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2 hours ago, tekering said:

Can't be done...

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...at least, not by Hasbro.¬†ūü§®

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Twelve years later, and still reigns supreme. 

Yeah, this and the XTB Cosmos were the two 3P figures I HAD to own when I started getting into 3P. Not sure anything tops those.

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13 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Wave 3 of Legacy United is coming soon. 

UnitedInfernacUniverseNucleousFromTransformersLegacy(11)__scaled_800.jpg.fb42d80315612e8e30c48f2434d6bcc0.jpg

Nucleous

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Sideburn

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Hot Shot

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Vector Prime.  I'm still waiting for the Core-class rock guy to leak (although I'm sure it'll be a retool of Bouldercrash), and Galvatron hasn't technically leaked but we know he's scheduled for this wave and we saw his picture when Hasbro revealed the box for Tidal Wave.  That's it for new figures from this wave.

In other news, some of the exclusives for next year are starting to leak.  The problem is, a lot of them are still code names or product codes and I don't have a lot of actual details.  I do know that Target will have a "Voyager" repackage of SS86 Perceptor, but bundled with Ratbat and Ramhorn.  They'll also have a Gamer Edition bundle of Elite Seeker and Ground Soldier from Devastation.  That'd likely be repaints of Ramjet and Runabout/Runamuck like so-

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Walmart's going to have two exclusive lines.  One's going to be focused on Transformers Cybertron, which makes sense, since 2025 is the 20th anniversary.  We're promised figures of a Deluxe Sideways and an unnamed Leader-class, which we can only speculate on.  We're also getting a Skywarp (likely a repaint of United Starscream) and Excellion, a repaint of the just-leaked Hot Shot.  The other line is more curious.  We don't know what it actually is, just that it'll contain four figures and is listed as "TRA GEN Retro Inspired."

Amazon will have a pair of two-packs.  One is listed as Spinister vs. Twintwist, and while some are suggesting that maybe they mean Topspin the in the Diaclone colors to match the previous Diaclone Twintwist from the previous Wreckers set, I wonder if it isn't simply Twintwist's other Diaclone colors.

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Spinster, meanwhile, it's probably a repackage or slight recolor of the Siege toy.  As for the other set, it will apparently be Iron Fist (retooled from Siege Hound/Legacy Detritus) and Carnivac (from PotP Weirdwolf).

Lastly, Hasbro's SDCC exclusive will be Jetfire, based on his Skybound Comics appearance in Void Rivals, along with figures representing the non-Transformer characters Darak and Solila.  Given that Jetfire's appearance in Void Rivals is basically G1 Jetfire, one assumes it's Siege Jetfire again, maybe with a slightly different deco and some of the accessories swapped out with some new slugs or Prime Masters or something.  I've got a little less to go on with their Pulsecon-exclusive, but it will supposedly be themed around the IDW Hearts of Steel miniseries.

All I want out of today's announcements are Steeljaw and possibly SS86 Springer, although I think the Siege toy is pretty well done so I'm not sure I need a partial retool of an already good take. I wish they'd actually shown Steeljaw; the cassettes are a particular favorite subset of TFs for me and I really hope Steeljaw is well done. Given the precedents, I'm not holding my breath. I can hope though. Looks like they're taking a break from more Animated or Prime figs. Ah well, more money in my pocket for now.

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Might the announcement of Steeljaw also hint at a possible new Ravage with upcoming SS86 Soundwave?  Credit where credit is due; they did include one with Netflix Soundwave, and the Bumblebee core Ravage does make for a decent stand-in, from a distance.  

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I'm sick and slept through today's announcements. I managed to pre-order the three United Deluxes, but Vector Prime sold out at both pulse and Amazon.

I assume the Studio Series stuff was in the space bridge? No preorders I need to worry about?

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I think, because I went with Pulse instead of importing directly from Japan myself, that I'm the last one to take a look at Missing Link Convoy.

