Jump to content

Recommended Posts

4 minutes ago, Chronocidal said:

Very very rarely do I ever see anyone displaying any Transformers in their alt modes, unless they bought duplicates for that explicit purpose.

I'm probably the exception to the rule, but, where I collect almost exclusively motorcycles, they are all displayed in alt mode. The only ones in robot mode are the duplicates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

QFT. Ironically, as much as Gobots get lambasted as the second-class citizens of the converting robot toys, Bandai's Machine Robo aircraft were all generally produced to a much higher standard of accuracy than Takara's Diaclone, even the F-15 'Seekers', which were designed, at least in part, by Kawamori. It's an observation that's not lost on me.

But it does beg the question of why so much attention to detail is afforded to ground vehicles, and yet only a fraction of that attention is given to aircraft. For me, aircraft are so very much cooler than anything that rolls, so it's rather disappointing when nearly every aircraft alt looks like an afterthought, or worse. That's definitely the appeal for me with Macross: Kawamori loves aircraft, and that passion carries through in his designs. I wish he'd teach a masterclass on transforming aircraft design; a bit of his design philosophy informing the next generation of toy designers would hopefully see an improvement in the future products.

Yeah, I wish they’d make a line of realistic real world aircraft that transform. Reminiscent of the transformers line......I can’t remember what it was called.....that used realistic cars that transformed into not toon accurate bots. Heck it wouldn’t even need to be “Transformers” just like. Kawamori master series type thing. Let him take real aircraft and figure out how to make them transform into some sort of robot.  I would be SO into that.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, RavenHawk said:

I'm probably the exception to the rule, but, where I collect almost exclusively motorcycles, they are all displayed in alt mode. The only ones in robot mode are the duplicates.

Me too. Car bots I put into Bot mode but I like my aircraft bots in the alt mode usually. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Dobber said:

Kawamori master series type thing. Let him take real aircraft and figure out how to make them transform into some sort of robot.

I am not very well educated on Kawamori's work beyond Macross, but wasn't he not using real-world aircraft? Mostly his own designs, which definitely took a lot of cues from real-world aircraft? More artisticly "cool", and modified to make for interesting transformations?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of his designs definitely have inspirations from real world aircraft. But they are definitely not close to being and F-14, F-15, F-22 ect. I want to see real aircraft transform. ;)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

But it does beg the question of why so much attention to detail is afforded to ground vehicles, and yet only a fraction of that attention is given to aircraft.

Because vehicles get no attention to the underside. They can hid all the garbage down there, who cares? Can't do that with airplanes, so they just shrug their shoulders, go "we have no way to hide things when they can see the underside" and stop trying. I think they are so stuck in the cars mindset that they haven't realized there's OTHER ways to hide things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, JB0 said:

Because vehicles get no attention to the underside. They can hid all the garbage down there, who cares? Can't do that with airplanes, so they just shrug their shoulders, go "we have no way to hide things when they can see the underside" and stop trying. I think they are so stuck in the cars mindset that they haven't realized there's OTHER ways to hide things.

That's one of the things I like about motorcycle transformers. They CAN'T hide things, so they work them into the design. Sure, most will just throw the wheels on the back, but some will come up with cool things like the wheels in the legs of Animated Prowl.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, JB0 said:

Because vehicles get no attention to the underside. They can hid all the garbage down there, who cares? Can't do that with airplanes, so they just shrug their shoulders, go "we have no way to hide things when they can see the underside" and stop trying. I think they are so stuck in the cars mindset that they haven't realized there's OTHER ways to hide things.

And that is how, at least in part, we get Valkyries that cost $200. Ya gotta pay for that engineering, part count, and more complex assembly. 

To Hasbro, for the most part, Transformers are toys that don’t NEED all that. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plus, while it's possible that a 3P could come along and do a stylized take on a character with a modern alt mode, in a lot of ways Hasbro and 3Ps alike have their hands tied by G1. People expect a robot that looks like the cartoon, sometimes to a fault, and that doesn't give them a lot of room to interpreting the shape of an aircraft into robot parts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't really think the engineering needs to be 'advanced' in a transforming aircraft. The VF-1 is not an over complicated design, and it translated well to the old Bandai/Takatoku 1/55 scale toys. I also look at figures like Action Toys' Eagle Robo and Blackbird Robo, neither of which is extremely complex, especially Blackbird. Granted Eagle maintains proportions far better, but the point I want to make is that Blackbird uses what is provided by the aircraft's various structures to inform the bot mode, and he ends up the sleekest SR-71 transforming toy I've seen, outside of the original Machine Robo toy. So, I don't think the engineering needs to be at MIT levels of complexity; honestly, if you look at the majority of Kawamori's designs, few are what I would consider complex, as the legs nearly always form the entirety of the propulsion system, the arms rotate back and tuck away, or meld into the sides of the fuselage, and the head is nearly always part of the aircraft's spine, or tucks up behind the forward fuselage like the VF-1s.  From strictly a design POV, these basic tenets of aircraft transformation, if observed by Has/Tak, could greatly improve the toys we get in the future. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the upcoming Commander Jetfire, as well as CW Jetfire, as both show some nice design effort, and the aircraft modes certainly benefit.

Please don't get the impression that I am implying that the Macross toys we get from Bandai and Arcadia are neither high end nor complex, as they are obviously both by varying degrees from toy to toy. Moreover, both companies add to the complexities of the basic designs when they engineer in solutions for joints, sliders, special features, die-cast implements for integrity, paint apps, sculpt work, tampo, etc ad nauseum to make them a more premium toy. Moreover, they're purposely designing for adult consumers with, hopefully, greater financial assets and higher standards(really hopefully) than the average 5-12 year old kid.

Mike makes a great point; modern toy designers, official and non, have their hands tied by consumers' demands that the bot modes resemble blocky 80's toys, which seems easier to hide in a car than an aircraft. It's an unfortunate legacy that will continue to inform these toys until all of us G1 folks are so much dust in the wind, and a new look and design aesthetic is embraced. I'm almost 48, so there is perhaps a chance I'll see that revolution in the next thirty years or so. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

So, I don't think the engineering needs to be at MIT levels of complexity; honestly, if you look at the majority of Kawamori's designs, few are what I would consider complex, as the legs nearly always form the entirety of the propulsion system, the arms rotate back and tuck away, or meld into the sides of the fuselage, and the head is nearly always part of the aircraft's spine, or tucks up behind the forward fuselage like the VF-1s. 

To be fair, while Kawamori's designs look a look more like plausibly realistic aircraft than basically any variable Gundam, Kawamori still had the luxury of not having to make actual planes transform. And it shows... Most of the "hero" Valkyries have shared a lot of the same engineering with the VF-1 and/or YF-19, and pretty much all of them have large engine nacelles to turn into legs with plenty of room for the arms to tuck between. This isn't to say that I think it's impossible to apply that kind of engineering to real-world aircraft, I just think the result isn't going to yield the kind of G1 robot the TF fandom has come to expect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

To be fair, while Kawamori's designs look a look more like plausibly realistic aircraft than basically any variable Gundam, Kawamori still had the luxury of not having to make actual planes transform. And it shows... Most of the "hero" Valkyries have shared a lot of the same engineering with the VF-1 and/or YF-19, and pretty much all of them have large engine nacelles to turn into legs with plenty of room for the arms to tuck between. This isn't to say that I think it's impossible to apply that kind of engineering to real-world aircraft, I just think the result isn't going to yield the kind of G1 robot the TF fandom has come to expect.

I agree; Kawamori  designs his aircraft modes to suit the transformation. However, a few are close to real aircraft- the SV-262 and the VF-1 come to mind.  Both the YF-19 and YF-21 had the YF-23 as their basis. Of course, he took a lot of liberties with the design in both cases. The YF-23 is my favorite fighter ever, and I'd love to have an accurate transforming version of it. Due to its shallow fuselage, it'd be a challenge- I've given much thought to it and have never come to a satisfactory arrangement.

