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'Preciate that link; canxed my Snapdragon on Pulse and got him PO'd for $20 on Target. I also PO'd Smokescreen and Arcee to get 50% off one of them. I actually ventured to my nearest Target in hopes of scoring some Earthrise, specifically Prime, but they didn't have Earthrise stuff at all. They did have several leader class Siege figs on sale, but none that interested me.

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3 hours ago, sh9000 said:

Yeah Target is having a sale on Transformers B1G1 50% off.  Too bad they don’t have Scorponok listed and I couldn’t find Sky Lynx.  Some of the newly listed Transformers are on sale too like Snapdragon and Quintesson.

Everything pre-sold-out.  The very first people could snag like SkyLynx+Snapdragon+another Voy for less than a hundred, combining the BOGO+sale.   (they are both on sale, AND BOGO)

But SkyLynx is so gone he doesn't even show up now, and Snapdragon is pre-sold out.   :(

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The demand for Earthrise is undeniable. I waited too long to order ER Prime on Pulse, and now they've been sold out for a couple months. It's pretty bad when the manufacturer's own store sells out and doesn't readjust for demand. Ebay and Amazon is filthy with overpriced ER Primes, and sites like Target and Wally don't even have him listed, although they have other ER stuff. I'm kicking my self for not POing him as soon as Pulse listed him. Lesson learned.

This wouldn't be an issue if there was more availability in my area, but the Wally's here seldom carry anything over voyager scale, and while Target carries leader class, it's hit and miss. I've been to a couple Targets in my area, with no ER stuff at either one. I'm rue to order from any of the collectible retailers, as I think it'll still be possible to pick him up without a markup. Eventually, Target will get him, and hopefully I'll be able to snag one for MSRP.

I miss the days when TFs were well stocked everywhere, there was no secondary market full of insanely marked up toys, and there was no need to stress over whether or not you'll ever even see the stuff at retail. Def takes a lot of the fun out of collecting.

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Looking through NY Toy fair pics and came across this.  

Less than elegant but the 'hoverboard' does attach.  That's a backpack worthy of summiting Everest.  Wish they'd tried a little harder with this figure.

 

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1 hour ago, M'Kyuun said:

Looking through NY Toy fair pics and came across this.  

Less than elegant but the 'hoverboard' does attach.  That's a backpack worthy of summiting Everest.  Wish they'd tried a little harder with this figure.

It looks like she's also missing paint apps on the rear half of her waist and heiny.  But it could also just be a prototype.

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24 minutes ago, Valkyrie Hunter D said:

It looks like she's also missing paint apps on the rear half of her waist and heiny.  But it could also just be a prototype.

Or a Hasbro cost-cutting move.  Could go either way at this point.

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Heh, I was so entranced by the luggage on her back that I didn't even notice the missing paint apps.  It pains me to see the front of her car folded over when all it would have taken is a little linkage to, at the very least, allow it to become her chest. In lieu of lazy engineering, the least they can do is polish the paint work for the final. Guess we'll see. -_-

I'm still fence-sitting on getting Doubledealer. I appreciate that he's a triple changer, and, honestly, before doing some research on Saturday, I wasn't aware of that fact, and the new ER figure does a better job than most concealing it in truck mode. I think the front of the truck mode is downright ugly, though; the G1 toy looked nicer in that regard, which shouldn't be the case at all. Moving on to his bird mode, I wish , when these various beast modes pop up, that HasTak would move away from making the animal bits, like DD's bird head and wings, look organic, while the rest is a big blocky chunk of machine. It looks uncanny, like a nasty science experiment. Just make everything look robotic, albeit with good sculpting, like Zoids, or any other robo-beast stuff that's out there. I also discovered in my reading that he can carry a cassette in his chest. Not sure what that's all about, but it's an interesting feature, I guess. Seems more apropos for Soundwave or Blaster, though, who, incidentally, are conspicuously MIA in their Earth modes. I hope they're coming- Soundwave at least. I didn't get the Siege version b/c that afterthought of an alt mode didn't tickle my fancy one bit.  Speaking of Soundwave, I wonder why they shrunk the cassettes instead of making them compatible with the originals and the MPs? Gah, some of the crappy decisions they make for this toyline just exasperate me. Once again, here's a case where a third party could step in with a CHUG scaled figure that improves on the official's shortcomings. 

