her head missile thing is dark blue instead of white). Other issues from the Tracks mold, namely the loose leg connections, are again an issue here. Alt mode is the same almost-a-Corvette-but-legally-distinct-enough-so-they-don't-get-sued car, but red instead of blue and with a slightly different flame pattern on the hood. She retains the flight mode and alt-mode weapon storage. Not a lot to say here... the missing details and leg issues made Tracks one of the weaker Kingdom releases, IMHO. I can't say I regret getting Road Rage- I welcome more fembots, and her presence in the current IDW series as Nautica's body guard helps (it also makes me want a Nautica, something I've wanted since the previous IDW run). But if you didn't like this mold on the guy who was in the cartoon, I don't think you're going to like it any better in red. Next up, we have Shattered Glass Goldbug. He came with part 4 for the mini series, which, y'know, what happened to 2 and 3 (Megatron and Starscream)? Last I checked Pulse had them shipping November 1st and December 1st, but it also said Goldbug is supposed to come in December, so...? Anyway, Goldbug's kind of weird, because where Shattered Glass Blurr was based on Armada Blurr but with a new G1-ish head, Goldbug was the result of slapping a G1 Goldbug head onto Cybertron Hot Shot, then inverting Bumblebee's colors. For this toy (and comic), they went back to the ER Cliffjumper well (again). Not so sporty or reminiscent of the original SG Bumblebee- I'd almost think the Siege Sideswipe mold a better choice (again). Moreover, Hasbro seems to have ditched details from the original toy, like yellow forearms and thighs, yellow patterns on his chest, and more yellow on his pelvis. He's really more of a Blackbug, but they did at least give us a new head based on the original SG Goldbug's. In what continues to be a running theme, Goldbug has the same accessories as every other instance of this mold- a bazooka that splits into smaller weapons, with a bipod that can double as skis in the alt mode, and a shield made from the rear third of the car. It's probably worth mentioning that this is my fifth time around with this mold, excluding the extensively-remolded Netflix Bee, and Goldbug has by far the worst tolerances. The hinge that moves the waist toward his head for transformation is floppy, an the peg that puts the shield in his hand/on his back is especially loose. So, I actually really dig the colors in alt mode. Reminds me of the '67 Camaro they used in Age of Extinction. The car itself isn't at all like the original SG Goldbug's toy, and the use of yellow is similar only in the fact that the original had yellow accents, too, but it's fine for what it is. I don't really have a recommendation here; either your in on Shattered Glass or you're not. I'll say it does kind of make me want a regular Goldbug, but please not another use of this mold. At this point, if Goldbug can't get an original mold I'd rather they repainted the Runabout/Runamuck mold with this head. My wife took our daughter to some Halloween thing, so I decided to spend my alone time hitting up local stores looking for a copy of Tigatron, since Amazon canceled my preorder. I said I wasn't going to do it, but I also didn't want to drive around all afternoon and go home empty-handed, so I picked up Shadow Panther after all. And, what can I say? It's a deco that existed in the Takara Beast War's line, then in 2000 Hasbro's online collector's service started selling him as "Tripredicus Agent," implying that they were passing it off as Ravage (which was a weird call, since Takara had by then already released a retool of Transmetal Cheetor as a much more screen-accurate Ravage). Despite being a black-and-silver Predacon that turns into a cat, Shadow Panther really isn't too similar to Ravage. The coloring is inverted on the arms and legs, with Shadow Panther showing black where Ravage has silver and vice versa, plus he's got the bright yellow shoulders. But also because the original toy was a straight repaint of Cheetor, with no remolded parts. If I'm not mistaken, that exactly how the MP was, too. Seems Hasbro decided to mix it up a bit this time, though. Rather than having the same head as Cheetor, they gave Shadow Panther the original toy's mutant mask for a head. It's... well, it does make him a tad more visually distinct from Cheetor, but I think I'd have preferred a straight redeco. Shadow Panther comes with the same whip/tail and the same articulation as Cheetor. Also the same lack of a gut-gun. Oh, and that thin tab on the back of the cat neck that everyone broke on Cheetor? Expect to break it the first time you transform Shadow Panther, too. Honestly, it's just a bad design, but fortunately doesn't seem to be necessary in the first place. Shadow Panther turns into a "panther", which is Cheetor but black with red eyes instead of yellow with black spots and green/orange eyes. I supposed cheetahs and leopards are similar enough to get away with this, although a leopard has a slightly more leonine face and proportionally shorter limbs. Yeah... I'm still going to suggest that you have more willpower than I and skip Shadow Panther. The Cheetor mold is ok, but not really worth buying again for a character that was just a black repaint and didn't even enter fiction until a 2006 comic book. Finally, we have Studio Series Sideswipe. Now, you might be thinking, didn't Sideswipe come out like two and a half, maybe three years ago? Indeed, I reviewed a Studio Series Sideswipe way back in February 2019- he's the one on your right. But Hasbro seems quite content to release a version of a character for each film they were in, especially when it means a minimal remold or repaint. And so that's what we have here; the older figure was Sideswipe in Dark of the Moon, the newer one (left) is Sideswipe in Revenge of the Fallen. On the shelf, I didn't notice a huge difference, to the point where I almost didn't buy him because he really looked like the figure I already had. But the number (78) insists that the figure was recent, so into the cart he went. In hand, the differences are much more noticeable. While they both have silver paint for the parts that make up the car, the newer figure uses a darker gray plastic for most of his robot bits. This leads to situations where Hasbro was able to use light gray plastic for some parts that were