Anyway, I agree with your assessment that most aircraft, if designed with Kawamori's philosophies , will not yield a boxy G1 bot. The closest would be the F-15 Seekers, followed by CW Jetfire, as his alt was very reminiscent of the F-22., but his bot mode was based on his Skyfire appearance in the show- an interesting amalgamation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually kind of love all the ways they've morphed the original Jetfire/Skyfire into a mix of jet shapes that look semi-realistic, but still wind up giving you the non-copyright-infringing Skyfire bot. :lol: 

Far as actual Skyfire goes though, I still want to see someone make an RA-5 Vigilante version of him.  The shape is about as close as you're ever going to get, and it's a perfectly boxy airframe for hiding all those bot parts.

I still think the 262 is probably Kawamori's best design in a while though, and I love the aircraft origami that thing has to go through.  I think what sets Macross designs apart is that a lot of them don't adhere to the boxy limb designs Transformers like to use.  You can make all kinds of things fit into an aircraft if you don't mind making them weird rounded and contoured shapes.

I still would love to see the way the Sv-154 (the F-104-looking one) transforms.  I'm picturing the engine still being split in two, but I'm imagining the legs and arms each forming a quarter circle, which are layered down the fuselage, with the arms along the spine and belly, with the engines on the sides.

Edited by Chronocidal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/30/2019 at 2:12 PM, Chronocidal said:

Very very rarely do I ever see anyone displaying any Transformers in their alt modes, unless they bought duplicates for that explicit purpose.

Well I do :lol::lol::lol: (sometimes)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I got my metallic MS-01... And it's not really the knockout improvement I was hoping for.

From the waist down it's (nearly) perfect. The silver and metallic blues look fantastic, I just wish they'd have painted that last little bit at the knee.

From the waist up, though, the design decisions kind of baffle me. The metallic blue looks great on the head, but they skipped painting his ears and for some reason made his forehead black. Likewise, his silver face is a stark contrast to his unpainted neck. The red parts seem like they're still unpainted, same with his hands so they stand out from the legs and head. Actually, with the forearm arrows left unpainted on the new version it seems to have less paint than the original. And what paint there is is just too dark, trading the flat gray paint for the cab stripe and the silver around the lights on the original for a metallic gunmetal color.

So now I'm facing a dilemma. Originally I wanted to get the metallic and sell the original. Now I'm seriously thinking about using the metallic head with the original face one the original upper body. Then maybe I can figure out how to separate them at the waist linkage and put the original upper body on the metallic lower body.  Of course, after I put the other parts back together I'll have a metallic upper body and face with the original helmet and legs, and I don't know that I could get anyone to buy that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I recently wrote some reviews for the DNA upgrade kits for Studio Series Ironhide and Megatron.  I think I mentioned I picked up some DNA kits for Titan Metroplex, too, but I never really wrote up a real review.  Well, I happened to find someone selling the Takara version of Fortress Maximus with the DNA upgrades, and I decided to buy it off of him because Fortress > Cerebros, the colors are more accurate, he comes with the Master Sword, and y'know, upgrades kits.  Anyway, with the kits for both Titans in hand I figured I might as well discuss them for real.


Basically, there's two kits for each Titan.  A third (DK-03) was planned for Fortress Maximus, but it seems it never came out.  So the first kit is DK-02 (for Fortress Maximus) and DK-02M (for Metroplex).  The big thing is this kit is fully articulated replacement hands.  They're slightly larger than the original hands, but it's a pretty good trade, I think.  The thumb has a hinge that can move the thumb across the palm, a swivel, then two hinged knuckles.  The fingers have swivels at the base so the fingers can splay out, plus three hinged knuckles.  And of course, they still swivel at the wrist and the wrist can still fold palm down, so they're very articulated hands.  The tips of the fingers are designed like hollow barrels, so finger lasers, and a cut in the palm allows them to hold the same accessories that the default hands can hold (quite snuggly, at that).  The icing on the cake is that the back of the hands open up to reveal cannons inside.  The barrels can extend, and the entire assembly can turn 180 degrees so they can close with the cannon side up.

Attaching them isn't terribly difficult.  You have to remove some screws on the arms to open them up, slide out the old hands, slide in the new ones, then close it back up.


While hands for Metroplex are all you get with DK-02M, Fortress' kit has a bit more.  There's filler for the hollow gaps  on Fortress' arms, and entirely new legs from the knees down.  They're not the prettiest legs, especially with the obvious seem in the middle, but the toes and heels are on pins, giving Fortress some much-appreciated ankle pivots.  Mind you, all of this stuff is molded in gray.  It works perfectly well with the Takara version, but not so well with the US or SDCC versions.

The arm filler just pushes in and is held in place with friction, no biggie.  The legs require a little bit more work, but if you can install the Titan hands you can install these legs.


The legs work fairly well as legs, although the pin hinges are a little loose, but chances are you're going to have him in head mode more often than not, right?  And the what you have here is that the leg transformation is slightly more involved than the original ones, resulting in a head with a slightly less blocky appearance.  Looks pretty good from the front... but when you look at it from other angles, especially the top or bottom, you see that the front of his feet are bowed out, and the panels that fold back from his legs don't sit flush.  It seems like DNA had a good idea but they didn't measure properly and didn't give the new parts proper clearance.


DK-02 comes with one more thing: Fortress Maximus' hip cannons.  To deploy them you push a pair of pegs on the gray part into his side, then position the barrels over the red (Takara and SDCC) or silver (Hasrbo) circles.  The barrels can extend and retract.


What they can't do is fold around into his sides like the G1 toy.  So in the box you'll find a pair of these gray clips with peg holes on them.  You clip them onto the ramp on Maximus' back, then the guns peg onto them and sit on his back.  So, to quote a certain YouTube personality, "it's not hateful."  If the hip cannons are important to you this gives them to you.  I'd have preferred if they didn't have to partsform, but their placement on Maximus' back works out ok.


The other kit, DK-04 and DK-04M, is primarily the foot upgrade kit, for the pair of shoes they give the Titans.  In addition to the shoes, you get new springs and ratchets for the hips, additional foot parts for Metroplex, and a new G1-accurate crotch for Fortress Maximus to replace the recolored Metroplex crotch he comes with.

Installing the hips and crotch is your basic ratchet surgery where you know what you're doing, it's just kind of a pain to sandwich everything back together before closing up the thighs.  Do note that for Maximus' new crotch that you're actually using his old crotch as his butt now, and it's actually the Metroplex crotch-butt that's getting replaced.  And do they make a difference?  Kind of.  They are noticeably stronger than the ratchets in my Hasbro Fortress Maximus, but not much different than the ones in my Takara Metroplex.  They do seem to have a few more detents on the outward hip motion.

As for the shoes, they have hooks on them that grab into molded gaps in the underside of the Titans' feet.  Just line them up and push them firmly into place.


The big draw in this kit is that the shoes sort of provide ankle pivots.  The bottom of the inside is hinged, so while it clings to the bottom of the real foot the rest of the shoe can swing down, giving the appearance of a foot flat on the ground.  I think it works fairly well for Fortress Maximus.  The chunky shoe with the gap between the "toes" makes his feel look more like the G1 toy's.  I just wish that the hinges were tighter; when you lift him up the bottom of the feet flop straight down.  As for Metroplex, well, they do what they're supposed to do and give him the faux ankle tilt.  But the extra chunk looks a little more out of place here, especially with Metroplex's kind of tall and skinny proportions.  Someone said it looks like he's wearing tissue boxes on his feet, and they're not entirely wrong.  Another thing to consider is that, for the shoes to fit properly on Metroplex, you have to unscrew the flight deck on the inside of his shins and replace the sides of Metroplex's feet with new parts DNA provides.


