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Since I picked up Generation Toy's First Aid and I still have their Streetwise I decided to go back and pick up the two I missed.  So I'll get right to it; this is Motor, their Groove.

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Groove seems to be a hard character for 3Ps to get right.  Motor makes for a big improvement over TFC's (left) and Maketoys (not pictured) simply by having plenty of prominent gold paint on his chest torso and face.  And, as is generally the case with GT's stuff, I do like a lot of the aesthetic here, especially the red accents on this chest and the strong head sculpt.  He's not without his problems, though.  He seems burdened with excess kibble; even after I excuse most of the front of his bike mode hanging on his back as being G1-accurate, he's got flaps folded over his arms, panels hanging off his shoulders, and his exhaust is just dangling from his right arm.  And in trademark GT fashion the shoulder kibble doesn't even lock into place (although I've found if you angle them just right you can kind of stick the tips of the tabs that secure them in bike mode into gaps on the hinges on the front corner of his shoulders).  His waist and hips are also rather tiny, but overall his proportions beat out TFC and Maketoys.  You could argue that the Combiner Wars version is the cleanest and has the best proportions, but if I'm being fair a lot of that is due to differences in their bike modes, which we'll get to in a bit.

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Motor's only real accessory is this gun, which is fine.  In the box, though, you'll find an extra set of grips for the handlebars, and the handlebars themselves are not attached.  Indeed, removing the handlebars makes transforming Motor a bit easier, although it's not strictly necessary.

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Motor's head is on a hinged swivel, so he can look up a decent amount and down a little.  His shoulders can rotate, and they can move laterally about 90 degrees, but once again the joints for lateral movement are in the torso and the swivels for rotation are on the wrong side, so he can't raise his arms and spread them simultaneously.  His biceps swivel, and although his elbows are double-jointed they still max out at about 90 degrees of bend.  His wrists swivel, and his fingers are pinned at the base so he can open his hands, plus the index finger is a separate piece from the other three.  His waist can swivel, and if you unlock it he's got about 45 degrees of ab crunch.  His hips are friction universals that can go just under 90 degrees forward, about 60 degrees backward, and over 90 degrees laterally.  His thighs can swivel around the joint.  His knees bend 90 degrees.  His feet have a slight up/down tilt, and a full 90 degrees of pivot.

His gun has tabs on the sides of the handle that fit neatly into slots on his palms.  I guess you can pretend that his exhaust is some kind of underarm cannon.

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Earlier I was saying that Combiner Wars Groove pulls off his robot mode as well as he does because of his bike mode, which if we're being honest looks like a folded-up robot hiding behind the front of a motorcycle.  Motor, on the other hand, looks like a motorcycle with no obvious signs of being a robot.  Motor's not the first Groove to do this- Maketoys did a pretty good job replicating a Honda police bike.  But Maketoys' had fairly complicated engineering that made for a spindly robot.  While not perfect, Motor's really not bad, considering, and the engineering here really isn't all that bad once you know how things are supposed to move.

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Motor's alt mode is a BMW 1200RT, and while it looks very good (it even has a rubbery material for the seat) I'm surprised by some of the details they phoned in.  The most obvious is that they seemed to have simply slapped the word "POLICE" on a standard 1200RT instead of using the actual police model, so it's lacking the lightbar on the back of the seat and the flashers above the sideview mirrors.  The saddlebags (are they still called saddlebags when they're hard boxes?) have a weird contour on the rear that makes them look like a piece was chopped off.  But the front of the bike is where I think things really went wrong.  Those orange translucent bits?  Those are just supposed to be intakes.  The bike's headlights are actually supposed to be where that big silver-painted swath is.  And the black-painted bits on the sides would be better if they were orange, since those are the turn signals.  Don't get me wrong, Motor is still one of the best-looking transforming bikes I've ever seen, it's just weird that they got so much right and then got lazy on the face.

There are are some small fold-out bits that I assume are foot rests, but the instructions never suggest a purpose for them and always show them folded in.  On the bottom of the bike are some thin, fold out gray parts that can hold the bike upright.

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Alternatively, you can fold the gray parts up and there is a kickstand on the left side.  Also on the left side you can plug his gun into the rear wheel, opposite the exhaust.  The wheels roll, and the front wheel can turn like the bike is steering.  However, due to how the handlebars attach, the steering column doesn't turn.