silver on the robot with gunmetal paint for some accents the first time, but on the new version the accents are left unpainted dark gray and the lighter parts had to be painted silver. The result is that the newer figure seems to have more paint overall, and comes across as a bit more "premium" because of it. He also seems to have a slightly different head sculpt. Spinning him around, you can see some small differences in his wings and totally different backpacks. The wings are because the backpack elements don't rotate the way they did on the original figure. And the backpack itself, which is unfortunately a bit larger this time around, comes down to the difference in the alt mode. But let's take a minute to focus on some similarities, ok? The articulation is the same, because the robot is the same, just with a different head and backpack. And he comes with the same accessories- two double-barreled pistols, and two arm blades made from car parts. OK, back to differences. The big difference is, of course, the roof (or lack thereof). The earlier toy, based on Dark of the Moon, was based on the C7 Corvette Stingray Convertible, while the new toy depicts the earlier C7 concept car, which had a roof. Differences in the front facia are minor; really just the removal of the previous toy's hood scoops. Coming around to the side, the new figure has larger front and side windows, which are entirely attached to the roof (where the older toy kept the front windshield with the roof but the sides were attached to his door wings). The back gets the most remolding, as it's build around the rear window instead of the lack of one, and it lacks the spoiler. To top it off, the four exhausts are on a separate, hinged piece on the new toy. Of course, having a roof means that Hasbro didn't really have to give the interior the same attention... or any attention, really. there's no seats, dashboard, or steering wheel on this version of Sideswipe. That does mean that there's some remolding going on under the roof, not just on it. Namely, there's a slot on one either side of one of the hinged armatures attaching the roof to Sideswipe's back. It can be a little tricky, but there are tabs on the guns that fit into those slots before compacting everything into place, allowing the guns to be stored in vehicle mode (maybe robot mode, too- the backpack seemed to cover them in robot mode, but I didn't think to check if there's space there anyway). If you only care to have one representation of a character and you already bought the first Sideswipe I wouldn't say that there's anything that's such an improvement that you should replace the DotM version with this one. Of course, if you passed on the DotM release this version is mostly the same but with better bot-mode paint, and is therefore probably the version to go for. As I said, though, Hasbro seems keen on releasing characters again for every movie they appeared in; Prime's been done for the first three films, Ratchet for 1 & 3, and I fully expect we see the 2007 Camaro Bee retooled again for DotM the way he was already slightly retooled for RotF. Getting this Sideswipe to complement the earlier release and represent how he looked in both movies is certainly an option.
  5. So, I watched this last night, and from the glowing comments here I wonder if we were actually watching the same movie. Maybe because I've never read the books or watched the older Dune movie, but I thought it was an overwhelming info dump until Despite that, I still often found myself confused about the motivations of different factions. Still, I had enough of a sense that Paul's got enemies in the Harkonnen and probably the Emperor, and that he's likely looking to make an ally of the Fremens. And just as I was getting interested in where that story is going, it just ended. Now, I think a project like this needs to be taken as a whole, and it's quite possible, perhaps likely, that I'll like the Dune parts 1 and 2 taken as a whole. I'm also considering reading the novels, and it's also possible that I'll have a new appreciation for the film after doing so. As a standalone film, though, divorced of any prior knowledge of the Dune universe? I thought it was kind of boring, and I have no desire to watch it again.
  6. Haven't been following TFCon too closely, been a busy day. I guess Fans Toys revealed a ton of stuff, but I can't bring myself to care about any of it because they charge $50-$100 more than most other 3P's with similar-sized figures yet securing a preorder is like trying to buy a PS5. Shame, if they weren't so insane with them I'd have probably gone for their Scourge. I think people are also upset with what they didn't show, namely Dead End, Fireflight, Slingshot, or the combined modes. I guess the big news from Planet X is that their IDW Grimlock isn't a one-off, and they're working on Sludge. MMC's got a black repaint of their excellent Optus Pexus coming. I'm pretty content with just the regular one, but I have a feeling @Scyla might be interested. They also had Mentis, their version of Rung from IDW's More Than Meets the Eye. I want it, to have a good Rung, but it seems like he's not getting a wide release and the PSX price seems kind of high. Then they had a lighter, cartoon-colored repaint of their Sky Lynx. I passed originally, but if there's nothing else coming around that time that I'm into I kind of regret missing it the first time. Under their Ocular Max brand they also showed off their G2 Combaticons (hard pass, but we'll talk if they do Ruination/Baldigus), and their Protectobots. I'm all about their Protectobots. I mean, the Protectobots are probably my least favorite combiner team, but they look really good to me and I really liked their Combaticons. They're hinting that a third combiner is coming after Defensor. They're not saying who until next year, but I'm feeling like it might be Devastator. Fans Hobby has some pretty interesting reveals. Hasbro wants to do a Titan Cybertron Metroplex when everyone wants them to do Tidal Wave? Fans Hobby is doing Tidal Wave. And Tidal Wave looks like he's going to combine with their upcoming Armada Megatron, so they decided to make Overload to combine with their Prime. There's some new test shots of their Energon Prime, too. But it's not all UT, they're still doing Masterforce with test shots of their Doubledealer, and a Siren repaint of Goshooter.
