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17 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

Got Airazor and Huffer today. Of the two, I'll just say for now that Airazor is the better figure. I'll wait until Mike's Huffer review to give my thoughts.

You got me curious now, so I guess I better hurry up and give my review of Kingdom Deluxe-class Huffer.

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Does Huffer qualify as a "short" Deluxe the way Bumblebee and Cliffjumper did?  I mean, he's shorter than Sideswipe, sure, but he's definitely taller than Bumblebee.  But I have him on my desk right now with a few Studio Series figures (spoilers for later in the week), and he's as tall or taller than the two Deluxes I'm looking at.  Well, I'd say I'm still OK with this size.  I think Huffer was portrayed a little taller than Bee, and Kingdom Huffer scales with Netflix Bee and Siege Sideswipe rather similarly to the way BadCube's Huff scales with MP-21 Bumblebee and MP-12 Sideswipe.

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But how's he doing on that G1 accuracy we've all grown to love?  Kind of a mixed bag, really, and it's noticeable when I put him with the Mechanic Studio version.  The head seems a little off, not quite rounded enough and with the helmet coming in too close to his eyes.  He's got those big chunks on his collar, and some extra silver on his crotch he doesn't need.  The silver plastic on his thighs and midriff should match the light blue paint on his torso.  As for the darker blue, in hand it's a bit more purplish than he's showing up in my photos, so I don't really have a problem with that.  I do, however, really dislike his black hands- they should be the same silver as the rest of his arm.  He's a bit stocky, especially his arms, which are lacking the points on top.  His feet almost have that blocky shape with the squarish cutouts, but they're marred by a hinge in his toes.  Could I be nitpicking, though?  I mean, he's got the basics; blurple torso with a light blue "window", round, silver arms, bucket head with a cab hood, and orange legs.  It's the first official Huffer figure that isn't a repaint of some decidedly-not-Huffer truck since the original G1 toy.

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Huffer comes with two accessories, and they're fairly big since they gotta push Huffer up to that Deluxe budget.  The first is a shield, which I'm just not a fan of.  The second is a gun.  Since G1 Huffer didn't have a gun, and I don't recall him using one in the cartoon, Hasbro seems to have looked elsewhere for inspiration.  And it seems they might have been inspired by Halo, because the top half of the gun looks an awful lot like a Spartan Laser.

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Huffer's head is on a ball joint, with minimal tilt in any given direction.  If you might find his hood gets in the way, but it's on a double hinge which gives you a lot of freedom in how you want to move or position it.  His shoulders rotate and extend laterally 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel and his elbows bend a touch under 90 degrees.  His wrists can bend inward due to his transformation, but they don't swivel.  His waist does, though.  His hips can go 90 degrees forward or backward, but only about 60 degrees or so laterally which is disappointing but honestly enough for most poses.  His knees can bend something like 130 degrees, or more if you move his heel flap.  His feet do not tilt up or down, but they do offer around 45 degrees of ankle pivot.

Huffer's gun slides into either fist.  His should can be mounted onto a peg hole on either his forearm or his bicep if he's wielding it, or on his backpack if you want to store it out of the the way.  He's also got 5mm ports on the sides of his legs, where the bump out for his taillights are, and under his feet.

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With Cliffjumper (and his related repaints and remolds) and Warpath you got the sense that some of their budget went to their fairly inventive transformations.  That's not really the case with Huffer.  You kind of just move the cab out of the way, pull his arms out and down, bend him at the waist so you can fold out his front wheels (and hope they don't fall off), orient his arms so that his shoulder can tab into his hips and his fists are pointing out behind him, open his heels and flip is lower legs over his thighs, and push everything into place until it looks like a truck.  Well... the truck at least looks to scale decently enough.

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And the truck is pretty Huffer-esque.  He's got the silver grill flanked by four lights, although Hasbro chose to give him a silver bumper and marker lights, too, plus translucent windows and painted wipers.  His heels fold around over his shins to form a silvery skid plate.  I wish it was orange, but I don't hate it.  And I do like that Hasbro gave him painted rims and taillights, and how they molded the area around his wrists to kind of resemble the G1 toy's forks.  My biggest complaints, though, both revolve around those arms.  As with robot mode, they just look too thick here.  But worse than that, Hasbro really made no effort to hide his hands.  As thick as his arms are you'd have thought that they could have folded into his forearms, or the forearm could have slid up over them.  But no, they just bend down so you don't see them from the front, but from the back it looks like he's fist-bumping himself.

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If you're set on using all his accessories, they do have a way to integrate into his truck mode.  First, you peg the shield over his skid plate, with the "claws' hanging over the back.  Then you actually split his gun in half longways.  There's a groove on each half under the barrel, and these grooves fit over long tabs on the sides of the shield, with the orange insides of the gun facing out.  The result is kind of like giving him a truck bed.

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On the other hand, if you're like me you don't think Huffer really needed a shield and the alt mode setup looks less G1 than the skid plate.  So if you're tossing it in a drawer and not planning on using it, Huffer's still got a 5mm port on his roof, on the sides of his arm/smokestacks, behind his rear tires, and four on his skid plate.  Not to mention both of his fists are technically available.

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Speaking of ports on his skid plate, since Huffer pulled Prime's trailer in one out of 98 episodes it's very important that Kingdom Huffer can pull Earthrise/Kingdom Prime's trailer, right?  Well, good news!  He can!  If you've got some of the aftermarket kits like Nonnef's that move the hitch peg forward it might not work, but if you remove them the original peg fits fine.  I dare say the trailer actually looks better scaled to got with Huffer.

Cliffjumper and Warpath set something of a precedent, that given the budget of a Deluxe smaller figures could pull of some clever engineering that'd make them worth the Deluxe price despite their smaller stature.  Huffer doesn't totally live up to that.  His mundane transformation was practically begging for Hasbro to do more to cover the exposed hands on the back of the cab, and some additional paint could have alleviated the fact that some of his colors are off.  Instead it feels like Hasbro just dumped the extra budget into more plastic- a huge gun when a little pistol would have done, a massive shield no one asked for, and more robot bulk than the scrawny whiner needed.

However, it'd be unfair to call Huffer a bad figure, because he's really not.  While there are definitely things Hasbro could have done better he's still unmistakably Huffer in both modes, appropriately scaled, with adequate articulation and the ability to pull Prime's trailer.  He's like that kid in school who put in just enough effort pass the class but you know could do better if he applied himself more.  Huffer's a solid enough effort that I recommend for your WfC/CHUG collection, just don't expect him to be a highlight for the line.

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2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

However, it'd be unfair to call Huffer a bad figure, because he's really not.  While there are definitely things Hasbro could have done better he's still unmistakably Huffer in both modes, appropriately scaled, with adequate articulation and the ability to pull Prime's trailer.  He's like that kid in school who put in just enough effort pass the class but you know could do better if he applied himself more. 

:lol: Perfectly put.

So, I'm a big fan of Huffer's design.  It's not elegant, it's not heroic, but something about it speaks to me. His personality was never the draw either- pessimistic and whiny, he did not a heroic character make. Still, we like what we like and sometimes we can't even pinpoint what it is that we like about it- we just do, and that's Huffer to me.

