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6 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

Along with Knight Rider, Airwolf, Blue Thunder, the '89 Batmobile, the Tumbler, and BA's van would also be nice crossovers.

KITT seems the most obvious, as he's ALREADY a sentient robot car.

I also wanna see 'em do Dukes of Hazard, but... yeah. Ain't no way that's happening.

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2 hours ago, JB0 said:

KITT seems the most obvious, as he's ALREADY a sentient robot car.

Plus they can milk that one.  Use the same mold, but with a different head, but paint him half white with a yellow scanner, and you you can do KARR, too.

5 hours ago, Scyla said:

After seeing the Titan Fort Max being reissued, I'm fairly certain that the next Transformers HasLab project will be a Devastator.

I'm hearing rumblings, but nothing concrete, that the Constructicons may release at some point in the SS86 line in a fashion similar to how the Stunticons released in Legacy.  Frankly, however they do it, I wouldn't mind if they did more-accurate, Deluxe-sized Constructicons with proper articulation (like elbows) and whatever partsforming is necessary to make a similarly accurate, articulated Devastator that scales better with the other combiners.  I wound up buying a downsized KO of Titan Devy just because the original is too big, and even though the quality is kind of meh I wish they'd have done Predaking, too.

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41 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

Plus they can milk that one.  Use the same mold, but with a different head, but paint him half white with a yellow scanner, and you you can do KARR, too.

Too, they could rehash SS86 Ultra Magnus into Goliath- that'd make for a hell of a Gen Select pack- KITT, KARR, and Goliath. Super expensive, but for fans of both KR and TFs, worth it to have KITT and two of his most formidable foes. 

5 hours ago, sh9000 said:

Haslab Metroplex please.

As Knight Rider first aired on 9/26/82, it would have been a great time to announce a Transformers x Knight Rider collaborative.

Yeah, that would've been good timing. If such a thing was actually in the works, even just KITT by himself, I'm sure something would've leaked by now. This fandom can't help itself.

3 hours ago, JB0 said:

KITT seems the most obvious, as he's ALREADY a sentient robot car.

I also wanna see 'em do Dukes of Hazard, but... yeah. Ain't no way that's happening.

The sentient thing notwithstanding, a Pontiac Trans Am, the ubiquitous cool sports car of the 80s middle class, would make for a cool alt mode. If they could figure out a way to give him some semblance of an interior, i.e. his tricked-out "Darth Vader's bathroom" console, that would be really cool. Now a scale fig of a well-permed Hoff, I could live without. 😄 Knight Rider was always about the car for me.

I watched Dukes as a kid, but I kinda lost interest after awhile. Even by 80s standards, it was full on melty cheddar. The General Lee was cool, especially the jump shots of which, similar to KR, there were usually two per episode, but in today's America, the associations with the Confederate flag are such that it would likely meet with protest. I think that one's better left to history.

1 hour ago, mikeszekely said:

I'm hearing rumblings, but nothing concrete, that the Constructicons may release at some point in the SS86 line in a fashion similar to how the Stunticons released in Legacy.  Frankly, however they do it, I wouldn't mind if they did more-accurate, Deluxe-sized Constructicons with proper articulation (like elbows) and whatever partsforming is necessary to make a similarly accurate, articulated Devastator that scales better with the other combiners.  I wound up buying a downsized KO of Titan Devy just because the original is too big, and even though the quality is kind of meh I wish they'd have done Predaking, too.

I'm thinking SS86 is the nominal platform in which to realize a new set of Constructicons; it seems to benefit from a better budget, and since Devy was prominent in the siege on Autobot City, and individual Constructicons in other Movie scenes, it makes sense. I'd prefer they were done in voyager scale, as deluxe would be a bit small for construction vehicles when compared to other deluxe car bots. Even at voyager, they'd probably be about the same size as Ironhide, so still kinda small for a construction vehicle, but about right when combined comparative to the Dinobots. Personally, I don't want teeny weeny construction vehicles, and I think Devy can be excused for being larger than the other combiners by the very nature of his constituent parts' alt modes. I think the same for Superion- jets are big, much larger than cars, and I'd love to see that reflected in any eventual toys. I'd love to be on that design team. I'd do everything humanly possible to deliver streamlined realistic jets, eschewing the unforgivable trend of just tacking plane bits on a boxy robot and calling it good. After 40 years, there should be some advancement in engineering and taste. Alas, any hope I have of Has/Tak's making such improvements is akin to pissing into a hurricane.

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On 9/21/2023 at 11:27 PM, mikeszekely said:

With Trashmaster out of the way... what if I told you that we've covered all the new molds for this wave?

One Core, one Deluxe, one Voyager, and that's it.  And here's the proof... remember we already covered Bludgeon, who was simply Tarn with a new head and sword.  This is the entire rest of the wave.


Let's start with the wave's sole Leader, Dreadwing.  I'm sure that even those of you who don't follow leaks knew this was coming and expected pretty much exactly this.  There's no change from the Skyquake mold on the figure itself, aside from colors.  On the one hand, that's true for Skyquake and Dreadwing in Prime, too.  However, Skyquake's Legacy design was a mix of Prime and Euro G1 Skyquake, and I think that worked as a nice homage then.  Dreadwing, however, doesn't have that same G1 connection to fall back on (and he definitely doesn't bear any resemblance to the G2 stealth bomber).  It's a shame they didn't remold the head to tone down the G1 Skyquake references.  Or, better yet, modify the arms so you can transform him like this and he'd have a stronger resemblance to Prime with wings that point down and a cockpit chest.

The one thing that is difference is his weapon, or at least half of it.


Transformation is the same, and as with the robot mode seems to homage G1 Skyquake more than Prime Dreadwing, which was a neat homage on Skyquake and just a swing and a miss on Dreadwing.  So it's kind of weird, given that Dreadwing was the much more prominent character, but based strictly on this mold it's better as Skyquake.  I think I'd have almost preferred a Machine Wars Starscream.


Next up we have Detritus... because Evolution is all about Junkions, and Detritus the Junkion was the hastily-conceived backstory they came up with when Takara decided to do an e-HOBBY desert tan redeco of G1 Hound in 2004.  And the Big Brains™ at Hasbro decided that Detritus belongs in the mainline instead of Hound, who's Target-exclusive earth mode figure is stuck in limbo.

Detritus isn't a new mold, but a remold of the Siege figure.  And it's pretty interesting to see what carried over and what's new.  Detritus has a brand new head and new accessories, but the same arms.  The very front of of his chest is new, but the rest of his torso carried over.  He got a new front half of his pelvis, but his thighs are the same.  His feet are also the same, but the rest of his lower leg is new.


His wheels are new.  And he ditches the Siege toy's backpack, replacing it with a simple windscreen.


And the result is pretty dang good.  There's a bit of gap on the back... Siege Hound has it, too, but it's covered by his backpack.  The wheels are thinner because the fenders are thinner.  He's still got the feet on the sides.  Ultimately, no, he's not a totally accurate Jeep Willys, but I think it's close enough for most collectors.  So my only real complaint about Detritus is that he's not Hound, and I want my earth mode Hound.


Strongarm's a pretty extensive redeco of Elita-1.  In fact, while they're nearly the same figure from the waist down and they share most of the same engineering, she's basically a new figure from the waist up, and she comes with a new pistol and lightbar.  The lightbar uses a 5mm peg to connect, so you can put it on her arm in robot mode like in the cartoon.  Speaking of the cartoon, due to sharing parts and engineering with Elita her shins aren't exactly cartoon-accurate, her pelvis is different, and her shoulder pads are very different.  However, her new torso is spot on, and the only real change they made to her head is that they gave her a nose.


One of the more notable changes from Elita is that the alt mode fenders are attached to Strongarm's shoulders, not her backpack.  The backpack itself has been extensively redesigned so that the doors can kinda almost represent the door wings she had in the cartoon.


You can really see how much retooling they did on Strongarm when you convert her to her alt mode.  Only the wheels, the feet on the back bumper, and the rear fenders carried over from Elita-1.  75-80% of her alt mode is new, and it honestly does a pretty good job of replicating the SUV you see in the cartoon.

