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mikeszekely

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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.
  15. I don't think I'll review every G1 toy I manage to add to my collection, but when I did run through the '86 movie characters and compared them with the modern SS86 and Kingdom figures that seemed to go over pretty well. Well, I happened to nab a figure, finally, that's been a big hole in my fledgling collection of G1 figures, and I did want to share it. So today, let's talk about the 1984 G1 leaders, and compare them with their modern Earthrise counterparts. We're going to start with Optimus Prime, because frankly I don't think there's a toy more instantly recognizable and associated with the brand to this day than G1 Optimus. Despite the iffy proportions, pretty much everything recognizable in the Sunbow cartoon is here... red torso with the silver stripe, blue hands and head, silver mask, blue hands and lower legs, windows on his chest, grill on his tummy, smokestacks on his shoulders, etc. Even stuff like his pelvis in the cartoon is just the front bumper given a more humanoid shape. Plus, the G1 toy has a detail that's often forgotten on modern versions, the fuel tanks on his legs. There's no denying, though, that while Earthrise Optimus might not be 100% Sunbow accurate he's closer than the original toy. He also beats it in articulation. As was often the case in the early days of Transformers, the G1 toy has very little in the way of articulation. He can kind of look up, if you move the whole flap his head is on, but that's more for transformation. Likewise, he technically has butterfly joints, his hips can go 90 degrees backward, and his toes can tilt down, but that's all necessary for transformation. Other than that, his shoulders rotate, his elbows bend 90 degrees, and his wrists swivel*. Oh, also, his knees can bend. That itself was pretty uncommon at the time, and even figures released later like Rodimus Prime and Star Convoy lacked knees. *His wrists swivel because they're just pegged into his headlights. Hands that had to be removed for transformation were, unfortunately, just one more thing you occasionally had to deal with back then. Prime, of course, came with his gun. Depending on exactly when you go got him, his rifle may have had a skinnier barrel, like mine above, or one with a thicker barrel. Some reissues included both. Whether you got the thick or the thin, I think I prefer it to Earthrise's, which looks like they couldn't decide if they were making Prime's ion rifle or Megatron's fusion cannon. While never part of a G1 Optimus (or G2 for that matter), some reissues from the early aughts also came with an Energon axe, that worked by plugging into a fist hole. G1 Prime's truck mode is just *chef's kiss*. The legs, unbeholden to the shapes of the Sunbow robot, work simply and effectively. There's diecast at the front, around the windows. We have real, rubber tires, something you don't see outside of MP Transformers anymore. And, of course, we have the silver stripe around the cab- a stripe that's always drawn on the truck in the cartoon, just often colored the same red as the rest of the cab. It's common knowledge these days that a lot of the early Transformers came from Takara's Diaclone line, where the toy that became Optimus was known as Battle Convoy. Unlike the Transformers, Diaclone was meant to mecha controlled by little pilot figures called Dianauts. A holdover from that means that's Prime's chest can open to reveal two seats where for Dianauts. However, as the Transformers didn't come with Dianauts, nor were they ever sold in America to my knowledge. That didn't mean that the seats were useless, though. While I didn't realize that they were meant for pilots, I did realize even as a kid that this space was perfect for storing Prime's fists. Prime also came with a trailer, and one of the most immediately striking things about it is how much larger it is than the one that came with Earthrise Prime (pictured here is the one that came with Alternate Universe Prime, since I heavily modified my original Earthrise one), despite both cabs being similar in size. The result is that the G1 truck looks far more proportional, and I have to question Hasbro's decision to make ER's so small. Presumably, it's a cost thing that wasn't an issue in the early '80s. The larger size of the trailer, and the smaller of size of the Autobot cars/Diaclone Car Robots then compared to the Deluxe-classes of today meant that you can open the trailer door like a ramp and have an