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21 hours ago, sh9000 said:

8DE39C2D-1E28-49A0-9BB6-B558B339E77E.jpeg.89c542483d9b954002484e7a63a15e3c.jpeg

XTB originally said pics in July.  They just made it...

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It's a very proportional trailer.  I'm curious to see how it all turns into Menasor's frame.  Notice the flat spot on the upper left for placing a Decepticon insignia.

It's apparently just a pre-production sample, so despite having all five of their Stunticons out there's a very real possibility that DX9 will actually be the first to complete Menasor.  Hopefully XTB can at least get this trailer out before Fans Toys finishes theirs...

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Wow, what a horrible angle to have chosen to photograph.  Perhaps XTB wanted to show off the sculpted detail on the trailer doors, but it's rather painfully obvious those fake wheels have no rear axle...  :unsure:

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On 7/30/2020 at 1:37 PM, Chronocidal said:

I only picked up one of the Robot Heroes releases, the original Greenscream colors, since I really just love the pseudo-real F-15 scheme.  I don't know how subsequent releases might be, since I picked mine up pretty early, but the one I have is rock solid.

It's slightly larger than 1/48 scale actually, by maybe half an inch in length (close enough for me), and they made a bunch of improvements to the original mold that really work well.  The only minor disappointment I had with it was that they wound up cancelling their add-on pack that would have included the dual sidewinder pylons, and external fuel tanks.  Those would be pretty easy to just source from a 1/48 model kit though, so I wasn't too upset.

I had the original Transformers Masterpiece MP-03 Green Starscream that Kawamori helped design, and I loved it. I know that the MP-11 mold does not have the Kawamori hip kibble. I love the fact that the Robot Heroes Airstrikes are 1/48 scale or bigger, and the mold is improved. Watching the Bencollectibles and Bots N’ Bits reviews on YouTube, I have a deep appreciation for this toy. Thank you to all that responded.

Twich

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8 hours ago, tekering said:

Wow, what a horrible angle to have chosen to photograph.  Perhaps XTB wanted to show off the sculpted detail on the trailer doors, but it's rather painfully obvious those fake wheels have no rear axle...  :unsure:

Obviously it is all a clever scheme so Motormaster can pay taxes for a 3-axle vehicle instead of 5-axle. The fiend! What foul depths will those decepticreeps sink to next?!

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10 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

XTB originally said pics in July.  They just made it...

116590473_759292918157403_2812034538850037472_o.jpg.546b6d5a3c8a683974bbc5582bd93812.jpg

It's a very proportional trailer.  I'm curious to see how it all turns into Menasor's frame.  Notice the flat spot on the upper left for placing a Decepticon insignia.

It's apparently just a pre-production sample, so despite having all five of their Stunticons out there's a very real possibility that DX9 will actually be the first to complete Menasor.  Hopefully XTB can at least get this trailer out before Fans Toys finishes theirs...

Awesome and made it in July.

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So awhile back @Kuma Style was putting up pictures of his Perfect Effect bikes and was talking about how he liked PE's older stuff better than their newer stuff.  Around that same time I'd picked up the Generations Selects Soundwave Spy Patrol, which let me complete the duo of Siege Rumble and Frenzy.  I was happy about that, but I also wondered if there was a better option for those two as the Siege mold doesn't have a ton of articulation, has kind of weird proportions, and is totally missing the back guns (which I consider to be a signature part of their look).  And I did seem to recall Perfect Effect taking on the characters.  So I went back- ten years back- and picked up what I believe is some of Perfect Effect's very first releases... Warrior Type-F and Warrior Type-R.

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It seems Perfect Effect had been following the "X is blue, Y is red" debate and took the colors to heart.  Type-F (who is clearly Rumble) is mostly two shades of blue, with none of the cartoon's purple, and Type-R (is is definitely Frenzy) is primarily red with black accents instead of black with red accents.

I like where Perfect Effect was going with them, for the most part.  They're a little taller and definitely have better proportions than the Siege versions, but they're not so much larger that they won't fit in a Siege collection.  They've got molded and painted tape details on their chests and some of the cartoon's pelvis details on their stomachs.  Although their shins are dominated by hollow spaces necessary for transformation the shape and painted outline is at least evocative of the toy/cartoon's shin details.