I've said before that I get irritated when they gender-swap G1 characters to try get more female Transformers, and I prefer when they create memorable new female characters instead.  Strongarm is exactly that, but as RID 15 didn't have anything better than Warrior-class Strongarm's never had a good toy... until now.  I'm very pleased with her introduction into Legacy, and I feel like she's the first figure in this wave that I can give an unequivocal recommend to.


And that just leaves Bombshell, the figure I think most of us old Geewunners were looking forward to.  Bombshell has a new head, torso, and shoulders, but his arms from the biceps down and his body from the waist down are Shrapnel.


And therein lies a lot of my frustration with him.  His thighs, surprisingly, do have the circles that the G1 toy does, and I get that his legs didn't have a ton of detail on the animation model, but the shape is still wrong.  Shrapnel's legs are simply too angular for Bombshell, and they have the bump outs on the shins.  Using Shrapnel's arms don't make as big a difference, except that his bug legs wind up on the backs of his forearms instead of the sides.  Oh, and then there's the weird color choices, namely, that Bombshell has black hips, gray biceps, and gray hands.  Ironically, Shrapnel has black biceps and hands... I wonder if I can just get a second Shrapnel and swap parts.  Of course, those black parts on Shrapnel should have been purple, and I feel like this mess could have been avoided if they'd just put all the arm parts on the same sprue int he first place.


Anyway... Bombshell's got a new gun, and his bug legs are different than Shrapnel's.  They still connect via 5mm ports, though, can still be removed, and can still be used as guns on their own.  Actually, Bombshell's main gun has ports on the sides of it so you can plug his legs onto it.


Tweak a few colors and Bombshell's bot mode really isn't that bad, but his alt mode definitely suffers for having Shrapnel's lower body.  Again, they're too angular, and they stick up so much higher than his torso.  It throws off the rounded, flatter shape Bombshell should have.  And that's before we even bring up the toes sticking off the rear.  I think they kind of dropped the ball a little even on the new parts, though.  There's no black on the hinges in the bug eyes.  At first I thought that maybe that was just a toy detail, but I went back and checked the animation, and sure enough he should have black in that yellow.  Plus his proboscis doesn't totally cover his head, leaving his face visible when viewed from the sides.


While I'm complaining, there's a part that's on a hinge on the back of his neck... why is it there?  The instructions don't mention it.  It serves no purpose.  And despite having lots of room between his arms on the underside, Bombshell's back doesn't have a 5mm port on it the way Shrapnel's does, so he can't store his gun on his underside.  There's 5mm ports on his bug back you can use, sure, but I'd have preferred a more hidden place to put it while he's in bug mode.

Man... Breakdown's my favorite Stunticon, and he's the one that was gimped by being a retool of another Stunticon.  Bombshell is my favorite Insecticon, he's the one that got gimped by being a retool of another Insecticon.  I'm starting to see a pattern here, Hasbro.  Honestly, though, while I am disappointed, Bombshell's not that bad and still worth picking up if you're looking to finish the Legacy Insecticons.

And yeah, that's it for Evolution.  I think we have some Studio Series stuff coming, but otherwise I'll be back in a bit with the first wave of United.

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I haven't received my copy of Bombshell yet (Wednesday, per tracking), but having looked at the prod pics and a couple reviews, including yours, @mikeszekely, overall I'm happy with the fig. But as you pointed out, it's not without its flaws. I don't do as many color comparisons as you do, so I'm oft ignorant of those differences between original toy, toon, and the current iteration. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose. As to the yellow eyes, I think I prefer them painted fully yellow, as I think the black hinge truncating it was an artifact of not being able to paint hinged bits where the paint would scratch off. IMHO, Legacy Bombshell's eyes are how they were always meant to be. Referring to the legs, I too wish they'd had the budget to retool them to closer resemble the rounded legs of the original toy. However, that said, my greatest fear was that, in keeping with the close mimicry of the previous two Insecticons to their G1 counterparts, Bombshell would end up with open hollow shins, which is something I never liked about the OG toy. All they would have had to do is give the OG a waist swivel to turn those legs around for a better presentation. So, I prefer the retool direction they ended up taking, as Legacy Shrapnel's legs at least present well. My two biggest gripes with Bombshell are the noticeably visible bot head and tiny barely-there insect leg nub on his shoulder. While the Insecticons were never the most accurate of robo-bugs (those would likely be the Beetras toys that were later used both as Deluxe Insecticons and in the undersung Convertors toy line), even the G1 toy did a better job of representing all six legs. As to the head, if they could have squeezed a little more out of the budget to make those protrusions on his shoulders slide or double hinge to cover the head in beetle mode and then back to their current position for bot mode, that would have been fantastic. A slightly longer insect leg coming off his arm would have made him look more insectile and less like a box. Truth be told, now that all three Legacy Insecticons are out, I find I'm far fonder of the legends class trio that came out during the TR/PotP era for their more accurate insect modes. I kinda wish that those toys would have influenced these Legacy figs, similar to how a number of 3P figs ended up looking like their G1 counterparts only with actual insect legs. Alas, no. Despite my complaints, I'm glad they released the G1-esque Insecticons in this line; I guess like everyone else, my expectations were a bit too high, but it's still nice to have them as my CHUG collection slowly edges closer to having all the G1 characters represented well, well, for the most part anyway. 

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7 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

However, that said, my greatest fear was that, in keeping with the close mimicry of the previous two Insecticons to their G1 counterparts, Bombshell would end up with open hollow shins, which is something I never liked about the OG toy. All they would have had to do is give the OG a waist swivel to turn those legs around for a better presentation.

They could have done Bombshell's legs the way they did JP12's; have the shin open up, then fold the leg over the thigh, close the shin back over the thigh.  Then his feet (which the G1 toy didn't have) could fold against his shins on the underside of the beetle.  Just sayin'.

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14 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

They could have done Bombshell's legs the way they did JP12's; have the shin open up, then fold the leg over the thigh, close the shin back over the thigh.  Then his feet (which the G1 toy didn't have) could fold against his shins on the underside of the beetle.  Just sayin'.

Alas, what could have (and probably should have) been. Until you mentioned it, I hadn't ever really noticed that the G1 toy didn't have feet. I was always so fixated on those ugly hollow legs that it escaped my notice. So again, Legacy fixes that, even if it's a compromise. I honestly don't mind that as much as the clearly visible bot head in beetle mode. Really wish they'd made some sort of moving covers to remedy that. Of the three, Bombshell, despite his extensive retooling, still got short shrift budgetarily and design-wise. 🙁

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Someone was joking on Twitter that Legacy Bee has a more Animated-style head than Legacy Prowl got, because if you G1-ify Animated Bee you get G1 Bee.  I laughed... and then I started thinking.


Y'know, I don't hate that.  And the VW Walmart Bee is my mainline G1 Bumblebee, but I also have the Cliffjumper repaint that came in that Target set with Fangry, Nemesis Primal, and toy-colored Blackarachnia.  Been thinking about converting that one to Bumper, so I'll have a spare head...

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Review or repaint?  You be the judge, but the figure is Earthspark Deluxe-class Grimlock.


So you might look at this guy and go, oh, it's a remold of the Cyberverse Deluxe class.  And you're not wrong, but it's a pretty extensive remold.  They share similar proportions and basically the same engineering, but most of his parts are new.  His head is new, his shoulders are new, the front of his torso is new, his dino claws are new, his pelvis is new, his lower legs are new, and his feet are new.  From this angle, the only reused parts are the neck, thighs, shoulder joints, and forearms, and hands.


The story is pretty much the same from other angles.  The heels, the knee joints, the back of his torso, and the inner edge of his lower legs are reused, but the tail, wings, and dino head and neck are all new parts.

Aesthetically, as near as I can tell he's pretty close to cartoon-accurate.  I think Hasbro even did a better job painting him, as you'll note the accurate red on his shins where Hasbro left the shins on the Cyberverse toy inaccurately unpainted.  I think my biggest complaint would be the one part that they didn't remold, his forearms.  In the cartoon, Earthspark Grimlock's forearms have a different shape, with the dino claws on the front and back of the forearms instead of the sides.  If I'm being really nitpicky, I might have liked bigger wings, too. 