  7. I've got some better stuff on the way, but for now I'm just going to post one some upgrade kits I nabbed. First up, we have this weapon kit from Matrix Workshop for Studio Series 86 Wreck-Gar. As far as 3D printed stuff goes, I've seen much rougher prints. You get a rifle based on the G1 toy's, and a pipe with a 5mm hole on the end and a peg in the middle. The rifle works just like you'd expect. You plug the 5mm handle into his hand, and you're done. Now, what you're supposed to do with the pipe is stick Wreck-Gar's pinwheel of death into the hole on the end, and then stick the narrower end of the pipe into his hand, effectively lengthening his weapon. Here's where we run into trouble (that I'm told is fairly common for Matrix Workshop); the pipe is too narrow, so it's super loose in Wreck-Gar's hand. Meanwhile, the hole on the end is super tight, and I'm worried it'll at best rub paint from the inside and at worst wear down the handle of Wreck-Gar's pinwheel. I guess you can say that you can store both of the new accessories on Wreck-Gar in bike mode. The pipe is meant to be like an exhaust. The peg fits into the hole on Wreck-Gar's leg, with the kink allowing the wider end to fit under the spike. And sure, that's fine, but not really cartoon accurate and not really necessary, IMHO. As for the gun, well, you've really only got the 5mm peg holes on Wreck-Gar's legs, and the magazine sticks out too far to plug the gun in parallel to his leg. You can peg it in, but you'll have to turn it a way that gives the magazine clearance, such as straight up. Not ideal, but not necessarily worse then the pinwheel on the back of the bike. Also not exactly Matrix Workshop's fault. They're just going for G1 accuracy. It would have been better if Wreck-Gar had more 5mm ports in the first place, like maybe under his saddlebags. So here's the verdict- the exhaust pipe doesn't work well in robot mode, but honestly wasn't really necessary in the first place since the animation model doesn't have an exhaust and the pinwheel axe was already the correct cartoon proportions. Taking the exhaust is just the price you pay to get the rifle, which is what I really wanted. And fortunately the rifle works fine, exactly what I wanted. So if you're thinking about getting this kit for the exhaust don't bother, but if you want a rifle for Wreck-Gar this kit will take care of that. Next up we have a filler kit from Go Better Studios for Kingdom Warpath. Go Better has been one of my more favorite of these little Chinese groups doing 3D-printed upgrade kits because of the quality of their prints and the painting they do to color match, but lately they've really been pushing the boundaries of what's being done with 3D-printed stuff with clever, hinged designs like the backpack they did for Earthrise Optimus or the spoilers that turn into arm fillers for Sunstreaker. This kit is one of their more ambitious ones, as it sets out to not only fill some hollow spots but to improve on the tank mode while simultaneously ditching that weird shield. We'll start off easy. There's two bicep fillers and two thigh fillers. The bicep fillers are going to be pretty obvious, but take not of how the thigh fillers fit. OK, now for the hinged parts. One's a forearm filler. Make sure the hinge is folded such that the you get a rectangle near the wrist. The other goes into his foot. Line up the big part with his toes, then wrap the rest along his sole. OK, bot mode is looking good. Only thing you really need to be aware of is that the part of the filler that runs along his soles does inhibit his ankle pivot a little, but you should still be able to get 45 degrees no problem. "Does it transform without partsforming?" is the question you really want to ask. And the answer is yes! But there's some things to keep in mind. First you need to transform the foot fillers. You do this by taking the part that runs along the sole and folding it toward the toe. Now, the trick here is that you still have to transform the rest of his foot. The trouble is the part I've circled, which is on the original mold, not the upgrade part. It needs to move up to the top of the foot, but you see the hinge on the foot filler? That hinge is going to get in the way. You can work around this by manipulating his ankle pivot, tilting the foot, then straightening his ankle and moving the filler after that flap is in place. As for the arm filler, you're using the hinge to open it up. That re-exposes the white underneath, which has the slot that goes into the tab and helps hold the arm in place in tank mode. The flap itself doesn't really do anything else, it'll just chill out under the tank. The results speak for themselves. Stock, even with the shield, the feet parts with the treads come out farther than the front of the tank and there's hollow gaps on the insides. Without the shield the gap goes straight across the front. With the Go Better filler, though, the front of the tank is now even right across the front, from tread to tread. All the gaps are plugged. It's 100% an improvement, and there's no partsforming at all this way. You can toss that stupid shield in a drawer somewhere. So while Go Better's stuff tends to be a little pricey this kit is absolutely worth the cost of admission. It's a highly recommended, borderline essential upgrade for Warpath.