There's one last thing in the kit, and that's these little pegs.  On Metroplex they're mean to go on the front and back of his forearms; I don't mind them on the back, but they're a little unsightly on the front.  For Fortress Maximus they go on the backs of his thighs and shoulders.  They don't have a bot mode purpose; they're entirely for the alt modes.  Which I guess we'll look at now...


Well, the hands are still hands, although the fingers do curl in much tighter, which does help.  And you can flip out the guns on the backs of their hands, to further distract yourself from the fact that they're hands.  So kudos for that.

As for Maximus' hip guns, the clips aren't a bother.  The cannons themselves have pegs on them so they can peg into the conn tower in battleship mode.  So far, so good, right?  Although I guess I should mention that the new legs on Fortress seem to get caught up and don't slot in to the conn tower quite as smoothly as the original legs.


We run into problems the shoes, though.  In theory, they come off the real feet and plug into the back of the thighs  They've even got helipads on the soles!

In practice, though, the toes on the shoes jam into Maximus' waist.  Plus, to get to the back of the thighs, you have to rotate the waist 180 degrees.  Then to get the shins cannon side up again you have to rotate at the thigh swivel 180 degrees on each leg.  But now you're right leg is on the left, and the left on the right... which means that the little thing that hangs on the outside of Maximus' left leg would have to go between them, and it doesn't fit.  So you have to take it off.  And frankly, if you're going to take anything off and just set them to the side, you might as well do it to the shoes instead.  You get a more G1-accurate battleship for less effort, since you're not spinning the waist and thighs that way.


As for base mode, again, the hands are still visible, but you can fold them up and deploy the guns to kind of distract from that fact.  The hip guns stay on the conn tower, and it doesn't matter if you rotate the waist and thighs or not.  Then the shoes kind of peg into Maximus' shoulders.  The instructions make it look like they should sit in closer to the body and use both pegs, but there simply isn't enough clearance for it.  I kind of think they look messy there.


DNA does offer an alternate transformation, though.  Basically, bend the hips and knees so the legs are sticking up like a tower behind the conn tower.  You can even use the sliders designed for Metroplex to push them together, although they don't tab into each other.  You shouldn't rotate the waist if you want the shin guns facing forward, or do rotate it if you want to pretend the calves look more like a building with windows.  Honestly, I liked doing this anyway, as it looked closer to the G1 city mode, although it does just rely on the strength of a couple ratchets to stay in place.  Then the back of the shoes tab into the shoulders, filling in the back and adding some helipads (that aren't covering the flight decks).  I think this look works pretty good, actually.


Unfortunately, things aren't working out quite as well for Metroplex.  I mean, it starts ok.  The shoes come off and plug onto the backs of his arms for battleship mode.  They don't look great back there, but not really any worse than the arms themselves sticking out the back and they do kind of cover the hands (from most angles).


But, the new foot parts on Metroplex' actual feet don't leave enough clearance for the red arms to fold down all the way.  That means that the knee pad can't fold in all the way, preventing it from tabbing in place, and keeping it lower than it actually should be.  The reduced ground clearance means the the knee/armature placement is forcing the flight deck upward.


And then there's city mode (forgive me for not doing all the work and totally transforming him).  This time, the shoes are supposed to plug onto the front of the arms.  This is already strike one, as those pegs are an eyesore on the front of his arms.  Now, for his right arm, you could just turn bicep 180 degrees and keep using the back, it's not really functionally or aesthetically different.  But whichever side you're using, you're not going to be able to flip open his forearm and deploy his forearm gun.  Strike two.

The left arm requires bending the elbow, so you have to use the pegs on the front of his forearm.  All to get a helipad sticking out from the back of the city, which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, except it's kind of in the way if you've got the multiple guns of the Takara version.

So, here's how my recommendations shake out.  All around, I think DNA could stand to improve their QC.  But the DK-02M kit is a no-brainer, definitely yes.  The replacement hands are much better than the originals.  The DK-02 kit is still a yes.  The hands, again, are just that much of an improvement.  I personally don't care for the hip cannons, but they're fairly unobtrusive if you do want them.  And I love giving Fortress ankle pivots, I just wish the QC and design was a lot better so things could sit flush and the pins would be tighter in head mode and so that they fit better into the conn tower.  You might also be less inclined to use those legs if you're not rocking the Takara version and its more gray color scheme.

DK-04 is a more qualified recommend.  I like the new crotch, and the shoes work pretty well for giving Maximus ankle pivots.  The shoes are terrible for battleship mode; like I said, i'd rather set them aside then pull his leg bit off and set it aside, and I don't really care for them with the official transformation on city mode.  But they seem to be fine for the unofficial city mode.  Plus the replacement ratchets may or may not help you.

DK-04M, though, is an outright pass.  While they do give Metroplex ankle pivots, his shoes look like the wrong size for his feet.  And while the shoes themselves are alright in battleship mode, the new foot parts you have to install to fit the shoes on him create clearance issues that mess with the flight deck.  Likewise, the city mode seems better off without them.  Unless you really, really want ankle pivots on your Metroplex, don't mind how goofy they look, and aren't planning to ever transform him into his other modes I think DK-04M causes more problems than it solves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beachcomber is one of my absolute least favorite characters, but with a recent reissue, a new G2 version, and upcoming competition from Fans Toys I think it's time I took a look at X-Transbots' Arkose.


Beachcomber is one of those G1 characters whose animation model actually wasn't too far off from his toy, and XTB did a pretty great job nailing it.  That being said, just how accurate you think Arkose is might boil down to how much cartoon accuracy you like.  Arkose's chest skews a little closer to the toy than the more simplified look of the cartoon, and like the toy you have headlights on the sides of his legs that the animation model dropped.  The instructions have you angle them so they're pointed forward, but you can leave them pointing up if you like.  There's also the small matter of some bumper bits near his ankles.  Neither the cartoon nor the toy had them, but we'll touch on them again later.

Given Fans Toys' reputation, deserved or not, I think a comparison is inevitable.  All I can say for now, with nothing but gray prototypes to go off of, is that FT's will be a bit more cartoon accurate, but (and this is super subjective) he looks a little chunky and lifeless.


Arkose comes with a few accessories, a lot of which is "that thing from that episode."  Well, he's got a rifle, and while it's not exactly cartoon accurate it works fine for my tastes, and there is a reason that it looks the way it does that we'll touch on later.  You get a toy-style, mouthless face.  And then, from the quintessential Beachcomber episode "The Golden Lagoon" we get a replacement gold-painted right hand and three birds.


Arkose's head is on a hinged swivel that can look up or down maybe 30 degrees in addition to swiveling.  His shoulders rotate and extend laterally about 90 degrees, just be advised that you want to push down on the the parts around his collar when you do so as manipulating his shoulders has a tendency to pull them loose.  His biceps swivel, and he's got double-jointed elbows that curl until his forearm starts colliding with the tires on his shoulders.  His wrists swivel, and he's got a pin hinge so that his hand can open and close.  His waist can swivel.  His hips can move over 90 degrees forward, about 90 degrees backward, and a little under 90 laterally.  His thighs can swivel.  His knees are double-jointed, but still only good for about 90 degrees.  His toes can tilt up and down a little, and his ankles can pivot about 45 degrees.  I think, especially since it's an older figure, that the articulation here is pretty good, although I do wish the hips and knees were a little tighter.

Despite having MP carbot-style hands, Arkose's palm is actually molded into a small peg hole.  The gun simply slides into it.  Alternatively, he can hold the bird with a longer peg the same way.  The other birds with the smaller pegs don't fit into his hands, but there's two small pegs on his shoulders that they can sit in.  Now, he does have something that looks like a peg hole above his wrist, and I've seen pictures where it looks like people stuck a bird into the hole for a pin hinge near his elbow, but those holes seem to small on my copy. 


