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Ah, the IDW inspired mold. I don't consider that a G1 homage per se- way too many liberties. I have both Trailbreaker and Hoist from that line, and I like the toys; I just don't consider them G1. That legends class fig is much closer to the G1 design, albeit greatly simplified. The Earthrise figure is pretty dead-on, down to the panels behind the arms. I'm looking forward to the Trailbreaker version

Even though we just got a set for PotP,  I hope we get an all voyager, or even leader, scaled set of Dinobots for Earthrise. The PotP ones were ok, but pretty heavy on concessions to allow for the combining gimmick. I'd love a set in this line with some properly scaled and well articulated dino modes, as well as really good bot modes.

Edited by M'Kyuun
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2 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

Even though we just got a set for Combiner Wars,  I hope we get an all voyager, or even leader, scaled set of Dinobots for Earthrise. The PotP ones were ok, but pretty heavy on concessions to allow for the combining gimmick. I'd love a set in this line with some properly scaled and well articulated dino modes, as well as really good bot modes.

Some actually good official Dinobots would be great.  But in the meantime, that Planet X Megatron and Starscream I'd picked up motivated me to replay War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron, and now I'm thinking about picking up the rest of the Planet X Dinobots.

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I was touch and go with the WFC/FOC game designs, but the Dinos were cool. That's a nice looking team there, Tekering.

I still have my Hasbro FOC Grimlock up on the shelves somewhere. They did a nice job on the bot mode, but the dino mode leaves much to be desired, especially that atrocious tail. DX9 definitely did it better.

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9 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:


Thank you for the kind words and I appreciate you expanding your horizons. Hell I would've never known that he did those transformation sequences even if not for you sharing. It's crazy how many little crossovers there are like that. 


Flame Toys Optimus review up; winner winner chicken dinner here.


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Well, you might recall I was getting back into Transformers Prime.  I managed to track down a copy of DMY's upgrade kit for Voyager RiD Megatron, and from a Chinese seller on TFW2005's "Trusted" list, so I ordered it.  Took awhile for him to ship, but with Chinese New Year and the coronavirus that was expected.  However, he messaged me when he did ship and apologized, saying that he'd listed it as being for the Hasbro version but it was actually for the Takara version, and he wanted to know if he should stop the shipment and refund me or if I still wanted it.  Well, nobody has this kit anymore, so I told him to send it anyway.

It arrived today, and yeah, the parts are silver instead of that weird beigish-gray Hasbro used.  So I did the only sensible thing I could think of- I took Megatron apart and painted him.


As for the kit, I'm not going to review it since it's so old and so hard to find.  Suffice to say that it reminds me a bit of DNA's stuff.  There are some tolerance issues with the bits that fit under his toes, and it creates a few new problems with the cannon's alt mode storage, but the problems it fixes (a more cartoon-accurate cannon and extra hinges that allow the back to fold up better) were so bad that the kit's kind of worth it overall.

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On 3/17/2020 at 8:58 AM, Kuma Style said:

Thank you for the kind words and I appreciate you expanding your horizons. Hell I would've never known that he did those transformation sequences even if not for you sharing. It's crazy how many little crossovers there are like that. 


Flame Toys Optimus review up; winner winner chicken dinner here.


No problem, Kuma; credit where credit's due. You've not only got a great talent for photography, but also a great sense for how to shoot your subject. Hasbro could learn a thing or two from you when doing their product shots. There's definitely an art to posing an articulated figure, and whether or not folks agree with your preferences, ultimately one can't argue that you make these lumps of plastic and die cast look pretty damned good.:good:

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One thing I love about Hasbro Pulse is that their warehouse is only a couple hours' drive from my house.  So, while I didn't get a shipping notice until I woke up this morning my order was already out for delivery and in my hands by lunch.  That means I can finally review the wave 1 Deluxes (minus Ironworks, whom I just not sold on).  We'll arbitrarily start with Hoist.


This is definitely the most Hoisty Hoist Hasbro has done since the G1 toy, but this is the part where I critique a figure against the G1 toy and cartoon, and I've definitely got somet things to say here.  Hasbro seems to have split the difference between the cartoon and the G1 toy on the head, giving him the cartoon's black helmet with the toy's silver mouth plate and blue eyes.  Frankly, I'd have preferred they gave him a black mouth plate and went all cartoon.  His hips and legs have proportions that I feel are better suited for Trailbreaker than Hoist, although I do appreciate that they used some paint on his shins.  I kind of wish the paint was white, though, to match his thighs, forearms, and backpack doohickey.  Also, although it's more noticeable under my lights than in normal lighting, he's got two shades of green going on.  All-in-all I think he could be better, but aside from some questionable color choices any improvements to the mold to make it more Hoist would probably make it less Trailbreaker, so it's probably fine.

Size-wise he's bigger than the Siege cars, and about the same size as the taller Deluxes like Ratchet, Ironhide, or Impactor.


His sole accessory is this orange cone.  Why orange?


Hoist's head is on a ball joint with a little bit of up/down tilt, a similar amount of sideways tilt, and of course a swivel.  His shoulders can rotate, and they can extend over 180 degrees laterally.  His biceps swivel.  His elbows can bend around 140 degrees on a single hinge, and his wrists can swivel.  His waist can swivel.  His hips can go forward, backward, or laterally 90 degrees.  His thighs swivel.  He's got double-jointed knees and can touch his heels to his butt.  His ankles can pivot around 70 degrees.

