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16 hours ago, Scyla said:

@mikeszekely some of the decisions Hasbro takes are really questionable in the Legacy line. Why the extensive remold of Blurr into Defcon but no remolded car chest for Breakdown (which is a much more beloved character I assume)?
Why the missing research in the proper RiD Scourge color scheme?  Why doesn’t Prime Dreadwing have its proper colors?

On the other hands characters like Skullgrin or Metalhawk get a unique mold or extensive repaint.


Hasbro should know that I'm available to hire to run their Transformers division, and I can start immediately.  I don't have a ton of experience running a brand, but I have a lot of ideas that seem to resonate with other fans... stuff like "Don't screw up Breakdown," "Scourge should be colored the same as the animation," "what if, before we get into the really obscure G1 deep cuts, we did a Deluxe-class Gears?" and "what if, instead of making up a bunch of new Junkions to push a gimmick, we just made a Deluxe-class Gears?"

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1 hour ago, mikeszekely said:

Hasbro should know that I'm available to hire to run their Transformers division, and I can start immediately.  I don't have a ton of experience running a brand, but I have a lot of ideas that seem to resonate with other fans... stuff like "Don't screw up Breakdown," "Scourge should be colored the same as the animation," "what if, before we get into the really obscure G1 deep cuts, we did a Deluxe-class Gears?" and "what if, instead of making up a bunch of new Junkions to push a gimmick, we just made a Deluxe-class Gears?"

They'll give you a corner office as President of Make a Deluxe-class Gears.

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I just wonder how either such decisions are made in big cooperations. It seems improbable that, for example, RiD Scourge's wrong color scheme slips to so many nets until production without someone noticing that this is not right. So they probably didn’t care that it is wrong, which indicates a lack of passion.

Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.

@JB0 Bishoujo Starscream looks good. I think the skin tone could be a shade darker and the while the design choice of using a bag as Starscream's wings is smart I think the sculpted on Nullrays are tad too much.

They all look great so far (Bumblebee is my favorite I think) but I’m trying to abstain from this line and not buying my favorite characters. Plus I’m not too hot on Nemesis Primes expression and the figure is a convention exclusive. 
I don’t know if I could pass on a scientist Shockwave with an eyepatch though.

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Ya know, I am fairly curious after so many years with the start of the generations line WHY we don’t have a Gears? He’s gotta be the only stinking character at this point from the original character lineup who has yet to get a new figure. MAYBE now that we are getting a Brawn, Gears will be around the corner…..as a hasbropulse/Walgreens/Walmart/target of some sort exclusive. Or Botcon.

I’ve sorta been itching to wanting to buy another bumble bee and cliff jumper set so I can tear them apart and candy coat them into their G2 schemes….they need it.

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I ended up breaking my tyranny pack open. I actually like the little bits of retooling they did to the seige mold, basically new chest, abdominal, front shoulders (rear half is the same) and a new head sculpt that’s pretty sharp.

even included a comparison between origins, seige and my G2. 

not seeing any knee issue, infact overall the joints all the way around are tighter than either of my other two megatrons, and nothing seems out of place that I can tell.


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I was going to finish wave 3 of Evolution, but leave it to FedEx to say they were going to deliver today, miss today, and claim they're going to deliver tomorrow now (while having the temerity to say that it's "on time").  So OK, here's the Amazon/Pulse-exclusive Transformers Evolution Rise of Tyranny pack (that you will only get if you order the other one).


So first up we have Senator Ratbat, based on his appearance in Megatron Origin.  Like Alpha Trion, he's a retool of Studio Series 86 Scourge, and I guess it kind of works for him.  To be totally fair, Ratbat is in maybe two or three pages total, and you really only see him from the waist up mostly.  What's more, of the appearances he has, he's colored somewhat inconsistently.

What I can say is that he's got a new head, the front of his torso, new shoulders and biceps, and a new pelvis, and for the most part they capture the design seen in the comics... except sometimes his shoulders are gold, as if part of the ornamentation on his chest, and sometimes not.  And the purple on his waist is either his waist... or it's his pelvis.  It's unclear from the art, but his forearms do appear to be rounded in the comics, with purple biceps and forearms and black hands, so there's that.  What little you can see of his legs appears blockier in the comics, but I guess Scourge's legs are close enough.  I'd say the biggest deviation is his wings, which here are just Scourge's, lacking even the bit of retooling that Alpha Trion got.  In the comics his wings are a bit more like G1 Divebomb's.  They don't sit higher than his shoulders, and each wing is essentially a base attached to his back with three long "feathers".

Ratbat comes with the the same gun as Scourge and Alpha Trion.


And he probably has the same gun because it's the one that's designed to plug into the side of his alt mode, which again like Alpha Trion is 90% Scourge's.  The entire difference comes down to a narrow section in the middle, from his head and collar to the two panels directly in front of it.  And, again, I guess that's fine.  I know that there are some that aren't a fan of the soap-brick shape, although 7 year old me thought it seemed kind of futuristic (but not as cool as Cyclonus' swish jet mode).  I'd have preferred if he could have had some kind of bat mode, but hey, at least they didn't try to retool Power of the Primes Mindwipe again.


The real star of the show is Megatron.  Like Ratbat, he's based on Megatron's appearance as an energon miner in Megatron Origin.  It's a retool of Siege Megatron, but I'd say that the Siege Megatron mold lends itself to this version of Megatron better than Scourge does to Ratbat.  He's a new head, shoulders, and the front of his torso, and Milne's design already had stuff like the treads on his back and the same.  I could argue that the gray they used for his darker parts should be a bit darker, his shoulders a bit rounder, that he could use some extra plates on his forearms, or that they could have remolded his pelvis, too, but that feels a bit like nitpicking for what's ultimately a retool.


Especially because his head is brand new.  I mean, remember when Combat Hero Megatron was released back in the day?  People noted then than CH Meg's head was a different sculpt than Siege Megatron's, and a bit more like Milne's with the chin strap, the armor on the brow, and the linework on his forehead.  But no, Hasbro went and made an entirely new, even more accurate head.


Unlike Ratbat, Megatron has some new accessories.  You've got a mount, a drill, a pickaxe, and a handle.  The pickaxe isn't just a mining tool, it's the pickaxe that Megatron threw at Senator Decimus in Megatron Origin #1.