Autobot car drive up the ramp and into the trailer. This is a gimmick that's be replicated in the MP line, but most modern Deluxe-class Autobots are too big to fit in ER Prime's trailer. The G1 trailer lacks the more realistic landing gear found on the Earthrise trailer, but the Earthrise trailer is missing a gimmick on the G1 trailer where there's blue feet can swing out from the sides. Those blue feet act as supports for the sides of the trailer, which can split and open. Once again, it's striking how much more is going on in the G1 trailer than the ER Trailer. The ER trailer is mostly empty, aside from a little drone with two 5mm ports and two non-articulated arms on ball joints, plus a variety of 5mm ports to store accessories that don't come with the toy. Meanwhile, the original toy has more details and stickers, a much more detailed drone, and a little Roller car with a gas can. Once again, there are gimmicks here that were likely overlooked by kids playing with Optimus Prime back in the day that make a lot more sense once you know about Battle Convoy and the Diaclone history behind Transformers. Roller has seats for Dianauts, and there are two consoles with seats for Dianauts as well (plus a port in the corner where you could store Prime's rifle). A cool thing about Roller is that there's two pegs on the back that fit into holes on a black part in front of the drone. A button just behind the drone causes a spring to launch Roller forward. As for the drone, it too has a Dianaut set under it's cockpit. There's one arm on it with two points of articulation plus a claw that can open and close. A dial lets you make the radar dish spin, and flanking the cockpit are two missile launchers with firing action. Alas, I don't have the missiles for it. While the whole thing can lay down as a Roller-launching battle platform, you can stand the trailer up and make it a sort of repair center for Prime. Or, even in truck mode, there are squares on the top and front of the trailer that allow the trailer to close around the black armature the drone sits on. I was thinking it'd be kind of cool to have the drone peaking out the front, with Roller towing the trailer like the MP versions can. Alas, G1 Roller doesn't have any way to attach the trailer, short of just half-heartedly jamming the connector into the rear seat. As a modern, articulated, cartoon-proportioned Optimus there's little doubt that Earthrise Optimus is a huge step up from the original toy. However, there's a play pattern here that ER failed to capture with its undersized, anemically-equipped trailer. I'm not sure what Hasbro could have done differently, though. A bigger trailer with all the bells and whistles likely would have made ER Optimus a Commander-class instead of a Leader... would you guys have gone for that? I think I might have... after all, by the time I was done investing in upgrades for ER Prime I probably spent more than a Commander costs. But on the other hand, ER Optimus was a mainline product on shelves at places like Walmart, and one of Hasbro's more bankable characters. An argument could be made that if collectors want a modern cartoon Optimus with all the gimmicks of the G1 toy that there's an MP line for that. Ultimately, I love both figures for very different reasons. Megatron is a bit of a different story. The original toy is just awkward. There are certainly some details that made it from the toy to the Sunbow model, like the black, vaguely grip-shaped outsides of Megatron's legs, the black hands, the shape of the chest, and the vents and mechanical sticker details on his abdomen. Heck, you can even see Megatron's Sunbow helmet as a sort of amalgamation of the toy's head with the gun kibble around it. The gun kibble makes Megatron's head look bigger than it really is, though, which isn't helped by his thin limbs. The awkwardness of the legs is further compounded by absence of the black pelvis the Sunbow cartoon would get. Instead, we've got an unfortunately phallic trigger crotch with thin metal struts keeping the legs attached. The gun barrel, seen on Megatron's back in the cartoon, can't actually bend that way on the G1 toy. Instead, in protrudes from his right side. There's even a bit of a cutout in his abs for it. Speaking of that back cannon, it's really a shame that Hasbro couldn't figure out a way to make Earthrise Megatron's tank barrel sit on his back. Aside from that, and the tank kibble on his back and calves, Earthrise is a much more decently Sunbow Megatron. And as with Optimus, the old G1 figure gets killed in the articulation department. You can kind of use