Unfortunately, while the design was pretty solid, the execution is a bit rough.  The mold is a little mushy in places, especially their heads and chests, and the paint is very uneven.  Rumble's also got a very noticeable sprue mark on his neck.

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They come with a fair amount of accessories.  Happily, you do get their signature back guns, although they're blue/blue and black/red instead of silver.  They also each get a small pistol, and a pair of units that could be pile drivers or gatling guns, depending on how you look at them.  They open up, and the back guns can fit inside them).

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Their heads can swivel.  Due to transformation they can kind of look up and down, but looking up will actually lift the head away from the body and down will start stuffing the head into the torso.  Shoulders are ball joints for rotation and cut for about 90 degrees of lateral movement.  Elbows are also ball joints, providing just over 90 degrees of bend and doubling as a bicep swivel.  Their waists can swivel; they're technically on a ball joint, but there's no cut for an ab crunch.  Hips are ball joints for 90 degrees forward, backward, or laterally.  Knees are ball joints and can bend 90 degrees.  They can technically swivel at that ball joint, too, but not when their knees are bent, so I'll say that they don't really have a thigh swivel.  Due to transformation they can bend their feet up, but not really down and they don't have ankle pivots.  All-in-all not the best, but better than the Siege version.  I must say, though, tolerances are an issue on both figures.  Instead of moving smoothly on the ball joints there's a lot of odd resistance in spots and other spots where they want to settle in place.  Like if you move their hips outward a little they'll pop back into a straight position, but they're ok once you move them out to about 45 degrees.  Meanwhile Frenzy always kind of want to lean forward on his hips, while Rumble's torso is always turned slightly.

The back guns have pegs on them.  These pegs can fit into holes on their backs for that signature look, or they can fit into their hands if you prefer that look.  The pistols have two rectangular tabs.  The longer one is a handle that fits into their hands.  The shorter one fits into a groove on the outside of their legs for storage.

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The big pile driver/gatling guns have rectangular tabs on one side and a round peg on the other.  The pegs allow them to be stored on their backs, either with or without the back guns inside.  And, like the back guns, the same peg can fit into their hands.  The rectangular tab fits into the back of their forearms.  In this way they could be under slung gatling guns, or you can bend their arms out for the pile driver look.

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You'll need the pile driver/gatling guns for transformation, otherwise they just curl up into boxes.  The back guns, which again just store in the pile driver/gatling guns, are kind of optional.  In Siege fashion I suppose you could argue that they're "spaceships."  But they're definitely guns.

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If you look at the underside you'll find a short 5mm peg.  In theory, that alone will allow you to attach them to many of the 5mm ports that cover most of the Siege figures.  You might find you need a little more clearance around the forearms if you want them to be handheld guns, though, and that's where their little pistols come in.  The back is supposed to fit over the peg, allowing the barrel to serve as a longer handle.

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If you're questioning my use of phrases like "in theory" and "supposed to" it's because tolerances are, again, an issue.  While transforming them the front of their torsos kept separating from the back.  The legs would peg into the shoulders like they were supposed to, and they'd tab into each other like they're supposed to, but not at the same time.  Their arms are supposed to curl up and little tabs on their forearms are supposed to fit into notches in their legs, but their arms are slightly too long.  Trying to fit the arms in place will force the legs to untab from the shoulders.  Out of the box the little peg was too big to fit into any of Soundwave's 5mm ports or the back of the pistols.  I filed the pegs a bit and was able to get the pistols attached, but they still wouldn't fit into any of Soundwave's ports.  And even though I got the pistols to eventually fit they pegs are so shallow that it's easy for them to fall back off.

At least the pistol barrel handles fit into Soundwave's fists just fine.

I think it's safe to say I have some mixed feelings about these guys.  On one hand, I think they're pretty great on paper.  They were doing the Battle Master thing years before Hasbro was putting out Battle Masters, and weapons for Soundwave was a good idea even if there wasn't a good Soundwave to use them with at the time.  Actually, PE's instructions show them being used with Fans Project's Shadow Commander armor for Classics Nemesis Prime, and indeed the Rumble/Frenzy colors are a repaint of a black and teal version.  No, the design is fine; all my problems come down to execution.  Maybe it was partly Perfect Effect's inexperience.  Maybe it's not totally fair to compare decade-old toys, especially 3P, against more modern figures.  The fact remains that the sloppy paint and muddy sculpt are worse than even a lot of the 3D printed stuff coming out these days, and tolerances are so poor that basic features simply don't work like they should.  These things originally retailed for around $40-50 each, and had I paid anywhere near that I think I'd be angry.  I actually got them for a little under $20 each, though.  I still wouldn't recommend them, but at that price they're at least ok enough in robot mode that I don't feel ripped off.