The idea is that the drill goes into the mount, and then the mount goes onto his forearm (even though he never had a drill in the comics), in place of a fusion cannon.  The pickaxe goes into the handle, so he can carry it in his hand.  Or, both can be stored on his back, although doing so will make him a bit back heavy.  Which reminds me... the knees.


If you open the insides of his legs, as you do for transformation, take a look at the knee joint.  If it's assembled properly, it'll look like this, with a notched end at the front of the knee and the little circle on the back.  Feel free to check your other Megatrons and see.  Now, mine didn't come like this.  It came with the circle at the front and the cutout at the back.  He might seem ok like this.  His knee still bends just fine, and you can even transform him.  But, he won't be able to straighten his knee all the way, and this combined with the weight of his backpack makes him prone to tipping.  Fortunately, it's a pretty easy fix.  Remove the screw that runs through the knee, then take his lower leg off and set it aside.  To get the actual joint off you'll have to push a pin out.  The pin should be knurled at the front of the thigh, so push from the back to the front to remove the pin.  Don't worry, this is one of the easier pins I've had to remove.  Once you have the knee joints removed, just swap them to the opposite thighs, shove the pins back in, then screw the lower legs back on.


Anyway, with the knees fixed it's time to transform him.  Now, Siege Megatron turned into a tank, and this is a retool of Siege Megatron, so he's still a tank.  Of course, Siege Megatron's sword and fusion cannon made up part of the turret and barrel, and this Megatron doesn't have those.  So Hasbro tried to get creative.  The new shoulders have slots on the sides instead of 5mm ports, and the handle to the pickaxe has tabs that lets it lock in between his shoulders.  This isn't exactly ideal, though, because it leaves a bit of negative space at the back and doesn't really lock his forearms into place at all.  With the head of the pickaxe removed, you have a 5mm port that you can plug the mount and drill into, and Miner Megatron becomes a kind of drill tank.  It's not the prettiest, but we don't really see Miner Megatron transform in the comics, and the bot mode is pretty on point, so I think we'll allow it.


The turret even can still rotate, although the drill can't move up/down.  And the best Hasbro could come up with for storing the head of the pickaxe is to plug it randomly into one of the four 5mm ports on the sides of the treads.  I can't help but think if they'd remolded the forearms a little more, put some slots on them, they could have put taps on the pickaxe and attached it on top of the turret, to the forearms, hiding some of that negative space and locking the forearms together better.  Alas, you win some, you lose some.

These comic packs are undoubtedly not for everyone.  If the Sunbow cartoon was the extent of your fandom then these IDW designs might be a bit meaningless to you.  And despite my great love for the old Marvel comics, where Fuel Auditor Ratbat ran the Decepticons for a time, I don't think a remolded Scourge is going to get anyone too excited.  That said, I think this pack is probably worth it for Megatron.  I mean, I don't have the other pack yet and I've already got two Orion Pax figures.  Why not have a pre-war Megatron, especially when he's arguably better than the original figure they remolded? 

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3 minutes ago, jenius said:

What does "toy version" mean? 

It'll be decoed like the original G1 toy. Think yellow eyes, silver or chrome on the pelvis and thighs, maybe some tampos on the forearms and knees that look like the original's stickers. Blue stripes on the trailer, if they include it.

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37 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

It'll be decoed like the original G1 toy. Think yellow eyes, silver or chrome on the pelvis and thighs, maybe some tampos on the forearms and knees that look like the original's stickers. Blue stripes on the trailer, if they include it.

IMO, this release of Optimus is a strange one, especially when compared to the toy version of Megatron (MP-36+). The accessories are barebones and there is no trailer or Roller. There is no printed on detail. There is no remolding or even a toy-accurate head sculpt. It appears to be a budget version of MP-44 with toy stickers, silver thighs, and a variant of Convoy’s head sculpt with yellow eyes. 

I was excited about the initial announcement but, now that the marketing shots are out there, I’m going to pass on this one. 

The Diaclone Trailbreaker looks to be the better pick. But it’s a hard sell unless you are a die-hard official MP collector. Chances are most people with mixed MP collections have a good copy of one of the many third-party releases already.

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Amazon Japan pre-order pages are already up.

Transformers Masterpiece MP-44S Optimus Prime (it's actually not named "Convoy" this time)
Transformers Masterpiece MP-56+ Rigoras

All the toy details on Prime are stickers, not tampo!?



No factions symbols on Rigoras, so I guess stickers again. Also, the included force field accessory should have been included with MP-56 Trailbreaker in the first place.

51OCYUJXlrL._AC_SL1100_.jpg 61zF4lD91VL._AC_SL1100_.jpg

Edited by lechuck
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The more I look at the marketing shots for Optimus, the more the colors of MP-44 Convoy versus MP-44 Optimus (not Convoy) reminds me of the colors of MP-10 Hasbro versus MP-10 Takara. Good for those who want the color swap, but I’m not fond of the stickers. 

I guess we’ll see if a third-party offers a toy accurate head sculpt, but I’m also getting tired of having to upgrade/mod at this price point.

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27 minutes ago, technoblue said:

IMO, this release of Optimus is a strange one, especially when compared to the toy version of Megatron (MP-36+). The accessories are barebones and there is no trailer or Roller. There is no printed on detail. There is no remolding or even a toy-accurate head sculpt. It appears to be a budget version of MP-44 with toy stickers, silver thighs, and a variant of Convoy’s head sculpt with yellow eyes. 

I was excited about the initial announcement but, now that the marketing shots are out there, I’m going to pass on this one. 

The Diaclone Trailbreaker looks to be the better pick. But it’s a hard sell unless you are a die-hard official MP collector. Chances are most people with mixed MP collections have a good copy of one of the many third-party releases already.

I think I might pick up MP-44S for novelty and curiosity, but I'm not big on using stickers either, that should not be a thing for MPs. On the other hand it gives fans the option to not completely be locked in with toy detailing and only having to contend with yellow eyes and silver colouring/striping if they don't want to spend the requested after-market prices for the OG MP-44 mould now. As for the trailer, plenty complained of having "yet another trailer accessory lying in the cupboard" and that it drove up the cost of MP-44 significantly (I don't quite subscribe to that). Now all of a sudden it is to little being offered, it's damned if you do or damned of you don't – Takara can never really win this.