Earthspark Grimlock ditches the crown and fire breath accessories of the Cyberverse toy and instead sports a new rifle.  I dig it- it's recognizably inspired by his G1 rifle, with lots of molded details.  The colors are a little weird... maybe cartoon accurate?  I dunno, I haven't actually watched the Earthspark episode with Grimlock.  And, oh yeah, I forgot to photograph it but he also comes with a leg to make Mandroid.  It's the same as the leg that came with Optimus, just for the other side.  Which means we still don't have a torso, although that should be coming with the next Earthspark Deluxe.


Articulation should be the same as Cyberverse Grimlock, but I'll go over it again in case some remolded bit affected something.  Head is on a ball joint that swivels, looks up about 30 degrees, down a little, minimal sideways tilt.  Shoulders are also ball joints, they swivel and can move laterally about 45 degrees.  No dedicated bicep swivels, but his elbows are ball joints that bend 90 degrees and act as bicep swivels.  No wrist swivels.  He does have a waist swivel.  His hips are ball joints that go about 90 degrees forward and backward and just a hair shy of that laterally.  He's got dedicated thigh swivels, and his knees bend a little under 90 degrees.  His feet can tilt down, his right foot can kind of tilt up due to transformation, and his ankles pivot 90 degrees.  And he naturally can hold his gun just fine in either hand.


Due to their shared engineering, Earthspark Grimlock has essentially the exact same transformation as Cybverse Grimlock.  The only real differences are that you flip the claws down instead of up, and his dino jaw isn't dislocated in robot mode which kind of simplified the transformation.


I think, more than the robot mode, the dino mode suffers a bit more from the shared engineering.  His back isn't really smooth enough because he's got the same launcher on it that the Cybververse toy does, and he's got the same kibble tummy.  Again, his legs wind up having the wrong shape, and they do the same thing where the fist folds back and becomes the heel, and the forearm turns in 90 degrees for dino mode.  If they folded they remolded the arms with the claws in the right spot his fists could have folded entirely in and he'd have knees in dino mode.  Still, it's nice to see that Hasbro was a bit more liberal with the paint, and as such the colors are a bit better than the Cyberverse toy.


Just a note, but his tail is asymmetric.  This is because the right side of his tail is formed from the parts reused from Cyberverse Grimlock, while the left side of his tail is made from new parts that are more cartoon-accurate.


Articulation isn't great in dino mode.  His hips rotate and his jaws open, but the forearms and tail are fixed.  Plus, due to the way he transforms, he can't really bend his knees.

The foot that ends up on Grimlock's back has a 5mm port on it, so you can store his rifle on his back.  Despite his head being new he does still have the little nub inside, so you can attach effect parts to make him look like he's breathing fire... including the one that came with Cyberverse Grimlock!

I like Earthspark Grimlock.  Subjectively, because I prefer his aesthetic and the extra paint really helps, I like him better than the Cyberverse version, and I'd recommend him if you're collecting any Earthspark toys as I think he's one of the better Deluxes in the line.  However, the usual caveat that the Earthspark Deluxes clearly don't get the budget that Legacy or Studio Series does still applies- too many ball joints, joints looser than I'd like, etc.  Too, while it made a certain sense for all the Cybverse figures to be Deluxes because they were all basically the same size in the show, that doesn't seem to be the case with Earthspark.  Not only would a Voyager-class Grimlock probably have scaled better, but the extra budget a Voyager gets could have lead to better engineering and made for a more-accurate figure all-around.  If you're not collecting Earthspark, there's really nothing going on with Grimlock for me to say that he's the one you should start with.

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1 hour ago, lechuck said:

Takara showcasing MPG Seizan, release is this weekend.

My copy dropped into my Anime Export stash today!

After getting my copy of Suiken recently I'm not looking forward having this one in hand.

Suiken is the worst MPG so far and since Seizan shares a skeleton with with him, I expect the same from MPG-05. 

As bad as Suiken is he will probably be eclipsed by Kaen and/or Raiden itself. :ph34r:

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OK, now we can build Mandroid.  Because we picked up Earthspark Deluxe-class Nightshade.


As is usually the case with the the Earthspark line, which seems to lack the budget of Generations stuff despite costing the same, Nightshade's biggest weakness is the deco.  All of the shoulder pads, not just the top, should have that green paint.  All of the thighs should be painted, not just part.  The pelvis should be the same darker green as the shins, and so should the feet.  What's kind of weird is that there are places where Hasbro did put paint, like the circles on the ankles, in front of the feet, and the star on the chest, but they used black when silver would have been a better a better choice.  Likewise, Nightshade's face should be silver, too, instead of the gunmetal color that Hasbro chose.


Color issues aside, the sculpt of the figure is pretty good!  I mean, the calves are hollow, but that's pretty common even on Transformers with a higher budget.  Nightshade doesn't actually have wings in robot mode in the cartoon, but c'mon, in the cartoon they just kind of appear out of nowhere, and this is just a Deluxe.  Plus, if they really bother you in bot mode, you can always pop them off the ball joints.  I'm more bothered by the bird feet hanging off the backs of the forearms.


As I alluded to in the beginning, Nightshade comes with Mandroid's torso, finally completing the build-a-figure.  Nightshade also comes with a pair of knives.


Nightshade's head is on a ball joint.  They can look up ever so slightly, with better range down, and a very slight sideways tilt.  Shoulders are ball joints that rotate and extend laterally 90 degrees.  Biceps swivel, and elbows bend 90 degrees, but there's no wrist swivels.  Due to their transformation Nightshade can arch their back, but they don't have a waist swivel.  Hips are ball joints that can go 90 degrees forward or backward, but only about 45 degrees laterally.  There are dedicated thigh swivels just above the knees, which bend 180 degrees.  The front of Nightshade's feet can tilt down, but nothing up, and they've got around 60 degrees of ankle pivot.

Nightshade's knives plug into their hands via 5mm handles and 5mm port fists.


When not wielding the knives, Nightshade can store them in grooves on the top of their wings.


Nightshade's engineering is pretty simple.  Their torso flips around so their face goes into their tummy and the back comes up to form the owl's head.  The arms un-tab from the sides and fold over so the forearms tab together on the underside of the bird, and the bird feet on the backs of the arms are now facing forward.  The entire pelvis shifts back 90 degrees, then the legs swing back, turn, and fold so that the lower legs cover the thighs.  Everything is secured via tabs near the robot knees that lock into slots in the back, while another set of tabs near the ankles tab into the robot forearms.


Despite the simplicity, it's honestly a decent bird mode, better I think than recent ones like Kingdom Airazor, or Studio Series... Airazor.  Well, I guess there's not a lot of Transformers that turn into birds.  I guess you could point out that the colors are, again, not totally right, but again Nightshade's transformation in the cartoon is pure anime magic, with an egg-shaped body that has no discernable robot parts and wings that sprout out of nowhere.  My only real gripe is that they couldn't find enough budget to at least put a flap on their back that could hide the owl's face on the robot back and the robot face on the owl's back.


Articulation is kind of limited in owl mode.  Nightshade's head swivels, but it can't tilt.  The bird feet have some up/down movement at the digitigrade ankles, but that's it for the legs.  That makes flying poses less than ideal.  The wings do have ball joints for swiveling and hinges that can flap the wings back or forward, which allows you to spread them out and flap them or tuck them in for a resting pose.  And, of course, the knives can still be stored in the wings in owl mode.


Coming back to Mandroid, as I said before with the included torso we can finally put him together.  It's just a matter of popping the head, arms, and pegs into their corresponding ball sockets.  And remember, if you've bought all the Deluxes so far you'll actually have two left arms, a human arm that came with Megatron and a yellow-and-black arm that came with Shockwave.  That's kind of nice, since Shockwave is a straight repaint of the Cyberverse figure with no mold changes, allowing you to skip that figure and still make a complete BAF.  Once you've put Mandroid together you can attach his backpack.  The easiest way to do it seems to be the pull the "straps" off the backpack itself and put those on first by wrapping the them around Mandroid's body and using tabs on them to lock them into his shoulder blades.  Tabs on the other side go into slots on the inside of the backpack, and a peg goes into a hole on Mandroid's back, so that that the mechanical arms go under his own arms.