  8. I don't think that's it. The original has huge shoulders, too. I think his head is too small. But yeah, I'm hoping for a Scourge repaint, too. Anyway, I wound up preordering the whole batch again at Amazon. See, when I preorder at Amazon, Pulse gets them first and I'm stuck waiting. But when I preorder at Pulse, Amazon gets their stock first. So I figure I'd preorder at both, then cancel whoever comes in second. (Or cancel them both if I'm still waiting when I walk into a Target and see them on a shelf.)
  9. As promised, I just preordered* everything except that Galvatron. And the release date for Laser Prime isn't until July.😭 *I guess Ravage is actually an order that'll likely ship next week, not a preorder. Anyway, like I was saying yesterday Ravage is the black panther I want in my Beast Wars collection. Shadow Panther can pound sand. I do still need to find a Tigatron, though, since the Pulse preorders sold out super quick and Amazon canceled the preorder I had from months ago. Guess they're making more money on the scalpers jacking him up to $50+... Actually, here's a question. Tigatron, Shadow Panther, and Waspinator are part of the last wave of Kingdom... but so are Slammer and Pipes. So where are they? I got a preorder on Pipes using the old Amazon wishlist route, and they have a product page up for Slammer with "Currently unavailable." Places like BBTS and TFSource have taken preorders. But AFAIK Hasbro hasn't officially mentioned them despite unveiling the line that comes after, and they don't have listings on Pulse, Target, or Walmart that I'm aware of.
  10. I can't tell if they collapse, or if his legs are just straightened for the box art (like the promo pics I just posted). But, they don't always get it right. Look at Laser Prime. Those gas tanks on his thighs should still be able to flip out. The transformation that has me most curious, though, is Arcee. I mean, look at her! That's clearly her shins at the bottom of the bike, with her feet facing the front and the wheels folded from the outside of her legs to over silver knee spikes. But her thighs are at the top of the bike! Her knee joints are up by the handle bars! Two parts of her legs that are touching in bot mode wind up almost as far from each other as they could be.
  11. The only figure they showed that I'm not in for is the Galvatron Unicron pack. But if I could put myself into suspended animation until that Laser Prime comes out I totally would. I'll update my Pulsecon post with pictures when Hasbro releases the official ones.
  12. So far Pulsecon has been about the Rise of the Beasts movie and some mostly mobile games. I'll probably check out the Beyond Reality VR game (SteamVR, PlayStation VR), though. EDIT: Unveiling Legacy now. Dang it, "energon weapons" is a gimmick for Legacy. Deluxes. There's the Skids I posted two days ago. As I said then, he looks good if a bit hollow in spots. Basically what I'd expect these days Dragstrip's looking much better than the Combiner Wars version, but definitely not totally Sunbow. Transformation looks weird; like I'm not sure if the engine moves or if the cockpit around it moves. They're confirming that Dragstrip is one of five, and that the rest of the team is coming. Not that I didn't already tell you it was coming. Prime Arcee. Like Bulkhead, she's been G1-ified. I'm fine with it, just not sure how Prime Arcee fits into a G1 where there's already an Arcee. Kickback! And he's looking good. Really hope they get around to the other two Insecticons. Onto Voyagers. Bulkhead. I've said my piece. No other Voyagers right now? I think Blaster is supposed to be coming in wave 1, but maybe it's not? It's definitely coming at some point. Leader Laser Prime! Oh, it looks so good! He's got the trailer! This is instantly my most-anticipated figure. That said, I wish they'd have taken the time to make a totally new mold. The hips and thighs are Earthrise Prime's, and the lower legs and feet look like ER Prime with with a new part or slight remold to cover the vents. Looks like his arms forearms are going to sit on the back of the cab instead of tucking in, and instead of having the gas tanks on his forearms they're going to fold out from his thighs again. Oh, and I can already feel the Reprolabels team getting to work on labels of Prime burning down a forest for that trailer. I don't care if it's a later Legacy figure or a Generations Selects, but I'd better get a Scourge repaint! Pulsecon Ravage. Nothing new there, but it goes on sale at 4:00pm EDT. Props to Guido Guidi. He's definitely one of my top five (four?) favorite Transformers artists. Last reveal is the Galvatron Unicron pack. It's a clear purple "reformatting" Kingdom Galvatron with some extra ships and minifigures similar to the ones that came with Unicron. Between regular Galvatron and the toy version I'm good on Galvatrons, and I missed Unicron, so I don't need the extra pack-ins. On last reminder, all preorders go live on Pulse at 4:00pm EDT for Pulse Premium members, then at 5:00 for everyone. Other retails like Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc will also start at 5:00.