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On 7/30/2020 at 5:34 PM, ghostryder said:

I've posted pics of mine on TFW2005.  I think they are great toys, and the leg sculpt improvements over the MP-11 mold help make them look less blocky and give a pseudo-ankle tilt. 

Not sure where to get them now, however.  I got all mine off of ShowZ in the past.  Keep in mind there is another OS seeker mold that's sightly smaller, and without the leg mold improvements (see these on ebay). These are not as nice and the Robot Heroes.

I've painted mine up with G1 toy colors.  They are still my favorite seeker mold to play with and display just because of the sheer size:

 

 

 

 

 

 

had no idwea the robot hero ones were improved.  the seeker mold is large enough in jet mode for me though! haha.  good job on the paint.  so nice.  was the thundercracker already toy colored or you went from light blue to that? 

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41 minutes ago, Mechapilot77 said:

had no idwea the robot hero ones were improved.  the seeker mold is large enough in jet mode for me though! haha.  good job on the paint.  so nice.  was the thundercracker already toy colored or you went from light blue to that? 

It was originally toy blue, but in the MP-07 deco. Skywarp was orignally MP-06 colors, and Starscream was Walmart MP-03 weathered colors with black tabs.

Here are more jet mode shot (still need to remove USAF tampos):GEQcYA.jpgjPygIX.jpg

Edited by ghostryder
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So, I was shocked to find this, and really glad I didn't miss it.

https://www.tf-direct.com/free-shipping-robot-hero-cg-02p-upgrade-set-for-oversized-starscream-p1641.html

Apparently they finally came through, and issued the missile/tank pack for the oversized Starscream/Greenscream.  They were originally going to be for the full set of Seekers, but were cancelled due to lack of interest back then.

I never did get more than that one oversized Seeker, but that was plenty for me to have fun finding space for. :lol: 

I do like that the original MP Seeker is about 1/60 though, it goes nicely with all my Macross stuff.

Edited by Chronocidal
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On ‎8‎/‎5‎/‎2020 at 11:56 AM, ghostryder said:

It was originally toy blue, but in the MP-07 deco. Skywarp was orignally MP-06 colors, and Starscream was Walmart MP-03 weathered colors with black tabs.

Here are more jet mode shot (still need to remove USAF tampos):

Are those custom stickers for TC's tailfins?  (Mine has been boxed up so long I forget what exactly it came with).  

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Awhile back I was picking up Unique Toys' Combaticons.  They started off strong, with nice cartoon versions of Swindle and Brawl at a time when your other choices were Warbotron or Zeta's "let's make Swindle a Hummer!"  But Onslaught was decidedly less cartoony, and their Blast Off and Vortex wound up feeling rushed, with a design that was cartoonish but stylized and numerous QC and quality issues.  While many collectors settled on Zeta's Bruticus for their combined mode, I think one of the big draws for MMC's recent Ocular Max Combaticons was the chance to have individual characters that were more cartoon-accurate than either UT or Zeta's, especially for Blast Off and Vortex.  MMC came out swinging with a Vortex that I really liked last year, a Swindle I liked but faced stiffer competition from UT on, and an Onslaught that was good but perhaps more compromised due to MMC's all-in-one gimmick than the other two.  Now MMC's finally given us Volatus, their Blast Off.

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Right up front, there's a few negatives I want to get out of the way.  He's a little on the skinny side, especially in the arms.  He's got a little kibble around his elbow that isn't the prettiest, plus it makes his forearms look like they're offset or missing a chunk (even though the inner edge is actually in-line with his biceps).  I kind of wish the kibble were on a riveted swivel, so you could move it away from his bicep and fill in the forearm, but it is what it is.  If I'm being picky I might also say that his bib is a little rounded and dominates a torso that's a little longish.