I don't have a lot of figures to pose on the bike, but here is with the Power Rangers Lightning Collection Gold Ranger.  The Lightning Collection is roughly 1:12 scale, and I think he looks a tad too big for the bike.  Motor might be a little small for 6” figures, but I shouldn't have to point out the obvious and say that he's huge compared to his teammates in alt mode, so if alt mode scale is your thing you might want to stay away (and probably not just from this set, but all Defensors).

At the end of the day I'm finding myself having the same thoughts about Motor that I do about the other two.  I think Generation Toy's Protectobots have a great aesthetic that's a nice balance of G1 and modern, real-world alt modes.  Motor is both the best representation of Groove and one of the best bike Transformers committed to plastic.  However, GT's engineering is starting to feel dated.  You think by now they'd have learned to put the shoulder hinges on the outside of the swivels and learned to minimize or at least tab down kibble.  And their soft, thin plastic feels like a downgrade from what you'd find on a Fans Toys, DX9, MMC, X-Transbots, Maketoys, Fans Hobby, etc figure.  So ultimately I like Motor, but I wouldn't exactly recommend him.

Edited by mikeszekely
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8 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

The Lightning Collection is a 1/6 scale, and I think he looks a tad too big for the bike.

No way is that a 1:6 scale figure.  1:12, maybe... but I don't have any Power Rangers, so I can't be certain.

Maybe you meant to say "a 6-inch figure?"

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2 hours ago, tekering said:

No way is that a 1:6 scale figure.  1:12, maybe... but I don't have any Power Rangers, so I can't be certain.

Maybe you meant to say "a 6-inch figure?"

Sorry, I was working on that later than normal. Yes, it's 6”, which is about 1:12. I'll fix it in the post.

Edited by mikeszekely
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Alright, it's late, I should probably go to bed, but I might as well get this over with it.  It's Generation Toys' Katana, their version of Blades and the last of their available (at time of writing) Protectobots.

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I'm thinking that Blades must be a hard character to really get right.  I mean, even going back to the G1 toy he's got the tail boom folded up on the sides of his legs, the front folded onto his back, and landing skids sticking off of his arms.  The landing skids on the arms were even retained on the animation model.  I feel like GT put some effort into retaining decent proportions and minimizing the amount of protruding flaps.  Aside from some silver on his chest instead of white, a white midriff instead of red, and gray hands instead of white (the only one of the four to have non-white hands, if I'm not mistaken) he's sporting G1-accurate colors.  And yes, his tail boom is folded onto the sides of his legs, and he's got landing skids on his arms.

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Thing is, perhaps owing to a detailed, realistic alt mode compared to the G1 toy, I still think he looks messy.  The tail boom doesn't sit all that flush to the sides of his legs, with the horizontal stabilizers poking through that gap onto his shins.  On one leg the tail rotor is peaking out of his calf, on the other the vertical stabilizer sticks out even further than his backpack.  There's a bit of folded panels on his forearms, culminating in landing skids that don't lock in place and feel like they're constantly getting in the way.  At least the front of the helicopter on his back is making some effort to squish down.

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Blades comes with a gun in the usual GT style, as well as four thin swords.  Two of the swords have tabs, two have slots, so they can combine into two swords with broader blades.

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Katana's articulation is a bit subpar.  His head is on a hinged swivel, and he can look down a little or up a lot.  His shoulders rotate, no issues.  Now, they only move about 45 degrees laterally before things start coming untabbed (and things will come untabbed), but if you do untab some things he can get his shoulders out much farther.  Yet again, though, the rotation joint is on the wrong side of the hinge for lateral movement, so yet again he can't raise his arms and spread them simultaneously.  This has been a constant design issue for GT, going back to their Warbotron days, one I might have let slide then, but there's just no excuse for it anymore in 2019 (or late 2018, when I think he was first released).  His biceps swivel, and he's got just about 90 degrees of bend at the elbows.  His wrists swivel, but they're actually on ball joints so he's got a little wiggle in them as well.  His fingers are pinned at the base knuckle, with the index finger separate from the other three.  His waist can swivel.  His hips can go about 60 degrees forward, 45 degrees backward, or a little under 90 degrees laterally.  His thighs swivel around his hip joints.  His knees can bend just over 90 degrees on the only ratchet joints the figure has.  His feet can tilt down a little, but not up, and he's got a ludicrous 180 degrees of ankle pivot.

He holds his gun kind of poorly.  There is a tab on the handle, but only on the side that would plug into his right hand.  Despite plugging it, it pops back out when you close his hand, so he winds up holding it just with tension.  The swords have tabs, also one side only, but two for his left hand and two for his right.  If you want to combine them to make the thicker swords no matter how you pair them you're going to end up with both tabs on the same side of the handle, forming a large square peg that fits into nothing.  The tension in his fingers does let him hold it, though.