And... yeah... he's ok-ish.  Granted, I haven't seen every episode yet, but I don't recall him wearing googles and I do recall him wearing a lab coat.  So I kind of wish they'd made the head without googles and the body with a labcoat.  Other than that, he's really lacking articulation.  Despite having a ball joint for neck he doesn't have much neck tilt.  The ball joints at the shoulders can swivel and they have hinges for 90 degrees of lateral movement, but he's got no bicep swivels, no elbow articulation, no wrist articulation, and no waist articulation.  Likewise, his ball-jointed hips can go forward and laterally 90 degrees, but only about 45 degrees backward, and while he does have thigh swivels he has no knee or ankle articulation.  Quite frankly, I'd rather Hasbro stop including the BAF parts and just spend the extra money on more accurate decos (which is exactly what Takara is doing with the Japanese Earthspark releases).

If you're a fan of the show or the character, Nightshade's a pretty easy recommend, as I think he's one of if not the best of the Earthspark Deluxes.  And with major Terran characters like Thrash, Jawbreaker, and Hashtag still missing I sincerely hope that Hasbro keeps the Earthspark Deluxes coming... which apparently they are doing, except the next one is Starscream, who (like Shockwave) appears to be a straight repaint of the Cyberverse figure.  Kind of a bummer, although my sources say that Thrash and Jawbreaker are coming... along with Prowl, weirdly enough, who hasn't even been in the show (aside from a G1-style flashback).  I'm guessing it'll be another case of Hasbro repainting the Cyberverse toy, which I'd be madder about if Cyberverse Prowl wasn't one of the best of the Cyberverse Deluxes.

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7 hours ago, Old_Nash_II said:


The real question is:

They will produce original figures from new comics, or the will put a "tag" in the box for the new collection

Amazon.com: Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Siege Voyager Class  WFC-S12 Megatron Action Figure 7-inch : Toys & GamesAmazon.com: Transformers Netflix War for Cybertron Trilogy Voyager Class  Megatron Battle 3-Pack with Pinpointer and Lionizer : Toys & Games

McFarlane is doing a Page Punchers run; with the mini figures to start.  Two per comic: Optimus & Shockwave/Soundwave and Megatron &  Bumblebee.  The real question becomes which comic run are they using?  The new comic run already has a slated list of 30+ cover variants, might these simply be two of them?

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8 hours ago, Old_Nash_II said:


The real question is:

They will produce original figures from new comics, or the will put a "tag" in the box for the new collection

If they're like the Page Punchers McFarlane does for DC, they're 3" mini figures.  And, since Hasbro only grants licenses to non-transforming toys to third parties, you expect (as @Wolf-1 already said) two-pack minifigs that don't transform packaged with comics.

1 hour ago, Wolf-1 said:

McFarlane is doing a Page Punchers run; with the mini figures to start.  Two per comic: Optimus & Shockwave/Soundwave and Megatron &  Bumblebee.  The real question becomes which comic run are they using?  The new comic run already has a slated list of 30+ cover variants, might these simply be two of them?

The new Image run, likely, as it's current, being heavily marketed, and avoids any licensing headaches from reprinting Marvel or IDW stories.

Speaking of the new Image run, I kind of don't care how good it may or may not ultimately end up being, I just find it really irritating that Image scooped up Transformers and G.I. Joe and immediately started using them as a gimmick to hawk whatever new sci-fi crap Robert Kirkman came up with.

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Done with Legacy Evolution and Earthspark, so we're dipping into Studio Series with a look at Deluxe-class Mirage.


So... ah... oof.  Credit where it's due, they tried to get him skinnier; if you ignore how far apart his shoulders and hips are, his chest actually compresses in and his midsection is very thin.  It just looks thicker than it is due to the car kibble on his back.  Likewise, there's a lot of molded details that are pretty accurate to the film, like the faux lights on his shoulders, the turbine in his tummy, the vents around his collar, the pistons on his feet, and the lights and and vents on the front of his thighs.  His head also accurately captures the slightly asymmetric design of the film.  However, either Hasbro was working off of an older model or they really cheaped out on the paint.  For one, he's entirely lacking gold paint, when the CGI had little gold accents in his biceps, forearms, and tummy plus large patches on his shins.  Two, while he does have some blue paint, there's not enough.  They got his head, biceps, and a little of his forearms (which are actually mostly clear), but none of the blue on his chest or the tops of his thighs.  While we're on his thighs, although the marker lights on his chest got painted the taillights on his thighs did not.


But really, more than missing paint, what's really working against Mirage is the sheer volume of kibble.  The CGI has small panels on the outside of his legs near the knees, tires in his calves, lights on his shoulders, and wheels on his back.  To be fair, so does the figure... although, as mentioned, the lights on his shoulders are fake, because the real ones are sitting on his back, visible behind his head, about where the wheels should be.  And I'll forgive you for not even noticing the faux lights, because they're molded in dark gray plastic and not painted in any way that makes them obvious as lights.  The wheels are, instead, pushed further back and farther apart because they're stuck on the the hood, which is folded up with most of the top of his alt mode in a big ol' backpack.   The roof is double-hinged over the rear window in a manner that's uncomfortable to do with the translucent plastic and isn't particularly CGI-accurate anyway.  His toes do look like the the front of his CGI feet, but they're attached to large chunks of the rear of the vehicle that he wears like shoes.  Meanwhile, his doors dangle from his hips like a Kawamori design.


Mirage's sole accessory is this blaster.  It's fine, I guess.  No paint, but some molded details.


Mirage's head is on a ball joint that can swivel, but he has more sideways tilt range than he does up/down.  His shoulders rotate and can move laterally about 90 degrees on hinged ball joints.  His biceps swivel, his elbows bend 90 degrees, and his wrists swivel.  Now, here's where things start getting messy.  He does have a waist swivel, but his backpack gets caught up on the door kibble on his hips.  His hips, more ball joints, are technically capable of more than 90 degrees forward and backward, and nearly 90 degrees laterally, but again because of his backpack and hip kibble it's more like 45 degree backward and 30 degrees laterally.  His thighs have swivels, but fender kibble on his knees can't get past the door kibble on his hips, which pretty much negates the thigh swivel entirely.  His knees should be able to bend 90 degrees, but the combination of fender kibble on the knees, door kibble on the hips, and wheels poking out of his calves basically halves his actual knee range.  His ankle are ball joints and his toes are hinged for transformation, so you can tilt his toes up or his entire foot down, plus you've got slightly-shallow ankle pivots and ankle swivels.

Mirage's blaster has a 5mm port under the barrel that fits into his fist, with the bulk of the blaster covering his forearm.  This is very much like how they did Bumblebee in the line, but unlike Bumblebee (who's blaster was molded for his right arm only) Mirage's blaster can fit on either arm.  When not using his blaster... well, I really don't know.  Even though the roof turns over for robot mode there's no slots or anything on the other side, so I can't find any place to store his blaster in bot mode.


Mirage's transformation isn't particularly complicated; you get the chest up over his head, spin his waist 180, tuck his arms behind his back, unfold his backpack, turn his feet around, then start lining everything up so it makes sense.  The problem is that "lining up" part.  Again, there's tolerance issues with some of thing hinges in his backpack that make it uncomfortable to unfold, there's clearance issues turning his waist and getting his arms behind around the door kibble, and even when everything is basically in the right place then you have to massage all the various bits into place so they actually lock in.


Fortunately, the alt mode is kind of worth it.  I mean, the Porsche 911 has been a fantastic car since it debuted in the '60s, but the 964 (Mirage's model) was a dream car of mine as a young teen (and while a modern 911 is totally impractical as a 40-something parent owning a Porsche is still on my bucket list, it'll probably just be something like a Taycan), and I wish Porsche let Transformers use the license more often.  Sure, Mirage is broken up by a lot of seems and hinges, but (especially in hand) they can't take away from the car's tantalizing curves.  And being a licensed alt, there are plenty of realistic details like the orange turn signals along the unpainted marker lights, the grill on the front bumper and vents on the rear over the engine, the wraparound taillights, dual exhausts, molded door handles, and the fuel door on the left side, plus the screen-accurate silver paint with blue stripes and the "Porsche" name plastered on the sides.  My one real criticism of the alt mode is that they didn't paint the rims, but I can always do that myself.  Really, a part of me kind of wonders if so much of the kibble issues in the robot mode was because Porsche had Hasbro prioritize this mode as a condition to use the license.  If so, I still can't be mad, because I like the 964 a lot more than I like robo Pete Davidson.