Now, even though Arkose came from a time when XTB figures were sometimes criticized for their engineering, I think he's pretty easy to transform.  The engineering here is fairly logical.  The trickiest part is transforming the roll cage so you can move the engine into his backpack, but even that can be avoided entirely by simply removing it when you start the transformation and putting it back in place when you're done.


Now, here's what I think could be the deciding factor for a lot of people when deciding between this or Fans Toys' version.  Fans Toys' Beachcomber is definitely much more cartoon accurate in alt mode.  However, if you look at the animation, Beachcomber looks like someone made a generic dune buggy out of Legos.  Beachcomber wasn't supposed to be a generic dune buggy, though.  The G1 toy was actually based on a real vehicle, the Chenowth M1040 Hellfire FAV, and Arkose trades cartoon accuracy for real-world accuracy... hence the bumper that neither the cartoon nor the original toy had.  Presumably, XTB's designer was looking at one of the Hellfires that does have a bumper.  Granted, I don't think I've seen one with a roll cage quite like that, and there's the small matter of his forearms acting as a rear bumper I've never seen on a Hellfire (with weird tail lights that are on the sides instead of the back), but it's otherwise not a bad replica.  My only complaints here are that I wish the tires were rubber instead of plastic and that I can't get things to tab together quiet as well as I'd like, hence the little gaps in places.


The seats have little molded and painted first aid kits on the back, which is a nice touch for a pacifist like Beachcomber, and the interior has two seats, a steering wheel, and a gear shifter.  You can even see the molded circles that were only on his right foot are now like gauges on the dash.  His heel spurs stretch between the seats.  I think they're supposed to be like part of the roll cage, but they seem kind of in the way, and (although maybe I did something wrong) they don't seem to want to sit quite where they're supposed to.

On the other side of the dash from the steering wheel, in Arkose's other foot, you'll find a something like a hinged ball with a chunk cut out.  You can use it to plug in his gun, giving him a mounted machine gun for the passenger's seat.  This is something that was done on actual Hellfires, and the reason Arkose's gun is molded the way it is instead of like the cartoon.  I suppose it's not very in keeping with Beachcomber's personality, but I dig it.

If you're looking for an MP-style Beachcomber for your collection your choices at the time of writing boil down to picking up Arkose or waiting for Fans Toys'.  Without knowing more about the engineering on FT's, all we really have to go on at this time are aesthetics, and that's a pretty subjective preference.  I think if super Sunbow accuracy is your jam then waiting for FT's might be a good idea.  But if you're more of a fan of the older Hasui MPs and a mix of cartoon accuracy with real-world details, then I can easily recommend Arkose.  He's solid, he poseable, he's detailed, and he's not difficult to transform and mess around with.  I don't really need more than that for Beachcomber.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

This is something that was done on actual Hellfires, and the reason Arkose's gun is molded the way it is instead of like the cartoon.  I suppose it's not very in keeping with Beachcomber's personality, but I dig it.

It is obviously a water gun. Beachcomber is ALL about watermotorsport.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally moving on to something more current, this is X-Transbot's Deathwish, their MP Dead End.


The sculpt is very on the money for this guy.  I mean, pick a detail from the cartoon... the white protrusion on his tummy stripe, the hexagon-in-a-hexagon on his chest, the octagons on his knees, the stripes on his forearms, the purple goggles and gold mouth plate, it's all here.  The torso itself is just a slab, giving him a profile like a refrigerator... and yeah, that checks out too.  Of course, the flip side of that is that he's not particularly toy accurate, but I think by now we should know that XTB is going for the cartoon look.

One thing I'm not too sure of, though, is the color.  Deathwish is red.  Perhaps not as red as my pictures make him look, but definitely red and not the shade of maroon that was used both in the animation and on the G1 toy.  XTB has been doing G2 editions of these guys, and G2 Dead End is a brighter red... I wonder if they mixed up the paint?


Moving right along, Deathwish doesn't come with much in the accessory department.  You've got his gun, which is pretty cartoon-accurate if you ignore the protrusion on the handle.  He also comes with a pair of rubbery wing mirrors.  Apparently earlier prototypes had plastic painted to match the car, and some people aren't happy about the rubber ones.  I feel pretty comfortable telling you that if they hadn't switched a lot of people would be breaking them.


So Deathwish's head is on a ball joint, and he can look down or tilt his head sideways just a bit but he does have pretty great upward range.  His shoulders rotate and extend a tad over 90 degrees laterally.  His biceps swivel, and he's got double-jointed elbows that curl just about 180 degrees.  His wrists swivel, and his hands are MP carbot-style, with a fixed thumb and fingers molded as one piece pinned at the base knuckle.  His waist can swivel, and he's got a soft-ratched ab crunch that can bend over 90 degrees but definitely breaks up the sculpt.  His hip skirts hinge out of the way to allow his friction universal hips to go 90 degrees forward and just under that backward and laterally.  His thighs swivel.  His knees are double-jointed.  The lower joint is friction, while the upper joint is a strong ratchet.  Bending his knee usually engages the lower joint, at it might seem at first like he can't bend his knees more than 45 degrees.  Using both joints, though, he can get the full 90.  His feet can tilt up slightly, down a fair bit, and his ankles can pivot 45 degrees.

His gun using the MP-standard of pushing tabs on the handle into slots on his palm.  On my copy, the fit it a little too tight, and the handle has a tendency to push back out.


One more thing, before we go to alt mode... yes, that's a very obvious rectangular button for a belt buckle.  In a move that's sure to surprise absolutely no one who's seen XTBs renders and prototypes, you can push the button in and pull Deathwish apart at the waist.  It's expected that the combined mode is really going to be a mostly complete robot with spots to plug the Stunticons.  In this case, Deathwish presumably splits in half so that the front of the car can plug into his bicep while the bottom of the car will attach to his forearm.  My only concern about this gimmick is that the connector is on the end of a fairly thin plastic bar, and even after you push the button in it takes some force to pull it out.  XTB probably should have used metal for it.


Ok, so on to the alt mode.  Getting there is a little more involved than I remember the first two being, but I don't think it's necessarily difficult once you know what you're doing.  And no, you don't have to pull the waist apart to transform him.  The one thing I do think is an issue is that there's not a ton of clearance for folding or unfolding the legs.  You have to pull the hip out to the side and turn the thigh just right and still kind of bend some parts to get his feet to clear his crotch.


The alt mode itself is pretty gorgeous.  All of that red is paint, the windows are a dark translucent plastic, and there's painted lights, exhaust tips, and rims.  I know some people aren't super happy that there's no gold stripe, but that's a toy detail that the cartoon didn't keep.  After picking up FT's Road King I was thinking I might pick up the rest of the FT Stunticons, and possibly even check out the DX9 ones as well.  I figured that XTB's might be kept in combined mode or alt mode, with FT's in robot mode.  And yeah, Deathwish is making a strong case for alt mode.  Just be advised that the wing mirrors don't stay on securely.  I'm probably going to just toss them back in the box.


That big protrusion on the handle of his gun comes into play here in alt mode.  Instead of plugging on top of the vehicle, like the first two, Deathwish's gun plugs into the back, between the taillights.  And he's got one final feature that none of the other Stunticons had.  If you look at the underside you'll see a small switch near the front of the car.  Well, if you open up the bumper you'll find room for some button cell batteries (AG0/LG521/LR63/379).  If you install the batteries and turn on the switch Deathwish's headlights turn on.  Which is cool and all, but not exactly correct since they don't move when they turn on.  A real Porsche 928's lights should swivel up and and out so the lens points forward, not up.  Despite having a pile of button cells I've accumulated for other figures I don't seem to have any of this type, so I can't light him up for you guys.