I appreciate HasTak, so don't get me wrong. They started and have been feeding my addiction for robots that turn into stuff for over three decades, and I love them for it. But their stuff has been all over the place in nearly every line concerning engineering, sculptwork, scale, paint, materials, decals, aesthetic choices, choice of alts, and oh yeah, did I mention engineering?!  Siege and Earthrise are no different in that regard; the toys range from stellar to WTF? across all these and more areas, and it just makes me scratch my head as to why there's such an inconsistency across the line, like there are three bosses giving approval for final designs: one with high standards, one who's ok with mediocrity, and one with virtually no standards at all, and depending on which boss oks the final, that's the kind of toy you're gonna get. It's a little maddening, especially in a line that has been pretty darn good in most areas in the majority of figures. One craves consistency, and it's just not there. It doesn't help, either, when we've been wonderfully spoiled by third party figures, who, without the budgetary constraints of HasTak, often create figures that rival or flat out crush the official competition. But, still, Takara have proven over and over that they can make a really good figure within budget, but the inconsistencies remain. It seems to me that the design direction is turning 180 degrees, where the old philosophy was more concerned about transformation and damn the articulation, whereas now the articulation seems to be the greater concern, at least with some figs. I love articulation, and that was always my beef with TFs growing up in the hobby. I fear my criticism is coming back to haunt me, as more and more, HasTak are returning to their old parts-forming preferences when they can't or won't be bothered to find an engineering solution to a transformation system, and in this day and age, my feeling is that both should be on equal standards, and those standards should be ever upwards. 

Edited by M'Kyuun
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Yeah, they're atrocious, but she needs something to hold up all that backpack. I'm curious about those rectangular forearms, as they don't seem to integrate into the car mode, so why?

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Mike, thanks a ton for the ER Prime review.  It looks like a very nice figure but with many compromises - probably due to hitting price points at the level of quality expected.  Some strange choices include the fact that they are clearly molding black plastic for portions of the figure so the tooling that contained those could have contained the parts for the ion rifle and the area of the trailer where the rear wheels are (or they could be dark blue like the support bars on teh g1 trailer were...nothing was grey underneath on the G1).  also the yellow paint missing from the center crotch piece is kind of a "really hasbro?".  the mix and match wheels (not matching) on the cab are disappointing, as is the totally grey drone thing....which should be dark blue or at  least prime's leg blue.  Also where do prime's inside lower legs go?  does it need to be grey?  seems like there is no reason for it to be grey...again....odd choices.  i kind of think that we're gonna see an earthrise leader prime - netflix addition next year to coincide with the second season...because it seems those releases have $10 additioanl budget mainl for "deco ops" (deco operations i assume) and his one is handicapped by just a few deco missteps.  either way i'm gonna get it and enjoy ir for a year before a better deco one comes out.  lol.  speaking of future releases...

-ER Starscream....well he out but I haven't found him yet but i'm ordering him.

-Netflix Mirage was preordered with the quickness by me.  such a nice redeco of a mostly decent mold.

-Runamuck.....is a MUST HAVE for me (something about evil decepticon cars i love)...got to think Runabout can't be far behind - maybe the wave after....hopefully it is retooled to have a different alt mode as they were different in G1 too.

-Sky Lynx looks amazing and will probably get him, but not preordering him if i can control myself.  short of MMC's, this is by far the best effort so far on that character.

-Netflix hotlink - gonna grab that too.  its a nice deco and i could use a tetrajet (haven't picked one up yet though i may pick up a TC on sale)

-Netflix MAgnus Spoiler pack - interested in this, never picked up siege magnus (want him to go on sale dammit!) and this might be teh cooler version...also wonder if there will be an ER magnus with a g1 alt mode (my personal wishlist)..my only qualms are that the aftermarket kits might not color match well with a new version (though i suppose they might make anoether version if there is demand)

-allicon....bot looks good but it looks very lazy design wise - probably skip unless i happen ona clearance

-quintesson - probably will pick it up at some point though....does it transform?  (g1 cartoon never had an alt mode)

-arcee - not too bad for a mainline figure...i've changed my mind - its looks good enough that it'll probably be better than the old one...it does partsform badly though.  sculpting here looks really good though - will probably cave and pick it up.

scrapface - yeah not buying a reflector repaint thats just 1/3 a relfector.

snapdragon - no attachment to this character but a robot that turns into a sort of an SR-71ish space jet and a dinosaurish thing..pretty cool - but i wonder if they will redeco it more appealing later...this g1 deco is just not great.  had the same thoughts for kfc kingzilla but at that price wasn't willing to take teh plunge.