Mirage does have storage for his blaster in alt mode.  There are tabs on the sides that fit into notches on the backs of his thighs, allowing the blaster to be tucked neatly under the car (with the business end pointed at his own crotch... watch those bumps, Pete).

Overall, Mirage is kind of a mixed bag.  The robot mode is lacking some details and has far too much kibble.  I might have overlooked some of the kibble; Mirage's slim, very human proportions in the movie were never going to translate well into a transforming Deluxe-class toy, but they placement of the kibble really hampers the articulation (and if you're going to have doors just hanging off him, why not give him door wings so we can all go back to pretending that he was supposed to be Jazz?).  But, licensed 911 (964) alt mode, so yeah, I kind of recommend him anyway.

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Only just became aware of this Yolopark 62cm Prime, just amazed by the details and the way little pistons and gears move as it articulates. Not so much by the price though :blink:

The feature I really like are the magnetic activated light-ups; it is such a quality-of-life improvement. Although, I understand some of the smaller 3rd party toys are already doing this.


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There should be some coming in the Studio Series line still, but this should be the penultimate Repaint Roundup of 2023.


OK, so up first we have Generation Selects Voyager-class Antagony.  This one's kind of a weird one.  Way, way back in 1998 I graduated high school.  That's not really relevant, except after I graduated Botcon occurred, and the original Antagony was one of the two convention exclusives.  Near as I can tell, she was a straight repaint of Inferno, but the way they painted her face made her mouth look a lot smaller.  Meanwhile, the comic book 3H made for the convention featured a very different design, with a totally different head and a very feminine figure.

Gen Selects Antagony keeps the spirit of the original Antagony toy by being a straight repaint of Legacy Inferno, down to the same accessories.  Out of the box she comes with a head that's the same as Inferno's, down to the hinged jaws, except purple instead of blue.  However, she comes packaged with an alternate head, which I swapped to because I like a bit of visual distinction beyond colors.  I wish I could say that the alternate head was based on her 3H appearance, but no.  See, back in the day, when Beast Wars starting doing the Transmetals thing a toy was designed for a Transmetal version of Inferno... except he never appeared in the cartoon, and the toy was eventually released as Scavenger (although he was still Inferno when Takara released the toy in Japan).  Legacy Inferno already acknowledges the connection; if you leave the ant head on his torso open the molded detail inside is based on Scavenger's chest.  I guess Hasbro wanted to leave open the option of making your own Scavenger, because the alternate head that comes with Antagony is Scavenger's head.


Transformation is the same; the Scavenger head does fit inside the ant head during transformation.  The pink markings on Antagony's back and abdomen are a lot brighter but otherwise accurate to the original toy.  Probably not true of everywhere in the world, but where I live black ants (mostly carpenter ants and pavement ants) are far more common than reddish-colored ones, so a black ant repaint of Inferno makes a lot of sense.  Antagony is a pretty obscure character, though, existing mostly as a toy that was limited to 600 pieces and an accompanying convention-exclusive comic book.  You're not really missing much beyond the alternate Scavenger head if you skip her.


Up next we have Voyager-class Thundercracker.  Ok, ok, actually this guy is listed as "Decepticon Seeker," and he's from the Target-exclusive Buzzworthy Bumblebee Troop Builder pack.  In hand, side-by-side with actual Earthrise Thundercracker, you can see that he's a different shade of blue, with darker translucent plastic on the cockpit and black paint on his chest intakes instead of Thundercracker's gunmetal, but really he's blue where Thundercracker is, black where Thundercracker is, silver where Thundercracker is, and has the same markings on his wings as Thundercracker.  If you don't already have Thundercracker, Decepticon Seeker is a passable substitute.  That said, I heard it was Hasbro's intention that Decepticon Seeker be Bitstream, one of the only two named G1 Seekers that the Siege Tetrajet mold hasn't covered (the other being Sunstorm).  To properly represent Bitstream, though, the silver on his chest and pelvis should be blue, his forearms should be blue, and his biceps, thighs, and null rays should be white or silver.  Perhaps I'll try to paint mine.


Of course, even if I make those changes to the robot mode, the jet modes are still going to be mostly identical.  Which is kind of a bummer.  I think I'd have strongly preferred a Sunstorm deco.  Actually, considering I've got something like 11 or 12 versions of the Siege mold, Hasbro's shown remarkable restraint with the Earthrise mold because I'd have also preferred a proper G2 Starscream, G2 Blackout, or a black-and-white deco based on the Robot Masters toy.


While the Seeker is just the Seeker, the rest of the figures in the set have two heads, and with the point of this set being troop-building I actually bought two sets so I can use both heads.  Which takes us to the Quintesson Trooper.  Out of the box, he's the Quintesson Bailiff from the Pulsecon Pit of Judgemet set, complete with the mold changes (new head and chest, new shoulder pads, and new weapon), but he trades the brown and pea soup colors of that figure for greens and grays that are actually more accurate to the Bailiff's on-screen appearance.  The alternate head is standard Allicon head, but the metallic blue around the face is also more screen accurate, so I might end up swapping it over to the standard Allicon body.  Regardless, recall that the Bailiff's weapon is actually made from two parts.  By giving one of them the top part he's got an axe, while the bottom gives the other a mace.  With the original Bailiff figure having the combined weapon and the Allicon using a spear, you've effectively got four slightly different versions of the same character with four different weapons.  Not bad!


The novelty is a bit reduced in alt mode, though.  With the bot-mode heads hidden, there's really no visual difference between the two troopers.  Oh well, I could probably put a little paint on one of them.  Or maybe Toyhax will make a sticker set that has different options.  Anyway, there were plenty of Allicons in the movie, so a few extra are definitely worth picking up.  But now the pair of Studio Series Gnaws I picked up seem like an inadequate representation of the Sharkticons.  Maybe Hasbro can release another troop pack, or a Gen Selects pack with another Quintesson Judge (I only have the regular one and the Pit of Judgement one, after all) with a pair of Sharkticons.  And if they don't, well, Hasbro's planning to do a package refresh of SS86 Gnaw in the spring.


Next up, we have the G2 Universe Cybertronian Troopers.  The while skull head is the default head, and the one with the teal helmet is the alternate, and they're both based off of a panel from the Marvel G2 comic.  These guys are basically Jhiaxus's minions, and they're redecos of Legacy Skullgrin.  In addition to new head options, they feature a remolded chest to be more accurate to the comics, which is cool.  With the new head and the new chest they do a passable job of representing the guys seen in the G2 comics.


Plus, despite coming with the same accessories as Skullgrin, the fact that there's four total weapons means that simply by mixing up which ones are being used in the hands and which ones are stored on the bodies (and even where on the bodies) you can give them a little more distinction between them (although, again, I wouldn't be adverse to Toyhax creating a set with multiple options to make them a little more distinct from each other.


Best of all, number of ports on them means you have a lot of options for their alt modes, too, which also helps them to remain visually distinct.  Heck, I was messing around with them after I took these pictures and I found that by plugging the sword handles into ports on the treads and the bigger cannons into the ports under his toes on the front of the alt mode or the other ports on the treads you can even pass one of them off as a jet and one off as a tank, which encompasses both of the vehicles seen in the comics (although not very accurately).  I think the versatility of these guys makes them my favorites in the set.


Of course, we have one figure left in the set to look at, and that's the Animated Universe Autotrooper, a repaint of Siege Ironhide.  Out of the box, he has the head on the left figure, with blue eyes.  This head is indeed based on the head of the Autotroopers seen in a public service announcement on Cybertron in the Animated episode "This is Why I Hate Machines."  And it makes sense that Autotrooper would share Siege Ironhide's body, because in Animated the Autotroopers were also based on Ironhide/Cybertronian Ratchet.  In fact, if you went to Botcon in 2011 you could have bought a multipack of Autotroopers made from the Cybertronian Ratchet figure.