So as Mike pointed out, this is the first dedicated G1 Huffer toy since the original little fella back in '84, and he was long overdue an update. Has/Tak have the fortune of having numerous third party toys to look at in terms of updating his engineering, and to that end, the solution they went with is simple but effective. I don't however, like the little bit of shoulder joint that flips out and sits directly behind and nearly touching his front tires in truck mode. Surely, with nigh on forty years of experience designing these things, they could have made an armature that's unobtrusive, but apparently not. And speaking of those front tires, again as Mike indicated, they are of the snap-on variety and they pop off nearly every time I transform him b/c of how the armatures to which they attach need to be rotated into place. It's a nuisance, but I see no way to remedy it. Those tires should have been pinned; it would have made all the difference. In truck mode, his cab has a slight backwards lean, and apparently its endemic, as Mike's copy does the same. It doesn't affect anything, but it is noticeable, and kinda gives the impression he has a bent frame. The blue pylons on either side of his head are meant to be reminiscent of the hinges on the G1 toy to rotate his cab, but it's superfluous and unnecessary on a modern toy where the hinges attach to his back. I wish they had just omitted them entirely.

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Kingdom Huffer is a chunky fig, and I personally dig the proportions they went with.  The bulky arms and legs give him a squat but strong look, and indeed, according to his original bio, Huffer is extremely strong, which is an asset to his job as a construction engineer. The head design is nigh on exactly as he was drawn, with perhaps a bit of a five-head instead of fore. Doesn't bother me. The stock black hands don't look quite right, and even in the box photos, he's shown with matching silver hands. Alas, likely budgetary restraints at work. I decided that black was not the new silver, and applied a little Tamiya aluminum paint to his hands and the bit of bicep above the elbow, which is molded in the same light silvery-gray as his legs and foot flaps. I kinda wish the foot flaps had been done in the orange plastic, as it would have matched the toon and toy better, but it's no deal-breaker. Likewise his silvery-gray thighs, which should match the light blue on his chest. Honestly, I prefer them as they are.

2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

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 But worse than that, Hasbro really made no effort to hide his hands.  As thick as his arms are you'd have thought that they could have folded into his forearms, or the forearm could have slid up over them.  But no, they just bend down so you don't see them from the front, but from the back it looks like he's fist-bumping himself.

Yeah, this.<_< Like I said, almost forty years of experience and this is the best they can come up with.  Like Mike said in his review, the arms are plenty thick, and by now the expectation would be to rotate them fully into the arms, but no. Moreover, if they;re just gonna leave them hanging out like that, the least they could have done is mount the hands on ball joints so you could get a lot of additional articulation from them. Again, no, not even wrist swivel.

2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

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Huffer comes with two accessories, and they're fairly big since they gotta push Huffer up to that Deluxe budget.  The first is a shield, which I'm just not a fan of.  The second is a gun.  Since G1 Huffer didn't have a gun, and I don't recall him using one in the cartoon, Hasbro seems to have looked elsewhere for inspiration.  And it seems they might have been inspired by Halo, because the top half of the gun looks an awful lot like a Spartan Laser.

I've little use for the riot shield; if you're going to give Huffer an additional accessory besides a gun, make it a tool or some sort of welding accessory. Huffer, like Wheeljack, was always portrayed as more of a builder than a warrior.  Onto the gun; this thing is huge, and I was thinking of the pulse rifles from Aliens when I first unboxed it. Mike's comparison with Halo is better.  I don't recall Huffer ever brandishing such a bulky bit of hardware, and indeed, for storage purposes in truck mode, I wish they'd shrunk it down and made it tab inside his cab. I didn't realize that the gun split apart, as it fit together so seamlessly. I was curious about the side rails on the back of his truck mode in the box photos, and after finally consulting the instructions, realized my folly and fitted out my fig's truck mode. With a hinge on that shield, they could have made him a small dumper bed. Opportunity lost, Hasbro. There needs to be a resigned slowly shaking head emoji for me to place here.

So, after waiting a small eternity for this guy, I'm actually pretty pleased with him. He's not perfect, as Mike and I have pointed out some of the flaws, but in every way that counts, he's Huffer, and I'm really happy to finally have an official figure in my collection. As to my comment yesterday where I said that between Huffer and Airazor, Airazor is the better figure, I stand by that assessment after a day's worth of messing with each of them. Airazor got more love than Huffer on the draft board, and it's noticeable in hand.

Edited by M'Kyuun
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6 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

In truck mode, his cab has a slight backwards lean, and apparently its endemic, as Mike's copy does the same. It doesn't affect anything, but it is noticeable, and kinda gives the impression he has a bent frame.

Ok, see, I noticed that, but I've noticed it a bit on Huff and the Final Victory Huffer, too.  I didn't mention it because, frankly, at this point I was starting to think it's a deliberate thing.  To my knowledge, Huffer isn't based on an actual, specific truck, but if you look at images of smaller yard trucks some of them do seem to have some tilt to the cab.

6 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

The blue pylons on either side of his head are meant to be reminiscent of the hinges on the G1 toy to rotate his cab, but it's superfluous and unnecessary on a modern toy where the hinges attach to his back. I wish they had just omitted them entirely.

A lot of weird toy details made it into the cartoon, like Astrotrain having wheels for the train mode flanking his head.  I wouldn't mind those pylons if that were the case with Huffer, but they're definitely absent from the animation model.

6 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

So, after waiting a small eternity for this guy, I'm actually pretty pleased with him. He's not perfect, as Mike and I have pointed out some of the flaws, but in every way that counts, he's Huffer, and I'm really happy to finally have an official figure in my collection. As to my comment yesterday where I said that between Huffer and Airazor, Airazor is the better figure, I stand by that assessment after a day's worth of messing with each of them. Airazor got more love than Huffer on the draft board, and it's noticeable in hand.

So it's a "Huffer is good, Airazor is better" thing.  Your previous comment read a bit ominously; I was worried you were actually really dissatisfied with Huffer in hand.

For what it's worth, I prefer Huffer to Airazor.  I don't find Airazor's transformation (stretch waist, tuck hands into gap, and squat) to be any better, and in fact I think of all the Beast Wars characters to turn up in Kingdom so far she's got the least cohesive beast mode with the most robot kibble showing.  But, I also have a lot more nostalgic attachment to Huffer, while I had to spend some time on the TFWiki to remind myself who Airazor even is, so I was primed to be less enthusiastic about her pretty much from the start.

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That's a pretty nice Slag, aside from some color choices and the lack of dinosaur legs on his humanoid shins(which looks to be an option, actually). I really like the transforming triceratops frill.

If that red is darker in-person, it'll be a hard toy to turn down.

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I got my second COVID shot yesterday, so naturally I'm up after just three hours of sleep with teeth-chattering chills.  I popped two aspirin and within an hour I'm feeling totally fine and normal, but I'm up now.  I'll probably fall asleep watching TV later, but for now how about a Repaint Roundup?  This one serves as a nice segue between the War for Cybertron stuff I've been reviewing and the stuff that's coming the rest of the week.

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So first up we have Deep Cover and... Deep Cover, both based on Siege Sideswipe, apparently the Autobot version of the Seeker mold at this point.  The one on the left is Generations Selects Deep Cover.  In the early '80s Takara released a black version of their Diaclone Countach, then in 2003 it was reissued with an Autobot badge and some gold shields with stars on them as Autobot Deep Cover, and that's the toy that Gen Selects Deep Cover is based on.  GS Deep Cover trades's Sideswipe's black parts for blue his red parts for black, and sure enough he's got the shield from the 2003 toy.