 

Edited by Mechapilot77
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23 minutes ago, Mechapilot77 said:

Some strange choices include the fact that they are clearly molding black plastic for portions of the figure so the tooling that contained those could have contained the parts for the ion rifle and the area of the trailer where the rear wheels

Did you mean gray?  Because almost nothing on ER Prime is black.  Even the ion rifle is gray plastic painted with a metallic black/gunmetal.

(PS~ The parts of the trailer with the the wheels are held on via a pair of screws each, and the tires are the kind that have those push-in posts.  If you can find a blue paint that matches Prime's blue close enough it'd be a simple matter of removing them, popping the tires off, and painting them blue.)

28 minutes ago, Mechapilot77 said:

also the yellow paint missing from the center crotch piece is kind of a "really hasbro?"

Totally agree.  I might paint it myself (and repaint the ones they did paint with a darker yellow), but I'm kind of hoping Toyhax does a set with for him that'll cover it, plus replace the dull paint on the trailer with stickers like the G1 toy's.

31 minutes ago, Mechapilot77 said:

Also where do prime's inside lower legs go?  does it need to be grey?  seems like there is no reason for it to be grey...again....odd choices.

So about that.  You can see what look like hinges an pins in it, and until I had him in hand I thought it must transform somehow.  It doesn't.  Upon close inspection, the blue parts of ER Prime's lower legs are the same parts as Siege Prime's (the head, too, but I'm pretty sure everything from the knees to the neck is new).  Instead of spinning at the knees during transformation like Siege Prime, ER Prime spins at the waist.  So the tires don't flip, and the back of the leg doesn't fold out with panels to fill in the sides.  All that gray stuff is basically stuff to fill in the leg where they didn't use Siege Prime's parts, and there's no reason it couldn't have been blue.  I'm not sure how it's connected, either.  I can't see any screws, just a pin through the ankle and a pin running vertically through part of his calf.  Either way, it doesn't seem like it'd be easy to paint.

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1 hour ago, mikeszekely said:

Did you mean gray?  Because almost nothing on ER Prime is black.  Even the ion rifle is gray plastic painted with a metallic black/gunmetal.

(PS~ The parts of the trailer with the the wheels are held on via a pair of screws each, and the tires are the kind that have those push-in posts.  If you can find a blue paint that matches Prime's blue close enough it'd be a simple matter of removing them, popping the tires off, and painting them blue.)

Totally agree.  I might paint it myself (and repaint the ones they did paint with a darker yellow), but I'm kind of hoping Toyhax does a set with for him that'll cover it, plus replace the dull paint on the trailer with stickers like the G1 toy's.

So about that.  You can see what look like hinges an pins in it, and until I had him in hand I thought it must transform somehow.  It doesn't.  Upon close inspection, the blue parts of ER Prime's lower legs are the same parts as Siege Prime's (the head, too, but I'm pretty sure everything from the knees to the neck is new).  Instead of spinning at the knees during transformation like Siege Prime, ER Prime spins at the waist.  So the tires don't flip, and the back of the leg doesn't fold out with panels to fill in the sides.  All that gray stuff is basically stuff to fill in the leg where they didn't use Siege Prime's parts, and there's no reason it couldn't have been blue.  I'm not sure how it's connected, either.  I can't see any screws, just a pin through the ankle and a pin running vertically through part of his calf.  Either way, it doesn't seem like it'd be easy to paint.

i think the elbow area is black or blackish, also i think you said some of the wheels are black painted silver where the rims are if i'm not mistaken.  anyway it seems obvious why those leg parts are not blue now.  there were no new blue molded plastics so they used the colors they were shooting for most of the rest anyway (other than the red)...its likely in the same tooling as the rest of the grey parts on the toy.  i forgot to ask, i assume the g1 trailer is not compatible with the ER prime right?  i really hope toyhax comes out with a set for this guy that includes the trailer and the yellow parts on the figure. 

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4 hours ago, Mechapilot77 said:

i think the elbow area is black or blackish, also i think you said some of the wheels are black painted silver where the rims are if i'm not mistaken.

The elbows (and a couple other joints) are a dark gray.  It's the same plastic you see on the bottom of the trailer.

Yes, the wheels on his legs and trailer are black plastic with silver paint on the rims.  They're the only parts molded in black.

4 hours ago, Mechapilot77 said:

i forgot to ask, i assume the g1 trailer is not compatible with the ER prime right?