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Takara went for a quick nostalgia knock-out with the packaging.  Sure, it's in Japanese, but red-and-black box with a grid pattern?  A window box displaying the truck nestled inside styrofoam flanked by incredible art of the toy in a pose it can't actually do?  Classic G1 battle scene on the back with tech specs you need a decoder to read?  That's 100% how I remember my Transformers toys being packaged as a kid in America.

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Inside the styrofoam you'll find the truck and trailer, naturally, but also some familiar and unfamiliar accessories.  Familiar- Roller (in the original silver and not the blue color that was more common in the States), his fuel hose, a rifle, a sprue of missiles, and a sprue of tires (because Roller requires assembly).  Unfamiliar- a golden Matrix of Leadership and an Energon axe.  Not pictured but also included are a collectors card and one of those red plastic rectangles to decode the specs with.

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The truck itself could almost be mistaken for the G1 toy from most angles, as the most obvious difference from the back and sides is that the Autobot insignia on the sides is tampoed instead of stickered.  Likewise, the stickers on the toes are now molded into the feet and painted.  From the front, though, there's a bit more going on.  The translucent plastic on the windows seems a bit more yellow, but I think that's less to do with the actual translucent plastic and more to do with the new stuff behind it being more reflective.  There's no cutouts on his bumper, and his headlights are a bit smaller and lack the peg holes in the middle.

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About that reflective bit... the front of the cab can still fold open, but the little Dialcone seats (that were useful for storing the original toy's fists) have been replaced by a new chunk of large chrome plastic.  That's where the new Matrix accessory can be plugged in.  Not gonna lie, I'd have been pretty into it if the G1 toy were reissued with a piece like that and a Matrix back in 1986 after the movie came out.

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Missing Link Convoy retains the rub sign on the roof, and naturally, can pull his trailer, which hitches the same way (fitting a port over a large peg on the backs of his legs).

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Aside from a some slight differences in plastic color (which could be due to my G1 trailer being from a reissue), the trailer appears even more similar to the original than the cab.  Again, the most obvious difference is that the Autobot insignia and stripes are tampoed onto the trailer rather than being a sticker.  But both still have the same molded details on the sides, the same trailer door and bumper, the same little tab sticking out of the front, and the same cutouts on the front and top.  Underneath appears the same at glance, too- four wheels at the back, a driveshaft running up the middle with a port for the hitch, and a pair of blue swing arms.  Notice, though, that the black part is thicker on the Missing Link toy, and there are no gray tabs at the end.  This is a clue to the real difference, which we'll see inside.

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So yeah, both have the the repair drones and Diaclone seats.  The Missing Link trailer has the two largest sticker details done as tampographs (there are some actual stickers in the package if you want to do up the rest of the trailer).  The repair drone still has the opening cockpit for another Diaclone seat, the firing missiles, the movable claw, radar dish with the spinner.  What's missing, though, is the spring-loaded launcher for Roller.  It's just not there.  Instead, the repair drone can slide forward and pop out.  With wheels on the underside it can roll around on it's own, a gimmick it borrows from MP-44.  Roller is also a little different, also borrowing a gimmick from the MPs.  The port on the rear that can hold the fuel hose or Prime's rifle can flip over, revealing a little translucent flasher.

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With the cutouts on the trailer, the drone can still poke out of the front or top of the closed trailer.

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Of course, I don't think anyone is buying Missing Link Convoy for the truck.  After all, they're nearly the same except the original can launch Roller but the new one has a detachable repair drone.  The star of the show is the robot mode... which, at a glance appears mostly the same.  You'll quickly notice that, as I mentioned with the truck mode, that the Autobot insignias on his shoulders are tampoed, and the sticker details on the arms, knees, and toes are now actually molded onto the plastic and painted.  Other than that, the biggest difference is the the hands, which are are bit closer to something you might see on a modern Generations figure than the bulbous mitts with lipped 5mm ports that the original came with.  Unlike the original toy, these hands do no partsform or plug into the headlights.  Instead, they fold inward, which causes the headlights to fold out from inside Convoy's forearms.