the transformation hinges in Megatron's hips to angle his legs as if he had thigh swivels, and his shoulders can swivel... but that's about it. In Western countries where Megatron was sold he did come with his iconic Fusion Cannon. Except Hasbro's decision to call the gun scope a fusion cannon and pretend it's an arm-mounted weapon seems to be more of a happy accident than deliberate feature of the original toy, as the attachment point happens to be on what becomes his right forearm. You can actually transform Megatron without removing it. You see, like Optimus Prime was born when Hasbro licensed Takara's Battle Convoy toy, the toy that would become Megatron was also a Takara import, this time from their Micro Change line. Micro Change actually featured at least three Gun Robos; a Browning M1910, a 44 Magnun, and a Walther P38, and each of those was released in multiple variants. The Walther P38 was released in an un-chromed gray, a black, and then the chromed version with the extra parts for the stock, suppressor, and scope modeled after the "U.N.C.L.E. Special" modified P38 used in the 1960's spy show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Hasbro would ultimately bring the U.N.C.L.E. version to the west for Megatron, but the original Megatron toy in Japan was the standard gray P38 Gun Robo. Not only did the first Takara Megatron not have the suppressor and stock, then, but it didn't have the scope, or even the attachment point for the scope. Ergo, Megatron didn't original have a fusion cannon in Japan. He instead came with a sword, the shape of which seems to have been an influence on Siege Megatron's cannon sword but, sadly, has not be reproduced for any of the MP Megatrons. Although it wasn't released with the Western version of Megatron, the sword does come with the various Takara reissues over the years. The other accessory the original Takara Megatron came with is a very late '70s/early '80s sci-fi gun. Unlike the sword, the gun did come with the Hasbro release of Megatron. Later Takara releases would come with the scope but not the suppressor or the stock, and in the unchromed gray plastic, and it wouldn't be until a 2001 reissue that Takara would release the chrome Megatron with all the parts the Hasbro release did, plus the gun. A subsequent 2002 reissue, the one I got my hands on, had everything from the 2001 reissue plus an Energon mace. Where G1 and Earthrise really depart is the alt mode. The Micro Change Gun Robos were created and Megatron imported by Hasbro under what I assume were vastly less strict laws regulating toy guns. While I'm not apprised of Japan's laws pertaining to this, I do know that American regulations are strict enough that the G1 Megatron toy has never been reissued here, Hasbro has never sold MP-05 or MP-36, and that Hasbro isn't even comfortable doing another neon green and purple Nerf gun like the '06 Classics Megatron. One of Hasbro's design team has even gone on record as saying that while a Studio Series Megatron is a possibility he would probably still turn into a tank. Between you and me, I'd be cool if they made a robot that's as clean, well-articulated, and Sunbow-accurate while keeping the WfC/Legacy aesthetic as possible, then having in fold up into a "spaceship" ala Siege/Legacy Soundwave. But enough about Earthrise and tanks... Megatron turns into a detailed replica of a Walther P38. Now, I'm not a gun guy, but as near as I can tell Megatron is maybe around 30% smaller than an actual P38; probably a good size for the kids that were Takara's target audience for Micro Change and young Transformers fans back in the day, but as an adult you'll find the grip is too small to really fit in your hand. The hammer is fixed in place, but the trigger can be pulled, and on the Takara versions at least it does so with a satisfying click. Indeed, most (all?) of the Takara versions came with one other accessory- two sprues, each with 10 plastic bullets. You'll find a hole in the top of Megatron where you can insert the bullet, and pulling the trigger will cause a spring mechanism to actually fire the bullet. I believe this feature was removed from the Hasbro release of Megatron, but I'm not totally sure why. I mean, I'm sure it's a safety thing, and the small size of the bullets would make them a choking hazard, but I definitely owned toys that fired projectiles with more force than Megatron here. As I mentioned before, while Takara original got the plain gray Gun Robo for Megatron, Hasbro imported the U.N.C.L.E. version, and subsequent Takara reissues were based on the Hasbro version. Hasbro Megatron came