No.  The G1 trailer has large peg hole, and the back of Prime's legs made a peg (larger than 5mm) that tucked up into it.

Due to sharing some leg parts it'll fit on Siege Prime, though.  And, although it looks comically small, it'll work on Studio Series Bumblebee Prime (I didn't try it on the other SS Primes, but the post on SS DotM Prime's trailer is thicker than ER's, so even if there's no height or clearance issues it'd be a loose fit).

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Hey, @M'Kyuun, did you happen to see this?

DCA95AD3-B91A-4754-A546-4B6DAD3E5A40.jpg.e8e7ebd6392670648dcf8f8c33c4c02d.jpg

It's coming from a company called Matrix Workshop, which I believe makes 3D-printed stuff.  I was hoping for a more professional upgrade, like Dr. Wu or DNA, that would have covered up a bit more, but it's a start.  I'm not sure if Matrix Workshop's stuff is available elsewhere, but their stuff along with a lot of other 3D-printed/garage kit-style upgrades and accessories are available at a place called TF Safari.  I decided to check them out, so I have a pair of Matrix Workshop ion rifles coming for Siege and ER Prime, and kits from a company called Ratchet Studio to fill all the gaps on Siege Ratchet and Ironhide.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Speaking of upgrades, it always bugged me how the pegs on Siege Ultra Magnus' shoulder missiles is set so far below the bulk of the missile.  Instead of sitting on his shoulder, like it should, it looks like it's floating next to the white pylons on top of his shoulders.  Well, if you've noticed the inside edge of the missiles have a squarish hollow space.  If you have a 3D printer there's a file on Thingiverse that you can print that stuffs into that square and has a peg sticking out of it.  The fit's pretty snug, and it lowers the missile down to something that looks a lot more reasonable.  You can see the difference- I have the missile on Magnus' right shoulder plugged in with the original peg, and the one on his left plugged in with the 3D-printed peg part.IMG_20200226_235932.jpg.4b657c25fd64fe6c598dc338edd77695.jpg

I can't keep relying on what other people are doing, though.  I bought a 3D printer, even if it is just very entry-level one.  I need to learn how to design stuff to print by myself.  First thing I want to try is a to make a part that's basically a thin, flat rectangle with a 5mm peg on opposite sides at opposite ends.  I never liked the sword, or how it's necessary for the alt mode.  The plan is to remove the sword parts from the middle part that becomes the tank turret, then use the part I'm going to create to set it lower on Megatron's back than it can currently sit.  Have it peak over like the gun barrel on Megatron's Sunbow model.

 

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My local Target had a shitton of Siege stuff, and (micromasters excepted) TWO Earthrise figures.

One was Astrotrain, who is a crappy shuttle which is an instant kill for me. The other was Optimus, who is MUCH nicer. But I have roughly four million, six hundred and three Optimii already. One more red square-cab truck doesn't exactly tickle my fancy.

 

Behind the two was an entire shelf load of Shockwave.

Edited by JB0
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23 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

First thing I want to try is a to make a part that's basically a thin, flat rectangle with a 5mm peg on opposite sides at opposite ends.  I never liked the sword, or how it's necessary for the alt mode.  The plan is to remove the sword parts from the middle part that becomes the tank turret, then use the part I'm going to create to set it lower on Megatron's back than it can currently sit.  Have it peak over like the gun barrel on Megatron's Sunbow model.

I alluded to this yesterday; I'm not a fan of Siege Megatron's sword, or how it's integral for the alt mode.  So what I did was I removed the screw from the black part that holds the gray blades in place, then popped them out entirely. 

IMG_20200227_233126.jpg.703ac0a1811be8ec7ed6e56a0129f8b1.jpg

You wind up with just a gun/tank barrel.  Note the hole where the blades were attached.  It happens to be 5mm, and will come into play later.

IMG_20200227_233203.jpg.a5dcdaf98bbc8d093dfcfedf5632ca3a.jpg

Megatron's gun barrel sat on his back in the G1 cartoon.  But that's not the only version of Megatron with something like a gun barrel there; Don Figueroa put one there when he did The War Within for Dreamwave back in the day, Andrew Griffith gave him one for the body he had after the stealth bomber one in IDW, and Alex Milne gave him one for his Autobot body later on in IDW.  So I thought it'd be idea if the gun attached his his back with some of the barrel peaking up over his shoulder.  However, the 5mm pegs on Siege Megatron's backpack are up pretty high, and the gun sticks out too far above Megatron's body.