Netflix Deep Cover on the other hand, wouldn't even be recognizable as Deep Cover if it weren't for the name on the box.  Sideswipe's black parts stay black on him, so at first glance he really looks like if Sideswipe were blue instead of red.  Upon closer examination you'll see that his feet are an unpainted black, like Tigertrack, and the white parts on Sideswipe are a silvery gray.  As part of the Netflix line he's got the painted scratch and scorch marks that they tend to carry.  I'll note that while all the other versions of the mold (that I own) use red/yellow/black/white plastic, the blue parts on Netflix Deep Cover seem to be cast in the same silvery gray as his arms and thighs, then painted blue.

Perhaps Deep Cover will have a role in the Kingdom arc of the Netflix show, but I suspect he's meant to be one of the many nameless background uses of the Sideswipe model that have appeared in the first two arcs, so for my headcanon only the Gen Selects figure is Deep Cover.  The Netflix one will be a separate character, I just need to come up with a name for him.

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Both Deep Covers come with the same tube and gun that can either plug into the tube to emulate Sideswipe's shoulder launcher and missile or be held as separate weapons that every other version of the except Red Alert has come with.  The Gen Selects version additionally comes with the rifle that Tigertrack and Red Alert got.  Both will do in a pinch, but I'd picked up Nonnef's weapon kit for the Siege Lambo in anticipation of the Gen Selects Deep Cover, and I'm sure I'll pick up another set for the Netflix one soon.

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Alt mode is pretty much what you'd expect, since there's no change to the actual mold.  Since GS Deep Cover uses blue for the black parts on the other versions he's got spots of blue unpaintable plastic on the sides, and the clear plastic for his windows isn't doing him any favors.  But you can see he's got the shields on the sides, and some red under his headlights where the Diaclone and the 2003 Deep Cover had stickers.  I know that the 2003 release didn't have a light bar, but I have an extra from a second Siege Prowl I bought for parts and I might give it to him.  Netflix Deep Cover, meanwhile, has paint on his translucent plastic so he can have more faux scratches.  He's otherwise, again, Sideswipe if he were blue instead of red.

I grabbed a Nonnef spoiler set for GS Deep Cover when I grabbed the weapons.  I want one for Netflix Deep Cover, but I'm holding out to see if he'll issue them in blue as I already slapped black ones on Tigertrack and I don't want black to be a generic "use when matching spoilers aren't available" sort of thing.

Anyway, I've covered this mold plenty by now, and chances are if you're reading this you probably own at least one copy yourself.  There's no surprises here, you know what you're getting into, you just have to decide for yourself if you want these colors.  Me, I'll take this mold in any colors they care to give me.  I'd actually love it if they released an official Clampdown, though for now my customized Red Alert will do.

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The other figure we're looking at today is Studio Series B-127, aka Bumblebee from the Bumblebee movie in his Cybertronian form.  He's Studio Series Cliffjumper (already a heavy retool of SS Jeep Bumblebee) with new head and all his red parts cans in yellow.  Which, as far as I can tell, is the same thing the GCI models did in the film, so accurate, I guess.  I covered Cliffjumper here, if you need more detailed thoughts on the mold.

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B-127 comes with the same accessory (middle) that Jeep Bee (left) and Cliffjumper (right) did, just painted slightly differently.

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Transformation is the same as Cliffjumper, and without the new head he really does just look like Cliffjumper with the red swapped to yellow, although you might notice the translucent plastic is tinted much darker on B-127.  It's fine; it's mostly movie-accurate, and it looks pretty cool.

B-127 has the same strengths (interesting transformation, cool alt mode) and weaknesses (kibble backpack, leg kibble that doesn't tab in securely, weapon that doesn't tab securely into the alt mode) as Cliffjumper, so if you liked that mold you'll probably still like it now, but if you didn't like it there's nothing here to change your mind.  The questions here are, one, if you already have Cliffjumper do you want another copy of the mold, and/or two, how many Studio Series Bumblebees do you need?  I guess for me the answer to two is "all of them," so here I am.  I guess, with TLK Premier Bumblebee standing in for a Studio Series TLK Bumblebee now I just need them to release both AoE Bumblebees.  Although, if they released another '07/RotF Bee without the battle mask I'd be all for it (I'm disappointed that SS RotF Bee didn't get a maskless head already), and I suppose I'd be obligated to buy the minor retool that was DotM Bee if they did one.

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10 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Ok, see, I noticed that, but I've noticed it a bit on Huff and the Final Victory Huffer, too.  I didn't mention it because, frankly, at this point I was starting to think it's a deliberate thing.  To my knowledge, Huffer isn't based on an actual, specific truck, but if you look at images of smaller yard trucks some of them do seem to have some tilt to the cab.

The G1 toy's cab didn't tilt, nor do the cabs on IGear's  and Magic Square's takes. I'll have to transform my Cubex Huff, but I don't recall if he had a slight tilt to his or not. Anyway, the tilt that appears on some toys but not all seems to be an artifact of the hinged nature of the cab and the method of locking the cab in truck mode. On some, like Kingdom Huffer,  when the cab is placed in truck position, the locking method, or resting surface, is a tad too low, hence the backward tilt.  Personally, I think it's unintentional, but it is noticeable. 

10 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

A lot of weird toy details made it into the cartoon, like Astrotrain having wheels for the train mode flanking his head.  I wouldn't mind those pylons if that were the case with Huffer, but they're definitely absent from the animation model.

I agree. Some of the choices made by the animators to include details that were unflattering or toy-ish still haunt the toys of today when designers could choose to omit them.  Huffer is definitely a marriage of both toy and toon, which is something I like, but in this case they could have left those faux hinge pylons off. Likewise for those stupid wheels on Astrotrain.

10 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

So it's a "Huffer is good, Airazor is better" thing.  Your previous comment read a bit ominously; I was worried you were actually really dissatisfied with Huffer in hand.

For what it's worth, I prefer Huffer to Airazor.  I don't find Airazor's transformation (stretch waist, tuck hands into gap, and squat) to be any better, and in fact I think of all the Beast Wars characters to turn up in Kingdom so far she's got the least cohesive beast mode with the most robot kibble showing.  But, I also have a lot more nostalgic attachment to Huffer, while I had to spend some time on the TFWiki to remind myself who Airazor even is, so I was primed to be less enthusiastic about her pretty much from the start.

Ha, sorry to give the wrong impression!:lol: I think Huffer's a good fig. He has a few nitpicks, but overall, it's obviously Huffer, I like his proportions, I like his deluxe sizing, and his truck mode is pretty decent. He even has taillights, which I wouldn't have expected.  I wish they would have hidden his hands, given him a smaller gun that could store inside his cab, and made his feet flaps orange, but none of those things are so egregious that the fig is ruined for me. I wouldn't have bought him if they were.

I have clearer memories of Airazor. From an engineering POV,  turning a humanoid form into a bird isn't the easiest thing. While  her bot chest in all its bright orange glory is clearly visible in falcon mode, as well as  her particularly large rear end (for a bird) with golden arrowy things attached, the overall profile, especially the way the legs were designed to give her reverse knees and wings that allow for a great range of flapping and folding, as well extending outer wings, is very birdlike, and it appeals to me greatly. The transformation per-se isn't going to win any awards, but it gets the job done, and I'm at least glad that they hid her hands. TBH, I'm not sure what they could have done better short of eschewing her  show accurate bot colors and making everything the same brown color as her bird bits. The nature of Transformers, especially the beast mode inclined, is wrought with concession and compromise, and it's a pretty subjective thing to each fan as to how much compromise is acceptable .  Maybe it's because I have a jones for Huffer that I'm inclined to be more critical of the new fig. The engineer in me looks at these things  from the POV of how do you go from A to B, and try to keep the salient features of the alt mode in question. Looking at Airazor in that way, I'm impressed by how well they captured a birdlike profile while endowing her with  a great deal of articulation in that mode.  For some reason, I don't notice the robot kibble as prominently as I do on other figs, and she's currently one of my favorite entries in the Kingdom BW line.  