His accessory can fit into either hand, and it's designed to slide down over his fist to give him his cartoon-style gun hand.  I ask again, though, why orange?  It should be white to match his forearm, and since it's big enough to fit around his hand it doesn't really look right.  I wish they'd have done away with his right hand entirely and simply given him a permanent gun hand that could have folded inside his forearm for transformation; his forearms (and thighs) are certainly hollow enough.  The handle on it is long enough that you can plug it into a 5mm port that isn't his hand.  Hoist has one on the side of either shoulder, one on the side of either forearm, two on his back, one on the side of either leg just below his knees, one in the middle of the tires on his legs, and one under each foot.


I didn't have a G1 Hoist or Trailbreaker as a kid, but I imagine the transformation here must be sort of similar.  Hoist's chest and spine don't move, but his backpack and stomach lift away and his pelvis bends backward as his legs fold up, then his arms tuck under the vehicle while the flaps behind them become the sides.  Size-wise he's not as long as Ratchet, but he's got more bulk.


My aesthetic complaints haven't changed much from the robot mode.  The alt mode is nice and G1-ish, but again the mismatched greens is a little off-putting.  I also find it curious that they painted the side windows black, to match the transformation hinge running through them, but the front window is translucent blue.  The grill seems like it should be a little longer and his bumper a little lower.  And from the sides you can see visible hands under the truck.


Hoist's tow bed can fold out, and like the G1 toy it's got a little wheel on it.  There's nothing really to attach a car to, but the end does have those clips that allow him to attach to Omega Supreme, ER Optimus' shield, or one of the other Earthrise accessories designed around this gimmick (I'm not sure why they didn't keep it compatible with the Titans Return bases, though).  As for his lone accessory, he's got 5mm ports on either side of the truck, where the orange parts meet the bed, or in the middle of the rear wheels.  He's also got two under the tow bed, but when the bed is folded up the orange wing flaps kind of cover them.  I suppose you could also turn his fists so the peg holes are showing.  Wherever you put his gun/hand, though, it's going to look out-of-place.  I really wish they'd have devised some system for attaching it under the front of the truck, between his arms.

Hoist isn't my favorite of the War for Cybertron Trilogy Deluxes, but he's far from the worst.  I definitely think he's got his flaws and there are things I would have done differently if I were the designer, but he remains the best official Hoist toy in 35 years.  If you're collecting this line he's worth picking up.

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Good review, Mike. I hadn't noticed the difference in colors as prominently on my copy, but then I haven't really studied it that closely in good light, either. However, I'll point out that the cab and hood are both molded in transparent blue plastic and painted the requisite colors, whilst the rest of him is molded in green or orange plastic, so HasTak didn't do a good job with color matching the paint. I also noticed that his orange gun fits perfectly between his arms in truck mode, if only they'd put a 5 mm port there- they put them everywhere else. A folding bumper extension would have helped to hide it, as well, but I'd still be happy with just a port to plug it there, as it's the optimal spot for gun storage. And again, I'll point out that his gun is oversized compared to his arm, and like Mike pointed out, completely orange. I would prefer it to be silver, and about half as big. A hand folding mechanism like Grapple's would have been nice, but his forearms aren't big enough to accommodate, although there's plenty of room for them to have made them bigger if only to fold the fists out of sight in truck mode. I don't like gun hands- never have- so I'm personally glad that he has two fists with a gun accessory; I just wish said gun had been scaled better and painted silver, and made to tuck under his hood in truck mode. It's nitpicking, but I'd have been happier had they mounted his force-field generator on a ball joint, and painted it silver to approximate the original's chrome. The obvious peg in his back wheels contrasts poorly with his much nicer looking front, and one wonders why the same method wasn't employed to make them copacetic and more visually appealing.  Some of the design decisions are just head-scratchers. Since he's a shared mold with Trailbreaker, who's the main character, I can easily forgive it's having more in common with TB than Hoist. I'd much rather have TB than Hoist anyway, but since they're releasing both, and the mold favors the G1 toy/toon amalgamation so well, why not get both. 

These figs are kinda begging for some more accurate weapons- it just sucks when you pay almost as much for a third party gun as you do for the figure itself. It'd be nice if someone made a weapons pack, with maybe ten or twelve assorted weapons for a number of characters, or, as in the case of the Datsun bros, a pack with shoulder missiles and rifles, for around $15.

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Today let's do Earthrise Wheeljack.


Yep, that's what Wheeljack is supposed to look like.  I suppose, if I want to nitpick, that I might prefer if his wings were a little taller and a little closer together, his arms seem a little too long, the translucent plastic over much of his torso doesn't really make a "U" shape, or that maybe he should have a little more white on it.  Of course, it's still a huge improvement over the Combiner Wars version, or even the older Universe version.

Wheeljack's roughly the same size as the other Deluxe-class cars.


Wheeljack's lone accessory is this piece.  I'm not a fan.  I mean, I'll give Hasbro credit for painting it (it's actually cast in white plastic), and if I squint it looks kind of like a shrunken-down version of the G1 toy's shoulder missile launcher.  But the little missile peaking out is too small for the cartoon version.


Wheeljack can look up or tilt is head sideways just a little, and he can look down slightly more.  His shoulders rotate and can extend to the side 90 degrees (although there's a second transformation joint you can work with to get more if you need it).  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees.  His wrists can swivel, as can his waist.  His hips can go forward and sideways 90 degrees, and backwards nearly that much.  His thighs swivel.  His knees can bend 90 degrees.  Due to transformation he can bend his feet down and maybe even up very slightly, plus he's got 45 degrees of ankle pivot.

There's a peg on Wheeljack's accessory, so he can hold it in his hands like a weird pistol.  Or, he's a 5mm port on the side of either shoulder, on the side of either forearm near his wrist, on the bottom of his back, one on each of his calves, and one under each foot.  There's also a tab on the accessory, and a slot on either side of his head you can plug it into.


Wheeljack's transformation is fairly straightforward.  The car you end up with is, again, about the same size as the Siege cars.