IMG_20200227_233215.jpg.16c5dd5a58a44f7d37c491eeb7203b37.jpg

So like I said, I decided to make an adapter.  While a lot of people told me they use Fusion 360 for designing their stuff I'll be honest and say that I found it awkward and unintuitive to use, considering all I wanted to do was make a rectangle with two cylinders on it.  Even when I thought I had something (it was too long), getting Fusion 360 to give me an STL file I could take to my printer was like pulling teeth.  Maybe it's not so great for power users, but I eventually gave up on Fusion 360 and went to a web-based tool called Tinkercad.  Anyway, what we do with this piece is to plug one of the pegs into Megatron's back, so the strip runs down his backpack and the other peg is near the bottom.

IMG_20200227_233309.jpg.80cba5b392ce09f9ee2624e178256eac.jpg

You can then fit the gun onto it using the hole left when we removed the sword parts.  That looks a lot better, I think.

Something I'll mention here, and I don't know if this is related to my printer (an inexpensive XYZprinting da Vinci mini W+), the materials (PLA), or something endemic to other 3D printers, but the pegs should be identical.  I started by making it a cylinder with a diameter at 5.2mm, because I'd rather file it down than have it too loose, and I copied-pasted it to make the second peg before sticking the pegs to the rectangle.  When I printed it one peg did indeed need some filing, but the other peg was a tad loose.  I guess YMMV.

IMG_20200227_233735.jpg.36ddd6b43b34e6b2d639c1d1b5f3c27b.jpg

Anyway, here's how everything looks in alt mode.  The tank barrel is a little less cohesive, because I removed the round bits that held the blades and would have sat in front of Megatron's shoulders at the front of the turret.  And while Siege Megatron has plenty of 5mm ports you can plug my little part into there really isn't any place to stick it that looks like it actually belongs (although it might look a little better with some paint).  Still, I'm pretty happy with it overall as it addresses one of my biggest gripes with the figure.

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9 hours ago, anime52k8 said:

I take it from all this work that you're not looking forward to earthrise megatron.

Yeah. I mean, the tank looks more cohesive, but at the cost of an even more ridiculous partsforming tank barrel, while the bulk of the figure looks like it's still mostly Siege Megs.

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I looked at Hasbro Pulse and Amazon and didn't see any preorders yet, but add these guys to the pile of Earthrise reveals for this year.

1608591496_FirstLookatEarthriseSunstreakerandTrailcutter.DeluxeFigures(1)__scaled_800.jpg.c04832ed2cb99d0739c721bf0eb9e23b.jpg

1690818383_FirstLookatEarthriseSunstreakerandTrailcutter.DeluxeFigures(2)__scaled_800.jpg.031b63f00de4d7c6a3253ee746e14622.jpg

I wish Sunstreaker had a spoiler and a better weapon than his engine thing, but otherwise I'm not complaining.

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My concern with Sunstreaker, is that a real figure made of plastic, isn't going to look half as good as the render.  Half of it is going to be yellow paint over clear blue plastic, and not "all the same shade of yellow", plus the gaps between parts will be 10x more obvious----and he's got gaps/joints running all through the windows.  They'll be huge, poorly-fitting, and the clear plastic edges will highlight the gaps and seams far more so than opaque plastic would.   

It's like he's an experiment---he looks great, in theory, in CAD.   But actually making it for shelves?  Good luck.  

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Stopped at my local Target once or twice this past week and didn't find diddly.  But today my wife wanted to go to a restaurant that's by a different Target so I stopped there after we ate.  I didn't say any Earthrise stuff on the shelves, but unlike my own Target where the they're swimming in Siege Thundercrackers, Chromias, and Hounds this Target's shelves were kind of empty.  An employee happened to be walking past with one of their handheld scanners, so I stopped her as mentioned that the shelves were a little bare and asked if they had any stock in the back.  Unfortunately it was a no on the the Deluxes, but they'd apparently got a case of Voyagers in that day or the day before.  After a few minutes of searching I managed to go home with both Starscream and Grapple.  Let's start with Starscream.