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Not much difference besides the hands on the sides.  You can see a little difference in the waist/pelvis area, though.  Most noticeably, there's a tiny peg hole for a flight stand on Missing Link Convoy.

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The new hands actually necessitate that Missing Link Convoy's rifle is slightly different.  On the left, you see both version of the G1 rifle.  The Missing Link rifle is mostly modeled after the chunky-barrel one, but the realistic handle (that the original toy couldn't actually hold) has been replaced with another 5mm peg.  The reason for that is pretty simple; Missing Link Convoy's new hands are smaller than the the G1 toy's, so the handle on the original toy would prevent the peg from reaching his fist.  As for the axe, there's a hinged flap you can open to reveal a 5mm peg inside.  It slides into Convoy's hand, then you close the flap over the bottom.

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A Matrix, a revised rifle, an axe, and hands that don't partsform are all well and good, but they hardly represent a "missing link" between the G1 toys and modern Transformers.  No, if there's on thing even the harshest critic of modern Transformers has to admit, it's that the modern toys have far greater articulation than the borderline bricks of the '80s.  Heck, the original G1 Optimus toy could swivel his shoulders 180 degrees, he had a backward butterfly, he had bicep swivels, he could bend his elbows 90 degrees, swivel his wrists, bend his hips back 90 degrees, bend his knees 90 degrees, and bend his feet down, and that put him miles ahead of later G1 figures like Hot Rod, who could do nothing but bend his elbows.  So that's what the "missing link" thing is supposed to be- the form and aesthetics of the original toy, but with modern articulation.  Missing Link Convoy's head swivels.  His shoulders can still swivel and have that backward butterfly, but they also can move laterally 90 degrees.  And additional hinge on the inside of the swivel will let you extend his arms even further.  His biceps and wrists still swivel, but his hands also can bend inward, and his fingers are hinged so he can open his hands.  His elbows bend 90 degrees laterally.  He's got an uncomfortably tight and fairly limited ab crunch.  The tires that are on his hips are hinged so they can get out of the way, allowing you to access a limited waist swivel below his bumper.  His hips can still go 90 degrees backward, but they can now also move almost 90 degrees forward or laterally.  His thighs swivel now.  His knees, which are ratcheted now, can hyperextend a click, and bend over 90 degrees.  His feet still tilt down due to transformation, but not up, while the front of his foot is now on a swivel to give him a faux ankle pivot.  All-in-all, it's articulation that wouldn't be particularly remarkable on most modern Transformers figures, but it's far more than the original toy, and it's kind of neat seeing what appears to be the G1 toy in these more dynamic poses.  The thing is, though, I'm not sure how far this gimmick can actually go.  To me, the appeal of owning a G1 figure is having the toy I remember playing with 40 years ago.  If it's a reissue, that's fine, but I want it to be as close as possible to the original.  With new molded detail, tampographs, accessories, and a ton more articulation that isn't what Missing Link Convoy is.  But on the other hand, if I buy a modern toy with modern articulation, I also want modern aesthetics that go harder into the Sunbow models.  For all the modern articulation, Missing Link Convoy still has all the G1 jank aesthetics left over from his Diaclone origins.  And I think that's where I'm starting to run into trouble.  As a one-off figure, Missing Link Convoy is a very neat experiment in taking what is essentially the G1 toy with it's weird proportions and most of it's gimmicks but allowing you to pose it the way you imagined it in your head as a kid.  But it's kind of like this... am I willing to rebuy a bunch of G1 toys, or nearly-identical reissues?  Yes.  Am I willing to buy all those G1 characters in modern toys with modern articulation and aesthetics?  Yes again.  But am I willing to invest in a third line of toys that look mostly like the G1 toys I had but clearly aren't the toys from 40 years ago because these ones actually have articulation?  Honestly, probably not. 

So, yeah, I like Missing Link Convoy.  I think, if you grew up with the G1 toy there's a lot of nostalgia here, and because it's Prime I think it's worth checking him out and seeing what an articulated version of that most classic of toys is like.  But I'm not exactly clamoring to see what might be next for Missing Link, and I don't think I'd want to buy a Missing Link Ironhide or something the way some people seem to.  Heck, this wasn't even my favorite Optimus I got today...