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17 minutes ago, lechuck said:

I think I might pick up MP-44S for novelty and curiosity, but I'm not big on using stickers either, that should not be a thing for MPs. On the other hand it gives fans the option to not completely be locked in with toy detailing and only having to contend with yellow eyes and silver colouring/striping if they don't want to spend the requested after-market prices for the OG MP-44 mould now. As for the trailer, plenty complained of having "yet another trailer accessory lying in the cupboard" and that it drove up the cost of MP-44 significantly (I don't quite subscribe to that). Now all of a sudden it is to little being offered, it's damned if you do or damned of you don't – Takara can never really win this.

Yeah, fans are fickle. That isn’t necessarily  a negative, either. It just is. Sometimes it’s hard to communicate what we want. LoL!

Myself, I was hoping to see a little more from Takara with this MP Optimus. I would have liked a slight remold to reduce the size of the backpack. A remold of the legs to reduce the toon-ish curve at the calves. Tampo printing would have been a cool bonus for sure.

And even if none of that made it past the design phase because of a lower budget, a G1 toy head would have had me buying this regardless. Oh well. I’ll keep an eye out for good affordable add-ons.

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If they'd have just taken the metallic pelvis, thighs, face, and cab stripe and kept the rest of regular MP-44 (including the blue eyes) I think I'd have really liked it, but as a real toy deco I don't feel like it did enough.  Should have ditched the yellow on the pelvis and used blue on his face for the parts that aren't the mask.  But I digress, I wasn't really a fan of MP-44's design and engineering in the first place.

Anyway, I can finally finish up Legacy Evolution Wave 3 with Leader-class Armada Megatron.


Hmm... I've noticed watching the Hasbro Pulse streams that a lot of the Transformers team is younger than I am.  Does that explain the attention post-cartoon G1, Machine Wars, G2, etc gets from the team while guys like Gears languish, forgotten?  Does that explain why Siege/Earthrise Megatron, aka G1 Megatron, is smaller than movie Megatron, than Beast Megatron, and now Armada Megatron?

Generally speaking the Unicron Trilogy animation was much more faithful to the toys than G1 was, and Evolution Megatron is very close to the original toy aesthetically.  He even retains the weird left hand of the original toy, although that toy's hand was like that to accomodate a knife gimmick that this toy lacks.  I might point out that the purple used here is a bit less blue that the original toy, but that seems to match the animation better.  He retains the asymmetrical forearms and lower legs, and the same orange accents as the original toy. 


Most of the criticisms I think I actually have with this figure, like the big ol' tank barrel just sticking out of his back, is really an issue of the source material, not this figure.  That said, he loses the Minicon pegs the original toy had, but seems to have picked up a few more 5mm ports to use with more modern Siege Micromasters.  There's one on either forearm, one on the outside of each shoulder, one on the back of each shoulder, one on the outside of each leg, one on his back behind the turret, one on his back on the turret, and one under each foot.


Speaking of Minicons, as was the case with Starscream and Hotshot Megatron doesn't come with one  That makes his sole accessory this cannon.  It's actually the end of his tank barrel.


Megatron's head is on a ball joint that swivels but is fairly limited in its up/down/sideways tilt.  His ears are a rubbery plastic and are simply pegged into the sides of his head; they come off way too easily.  His shoulders swivel, but the range is limited.  If you open the purple flaps he can swivel from straight down to 90 degrees, that's it.  They have the clearance on the sides to move 90 degrees laterally, though, and his biceps swivel.  His elbows bend a bit over 90 degrees, and his wrists swivel.  His waist swivels, and he's got a swivel under his chest, too.  His hips go 90 degrees forward and 45 degrees backward on ratchets, then over 90 degrees laterally on friction hinges.  His thighs swivel, and his knees bend 90 degrees on ratchets.  His feet have a bit of downward tilt due to his transformation, and he's got 45 degrees of ankle pivot.

If you fold either of his hands in for transformation you'll notice that the other side has a 5mm peg.  You can use this to attach the end of his tank barrel like a Shockwave-esque gun hand.  Not something the original toy did, I don't think, nor something he did in the cartoon.  But I like that it gives him some kind of weapon, and I like that removing it from the rest of the barrel leaves him without as much tank barrel sticking out from behind him.  If you don't want it on the rest of the barrel but also want him to have both hands you can open the side of either tank-tread-shoulder and tuck it inside.  It'll be loose in there, but it won't fall out.


Although, like the original toy, you can angle the turret on his back so that the barrel can fold forward, under his armpit.  Or, again like the original toy, his entire midsection can rotate around, bringing the tank's turret to the front.


For a Leader-class toy Megatron's transformation is rather uncomplicated.  I didn't have the original toy, but I imagine it's gotta be pretty similar.  His wrists fold in, then his entire arms fold up into the treads on his shoulders, which then shift up and in slightly.  His waist rotates 90 degrees, then his hips kick out beyond 90 degrees and panels on the sides of his legs so they can bend inward below the knees.  His heels and toes bend down 90 degrees, and that's about it.


As with the robot mode, the tank is mostly very accurate to the original.  The exposed head on the front, hip joints on the rear, and shoulders on the sides all carry over from the original toy.  Most of what did change I don't really mind.  There's less orange on his one front tread, and the side of his turret doesn't have the weird bend in it.  There's also a plate that unfolds from inside his chest to cover his face.  What I'm less keen on, though, is that the firing missiles of the original toy are permanently molded into the launcher on the side of the turret, with little posts for Siege blast effects.  It's not the end of the world, but it takes what was more like a missile launcher and essentially says, "no, it's a gun."  Although, maybe that's how they did it in the cartoon?  I can't remember.


The turret can rotate, and the barrel can be aimed up and down.  The gun on the side can also be aimed up and down.  He's got wheels in his treads, so he rolls.  If you want you can jam a Micromaster between his ears, although they're likely to fall out of if you try.  And that's about it, which is really where my biggest disappointment with this figure lies.  The sides of his legs, at the back of the tank, do not open; on the original one side butterflied open to reveal a little storage space, and the other opened into a ramp with a claw.  A painted orange stripe on one of the front treads is all that references a ladder-like panel with a Minicon peg that unfolded from the original.  The other front tread has a trio of molded and painted hatches, but they don't open as they did on the original toy.  Yeah, I know I was just advocating for less gimmicks.  And yeah, inflation and all that... but is this really all we get for a Leader-class's $55 price point these days?  No firing missiles and no Minicon/Micromaster I can live with, but he couldn't even get the parts count to open the doors on his legs?