By rights, this probably should have been XTB's best Stunticon yet.  The engineering, as mentioned, is interesting, the paint is gorgeous, and most of the joints are well-toleranced.  However, the QC seems a little worse on Deathwish than the first two.  I already mentioned the gun not tabbing in so well, but out of the box I have stress marks on one of the hip skirts, stress marks on a gray hinge at the top of his torso, said hinge looks like the pin is slightly misaligned, there's paint overspray in a few spots, and paint chipping on one of hsi diecast thighs.  His hip joints were too tight and very creaky, and I couldn't comfortably get the two halves to come undone.  I had to open up his crotch, put some silicone lube on his hip joints, and file the port for his waist connection a bit.  There's some speculation that the release of FT's Road King and the positive reception it received pushed XTB to rush the production of this guy and Overheat (Dragstrip).  Personally, the minor issues I have with Deathwish are irritating, but ultimately so minor that I'm not even going to bother trying to get replacement parts or anything like that.  Ultimately, I still like him, and until/unless DX9 or Fans Toys do a better one I'd still recommend him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wife was out of town over the last 4 days and I'm dogsitting/having a staycation for 4 days, so I finally got to sit down and transform my TE-01 to truck mode and back. I must say, this toy is absolutely great!  I don't know who designed this, but they are on point!   The transformation, while complex, is not overly so, not anywhere near frustration levels of a DX 171 or 262.  Yes, I went along with a very good YouTube video as I did both directions on different days, I had no issues or temper tantrums.  This IS my Optimus Prime.  Someone is going to have to go a looooong way to beat this at the price point of a little over $100.  I also got some 3rd part energon cubes from BBTS. Love these things!  Here's some pics I took. I then turned back on my subwoofer (#wifedon'tsub) and cranked up the '86 Movie Saturday night on Blu-ray for a little nostalgia party! 







Link to comment
Share on other sites

X-Transbots is apparently re-working their Motormaster and the Menasor skeleton, so I guess this is the last one for awhile.  That one being Overheat, their MP Dragstrip.


Once again, I really dig the sculpt here.  The biggest deviations are the fact that he's a pelvis (with button, because he splits in half like Deathwish) instead of legs sprouting from the bottom of his torso, the shoulder wheels being unable to magically shrink any further, and some of the alt mode's more realistic detail like the engine in his chest not magically becoming more simplified.  And I'm cool with all of it, because he's still ultimately got a very cartoony head on a very yellow body.


Despite not transforming anything like the G1 toy XTB even made sure he'd have the bump-outs on the sides of his legs that the animation model has, a relic from where the G1 toy's hands hid.  However, rather than being the full box found on the toy or animation model it's kind of just an open flap, with just a little curved side and empty from the back.  A lot of us, myself included, kind of think he looks better if you just leave it closed, even if it's not as accurate.


Overheat comes with his gun, which unlike the other three collapses and folds up, and a guy who's missing everything below the knees, who we'll talk about later.  There's a replacement face, the difference of which isn't immediately apparent.  When you get them side-by-side, though, the second face tapers toward the chin a little more, and the sculpted mouth is a little sharper.  There's also a replacement face for another figure, XTB's Savant (Skids).  This one isn't painted like the face that Savant came with, but you can actually see the sculpted detail, so this is a welcome addition for me that I'm installing right away.  And if you have Savant but don't plan on getting this guy, maybe try contacting X-Transbots to see if they'll send one to you.


Overheat's head is on a ball joint, with a bit better range as he can look down nearly as much as he can look up.  His shoulders can rotate and extend a little over 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel, he's got double-jointed elbows that get around 130 degrees, he's got wrist swivels, and his carbot-style hands can open and close at pin hinge at the base of the fingers.  His waist can swivel, and he's got an ab crunch.  His hips can go 90 degrees forward, a little less than that laterally, but not much backward due to kibble on his butt.  His thighs swivel, and he's got the same double-jointed knee setup as Deathwish except that the lower hinge is very restricted, the ratchet in the upper hinge is softer, and he can bend 90 degrees on the ratchet alone.  The fake spoiler that makes up the front of his foot can move up a little, down a lot, and a dedicated hinge gives him an insane 360 degree ankle pivot.  So yeah, he can do poses.

Like Deathwish, Overheat's gun has tabs on the handle that fit into slots on his palms.  This time, though, he's got the opposite problem and the fit is a little loose.  His fingers have enough tension to hold everything in place, though.


Transforming Overheat isn't quite as pleasant as Deathwish.  I wouldn't say it's hard once you know what you're doing, but what you're supposed to be doing isn't as immediately apparent during the first transformation, when you're spinning the arms around and folding the nose into the backpack.  Your efforts are likely to be further hampered by extremely poor tolerances in two areas, areas that are causing a lot of breakage.  So I'll tell you, when the instructions tell you to fold the center of the nose up don't force it if it doesn't want to go.  Instead, fold it down and use a hobby knife to remove a sliver of plastic from the edges around the hinge.  As for the other problem spot, when you try to rotate the wheels down onto his shoulders again do not force them.  If you look behind the wheel that ends up in the front the plastic containing the pin that the assembly rotates on is colliding with the indent in the shoulder that the wheels sit in.  You'll need to file it or the shoulder down until you have the clearance you need.

The car itself does look good, with a lot (but not all) of the details you might find on a real Tyrrell P34.  If I have one complaint, it's that the red stripes aren't close enough together.


The little guy missing his lower legs can sit in Overheat's cockpit, and his hands even sit on a steering wheel.  There is a spot behind the engine that Overheat's gun can plug into; it's actually how he comes packaged in the box.  Not sure that's going to be real effective for the fake driver, there...


Remember how I said that Overheat's gun is the only one of XTB's Stunticon weapons to collapse, though?  If you look on the underside, between his legs, you'll see an empty space with a slot deep inside.  Turns out you can fold up the gun and stuff it in there.  The scope on it sits a little higher than the stuff around it, but there's still enough clearance that he can roll with the gun stored there.  At one point XTB showed off some test shots of Overheat with two rifles; perhaps that was planned at one point and this is a relic of a time when he needed a place to store the second gun.  Either way, I'm not complaining.  I prefer some weapon storage to none, but I strongly prefer hidden weapons to just jamming a gun onto the roof of a car.

Of the four Stunticons that XTB released, Overheat is the only one I'd say is a little over-engineered.  Don't get me wrong, he's nowhere near as bad as a lot of Fans Toys' catalog from the last two years or so, but I still can't help thinking that there was probably an easier solution for turning a P34 into a cartoon-accurate robot.  Too much of his shoulders are on thin plastic hinges and arms.  And the tolerances issues are a big disappointment that, at best, has you cutting/filing/modding your figure, and at worst is leading to breakage.  Objectively, he should be the worst of the four.

Subjectively, though, I really dig him.  He's got the kind of cartoon accuracy I like; the sculpt and colors match the cartoon as closely as they can without compromising real-world alt-mode details and looking like walking animation error.  There's a dynamic element to him.  So while I'd caution you to know what you're getting into and have some tools ready to fix those shoulders and nose flap, I do still recommend him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure where this fits into my collection, but this figure was on my bucket list, so here it: ToyWorld's Infinitor, aka Fortress Maximus.  Of some sort.


Infinitor is pretty accurate to the G1 toy, with some metallic red and white paint even standing in fro some of the stickers on the old toy.  I think a lot of collectors tend to prefer more cartoon-accuracy, but after the third season you have to decide if cartoon accuracy means the US "The Rebirth" episodes or the Japanese Headmasters anime, and in that case maybe using the toy for a reference isn't a bad idea.  So if toy-accuracy is the name of the game this time, then I guess the biggest question I have would be "What's up with the translucent red?"  I mean, it works ok for the forearms, but you've got a big chunk in the middle of his chest that should properly be white and gray, and his left breast is also translucent red where the G1 toy was part solid blue, and part translucent green.  On the whole, though, I think it's more accurate than even the Takara version of the Titan-class Fort Max, so I can mostly overlook the red plastic.