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1 hour ago, mikeszekely said:

The truck itself could almost be mistaken for the G1 toy from most angles, as the most obvious difference from the back and sides is that the Autobot insignia on the sides is tampoed instead of stickered.  Likewise, the stickers on the toes are now molded into the feet and painted.  From the front, though, there's a bit more going on.  The translucent plastic on the windows seems a bit more yellow, but I think that's less to do with the actual translucent plastic and more to do with the new stuff behind it being more reflective.  There's no cutouts on his bumper, and his headlights are a bit smaller and lack the peg holes in the middle.

PXL_20240425_234041162.jpg.eb25a2a893a15a4b87a9dd2e7071dff0.jpg

About that reflective bit... the front of the cab can still fold open, but the little Dialcone seats (that were useful for storing the original toy's fists) have been replaced by a new chunk of large chrome plastic.  That's where the new Matrix accessory can be plugged in.  Not gonna lie, I'd have been pretty into it if the G1 toy were reissued with a piece like that and a Matrix back in 1986 after the movie came out.

 

The Missing Link's Matrix chamber/housing is designed to be easily removable,  so you can get the seats back.  I removed mine since I don't like the Matrix and I got some Dianauts and pilots I can use as driver/passenger...

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1 hour ago, mikeszekely said:

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Of course, I don't think anyone is buying Missing Link Convoy for the truck.  After all, they're nearly the same except the original can launch Roller but the new one has a detachable repair drone.  The star of the show is the robot mode... which, at a glance appears mostly the same.  You'll quickly notice that, as I mentioned with the truck mode, that the Autobot insignias on his shoulders are tampoed, and the sticker details on the arms, knees, and toes are now actually molded onto the plastic and painted.  Other than that, the biggest difference is the the hands, which are are bit closer to something you might see on a modern Generations figure than the bulbous mitts with lipped 5mm ports that the original came with.  Unlike the original toy, these hands do no partsform or plug into the headlights.  Instead, they fold inward, which causes the headlights to fold out from inside Convoy's forearms.

PXL_20240425_234336900.jpg.545c9e55a63c4b6616ad8f83cc1d6c1d.jpg

Not much difference besides the hands on the sides.  You can see a little difference in the waist/pelvis area, though.  Most noticeably, there's a tiny peg hole for a flight stand on Missing Link Convoy.