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Katana can't do anything with the gun but hold it, which is true for a lot of figures.  You might find that you need a place to store all those swords, though, especially since they're integral to the alt mode.  Fortunately GT's got you covered.  Small pegs will allow one sword to be worn on each hip (although the pegs are only on one side, so one sword looks upside down from the other).  There are also small holes on the blades just above the hilt.  These holes fit over little pegs on the sides of his backpack.

Alternatively, you could just leave them attached to the rotor hub on his back, the way the G1 toy did.  They're very large, though, so it might not be ideal.

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While the back half is pretty simple, I didn't find transforming Katana to be as pleasant as the other three.  Can't argue with the results, though- realistic alt modes are definitely GT's thing.  The alt mode isn't G1-accurate, but that's a pretty good-looking helicopter.  One that will look super tiny next to Motor's bike mode, but such is the way of things when dealing with Defensor.  The swords become the main rotor by using c-clips on the pommels that grab onto the rotor hub.

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Near as I can tell Katana turns into a Bell 429.  The proportions are pretty good, if a little too long, and there's lots of molded detail down to bumps on the tail for marker lights.  There's a prominent wirecutter above the windshield, and soft plastic antenna and windshield wipers that are, unfortunately, a little warped.  There's plenty of molded detail, although it would have been nice if at least some of it were painted.  My one real gripe is that there's just molded, indented ovals where the exhaust ports should be.  Also worth mentioning is that the landing skids are really attached at hinge and by plugging into the front, under the cockpit door.  The rear isn't actually attached, it just rests against the belly.

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Both rotors spin, as you'd expect.  And the gun stores under the helicopter by clipping between his robot forearms.

Talking about the quality of the plastic GT uses, the articulation issues with the shoulders, or the kibble flaps feels like beating a dead horse, so I'll say that he has the usual GT issues and you'll already know it they're dealbreakers for you or not.  However, Katana's got two new ones that I have to talk about, and they both boil down to engineering issues.  The first is his arms.  Due to how they transform for combined mode the bicep comes untabbed from the shoulder, sometimes when you don't want it to.  That's not too bad, but the forearm extends on a slider attached to thin plastic parts.  It clicks into place when fully extended, but it's too easy to push it back in when you're manipulating the figure, leaving him with loose, dangly arms.  The other issue is how things fold up and tab to his torso.  There's a shoulder hinge that tabs into a panel, that tabs into a second panel, that tabs into his sides.  Not a one of those connections is secure enough.  The tabs holding everything to his sides are the worst.

Based on the usual GT issues you know I'm going to say the same stuff I've said about the other three: better than any other version of Blades you can buy today, but I can't really recommend it.  The aesthetic is cool, but the quality is not up to what we've come to expect from 3P figures this size in 2018/2019.  But I'll go one step further and say that the extra issues Katana has makes him the worst of the four.  Even though I didn't recommend any of them, fans of the Protectobots, Nissan 370Zs, ambulances, motorcycles, or IDW comics might still enjoy the other three, but Katana feels like he's got too many issues that should have been refined and fixed in the design stage.

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I can't seem to commit to one set of Stunticons.  In fact, while I think I was a little hard on him in my review, I actually wound up liking DX9's version of Breakdown a lot, so I decided to pick up Henry, the DX9 take on Wildrider.

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So as we would expect by now, Henry's taller than an MP carbot or the X-Transbots version of Wildrider.  And on his own I think he looks just fine.  He cleans up better than the XTB version, with more solid calves and no backpack.  However, when he's with the XTB version I right away notice two things.  One, the finish on the XTB one is a lot nicer.  A lot of the gray on Henry seems to be painted, too, but the red is kind of flat, and even the gray doesn't have the same sheen that the XTB version does.  The other thing is the difference is their torsos.  This seems to be a difference in how each company interpreted the animation model.

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See, one way of looking at it is that the front of his torso is white to the belt, and he's got a gray pelvis with lots of linework.  That's the route that XTB went with.  The other interpretation is that he's drawn with one long torso with no actual pelvis.  DX9 seemed to go that way, which led to them in turn shortening the white part and the black spot in the middle to make room for a newly-invented pelvis.  Meanwhile, the linework that wound up on XTB's hips ended up on Henry's abs.  Now, I'm not saying that one way is objectively right, but my personal feeling is that XTB made the better choice, as Henry winds up with too much gray in the middle.