9 hours ago, technoblue said:

I'm liking bot mode for both Grimlock and Slag, but I'm worried that these designs compromise too much in alt mode. 

What compromises do you mean? Grimlock was done vey well, minus a few teeth. But he has a good range of articulation in his T-Rex legs, due to their being his bot mode arms, and even his little T-Rex arms have an elbow, which is  more than I expected, TBH. His head rotates, looks up and down with over 90 degrees of arc, and his mouth can open and close. About the only thing he's missing from the old MP is a moving tail, which I can forgive easily.  He's very G1 accurate in his styling and details.  

Slag looks to be following suit, borrowing from both toon and toy versions in a good marriage of both. He has the proportions from the toon with the transformation of the toy, albeit modified to allow the back legs to ensconce within the bot legs if so desired. I'm assuming the option to leave them hanging out  will be possible. the only nitpick I have with Slag is the use of white or light grey plastic to represent the chromed bits on the old toy. It's a shame that toy companies have all but abandoned the use of chrome, and I get that they're just following the toon color palette for depicting metallic colors. But it just looks wrong to me, somehow. I think I'd prefer them done in silver instead; at least it'd give that shiny impression of being metallic in lieu of chrome.

Deep Cover: I got the legends selects version- I like the clean black 'paint job" with the tampoed police badges. It looks sharp. I passed on the Walmart Deep Cover, knowing that my black version was enroute to me (at the time; I've since received him and he's hanging out next to me as I type). I also like that he came with a gun and his missile launcher. Why didn't all the Sideswipe variants come with the gun?  Dammit Hasbro!<_<  Anyway, another repaint of a good mold in the line.

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1 hour ago, M'Kyuun said:

What compromises do you mean? Grimlock was done vey well, minus a few teeth. But he has a good range of articulation in his T-Rex legs, due to their being his bot mode arms, and even his little T-Rex arms have an elbow, which is  more than I expected, TBH. His head rotates, looks up and down with over 90 degrees of arc, and his mouth can open and close. About the only thing he's missing from the old MP is a moving tail, which I can forgive easily.  He's very G1 accurate in his styling and details.  

Slag looks to be following suit, borrowing from both toon and toy versions in a good marriage of both. He has the proportions from the toon with the transformation of the toy, albeit modified to allow the back legs to ensconce within the bot legs if so desired. I'm assuming the option to leave them hanging out  will be possible. the only nitpick I have with Slag is the use of white or light grey plastic to represent the chromed bits on the old toy. It's a shame that toy companies have all but abandoned the use of chrome, and I get that they're just following the toon color palette for depicting metallic colors. But it just looks wrong to me, somehow. I think I'd prefer them done in silver instead; at least it'd give that shiny impression of being metallic in lieu of chrome.

Yeah, I'm not a fan of the white plastic. I know it's in-line with the toon/movie aesthetic but I would have liked to see those parts in silver. Actually, it seems like there are few if any paint apps on these new Dinobots. On Grimlock that includes the dark grey, yellow, and white dino parts, and the black parts and red hip skirt pieces in bot mode.

I think the underside of prototype Slag looks like a mess. The G1 toy did his stylized Triceratops alt mode better, even though the engineering back then gave us a much more simple bot mode with almost no articulation. The tiny hind leg feet are just wrong IMO :blink:, and are an unfortunate design compromise to get those clean bot mode legs. From above, both Dino mode Grimlock and proto Slag look a little too blocky to these tired eyes. On Grimlock, there's something about the lower half--the leg and tail section--that doesn't sit right with me. I mean it connects and everything, but it seems gappy and unfinished. Just my opinion, though.

Missing details are an annoyance. In addition to the teeth and the sword, I noticed Grimlock's missing Diaclone detail. Again, I guess it makes sense since this is the movie interpretation of the toy but instead of filling in the resulting gap on Grimlock's dino back, they repurposed that gap into a seat for Wheelie. Ugh. I'm just not into the companions this time out. I mean, maybe if they had simple leg and arm joints they would be all right? But fixed knees and elbows? And Wheelie gets a bunch of paint but Daniel gets hardly anything? I hope that's just an early prototype thing.

It will be very cool if Hasbro or Takara is inclined to do a "Selects" G1 Toy-style release of the Dinobot team later on, especially if that release has more paint apps and loses the Studio Series "movie" gimmicks. For now, though, I would have to pick up a bunch of third-party add-ons to get these to be okay and I already have a good collection of Dinobots, so...no rush.

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@technoblueThanks for the reply, and for expressing your reasons. We both agree on the use of white plastic representing metallic or chrome bits on the original toys. It was an understandable compromise for animation, but I vehemently wish the practice hadn't carried over to the toys. So far as a paucity of paint apps, it's unfortunately the state of doing business for Hasbro, for the most part. FWIW, I'm fine with the paint apps on Grimlock. Would more be nice? Always. But I think they got the apps relevant to his onscreen appearance, and since this is a Studio Series release, it's to be expected. Hopefully you're right and these Dinobots will be rereleased under a different banner with more paint apps, but I'm not taking the chance of passing these up now only to find that there are no rerelease plans (although history shows that Hasbro is always quick to capitalize on repaints).

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I couldn't find a good full body still of Slag in dino mode from the Movie, but I did find one from the toon. It's interesting to see what carried over from the original toy, and what carried over from the toon in this new toy. While I'm not sure why they couldn't figure out how to use his chest plate as the lower jaw per the traditional transformation, the solution they opted for looks good, so it's not a huge deal. The underside is a mess, though, especially that back lower underbody; those structures are his robot feet, but it would have been nice if they weren't hollow and ugly looking from the bottom. It's a neat bit of engineering, however, to give him more height and fill out his legs in bot mode, while foreshortening his dino mode's body. And then there's those oh so tiny back feet. It's a concession, but geez, third parties have made Dinobots with collapsing legs that didn't resort to that. It's like he he was the victim of Japanese foot binding. Poor Slag. I'm not a big fan of the obtrusively large white structure on his back behind the frill, but that's how it was drawn in the animation.  Compared to the original toy, SS86 Slag's looking a bit blocky as well.

2 hours ago, technoblue said:

It will be very cool if Hasbro or Takara is inclined to do a "Selects" G1 Toy-style release of the Dinobot team later on, especially if that release has more paint apps and loses the Studio Series "movie" gimmicks. For now, though, I would have to pick up a bunch of third-party add-ons to get these to be okay and I already have a good collection of Dinobots, so...no rush.

Since you mentioned it, I'm also curious as to whether there will be a second release of these new Dinobots with more G1 toy accuracy. Grimlock's box promo shots show him with his translucent neck cover with mechanical bits within like the original toy, so perhaps they're coming. If they went all out and chromed the bits or at least silver painted the originally chromed bits and put all the sticker based details on them, as well as all the translucent coverings:wub:, I'd be ecstatic.  It's not like Hasbro's averse to repaints and rereleases, and the fact that they made a version already with the translucent coverings demonstrates that at some point, the original toy deco was planned. If they do release them in G1 toy deco, I'm gonna regret getting these more bland Movie decoed figs, as I don't need two teams of the same toys, and I'd much prefer toy deco, especially if they do release them as exclusives with better paint apps, decals, and the translucent bits. 