@M'Kyuun was spot-on when he said Hasbro made a Lancia without making a Lancia.  In intakes and spoiler on the nose aren't as aggressive as the real thing, but they're there, along with the flip out headlights and venting on the hood.  The overall shape is blockier, with less aggressive skirts and minimal flare at the rear, but it's got the Lancia's canopy and vented rear engine cover.  It seems like Hasbro tried to give him the red rims the original/G1 car had, but it's not the best.  I don't know if the paint was too thin, or if Hasbro deliberately chose a red that didn't match the paint they used for his stripes, but the rims wound up this awful salmon color.  Speaking of stripes, Hasbro also gave Wheeljack plenty of racing livery.  The stripes are a bit simplified from the actual car/G1 toy, but not as simplified as the cartoon.  And of course there's none of the Alitalia, Pirelli, or other real-world branding, sporting instead stuff like "Aerobolt" and "Praxus."  Which is fine.  But 638?  C'mon, I don't think 539 is trademarked.

As far as accessory storage, there's a single peg hole on the roof, and peg holes in both of his taillights.  Technically there are four on the underside of the car, but there's no clearance to stick anything there.

Earthrise Wheeljack is a great Deluxe-class Wheeljack figure whom I definitely recommend.  He's a bit no-frills, no surprises, and he could use some better accessories, but the straightforward transformation, above average articulation, and strong G1 likeness should be held up as an example of what Hasbro can do at this size and price point.


Edited by mikeszekely
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I mentioned that Wheeljack was my favorite of the cars thus far. The too-long arms are actually reminiscent of the original toy (which I just happen to have sitting in front of me), although, thankfully, they didn't make them as apishly long as the original's. Good balance, I think. I'm sure Toyhax will have a nice set of sticker to fix all the non-canon tampos, although I don't mind them as they are. They're applied well, and since this isn't a licensed Lancia, using custom markings to replicate the look is fine by me. It's still obviously Wheeljack to anyone in the know. The weapon is really the weakest element of this release, as they seemed to want to compress his gun and his rocket launcher into a single weapon, probably for budgetary constraints. The result is less than satisfactory, and as I mentioned in my earlier post, I hope some third party remedies some of the more egregious weapon shortcomings in this line.

I went back and looked at my Hoist, and the color difference with the painted trans-blue plastic is much better on my copy than Mike's. The paint is shinier than the matte green plastic, but the hue is very close, such that from a short distance it looks homogeneous. Such is the way of mass produced toys assembled by folks making small wages- the quality of any given toy may come down to whether the worker is fresh on the job, having had his morning tea, or exhausted coming off a late shift. As I mentioned, my Hoist's right knee is so loose it's nigh floppy, whereas the left has more tension. Luck of the draw.

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Last but not least, it's Deluxe-class Cliffjumper.


When I heard that Cliffjumper was going to be a Deluxe my first thought was worry that he wouldn't scale with all the other minibots (which I looked at in some detail back in October).  My second thought was, if he did scale with the minibots, was he really a Deluxe?

It's complicated.

As far as the size-thing goes, Cliffjumper is a little taller than Titans Return Legends-class Bumblebee, but he's definitely in the same ballpark.  Despite his small stature, though, he's got a level of detail and engineering that's definitely more in-line with a Deluxe-class than a Legends-class.  Aesthetically, I think he's looking pretty good for a Cliffjumper, and indeed I'm a bit impressed that he's showing up as himself and not just a red repaint of Bumblebee.*  Still, he's got red forearms and black legs, where I'd have preferred cartoon gray, and due to his transformation he's lacking a chest spoiler and the window above his pelvis.

*While it'll definitely take some remolding for his head, feet, and backpack, I still fully expect a Bumblebee repaint of this figure.  You can see shades of it in his tube-shaped biceps.


Overcompensating for his smaller size, Cliffjumper comes with a lot of accessories.  You get two guns.  You get two skis.  And you get... a thing.  It doesn't do much on it's own.


He also has a backpack.  I don't think it's particularly egregious; X-Transbots' Toro has just as much (if not more) backpack and he still gets to pass for an MP.  If you don't like the backpack it can be removed.  It's just pegged in on a 5mm peg, and removing it is unfortunately required for transforming him.


Cliffjumper's head might be on a ball joint.  My copy is tight, and doesn't have any real downward or sideways tilt, but he can tilt his head up just a little.  His shoulders can swivel and hinge outward over 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel, and his elbow bends 90 degrees.  His wrists swivel.  His waist can swivel.  His hips can move forward, backward, and laterally 90 degrees, and his thigh swivels around the hip on a mushroom peg.  His knees can bend 90 degrees.  His feet don't tilt up or down, but he's got over 90 degrees of ankle pivot.

You'll note that the only joint I mentioned as a ball joint was his neck.  I already touched on this, but I want to emphasize it again: despite his small size he's built like a larger Deluxe, not like a Legends.

Cliffjumper can hold his guns in either hand.  He's also got 5mm prots on the outside of each forearm, the outside of each lower leg, under each foot, and one on his back (there's one on Cliff himself, but if you use it to keep his backpack attached there's another on the backpack itself so you're not losing the spot on his back).  All you can really do with the skis at this point is plug them into a gun.


Speaking of plugging stuff into a gun, all of his accessories can plug into each other to form one bazooka.  And if you're not keeping Cliff's backpack on his back he can hold it like a shield.  For Gundam fans, he reminds me of the GP02 with his bazooka and shield.