It honestly feels like I've spent a lot of time on Legacy and Evolution claiming that I'm cool giving non-G1 Transformers fans their time while complaining about G1-ified updates like Animated Prowl or Prime Arcee.  It's nice when they do a figure like Megatron, then, where the aesthetic already works and  we wind up with a accurate update on the original with more modern articulation.  And, limits of the shoulders aside, that's what we've got with Megatron.  The worst thing I can say about Megatron is that his tank mode is missing some of the gimmicks of the original toy, but the fact remains that even without them we've got a solid figure, in-scale, that can pose with any and all of your post-Siege Transformers, and ultimately I do really dig him.  Now, being that I didn't collect the Armada toys back in the day I really couldn't care if they update every figure from that line, but as someone who played the PS2 game and watch the cartoon I think I would like it if they at least did Cyclonus and Demolisher (and maybe a Titan-class Tidal Wave).  I'm going to give Megatron a recommend.

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Wasn't expecting a stand alone Masterpiece Optimus Prime, for me this came out of nowhere 😮

I just PO'd MP-44S at HLJ, always wanted this version but I just couldn't spend the high price of the one with the trailer, I just hope the materials or plastic are high quality and has some heft to it. 

PO links if someone wants one :D 





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Bmac, Evan, and Delaney from Pulse are going to be doing a panel at SDCC on Thursday the 20th with some reveals.  The only hints they've given about what's to be revealed is that there will be some Generations exclusives, some more Studio Series figures for Rise of the Beasts, and they'll be showing the first Commander-class figure in the Studio Series line.

The Generations stuff could be a few more Amazon exclusives.  Megatron/Ratbat and Pax/Shockwave are not the only comic-inspired packs.  I'm told we can expect Nacelle from the Siege Seeker mold (possibly with the same modifications as Shockwave), a two-pack of Javelin and Kaskade (no idea what they might be remolded from), and a heavy retool of Siege Magnus/Galaxy Upgrade Prime as Nova Prime.  What's more, sources tell me that Nova Prime at least has already arrived at US ports from the factory and could be in customers' hands before summer is out.

The Generations stuff could also be the War Dawn pack that leaked awhile back in Canada.  It's actually be ready to go for awhile, but someone (Bmac?) said they were holding it for SDCC.

I'm not sure about the ROTB SS reveals, I mean, who's left?  I think Wheeljack, Nightbird, Stratosphere, Apelinq, and those Scorponoks are the only robots left that don't have Studio Series release.  Now that I think about it, I'd love a Nightbird that's a lot better than the mainline Deluxe.

Now, with the mention of new ROTB SS reveals and a first-ever reveal of a Commander-class in SS you might be thinking, "well, it's obviously Stratosphere, right?"  Nope.  Stratosphere was a kind of a blink-and-you'll-miss-him character, and Hasbro knows that higher price points tend to be less impulse buys for kids who saw the movie and more objects for adult collectors.  They're apparently not willing to risk it on Stratosphere.  There's an outside chance it could be Devcon from Dark of the Moon... apparently there is a small but passionate group of Bayverse fans who've been clamoring for Devcon, and work was started on a Leader-class toy, but the parts count got too high and it ran over budget.  That said, I'm like 95% sure it's going to be Studio Series 86 Ultra Magnus, a figure I've known to be in development for awhile.  I don't know if it'll be an all-in-one transformation like the MP or the old Generations figure, or if it'll have a transforming cab and armor like the G1/Siege/Kingdom toys, but expect a more screen-accurate alt mode than the Kingdom toy.

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I saw it theorized that the stickers for MP-44S weren't to be cheap, or to recreate the 80s experience (which I initially thought), but a holdback to have this appeal to those who never got MP-44 in the first place and want to skew that way in appearance. I think that's it, and it may be why we didn't get the toy head, although my initial inkling was cost myself especially for the head.

I wish it were cheaper, but I think I will get him as I only snagged a 44 KO up to now. Sadly, to me, he won't have the voice chip backpack which I would have enjoyed; especially if he had new clips. (Ah well, maybe I'll find that original 44 someday.)

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So... got an email from Amazon saying they shipped the Ratbat/Megatron "Rise of Tyranny" pack.  Which means that means that what I actually received was the "Heroic Origin" pack containing Senator Shockwave and "Data Clerk" Orion Pax.


Once again, I feel like the least interesting figure in the set is the Senator.  I mean, if you're not familiar with the IDW continuity maybe it seems a bit nuts that the guy in the middle there is supposed to be the same guy as the one on your left.  Well, after Orion Pax storms a Senate session after being attacked by criminals in the employ of one Senator, another unnamed Senator (mostly white with blue and gold accents) would have Pax repaired, with the new addition of space in his chest for the Matrix (The Transformers Vol. 2 #23).  Pax was seen meeting a Senator again, presumably the same one as he was identical save for the gold being replaced with a pale green, to discuss the Senator's suspicion that the Senate colluded with Sentinel to have Nominus Prime murdered (More Than Meets the Eye #9).  In the very next issue, Pax and an unnamed Senator, indicated to be the same one but with a different chest and a red, white, and blue color scheme, uncover a Senate plot to bomb Nominus' funeral and blame it on the nascent Decepticon movement.  While Pax was foiling the bomb plot agents of the conspiracy captured the Senator and subjected him to Empurata, a form of Cybertronian punishment where one or both hands are replaced with less functional claws and, in extreme cases, one's face is replaced with a simple mono-eye to mark the victim as an outcast.  The Senator was also subjected to a Shadowplay, an officially illegal but unofficially still used method of reprogramming a troublesome individual's personality, and it's ultimately revealed that this Senator was Shockwave (More Than Meets the Eye #10-11).

Presumably Shockwave's appearance is based on those latter two issues, based on the colors and the shape of the chest.  For the most part the colors are in the right spot, and the new chest, head, and crotch are accurate to the comics, although the arms, hips, and legs borrowed directly from the Siege Seeker mold are somewhat less so.


The only other new parts are his wings.  This explains why the stacks on his back are straight instead of angled forward as they are in the comics- they're just carried over from the Seeker mold.  But I find the wings curious because Shockwave didn't have any in the comics, aside from the ones on his arms.  The Siege Seeker wings would be inaccurate, but the new wings are equally inaccurate.