2 hours ago, technoblue said:

Missing details are an annoyance. In addition to the teeth and the sword, I noticed Grimlock's missing Diaclone detail. Again, I guess it makes sense since this is the movie interpretation of the toy but instead of filling in the resulting gap on Grimlock's dino back, they repurposed that gap into a seat for Wheelie. Ugh. I'm just not into the companions this time out. I mean, maybe if they had simple leg and arm joints they would be all right? But fixed knees and elbows? And Wheelie gets a bunch of paint but Daniel gets hardly anything? I hope that's just an early prototype thing.

I find stuff like Wheelie and Daniel to be absolutely superfluous, and so, in my indifference, tend to forget about them when I discuss the figs that have them. However, I realize that many folks like them as part of the whole toy experience, and I'm oft remiss to acknowledge them in my conversation. The missing teeth on Grimlock are a mystery that I hope the Hasbro designers will expound upon at some point. I'm sure there was a reason, but I'm at a loss as to what it would be. I've never been a big fan of swords with robots, so that wasn't a big deal for me; however, swords have been part of the Dinobot toy arsenal from the beginning, so I understand folks' desire to have them included. Again, if they do toy versions of these guys, we'll probably get the swords with them. And all the other good stuff.

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The thing with the Studio Series Dinobots is that, at the end of the day, they're still a mass-market Hasbro release. I'm tuning my expectations accordingly; they're not meant to replace my Gigasaurs (or the Dibots, if you prefer) on an MP shelf. But they fit fine with the other WFC and Studio Series 86 releases, and are light years better than Power of the Primes.

Oh, btw, I was checking out an interview with a Hasbro employee that I might talk about more later. But for now, one question asked was something like "if you release one member of a team, how likely are the other team members." The response was something like "not releasing all the team is leaving money on the table." I'm reading into it, but that's close to confirmation that the other 3 Dinobots are happening as far as I'm concerned.

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1 hour ago, M'Kyuun said:

While I'm not sure why they couldn't figure out how to use his chest plate as the lower jaw per the traditional transformation, the solution they opted for looks good, so it's not a huge deal.

I believe that is less "can't do it" and more "chose to make life harder by not doing it". it is a sacrifice made in the sake of cartoon accuracy, where Slag's bib was silver, I mean white, but his diosaur jaw was gold. It also let them make his bib curved instead of flat.

And it is a tradeoff that more toy-influenced Slag homages have done. (I say this while casting a sidelong look at Gigapower's Grassor.)

 

I think that Primes Slag was notable in that the bib WAS his lower jaw.

Edited by JB0
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8 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

The thing with the Studio Series Dinobots is that, at the end of the day, they're still a mass-market Hasbro release. I'm tuning my expectations accordingly; they're not meant to replace my Gigasaurs (or the Dibots, if you prefer) on an MP shelf. But they fit fine with the other WFC and Studio Series 86 releases, and are light years better than Power of the Primes.

Yep. I look at it the same way. As such, I'm pleased that Grimlock turned out as well as he did, and hope the same holds true for Slag.

8 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Oh, btw, I was checking out an interview with a Hasbro employee that I might talk about more later. But for now, one question asked was something like "if you release one member of a team, how likely are the other team members." The response was something like "not releasing all the team is leaving money on the table." I'm reading into it, but that's close to confirmation that the other 3 Dinobots are happening as far as I'm concerned.

Interesting and practical. It bodes well for those of us collecting Generations wanting to complete the team- finally!  I'm down for all of them.

7 hours ago, JB0 said:

I believe that is less "can't do it" and more "chose to make life harder by not doing it". it is a sacrifice made in the sake of cartoon accuracy, where Slag's bib was silver, I mean white, but his diosaur jaw was gold. It also let them make his bib curved instead of flat.

And it is a tradeoff that more toy-influenced Slag homages have done. (I say this while casting a sidelong look at Gigapower's Grassor.)

 

I think that Primes Slag was notable in that the bib WAS his lower jaw.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but IIRC G1 Slag's lower jaw was die cast, hence it's white color in the toon, which pretty much was their generic way of portraying all things shiny and metallic.

It most likely would have been easier to use his robo 'bib' as the lower jaw, like the original toy, and they actually complicated the transformation by using a gold jaw that needs to tuck away in bot mode.  A grey or silver metallic jaw wouldn't have bothered me a bit, as that's pretty much how Slag has been in toy form since the beginning. And yes, PotP Slag followed the traditional transformation of his chest plate cum lower jaw. 

I didn't know that Grassor used a substitution, too. I have FT Cesium, and he uses the old bib to jaw design. :good:

 

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5 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but IIRC G1 Slag's lower jaw was die cast, hence it's white color in the toon, which pretty much was their generic way of portraying all things shiny and metallic.

Chromed plastic, but yeah.

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3 hours ago, JB0 said:

Chromed plastic, but yeah.

I stand corrected. Thanks!^_^

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I’m down to get all of the Studio Series TFTM Dinobots.  I hope they somehow release a Snarl too since he was not in the movie.

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Started from the beginning with the Hallmark G1 ornaments so I’m going to keep collecting them.

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the slag is better than i initially thought. the proportions are odd but not as bad as i thought.  that said, do i REALLY want to get $200 worth of chug scale G1ish dinobots when  I have a great MP set?  i mean i couldn't resist grimlock (his proportions are great and better then the mp or 3p mp options imo), but the rest of the guys....dunno.  they'll take a lot of space too. haha

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Heads up, Pulse has the third wave of Retro Headmasters up for preorder.  They also have Hardhead, which is good for those of you who still want him with the maskless cartoon face and haven't found him yet, but I'm miffed they don't have Mindwipe up (who's really the only one I still wanted).  MP Skids and Reboost are also up for preorder on Pulse.  I think I'd definitey buy Skids, if I hadn't already bought X-Transbots Savant.  Maybe I'll get Reboost just to check out the mold, but one wonders why they didn't make Crosscut instead.

4 minutes ago, sh9000 said:

I’m down to get all of the Studio Series TFTM Dinobots.  I hope they somehow release a Snarl too since he was not in the movie.

My sources have told me that Swoop is a for sure thing, and may even be out by the end of the year.  Sludge will probably happen in the Studio Series 86 line, and then if Hasbro can't sneak Snarl into that line because he wasn't in the movie then I'm sure he'll be in the trilogy after War for Cybertron.

Anyway.... yesterday's Repaint Roundup transitioned from War for Cybertron to Studio Series (of the non-86 variety), and Studio Series is where we're going to finish out the week.  Today, we're taking a look at Voyager-class Starscream from the Bumblebee movie.

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Is it another Repaint Roundup?  After all, Starscream looks an awful lot like Studio Series Blitzwing.  They've got similar heads, they've both got the broken cockpit collar and chest laying over the cockpit tummy, they've both got the intakes for pecs with secondary intake shoulders.  They've both got armatures on their sides reaching toward their waists, and 3mm peg holes on their crotches.  They've both got wings on their backs with hinges that angle the ends and stuff pegged into them.  They've both got narrow biceps tapered forearms, rounded thighs, and feet that appear to have molded lights and wheels.  But, no, the similarities between Starscream and Blitzwing are likely artifacts of the Bumblebee movie's production.  I'm not necessarily saying that Blitzwing was supposed to be Starscream, given his demise early in the film, but if you look at the trailers vs the finished movie (or just compare stills on the internet, like I did) you'll notice that the trailer had a Seeker in one of the Cybertron scenes that was colored exactly the same as Blitzwing- more whites, no blue, some gray), but that very same model in that very same scene in the actual film was recolored as Starscream.  So Studio Series Starscream is actually an entirely new mold of a robot that happens to look like a Cybertronian mode for Studio Series Blitzwing.