Cliffjumper has some interesting engineering, even with the partsforming.  Like, his feet transform pretty much how you'd expect, but then he folds in such a way that his head is actually between his feet, while the sides of his body fold down to the rear of the car.  It's something that doesn't feel overly-complicated for a Deluxe, but has a certain cleverness that you'd associate with older MPs (before they scrunched up and had their entire alt mode unfurl from their backpack and wrap around the fake car parts).  All without being too much bigger than a Legends-class.


Cliffjumper's alt mode skews a bit closer to a real Porsche than his chibi alt cartoon alt mode, which is a bit of a bummer to me but still a lot better than a red Bumblebee.  There's even some paint on his rims, grill, lights, tailpipes, bumpers, and rear window.  My only serious complaint is that his fists are a little visible at the rear of the car.


As far as weapon storage goes, Cliffjumper just has the one peg hole on his roof.  However, there's two slots, two peg holes, and two tabs on his underside.  The skis tab into the slots and sit under his front wheels.  The extra part plugs into the peg hole and stretches along his underside, lifting it up so the rear is still level with the front.  Then the handles of his guns have slots that fit into the tabs, allowing them to sit along the sides like engines.  Or cannons.  Whatever floats your Porsche.

This Cliffjumper is a figure that embodies the spirit of the character- he hits hard like he's got something to prove to the bigger bots around him.  I was worried that Hasbro might be pawning off a Legends-class figure at a Deluxe-class price, but Cliffjumper wound up being my favorite of the Earthrise Deluxes.  He's well-built, he's got good articulation, he's got a clever and fun transformation, and he's got plenty of accessories.  Make no mistake, despite his smaller size he truly is a Deluxe-class figure, and honestly one of the better ones.  He's a definite recommend from me.

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I got my Cliffjumper earlier this week and I dig him. I’m especially taken back by the finish of the red parts. I don’t know if the red is painted but it feels really high quality (like the toy as a whole).

The parts forming is unfortunate but I think the design team is focusing on a good looking Transformer in robot mode.

I‘m looking forward to other releases. I‘d love to get a Galvatron from this line. Sadly the Starscream seems really lackluster especially with having the New Age Skywarp on my desk.

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Who here has MP-44 and is still impressed with it?

Six months in - I still have OP v3 on my desktop and really enjoy picking it up and messing around with it on a frequent basis. I can't think of any recent toy or model kit that has kept me entertained for this long. I think Takara has done a masterful job here.

I know some are hoping for a MP-44+ toy deco version, but I would actually prefer to have a -44D - for Devastation version. To differentiate it would have cell shaded painting, no chrome and the Autobot insignia with white backing. Accessories would include an alternate accurate game-head as well as S1/S2 heads, Ion Blaster, Energy Axt and a Star Saber. Trailer and all the other parts would be omitted.





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When Hasbro's crappy distribution made it impossible to find entire waves of Generations figures in stores it was the combiners that came in Combiner Wars that kept me from quitting the hobby.  And it was combiners that got me involved with 3rd party stuff, starting with MMC's Feral Rex and Unique Toys' Ordin.  And it's because it's a combiner that I've bought into the latest overpriced Takara import to fall under the "Generations Selects" banner.  Tonight we're having a look at Voyager-class Turtler.


I was a bit surprised to find that Turtler (or Snaptrap, if you prefer the American name) is retooled a bit from Power of the Primes Hun-Grr.  Both arms in their entirety plus the hips and thighs are simply recolors, and even some of the parts that are new still work the same.  I think the result leads to some issues, like how the turtle head and legs protrude from his chest, and how he winds up with massive forearms and a tiny waist.  Still, Turtler arguably comes out better than Hun-Grr did, with a design and colors that are more heavily G1 than TFC's stylized take.  I especially like the headsculpt and colors, which remind me of the G1 box art.


Turtler comes with quite a few accessories.  First we have his sword and rifle.  The sword has some metallic pinkish paint on the blade, and the gun has some extra 5mm pegs and several 5mm ports.  We've got the combiner feet, which are a step up from previous Hasbro combiners as they have some built-in ankle articulation, and guns on the sides that can fold over the bottom in a manner that makes them look more purposefully like weapons.  We've got a shield, which is a bit of partsforming that's true to the G1 toy, and his pom pom cannons, a bit of partsforming that I believe is not so true to the G1 toy.  Also unlike the G1 toy there's no mechanical gimmick here.  The barrels can be extended, but they just slide and click into place.


Turtler's articulation is below what we've started to expect from Hasbro in the War for Cybertron age, but on par or slightly better than other Combiner Wars/Power of the Primes Voyagers.  His head his on a ball joint and he can look down or tilt his head sideways a bit, but he can't really look up.  His shoulders rotate on a ratchet, and another ratchet allows them to extend laterally 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees.  No wrist or waist swivel.  His hips can go forward or backward 90 degrees on a mushy, inconsistent ratchet.  A better but softer ratchet allows his hips to move laterally 90 degrees.  His thighs can swivel, and his knees are double-jointed and good for a little over 90 degrees.  His feet are actually on ball joints, so they can tilt up, down, and his ankles pivot.

He can hold his sword or his rifle by pushing the 5mm handles into his fists.  His shield can mount onto the 5mm peg on either forearm.


If you prefer, he can hold the foot-guns or his pom pom cannons in his fists as well.  The foot-guns have a peg hole on the underside, so you can also stick them onto his forearms.  Or, there's a 5mm peg hole on a rotating part in his legs.  As long as you set it so the peg hole is on the outside of his leg, you can mount a weapon there.  There are also a few peg holes on his back.


Depending on how you're arranging him, the peg holes on his back might not be available for any old accessory, though.  There's a pair of peg holes that the instructions indicate are specifically for putting the pom pom cannons on his back (A).  If you're like me, though, you're probably looking for somewhere to stash that shield that isn't his arm, and although it's not mentioned in the instructions I found that you can stick it into the peg hole behind his head (B), then stick the pop pom cannons onto the shield.