PXL_20240425_235216992.jpg.5a7cdc8607c0dd252b1d1a4a437471d1.jpg

A Matrix, a revised rifle, an axe, and hands that don't partsform are all well and good, but they hardly represent a "missing link" between the G1 toys and modern Transformers.  No, if there's on thing even the harshest critic of modern Transformers has to admit, it's that the modern toys have far greater articulation than the borderline bricks of the '80s.  Heck, the original G1 Optimus toy could swivel his shoulders 180 degrees, he had a backward butterfly, he had bicep swivels, he could bend his elbows 90 degrees, swivel his wrists, bend his hips back 90 degrees, bend his knees 90 degrees, and bend his feet down, and that put him miles ahead of later G1 figures like Hot Rod, who could do nothing but bend his elbows.  So that's what the "missing link" thing is supposed to be- the form and aesthetics of the original toy, but with modern articulation.  Missing Link Convoy's head swivels.  His shoulders can still swivel and have that backward butterfly, but they also can move laterally 90 degrees.  And additional hinge on the inside of the swivel will let you extend his arms even further.  His biceps and wrists still swivel, but his hands also can bend inward, and his fingers are hinged so he can open his hands.  His elbows bend 90 degrees laterally.  He's got an uncomfortably tight and fairly limited ab crunch.  The tires that are on his hips are hinged so they can get out of the way, allowing you to access a limited waist swivel below his bumper.  His hips can still go 90 degrees backward, but they can now also move almost 90 degrees forward or laterally.  His thighs swivel now.  His knees, which are ratcheted now, can hyperextend a click, and bend over 90 degrees.  His feet still tilt down due to transformation, but not up, while the front of his foot is now on a swivel to give him a faux ankle pivot.  All-in-all, it's articulation that wouldn't be particularly remarkable on most modern Transformers figures, but it's far more than the original toy, and it's kind of neat seeing what appears to be the G1 toy in these more dynamic poses.  The thing is, though, I'm not sure how far this gimmick can actually go.  To me, the appeal of owning a G1 figure is having the toy I remember playing with 40 years ago.  If it's a reissue, that's fine, but I want it to be as close as possible to the original.  With new molded detail, tampographs, accessories, and a ton more articulation that isn't what Missing Link Convoy is.  But on the other hand, if I buy a modern toy with modern articulation, I also want modern aesthetics that go harder into the Sunbow models.  For all the modern articulation, Missing Link Convoy still has all the G1 jank aesthetics left over from his Diaclone origins.  And I think that's where I'm starting to run into trouble.  As a one-off figure, Missing Link Convoy is a very neat experiment in taking what is essentially the G1 toy with it's weird proportions and most of it's gimmicks but allowing you to pose it the way you imagined it in your head as a kid.  But it's kind of like this... am I willing to rebuy a bunch of G1 toys, or nearly-identical reissues?  Yes.  Am I willing to buy all those G1 characters in modern toys with modern articulation and aesthetics?  Yes again.  But am I willing to invest in a third line of toys that look mostly like the G1 toys I had but clearly aren't the toys from 40 years ago because these ones actually have articulation?  Honestly, probably not. 

So, yeah, I like Missing Link Convoy.  I think, if you grew up with the G1 toy there's a lot of nostalgia here, and because it's Prime I think it's worth checking him out and seeing what an articulated version of that most classic of toys is like.  But I'm not exactly clamoring to see what might be next for Missing Link, and I don't think I'd want to buy a Missing Link Ironhide or something the way some people seem to.  Heck, this wasn't even my favorite Optimus I got today...

 

also, thigh-rotation and stuff...

thigh-rotation-n-crotch-split.jpg.ee5e2f7735aefb46e4d9997b187c2275.jpg

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, treatment said:

The Missing Link's Matrix chamber/housing is designed to be easily removable,  so you can get the seats back.  I removed mine since I don't like the Matrix and I got some Dianauts and pilots I can use as driver/passenger...

 

Huh, I tried to remove the one in my copy but it seems stuck.

EDIT: Nevermind, I eventually figured that, instead of trying to pull it out, when he's in bot mode you can just jam a finger in his back and shove it out.  Now I can confirm that not only are there Diaclone seats back there, but the translucent on the windows is actually pretty close to the G1 toy and it is just the reflection from the chrome that makes it look so yellow.

1 hour ago, treatment said:

also, thigh-rotation and stuff...

 

3 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

His thighs swivel now. 

 

Edited by mikeszekely
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6 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

So, yeah, I like Missing Link Convoy.  I think, if you grew up with the G1 toy there's a lot of nostalgia here, and because it's Prime I think it's worth checking him out and seeing what an articulated version of that most classic of toys is like.  But I'm not exactly clamoring to see what might be next for Missing Link, and I don't think I'd want to buy a Missing Link Ironhide or something the way some people seem to. 

Missing Link Ironhide would suck. I say this as a filthy toy supremacist who thinks "sunbow or gtfo" is hideous. The original toy needs to hit more functional proportions and actually have room for modern engineering to be viable for this.

MP Skids et al worked well because the foundation was there already. And they could get away with trying it because no one cares about Sunbow Skids. I think the success of MP Skids is why Missing Link Optimus happened, personally.

 

Missing Link probably won't go much farther, because the Starscream et al design won't work well. Missing Link Megatron is possible, but strikes me as unlikely.

Soundwave, the Dinobots, the Insecticons... the "Autobot Cars" that aren't Ratchet, Ironhide, and Hound(his arms are hopelessly short)... these are great Missing Link candidates. But they aren't Prime and Megatron, and can't be repainted to sell one mold six times. If we're lucky, we'll see a Missing Link Ultra Magnus(but the trailer will be hard, and no one wants White Optimus).