  13. My kid's school is doing "red ribbon week", which is some kind of anti-drugs thing I guess. That entails wearing different outfits each day, most of which were no problem, but there's a "drugs can't find me" day where they're supposed to wear camo. So I was off find something camo for her to wear, as camo isn't something six year old girls just have lying around, and naturally if I'm out shopping I figured I'd might as well look for Transformers, too. Target was a bust all-around, so I went to Walmart figuring that if anyone has camo clothes for people of all ages and genders it'd be Walmart. And sure enough, I found a camo dress she can wear, but I was shocked to find that they'd also stocked some new Kingdom Deluxes. I passed on Shadow Panther; he seems like the flimsiest excuse to sell a black repaint of Cheetor, whom I'd already bought in both standard and Netflix colors, plus I'm going to try to get Ravage tomorrow from Pulsecon. But I did bring home Waspinator. Look, a lot of the Kingdom line has been hotly anticipated. Rounding out the G1 cast we've been building since Siege with stuff like Huffer, Tracks, and possibly the best Cyclonus figure to date? Yes please! Modern updates of Beast Wars faves like Primal, Black Arachnia, and Megatron? Even a "Truck Not Monkey" guy like me really appreciated them. Three figures seemed to get a little more scrutiny than the rest, though- Rattrap, to see how the inaugural Core-class fared against the excellent Thrilling 30 Deluxe (neat for the size, but probably too small based on BW scale guides and lacking detail so the older figure is still king). Rhinox, to see how a modern Voyager could improve on his T30 Voyager (better articulation, better joints, and better transformation make the Kingdom version better overall, but sort of a minor upgrade that made skipping it if you already had T30 Rhinox a viable choice). But the third, Waspinator, was the one that got the most buzz (pun intended), for two reasons. One, T30 Waspinator was a pretty great figure, arguably better than his T30 Beast Wars mates, so it wasn't obvious how Hasbro could improve on it. Two, early pictures seemed to show a figure that was extremely similar to the T30, so maybe Hasbro didn't even try. In-hand, side-by-side, there's definitely some changes, though. The green is darker, and the color breakup different in a way that's more show-accurate. Likewise, he's got some differences in his paint apps like the yellow circles on his shoulders, yellow teeth, purple eyes, and stripes on his robot antenna that are more show-accurate (and help give a little more life to his face). He's also got more yellow on his shins and purple wings, changes that are again more show-accurate. Finally, he's a tad shorter, which I guess helps with scaling? One change is actually less accurate, though, and that's his insect legs. The original toy had two legs on his arms, and his robot legs became the rear legs. The CGI model took some liberties by giving him six brown legs of similar proportions, something you weren't going to get using the thicker green robot legs to make the back legs. T30 got around this as best it could by keeping two legs on his arms, then having the rear legs dangling off his robot legs. Kingdom Waspinator does something similar, except now just one leg is on each arm, and two legs are sprouting from his robot legs. Although the legs can swivel where they're attached, they lack the articulation to really fold up tight and as such they always seem to be in the way. Another downgrade from T30 Waspinator is his sole accessory. It's a gun/stinger, like T30's, except it doesn't transform so there isn't a barrel or anything to really indicate that it's supposed to be a gun. It's disappointing, because the T30 toy has a flip-out barrel/stinger, and the cartoon had a harpoon-like barrel. Oh well. Before we had the crown to T30 Waspinator prematurely, I must stress that the articulation is much better on Kingdom Waspinator. His head is on a ball joint into the torso- he can't look up as much as T30 and his downward range and swivel are similar, but he's got much better sideways tilt. His shoulders rotate and have 90 degrees of lateral range, which is about the same as T30 but Kingdom uses a universal joint instead of a ball joint. Likewise, Kingdom's got bicep swivels and 90 degrees of elbow bend, but they're a separate mushroom swivel and elbow hinge instead of a ball joint. Both have wrist swivels, but only Kingdom has a waist swivel. Their hips have similar ranges, roughly 90 degrees forward, backward, and laterally, but once again Kingdom upgrades to universal joints from the T30's ball joints. Both have cut thighs swivels and hinged knees. Kingdom can bend his knees a full 90 degrees, though, where T30 gets maybe 45 (and that's being generous). Their feet have similar up/down tilts, mostly due to transformation, but only Kingdom has ankle pivots (of which get gets over 45 degrees). You're also free to pose the wings on Kingdom Waspinator without the flapping gimmick working against you. Waspinator can hold his weapon in either of his fists. He can also store it on his butt, same as he does in beast mode. I'm not sure if they're for accessories or just so Hasbro could save on plastic, but he's also got a 5mm port on the back of each forearm, on the back of each calf, and under each foot. As you could tell from the a lot of the early pics that leaked for Waspinator, the transformation on the Kingdom version is very similar to the T30 version. His body stretches out, the wasp head folds up, the arms tuck in, the pelvis rotates 180 degrees, his thighs fill out the insect abdomen, his knees bend backward and his feet wind up on his chest. I'm guessing that Hasbro was continuing the Kingdom MO of having more realistic alt modes. I mean, as realistic as you can get with a green wasp (those