With that out of the way, though, MMC definitely made the most cartoon-accurate Blast Off.  His torso is mostly black, unlike the toy-inspired Zeta one and the oddly gray UT version, with molded horizontal lines and a brown stripe through his crotch.  He's got the booster toes, and fake gray landing gear on his shins.

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He's much cleaner from the back and sides.  No backpack.  No weird shoulder pads.  No excessive kibble on the sides of his legs or the backs of his arms.  What you will find is a small faux tail fin on his back between his shoulders.  MMC could have left it out; it has no impact on any other mode and omitting it would have simplified a panel on his back and lowered the overall parts count, and I really doubt anyone would have complained that it wasn't there.  However, it's a detail Blast Off had in the cartoon, and Volatus' designers found a way to incorporate it.  I appreciate that level of attention to detail.

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As for accessories, he comes with a pistol, and mine cane with a second head.  It's unclear if everyone is going to get the second head, or if it's just for the first run of the figure.  The idea here is that Blast Off's line art meant for him to have two eyes, but for some reason the animators took them to be cheeks or something, colored them the same gray as his mouth plate, then colored part of his forehead purple like some kind of visor.  Volatus' default head is how Blast Off's head was intended to look (and you can see that's how it's colored on both the Combiner Wars and Generations Selects Blast Off figures, as well as Unique Toys and Warbotron versions (and, to a lesser extent, Iron Factory and Zeta's).  However, many people consider the animation error to be canonical now (it's how Takara decoed the Unite Warrors version of Blast Off), so it's nice that MMC included that head for the people who prefer it.  I'm sticking with the default, though.

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Volatus' head seems to be on a ball joint, with some up/down/sideways tilt in addition to rotation.  His shoulders rotate and extend laterally 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel, but be aware that they're kind of tight.  If you hold the bicep you'll be ok, but if you try twisting his arm at the forearm you're more likely to engage a transformation swivel in said forearm.  His elbows are weirdly double-jointed, so he can curl them forward maybe 140-ish degrees but they can also bend the wrong way a little over 90 degrees.  His wrists can swivel.  His fingers are molded into a curl, but they are individual parts pinned at the base, while his thumb has a ball joint at the base instead.  His waist swivels, and he's got about 60 degrees of ab crunch.  Due to the design of his hip skirts you can easily get his hips to ratchet 90 degrees forward, but you'll have to play around with them to get the clearance to move them backward, and at most he'll be under 90 degrees.  Lateral movement is just friction, but he can do better than 90 degrees.  His knees have a friction hinge that lets them move 90 degrees, but there's also a ratchet that bends them 90 degrees forward.  Presumably the ratchet is the arm mode's elbow.  His thighs swivel.  All that is so far, so good, right?  But here's the disappointing part... the purple booster feet can tilt down, but not up, and he's got no ankle pivots at all.  There is a joint for transformation that bends his entire leg inward a little below the knee, and you can kind of use it to cheat a little.  I've also heard it suggested that because the boosters are sort of rounded he doesn't really need an ankle pivot, and there may be some merit to that.  But the simple fact is that he doesn't have an ankle pivot, and he absolutely could have had one if he wasn't hiding half a combiner fist in each leg.  Now many people enjoy the all-in-one nature of MMC's combiner, and it is indeed impressively engineered, but when detractors and pantsforming advocates say that the all-in-one nature forces compromises on the individual figures they're not wrong, and this is a clear example.

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I wondered if the all-in-one thing would also force many compromises on the alt mode, but the shuttle mode is actually quite good.  The transformation is surprisingly simple, and the result has more realistic details than UT.  And while it has less than Zeta's the proportions are better with slimmer/longer fuselage.  The colors are also the most cartoon-accurate.  The only fault I could find was that the animation model didn't have any of the lighter brown on the nose.  Sunbow purists will also note that cartoon Blast Off's windshield was one solid purple band, but I like that MMC broke it into six windows like an actual shuttle.

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The bottom is even very clean, with no obvious robot kibble besides the fake landing gear.  There are a few more breaks than Zeta's, though, that give away the fact that this is still a transforming toy.  My one real complaint with the shuttle mode is that it's missing the third main engine bell.  Instead, the orbital maneuvering engines have been enlarged.  I have to stress, though, that while I don't like it because it's not real-world accurate it is, in fact, cartoon accurate.  There's a scene in one episode where he chases Slingshot through a canyon and into a cave, and you can clearly see four lit engines on him.