Speaking of the wings on his arms, Shockwave loses the rifles that the Siege Seekers came with, which is fine since he didn't have any in the comics, and instead gets wings.  They have hinges and are simply plugged into the 5mm ports on his arms, and they do not have to be removed for transformation.  They're a bit smaller than they appear in the comics, but they'll do.  Since they're attached via pegs you can rotate them; Alex Milne apparently intended for them to be able to rotate to be used as arm blades weapons.


Shockwave's pre-Empurata alt mode wasn't depicted in the comics, but since he's more or less the Siege Seeker mold he turns into something similar to a Siege tetrajet.  Well, the new wing parts form massive engine pods instead of wings, and his new arm blades make up what little wings he's got.  It's not my favorite.  The tiny wings coming out near the bottom and the massive pods give Shockwave a less cohesive look.  That said, I appreciate that they attempted to make Shockwave visually distinct from the Seekers (and therefore hope that the Nacelle figure that will be released later in the line is either the original unmodified Siege Seeker mold or, even better, the Earthrise Seeker mold with Thrust's wings.


Senator Shockwave comes with "Data Clerk" Orion Pax.  He's, somewhat interestingly, a retool of Siege Hound.  He's got a new head, a new chest, and new lower legs and feet, but everything else is direct from Hound.  And it's kind of a weird choice.


I mean, it's not the first time we've gotten an Orion Pax figure.  It wasn't that long ago that we got a remold of SS86 Kup designed to look like the goofy Orion Pax design seen in the Sunbow cartoon episode "War Dawn."  It was quite a bit longer ago that we got a Generations Orion Pax, based on his appearance in the Spotlight: Orion Pax one-shot.  Technically, although I don't own one, the Leader-class Optimus Prime from Power of the Primes had a cab that turned into Orion Pax, too.  Generally-speaking, Orion Pax has been colored pretty similarly to Optimus Prime, so the first thing that stood out to me about this new Pax figure is the blue pelvis and gray hands.  I read an interview that claimed that the designer wanted this figure to be an amalgamation of the various versions of Orion Pax, and this unusual color scheme is an homage to Pax's appearance in Transformers Prime.


The amalgamated Orion Pax doesn't actually make sense, though.  I mean, Senator Shockwave is very clearly meant to be the one you see in MTMTE #10-11.  You'd reasonably expect then that the included Orion Pax would be the same Orion Pax that appeared in those comics... the Orion Pax that MMC's Optus Pexus figure (left) is based on.  And it seems they started off headed in that direction with the remolded chest... but they didn't remold the torso under it, so he's missing his grill and most of the red color he should have.  They should have kept his pelvis silver and painted his hands blue instead.  No wheels in his shoulders, no forearm guns.  Am I being too pick?  After all, it's a retool, not a new mold?  Well, despite having remolded legs, he lacks the vents and pipes.  And despite having a new head it's based on the one from Spotlight: Orion Pax not the mouth-plated head we see in More Than Meets the Eye.

Plus there's the whole fact that IDW Orion Pax, the Pax that was friends with Senator Shockwave, wasn't a little data clerk who grew after getting the Matrix.  Orion Pax was a cop, already as big as Megatron and Shockwave.  So not only is this Hound retool pretty off target, he's way too small.


Instead of a comic-accurate rifle Pax comes with the same rifle with the removable back that Hound came with.  He loses Hound's shoulder cannon, though.  Instead he gets an axe, and the axe is also kind of weird to me.  Pax didn't use an axe in Spotlight: Orion Pax, but the old Generations toy came with one.  This Pax gets also new axe, despite not using an axe in his other appearances as Orion Pax in IDW.  And even though the axe seems mostly new, the blades seem to have been copied from the translucent parts of the older Pax axe.  In any case, while Pax can hold the axe by the handle, there's a pair of 5mm pegs that can be used to store the axe on Pax's back.


Pax's new chest, legs, and feet plus a newly-revealed remolded windshield mean that Pax's alt mode should look quite a bit different than Hound's, and on close inspection you really do notice the differences.  But unfortunately with the same rear-mounted engine and broadly similar shapes Pax still looks like a jeep, all too similar to Hound and really not at all like he appears in the comics.


Sunbow Pax didn't transform, so who's to say that his Kup-esque mode is inaccurate?  As for Generations Pax, the lines are a bit more Earth truck than they appeared in the comics, but it's mostly right, meaning that "data clerk" Orion Pax might be the least-accurate Pax you can buy.  The mish-mash of the accurate chest with the inaccurately remolded head and legs, not-remolded arms sans arm guns, and the bizarre decision to color him like Prime Orion Pax make this my least favorite Pax figure.  But the real kicker is that Hasbro seems very aware that this figure is too small and too inaccurate to adequately represent "Supercop" Orion Pax, and one of the team (Evan, I think) went so far as to suggest they were limited by budget this time but that a more faithful version of this Orion Pax could come at a later date.  Ultimately, then, my recommendation for this set is the opposite of the other- unless you really want Senator Shockwave, you should probably skip this set and get a different Orion Pax for your collection.  

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personally I'm gonna always like the Generations Pax figure cause it stayed fairly close I think to the IDW one shot. I'd like to get the 2 pack with Alpha Trion....which is weird but yeah it's mostly just for the G1 side of me. This latest Orion variant man I knew I recognized the mold but I care so very little for the Seige Cybertron line up that it never dawned on me it was Hound. I will say though that out of all the pre-earth figures out there, the MCC Optimus is still my favorite even though it's a third party. The colors are nice, the details are sharp, the headsculpt is one of my favorite and makes me feel like it was worth the money paid for....which is odd when the next MCC release was I think Star Convoy and I heard that was pretty trashy. 

But overall I'm glad I decided to actually cancel the other 2 pack, I couldn't afford it with what I just did to my car this week and I'm flat broke lol. 

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38 minutes ago, sh9000 said:

Retro G1 Shrapnel and Skywarp Walmart Exclusives.  I wish they stuck with the original G1 packaging.

I wish they sick with the original G1 toy. I don't really get the appeal here. The charm of a reissue is that it's the same toy I had as a kid. If you change the colors to look more like the cartoon, it's not the toy I had as a kid anymore. If I'm after a toy that better resembles the cartoon I'll buy a modem toy that has better proportions and articulation.