actually exist) that has a stripey abdomen (not that I'm aware of, it's either one or the other). That divot in his eyes isn't something from the cartoon's CGI model or the original toy, but it's actually something you can see on real life murder hornets. Despite the similarities, when viewed from a number of angles I think the Kingdom version is actually the better bee. His head is smaller, which actually looks more proportional. His back is more organic and lacking the gimmicky flapping mechanism. His abdomen has a more realistic contour, with the weapon sitting flush in it. Although his hands are still visible, his arms and hands are tucked into his thorax more instead of just lying along the side. As with the robot mode, you have more freedom on the wings' ball joints to pose them without the flapping gimmick fighting you. Surprisingly, the wings aren't the only articulation. The front legs rotate where they're attached. The back legs rotate, too, but they're molded onto the same part so two legs move together. His antenna can swivel. But, perhaps best of all his head can tilt up and down, and his mandibles can open and close. I gotta say, Kingdom Waspinator really surprised me. Pictures made it look like it wasn't a huge change from the admittedly good but older-than-my-kid T30 toy, which was a bit disappointing given how different Rattrap and Rhinox actually were. And yet, for all the similarities, Kingdom Waspinator is improved in some very significant ways with better robot articulation, better hardware in the joints, better bot-mode screen accuracy, better beast mode articulation, and (subjectively) better beast aesthetics. The only things I think T30 really does better is the beast leg placement (a minor thing), the weapon (honestly the biggest knock against the Kingdom toy), and the fact that his waist comes untabbed fairly easily (although it could be a "your mileage may vary" sort of thing). If you've been collecting the Beast Wars characters in Kingdom and you don't have a Waspinator then you don't want to miss this one. If you already have Thrilling 30 Waspinator I'll say that you probably don't have to upgrade, as T30 Waspinator is still pretty good and not too far off aesthetically speaking, but the improvements, while sometimes subtle, do I think justify the upgrade.
  14. Yes! I mean, I'm in for Legacy Bulkhead as a Bulkhead that can hang with the other G1 WfC/SS86 figures. But I missed FE Bulkhead, which was so much better than the RiD version. Plus I have APC's Prime and Megatron, and they're great. The metallic repaint of Prime could pass for an MP if it were taller. You, me, and everyone else wants their Bulkhead... it's weird they keep pushing it back.
  15. Hasbro is going to officially announce Transformers Legacy on Friday at Pulsecon. I'm not sure how much of a look we're going to get, but expect at least two figures to be available for preorder on Friday. First up we have Skids Skids is looking pretty much par for the course- a well-articulated, solidly G1 design that's 90% what you want and the other 10% is missing when they hollowed out his legs. I'm not loving the translucent blue axe-gun thing, but I can toss it in a drawer and be content with the rest of the figure. We're also getting Bulkhead, and I'm thinking this figure is kind of interesting. I mean, the rumors had already been saying that we were going to get characters outside of G1, but what we're seeing with Bulkhead isn't a new Transformers Prime Bulkhead, it's more of a "what if Bulkhead from Prime was in War for Cybertron?" I feel like that's going to leave some people who were expecting actual Transformers Prime toys unhappy, but I'm all for taking the best characters from outside of G1 and retroactively stuffing them into G1 (much like WfC already did with Barricade), and I'll definitely be grabbing Legacy Bulkhead. But the fact that we're getting a Bulkhead that's more G1 than Prime isn't the only thing interesting here. For one, there's that translucent weapon again. I wonder if that's going to be a gimmick for the line? I really hope not, because as part of a line aimed at older fans I'd much prefer the gimmick to be "give me the best version of the character you can". That said, I don't hate it here the way I do with Skids. Second, what's up with his wheels? The ones on his legs look like the rear wheels, but the ones on his shoulders look like they're just decorative- you can see them on the back of the cab. And the ones behind his head are his actual front wheels, I'm thinking. So... what about wheels on his shoulders are so iconic to Bulkhead's design that he needed fake ones? Third, what does Bulkhead's body remind you of? Ditch the shield cover, paint the cab red, paint the legs blue, and give him a new head... it's Optimus, isn't it? However, Bulkhead should be solicited as a Voyager Class, and the only rumored Optimus Prime I know of is a Leader-class and supposedly Laser Optimus, which this definitely does NOT resemble.
  16. Eh. If I really want to play on a TV I picked up the NES and SNES Classics, which were very easy to mod and add games to. I bought the TG16 and Genesis Minis, too; the Genesis Mini can be hacked, but I'm waiting (for nearly two years now) for Project Lunar to hit 1.1 and add folder support before try adding games to the Genesis Mini. Supposedly the TG16 Mini runs a variant of the software on the Genesis Mini and should be relatively simple to mod, but no one seems to be working on it. That said, if it weren't for the chip shortage making doing so prohibitively expensive right now, I'd probably just buy or build a mini PC with enough horsepower to run up to Dreamcast/Saturn/Gamecube/Wii/PS2/PS3 and slap a stupidly large mechanical hard drive in it with complete (or nearly complete) US libraries for just about everything pre-PlayStation and curated selections post-PlayStation.