with a scope that slides into a mounting rail on top of the gun, a two-piece stock that slides onto a mounting point on the handle, and a two-piece suppressor that slides right over Megatron's barrel. This is the gun mode we actually remember from the cartoon, the one that Megatron would transform into so Starscream could kill some Autobots on their way from a moon base to Autobot City. Really, Megatron without the stock and suppressor just doesn't look like Megatron, so it's a shame that MP-05, Maketoys Despotron, and DX9's Mightron didn't come with them. At least MP-36 and both Magic Square and NewAge's Legends versions do, although the scope looks comically tiny in gun mode due to emulating the Sunbow proportions in robot mode too closely. The grip being too small for an adult hand is exacerbated with the stock taking up some of the little space you have. That said, there's something that just feels cool about bracing the stock against your shoulder, peering through the scope, and pretending to snipe a baddie with Megatron's gun mode. All those extra parts do have some uses in robot mode. The more common one is to separate the stock into two halves and pull the back off of the suppressor. A peg folds down from the larger part of the suppressor, and plugs into back half of the stock. Parts of the stock slide down and fan out to make a tripod, and the scope slides onto the suppressor. you finish it off by plugging the back end of the front half of the stock into the back of the larger piece of the suppressor, so the rails for clipping it onto the handle are pointing in the opposite direction as the suppressor's barrel. The little part you pulled off the suppressor just plugs in under that part of the stock, and you can fold two handles out. Since Megatron's fist holes are on the sides of his hands, they can clamp around these handles and you've got yourself a turret. I'll even note that the part of the stock with handles for Megatron to hold also has a hole for inserting a bullet, and a sliding mechanism on the side allows you to fire them. Fun fact, as Micro Change was part of Takara's Microman line of 3.75" figures, the scope itself has little handles that fold out and a 3.75" figure like Microman or a G.I. Joe could sit on the turret just above Megatron's handles, using the smaller handles in the scope to hold on. While the turret is probably my preferred way to store the stock and suppressor when Megatron's in robot mode, there is one more configuration you can use. Swing Megatron's gun barrel so it's pointing out his back, then cover it with the small piece of the suppressor. You can then plug the larger part of the suppressor, along with the stock part with the handles for Megatron, into the smaller suppressor part so the barrel is over Megatron's shoulder. Rails on the side of the barrel allow you slide the scope on sideways, over Megatron's face, giving him a gun face that I wonder could have been the inspiration for Lockdown's gun face in Age of Extinction. The downside is that there's nowhere to store that last tripod bit of the stock in this mode. Still, it would have blown my mind if Megatron actually used this mode in the cartoon. G1 Megatron is an undeniably janky robot with an alt mode that just wouldn't fly on a modern toy. And it's a shame, really, because despite the robot's jankiness I do love the gun mode, and the play patterns you get from turning the stock, scope, and suppressor into a turret or a gun face. Handling G1 Megatron with the Earthrise one really reminds me of how disappointing that toy really is, a half-hearted retool of the Siege toy that relies on some truly egregious partsforming to look slightly more like an Earth tank. And, I get it. Hasbro can't make a gun Megatron. But as I said before, I'd rather made a really good robot with a truly lame "spaceship" mode. Or, if they're going to go tank, go all in on a modern G2 Megatron (instead of repainting Earthrise in camo). Of course, I'd still love a modern gun-mode Megatron, so it's my most fervent wish that someone would KO Newage or Magic Square's Megatron and make him Voyager-sized. Alas, such things aren't meant to be, I guess.
  16. I mean, going with a 4000-series is like future proofing, but from what I'm hearing most of the "2-4x" performance gains over the 3080 is actually just in ray tracing, so... I dunno. I have a stock 2080 and I can get 4k 60fps with HDR on high or ultra in most games already. I think it depends on what you're paying for a 3080ti. I'm still waiting for actual, real-world benchmarks but the 12GB 4080 might be the sweet spot right now.