Turtler transforms into Blastoise, and as was the case with his robot mode I feel like his alt mode mostly works but with a few issues.  The colors feel better and I prefer the turtle head on this version than TFC's.  The shell is reminiscent of the G1 toy.  But they kind of screwed it up on the legs.  The rear legs, which are the same as Hun-Grr's, are simply too big.  And the front legs (which should be the same size as the rear ones) are tiny, with knees bent the wrong way.


And yeah, the shell is made from a lot of partsforming.  Again, I'm not going to pick on the rear half of the shell too much, because that is how the G1 toy worked.  But it does bug me that the pom pom cannons have to be removed from Turtler's robot back (even if the shield isn't there) and plugged into what are his robot legs to complete the Blastoise mode.

Oh, and his turtle head is connected to a hinge at the base of the neck, and that's it.  So it kind of looks like it's floating it front of his body.  At least he can open his mouth, and you can see that he's got some black inside (it's actually black plastic, and all the pink is painted on the lower jaw) with a red-painted tongue and silver-painted teeth.  In addition to opening his mouth he can look up and down.  He doesn't have a ton of other articulation; his front legs have ball joints at the knee, but they're only good for a swivel.  His robot shoulders and elbows form the rear hips and knees, but because his front legs don't have much articulation there's only so much you can do with the rear legs and keep him level.


Turtler can carry all of his accessories in Blastoise mode.  There's a peg hole in the middle of his back that you can plug the rifle in, and two on the edges of the shield part that you can plug the feet-guns into.  A peg hole on his underside allows you to store his sword.


Maybe I'm jumping the gun looking at his combined mode, but Turtler uses the same ports as the earlier Combiner Wars/Power of the Primes figures so I just stuck him with the Terrorcons.  As torsos go he's up there with Silverbolt and Hun-Grr as one of the best, due to his arms forming the thighs and some relatively strong hip ratchets.

Turtler's a tough figure to recommend.  Compared to other Combiner Wars/Power of the Primes combiner figures he's actually one of the better ones, and I do like him a good bit.  It doesn't hurt that I have a soft spot for the Seacons.  However, if I'm being objective, the quality of Hasbro's main line figures has improved a lot since the War for Cybertron reboot, making Turtler roughly the worst Voyager-class toy to come out in the last two years.  I could almost excuse that as the price you pay for the combiner gimmick, but a Voyager figure these days is $30.  This guy cost double that (assuming you were able to get him through Hasbro Pulse; I had to import a Takara one that was itself already imported to Hong Kong and wound up paying closer to $80).  Unless you're really into the Seacons or hardcore over combiners there's just no way to justify the price on this one.

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On 3/7/2020 at 10:50 PM, mikeszekely said:

You know, between Hasbro's distribution issues pre-Combiner Wars and the fact that the Combiner Wars figures themselves were full of loose joints, too many repaints/remolds, and more than a few questionable designs I kind of quit collecting Hasbro's stuff for awhile.  And I kind of regret that I did, because every so often I find myself trolling eBay looking to pick up a Titans Return figure I missed, overpaying in the process.  I did it with the Monsterbots.  I did it with Decepticon Targetmasters.  Now I've gone and done it with the Deluxe-class Jumpstarters, Topspin and Twin Twist.


Honestly, I think the Jumpstarters were kind of an odd choice for an update.  For one, they weren't in any animation that I'm aware of.  For two, the original toys were kind of crappy.  They transformed by folding in half, and they had almost no articulation.  The only thing that made them remotely interesting was their gimmick: they were spring-loaded and heavier at their big feet, so you could pull them back in their vehicle modes and they'd race forward a bit before popping open and landing as robots in a standing position

Well, these new Jumpstarters don't have the gimmick.  Instead they're Headmasters, like the other Deluxe-class figures from the line.  As with the G1 toys, these guys share almost all of their engineering, and in this case many of the same parts.  However, I think the inverted color schemes, the different heads, and the different paint apps do a pretty good job of making them look visually distinct from each other (likely further aided by the fact that mine seem to have come with Reprolabels).  And aside from Twin Twist having a white crotch and tank treads hanging off his shoulders, they look pretty close to their G1 selves.  In fact, the most major difference is probably how Topspin's alt mode nose and Twin Twists drills fold up.  On the original toys they tucked into the backs of the legs, but on these guys they kind of fold into a backpack.  Thing is, they're not flat against their backs.  They kind of stick out at an angle, and while they're fairly secure they're not actually locked in place.  It feels a bit unfinished to me.


The Jumpstarters are fairly big for Deluxes, standing about the same height as taller Siege Deluxes like Ratchet and a head taller than smaller ones like Smokescreen.  I checked them against a few other Titans Return Deluxes and found that they were often slightly taller, or if they weren't taller they were often at least bulkier.


Topspin and Twintwist come with the same accessories: their Headmaster buddies, and a pair of guns.  The only differences between the Headmasters are that Topspin's buddy (Freezeout) is cast in blue and white plastic, with no paint, while Twin Twist's (Flameout) is cast entirely in white plastic with blue paint on his visor.  Likewise, they have the same guns, but Topspin's are silver paint on blue plastic while Twin Twist has silver paint on white plastic.  The guns tab together along their top sides to make a little seat for their Headmaster buddies, if you're into that sort of thing.


Due to the number of shared parts these guys have the same articulation.  Their Headmasters have ball joints at their necks, which allows the larger robots to swivel their heads and enjoy a slight forward/backward/sideways tilt.  Their shoulders are ball joints, which allows them to rotate and extend 90 degrees, plus a transformation hinge can allow them to go past 90 degrees.  Their biceps swivel, and they've got double-jointed elbows that can curl almost 180 degrees.  No wrist articulation.  Their waists can swivel, and they technically have an ab crunch, although it's really for transformation so it's not the prettiest.  Their hips are ball joints that can bend 90 degrees forward, backward, or laterally.  They have cut thigh swivels, and their knees can bend 90 degrees.  No foot or ankle articulation.