  17. I'm not sure that there's been an official word, and AFAIK there hasn't been an update to either library since late July. However, gaming journalist Stephen Totilo reported asked a Nintendo rep about it, and was told that Nintendo is still planning on updating those libraries as part of the regular Nintendo Online tier, no expansion needed.
  18. Yes. At least the ones that will be initially available, anyway. I'm sure Nintendo will add more (there's at least seven more N64 games planned), but probably as sporadically as they've built the NES and SNES libraries. Anyway, there's nine N64 games: Dr Mario 64 Mario Kart 64 Mario Tennis Sin & Punishment Star Fox 64 Super Mario 64 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Win Back: Covert Operations Yoshi's Story Seven more are coming, but I'm not sure when Banjo-Kazooie Pokemon Snap The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards Mario Golf Paper Mario F-Zero X There's 14 Genesis games Castlevania Bloodlines Contra: Hard Corps Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Ecco the Dolphin Golden Axe Gunstar Heroes M.U.S.H.A. Phantasy Star 4 Ristar Shining Force Shinobi 3 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Streets of Rage 2 Strider Of those 14, Contra, Castlevania, Contra, Ecco, M.U.S.H.A., and Strider are the only ones that aren't on the Sega Genesis Collection. Even then, of the remaining five Castlevania is on the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, Contra's on the Contra Anniversary Collection, and Strider* is available in Capcom Arcade Stadium. That leaves a whopping two games you couldn't already play on the Switch in one format or another. *Ok, technically it's the arcade version in Capcom Arcade Stadium, but as far as I'm aware the Genesis version was a pretty faithful port hampered only by the technical limitations of the Genesis hardware. So like I originally said... online play, cloud saves, 58 NES games, and 49 SNES games for $20 a year. And $30 more gets you 9 N64 games with the promise of 7 more, and 14 Genesis games you could mostly already play on the Switch, plus some DLC for Animal Crossing you'll lose access to if you end your subscription and you could already buy outright for a one-time $25. I'm not sure how the accountants at Nintendo came up with that price, but I'm thinking it's probably too much for most people.
  19. So... Nintendo revealed the pricing for the awkwardly-named Nintendo Online + Expansion Pack, and it's coming it at $50 a year. This is, apparently, not a bad deal if you're into Animal Crossing, since it includes the Animal Crossing DLC. If you're not into Animal Crossing, though, I can't see paying over double the base price just for a handful of N64 and Genesis games when the base price gets you over 100 NES and SNES games plus online play and cloud saves. Nintendo should have included Gameboy and GBA games for that price, and made sure that their entire first-party library is included. Then maybe it'd be worth it to play all the Metroids* on one console. *All the Metroids being Metroid/Zero Mission, Metroid II, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, and Metroid Dread, not the Prime series. Not that I don't want the Prime games, I just expect them to show up in a Switch collection that gets a retail release. And, apparently, a Metroid Prime Trilogy for Switch has actually been completed, Nintendo's just sitting on it until Metroid Prime 4 is closer to being complete. Unless maybe it's just the first Metroid Prime game?
  20. I saw that, but I'm seriously confused by that. They mean the combined Raiden will be under 12" tall? When Shouki himself looks to be 7-8" tall? That's some crazy engineering right there. I'm with you and @technoblue, the scale game is fine for individual normal-sized robots but I've never felt the need for larger robots to be in the same scale; they simply get too unwieldy. I'm fine with Fans Toys' or DX9's Stunticons in robot mode then Magic Square's Menasor on another shelf (and in the case of Devastators, both Newage's and Magic Square's look better than Constructor). I think the fact that Fans Toys is doing a 4' tall Fortress Maximus is insanity. That said, while there's no apples-to-apples comparisons until Takara shows their Yukikaze and Getsuei or until Moon Studios shows their Shouki, the fact is that so far Moon Studios' Trainbots are bigger and have less kibble for $70-$100 less than Takara's. The only thing that Takara really seems to have in their favor at this point is that they're official and that Shouki's train mode seems to be more accurate with more realistic proportions.