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In shuttle mode Volatus does have landing gear.  The front landing gear is under the cockpit, and the rear landing gear are on panels that fold out, just a bit further forward than the fake landing gear.  It kind of makes me wonder why MMC went with fake landing gear at all.  Had they just made them functional they'd be no less cartoon-accurate in robot mode, and they're in a position to function in shuttle mode.  However, the flaps are actually more real-world accurate, as is the fact that the nose sits a little lower than the rear.

Overall it's a curious mix of real-world and cartoon details, but I forgive that design decision because MMC more than made up with it for the alt mode weapon storage.  Instead of plugging his gun into the spine or under a wing you fold the barrel up and fold the handle in, revealing a little peg.  Now, if you open the two panels that on the back of the shuttle (that were the backs of his calves in robot mode) you'll see a little peg hole you can plug the gun into.  Then you can close everything up.  You're not losing the gun, and the shuttle mode is still a disguise.

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I normally wait to show off combined mode, but as with their Vortex I think a quick look is warranted due to the all-in-one nature of the transformation.  It works for me!  The bicep swivel is functional, and he'll have 90 degrees of elbow bend.  Plus, although the instructions tell you to remove it when you transform the shuttle into an arm, you actually can still store his pistol in the same spot.

Volatus isn't a perfect figure.  I really appreciate the engineering that MMC is putting into this all-in-one thing but it's definitely causing some compromises for robot mode, and that leaves the door open for someone like Fans Toys, X-Transbots, or DX9 to swoop in and deliver a definitive Masterpiece Blast Off.  However, Volatus is the best Blast Off figure available today from any company at any scale, and one thing the all-in-one gimmick isn't compromising is MMC's ability to make a figure that's well-built, well-toleranced, and fun to transform and mess with.  For now Zeta's is going back into arm mode and their Bruticus is still my Bruticus, but UT's is going into storage and Volatus is taking his place as my MP Blast Off.  This is a definite recommend from me.

Edited by mikeszekely
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4 hours ago, David Hingtgen said:

Are those custom stickers for TC's tailfins?  (Mine has been boxed up so long I forget what exactly it came with).  

Yes, I cut the wing and tailfin stripes out of vinyl adhesive sheeting to look more G1 toy, and of course painted the tailfins black.

Edited by ghostryder
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Volatus is great, I received mine yesterday and he is a joy to transform. Something you rarely find in most 3rd party offerings and even the most recent official MP figures.

Some criticism. While he has the same joint on his mid lower leg that their Vortex has  to fake an ankle tilt , Volatus has some clips there to hold it together. That makes the joint pretty useless since you can’t do subtle poses since the clip keeps the joint a few mm open. And the joint only looks good for subtle poses.

I‘m not sure about the choice of locks that keep the front and back portions of the shuttle together. Their design seems to be prone to breakage and I think tabs would have been a better alternative.

I also don’t like the swirly gray plastic they used for the  combiner hand. Looks cheap and I would have preferred a flat gray if they can’t paint it silver due to transformation.
 

Great set so far with Onslaught being the weakest one in design, aesthetic and build quality. 

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Few more observations about Volatus.

@mikeszekely if you are bothered by the fake landing gear in shuttle mode you can flip them to the inside of the pieces they are attached to.

Also I think the head sculpt is somewhat off. There is something missing around the neck, and the top of the head looks too long. It seems line art accurate but it looks weird to me.

Also am I the only one that finds it odd that the cockpit is on the inside of the shoulder spire? It just looks so unnatural. Gunbuster looks much better. :p

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On 8/7/2020 at 5:01 AM, Scyla said:

Volatus is great, I received mine yesterday and he is a joy to transform. Something you rarely find in most 3rd party offerings and even the most recent official MP figures.

I think this has sort of become MMC's goal.  Even their more complicated figures are still far more intuitive and fun than the stuff Fans Toys or XTB has been putting out.  I think the figures DX9 has been making lately have also been pretty fun, but MMC's materials are usually better.

On 8/7/2020 at 5:01 AM, Scyla said:

While he has the same joint on his mid lower leg that their Vortex has  to fake an ankle tilt , Volatus has some clips there to hold it together. That makes the joint pretty useless since you can’t do subtle poses since the clip keeps the joint a few mm open. And the joint only looks good for subtle poses.