Both of them hold their weapons tightly in their 5mm hand holes.


The Jumpstarters' alt modes take a few more liberties over their G1 counterparts than their robot modes, but honestly I think it's for the best.  They look more cohesive, without the big cutouts in the legs where the nose/drills tucked away or visible hands and arms, and they have actual cockpits now.  Yet for all their differences I do think they both retain the spirit and overall colors of their G1 alt modes.  As with their robot modes they do a pretty good job of looking visually distinct despite the large number of shared parts.  They even have different thrusters in the back.  Their engineering, which is a far cry from simply folding in half, is pretty interesting, with the front of their torsos spinning over the back in a way that's kind of similar to Siege Ironhide and Ratchet.


Naturally, the cockpits on both figures can open and their Headmasters can ride inside.  Twin Twist has wheels that he can roll on.  Topspin has a front landing gear, but no wheels.  Twin Twist's drills don't spin, which is a mild bummer.  Both figures have 5mm ports on the sides of what were their legs that their guns can plug into.  Twin Twist has a second 5mm port on the tank treads.  Topspin lacks the treads, and therefore the ports, but he does have some slots under his wings.  You can use tabs on the top or one side of his guns to tab them under his wings.

I find it a little odd that there's something like a big molded tab slot on their shins, just under their kneepads, but nothing actually fits into them.

Recommending these guys is a little tough.  At their original retail prices (which I'm not entirely sure if Twin Twist actually had a regular retail release) then definitely.  The problem is their aftermarket prices.  Topspin isn't too bad, at around $30 as of this writing, and I think he's the better way to check out this mold.  Twin Twist, though, seems harder to come by and can command $70+, and that's a lot harder to justify.

i had topspin as  kid and i loved it!  aside from the gimmick, the fun part was that the alt mode looked pretty damn cool and different  also the box art made them look cool.  i also like the chunky feet and lastly another flying autobot.  naturally i bought this version as well even though i bought very few mainline toys at the time (but not the 3P one from several years ago)...i  think its kind of not bad as well but quite one of the really good deluxes we've had recently.  also i wish teh alt mode was a little more g1 as well as the feet.  that being said i'm glad to have him in my collection (i got him at retail one day while in a target or duane reade...forget which).  i do wish someone would do an MPish version of that character.  twintwist on the other hand i never really liked (and didn't have) and thought he was just the less cool one of the two.

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I never had either of these guys as a kid, as I found them, even then, to be utterly terrible. But I think they are perfect illustrations of how a bad design can be updated brilliantly in the modern mainline. I have both of the TR figures, and I think they're great. Topspin is my favorite, too, as I like his flight mode as opposed to the other's drill tank. I never was a big drill tank enthusiast, but in the context of his being an update, it works. 

Finally saw Earthrise deluxes at my local Wally today. As I already have them (Thanks Hasbro Pulse), I took note and carried on.  But I'm glad to see them starting to make their way into stores; my Walmart, in particular, gets Transformers Generations figs in very infrequently and sporadically, and they seldom carry anything bigger than deluxes, although occasionally they get voyagers in, and on very rare occasions, leader class toys. It never used to be like that, especially back in the mid-2000's when the Bayformer figs were out and then the Prime cartoon stuff- they carried everything plentifully. Not sure what happened between then and now, but over the last 5-6 years they just don't seem to order much Generations stuff. It's a Super Walmart, too, and the only store of its size within 15 miles of Spokane, so one would think they'd try to keep it stocked, but for whatever reason, the TF section is almost always empty.:( 

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The Seacons are being released in pairs, it seems.  The other one I got so far is Deluxe-class Gulf (Skalor in the US).


Talking about the Seacons' aesthetics, at least as far as robot mode goes, can be a bit of a challenge.  They weren't in any American animation, and the Japanese series that they were in, Super God Masterforce, only featured the Seacons in beast mode.  That really leaves just the G1 toy and box art, or unofficial figures like TFC's Big Bite, to compare with.

Well... I do like the colors on Gulf here better than Big Bite, but there are some issues.  His lower legs are blue with pink details instead of straight-up pink, and he's got blue and pink beast legs on the sides of his legs instead of the magenta beast arms.  His arms, hands, and torso mostly look fine, though (I'd maybe have argued that the entire pelvis should be pink, not just the waist, and that his shoulders could have been more rounded), and he's even got some splashes of yellow on his shoulders where the G1 toy had stickers.  The head sculpt and paint is pretty similar to the box art.  Really, the biggest change is that he's got a big fish head on his back instead of a tail, because he's kind of backward compared to the G1 figure.  My thought was this might be due to Gulf being remolded from Rippersnapper.  After all, they're both basically fish monsters with arms and legs, right?  Actually, more specifically, Rippersnapper's like a shark with arms and legs, and so is Overbite.  And if you look at the G1 toys, Overbite and Skalor are pretty much the same, right?  Well, actually, Generations Gulf is remolded from one of the Terrorcons, but it's not Rippersnapper.  I didn't realize until after I started taking pictures for this review, but it's actually Blot.


Really, the only differences are new forearms, a new head, a new backpack, and a new flap for covering the 5mm port in his chest.  So yeah, while I think it mostly works, it does force Takara to make some design choices that are... interesting.