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12 hours ago, JB0 said:

If we're lucky, we'll see a Missing Link Ultra Magnus(but the trailer will be hard, and no one wants White Optimus).

If they do a white Missing Link Convoy and call it Ultra Magnus I'm out. But if they find a way to do the entire G1 toy with actual articulation that's probably one of the few Missing Link ideas I could get behind.

10 hours ago, Black Valkyrie said:

See, I don't know how to feel about this.  I'd have to imagine that even with articulation that ML versions would be simple and cheap enough to be borderline impulse purchases, but I almost feel like my life would have been a little easier if they never existed.

46 minutes ago, Black Valkyrie said:

I'd have liked to see the core Ginrai with MP-44 and/or Earthrise Optimus.  But based on that picture compared with my original Super Ginrai, MPG-09 will be a little bigger than Commander-class Jetfire.  I was hoping for a little smaller, since I really would prefer something that scales with Generations, but I already decided I'm in.  Like I said, I collect Optimuses, and PMOP was the first one I had as a kid.  Between my collecting habits and nostalgia my hands are tied.  I'll review and compare with the reissue Super Ginrai and Power Baser when it comes out.

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27 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

If they do a white Missing Link Convoy and call it Ultra Magnus I'm out. But if they find a way to do the entire G1 toy with actual articulation that's probably one of the few Missing Link ideas I could get behind.

Yeah, if they do it and do it right, it'll be cool as hell. 

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19 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Heck, this wasn't even my favorite Optimus I got today...

Yeah about that... in the same shipment from Pulse that brought me Missing Link Convoy, I also received this guy, Lunar Cruiser Optimus Prime.

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Yes, Optimus Prime.  It's kind of funny how Takara spent years calling Optimus "Convoy," only to use more Western naming on very Japanese exclusives (and this might just be the most Japanese Optimus since Optimus Exprime and his bullet train alt).  But as far as your collection goes, Lunar Cruiser Prime fits surprisingly well with modern Generations figures.  He's just tad taller than Volvo Optimus or Earthrise, and about the same height as Reactivate Prime (which, I suspect, will be the height of SS86 Optimus).

Aesthetically, LC Prime does a good job of retaining the core Optimus design.  The head's a bit squished and could use more silver around the eyes, but it's G1 Optimus.  Remove the vehicle kibble on the sides of his legs and from the waist down he'd pass for G1 Optimus (although an extra yellow rectangle on his crotch and some blue on his undercarriage would have been nice).  It's small, but he's got his chest grill, and some red on his lats and forearms maintains the idea that red is one of Prime's primary colors.  Thing is, I've always thought that white/light gray looks good on Prime, too, hence my appreciation for stuff like Lio Convoy and Laser Optimus, and I definitely don't mind it here (although his biceps and shoulders could honestly have been red as they're covered in alt mode).  Despite being white, his shoulders retain the basic block shape, and tubes on either shoulder stand in for his smokestacks.  Even his chest, which is clearly not from a cab-over-engine truck with square windows for pecs, is still some kind of window bisected in the middle.

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The shellformery nature of the figure is a bit more apparent as you spin him around.  The sides of his legs have large wheels and fenders, though to be fair so do a lot of other Optimus toys.  His calves also have wheels shoved into them, with panels kind of haphazardly folded over them.  His forearms have large panels made from the sides of the vehicle.  And a good portion of the alt mode is folded up into a big ol' backpack, which I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't for the one antenna poking out the right side.  Seriously, Takara couldn't figure out how to engineer it so it folded the other way into the backpack?

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Lunar Cruiser Prime comes with just two accessories, and they're really more about his alt mode.  You get a satellite dish, and a solar panel.  LC Prime doesn't get any weapons.  He also doesn't come with a Matrix.  Sure, you can clearly see one in his chest behind the windows, but it's molded into his torso and not removable, which is becoming something of a rarity in modern Prime toys.