It's also worth noting that the split on Vortex is lower on the leg, too, so it looks a bit more natural.

On 8/7/2020 at 5:01 AM, Scyla said:

I‘m not sure about the choice of locks that keep the front and back portions of the shuttle together. Their design seems to be prone to breakage and I think tabs would have been a better alternative.

You mean those jigsaw things?  I haven't made up my mind about them.  They seem like they could hold more strongly against forces in one direction while being easier to disengage when the force comes from a different direction.  I think that has the potential to actually make them sturdier, but I'm no expert.

On 8/7/2020 at 5:01 AM, Scyla said:

I also don’t like the swirly gray plastic they used for the  combiner hand. Looks cheap and I would have preferred a flat gray if they can’t paint it silver due to transformation.

Fair enough.  I can't really say it bothers me that much, but I do think it would have looked better painted.

3 hours ago, Scyla said:

@mikeszekely if you are bothered by the fake landing gear in shuttle mode you can flip them to the inside of the pieces they are attached to.

It doesn't bother me.  I just think putting fake landing gear extremely close to the real ones and in a spot where they'd have worked if they were functional was an odd design choice.

3 hours ago, Scyla said:

Also I think the head sculpt is somewhat off. There is something missing around the neck, and the top of the head looks too long. It seems line art accurate but it looks weird to me.

I dunno, I think I agree that the top of his head looks a little long on the default head, but I think the animation error head is 100% spot-on.  I just prefer the regular head.

But whichever head you use, they're both much more cartoon-accurate than pretty much any other Blast Off released so far, official or otherwise.

3 hours ago, Scyla said:

Also am I the only one that finds it odd that the cockpit is on the inside of the shoulder spire?

At first I was confused, because Blast Off's cockpit is in his chest not his shoulders, but then I figured you mean when Blast Off's in arm mode the cockpit is above the shoulder connection, pointing in toward Bruticus' head.  In that case, yeah, I guess it seems a little backward but that's how the G1 toy, cartoon, and Studio OX versions all did it.  That technically means MMC, Zeta, and Iron Factory all did it "correct" and Combiner Wars/Unite Warriors, Warbotron, and Unique Toys are the outliers.

On 8/7/2020 at 5:01 AM, Scyla said:

Great set so far with Onslaught being the weakest one in design, aesthetic and build quality. 

I think Onslaught's build quality is fine and his transformation is just as easy and fun, but he definitely suffers the most in design and proportions from carrying the all-in-one gimmick.  I've come to realize that while I do think the pantsforming of the Zeta combiners is a bit extreme (I can actually forgive the Menasors because the parts have a purpose as a trailer), and I do think MMC's engineering is impressive, I actually don't mind partsforming hands, feet, and chest plates.  But yeah, for the most part I'm quite satisfied with this set specifically and with the last several MMC/OX figures I've bought in general.  I'm looking forward to completing the set, which should be sooner than you might expect.  An MMC rep said the design for Brawl's been finalized since February or so and he's just been waiting for his turn at the factory.  He's going into production soon and could be released from the factory by the end of the month.

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Bit of a throwback post, I was messing with my oversized Greenscream, and realized it's very easy to fix the colliding inner wing flaps.

I just filed away half the thickness of the leading edge of the flap on the underside, and blended it toward the trailing edge.

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They don't lay perfectly flat when folded, but it's not like anyone's looking at the backside of the wings anyhow, and it doesn't show at all in jet mode.

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I try to get free shipping whenever possible, especially when I'm buying from US-based stores that are already charging more than China to make up for their own shipping costs.  So, I didn't ship Volatus alone; I also picked up Athena, Fans Hobby's take on Minerva.

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So, some quick background.  In the West in 1988 we got Nightbeat, Siren, and Hosehead, and Nightbeat in particular became something of a fan favorite due to his role as a kind of detective in the old Marvel G1 comics (and later reprising that role in IDW).  Now, Nightbeat's toy had a rather prominent hinge on the roof, and I guess someone at Takara had the idea of painting the hinge to look like a light bar.  So instead of getting Nightbeat as he was released in the West, the Japanese market got the same toy with a red and white rescue deco.  Then, like Siren and Hosehead (called Goshooter and Cab in Japan) this redecoed figure would feature prominently in the Super God Masterforce anime, drawn with a more feminine figure and named Minerva after the school girl who formed the head.