The Autotrooper didn't originate from Animated, though.  Autoroopers actually came from the Japanese Kiss Players fiction, where they're artificial Transformers used by the Earth Defense Command, and the Autorooper figure was the Mazda RX-7 mold used for Alternators/Binaltech Meister and Shockblast.  Naturally, the alternate red-eyed head is based on the Kiss Players toy.


On the plus side, the simple black and white deco looks pretty sharp, and the leg panels on the Autotroopers don't seem to pop off nearly as easily as they did on Ironhide.  However, the weapon that they come with is one of the worst weapons to come with a Transformer in recent times, there's not a lot of realistic options for storing it in alt mode, so it's difficult to make the Autotroopers very distinct from the other.

Overall, unless you missed Thundercracker and you're really desperate for a "close enough" sort of figure, nothing in this set is particularly "must-have."  That said, an extra Allicon helps bolster the Quintesson ranks, and if you picked up Jhiaxus the Cybertronian Trooper (or two) gives him some Marvel G2 minions.  Even the Autotrooper has a place in Transformers lore (and is a better use of the mold than the Netflix Deseeus Army Drone).  Given that the pack is three Deluxes and a Voyager for the price of three Deluxes, the Buzzworthy Bumblebee Troop Builder pack is a decent value for, well, troop-building.

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2 hours ago, Hikaru Ichijo SL said:

Wow, apparently Ross is the place to go.  Velocitron stuff is showing up.  I picked up leader Scourge for $16.99.  That is dirt cheap.  I haven't bought a TF since MP Ironhide.  But at that price why not.

I went to my local Ross over the weekend and all I could find was a Walmart reissue BW Scorponok.

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14 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

I went to my local Ross over the weekend and all I could find was a Walmart reissue BW Scorponok.

Ollie's is worth checking out if you have one in your area.  They have lots of Silverstreak from the Buzzworthy line and I couldn't pass up on Coronation Starscream for a whole $14.99.  

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2 hours ago, Wolf-1 said:

Ollie's is worth checking out if you have one in your area.  They have lots of Silverstreak from the Buzzworthy line and I couldn't pass up on Coronation Starscream for a whole $14.99.  

Maybe I'll hit Ollie's this weekend.  I'd actually seen Silverstreak there before, but I already have one.  Technically I already have Coronation Starscream, too, but for $15 a pop it's worth it for the chairs.

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15 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Maybe I'll hit Ollie's this weekend.  I'd actually seen Silverstreak there before, but I already have one.  Technically I already have Coronation Starscream, too, but for $15 a pop it's worth it for the chairs.

That's pretty much exactly how I justified the purchase; 14.99 for the chair and a free figure with some extra bits.  Takara Tomy's Leadership set suddenly isn't near as appealing as it was just a few days ago.  Silverstreak was one I also already had, unfortunately, because there is no local Target, I paid a premium; so seeing him for a Lincoln kinda poured salt in a wound I wasn't aware of.

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I kind of liked the Rise of the Beasts series Optimus Primal, but I did note some issues and concluded by saying, "If and until a better Studio Series figure is released ROTB Primal is a solid toy that should work fine in a movie collection."  Well, the Studio Series figure's been released, and it even got bumped up to a Leader-class release.  Now which Primal belongs on your movie shelf?


As was the case with movie vs. Studio Series Optimus Prime (without the -al), the Studio Series toy is bigger than the mainline one, and by about the same height.  In other words, SS Primal is taller than ROTB Primal, but roughly the same height as SS Prime.  And, wow... I kind of acknowledged that ROTB Primal had some proportion issues but overall I thought he was a pretty decent representation of the character.  Then you get him next to the Studio Series one, and it's like a night and day difference.  I checked the SS toy against some screen captures, against the ThreeZero figure, and against the Yolopark model, and the details, proportions, and colors on SS Primal are far more accurate, honestly very close to what you see on screen.


Of course, this is still a transforming toy, so it's not quite perfect.  Primal's collar isn't quite complete, but most of his problems can been seen by turning him around and looking at his back.  Gorilla feet are stuck to his calves, and he's got a hunchback of folded panels.  I might be nitpicking, but I also don't remember Primal having a mouth in robot mode in the movie (although it's hard to say for sure without re-watching the film, and he spent the bulk of his screen time in gorilla mode anyway).  I'd have preferred the fully-masked face.  Between the mask, the swords, and the use of blacks on the robot mode I felt Primal had a sort of ninja vibe going.


Speaking of swords, yep, Studio Series Primal's got 'em.  He actually comes with quite a few accessories.  In addition to his swords, Primal's got the transwarp key, as well as an axe and a pair of chains that didn't get the same paint that the swords and transwarp key did.  Note that the transwarp key can be pulled into two halves, as they spent most of their time in the film separated.


Primal's head can look down, but due to his collar he can't really look up or tilt his head sideways.  He actually can't even swivel his head 90 degrees in either direction (although he can turn his head more than the ROTB version).  His shoulders rotate and can move laterally around 150 degrees, plus they can butterfly backward.  His elbows bend 90 degrees, and his wrists swivel, plus his fingers are hinged at the base so his hands open and close.  In a step up from other articulated hands Hasbro's been doing on Voyager-sized Leaders, his fingers aren't even all one piece, but two!  His index and middle fingers are one part, and his ring and pinky fingers are a separate part.  Which is cool and all, but why not make the index finger alone a separate part, and put the middle finger with the other two?  Then he could point.  Oh well, I digress.  His waist swivels.  His hips can go 90 degrees forward, a little less than that backward, and a little more than that laterally.  His thighs swivel, although they're a tad limited, and his knees bend 90 degrees.  His feet can tilt up a little, down about 45 degrees, and his ankles pivot nearly 90 degrees.  And for those of you keeping score at home, that means that SS Primal meets or exceeds ROTB Primal's articulation in almost every way, with ROTB Primal only taking knee articulation.

Primal's hands do have 5mm ports carved into the palms, so you can slide the axe or his swords into them.  The axe and one of the swords has a small 3mm peg on it, and the other sword has a 3mm port.  This allows you to turn the swords into one double-bladed sword (as seen in the film).  The two chain segments can combine into one, and it'll have a 3mm port on one end and a peg on the other, which allows you to connect the chain to the axe or one of the swords on one end and the other sword on the other end.


The 3mm pegs and ports are built into sort of half-ish 5mm pegs, and the instructions indicate that Primal can wield the chains like clubs if you wish.  I find that his grip isn't as secure on the chains, though.  Likewise, the instructions suggest that Primal can hold the transwarp key by sticking one end into his hand.  This is technically true, but in the sense that the tapered ends fit into Primal's hand holes and not securely the way a 5mm peg would.


Primal doesn't have to just hold on to his accessories.  There are a pair of 3mm pegs at the top of his back kibble that you can use to secure the chain to his back.  Meanwhile, the axe and both swords have tabs that can be used to slot them onto his back, as well as 3mm pegs on the sides that fit into 3mm ports on his hips.  The only thing that doesn't really have any place to store is the transwarp key.


It's nice that Primal can store (almost) all of his accessories, especially since they aren't actually all for him.  That chain?  Primal's weapons weren't chained together in the film.  Turns out that there's a 3mm peg on the kibble under Studio Series Battletrap's forearms, and 3mm port on the sides of his wrecking ball, and we did see Battletrap swinging that thing around on a chain in the movie.  And the axe?  Primal didn't use an axe, but you may remember Optimus Prime using it to hook into the ground to try and stop from getting sucked into the imploding portal at the end of the film.