  17. I think it actually says a lot about the people running the brand at Hasbro right now. Mark especially seems to have a thing for more obscure characters, and I know he's been campaigning for new versions of Machine Wars characters, and it doesn't get much more obscure than American Kay-Bee-exclusive redecoes of old G1 toys that only released in Europe, Canada, and Australia and canceled G2 toys (although, given Hasbro's predilection for repaints, Machine Wars would give them lots of options... one single mold could probably be used for G1 Mirage, Machine Wars Mirage, and Machine Wars Prowl). @Scyla I'm just glad that Scourge made it across the pond safely, and surprisingly quickly. Anyway... with all the buzz about Legacy and Studio Series 86, it's easy to overlook the fact that Hasbro's still putting out movie figures in the regular Studio Series line. But here's a new one with Deluxe-class Sideways. Despite my overall dislike of the Bayverse aesthetic, I was weirdly fond of Sideways. I suppose it's because I thought Barricade was probably the best thing in the first movie, and Sideways borrows a lot of design cues from Barricade, like the the little wings, the spikey feet, the car chest, and the gorilla arms with tires in the wrists. And, well, you can see that this new Studio Series figure does capture a lot of those elements, yet at the same time isn't super movie accurate. Like, his wings shouldn't be made from the windows; on the CGI model, they're actually made from the panels behind the doors- you can even see the gas cap on the right one. The sides of the car with the headlights shouldn't angle downward, with the lights lower than the grill, as they do on this figure. They should shift upward, living them over the grill. He's also missing some other spikes and random bits of metal sticking out, and none of the red glow on the CGI model is present. He winds up coming across a bit monotone... indeed, as near as I can tell every part of him is molded in either clear translucent or gray plastic, broken up by some silver paint, which leads to further oddities like his tires being the same color as his claws. Do note that he's packed in bot mode, which I assumed was correct. I didn't realize until after I'd taken my pictures that he's actually slightly mistransformed. It's not a huge deal, but you can flip out some panels on his biceps for some extra jagged metal look, although I'm not sure it's actually any more accurate. You can also swing out the edges of the grill, giving it a more screen-accurate scrunched-in look. Back and side views. Sadly, I don't have the original ROTF Sideways to compare to anymore, as one of his wings broke when I moved a few years ago. One thing you can't really see in the above pictures, but you'll see better in my action pose in a bit, is that Hasbro went seriously overboard hollowing out his legs. The inside edges of both his thighs and his lower legs, heck, even his knee spikes, are so hollowed out it almost looks like someone was assembling a model kit like a Gundam, put half the leg armor around the joint, but forgot to put the other half of the leg armor on. Sideways comes with this gun. It's a bit bland, and, come to think of it... did he even have a weapon in the movie? I haven't watched it in years, but I mostly remember him trying to run away until Sideswipe murdered him. I find it curious that there's a 5mm peg on the side, but there are no 5mm ports on Sideways. Not even his claws can make a 5mm por the way Studio Series Barricade's do. Well... his head is on a ball joint, and he can look up and swivel but he doesn't have any real downward or sideways tilt. Shoulders are also ball joints, allowing him a swivel but only 45-ish degrees of lateral movement (and even that might be generous). There's no dedicated bicep swivel, even though there's no mechanical reason he couldn't have had one. You'll have to get your swivel from his ball-jointed elbows, which bend 90 degrees. No wrist articulation, but his claws are pinned at the base so they can open and close. He does have a waist swivel, a surprising rarity on these Bayverse figures. His hips are ball joints that can go 90 degrees forward, 90 degrees backward, and a bit under 90 degrees laterally. His knees can bend a bit forward, if you want to try to give him a more digitigrade appearance, and up to 90 degrees backward. His ankles are yet more ball joints. They give him a slight upward tilt, tons of downward tilt, and a swivel, but disappointingly no ankle pivot. Worse, the ball joints on mine were extremely loose, and Sideways is a pretty top-heavy figure, making it extremely difficult to get him to stand without falling over. His gun attaches in a sort of interesting way. You have to open his thumb as wide as you can, then slip his fingers into the hollow rear of the gun. There's a tab that will go under his thumb into his wrist, then his thumb folds over and a notch in it will grab onto a ridge on the