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1 hour ago, mikeszekely said:

I wish they sick with the original G1 toy. I don't really get the appeal here. The charm of a reissue is that it's the same toy I had as a kid. If you change the colors to look more like the cartoon, it's not the toy I had as a kid anymore. If I'm after a toy that better resembles the cartoon I'll buy a modem toy that has better proportions and articulation.

Seriously. That Shrapnel is just gross, despite being literally the same toy I had as a kid.

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I could actually use Thundercracker, Hound, and Skywarp (I have Hot Rod, Shrapnel, and Perceptor already).  But I guess I'll keep looking for vintage ones, because Walmart's are all wrong.

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Well, here's a figure that I think a lot of people have been anticipating, but also that a lot of people seemed to have gotten awhile ago.  It's Studio Series 86 Leader-class Snarl!


I feel like Hasbro's been doing a pretty good job getting the SS86 figures looking like the animation (that is, better than Earthrise/Kingdom/Legacy), and Snarl's no exception.  86 Snarl eschews PotP Snarl's more toy-inspired head for the horned bucket of the animation.  The Autobot insignia on a black patch on his chest, the silver gunsight with the red outline, the vents on his shoulders, they're all cartoon-accurate.  Other linework on the animation model's torso and shins is present here as well, but with additional greebles that fit the modern Transformers aesthetic that are definitely borrowed more from the G1 toy.  The only thing I can really criticize here as not really cartoon accurate is his pelvis, but I think I prefer what we have here to the simple red diaper of the animation.


Hasbro took advantage of the Leader-class budget to invest in engineering that cleans him up pretty well.  Unlike the G1 toy or the PotP toy, there's no visible dino legs on the outsides of his legs, and no visible dino head hanging from the sides of his knees or lying on his calves.  Really, the only dino kibble on him that isn't also present on the animation model (so we're not counting the split tail on his back or the plates on his back, collar, or shins) is the dino feet on the backs of his forearms.


Here's a quick picture of Snarl with fellow quadrupedal Dinobots, and yeah.  They look really good together.  Kind of nuts Grimlock came out in '21 and Swoop isn't expected until '24.  But we're almost there!


Snarl's sole accessory is this sword.  It's a bit rubbery, and painted silver.  I guess it's fairly cartoon accurate, but I'm not sure how well it'll match with the various DNA/Nonnef ones I'd been picking up.  To be fair to Hasbro, if you look at the Dinobots' appearances they're either not using weapons at all, or you see Grimlock, Slag, and Sludge with guns, Swoop with just the rockets on his wings, and Snarl with a sword.  It's cartoon-accurate, but I'm sure I'll be looking for upgrades.


Snarl's head is on a ball joint with a limited ability to look down or tilt his head sideways, and really no upward tilt.  His shoulders rotate on ratchets, and can move laterally a bit over 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows can bend a bit over 90 degrees on a single hinge.  If you want to get more, there's a transformation hinge you can use to effectively make the elbow a double joint, but be aware that it's above the bicep swivel.  Speaking of swivels, his wrists swivel, as does his waist.  His hips can go forward or backward 90 degrees on ratchets, and 90 degrees laterally on friction hinges.  His thighs swivel, and his knees bend a click past 90 degrees on a ratchet.  His toes can bend down, and he's got 90 degrees of ankle pivot.

Snarl can hold his sword in either hand.  There's a second 5mm peg on the hilt that allows you to store the sword by plugging it into a 5mm port on his back.  Additional 5mm ports can be found on his shoulders and in his heels, but as a Studio Series figure he's lacks the plethora you might find on a Legacy figure.


I've transformed a couple of Snarls, and this one is surprisingly basic.  There's no real shifting of the torso or shoulders like you might find on some others.  His head tucks in, a panel on his back unfolds to cover his head and the black part of his chest, his tail folds closed, his waist rotates, and his legs fold up to form the front half of the dino mode.  His front legs unfold from his calves, and the dino head comes out of his shins, but that's nothing I haven't seen in some 3P Snarls.  But there is one interesting move.  To turn his entire arm into just the thigh, his arms actually curl up and his forearms plug into his shoulders, with the dino feet and lower legs unfurling from his robot elbow.  I quite like it.


Aesthetically, the dino mode is pretty much exactly as you'd want.  He's got the stumpy head with the blue eyes, surrounded by an indented area shaped like the linework around his eyes on the Sunbow models.  He's got the gold forelimbs with the gray spots on the shoulders, the big gray hips and thighs with the gold shins and feet, the darker markings on his flanks with the bit of blue, etc.  My gut reaction was to complain that his thagomizer only has two spikes (it actually does have four, the other two are just very small), but then I went back and really looked at the animation model.  Two spikes is accurate.


Snarl's Studio Series incarnation has better articulation than the PotP toy, but not by a ton.  He can open his mouth, but that's the extent of his head articulation.  His forelegs are actually on ball joints.  They swivel at the shoulder and have the slightest outward movement.  His elbows can bend a little backward and past 90 degrees forward.  His robot shoulders become his dino hips, so they can still swivel on ratchets and move laterally past 90 degrees.  The transformation locks the swivel, though.  His dino leg is on a hinge that allows him to bend his knees about 90 degrees or so.  His feet have up/down tilts and they can swivel, but he doesn't have any dino ankle pivots.

The 5mm port on his robot back is available on his dino back, and the ones on his shoulders are on his dino hips.  You might think you can just plug his sword into one of those ports, and you can.  But if you look at his underside you'll find a pair of tabs under his neck.  Those tabs fit into slots on the hilt of the sword (on the side without a 5mm peg), and allowing him to carry it more out-of-sight underneath him.


Snarl's a well-executed figure that I don't have a lot to complain about.  I mean, I guess it'd have been nice if the gold plastic on his feet, dino limbs, and dino head was painted, but it's not the end of the world for me.  I do wish he came with a gun and not just a sword, but a lack of accessories has been a complaint going back to Grimlock.  I suppose Snarl could use a few fillers in his robot and dinosaur feet, but it's not the bother than Grimlock's missing teeth were.  Honestly, he's just a really good figure that I expect most fans will be quite pleased with.  At this point my biggest complaint is really that we're still waiting on Swoop.  Definite recommend.

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And with Snarl covered, we can go back to Legacy Evolution, outside the curated waves to look at a once-a-year treat: Commander-class Armada Universe Optimus Prime.