Speaking of the Titan-class, though, there's an issue of scale here.  Now, to be clear, there's a deliberate mistransformation of the hips you can do to squeeze a little extra height out of him.


But either way, Infinitor is not a big toy, standing roughly the same height as a Titans Return-era Leader-class.  I've heard of some people buying him up for the Legends-class collection, and although I didn't grab a picture he's roughly as tall as Iron Factory's Bruticus.  Now, if we're talking about Fortress Maximus as he appeared in either cartoon, is that actually big enough?  The size difference between Infinitor and Magic Square's Sideswipe is less than the difference between Titan Fort Max and Siege Sideswipe.  Or is he too big, as he's apparently quite a bit taller than Iron Factory's Scorponok?

Personally, I think the best way to think of Infinitor is not as either cartoon version of Fortress Maximus, but as the old Marvel Comics version.  While he was big in the comics he wasn't necessarily huge, standing about the same size as Powermaster Optimus Prime, with the other Headmasters coming up to his waist.  Mixing Siege with some other late Generations lines like Titans Return and I think Infinitor is best thought of as a CHUG-scale Marvel Fortress Maximus.


Then we come to his accessories.  He's got his rifle, but not the sword he had in The Headmasters.  And his head can transform into a smaller robot, one that seems to take its cues from the G1 toy Cerebros/Fortress (although I'm not sure why the top of his head and center of his chest are black).  Its head doesn't come off and turn into a smaller Spike/Fortress, but Cerebros was often ignored in the Marvel comics, at best depicted as an intermediate step between Spike and Fortress Maximus, but often omitted in favor of Spike turning directly into Maximus' head.  So the omitted double-Headmaster gimmick is another point in favor of Infinitor being Marvel Fortress Maximus.

Despite being smaller than Maketoys' or Fans Toys' Headmasters, Infinitor's head is closer to them in size than a Titan master, a G1 Headmaster, or one of Fansproject's.  Which makes him a little disappointing, because he feels kind of junky compared to Maketoys and Fans Toys.  His head can't move at all.  His shoulders are ball joints so he can rotate them and extend them laterally a bit.  His elbows are also ball joints, allowing him to turn his bicep and bend his elbow about 90 degrees.  His hands don't move, though, and are sculpted in such a way that bending his elbow often looks like it's giving him gorilla arms.  His hips are ball joints and can kick forward over 90 degrees, back a little, and laterally over 90 degrees.  His hips are pretty loose, though.  His knees are ball joints, able to bend 90 degrees and double as a thigh swivel.  And that's about it.  Transformation to head mode is pretty simple and basically the same as a Titan Master; you just have to spin the lower legs 180 degrees before folding him up.  There are notches on his chest where his heels kind of fit into, but it's more of a guide than a secure slot/tab.


As for Infinitor himself, he can't look up or down but the entire area his head plugs into can spin, allowing him to turn his head about 45 degrees in either direction before his cheeks start banging into other stuff.  His shoulders rotate on friction joints and can extend laterally about 70 degrees on a strong ratchet.  His biceps swivel.  His elbows are double-jointed.  The lower joint is a friction joint that's good for 90 degrees, the upper joint is a ratchet and lets him curl his arms the rest of the way up.  His wrists swivel, and his hands are like an MP car's with a fixed thumb and his four fingers molded as a single piece pinned at the base knuckle.  His waist can swivel.  His hips can go forward or backward 90 degrees in four clicks on very strong ratchets, and laterally a little over 90 degrees in five clicks on a similarly very strong ratchet.  His thighs swivel, and his knees bend 90 degrees on a softer ratchet.  Due to transformation his feet can tilt down, but not up.  He's got 90 degrees of ankle pivot.

He holds his rifle just fine.  Despite his size, his rifle just has a 5mm peg for a handle, and his palm is cut like a 5mm peg.  I got excited thinking that meant that he could use Siege Cog's parts for guns, but the handles are too short and the rounded bumps at the ends of his forearms keep the pegs from reaching his hands.


Not that he needs a gun.  Like the G1 toy, Infinitor's got guns that can swivel out from his hips, guns under the translucent flaps on his forearms, and guns in his shins.  Plus he's got guns on the bit connected to his left leg.  I didn't have the G1 toy, so I don't know if it originally came off, but that bit is attached to Infinitor.  However, it's on hinge and a pair of swivels so it can fold onto the back of his calf when it's not being deployed.

Infinitor also has compartments that open up on both sides of his chest.  I could fit a Titan Master and a Fansproject Headmaster in there, but Maketoys' and Fans Toys' are too big.  Actually, I couldn't fit his own Headmaster in there with the door closed.  I'm not sure if the ones that came with their Hardhead or Brainstorm would fit.

The ramps on the backs of his shoulders can be removed if they're in your way.  They just plug in via 5mm pegs.  If you want them attached, though, they have hinges and can swivel on their pegs, so they really shouldn't get in your way.


As you'd expect, Infinitor turns into a spaceship, of sorts.  I mean, despite being the alt mode that was most often depicted in both cartoons, Fortress Maximus' spaceship mode was always kind of weak, as 90% of the transformation was laying him down with his arms in the air.  But, I guess that Infinitor is pretty accurate in that regard.  Again, I think it looks better than the Titan-class version.  The big difference, again, is a large chunk of translucent red plastic, this time at the top of the conn tower.  I seem to recall the G1 toy was just white on one side, with a translucent green canopy on the other.  I might have preferred green, for both this and the chest, but it looks more cohesive than the half-and-half look of the G1 toy, so overall I mind it less.


Like the G1 toy, you can plug his rifle into the side of the tower.  The translucent red canopy can open, allowing the Headmaster to ride inside.  And there are wheels on the underside, so he can even roll a bit in this mode.  So my only complaint is that I wish it tabbed together a little more solidly.  The ramps do tab onto the backs of his arms, but nothing keeps his shoulders from rotating.  Actually, the folded up conn tower keeps the chunks of his chest in place in robot mode, and with them unfurled his chest can rotate, too.  Flaps come up from his hips to lock the waist swivel, and the ratchets are plenty to hold his hips in place, but his thighs can still swivel freely.  And it's just friction holding his feet in place.  The friction does an ok job keeping them from tilting up or down, but the ankle pivot is somewhat loose.  Then there's that pod on the side of his leg.  Due to its shape and the greebles molded onto it it never seems to sit flush against his leg, let alone lock into place.

Infinitor's ship mode does get props in one major area- it's much, much easier to "swoosh" it around than the G1 toy or the Titan-class figure.


Infinitor's base mode is, again, pretty G1-accurate, although again it's pretty small.  It's shorter than Titans Return Overlord's base mode but it has a lot more mass in the back.  I have it transformed according to the instructions, which rotate the sides of the shoulders 180 degrees so they sit closer to his legs, but if you want more G1-accuracy you don't have to do that step.  The only thing that's really missing are the doors on the front and the spinning antenna.  Officially, the gun pegs into the side of the tower, which I think is what you'd expect, and the pod on his leg sits as pictured, on the side with its guns in the air.


I think on the G1 toy it was supposed to be turned and sit in front of leg, next to the main tower, as a helipad.  Aside from not having a smooth surface conducive to landing vehicles on, we have the same issue with the overall shape of it not allowing it to sit flush.  Still, you can swivel it into almost the right position.  The sides of his legs do open up, and the red catapults on his ramps can be slid forward.  Again, it's pretty spot-on, it just has some of the same problems with ship mode did with the shoulders not locking in place.  That's actually true for the ramp as well, but it's only really a problem if you pick the base up.