side of the gun. Sidways' transformation is a bit different. Like, sure, his arms and wings make up the sides of the car from the front wheels to the back. But the rest is lifting his chest up over his head, unfurling his backpack, and more or less turning that into the rest of the car. His legs go up over his head, his face gets tucked between his feet, and all of that is basically stuffed under his the car. And about that car... well, Hasbro didn't bother to get the license from Audi for the R8. There are some elements, like the shape of the headlights and the grill, that are keeping with the spirit of the R8, but he's totally missing the louvers over the front and rear vents, he's got added vents on top of the front fenders, the shape of the taillights is wrong, the exhaust placement is wrong, and really the whole tail is too tall. It almost looks like he wants to be a hatchback. The monochrome colors make a bit more sense in this mode, as the car in the film was silver and black, but then you also have to acknowledge that that the gray plastic and paint that Hasbro used isn't actually dark enough (it's much lighter in person than in Hasbro's own promotional photos). There is a way for Sideways to carry his weapon in alt mode, but again it doesn't use the 5mm peg. Instead, there are two tabs on the other side of the gun. These tabs plug into slots flanking the exhaust on the rear of the car. This same storage can technically be used in robot mode as well. Over in the mainline and in the Studio Series 86 collection, Hasbro's had a few misses. They've hollowed out some parts to save a buck on plastic. And they love to milk each mold for repaints, sure. But, on the whole, I think most fans would agree that the overall design, engineering, and articulation has improved in those lines since Siege debuted a few years ago. Those improvements have allowed us to accept the price creep on those figures as the cost of things like ankle articulation. The trouble is, those same increases in cost are being applied to the Studio Series line, along with those same cost-cutting hollows, but the improvements aren't there. Studio Series Sideways has fairly limited articulation, especially in the shoulders, and has no ankle pivots. Almost all of his major joints are ball joints. His robot mode is only a bit more screen-accurate than the 2009 Deluxe, and his alt mode is arguably worse because Hasbro can't or won't get the license from Audi. Ultimately, the whole package just screams "CHEAP!" When I compare this to recent Deluxes like Elita-1, Wildrider, Tarantulas, heck, even Cosmos, Sideways feels like Hasbro gave him half the manufacturing budget but charges the same price. I know a lot of Bayverse fans (yes, they're out there... remember that kids who were 6 when they saw Transformers 2007 in theaters are 21 today) are lamenting the Studio Series line's shifting to stuff like the '86 movie, and, if the rumors are true, video games, but frankly, it might be for the best if stuff like Sideways is still the best they can do with Bayverse designs. While not the worst Studio Series figure I've looked at, he is a figure that totally fails to justify the price tag. This is a figure for Bayverse completionists only- more casual Bayverse fans would be better served focusing on characters with a bit more screen time.
  18. Few television programs have had quite the impact that The Simpsons has. I recently learned that "embiggen" and "cromulent" have both been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, and "embiggen" made it into Merriam-Websters. I find it somewhat amusing that future generations may be watching The Simpsons and the joke from that episode could fly right over their heads because those words have become accepted English.
  19. I usually upgrade my GPU every other generation, and since I've got an RTX 2080 I skipped the 3000-series and had been waiting for the inevitable 4000-series. But, hot dang, those prices. Does Nvidia think they're still cashing in on the crypto boom or something? Seriously, before chip shortages and crypto made everything screwy the 80-level was around the price of a new console, not my entire PC budget. I'll wait until there are some actual in-game benchmarks and see how much of an upgrade a 4070 or 4070ti might be over the 2080, but I have a feeling that I might just sit and wait for RTX 5000 (or, by then, replace my whole PC).
  20. I'm down. Afterlife might not have been on par with the original, but I liked it enough.
  21. This is where things get a little fuzzy. Like before we knew Prime Wars and War for Cybertron were trilogies and each chapter had a distinct name. That's not the case this time. Legacy as we're getting right now can be thought of as Legacy Part 1: Legacy. And it may or may not be a trilogy, but Part 2 is fully titled Legacy Evolutions. Last I checked Hasbro's YouTube channel has the entire run of the original cartoon. Look for an episode called "The Gambler".