I've always been fond of Armada Optimus' design.  Maybe part of it was that he was only the second new truck Optimus design after a few years of monkeys (on that note, I absolutely love RiD Optimus/Car Robots Fire Convoy and would love to see Hasbro do a new version of him, too).  But I really do think there's a lot to like here.  The head is very recognizably Optimus with the round ears, prominent brow, masked face, and forehead crest, but with a bit more modern anime designs like bigger blades on his ear antenna, more angular cheeks, and gold on his crest.  He's got the Optimus color scheme: red on top, silver in the middle, blue on the bottom.  He's got the prominent grill on his torso.  But he's also got a bulkier design that kind of makes sense to me.  Like, G1 Optimus is a data clerk who reluctantly became the Autobot leader, but Armada Optimus is like a more seasoned Optimus who's better outfitted to fight.


 The colors here are based on the Armada cartoon, which is to say he's got blue feet and silver/gray hands.  To be fair, I think that's his most consistent portrayal (as well as the colors used in the PS2 game), but I personally would have preferred blue hands (like the Dreamwave comics and the original Super Base toy) or gold hands (the Shout Factory DVD cover or the Super-Con toy).  I might be the minority there.  Overall, it's a solid representation of the character, with my only real complaint being the visible super mode hands in his calves.


And before we move on, here's a quick picture of Prime with the other Legacy Armada figures.  Is scale an issue?  You may have noted that he's just a bit shorter than Earthrise Optimus.  My initial thought was that they were going to make Armada Optimus the same size as Earthrise Optimus because Hasbro seems to think that all Optimuses are the same, and I was under the impression that Armada Prime was meant to be a bit shorter, closer in height to the other Autobots.  Looking at scale guides for Armada, though, Prime should be ever so slightly taller than Starscream (that checks out) and a bit more than a head shorter than Megatron (maybe slightly too tall, but close enough).  It's actually Hot Shot that's way off, as he should be around Starscream's height.  Huh.


Moving along... Prime comes with a few accessories.  You've got his gun, and the pipes on his arms are removable.  You've got a Matrix, which is pretty standard for modern Prime figures but also, I'll note, a feature of the original Super Base toy.  Then, of course, there's his trailer, which has pegs that fold out to support it when there's no cab.  What you won't find (but isn't surprising after three other Legacy Armada releases) is a Minicon.


For a Commander, Prime's articulation is a bit limited.  His head's on a ball joint and can look up slightly and tilt sideways a good bit, but he can't really look down.  His shoulders rotate and can move laterally, but once again Hasbro's committed the sin of putting the lateral joint on the wrong side of the rotation, so cannot both raise his arms and spread them at the same time.  His biceps swivel, as do his wrists.  His elbows are double jointed and can bend nearly 180 degrees.  He does not have a waist swivel, which is a bummer.  His hip skirts move enough that his hips can ratchet forward 90 degrees and backward about 45, then friction laterally a little under 90 degrees.  His thighs swivel, and his knees bend 90 degrees on ratchets... both the right way, and backwards.  The front of his foot can tilt up and down, and his ankles can pivot 90 degrees.

Prime can hold his rifle in either hand.  It's my understanding that the pipes on the original Super Base toy (which I've personally never owned) could come off his arms and combine into a pistol.  Well, Legacy Armada Op's pipes come off, but they don't combine.  He can't use them like pistols, either, because the pegs are a bit short for him to really get a grip on.  There are 5mm ports near the barrel of the rifle that the instructions indicate you can plug the pipes into for "Evo-Fusion."  Yeah, I'm never doing that again.


The Autobot badge on his back is actually a separate piece on a 5mm peg, and if you remove it and stick it elsewhere Prime has a 5mm port you can use to store his rifle on his back, per the instructions.  Not that it looks so hot there.  Aside from that, there are 5mm ports on either shoulder just below the wheels, on either forearm (if you removed the pipes), two on his butt flap, two on the bottom of each foot, and arguably one on each calf in the super mode hands.  As for the Matrix, you simply open the front of his grill chest, and much like the G1 Matrices we've been getting there's a 5mm port on the back of the Matrix that fits onto a peg in his chest.


Prime's trailer does unfold into a base mode sort of like the original Super Base toy, but as you can see it's not really as elaborate as the original toy.  This is due to having very different engineering, but I suppose the general idea is still there.  There are a few 5mm ports for attaching accessories, including Prime's rifle, but none of it is big enough for Prime to man the guns or anything.  To be fair, while I theoretically like the idea of "the original had a base mode, so this toy should have one too" I rarely actually use base modes, so it's the mode I care the least about.


I do care about truck mode, though!  Armada Prime makes for a big truck.  My first thought, based on the comparative size of the windshields, is that the older Super-Con figure (or the Cybertron repaint) scales better with Earthrise Optimus, but I saw a screen capture from the cartoon of Prime next to a car and he's enormous.  I guess, in keeping with the notion of Armada Optimus as being a more seasoned soldier than G1 Optimus, Armada Optimus' truck mode is maybe more of a military vehicle than a civilian truck.  In any case I can't compare with the old Super-Base toy, but I can say that transformation is very similar to the Super-Con toy.


The back of Prime's truck mode seems a little long to me, like it should stop where the rear tires do.  Perhaps because, unlike the Super-Con toy, his legs don't collapse at all during the transformation.  That said, they do a pretty good job of not looking like legs, and despite being largely visible on top there are no fists hanging out the back like the original Super-Base toy.  It's overall a pretty good, pretty cartoon-accurate truck.


In keeping with the notion of Prime as a military truck he's certainly got an unconventional trailer.  There's two containers on the sides that sadly, unlike the original toy, do not open up to store Minicons.  The trailer rolls not on wheels but on treads.  Again, not something you'd see on a civilian trailer, but it's shades of Star Convoy to me.  There's three 5mm ports on top of the trailer where you can store the rifle, as well as two on either container on the sides of the trailer, one on the side and one underneath.

I'm sure I'm not the only person to wonder, but can you swap trailers with Earthrise?  Well, kind of.  Earthrise Prime's trailer, already looking too small, is kind of ridiculous on Armada Prime.  The peg on the trailer is smaller than the port it goes into, so Armada Prime can pull it but it won't stay attached if you pick him up.  Meanwhile, Armada Prime's trailer has a larger peg that doesn't fit into Earthrise Prime's port.  Even if it did, it's so recessed that it wouldn't reach.  But, it turns out that the peg is just the right size to fit in the gap between Prime's legs, near his ankles.  So it's basically the same situation, Prime can pull the trailer but it's not going to stay attached.