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Prime's head is on a ball joint for swiveling, and it has very minimal sideways tilt.  The stem is attached to a flap that doesn't really lock into place, though, and working with the flap you can get decent up/down tilt.  His shoulders rotate and can extend laterally 90 degrees, plus they have some backwards butterfly motion.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend a little over 90 degrees.  His wrists swivel, and his fingers are hinged at the base so they can open.  His waist swivels.  His hips have one of those joints that connect off-center from the pelvis, so they can only move a little bit backward but they can go something like 120 degree forward, and they can still do 90 degrees laterally.  His thighs swivel.  His knees bend over 130 degrees.  What's neat about his knees is how his knee pad stay put and additional mechanical details slides out from inside as he bends his knees.  His feet can tilt 45 degrees up or down, and they pivot over 90 degrees.

Although Prime doesn't come with weapons and his hands are articulated, they're still functionally 5mm ports and he can hold most accessories with 5mm pegs.  His satellite dish doesn't have a 5mm peg, though, it has a smaller peg that fits into the port on top of either of Prime's "smokestacks."  As for the solar panel, I prefer to simply fold it in half and connect it to his back, where there are two small tabs that fit into two small slots on the panel.

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You have other options, though.  There's actually a small 5mm peg under the slots that has just enough clearance to slide into Prime's hand, allowing him to carry the panel as a shield.

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The 5mm peg also has a smaller peg at the end of it.  So, you can swivel on of Prime's smokestacks and plug the panel into it, allowing him to wear it on his arm.

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Prime's wheels unfurl, giving him the room to fold his legs over his thighs, and his entire lower body shifts behind his torso to make the bottom of the vehicle.  His chest opens to allow the rest of the vehicle's nose cover his grill abs, and after his arms butterfly behind him windows on his sides flip up to cover the joints.  The JAXA panels on his forearms are visible on the sides, but the entire roof, the rear of the vehicle, and strips of the sides between the JAXA panels and the windows come from simply unfolding the roof.

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This alt mode, licensed from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota, is a semi-real vehicle in that I don't think any have actually been produced, but Toyota and JAXA (along with a number of other companies) are actively developing the Lunar Cruiser with the idea that it could be used in conjunction with NASA's Artemis program as early as 2032.  I suspect that Takara shares in Toyota's national pride over their contribution, as this figure is detailed and accurate to Toyota's concept designs.  It's got the four front and two rear wheels, accurately capturing the metal wheels Bridgestone designed for the Lunar Cruiser.  It's got the reflective orange windows, the headlights, and the winch in front.  It's got the trio of antenna, albeit relatively thicker than the actual antenna.  It's got the trapezoidal section on the rear with what I think are fuel cells, and a little silver hook that I think is a mount for a robotic arm being developed by GITAI.  And it's got on one side the tube for the solar panel.

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On the actual rover it seems like there's a cover that opens and the thin solar panel actually unrolls from inside.  The tube is hinged, so it can swing out from the vehicle and stay in sunlight.  Rather than use the solar power directly or to charge traditional batteries, it's my understanding that the solar power is meant to convert water into breathable oxygen and hydrogen for fuel cells similar to what Toyota uses in their Mirai sedan.  If usable water can be found on the moon (which is looking increasingly likely) this sort of technology could be used to power not just the Lunar Cruiser but entire bases or settlements without the need to carry a lot of heavy fuel from Earth.  I digress, though.  On this figure the tube doesn't open and isn't articulated.  You merely use a tab and slot on one edge of the panel to plug into a corresponding tab and slot on the tube.  Meanwhile, the satellite dish plugs into small articulated armature above the cabin.  The articulation allows it to point straight up, or to angle forward.

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The dish is really part of the Lunar Cruiser's design, but if you want to drive your Lunar Cruiser around at night with the solar panel stored away there is an option for that.  While it can't roll up into it's tube, you can fold it in half, open the back of the Cruiser, and slide it under Prime's arms.