  22. Same. Hasbro's really upped their game since Siege, but they've had a few misses I'd replace with same-scaled 3P versions. Megatron, Astrotrain, Ultra Magnus, and Mirage immediately spring to mind. There's also a ton of characters that haven't had a release since before Siege that could do with an update, like Octane, Broadside, Sandstorm, an Earth-mode Hound, and pretty much all the combiners except Menasor. Some of those guys have had Legends releases that, if only embiggened a bit, would nail it. As for MS-02, super 'toon isn't my preferred way to go, but it's what MS is after with this release. I think MS-01 and MP-10 have better truck modes, and I still think MS-01 is better as my ideal Prime, but as a Sunbow Prime I'm liking what I see with MS-02 better than MP-44 or TE-01. So I'm in.
  23. Been hearing a lot of rumors lately. While my sources have been fairly accurate through the first wave or two of Legacy, some of the rumors I've been hearing lately haven't exactly panned out, or they worked out a little differently than initially expected, or maybe Hasbro's just shuffling their plans. I don't know. So take this with a grain of salt, but here's some stuff I'm hearing will be in Evolutions (the line after Legacy): -Deluxe-class Detritus. This seems like an oddball choice, as the character was created for a 2004 recolor of the original G1 Hound toy, and he's somehow both a Junkion and a bad guy. But hey, pretool for an Earth-mode Hound? I can live with that. -Deluxe-class Beachcomber. One of my least favorite minibots- I'd rather see Gears or Windcharger first*. But I'm glad Hasbro's still doing Deluxe minibots. -Deluxe-class Bombshell and Deluxe-class Shrapnel. They were probably inevitable after Kickback. -Deluxe-class Devcon. Yeah, that guy from that one episode. *Why not include Brawn on that short list? Well, in addition to the no-brainer mentions of SS86 Voyager Ratchet, Core Ironhide, and Core Frenzy, I'm told we can expect a Deluxe-class SS86 Brawn in 2023.
  24. I don't have big expectations for Pulsecon, because I'm not totally sure what they'd even announce. We already know that the Pulsecon set is going to be Alpha Trion and Orion Pax, and they just revealed the third wave of Legacy just a few weeks ago, along with a few Studio Series figures. It doesn't leave a lot left to reveal. Maybe a Gen Selects or two, or the last Shattered Glass II figure (who, I'm told, will be Soundwave, and it'll be based on the Netflix mold)? Maybe some new details about that new (and kind of crappy-looking, IMO) new show? Maybe something for Rise of the Beasts? Or some mention of Evolutions (which my sources are saying is the line that will take over for Legacy)? I'm not expecting it to be mentioned at Pulsecon, but apparently there will be a second wave of Walmart's Velocitron line. I don't have a ton of details yet, but you might have seen yet another repaint of Mirage going around as the Gobot Crasher? Yeah, she'll be in wave 2 of Velocitron. (And I'm not thrilled about this one; Crasher isn't a Formula 1 racer, Mirage wasn't one of their better molds, and so this repaint doesn't really work for me... ironically, the one time they did use Crasher's alt mode on a Transformer, Power of the Primes Jazz, they didn't do the Crasher repaint. Sigh.) The other two figures that have leaked are Shadow Striker Shadowstrip and Hot Rod. Shadow Striker will almost certainly be based on the Cyberverse character, and will almost certainly be a retool of some existing Deluxe-class figure, but as to which figure your guess is as good as mine (my guess is Knockout). So, while a Cyberverse Shadow Striker may or may not end up being a thing, the I'm now being told that Velocitron Shadow Striker is is actually Shadowstrip. I'm not sure why the name change, because G2 Universe Shadowstrip is just G2 Dragstrip. Hot Rod will be the Voyager-class SS86 release in G1 toy colors. And the new wave of Velocitron might be announced at Pulsecon after all, because apparently Crasher and Shadowstrip are already turning up at retail in New Zealand.
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