It's hard to tell from his very brief appearance on screen and the lighting choices used in those scenes, but Starscream does appear to be fairly screen accurate in they way most Studio series figures are.  By and large, the details in the mold are all right (maybe his wings could have a few more protrusions), but he's lacking a few color details like a white stripe over the blue on his forearms, too much blue on his shins, some red on his thigh that should actually be white, etc.  It's instantly recognizable as Starscream, and with a lot less kibble folded onto his back than many other SS figures, so I'm pretty content with how it turned out.

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Starscream trades Blitzwing's fuel tanks and stabby hand for guns cast in black from a rubbery plastic.  He does have the main gun that Blitzwing does, with the longer ribbed main barrel supported by two secondary barrels, and they have similar mechanical details molded into the part that fits over their forearms, but again if you look closely you'll see that Starscream's is actually a different mold.

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Starscream's head is on a ball joint, but due to the shape of his neck, collar, and head he functionally has no tilt.  His shoulders rotate and extend laterally 90 degrees, his biceps swivel, and his elbows bend about 130 degrees.  He doesn't have any wrist swivel, but due to his transformation they can bend downward.  His waist actually does swivel, but maybe only about 30 degrees to either side before his hips run into back kibble.  His hips move 90 degrees forward, maybe 30 degrees backward before running into back kibble, and just under 90 degrees laterally.  His thighs swivel, and his knees bend 90 degrees.  His feet have some up/down tilt, but the "cuffs" at the bottom of his legs greatly restrict how much you can actually use.  What they don't restrict, though, are his over 90 degrees of ankle pivot.

Like Blitzwing, Starscream's main gun has a concave hollow space with a 5mm peg inside.  The peg fits into his hand, while the concave underside allows it wrap over half his forearm.  The gun is more or less symmetrical, so you can use it on either hand/arm.  Whichever arm you choose, the forearm details don't allow the gun to lie totally flat, so the barrel is always pointed downward a bit.  The black guns technically have shallow 5mm pegs and he could hold them, too, but they're properly supposed to fit onto his wings the way Blitzwing's fuel tanks do.  Too bad there's no place for them on his arms; they could have been null rays.  The fit into his wings is a tad loose on my copy.

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I think any notion that Starscream was a retool of Blitzwing went out the window with the alt mode.  The transformation isn't particularly difficult and it's occasionally inventive, like how some panels fold out of Starscream's shins to lay over gaps and make the jet's spine appear more seamless. But the unconventional nature of the Cybertronian jet mode can make it occasionally unintuitive; if you don't remember the exact steps to turn something like Studio Series Sideswipe into his car mode you can easily figure out that some parts need to go in some places because that's the only way things fit to get a proper-looking Corvette, but Starscream has some flaps and bits that, even in their proper configuration, don't quite seem right.  It doesn't help that his instructions have steps indicating things like tabbing his forearms together when no tabs or slots exist for that purpose.

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And that alt mode... yeah, it's kind of weird.  I assume the designers were going for something in the spirit of the G1 tetrajets, and the way the spine flows up toward the tail, the delta-ish shape of the wings, and their extreme downward bend do lend themselves to something evocative of that.  Where things get really weird, though, is the chunk hanging down from the belly.  In the movie this piece is depicted as much thinner, more like a wing, but it's like the toys designers collectively shrugged and figured that his arms and quite a bit of his torso had to go somewhere.

Aside from that, is it accurate?  It's hard to say.  You can find clean ILM concept art, and you can find blurry movie stills of things that are moving fast and on screen for just a few seconds to compare to.  It's easier to make out details on the former, but what details you I can make out on the latter don't entirely match and suggest that the former wasn't he finalized design.  Going by the former, no, the colors are all off.  The ILM artwork has some red and white on the tail, some red on the nose, and a lot more blue on the fuselage and wings, and the engines on the back are totally different.  Going by the latter, the colors might or might not be off, but the engines are accurate.  In more general terms, I'd say that the toy captures important details; the exposed machinery on top of the nose, the large engines around the tail, the guns on the wings, etc, with colors that are recognizably Starscream.  It's just packing a ton of kibble on the underside that should definitely be less chunky.

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Although the little black guns end up on the same side of the wings, you actually do want to remove them for transformation.  Not only are they pointed the other way, but they don't use the same pegs and holes.  Instead, there's a little tab on each one that fits into a slot a little forward and a little more toward the edge from the holes.  This ensures that they stick out far enough and are lined up with the right "spikes" on the wings' leading edges.  As for his main gun, it has two slots and a square hole.  The slots grab tabs on the insides of his robot elbows, while the square plugs around the bottom of two dangling flaps to help secure the underside.

I like this figure.  I actually liked it more than I thought I would; I wasn't totally sold on the alt mode and Blitzwing was kind of a mixed bag.  In hand, though, the robot mode looks and feels pretty good (aside from one loose wing swivel on my copy).  Plus, the alt-mode isn't as immediately wrong as Blitzwing's definitely-not-an-F-4, and I can excuse many of the quirks of it's designs as "it's Cybertronian."   Even when it's not totally in agreement with what was actually on screen, what was on screen was so fast and short that I'm not particularly bothered.  Ultimately, Starscream isn't the greatest Transformers toy ever or anything, but he's interesting.  If they repaint him as the other Seekers I can't say I'd be hunting them all down the way I did with the WfC ones, but for the novelty I'd recommend picking up at least one of them.

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I think I need MP Skids. Not because I like the character, and I even set myself to not buy anything MP after season 1, but because he just looks like the Hasui MPs of old. The shot of him with the Datsuns won me over, he looks really good, and the price is right. 

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49 minutes ago, Tking22 said:

I think I need MP Skids. Not because I like the character, and I even set myself to not buy anything MP after season 1, but because he just looks like the Hasui MPs of old. The shot of him with the Datsuns won me over, he looks really good, and the price is right. 

That's how I see it, too. He's priced like MP was priced almost a decade ago (when Hasui was head designer), and shares the the more detailed but not as articulated design traits. I get the sense that this was designed back then, but shelved before release, and Takara decided to pull it out of mothballs to test the waters and see if the old style would sell amidst the bland but highly articulated toon-centric designs of recent years. My spider sense also says that'll be a big fat yes. I'm in for a copy.

Too, I don't recall ever seeing Skids in the toon. I probably missed those eps as I quit watching the show with any regularity into season 2, as I wasn't crazy about the direction they were taking it after the excellent first season. As such, I'd just catch the random ep here and there, and if there was a continuity, I wasn't aware of it. Anyway, all I knew of Skids was that I liked his car and bot modes (wasn't crazy about his arm design, though), having looked at the toy in the store on a couple of occasions. I never owned the G1 toy though. The Binaltech version was my first Skids toy, followed by the 30th anniversary Generations toy. I passed on Savant, and I'm glad I did as the Takara MP looks pretty good, and it'll be nice to finally have a G1 Skids in my collection.

 

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I need to get that Shockwave ornament for my Christmas tree this year. However I don’t know how to get it in Europe. I‘ve never seen anything branded Hallmark before in my country and the local website seems to be selling postcards.