I think ToyWorld would have been perfectly fine if they'd just stopped there.  However, they came up with another base mode.  This is official and in the instructions, and the difference here is that you don't transform the chest section, you instead transform the hips so they're in the slightly taller position, then you bend his legs around so that his toes are pointed toward the front.  Peg holes on his toes give you an alternative place to put his gun.  And... yeah, it's a thing you can do.  I'm just not sure why you'd want to.  Putting aside for the moment that it's less accurate, it has a certain unfinished, gappy appearance and the regular base mode just looks better to me.

Infinitor is an interesting piece, that's for sure.  In some ways, he's the G1-but-with-better-articulation Fortress Maximus that the Titan-class toy utterly failed at being.  But in other ways, the fit and finish is a little lacking for a toy in this price range, and his diminutive size holds him back from being the Fort Max a lot of us really want.  If he were upscaled to the size of, say, Maketoys' Utopia (Metroplex), some of the tabbing issues were resolved, and they gave the Headmaster his own littler Headmaster then I would recommend it in a heartbeat as the definitive version of Fortress Maximus.  As he is, though, I think he's just too small for most collections.  That said, I find Infinitor much more satisfying than the Titan-class Fortress Maximus, and if you want a Marvel comics CHUG-style Fortress Maximus then he should definitely fit the bill.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Infinitor was kind of a bucket list toy for me, but the chest compartments that are slightly too small for his own Headmaster had me kind of curious.  Since Brainstorm is my favorite Headmaster, on a whim I decided to pick up ToyWorld's Brainwave.


Brainwave is much more stylized and less faithful to the G1 toy than Infinitor is.  The grays are a little too dark, and the cyan a little too green.  He's lacking in shoulder wings, but he's got quite a backpack.  And he's all-around a bit more bulky than you'd expect.  The face is kind of pinched, too.  I've own four different takes on Brainstorm, and Brainwave's head is probably the worst of the four.

All that said, I don't really hate it.  I actually dig the heroic proportions.  In a vacuum I think Brainwave looks like a good CHUG Brainstorm, and indeed I'd still say he's better than the Titans Return version.  But in context I think Brainwave came out after Fansproject's excellent Smart Robin figure.  Given both figure's retail price at the time, unless you were adamant about Brainstorm being a tall Voyager instead of a tall Deluxe then Smart Robin was the easy winner.  Plus the Generations Voyager came out not too long after, if I'm not mistaken.


Brainwave comes with the accessories you'd expect for a Brainstorm figure- his head, and his guns.  Size-wise, the Headmaster is about the same height as Generations Brainstorm or Fansproject's, and a little bigger than a Titan Master.  It's interesting to me that, instead of trying to make the head look like Brainstorm's G1 Headmaster they made him look like a smaller, slightly differently-colored version of the larger robot.

Articulation-wise, it's very similar to Infinitor's.  His head can't move.  His shoulders can rotate and extend laterally on a ball joint.  His hips are ball joints that can move forward and laterally 90 degrees.  His knees are ball joints that can bend 90 degrees and double as thigh swivels.  It just doesn't have the ball-jointed elbows Infinitor's does.


It's also a bit smaller than Infinitor's.  Now, as far as I know Toyworld didn't get around to doing all the Headmasters, but they did Hardhead and Skullcruncher.  Assuming that their Headmasters are the same size as Brainwave's then yes, they could fit into the compartments in Infinitor's chest.  And perhaps they could swap heads amongst the three of them.  However, you can't really swap Brainwave and Infinitor's heads.  Infinitor's is just flat out too big for Brainwave, and doesn't fit in the socket.  Brainwave's does fit onto Infinitor, but aside from looking too small the connection is too small to lock it, and the spring-loaded stat gimmick wants to push the head back out.


Properly seated on his body, Brainwave can rotate his head, but on my copy at least it's incredibly difficult to move it.  His shoulders can rotate and extend 90 degrees, but moving them tends to dislodge the gray piece between his shoulder and his body.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees.  His wrist can swivel, and because they're not really locked in place you can use a transformation hinge to bend them down almost 90 degrees.  His waist can swivel.  His hips about 75 degrees forward and 90 degrees backward on ratchets, although his right hip is so soft it feels more like friction.  They can also spread 90 degrees on soft ratchets.  His thighs can swivel.  His knees can bend 90 degrees, his toes can bend down due to transformation, and his ankles can pivot 45 degrees.

His guns have 5mm pegs for handles, and they fit into his fists just fine.  He also has peg holes on the backs of his forearms that you can plug them into.


The cockpit on his chest is fake, but it still opens.  He doesn't have any stats to show inside, but it's still nice that Toyworld put some molded detail inside and even painted it silver and red.

Oh, and those cyan accents on his legs?  They actually pull out and away revealing some bladed weapons.


You can plug the blades into his hands, but they look kind of weird to me.  I don't see myself posing Brainwave with them, but it's still pretty cool that they're there.

Brainwave's wings mostly just chill on his back, kind of like a backpack.  They have to be angled back a little to keep from interfering with his shoulder articulation.  However, they're hinged, so you can raise them upward in a kind of flight mode.  What's cool is that there are also flaps on the backs of his legs.  If you lift them you'll find some molded, painted thrusters.  This little bit of detail is entirely for robot mode, as they're tucked in for the alt mode.  It's the kind of thing that ToyWorld didn't have to do, so it's very much appreciated that they did do it.


Transformation is a bit different that your G1 Brainstorm, and the result is... well, it's not the strongest of alt modes.  The nose is quite a bit thicker, not tapering to a point like the other Brainstorms.  By itself that's not so bad, but the guns plugged onto the sides are significantly blockier and less aerodynamic than even the G1 toy's.  They're also mostly white.  His legs do a kind of cool trick where they split and hinge just below the knees, revealing some molded gray thrusters inside.  But their chunkiness works against the jet mode, when viewed from most angles.  Or, viewed from the bottom, you can see his hips and thighs and he looks more like a folded-up robot than a jet.  Then of course, there's the wings.  There's nothing that really looks like Brainstorm's vertical stabilizers, just four wings with four very familiar round engine nacelles...


And, yes, you can spread them apart.  They're totally X-Wing wings.  It's just a shame, because they're a little too short, the folded up legs making up too much mass in the rear, and the nose is too broad to really sell the alt mode as an X-Wing.  So the alt mode kind of fails as both an X-Wing and Brainstorm's 

Well, at least there's fold out landing skids, although the lower wings have to be parallel to the ground for them to work since the rear skids come out of the engine nacelles.  If you don't like his guns on the nose, there are also 5mm pegs near the tips of the wings, under the lower wings and on top of the upper wings.  And the actual cockpit (on Brainwave's back) can open so the Headmaster can sit inside, although you have to move his robot feet to give the canopy enough clearance.

Let's get this out of the way... I can't really recommend Brainwave.  He's obviously too big to go into a Legends collection, and too small and stylized to be MP.  He was clearly meant to be a CHUG Brainstorm.  But like I already pointed out, the Voyager-class Generations figure is a better, cheaper option, and if that's too big Fansproject's Smart Robin looks better in both modes due to extremely clever engineering that makes me recommend it to this very day just for the experience.  Brainwave only fares slightly better than the lazy Blurr remold that eked into the Titans Return line, but even then that figure was cheaper and had the advantage of being compatible with all the other Titan Masters.

Despite not recommending him, I must admit that I don't regret buying Brainwave, though.  I bought him for a clearance price of around $40, and at that price I got a chunky figure with solid plastic reminiscent of older TFC stuff like Hercules, decent articulation, and a simple transformation I can get through quickly without a spudger (something I really appreciate since moving my focus to MPs).  He's not going in any of my displays, but he's still pretty fun to mess around with.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Reaching into the past a bit here:

I absolutely adore my Toyworld not-Throttlebots. I seem to recall a ways back seeing some recolors of them, though I don't recall if they were Toyworld of some company knocking off their molds in a different color.