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Henry naturally comes with a very cartoon-accurate rifle.  Maybe a little too toon-accurate, as the sculpt is pretty bland.   And since Megatron didn't stick anything into the Ferrari in the cartoon DX9 put something else in the box.  That something being, apparently, a Legends-class Orion Pax with no legs.  It looks to be a slight remold of their Legends-class Kup (which I don't own).  I guess he's supposed to be like a build-a-figure, and his legs and maybe some accessories will come with the other DX9 Stunticons.  Either way, I'm not dwelling on him right now.

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Moving right along, Henry's head is on a ball joint that can look up a fair bit, plenty sideways, but not too much down because his chin is too big.  Due to transformation his ears have a slight up/down waggle.  His shoulders can move 90 degrees laterally, and a transformation joint will allow you to push it until his tires start to hit his head.  They rotate, too, with the rotation being between the actual lateral shoulder hinge and the transformation joint.  His elbows are double-jointed and curl basically 180 degrees.  His wrists rotate, and interestingly enough they're hinged so they can move in and out, too, although the actual purpose of that hinge seems to be so he can bend his thumb away from his palm.  His fingers are likewise pinned at the base for opening and closing, with the index finger being a separate piece.  His waist can swivel, and he does have an ab crunch.  His hip skirts move out of the way to allow his hips to go 90 degrees forward, backward or laterally.  His thighs swivel just below the hip joints, and his knees can bend 90 degrees.  His feet are actually on ball joints.  That means they can tilt up a little, down a lot, swivel, and pivot.  His ankle pivot isn't the deepest, but the front of his foot is on a swivel for transformation, so you can fake more pivot if you need it.

Unlike their Breakdown, Henry's gun does have a tab on one side of the handle that locks it securely into his palm... but only the right one.  Why they didn't put a tab on the left is beyond me, but I tend to pose figures with their guns in their right hands (unless they're also holding a melee weapon), so I'm fine with it like this and appreciate the improvement.  Unfortunately, what's not improved are the joint tolerances.  While the ball joint for his neck is actually toleranced well, the stem is riveted into the torso and is wobbly at the rivet.  His ab crunch is a little loose, but the worst are hips hips.  I actually couldn't even get him to hold this pose out of the box because he kept doing the splits.  Fortunately tightening some screws on the backs of his hips seems to have helped, but not as much as I'd have preferred.

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Henry is, like their Breakdown, a little out-of-scale with the other cars in alt mode, but to be honest after playing with GT's Protectobots I'm not really as bothered by this as I was initially.  They seem to be bigger in service to their combined mode, which I think matters more.  Alt mode scale never really worked for G1 anyway.  I must say that I do find the similarities in engineering rather curious.  Both have their arms folded up into their front ends; Henry uses the whole front end, though, while the hood winds up laying on the back of XTB's.  XTB folds up the doors into his back, DX9 folds the windows in but actually uses the doors to make his flanks.  Both have the roof laying over the doors/windows.  Both wind up with the feet sticking into the cabin.  The biggest difference is that, due to an accordion hinge in the middle and less tabs to hook in, Henry is way easier and more fun to transform.

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Henry turns into a pretty accurate Ferrari 308, as he should.  DX9 got a lot of detail, like the front grill, the tail, and the vents on the hood and behind the rear window right.  I do wish that they'd gone the extra mile and painted the marker lights, put spots for a Ferrari badge, and actually included a rear window the way XTB did, though.  The rims are also solidly-case in unpainted diecast, while the actual rims would have had cutouts between the points of the star.  The tires are rubber, though, and he rolls nice.

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As was the case with their Breakdown, you can flip the headlights up (although you have to push them into place with a little more force than I care to), and the doors open to reveal... robot feet.  The handle of Henry's rifle folds up, exposing a long tab that fits into slots on his rear.

This is a tough call, really.  I think XTB's looks nicer and scales better in alt mode, but Henry is much more fun to mess with and I'm starting to like the taller robot modes DX9 and Fans Toys are going with.  It might seem like a cop out, but as a standalone Wildrider I'd recommend Henry, but not necessarily more or less than I do XTB's.  There just isn't a clear winner.  If you're up for it get both, and you might find something to enjoy in both figures.  Or, based on what you know from this review or other sources, get whichever you think you might prefer.  Or wait for Fans Toys, or wait to see the combined mode...