As with Turtler, Gulf comes with quite a few accessories.  He's got a pair of round guns.  He's got another unusual double-barreled gun.  He's got a chunk of something that I suppose passes for a sword- the back of it is a hollow gap, so I'm going out on a limb and assuming it combines with other Seacon melee weapons to make a larger sword for King Poseidon.  Speaking of King Poseidon, he comes with a hand.  The hooks on the G1 toy's hands are seriously downplayed here, but I have to say that this hand is a huge improvement from the hand/foot/guns of Combiner Wars or the double-thumbed "Prime Armor" that came with the Power of the Primes figures.  The fingers are longer, and even though they just have the base knuckle they can move individually.  And while the thumb might look similar to a Prime Armor hand's, it's actually on a double hinge instead of a ball joint.  That allows the thumb to shift from one side of the hand to the other, turning a right hand into a left hand or vice versa, instead of using the goofy double thumb.

Despite a peg and a peg hole on either side of the double-barreled gun and two pegs and a peg hole on each of the other guns I can't find a way to combine them into one gun.  Basically, the longer pegs on the single-barreled guns get in the way.  Since the longer pegs don't seem to be required I might remove the longer ones, which would allow the peg holes on them to attach to the pegs on the sides of the double-barreled gun (but not until I'm sure that both pegs aren't necessary for combining all the Seacons' guns into one big gun for King Poseidon).


Gulf's articulation is inferior to newer Siege and Earthrise figures, but pretty common for a Deluxe combiner figure.  His head can swivel, no tilt.  Shoulders are ball joints at the end of a hinge, so they can rotate or extend nearly 180 degrees.  He doesn't have a bicep swivel, but his ball-jointed elbows allow for swiveling and bending 90 degrees.  His wrists can't swivel, but they bend down due to his transformation.  His waist swivels, and his ball-jointed hips can bend 90 degrees forward, backward, or laterally.  His thighs can swivel, and his knees can bend 90 degrees.  He doesn't have any foot articulation.

He can hold the double-barreled gun, but the weight of it tends to bend his wrists down.  As for the sword, due to the shape he actually has to bend his wrist down to even hold it.  While he's holding those weapons, you can store the other guns on his backpack.


Alternatively, you can have him hold those guns and store the sword and the double-barreled gun on his backpack.  Do note that the instructions suggest that the proper way to transform Gulf is to have the beast arms pointed downward, but that puts them in the way of any accessories you want to store on his backpack, so I have them pointed up.

Since Gulf is a remold of Blot, the panel on his chest can flip down, and there is a 5mm port behind it.  You can plug the hand into it, if you want to do the Prime Armor thing for some reason.  The back of the hand even still opens, although as we'll soon see that's got another purpose.


I kind of mentioned this already, but Gulf turns into a fish monster (technically a coelacanth monster).  It's interesting to me, but despite transforming very differently Gulf's alt mode is actually fairly close to the G1 toy's, with the colors in all the right places (save for having a pink lower jaw instead of magenta).  The only thing I'm not really a fan of here is the beast legs, which are thin and almost entirely blue (save for the pink toes).  The G1 toy's legs were made from the robot arms, which were chunky, with big rounded shoulder/hips and pink up to the knee.  I'd like to at least paint more of the beast leg, but I imagine it'll be hard to find a paint that matches.


Being remolded from Blot, who didn't have a tail, does leave Gulf with an unfortunate bit of partsforming.  The barrels on the double-barreled gun rotate in, flipping out the tail fin in the process.  The tail has a small peg on it that fits into the robot's butt, where Has/Tak's been leaving ports for display stands.


Gulf doesn't have a ton of articulation in beast mode.  His jaw can open a little.  His beast arms can swivel, but they can't move laterally, he doesn't have bicep or wrist swivels, nor does he have elbows.  Likewise, his beast hips can swivel, but he can't spread his hips, swivel his thighs, or bend his knees.  His feet have clicky hinges so they can tilt up and down, but he lacks ankle pivots.

Like Turtler, he can store all his accessories in beast mode.  The double-barreled gun, as we've just looked at, becomes his tail.  The other two guns peg onto his sides in a manner similar to the G1 toy.  With the flap opened on his chest you can plug the sword in there; there's also peg holes on the insides of his beast arms and under his beast chin.  As for the combiner hand, you can fold the thumb over and use the 5mm peg hole on it to stick to a peg on the side of his tail, leaving the hand lying on his back.


Like the other non-Titan HasTak combiners, Gulf can turn into either an arm or a leg.  The instruction suggest that for leg mode you can plug the hand into the back of the heel of one of the feet that came with Turtler.  While this might give him a little extra stability it looks pretty goofy, and to be honest if there are extra hands because each of the Deluxe Seacons comes with one I'll probably use the extras with one of the other combiners.  Maybe Abominus.

Like many of the Deluxe figures Gulf makes a better leg than an arm (which is fine, because he's destined to be a leg).  His robot arms kind of hinder the "elbow" articulation.  It's also worth noting that it's less colorful, but if you turn his waist 180 degrees you can use his knees as a second elbow hinge, improving the gestalt's articulation.


Unlike the other Scramble City-style combiners the Seacons have six members, not five, and the sixth member turns into a gun for King Poseidon.  But since any of the Deluxe-class figures can be the gun then all five of them have gun modes.  For Gulf, gun mode is basically leg mode, but with his two single-barreled guns tabbed together and plugged into the 5mm port that's used for the hand or foot in limb mode.  Now, Gulf lacks the weapon stand of the original G1 toy (and as I didn't have the Seacons as a kid I'm not sure how Piranacon held the gun member).  Instead, you're directed to bend the combiner peg down and plug it into the back of the hand.  Which I guess it's how King Poseidon is going to hold the sixth member.