:unknw:

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13 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

That's how I see it, too. He's priced like MP was priced almost a decade ago (when Hasui was head designer), and shares the the more detailed but not as articulated design traits. I get the sense that this was designed back then, but shelved before release, and Takara decided to pull it out of mothballs to test the waters and see if the old style would sell amidst the bland but highly articulated toon-centric designs of recent years. My spider sense also says that'll be a big fat yes. I'm in for a copy.

Make no mistake, MP Skids is Takara bringing their A-game at making an absolute bargain bin Masterpiece Transformer, bereft of so many things on so many levels. The gap between regular retail Transformers and this MP is not very big, it could probably pass as a leader or commander class Skids toy in Hasbro's line. It's ironic many in the fandom complained about supposedly unwarranted high MP prices and yet 70 - 80 dollars for this MP Skids is suddenly great deal. I would have preferred to pay more for a better engineered robot toy that provides a richer engagement and experience.

1 hour ago, Scyla said:

I need to get that Shockwave ornament for my Christmas tree this year. However I don’t know how to get it in Europe. I‘ve never seen anything branded Hallmark before in my country and the local website seems to be selling postcards.

:unknw:

Your best bet is probably to order it from Amazon (US site). I did a quick check and could not find it yet, but it should eventually become available for ordering.

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2 hours ago, lechuck said:

Make no mistake, MP Skids is Takara bringing their A-game at making an absolute bargain bin Masterpiece Transformer, bereft of so many things on so many levels. The gap between regular retail Transformers and this MP is not very big, it could probably pass as a leader or commander class Skids toy in Hasbro's line. It's ironic many in the fandom complained about supposedly unwarranted high MP prices and yet 70 - 80 dollars for this MP Skids is suddenly great deal. I would have preferred to pay more for a better engineered robot toy that provides a richer engagement and experience.

'Bargain bin' and masterpiece are oxymoronic given the context that these figures are intended to be their best possible interpretation of the characters. Of course what 'best' entails is subjective. I prefer the Hasui approach, which meant more surface detail and real world car details translated over to the bot mode. But I also love articulation, and appreciate their attempts over the past few years to incorporate as much as possible into the figures. Except when it hinders the look of the character as in Arcee's odd shaped chest, which totally spoiled her for me. Well that and her unseemly backpack, but I digress. I get what you're saying, though, and you may be correct. I'm partial to my theory, but I claim no evidence, and if this is in fact just a cheap attempt to make a quick buck on a lesser character, well, I wouldn't be surprised, and I'd happily concede that you had it right all along.

Regardless of its genesis, I don't think it's a bad looking fig , although the reduction in articulation is immediately apparent. Like you said, it's about on par with a commander class toy, and priced accordingly. I wonder if this is going to be the new norm? If so, then engineeringwise and in terms of articulation, it's a serious step backwards.:(

Edited by M'Kyuun
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4 hours ago, Scyla said:

I need to get that Shockwave ornament for my Christmas tree this year. However I don’t know how to get it in Europe. I‘ve never seen anything branded Hallmark before in my country and the local website seems to be selling postcards.

:unknw:

There's a Hallmark store near where I buy my groceries. If you're cool paying for shipping from the US (and whatever customs/duties your country may add) I could look into buying one here and sending it to you for just whatever it costs.

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Concerning MP Skids' development, there's an interview with Kojin Ono, the designer of both the G1 toy and this new MP version. It looks like a Google translation, so not the best, but decipherable. And I stand corrected; @lechuck was correct in that this was a recent design purposefully aimed to meet a lower price point/less complex transformation.

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32 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

And I stand corrected; @lechuck was correct in that this was a recent design purposefully aimed to meet a lower price point/less complex transformation.

I wonder if the more expensive post MP-44 figures haven't sold as well?  Regardless, like you, I tend to think the more articulation the better, but I'd say I'm fine with a certain standard level.  What I'm not fine with is how Takara had been achieving their articulation; make an articulated robot out of faux parts, make most of the alt mode a shell, and crumple that shell into a backpack, which I don't feel leads to

4 hours ago, lechuck said:

a better engineered robot toy that provides a richer engagement and experience.

Frankly, I find figures like MP-44 and MP-45 to be ugly and tedious, and MP Skids looks like a much-needed course correction.  Now, are they swinging too far in the other direction?  Maybe.  But there's a reason I haven't bought any MPs after Ironhide but suddenly I'm looking at picking up Skids despite having a perfectly good X-Transbots Savant.

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I read the text of the interview differently. Since Skids is basically a background character in the show with only a few lines, Ono and his design team appear to have some freedom to take this project in a new direction. The team seems to want to focus more on creating an MP update to the original Diaclone toys rather than creating a super articulated carbot. Usually, Diaclone repaints are an afterthought after some primary MP is released, but this time Ono and his team decided to make Diaclone the whole point. We even get to see the original blue and red toys upon which MP Skids and Reboost are based, down to their matching accessories.

So, no, this won't be a release like Sunstreaker or Bee 2.0 which both have a higher price point and are built with the toon aesthetic in mind. However, I think it's great all the same. I think those who think Masterpiece Transformers have to be one thing or another are missing the point. I don't think MPs using the toon aesthetic are going away, but I'm pleased to see projects like these get traction again and I do think we'll see more sprinkled into the mix.

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4 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

I wonder if the more expensive post MP-44 figures haven't sold as well?  Regardless, like you, I tend to think the more articulation the better, but I'd say I'm fine with a certain standard level.  What I'm not fine with is how Takara had been achieving their articulation; make an articulated robot out of faux parts, make most of the alt mode a shell, and crumple that shell into a backpack, which I don't feel leads to

Frankly, I find figures like MP-44 and MP-45 to be ugly and tedious, and MP Skids looks like a much-needed course correction.  Now, are they swinging too far in the other direction?  Maybe.  But there's a reason I haven't bought any MPs after Ironhide but suddenly I'm looking at picking up Skids despite having a perfectly good X-Transbots Savant.

Hard disagreement with your assessment, if anything the alternate robot parts and compression of alt-mode helps with proportions and the overall robot silhouette as well as  fills in void spots in different areas, which in turn grants space to implement a better range of articulation. This is a higher degree of engineering to get it all right, it is not just sticking it in the backpack as you put it.

The alternative approach of quickly extending, unfolding and realigning chunks of alt-mode just leads to unsightly robots – wide chest, protruding belly, limbs being too long or short and larger void spaces and gaps like we have seen with most of the Hasui-hybrid era. Have a closer look at Skids, the shoulders sit too far apart from the main body, arms are too thin and the outward-up movement has been shifted to the shoulder wheel-pauldron thingy instead of naturally coming from an axle joint at the body - because keeping with the actual alt-mode front car facia and lower engineered sophistication will dictate and enforce such unbalance on the robot mode.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against some part of the actual alt-mode being used for the robot, as long as it doesn't ruin appearance/proportions or limit the versatility in articulation.

Edited by lechuck
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6 hours ago, lechuck said:

Hard disagreement with your assessment, if anything the alternate robot parts and compression of alt-mode helps with proportions and the overall robot silhouette as well as  fills in void spots in different areas, which in turn grants space to implement a better range of articulation. This is a higher degree of engineering to get it all right, it is not just sticking it in the backpack as you put it.