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33 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

See, one way of looking at it is that the front of his torso is white to the belt, and he's got a gray pelvis with lots of linework.  That's the route that XTB went with.  The other interpretation is that he's drawn with one long torso with no actual pelvis.  DX9 seemed to go that way, which led to them in turn shortening the white part and the black spot in the middle to make room for a newly-invented pelvis.  Meanwhile, the linework that wound up on XTB's hips ended up on Henry's abs.  Now, I'm not saying that one way is objectively right, but my personal feeling is that XTB made the better choice, as Henry winds up with too much gray in the middle.

I'm gonna say one way is objectively right, and it is to mostly ignore the animation model because it is freaking hideous. I can't really push my toy supremacy angle here, because that isn't a lot better, but... that animation model should only be used as inspiration, not the goal.

 

Tangentally, the animation model was clearly based on a Wildrider toy with no stickers. Most obvious with the visible screws in his toes. But hey. At least it was based on the toy it was supposed to represent, unlike SOME characters. *cough*Ratchet and Ironhide*cough*

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7 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

This is a tough call, really.  I think XTB's looks nicer and scales better in alt mode, but Henry is much more fun to mess with and I'm starting to like the taller robot modes DX9 and Fans Toys are going with.  It might seem like a cop out, but as a standalone Wildrider I'd recommend Henry, but not necessarily more or less than I do XTB's.  There just isn't a clear winner.  If you're up for it get both, and you might find something to enjoy in both figures.  Or, based on what you know from this review or other sources, get whichever you think you might prefer.  Or wait for Fans Toys, or wait to see the combined mode...

Of the two in this comparison, I'm thinking that I prefer the scale of XTB's version. It's also nice to see that they're releasing Toy and G2 versions for those fans who want something more to set apart the Stunticons in their own collections. I'm actually tempted to go G2 for this set, since I have G2 Beachcomber and Seaspray from XTB already, but those Toy versions are so very tempting. The printing looks spot on to the old G1 stickers. Cool stuff. I need to give it some more thought, I guess.

 

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1 hour ago, technoblue said:

Of the two in this comparison, I'm thinking that I prefer the scale of XTB's version. It's also nice to see that they're releasing Toy and G2 versions for those fans who want something more to set apart the Stunticons in their own collections. I'm actually tempted to go G2 for this set, since I have G2 Beachcomber and Seaspray from XTB already, but those Toy versions are so very tempting. The printing looks spot on to the old G1 stickers. Cool stuff. I need to give it some more thought, I guess.

 

Honestly, if I knew XTB was going to do toy versions (and that they'd turn out this good) I'd have gone with them instead of the regular ones. As it is, I'm planning to wait and get the toy version of their Motormaster/Menasor frame, but I can't justify selling the for XTB cars I already have and replacing them with the toy versions.

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15 hours ago, JB0 said:

Tangentally, the animation model was clearly based on a Wildrider toy with no stickers. Most obvious with the visible screws in his toes. But hey. At least it was based on the toy it was supposed to represent, unlike SOME characters. *cough*Ratchet and Ironhide*cough*

Honestly, though, would you really have wanted Ratchet/Ironhide to mirror the toy? Not me. (Cringes) I'm thinking the animators thought the same, hence the change. It remains a  fortuitous concession. 

Perusing some of these reviews, it's remarkable how different companies produce such diverse interpretations of the same characters.  A little something for everybody.  It's a shame, however, that they're in different scales- if they all scaled the same, and one could mix and match, that'd really be nice.

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3 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

Honestly, though, would you really have wanted Ratchet/Ironhide to mirror the toy? Not me. (Cringes) I'm thinking the animators thought the same, hence the change. It remains a  fortuitous concession. 

They were definitely right to change those two. And I don't think they were bad toys, but they were bad for the sentient humanoid robot angle that Transformers took them in.

 

But some animation models drift far from the toy for no discernable reason, and honestly I'm surprised to see so many obvious toy details in this one(the screw holes in his toes are charming).

Edited by JB0
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1 hour ago, David Hingtgen said:

I like the idea of a DJD combiner, but just turning into a big Tarn, with half the team forming weapons and not the actual bot, seems like a poor execution of a good idea.  

Only two form weapons and one is because its alt mode is literally a giant sniper rifle. I think anything further would be a bit convoluted on top of risking the aesthetic and functionality portions that this really does execute well with all of the individual bots keeping their normal aesthetics and functionality in tact as well. The risk reward there just isn't there for me when it comes to trying to do too much for the sake of saying all five are a part of the body.

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2 hours ago, Valkyrie Hunter D said:

I'm not seeing the difference between "arms with fake parts" and "arms without fake parts".