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I think ER Starscream is definitely a good-looking figure.  He's got enough greebles to be visually interesting but not busy.  The colors are mostly cartoon-accurate, from the light gray to the red to the lighter blue.  Only his silver face is a little off, but people seem to forget that Starscream's face was a very dark gray in the cartoon.  Speaking of heads, unlike ER Prime who reused Siege Prime's head ER Starscream has a new and (IMHO) improved head.  His proportions are also improved over Siege's; his pelvis is a little shorter, his hips a little lower, his arms a little shorter, and his torso a little longer.  He does have a little more kibble on his ankles, much like the Classics mold, but it reminds me of the G1 toy and I don't actually mind it (although on the flip side if Newage and Magic Square could figure out how to get rid of that kibble on a Legends-class toy why can't Hasbro do it on a Voayger; Magic Square's solution seems particularly doable).  Really, my only aesthetic complaint his I'd have liked for more of the orange cockpit to show on his torso.  That light gray band over the top of his chest is thicker than I'd prefer, but perhaps it's structurally necessary.

IMG_20200301_233720.jpg.05f6b4472f4544d3995557ecb7f41c5b.jpg

Starscream doesn't come with a lot of accessories.  Just the usual pair of null rays.  The undersides of the null rays are disappointingly hollow, but the sculpt is a noticeably improvement from, well, pretty much any other official Seeker figure.

IMG_20200301_234507.jpg.5499169f81975b77efa9e3b549cf6070.jpg

Starscream's articulation is better than the old Classics version, but maybe a step down from what we've been getting in the War for Cybertron trilogy.  His head is on a ball joint with a fairly good up/down tilt and a slight sideways tilt in addition to the usual swivel.  His shoulders can rotate and extend laterally 90 degrees.  A nice thing about this figure versus the old Classics is that his wings have hinges and can fold backward, giving the backs of his null ray a little extra clearance.  His biceps swivel.  His elbows can bend a little over 90 degrees on a single hinge.  Due to his transformation his wrists can bend up, but he doesn't have any wrist swivel.  Or, for that matter, a waist swivel, which I believe is a first for the WfC figures.  The entire front of his pelvis folds up to give his hips a little extra clearance, but they're still kind of limited.  They can go forward or laterally about 60 degrees.  Backward is even more limited.  His thighs can swivel.  His knees are a single hinge but they get over 90 degrees of bend.  His toes and heels can bend down, mostly due to transformation, and he's got about 45 degrees of ankle pivot.

For that G1 Starscream look you'll most likely want to attach his null rays to the 5mm ports on the outside of his shoulders.  Although I'd have preferred to have them on his bicep so they can swivel with his arm he doesn't have any 5mm ports there.  He does have some in his fists, on the underside of each forearm, on the side of each leg just below the knee, on the side of each foot where the horizontal stabilizers are folded up against the vertical ones, under each heel, and three on his back (one on each wing and one in the middle of his back, although the jet nose kind of covers that one).

IMG_20200301_233019.jpg.7d0116c16975781ff1e69e0a2231d438.jpg

With so many aircraft enthusiasts around here jet modes tend to take a lot of flack, but honestly I think ER Starscream's jet mode is fine.  It's cartoon-accurate (although I kind of prefer a toy-style blue nose), and about as close to an F-15 as Hasbro can get without paying royalties to... I guess Boeing owns the design now?  Yes, he's a little boxy underneath, but the F-15 is sort of a boxy fighter.  The only thing he's really missing are some patches of darker gray, but that seemed to be more a case of the animators putting dark spots on the cartoon model where the G1 toy had the black joints that the wings plugged into than a feature of the F-15, and I prefer Starscream without them.

IMG_20200301_233142.jpg.3d94871f53c1b8c61739333a5cda3c2f.jpg

ER Voyager-class Starscream reminds me of another fairly recent Voyager-class Starscream: Studio Series Starscream.  See, that figure borrowed a lot of engineering from the Deluxe-class Dark of the Moon Starscream with some improvements that went along with the larger size.  And, while perhaps not as close, ER Starscream definitely borrows heavily from the 14-year-old Classics Starscream.  The transformation is something like two thirds the same, and a lot of what ER Starscream does differently boils down to variations on the same basic idea.  For example, his lower legs still collapse over his thighs, but instead of simply compressing down like Classics the front of his legs open and they collapse Combiner Wars-style.  And while his arms still fold inside his torso, his forearms collapse around his biceps (make sure the inner elbow joint stays straight and pokes through the space his fist would normally sit) and his wrists bend up on top of his forearms, which has the added benefit of filling in some of the hollow space vacated by the cockpit.  The other big difference is his feet, which fold down instead of up and, along with his heels, become the exhaust nozzles.  Not super accurate, but it is what it is.