  21. I watched the video, and the author touched on several of the points that @JB0 brought up. I think some complaints are a matter of personal preference. I haven't played it since it was my 12-hour-flight entertainment when I went to China a few weeks after it came out, but in Samus Returns isn't it a purple acid, not lava? And I thought the remake explained it as deliberately put there by the Chozo to seal in the Metroids. Regardless, lava/acid levels are just video game logic to me. You... might want to temper your hopes for Dread. One thing is abundantly clear to me now, though. While Mercury Steam retained the key plot point of Metroid 2- that Samus went to SR388 to exterminate the Metroids but wound up returning with a single hatchling after destroying the planet- it lacked the nuance of the original, and from the story perspective suffers greatly for it. @JB0 is spot on with his analysis; while a casual observer might write facets Metroid II off as being due to the technical limitations of the hardware, the cramped, claustrophobic screen and minimal music seems to be deliberate choices. And yes, the game deals with some surprisingly nuanced themes through its presentation- Samus is committing genocide and the Metroids, who have no way of their own off the planet, are a afraid of her, but the reduction of non-Metroid enemies as you get deeper into SR388 shows how dangerous the Metroids really are and why Samus and/or the Federation doesn't want them to fall into space pirate hands. That nuance must have been too subtle for Mercury Steam, as the game is packed full of non-Metroid enemies, even in areas that weren't in the original, apparently because Mercury Steam wanted the game to be more "action". However, a game can't just account for story. It's an interactive medium, and the mechanics of that interaction matter, perhaps more. I've played fun games with bad stories, but rarely will I sit through a bad game with a great story. Again, as with the original Metroid, I'm not saying that Metroid II was a bad game. With only the single NES/Famicom Metroid before it and the technical limitations of the Gameboy hardware Metroid II was a technical achievement that really emphasized the fact that there was a story behind the games. But I maintain that Super Metroid is the pivotal point where the true Metroidvania formula was solidified. What came before it feels kludgy and archaic, and what came after is one of my favorite genres. For all the damage done by Mercury Steam to the story, themes, and nuance of Metroid II, the fact is that they made a game that I personally find more fun to play than the original. Then again, I was never huge on the horror elements of Metroid. A lot of reviewers hyped up the fact that they thought Dread lives up to its title, but half the time instead of feeling fear or dread I'm just annoyed every time I have to go through an E.M.M.I. zone. Well, when I finish Dread I plan on going back and playing the main five in order. Perhaps I'll substitute AM2R for Metroid II/Samus Returns. While SR graphically and mechanically has it's lineage with Dread, AM2R might be a better fit between the other three sprite-based outings. I know I managed to grab it before Nintendo shut it down, I just have to find it.
  22. I mean, I really want to stress that I don't think the original Metroid or Metroid 2 are bad games, because they're not. The original was pretty groundbreaking in 1986, but there's been a lot of quality-of-life gains since then... like not having to draw the map yourself. That's why I'm ok with Super Metroid and everything that came after, but I just can't do the original Metroid or Return of Samus anymore. Thanks. I'm supposed to be up in five-ish hours, so I think I'm going to bed, but I'm saving that to my watch list and I'll check it out tomorrow.
  23. It's my understanding that Samus Returns was generally well-received? I've heard good things about AM2R (and about how Nintendo killed it when they decided to have Mercury Steam make Samus Returns), but I've never played it. I've played Return of Samus (I even have the VC version on the same 3DS I used to play Samus Returns), but I can't get into it. Likewise, I love Metroid Zero Mission but I just can't do the original NES Metroid. I'll look to see if I can still find a download for AM2R, but for now Samus Returns is still my preferred version. Curious what you didn't like about it. The same developer is responsible for Dread, and it's got a lot of the same mechanics (the L button for free aim, the X button being a melee counter movie, etc).
  24. Can confirm. I saw the article on Kotaku. I have mixed feelings... I support emulation and a means of games preservation, something Nintendo seems especially bad at (I was thinking that I might want to go back and play the entire saga, and realized that I'd still need my 3DS to play Metroid II, remake or Gameboy, and I think the only legit way to play Fusion or Zero Mission is an actual GBA or the Wii U). But I'd rather that emulation not happen until the console's been replaced. Regardless, since I did buy the game I figured I'd at least see what the emulation fuss was about. I'll say that setting up the emulator isn't as easy as setting up one for the NES, SNES, GBA, etc, and maybe that's deliberate. The emulators require a file that the developers seem to expect you to pull from an actual Switch that you own... but the thing is, it has to be the old pre-Lite, pre-OLED, and pre-revision white box Switch, without the latest firmware, and you're supposed to run an exploit on the Switch to get the file. For at least the one emulator you also need a copy of the Switch firmware, in addition the game itself. Maybe that'll deter some people. Me, a little Google Fu and I had what I needed. I set it up to run at 4K with 16x anisotropic filtering in full screen and play with an Xbox Series X controller on my Core i7-9770k with 16GB of RAM and an RTX 2080. There's the occasional stutter, but it's definitely playable and there may be other settings I can tweak to eliminate the stutter. That said, I did it more because I can than because I want/need to play on PC. I just reached the fourth area on the Switch, and I'm not starting over. But it is nice to know that someday when I want to play through Zero Mission, Return of Samus, Super Metroid, Fusion, and Dread back-to-back in that order I'll be able to do it all with the same hardware.* *Probably. I know I can do at least four out of those five; I understand that the 3DS has been emulated, but I don't feel like jumping through hoops to set it up and test it right now.
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