The cars on the arms (or at least the tires) are bigger.

Yeah, I don't know.  I think the cab on XTB's looks the best of the three, but I'm not feeling the robot mode as much.  I also think it's kind of funny that it looks to be bigger than DX9's and have almost as much backpack as Fans Toys' even though it's just the cab.

Not sure about the price, either.  I'm sure Taobao bargain hunters will claim to find much better prices, but the big US stores are saying $130 for just Motormaster/the cab, which makes it only $30 less than DX9's (which comes with a long trailer that turns into the Menasor frame) and $50 less than Fans Toys' (which doesn't come with Menasor parts, but at least has a trailer).  I'm almost definitely still in, but I want more details on the sold-separately trailer, like a price and some pics of a toy-style Menasor frame.

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A look at the cost.

DX9 cheap: $70 x4 + $130 (Capone) = $410

(Assuming the last two bots are discounted to $70, which may not happen.)

DX9 normal: $100 x4 + $160 = $560

FansToys: $105 x3 + $180 x2 = $675

XTB: $40 + $60 + $70 + $70 + $130 + trailer = $370 + trailer

If the trailer costs $100, then XTB will cost $470 in total. Not the $300ish some are expecting on outset.

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21 hours ago, nhyone said:

If the trailer costs $100, then XTB will cost $470 in total. Not the $300ish some are expecting on outset.

But it's still the cheapest (going by retail prices at least, because as you've pointed out DX9's can be found for a bit cheaper than retail in some circles).  And still less than most other 3P combiners, even smaller ones.  Only Zeta's are really cheaper, and you kind of get what you pay for with them.  But then again, people have been complaining about how "expensive" XTB's Stunticons were getting since the second one came out and wasn't as cheap as Crackup.

Speaking of complaints, another figure I've been hearing some complaints about is MMC Ocular Max Fraudo, their MP Swindle.  Are the complaints justified?  Technically that's a subjective thing, but read on for my two cents.

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I mean, that looks like Swindle to me.  It's certainly a huge improvement over the Zeta version, but unlike Vortex MMC doesn't necessarily have the clear winner here.  There's definitely some things I prefer about UT's Swindle, like the thicker arms, the taper at the waist, the all-around thinner torso, and absence of super obvious seams.  On the other hand, I like the bigger feet on Fraudo, the painted eyes, and the yellower colors.  Fraudo has the chest window right side up.  You can't see from pictures, but the plastic feels better on Fraudo, too.  Fraudo is debatably more cartoon-accurate; I already mentioned the yellower color, but he's got yellow biceps, no stripes on his forearms, and no colored details on his shins and feet.  Plus he's got small fake wheels in his shoulders.

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Fraudo comes with all of these bits.  There's a second head with a smiling face, and a missile that the Sunbow model drew as his hand-held gun.  There's two bits that combine to form his arm cannon, the tire that goes on the back, and a part that's for mounting the gun and missile to the jeep mode.

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Fraudo's head is on a ball joint with decent up/down/sideways tilt.  His shoulders rotate and can extend 90 degrees.  Due to transformation he's got a bit of backwards butterfly as well.  His biceps swivel, and his elbow bends 90 degrees.  There's a transformation joint you can use in his upper bicep that you can use to mimic a much greater elbow bend.  His wrists are actually ball joints, so in addition to rotation he's got a little wiggle.  His thumbs are on ball joints to move them over his palms, and each finger is an individual piece pinned at the base but still molded in a curl.  His waist swivels.  Unlike UT's, Fraudo's hip skirts are hinged so they don't move as one piece, and they allow Fraudo's hips to go 90 degrees forward, backward, or laterally.  His thighs can swivel, and his knees bend 90 degrees.  His feet bend up a little, nothing really down, and they can pivot about 45 degrees.

A small peg allows Fraudo's arm cannon to attach to the center of the fake wheel on his right shoulder.  Sadly, there's no way to mount the cannon on the front of his arm.  The missile has a fold-out handle with MP-style tabs that fit into slots on his palms.  However, on my copy the connection is very loose and it's held in place more by the tension of his fingers.

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The cannon also has two tabs on it that fit into notches near his collar, if you prefer Swindle's arm cannon to be more of a shoulder weapon.  The tire tabs onto his back.  Then there's the last piece, the mount for his weapons in vehicle mode.  Like the arm gun, it has a small peg on it and you can plug it into the fake wheel on his shoulder.  Alternatively, there are 5mm peg holes on it for the weapons, but those peg holes can fit onto tabs on the back of either leg.  So, it technically has robot mode storage, but for a combiner where "all built in" is a selling point the robot mode storage feels like an afterthought.