When Volvo Prime (and the Christmas version before him) came out he was hailed as an exceptional update on Optimus Prime, marrying much of the familiar elements of the G1 robot with a realistic, modern truck.  However, as a modern "Classics" Prime I actually prefer Lunar Cruiser Optimus.  Sure, the Lunar Cruiser might not be a practical disguise on Earth (although Toyota apparently has a concept EV based on the Lunar Cruiser that I could see evolving into a new FJ Cruiser).  But I feel like, as a robot, Lunar Cruiser Prime has a chunkier, more dynamic shape than Volvo Optimus, more interesting aesthetics, and better (if only a little) articulation.  He's a bit of a shellformer, but he wears it pretty well and transforming him is pretty straightforward.  The alt mode is well done and incredibly cool, and potentially historic if the Lunar Cruiser makes it to the moon.  I wish they'd engineered a better way to fold up the one antenna on his back, to maybe have given him a rifle (though I understand that a weapon might not jive with the notion of peaceful space exploration), and to perhaps have engineered a way for the Matrix to be removable, but overall those are pretty minor complaints on what is, overall, an excellent figure.  Definitely worth checking out.

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In for Missing Link Bumblebee and Cliffjumper.  It will be nice to see them in their small box toy packaging like the original Takara G1 releases.

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Be interesting if they go so far with G1 Missing Links to get to Megatron, as it would be difficult to justify a non-Walther alt-mode going by the criteria so far, or if they went with a (originally) non-Takara mold like G1 Shockwave. I'd def go for Missing Links on both of those.

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9 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

This alt mode, licensed from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota, is a semi-real vehicle in that I don't think any have actually been produced, but Toyota and JAXA (along with a number of other companies) are actively developing the Lunar Cruiser with the idea that it could be used in conjunction with NASA's Artemis program as early as 2032. 

As I understand it, NASA has a formal agreement with JAXA to develop it into a real vehicle in exchange for putting a JAXA astronaut on Artemis 2. 

God, I love living in a world where a lunar RV is a real thing in development.

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3 hours ago, JB0 said:

God, I love living in a world where a lunar RV is a real thing in development.

Not just one.  Lunar Dawn, a team comprised of Lunar Outpost, Lockheed Martin, General Motors, Goodyear, and MDA Space, were awarded a contract from NASA just recently to build a Lunar Terrain Vehicle, though I don't think it's nearly as far along as the Lunar Cruiser.

Other automakers are also getting into the rover game.  Nissan and Hyundai both have rovers in development, but they're they small, unmanned kind.  Still, if Artemis takes off the way NASA seems to hope (Artemis 4 calls for establishing a lunar base, and I keep seeing phrases like "cislunar economy" being bandied about) perhaps the market for moon cars will expand.

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I used Google image translate to translate the pictures on Ginrai from the Figure O magazine.

I am a little bummed that Ginrai will not be able to look MP-10 in the eye, but if i think of it as more of a Missing Link Super Ginrai it helps.  Also since I bought the Re issue G-1 toy it has started started developing the very bad habit of breaking every time i transform it, a new version cannot come soon enough.  Appearance wise this guy works for me, I like the mix of toon and toy detail.  I am excited for this guy!

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So my local Walmart finally had Legacy Evolution Dreadwing.  I really enjoyed the Character in Transformers Prime, and with some painting ans modifications I was pretty happy with the toy,  so I thought i would give the new version a try.  I did need to trim out some of the plastic on one of the hinges in the nosecone to get the torso to transform correctly.  The original toy had a stupid gun ruined by a spring activated light up feature.  The new  toy has a terrible sword ruined by a folding gimmick, clear red plastic and a weird ridge that forces you to only hold it in his left hand.   So I thought, I should use the sword from the original guy and the gun from the new one.  This is what his Gun looks like in the Cartoon.

Note that he stores his sword on the gun. I wanted to try to replicate that look with the new gun and old sword, and I found a way by using a Lego piece as a connector. The second picture is the new gun and sword with the new toy.  The third picture is the original sword with the new gun.  The fourth picture is the Lego part I used, with no modification required.

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