I've been looking for them again with no luck. Does anyone remember them? Specifically, a recolor of Aurora (the Range Rover Evoque)?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, RavenHawk said:

Reaching into the past a bit here:

I absolutely adore my Toyworld not-Throttlebots. I seem to recall a ways back seeing some recolors of them, though I don't recall if they were Toyworld of some company knocking off their molds in a different color.

I've been looking for them again with no luck. Does anyone remember them? Specifically, a recolor of Aurora (the Range Rover Evoque)?


Not recolors, no.  But Wei Jiang OS KOed them, closer to MP cars in size.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I was looking over my Siege figures the other day.  Getting Springer kind of put me in a movie mode, so I put Siege Magnus and Springer with Titans Return Hot Rod, Kup, and Blurr.  And then I wanted some baddies.  I've got Titans Return Scourge (actually two of them, because Sweeps), and Mania King for Galvatron.  But what about my favorite '86 Decepticon, Cyclonus?  Hasbro's given us a Deluxe that was pretty good at the time, but he's a tad small, lanky, and his alt mode isn't very good.  Hasbro's also given us a Voyager-class version in Combiner Wars.  The alt mode was less gappy, but he was a retool of Silverbolt and it showed in all the wrong ways.  I'm not satisfied with either option.  So I decided to pick up this blast from the past- KFC's Tempest, a CHUG-style Cyclonus.


Aesthetically Tempest pretty much nails the look of the '86 movie.  I mean, for some reason my camera is convinced that he's blue with a silver face and light lavender biceps, fists, and thighs, but in hand he's slightly more purple than Fans Toys' MP version.  If I'm being picky I'd prefer the lavender to be a little lighter (closer to how it photographs than how it looks in hand), or if he had a few more painted details, or if the lavender bits on his arms were a darker purple.  But for the most part it's exactly what you'd expect Cyclonus to look like, which is a big point in its favor over the Hasbro versions.

Of course, with the figures in the Siege line supposedly being in-scale with each other size is also a concern.  Although thicker, Tempest isn't much taller than the old Deluxe, and a bit shorter than CW Cyclonus.


Compared to another Siege figure like Starscream, though, and that's not too bad.  Granted, Cyclonus was a bit bigger than Galvatron, and assuming that Galvatron is the same size as Megatron and taller than Starscream here then it'd be better if Tempest were a head taller, sure.  But he's close enough to pass, in my eyes, and a little taller than Titans Return Scourge.


He comes with a fair amount of accessories.  You've got his smaller, cartoon-style gun and his larger, toy-style rifle, both molded in gray plastic with no paint.  He's also got his Targetmaster buddy.


The Targetmaster is only a little bigger than the one that comes with Deluxe Cyclonus, and pretty close in size to a Siege Battle Master.  He's got much better articulation than either of those, though.  His head can swivel.  His shoulders are ball joints that rotate and extend 90 degrees.  His elbows can bend 90 degrees.  His hips are ball joints that can move forward and backward 90 degrees, laterally 45 degrees, and give him a little thigh swivel.  His knees can bend 90 degrees.  And his feet are on ball joints, so they can tilt up and down a little, swivel a little, and pivot over 45 degrees.


Unfortunately, Tempest's own articulation isn't so hot.  His head is on a ball joint that can look up a fair bit and tilt his head sideways, but he can only look down a little.  His shoulders are on hinged ball joints so they can rotate 360 degrees and extend 90 degrees, but only if his arms are down.  Because the hinge side is in the torso he can't both raise his arms and spread them.  His biceps swivel.  He's got single-hinged elbows, but they're limited to only about 45 degrees.  His wrists can't swivel, but due to transformation they can bend down.  If you have his back pegged in properly he can't swivel at the waist, but if you unpeg it to give his back a little extra clearance around the hips he can.  His hips are universal joints and can go about 90 degrees forward, a little over 45 degrees laterally, and not much at all backward due to his back flaps.  His thighs swivel around the joint, which limits them a little but what you get feels like a fairly natural range.  His knees bend 90 degrees.  His whole foot doesn't move, just the purple front.  It's on a ball joint that can move up and down a little and swivel to give him a little faux ankle pivot.  It's not the best, especially with pretty much all Siege figures having ankle pivots, but it's better than Titans Return.

His guns fit into his fists via 5mm pegs.  He holds both gray guns fine, but his grip on his Targetmaster is pretty poor.


One other thing I found to be quite curious is that if you open the cockpit section of his back you'll find a slotted piece inside.  It's pegged in place, so you can actually pull it out and move it to the outside.  It looks like it's meant to be a way to store a sword onto Tempest's back (although I'm pretty sure Tempest predates Cyclonus getting a sword in IDW's More Than Meets the Eye).  He doesn't come with a sword, though, and although I checked around I couldn't find one that fits.


Transforming Tempest is pretty simple in the way you kind of expect non-MP figures to be.  And the resulting space-jet might lack some of the sleekness of the cartoon model (or, arguably, the Fans Toys' version), but it's far more accurate than either of the Hasbro versions.  There isn't a big block of robot hanging off of the underside like CW Cyclonus, and he's not suffering from an abundance of gaps at the rear where his arms, legs, and wings don't sit flush like the old Deluxe.  My biggest aesthetic complaint is that there's not enough paint.  He's missing the white/lavender section of the nose, and it'd have been nice if the needle tip were silver.


The cartoon-style gun can clip under the nose nice and snugly, and the Targetmaster can fit into a peg hole at the rear, although it's a tad loose.  I couldn't find a place to store the other gun, though (my copy didn't come with instructions).  It doesn't have the tabs to fit under the nose, and the bit in front of the peg handle sits so low that you can't plug it in where the Targetmaster goes.  While that's a little disappointing, I prefer to give him just the cartoon gun anyway.  If you take a quick peek at the underside, you'll see that he does have fold-out landing gear, but the wheels are just molded on and left unpainted.

Now, so far I've mainly talked about aesthetics (very good) and articulation (not so good).  But I feel like I need to talk about something I rarely do anymore, and that's materials and fit & finish.  These days, especially on MP figures, you kind of take for granted that you're going to be getting decent plastic, maybe some diecast, and probably some paint.  You expect everything to fit together properly.  And that's kind of not the case here.  Tempest's plastic is... I guess not exactly bad, but it definitely feels cheaper than what I'm used to. He's got very little paint.  And some things that should fit together just don't.  Namely, in robot mode, his head is on a flap that lays over his torso, but doesn't actually tab in at all.  His fists, likewise, are attached to hinged bars in the backs of his arms, not his wrists.  Both of those things use friction to stay in place, and the friction isn't totally adequate when you're posing him to look up or putting weapons in his hands.  The lavender bits on the front of his forearms spin, but don't lock into place.  In jet mode his chest folds down over his thighs and the jet's nose folds out, and again none of that locks into place.  I've had both the nose and the chest droop on me.  His arms stay in place in jet mode by folding out flaps on his legs with tabs that are supposed to fit into slots on the fins.  On my copy that works on one side, but the tab seems a little too big for the slot on the other side.

These little issues ultimately make Tempest a Cyclonus that looks good and has some good ideas in the engineering but falls short of the execution.  I think the original $80 or so retail price would have been too much.  Even five years or so ago when it first came out companies like Fansproject, Maketoys, and MMC were making better CHUG-style figures in this price range.

However, over time the price dropped to as low as $30, and even now you can find used copies for $20-$40.  When you compare Tempest to Hasbro figures in that price range, especially ones from that era, that's not as bad.  I still wouldn't say I recommend Tempest, but until/unless Hasbro delivers a better Cyclonus in Siege I think Tempest is probably the best CHUG option for Cyclonus.  If, like me, you're craving a Cyclonus to go with your Siege figures and you can find one on the cheap then maybe Tempest will scratch that itch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I picked up Grinder and love it. Perfect MP Grimlock I always wanted (always seemed to miss the TRU ones and given the size and gimmicks, not sorry now). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...