The alternative approach of quickly extending, unfolding and realigning chunks of alt-mode just leads to unsightly robots – wide chest, protruding belly, limbs being too long or short and larger void spaces and gaps like we have seen with most of the Hasui-hybrid era. Have a closer look at Skids, the shoulders sit too far apart from the main body, arms are too thin and the outward-up movement has been shifted to the shoulder wheel-pauldron thingy instead of naturally coming from an axle joint at the body - because keeping with the actual alt-mode front car facia and lower engineered sophistication will dictate and enforce such unbalance on the robot mode.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against some part of the actual alt-mode being used for the robot, as long as it doesn't ruin appearance/proportions or limit the versatility in articulation.

I mean, you like what you like and I'm not going to tell you you're wrong for it.  I just don't agree; recent MPs have been like cartoon-style Action Masters with wrap-around alt modes in my book.  Yes, that's given figures like Prime and Bee great articulation and bot modes that are extremely similar to the animation models... too much so, in my opinion, as I'm not a fan of things like Prime's thin arms, large pelvis, and short torso.  I also don't see a need to swap the truck mode windows for more squarish ones just because that's how they looked in the animation.  To me, the Sunbow animation wasn't that great and I prefer a robot that looks realistic, like it actually transforms using parts from the alt mode.  I strongly prefer, wide chests, protruding bellies, gaps and all, the Hasui-era MPs.  I prefer MP-10 to MP-44.  That doesn't necessarily mean that I think the old way was ideal; there's probably a middle ground that keeps what I like about the older MPs but brings in elements of the newer ones- I think both Magic Square and Transform Element delivered better Primes than either MP-10 or MP-44.  But Skids is definitely the most interested I've been in an official MP in a long time.

Edited by mikeszekely
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I'm not sure if Studio Series figures are being released in regular waves now, or if SS86 messed with them, or if they're just slowing because they're running out of movie characters.  Either way, after B-127 and Starscream we've got just the one more, Deluxe-class Dino.

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Sometimes it seems like the movie team makes up a name, and Hasbro doesn't like it.  Per the subtitles, Brawl in the first movie was called Devastator, but Hasbro slapped "Brawl" on all the toys because no way was the guy who turns into a tank and died in the first movie getting named after their most popular combiner.  And when the third movie came along we get a red Ferrari named Dino, but because Hasbro didn't have a trademark for it the game and book tie-ins and all the toys were called Mirage.  But, maybe because they said his name out loud and not just with a subtitle, we get to the Studio series and suddenly Hasbro's like, "OK, he can be Dino as long as we stick 'Autobot' in front of it."

Anyway... here's Dino with some other Autobot cars.  I guess that's about right, height-wise.  My first thought with all that red was that he must surely be missing a ton of paint apps, but as near as I can tell he's not as off as I'd feared.  If anything, he's missing some red in the gunmetal details on his abs.  Where Dino deviates the most from his on-screen model is more in the proportions.  His hips are a bit too wide, and his shoulder pads are too big, and a lot of that might be due to the fact that his tires don't just disappear the way they did in the movie.

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There is, of course, the backpack, which is pretty common among cars in the Studio Series.  Stuff can't just movie magic it's way into the svelte figures you see in the film when we're talking about a $20 Deluxe-class toy, I suppose.

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Dino comes with his two signature arm blades.  Nothing else.

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Dino's articulation is... not great.  His head seems to be on a ball joint, and although he can look up a bit and swivel his head there's no room to look down or tilt his head sideways.  Shoulders are ball joints that allow for rotation when his shoulder pads aren't getting caught on his backpack, and under 90 degrees of lateral movement.  Transformation hinges do give him a bit of a shrug.  His biceps can swivel, but only to turn his arms inward, as they're blocked from turning the other way.  His elbows are double-jointed and can curl nearly 180 degrees.  His wrists swivel, but his waist does not.  His hips are on ball joints, which allows them to go over 90 degrees forward, under 90 degrees backward, and only about 60 degrees laterally.  His thighs swivel just above the knees, which bend 90 degrees.  His feet can tilt up for transformation, nothing really down, and no ankle pivots.  At this point, is a bit disappointing that the Studio Series still is so far behind the War for Cybertron line in engineering; they're still using way too many ball joints and and still not providing basic ankle articulation.

Technically his hands are 5mm compatible and he could hold the pegs on his blades, but they're meant to plug into the backs of his forearms.

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Dino's transformation is almost entirely in the backpack.  I started transforming him, then stopped here to show you that his arms are in place, as his shoulder pads form the front headlights, fenders, and wheels, but that's pretty much it.  The rest of the 80% complete car is his backpack.  His hips and thighs will contribute the rear fenders and wheels, while his shins look for some empty space to hide in.

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And there's the completed car, with some other Studio Serires cars.  I think he looks alright there.

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But, you might have noticed that he's not a Ferrari 458 Italia.  His nose is a little tall and not as curvy.  The grill is broken up.  The tail is complete different with a large red band running through the rear window.  I'm obligated to say that he's not movie accurate in alt mode.  But I'll add that Maisto apparently has the exclusive rights to make toy Ferraris, so it's not simply a case of Hasbro not going for it.  And it's at least more Ferrari-esque than the repainted Sideways not-Audis we got in the past.

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Dino's blades do store in alt mode, but you kind of have to make the decision to do so or not mid transformation.  There are peg holes on the inside of his roof, and you plug them in before you stuff his torso and legs into place.

I gotta tell you, after handling so may Kingdom figures, even the more disappointing ones like Magnus, it's kind of tough to go back to the Studio Series.  Dino is probably the best version of the character we've gotten, and I'm including Alien Attack's Firage.  But he's also another example of everything I don't like about the line; robots that don't look like they could actually transform carrying big backpacks, shellforming alt modes, limited paint, and none of the articulation improvements that have become standard in the War for Cybertron lines.  If you like the Bayverse characters and want a Dino you can display with your other Studio Series figures then by all means, pick him up.  But if you just wanted the important characters and don't think the red sports car who appeared briefly in one out of six movies makes the cut you're not missing out if you leave Dino on the shelf.

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8 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

I wonder if the more expensive post MP-44 figures haven't sold as well?

Optimus ver.3?  Starscream ver.3?  Bumblebee ver.2?

Is it any wonder they don't sell, when they keep redoing the same characters at higher price points? :unsure:

2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Dino is probably the best version of the character we've gotten, and I'm including Alien Attack's Firage.

I don't see any way "Autobot Dino" is an improvement over "Firage."  Alien Attack's figure has more accurate proportions, bigger arm blades, much better articulation, and a proper 458 Italia alt. mode...

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1 hour ago, tekering said:

I don't see any way "Autobot Dino" is an improvement over "Firage."  Alien Attack's figure has more accurate proportions, bigger arm blades, much better articulation, and a proper 458 Italia alt. mode...

Firage was also made of worse plastic, had a fiddly, PITA transformation, still had a backpack, and started coming untabbed in robot mode if you sneezed at him.  I also wouldn't say Firage had better proportions; his shoulder pads were smaller, and his hips were as far apart, but his pelvis was too big, his arms were kind of far from his torso, and his chest kind of sat over his abs, leaving him with a gaping collar and a weird beer belly.  His blades were bigger, but maybe too big.  I gotta give Firage the alt mode, though.

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On 4/17/2021 at 4:28 PM, mikeszekely said:

There's a Hallmark store near where I buy my groceries. If you're cool paying for shipping from the US (and whatever customs/duties your country may add) I could look into buying one here and sending it to you for just whatever it costs.

I appreciate the offer, I truly do but I fear that shipping it overseas might kill this. Looking at the USPS site every option seems expensive. Probably sticking to amazon might be the best.

Do those ornaments sell out or are they hard to get?

 

Edited by Scyla
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