Transforming from one primate form to another, Optimus Primal has never had a reputation for complex transformations.  Arms become arms, legs become legs, the robot head tags out and the gorilla head tags in.  Heck, I gave kudos to the ROTB toy just for doing something different with the layered chests.  So one of the biggest surprises with this new figure is just how intricate the transformation actually is.  For one, he doesn't spin at the waist.  His robot chest doesn't transform or get replaced by the gorilla chest.  Rather, part of his backpack spins around and covers over his lower back, forming his gorilla belly.  The rest of his backpack flips over his head, revealing the gorilla chest underneath.  Once on the other side of his body, the backpack further unfolds to completely cover his robot chest and pelvis with his gorilla back and butt.  Because they're no longer oriented the right way you can't just use the robot arms as-is for gorilla arms, so the inner forearm flap moves up the inside of the bicep, the outer side spins 180 degrees and flips to the inside of the forearm, and as it does the robot hands go into the forearms while a totally separate set of gorilla hands come out.  His legs still scrunch up at the knees to try to appear as shorter gorilla legs, but with panels that move and lock into place to try to make them appear more cohesive.


Well, you might be looking at the previous picture, with both SS Primal and ROTB Primal in quadrupedal stances, and thinking "But the legs look better on the ROTB toy!"  Which, yeah, in that pose they kind of do, due to the thighs being more thoroughly tucked into the body.  However, you might recall that ROTB Primal can't really do a bipedal stance, and SS Primal definitely can.  And while Primal's gorilla legs are tad messier than the ROTB version, especially with the robot feet for calves, the head is much more nicely detailed, the chest and mechanical abs are more accurate, the toes are better splayed and the shins have better mechanical details.


If I have one complaint, it's the arms.  Bottom line, Primal's gorilla mode just doesn't have that much mechanical detail, and it seems weird to me to have the larger, furrier bit on the inside of his forearms.  You can't really do much about the mechanical details, but due to the way his arms work you can simply spin his biceps and his wrists 180 degrees to turn the inside of the forearms to the outside, and his elbows will still work fine.


On that note, let's talk about his gorilla articulation.  His head is on a ball joint that can swivel.  He has no real downward tilt and the barest suggestion of sideways tilt, but he can look up a good 90 degrees which is useful for the quadrupedal stance.  His shoulders and biceps still swivel, and his elbows still bend 90 degrees.  Despite being different hands, the gorilla wrists swivel and the fingers are molded and articulated exactly the same as the robot hands.  The backwards butterfly joints go forward in this mode, allowing Primal to cross his arms over to beat on his chest.  He loses his waist swivel and most of his forward/backward hip movement, but he retains some thigh swivel and all of the lateral hip articulation.  He doesn't really have gorilla knees, but the gorilla feet have a bit of up/down tilt that helps a lot with transitioning between his bipedal and quadrupedal poses.  One thing he's missing that the ROTB figure had that's a bummer is gorilla ankle pivots.  On the flip side, SS Primal can open his gorilla jaws, which is something the ROTB figure couldn't do.


Again, even though they're different hands Primal's gorilla hands are functionally the same as his robot hands, allowing him to hold his accessories exactly the same way.  Likewise, the ports on his hips and tabs on his back are still accessible for accessory storage (though the swords have to be stored upside-down on his back when he's in a bipedal pose, otherwise his legs are in the way).  One of the 3mm posts from the top of his backpack now sits at the small of his gorilla back for chain storage (again, assuming you didn't just give the chain to Battletrap).

Back in May I compared the Beast Alliance Weaponizer Optimus Primal with the Voyager-class ROTB Optimus Primal.  I'm reminded of that, because Studio Series Leader-class Optimus Primal is as big a leap over ROTB Primal as ROTB Primal is over the Beast Alliance figure.  The level of detail, paint, and articulation really makes the ROTB figure obsolete.  It's so good that even the Kingdom figure, which is representing a totally different version of Optimus Primal, feels a bit crappy next to this one.  That said, this is, after all, a Leader.  Should it be, though?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people on a certain Transformers board who complain every time a smaller Voyager or Leader comes out because they still haven't wrapped their heads around the notion that the classes are budgets, not sizes.  I have no problem defending figures like Hot Rod and Ironhide, despite being Deluxe-sized, benefitted from their Voyager budgets with more intricate engineering.  But Primal?  I mean, I'd have been fine with just the swords.  The chains should have come with Battletrap in the first place, and I can live without Prime's axe or the transwarp key entirely.  And, frankly, Primal's engineering could have been simplified a bit if his arms opened to allow the hand swap without all the shifting panels.  Would that reduction in accessories and simplification of the arm engineering been enough to drop Primal back into a Voyager-budget?  I guess that's ultimately up to the bean counters at Hasbro.  I guess if you don't feel like dropping Leader money on this guy the ROTB toy is still a viable Voyager option, but the simple truth is that Studio Series Optimus Primal is one of the very best Optimus Primal toys you can get, and I ultimately do recommend it.

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I've got a hot one here tonight... Studio Series 86 Commander-class Ultra Magnus!


Not gonna lie, for a robot mode Magnus I didn't hate the Kingdom toy.  Sure, the shoulder missiles sit too high to give the shoulders clearance for lateral movement, and his feet and shins could be better, but the remolded head, shoulder missiles, and chest were a lot more accurate than the Siege toy.  Actually, on that note, Kingdom Magnus was also more G1 than the earlier Combiner Wars toy, which took a lot of cues from the then-current IDW comics.  But, with the "make it as movie accurate as possible (within the budget)" drive behind the Studio Series line SS86 really ups the accuracy game.  Most of the shapes are spot on, and if the Sunbow model had linework on it (like the shins, left shoulder, etc) it's present on this figure.  There's a bit of extra molded detail, like on the tops of the thighs and the shoulder pylons, that aren't present on the animation model, but Hasbro doesn't want the S86 stuff to look too out of place with the WFC/Legacy stuff, and those extra details are accurate to the G1 toy.


What I think is really impressive is that the screen accuracy isn't limited to the front.  Spin him around, and you'll see he's actually cleaner than MP-22, again with molded bits and paint on his back that resemble the animation model.

If I really look at him objectively, though, I do have a few notes.  His arms stick out a bit from his body, and he's got a bit of extra stuff around the top of his torso.  His head, which strikes me as a tad too small winds up looking a bit sunken in.  I'll note, though, that all of those gripes are a direct result of his engineering, which I'll get to later.


My other concern with SS86 Magnus is his size.  The one real advantage Kingdom Magnus still has is that he's about a head taller than Earthrise Optimus, and if you look at the Sunbow scale chart that's about where he should be.  Even if the scale chart isn't the be-all-end-all for you, you're probably going to remember scenes from the 86 movie like his first appearance, where he drives up and starts giving orders to Springer, Arcee, Blurr, and Perceptor, where Magnus is taller than everyone else, sure, but no one is shorter than mid-chest to him.  Here, Prime is significantly smaller, coming up to where a Deluxe should.  And things get worse when you grab an SS86 dinobot like Grimlock.  While I maintain that official scale charts published in books like The Ark depict Grimlock as a head taller than Magnus, even the most charitable interpretation has them at the same size, but SS86 Magnus is significantly bulkier and around half a head taller.


Well, scale is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, and it is what it is, so we'll move along to accessories.  Like most (all?) Commander-class figures, Magnus comes with quite a bit.  You get two guns.  One is modeled off of his G1 toy, and it's what comes to mind when I think of Magnus' gun.  It's even got a shade of a 5mm port on the top where the original had one to fit into the smaller robot's hands.  I'm not sure about the design of the second gun; it prompted me to go back and watch scenes of Magnus in the 86 movie only to conclude that Magnus didn't fire a shot in the whole movie.  I didn't go back and re-watch all of Season 3, though, so it's possibly a cartoon design.  As well as his guns, you get yet another Matrix of Leadership, his shoulder missile launchers, and a trio of blast effect parts.

Technically you get his ears, too.  They're not attached to his head in the box, they're in a bundle of paper with his other accessories.  They just plug into the sides of his head, though, and once attached they never have to be removed.


SS86 Magnus' articulation actually beats out MP-22's.  His head's on a ball joint that allows him to swivel his head, look down, and tilt sideways a decent amount, but due to his transformation the ball joint is hinged, allowing him to look almost straight up.  His shoulders rotate on ratchets, and they can move laterally 90 degrees (when down at his sides, more like 60 if he raises his arms first due to the pylons hitting his back).  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees on more ratchets.  His wrists swivel, and all of his fingers are pinned at the base so his hands can open, plus his index finger is separate from the other two and has an additional hinge so he can point.  That might be a first for a mainline toy; not even Hasbro's Titans have that much articulation (until you replace their hands with a DNA kit).  Unlike the MP, SS86 Magnus has a waist swivel.  His hips can move forward and backward on soft ratchets, and laterally on friction hinges, nearly 90 degrees.  His thighs can swivel, though they're limited from a little inward to 45 degrees outward as his thighs move around the joint.  He's got ratcheted knees that bend 90 degrees, but if you undo them a bit for transformation you can get slightly over 90.  No up/down tilt on the feet, but the ankles do pivot about 45 degrees.