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Fraudo does, of course, turn into a jeep, which already makes it a big improvement over Zeta's.  The jeep has visible seats and a steering wheel, plus rubber tires.  The transformation is pretty interesting, too.  When you do it the first time it seems a little unintuitive, and the poor instructions that seem to omit some steps don't help.  Once you do it the first time, though, you'll see that it's actually deceptively simple, making him kind of a fun figure to mess around with.

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The weapon mount locks tightly into place, and the weapons on it look more cartoony than UT's.  If I'm being honest, though, UT's jeep mode is a lot cleaner than Fraudo's, plus Fraudo has some ground clearance issues when you're rolling him.  And it might be kind of a small potatoes though, but during transformation you have to unplug the tire from Fraduo's back, transform him into a jeep, then plug it back onto the rear of the jeep, while the tire on UT's moves from the back of the robot to the back of the jeep without being removed.

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Since I did it with Vortex, I'll give you a quick peek at the leg mode on Fraudo.  One of the things about the Sunbow cartoon was how Bruticus' leg was basically some yellow boxes with purple stripes with some wheels and a foot poking out.  Instead of simply taking the alt mode and standing it up on one end on top of a foot Fraudo actually transforms into something like a stack of yellow boxes with purple stripes with some wheels and a foot poking out.  Fans of the cartoon will note that it's a yellow foot, too, like the cartoon, and not the silvery color used by UT, Zeta, or the G1 toy.  I personally would have liked for the upper purple stripe to have been more of a purple boxe that covered the area directly above the stripe, all the way to the top, but I'm still pretty impressed.  However, anyone who thinks that Toyworld/Zeta set the bar for MP combiner height (a bar all three of the competing MP Menasors and FT's Superion will likely hit) won't be happy to see that Fraudo makes the shortest of the the three legs.

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If you spin the leg around there's a bit of a cavity on the back.  This space can be used to store all of Fraudo's accessories while he's in combined mode, which is something I definitely dig.

Despite the push for cartoon accuracy, I've heard some people suggest that Fraudo isn't really MP because his shins and torso aren't perfectly smooth.  I don't really know what to say to that, except to say that the seams are all for moving parts and necessary for the transformation.  A) I didn't realize a lack of visible seams are a requirement to be MP now, and B) it's funny how I don't hear those same people complaining about the visible seams, joints, and exposed diecast on a figure like Fans Toys Maverick.  Speaking of Fans Toys the other big complaint about how Fraudo isn't MP enough is that he doesn't have enough paint and/or diecast.  I'm not going to lie to you and pretend like a nice finish on a figure can't give it that extra pop, but I don't think it's an absolute necessity either.  Fraudo is yellow where he needs to be, purple where he needs to be, and gunmetal where he needs to be.  As for the diecast, Fraudo is heavier than an MP car already.  I don't see how adding extra weight just for "heft" is beneficial to a combiner.

He's not perfect, though.  He's built like a refrigerator and his jeep mode isn't as clean as I'd like.  For every one thing I think Fraudo does better than Unique Toys I think there's another thing Unique Toys did better than Fraudo.  I know that there are a lot of people out there who bought Zeta's Bruticus and are totally fine with it for the combined mode and just wanted other Combaticons for their individual modes.  With Vortex MMC had a clear winner, but when it comes to Swindle it's a lot closer.  Push come to shove I think I might prefer Fraudo a little more, but I could definitely make a case for UT on this one.

Regardless of the competition, Fraudo remains a very good figure, especially if you're a fan of Alex Kubalsky's designs.  Some criticism is definitely fair, but I think a lot of talk about seams and paint and not really being MP is overblown.  Unless you've already got a Unique Toys Swindle that you're happy with Fraudo is a recommend from me.

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21 minutes ago, tekering said:

The subject of your review is usually the figure in the center, so I was a little confused about which figure you were talking about here...

Oh yeah.  I guess any but Zeta's.  :p

Funny thing about that, I took the pictures and edited them on Friday, but it was super late when I was done so I couldn't write anything that night.  I remember having a reason why I wanted Fraudo on the right, even though I usually put the subject in the middle.  But the Saturday before Thanksgiving (in the US), which was this past Saturday, is a day where myself and a few of my closest friends get together to have a meal, be thankful for our friendship, and maybe play some games or sing some karaoke.  This personal holiday of ours usually involves a lot of drinking.  Fast forward to me writing this review on Sunday and I can't remember at all why I wanted Fraudo on the left instead of the middle.  Maybe something to do with the extra vehicle comparison shots that didn't include Zeta's?