Oh, yeah, and the fans in his chest don't fold out to become landing gear like they do on the Classics.  In fact, ER Starscream doesn't have any landing gear.  He sits on some raised greebles on his knees and collar.

IMG_20200301_233223.jpg.22f3d16cb475a695aa7810cd0e12124f.jpg

Starscream has one 5mm port on top of his jet mode, behind the cockpit, two on either side (one on the each forearm, one on each leg), and five on the underside (one under each wing, one under each horizontal stabilizer, and one under the nose just in front the hinge behind his tucked-in head.

Your first instinct might be to plug the null rays into the underside of the wings.  Doing so will expose a little of that hollowness I mentioned earlier, plus they stick out a lot farther than they did in the cartoon.  Personally, what I like to do is plug them into the ports on his legs instead.  None of the hollowness shows, and I kind of like how only a little of the null rays peak out, closer to the fuselage.

I have mixed feelings about this figure.  One the one hand, I think it looks very good.  It's probably the best Starscream figure HasTak has produced (yes, I'm including MP-03 and MP-11) in that department.  And if you're going to improve on an older figure you could do worse than the Classics Seeker.  On the other hand, I feel like they could have improved it more.  The lack of a waist swivel, wrist swivels, and the somewhat limited range in the hips are a definite downer.  Even if they had solved those articulation issues the underlying engineering is still fourteen years old.  There's nothing new or clever about it anymore.  In that sense the spring-loaded calves, the someone unique way of folding the hands in and collapsing the arms, and the way the nose folded around to make the shoulder pylons make Siege Starscream feel more fresh.  So, weirdly enough, I find myself hoping for repaints/remolds of ER Starscream for Skywarp, Thundercracker, and the Coneheads, but I'm less inclined to replace Siege Acid Storm, Nova Storm, Ion Storm, Redwing, and Hotlink with this mold, and frankly if by some miracle I can get Sunstorm and Nacelle I'd prefer they also use the Siege mold.

I guess I ultimately do recommend ER Starscream, because it is my favorite CHUG Starscream.  But it's kind of a tepid recommendation, because previous War for Cybertron figures felt like Hasbro was really starting to step up its game but ER Starscream is a bit "been there, done that."

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So Earthrise Starscream was a good, yet somehow also disappointing.  So how's the other first-wave Earthrise Voyager, Grapple?

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With years of previous Classics, Universe, and Generations figures in my mind (including 2009's Universe Inferno, of which I never bothered with the Grapple remold), I think I was a little surprised at how well this figure turned out.  The proportions are maybe a tad less chunky than I prefer for Grapple (but on the other hand, should look perfect on the inevitable Inferno), but still so close that you could almost be forgiven for mistaking it for an MP at first glance.  He's got touches of silver paint on his bumper, grill, and pylons, and translucent blue for the windshield, headlights, and flashers.  They painted the yellow/orange circles on his thighs, too, and the rims on the wheels on his feet, so everything is properly colored.  It's only on closer inspection that you start to find an issue, and that issue is the Hasbro Hollows.

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Grapple does come with a few accessories.  There's his rifle, which looks nice and Geewunny.  There's his gun hand, cast in black like the rifle but painted silver.  And he's got the four-pronged claw that the MP version has, except it's cast in unpainted black plastic (instead of being yellow/orange with silver prongs).  There is something like looks like a clip in the middle.  The instruction show it clipping on some ramp part of Ironworks.  I can't test that since I don't have Ironworks, but it does clip onto the "shield" part of Earthrise Prime's trailer, and presumably the ramps on Siege Omega Supreme.

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Grapple's head can swivel inside its box, but he's got no tilt.  His shoulders can rotate, and the pylons on his shoulders are set just right so that he can extend his shoulders 90 degrees and they'll lie flat on the top of his torso.  His biceps swivel.  His elbows can bend 90 degrees.  His wrists can bend inward due to transformation, but there's no swivel there.  His waist does swivel, though.  His hips can go 90 degrees (or a little over) forward, backward, and laterally.  His thighs can swivel, and his knees bend 90 degrees.  Collapsed properly for robot mode his feet don't have any up/down tilt, but they do have great ankle pivots.  If you start to pull them out like you're going to transform them you can fake some up/down tilt.

Grapple holds his accessories just fine in the 5mm peg that his his fist.  Or, if you fold his fists in, you'll expose another 5mm port that's good for plugging in his gun hand or the claw.