Despite having very articulated hands his palms still have 5mm ports carved into them, so his weapons simply slide into them.  Meanwhile, the shoulder missiles plug into, you guessed it, his shoulders.  The missiles themselves can be removed; they're just plugged in via 5mm ports  Meanwhile, the guns both have the 3mm-pegged tips for you to use the bast effects.


Being a Studio Series and not a mainline release means that Magnus isn't swimming in 5mm ports.  Aside from his hands and his shoulders there are some on his elbows, though they're more for alt mode.  He doesn't have any on his back or even under his feet.  That said, there's a slot on his back, and a slightly longer one on his butt.  These slots correspond to tabs on his guns for robot mode storage.


As for the Matrix, if you lift the blue part of his chest the sides will spring open to reveal a Matrix chamber, with movie-accurate molded details and silver paint.  If you undo the red flaps on top of his shoulders to unlatch them for transformation, you can use the transformation hinges as butterfly joints.  The tiny Matrix is too small for his massive hands, but he can use his extra-articulated index fingers to hook through the Matrix's handles.


Magnus' transformation is, in broad strokes, similar to MP-22 and kind of what you'd expect.  The shins fold up, his arms flip around and the hands get covered, then they unfurl from the body and join together.  His chest and back come up over his head and then turn inside out to form the cab- no inner white Optimus here.  Where they really impressed me, though, is how the rest of his torso and legs transform.  The result is that the floor of the trailer is more solidly red, with just a little blue and white visible, and looks more purposeful and less like MP-22's still somewhat obvious thighs and torso (although MP-22 has the shoulder missiles on armatures, while SS86 just pulls them off the shoulders and onto the truck like the G1 toy).  PXL_20231015_005745855.jpg.18a59878f492bab30d491581b6f44420.jpg

It goes without saying that SS86 Magnus' truck mode is easily the best of the CHUG Magnus options.  The trailer looks like the Sunbow one; I've already explained how even the floor of the trailer is improved.  We've got none of the IDW embellishments of the Combiner Wars toy, and none of the re-used Siege engineering from the Kingdom toy.  Likewise, the cab is a boxy G1-style cab, again without the IDW embellishments, but also with fuel tanks, smokestacks in the right place, and no robot arms dangling off the back.  This being animation-style, we've even got the red bumper, and all the rims are painted.  The cab doesn't look the best from the back, though.  I think it would have helped if they'd molded most of it in white and painted the other side (as it's the other side that shows in robot mode).  I may at least paint the stacks on my copy.


Speaking of the cab, like MP-22 you can detach it, though in this case it just pops on and off, there's no button.  With the cab off, we can see that the details aren't too far off from Earthrise Optimus's cab, though a bit more G1-accurate.  The cabs are about the same height and same size front-to-back, though Magnus is a little wider.  The similarities in the size of the cabs only further emphasize how comically tiny Prime's trailer is, though.  Makes me wonder if Prime himself could get the SS86 Commander-class treatment, maybe with a slightly more accurate cab, more complex transformation from bot to cab, legs that aren't recycled (and left/right swapped) from Siege, and a bigger, better painted trailer with a better-articulated drone, Roller, and the other sorts of gimmicks that MP-44's trailer had?  As much as I really love Earthrise Optimus, and as sour as some fans get about paying Commander price for a Voyager robot with extra engineering and accessories, I know I'd buy it.


We're not talking about Prime, though, we're talking about Magnus.  Magnus' truck mode has the sorts of gimmicks you'd expect.  The front of the shins fold down to make ramps, and you can fit the Autobot cars on his trailer.  The cab can turn a little bit, and the whole thing rolls quite well.  As I noted, the shoulder missiles peg back onto the sides of the trailer; this matches the Toei control art for the movie, though I do wish it had the option to put the missiles on the front of the trailer like MP-22 does.  My only other minor complaint is accessory storage.  As I said earlier, there are 5mm ports near his robot elbows.  You can store both guns on the sides of the trailer by plugging their handles into them.  Does it work?  Yes.  Is it the prettiest?  No.  I rather prefer the MP method of wedging the gun in between the arms, but I concede that neither are really cartoon accurate.

SS86 Ultra Magnus is a big figure; arguably too big to properly scale with other SS86/War for Cybertron/Legacy figures.  And, if I'm being totally honest, I still prefer my Ultra Magnus to have a cab that turns into a white Optimus that wears his trailer like armor.  That's kind of the worst I can say here, though, because what Hasbro delivered here is an incredibly screen-accurate figure, in both modes, with arguably better engineering than the MP version.  It makes me understand why we're getting a Leader-class Springer in 2024; sure, the Siege Voyager is pretty darn good, but at this point he's probably the least accurate CHUG-style new 86 movie character we've got.  I'll look forward to reviewing Springer when he comes out, but for now all I can say is you should definitely pick up SS86 Ultra Magnus, as he might be the best Transformer figure Hasbro has released all year.


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I'll preface by conceding that I've never been much of an Ultra Magnus fan, at least the character. I thought the G1 toy was significantly hindered, like most of them, in the articulation department, and he just never really appealed to me. However, I love his alt mode, and I thought that was the best feature of the G1 toy, i.e. his ability to haul 3 or 4 Autobots on his trailer, as well as the tilting upper deck for realistic loading. Skip ahead to the post millennial years, and I was one of the few who liked the MP-22 mold, although I got the Delta Magnus recolor simply b/c I prefer its color scheme. I very much like, and own, the Combiner Wars version (I like the stylistic IDW touches), and the brilliant SS86 version is enroute as I type, ETA Wednesday, but it's FedEx so I'm not holding my breath. I think SS86 UM is arguably going to be the definitive G1 update for some time; Has/Tak delivered a really polished figure, based on @mikeszekely's excellent review, as well as other reviews I've watched on YT. I'm definitely looking forward to having him in hand and messing about with him. 

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My SS86 Magnus just arrived this afternoon, and boy do I like it. I'm very much happy that I entirely passed on either the Seige or Earthrise versions as this guy is just fantastic. I do agree with what a lot of people think about the width of the arms being so far out from the upper body, but I can forgive it since there's a lot of panel compression going on as well....you gotta have some kind of a compromise I suppose. 
I didn't get to play to much with my MP variant I bought a couple of months ago, but to me, the SS86 release feels more solid, not the least bit flimsy or loose in any way. I'm going to be really looking forward to the Toyhax labels that I'm sure will really enhance the overall look of the figure 10 fold, namely around the cab, it's very drab and plain. 

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7 minutes ago, Old_Nash_II said:


Possible, or not, Megs from RotB movie.

I was a little disappointed that there was nothing in the film, not even a deleted scene at the Joes' base, about him.

So, it's not actually RotB (that box art is from Titan Changer Megatron, which was repackaged in the ROTB line but originally from the cheap-ish Authentics line that you find at dollar stores).  It's Bumblebee Megatron, and it's based on concept art for a planned appearance Megatron appearance when Bumblebee was going to be a reboot instead of the wishy-washy "no Megatron because he was frozen on Earth, not really a reboot, please don't think about how the rest of the movie doesn't fit the Bayverse continuity!" bit we got.  I've heard the design was far enough along that ThreeZero got a copy, but I digress.  The point is, yes, it's a real figure, it's schedule for early 2024, and I think there's a very good chance you'll be hearing about it at Hasbro's 10/27 event in a couple days.  The only thing I can't confirm is the triple-changing thing.  There's a rumor going around that's sourced back to someone who's claimed to have seen it/have some background knowledge, but I haven't verified him as a source.  Not saying that it's wrong, just that until I get some info from him that checks out and hasn't been revealed elsewhere I'm keeping the salt handy.

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