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Nearly a year ago, I reviewed New Age Flipper, a tiny Legends-scale Bumblebee.  Well Kubianbao (aka KBB), the same people that gave us a Voyager-sized MP-10, went and upscaled it as "Hornets Agent".  I'm not going to do another review, since pretty much everything I said about Flipper still applies (minor articulation issues, excellent sculpt).  I do want to highlight some things, though.

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At first blush, Hornets Agent (right) looks almost identical to Flipper (left), just maybe 40% larger.  There are some changes, though.  For one, the plastic is different.  The yellow is a slightly different shade, but I'm not sure if that was a deliberate choice or a result of using a different, harder plastic.  There's a black cover over the screwhole on Hornets Agent's butt.  And the head is different.  It's hard to put my finger on exactly how, as they have similar shapes, but the face is a little more like MP-21's with a smaller mouth and less-flat face.

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Hornets Agent also seems to have a new sculpt for his gun.  It's not as nice as the Takara one (mine's from the G2 version of MP-21), but it's closer to Takara's than Flipper's was.

Unfortunately one thing KBB copied from New Age was the weird angled hands, so Hornets Agent still can't shoot straight.

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Taking a quick look at the car mode we can see two more differences, and I'd argue that they're really "fixes."  for one, the joint that folds the arms to the inside for car mode is yellow on Hornets Agent instead of Flipper's black.  The other big difference is that Hornets Agent's tires actually roll (although they're just plastic).  When I reviewed Flipper I said he earned a pass due to his size.  Those things would be harder to overlook on a bigger toy, so I'm glad KBB fixed them.

Hornets Agent retains Flipper's weapon storage- slide the handle of the gun into a notch between the tires.

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Figuring out why you might want Flipper was a no-brainer... it's the only Bumblebee that scales with a 3P Legends collection.  Plus it's so tiny and cute, even if you aren't working on a Legends collection it's cheap enough to check out as a novelty.   The real question is, why would someone want a bigger version?  Bigger means it no longer scales with 3P Legends, and it loses a lot of the novelty that came with being so insanely tiny.

The simple answer comes down to Flipper's other big strength: the sculpt.  He's a little short and lacks the finish to be a real replacement for MP-21 or MP-45, but he's pretty close in size to the Has/Tak Legends-class Bumblebee from Titans Returns.  While that wasn't a bad figure, there's no question that Hornets Agent is a bit more G1-accurate.

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The cartoonish aesthetic isn't a total fit with the other Hasbro Legends.  However, it is again a much more accurate Bumblebee (I actually prefer it to MP-21's alt mode), and it's no more out of place than the Mechanic Studio Huffer and Gears I looked at about a month ago.  (I wound up picking up the Mechanic Studio Pipes, too.)

Flipper was a good figure.  Hornets Agent is a good figure that fixed a few of Flipper's issues in the process of getting bigger.  If that weren't enough, consider the price.  I got my copy on Ebay for $14.  A quick search for Titans Return Bumblebee has him around $17 at the retailers still carrying it, and anywhere from $10-$20 (used and new) from reputable ebay sellers.  In other words, Hornets Agent isn't just an aesthetic alternative to Titans Returns Bumblebee for a Generations/Siege collection, it's priced comparably.  Unless you really prefer the aesthetic of the Titans Return version there's no reason not to consider Hornets Agent instead.

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Hi guys its been a while. Been laid from my job and looking for work. I am going to contribute to my own thread with some new constructicons not sure if its been posted but these are beautiful I am getting the SS AYOI formally known as Black Mamba as the gestalt but these as individuals 

 

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Up front, I'm not at all a fan of the Bayverse Devastator design. However, I must confess to being impressed at the level of engineering being brought to bear with these figures. I still don't care for the aesthetic, but I can certainly appreciate the amount of realism attempted with the alt modes (I have, for as long as I can remember, been fascinated with construction equipment. They're just things of beauty to my eyes), the amount of articulation given to the oft unconventional bot modes, and finally to the three-way transformations from bot to vehicle to body parts without the apparent necessity of add-ons. Bay's Devastator poses a lot of challenges for a toymaker, and I tip my hat to Devil Saviour for thus far creating an interesting set of Bayverse Constructicons that, it would seem, meets all requisites.

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