There's no auto transforming gimmicks like the Super-Base toy had, but you transform Prime as above, with the just grill sticking out the back.  Get the trailer into pants mode, then side the grill down into the treaded section on the pants.  The red flap locks into Prime's shoulders, then the whole thing flips forward so the clips on the waist can lock Prime in place.


And there we have Armada Prime's Super mode.  He's a bit shorter than previous Commander-classes, as you can see with Jetfire and Menasor (although, to be fair, Menasor has the DNA kit which added a bit to his height, but I still think he was around Jetfire's size before).

For better or worse, Legacy Armada Prime does a good job of capturing the look of the original.  He's got the gold in the knees, hands, shoulders, pelvis, and head.  He's got hte black feet and the bits of silver in the chest.  He's got the blue cannons running up through his knees.  Not really a cartoon detail, but he's got the big hinge on his waist that the original toy had.


If I'm being honest, though, Armada Prime's super mode was never my favorite.  I mean, I'm cool with Prime as a cab that combines with his trailer for a super mode.  It's given us Power Master Optimus, which I like, and technically Ultra Magnus, of which I prefer toys that acknowledge that Diaclone origin.  Still a fan of RiD Optimus/Fire Convoy.  But the original Armada Optimus had the aforementioned auto transforming gimmick, and the cartoon was much more faithful to the toys than the old G1 cartoon, which lead to some unfortunate aesthetics like the chonky backpack and the enormous butt kibble.  That being the case, I can't exactly ding Hasbro for accurately representing design just because the original had issues.  And at least there's some effort to curl up and minimize the butt kibble.


I think Powermaster Prime was fighting bigger Decepticons in the old Marvel comics, and I know Super Ginrai was meant to be a rival for Overlord in Japanese G1.  Prime having a super mode in Armada that towered over even Megatron always seemed a bit unfair.  That said, according to official sources the top of Megatron's head (not counting horns) should come up to the windows on the cab on Prime's chest.  Looks like Hasbro nailed it.


If there's one area where the original Super Base toy could be improved it's articulation.  As far as I know, the original toy could swivel his head and had limited shoulders, biceps, and elbows., and absolutely no articulation from the waist down.  Due to wiring for the electronics, the original Hasbro release was so limited he could even point his rifle straight forward.  No such issues here!  Prime's head is on a hinged swivel.  Nothing really down, no sideways tilt, but he can look up a good bit.  His shoulders can swivel on ratchets, and move laterally 90 degrees, also on ratchets.  And unlike his non-super mode, this time he can raise and spread his arms at the same time.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend on ratchets 90 degrees.  His wrists swivel.  His waist swivels, but it's below all of his waist armor including his pelvis flap.  His hips can go forward 90 degrees and backward about 30 degrees on ratchets, and laterally a little over 90 degrees on a surprisingly loose friction joint.  His thighs swivel, and his knees bend 90 degrees on ratchets.  The front of his foot can tilt up, mostly due to transformation, but he's also got around 90 degrees of ankle pivot.  Really, the only thing holding him back from the most dynamic poses is that he's a bit top/back heavy, and his hips only have friction joints for spreading.

Prime's fingers have a hinge at the base, though they're all one piece.  There's a molded 5mm port in both hands for him to hold his rifle, but it doesn't retract the way Jetfire's does.  He's also got 5mm ports on top of his shoulder pads, one on his back, two on his butt kibble, one on the outside each of his lower legs just above his ankles, and one under each toe.  I don't know if they're meant to be guns like the Super-Base toy, but you can fold out the supports on his knees and pretend they're cannons.  Unlike his actual gun, though, they're not compatible with blast effects.

Generally speaking, I think a younger generation of Transformers fans who grew up with the Unicron Trilogy are really going to dig this figure.  The diminished base mode and lack of Minicon storage is a bit of a bummer, sure, but the tradeoff is a cartoon-accurate figure with far more articulation, especially in super mode, than the original.  On a personal level, I do wish the base Prime figure could have been just a bit better- better shoulder articulation, waist articulation, and sides that locked into place, mostly, maybe a flap that hid the super mode hands.  If you're a geewunner with no real interest in Armada I don't know that there's anything here to change your mind, but end of the day I'll recommend this figure as the best version of one of my favorite non-G1 Optimus designs.

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Honestly, if they'd taken a few more liberties with this so that the back cleaned up into something respectable, I'd be interested.
If they sold the cab robot without the trailer, I'd be sold. Because frankly I like the little guy a lot more than the big guy even without the random flaps hanging off the back.

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The non-super design is a pretty solid Optimus. I dunno if Hasbro will sell it separately or not, but I strongly suspect a trailer-less Nemesis version could be in the cards, as I believe the one that was in the Armada cartoon was the first official use of the name "Nemesis Prime."

Besides, we got Siege Nemesis Prime, Nemesis Primal, Scourge, and Nemesis Leo. It'd be weird if we didn't get Armada Nemesis Prime.

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Good review of Armada Optimus @mikeszekely. I wished the Hasbro designer would have given the Super Mode a more defined shape. As is, it looks like a still wrapped chocolate bar.

No definition in the torso, shoulders and legs. It is uninteresting to look at.

Also the designers of any Armada Optimus seem to be hell bent that he needs to have kibble coattails. FansHobby did the same with their release.

I guess the whole toy is relatively accurate to the source material. I’m not a fan of the show, so having a toy that is less accurate but better looking is a bigger priority to me.

I'm in for a Nemesis version, even with the trailer to have and increased play value. Still odd that FansHobby never did one.

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6 hours ago, sh9000 said:

The War Dawn 2 Pack is confirmed to be able to preorder at SDCC and on Hasbro Pulse after the convention.

Evan had said as much a little while back, and it's my understanding (though I could be wrong) that it's not actually a preorder.  It's been ready to go since Spring.  Pulse is getting slammed right now (I guess because the Commanders and Titans are going out) so they might not ship right away, but you're technically ordering in-stock merchandise.

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I’m a big fan of the character art on the front of the G1 boxes (probably an even a bigger fan than of the toys inside).

Is there a nice coffee table book that compiles all the G1 box art as high quality prints?

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