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He also has 5mm ports on each side of his head-box, on the outside of each shoulder, on the outside of each forearm near his elbows, the outside of each lower leg, and the bottom of each foot.

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Grapple's transformation is very straightforward, and it makes for a pretty accurate if very out-of-scale truck.  Seriously, I'm thinking this would look fantastic with something like Magic Square's Sideswipe, but it's going to look small next to Prime and absolutely tiny compared to the cars.  Such is the price we pay to maintain robot scale, I suppose.  The only things I'd really note here are the lack of the MP's piston under the boom, the amount of black plastic on the side where his robot thighs are peaking out, and the fact that his shoulder pylons are hidden, none of which I'd call major.

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Grapple rolls fine, and his crane boom can swivel and lift up.  It doesn't exactly extend, though; you kind of have to have it fully extended just for the hook to stick out farther than the cab, so it's less that it extends and more that it collapses for robot mode.  The hook on the end does have a hinge, though.  They stabilizers don't move, which is kind of a bummer.  Another bummer is the gap at the rear of the vehicle, where his feet don't quite meet, and the lack of painted tail lights.  Then again, I seem to recall the official MP also had a small gap and no taillights, so I guess this is par for the course.

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Grapple has a dedicated tab on one side of his boom for storing the hand-gun, and the hook has a 5mm peg hole on the front so that if you bend the hook inward the peg will point downward, giving allowing you to attach the claw that way.  Or if you prefer he's got two 5mm peg holes on the top of the truck (although if the boom is down all the way it'll block them), one on either side under the boom, and one on either side in front of the stabilizers.

Unless you've totally quit collecting CHUGs I'm definitely going to recommend picking up Grapple.  All of my complaints boil down to a $30 Voyager-class toy not being as good as a $150 MP, but realistically no one expects it to be.  What Hasbro does deliver in a $30 price point is definitely worth the price of admission here.

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I went to a MalWart earlier and saw a shelf clogged full to the brim of Siege Cybertron toys. And a couple Astrotrain reissues.

...

And a pile of Soundwave reissues. This is actually the first original-mold Soundwave I've ever owned. No review, because it is OG Soundwave. I think everyone knows what to expect.

 

Fair notice, though. If you are in the market for a Soundwave reissue, be advised that SOME, but not all of the stickers are pre-applied.

Notably, Buzzsaw is packaged with the tape side face-down, because they are the hardest stickers to apply correctly and you don't need to know how little the guy in China slapping them on as fast as possible for fifty cents an hour actually cares.

I mean, seriously, this is the quality I would've done for myself when I was five. And if you're including a sticker sheet anyways, let me do the important ones!

IMG_20200302_220458.jpg

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11 hours ago, JB0 said:

I went to a MalWart earlier and saw a shelf clogged full to the brim of Siege Cybertron toys. And a couple Astrotrain reissues.

...

And a pile of Soundwave reissues. This is actually the first original-mold Soundwave I've ever owned. No review, because it is OG Soundwave. I think everyone knows what to expect.

 

Fair notice, though. If you are in the market for a Soundwave reissue, be advised that SOME, but not all of the stickers are pre-applied.

Notably, Buzzsaw is packaged with the tape side face-down, because they are the hardest stickers to apply correctly and you don't need to know how little the guy in China slapping them on as fast as possible for fifty cents an hour actually cares.

I mean, seriously, this is the quality I would've done for myself when I was five. And if you're including a sticker sheet anyways, let me do the important ones!

IMG_20200302_220458.jpg

Ugh, that's terrible application, and those foil stickers are notoriously difficult to remove without tearing them. Sorry, man.

I paid a visit to one of the Wally's in my area yesterday, and they had the Soundwave and Astrotrain G1 reissues , the first I've seen, but I didn't pick any up. I still have my G1 Soundwave on my CHUG shelf, and I've no interest in a G1 Astrotrain when there's a new one out that has articulation. Speaking of which, they also had Earthrise Astrotrain, but I can't get past the poor alt modes of that figure so I left him on the shelf. I wish they'd had Prime, but Astrotrain was the only Earthrise fig they had. But that marked the first appearance I've seen of Earthrise in my area, so I have a glimmer of hope that more will start popping up.

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I don't think I've reviewed any of the Walmart G1 reissues, although I did pick up several of them (I think all of them, actually, except the minibots).  Should I?  Is that something you guys would want to read?

Edited by mikeszekely
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