Gulf is an interesting figure, and I think it's impressive how well a retool of Power of the Primes Blot works for this character.  And I do like him.  But pretty much everything I said yesterday about Turtler still applies here; Combiner Wars/PotP figures don't hold up compared to newer Siege and Earthrise figures, and since Hasbro is importing Takara figures instead of doing a proper domestic release Gulf is running nearly double what a Deluxe figure normally costs.  So once again I can't really recommend him unless you're a big fan of the Seacons or your really into combiners.

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On 3/14/2020 at 1:40 AM, M'Kyuun said:

You'll have to share some pics after you've given Prime his makeover, Mike.

I touched on it when I mentioned the set was out, but it's typical Toyhax.  Some essential labels mixed in with junk.


The set comes with four sheets.  Part 1 is labels for Prime himself, and as you can see I used just 13 out of 49 labels (and of those only 7 felt truly necessary).  Part 4 are foil stickers to cover Prime's mouth plate, and I can't fathom why anyone would think a foil sticker looks better than paint.  Needless to say I didn't touch it.  Parts 3 and 4 are labels for the trailer, and while I'd say just 2 are absolutely essential, and 3 more are super useful, I actually used most of them.

Enjoy some before and after pics.


Prime in robot mode.  I used the yellow labels for the markings on his pelvis.  Although they look the same to my camera, the labels are slightly darker, and they fill in the unpainted middle one.  I also appreciated that they included red circles to cover the rivets in his forearms.  I debated on whether to stop there, as that's cartoon accurate, but ultimately I decided to use the little yellow triangles near his wrists, too.  And that's really it for robot mode.  There's cell-shaded windows, if you're into that sort of thing, but I'm not.  There's also stickers that look like the G1 toy's headlights that you can put on the exposed joints after you flip Prime's wrists in, but that's kind of an Easter egg you'll rarely see.  Toyhax included a white stripe on the front of each thigh, silver stickers that go over the painted grill segments, vaguely G1 toyish stickers on his knees, totally random marks at the tops of his forearms, red and yellow "lights" on the top of his feet, and the aforementioned foil mouth plate stickers.  Frankly I think any and all of those would make Prime look worse, not better.


Nothing to see on the cab here, although I did use some skid plate-looking stickers for the space inside Prime's knees that you expose when you flip them up.  I don't really feel like it adds anything, but it doesn't really hurt, either.

The stripes on the trailer, though, are a huge difference, and one of the main things I wanted from this set.  You'll notice that I also painted the parts with the wheels.  It's easy enough; each part is held in by two screws, and the wheels just pop off.  I used a Tamiya metallic blue (TS-15), and while it's not a perfect match (and the G1 toy/MP-10 was actually black there) I think it looks way better than gray.


After consulting the cartoon, Prime's truck mode did have yellow marks on the bumper, so I used the labels for that.  But that's really it for Prime.  The rest of the stickers were (again) cell-shaded windows that I'm not crazy about, more stickers that go on the bumper but really add nothing, and stickers to cover the translucent blue headlights.  But I'm kind of ok with the translucent blue.  If Toyhax's stickers looked like the G1 toy's lights, or something that looked more realistic, I might have been tempted, but an orange rectangle and two blue circles on a white background doesn't really work for me.

As for the back of the trailer, I did use the taillights and one of the license plates (although I didn't put the license plate on the door the way Toyhax intended).  I opted not to use any of the other stickers for the rear of the trailer.  I mean, I think they'd look ok with the tech details, but I wasn't enthused with how they'd look as a shield.  Besides, a part of me kind of hopes that someone makes an upgrade kit that replaces the shield with a part that just looks like normal trailer doors.


While the pelvis marks and trailer stripes were what I really wanted the inside of the trailer is where I got my money's worth.  Aside from the "GO!" sticker they're not G1 accurate, but I think they're very much in the same spirit as the stickers in the G1 trailer, and they add a lot of color to an otherwise very monotonous accessory.  I used the "GO!" sticker, some skid plating stickers, some little tech details, and pictures all up both sides.  Toyhax also included orange stickers for the drone's canopy.  That encouraged me to pull the drone off at the mushroom peg and pop the little arms off of the ball joint and give it a spray with some of that Tamiya blue, since all it took to get a G1-accurate canopy was to lay the stickers on over the paint.

End of the day, this set doesn't do much to upgrade Prime himself, but I really like what it does for his trailer.  While I'd like if Toyhax's designers put a little more thought into their designs instead of covering silver paint with foil stickers inventing random tech details just because they found a flat surface in the end I think I used enough of this set that it was worth the purchase.

EDIT: After looking at my own pics I went and painted the rims on Prime's front wheels.  If I could find a way to swap heads with Siege Prime, since I don't think I can get in to paint his face around his eyes, find a red that'd stick to and cover up the gray joints in his shoulders and his biceps, and figure out how to take apart his legs to paint the gray plastic blue he'd be just about perfect.

Edited by mikeszekely
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Looks really nice, Mike, especially the trailer.  I didn't realize just how blah that thing looked until I saw it next to your 'after' pic. What a difference.

Still waiting for Sure Thing to ship my copy, but seeing the possibilities makes me think about, at the very least, painting some of the same areas on mine. I gotta wonder what HasTak were thinking putting all that grey plastic into Prime's legs. :wacko: I'm not crazy about putting that many stickers on the trailer, so I may forgo the stickers, but I may have to paint a few things.

Now all you need is Roller.:)

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The painted bits are what really stand out to me- the blue on the repair droid and the on the trailer's undercarriage, both of which should have been molded in blue , but weren't (kinda like Prime's inner legs). The stickers do enhance an otherwise nondescript trailer, though, especially the roof/repair bay sides. Odd that they didn't mold some detail into those areas, too, but it is what it is, and the stickers alleviate that blankness.

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