Now, with all that in mind, Fans Hobby definitely did a good job giving Athena a feminine figure (indeed, Fans Hobby has indicated that they are going to release this mold as Nightbeat, and I wondering how much remolding they're going to do to give him his chunkier, '80s Transformer proportions).  She's sporting the narrow waist, bikini pelvis, slender arms, and curved thighs of the animation model, with chest armor that's slightly more suggestive of breasts than even the anime.  However, as Fans Hobby's designs are often a bit stylized, there are some serious differences between Athena and Minerva's animation model.  Athena has some of the rear of the car on articulated struts attached to he back of her shoulders; Minerva had the sides of the car attached to and sticking up from the sides of her shoulders, and they didn't have wheels the way Athena's do.  Athena has the front of the car for her lower legs while Minerva used the back, resulting in some significant differences in the details on the front of her shins.  The sides on the front were the forearms on the toy, and although she was drawn with slim, feminine arms in the anime Minerva had headlights drawn near her wrists and tiny wheels on the sides of her arms.  Athena has none of that, sporting new red cuffs instead.  Finally, Athena has white antenna instead of black, and the tops of her antenna are set in from the sides due to the helmet containing the points and her arms making up the sides, while on the G1 toy the headmaster fit into the helmet and then small guns pegged into the sides to make her antenna.  Despite the differences, she still basically has a mostly white and red head with an orange face, white torso with red chest armor, a silver vent, and a darker midriff, red shoulders, thighs, and feet, dark forearms and hands, white shins and shoulder kibble, and a white pelvis with blue details.  Ultimately, she's very recognizable as Minerva.

For a size comparison here she is with XTB's Dead End, so he's about the height of an MP carbot.  I believe that's correct for the anime.

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I'm not a fan of her back kibble.  To be fair, the G1 toy had a bit of it, and it was drawn as a flap sticking out behind her head in the anime.  If you're finding that it gets in your way, though, it pops right off.  In fact, removing it is a necessary step in transforming her.

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To mimic one of the feature of the G1 toy you can open the red armor on her chest to find a panel with her tech specs inside.  The panel is spring-loaded, and it's the opening of the panel that pushes the indicators up, not plugging the head in.

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Since we're talking about her head, I guess we should talk accessories.  He goes with a pair of guns, and the guns can fold up.  She comes with her headmaster partner, her helmet top, and an alternate face with a more neutral expression.  Possibly just for G1-ish fun, possibly to avoid issues with the Red Cross, either way she comes with a sticker sheet.  I might apply them later, but note that all the pictures for this review are unstickered.

A note about the headmaster- you may recall that Fans Hobby's previous release, their version of Godbomber, came with three Headmaster Juniors.  The helmet and headmaster that comes with Athena are nearly identical to one of the ones that came with Godbomber.  The only real difference is that the one that comes with Athena has the smiling face, and the one that came with Godbomber has the other more neutral face.  So, if you have Godbomber you don't have to switch faces, you can just use the other copy.

If you need a referesher, the headmasters head is on a tiny ball joint with minimal tilt in any direction but it can swivel.  Her are on ball joints that rotate and give her maybe 45 degrees of lateral motion.  Her elbows can bend 90 degrees.  She's got an ab crunch, and ball jointed hips that can move forward and backward 90 degrees but maybe only 30 degrees laterally (if I'm being generous).  Her knees can bend basically 180 degrees on a single hinge.  No bicep, wrist, waist, or thigh swivels, and no ankle or foot articulation.

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Athena's head swivels on the headmaster's neck joint, but the headmaster's small, round head basically acts as a ball joint and affords Athena a tiny bit of upwards and sideways tilt and a surprisingly good amount of downward tilt.  Her shoulders can rotate and extend laterally just under 90 degrees.  There's a transformation hinge you can use to get even more lateral movement; it doesn't even lock in place, although I actually consider that a strike against the figure because those arms really should lock into place.  Anyway, the kibble struts on her shoulders swivel at the base, have hinges at the base and near the actual kibble, and the kibble itself is connected to the strut via a ball joint, so you have options for posing them however you think looks best and moving them out of the way as necessary for posing.  Her biceps swivel, and she's got double-jointed elbows that bend a combined 180 degrees.  Her hands feel an awful lot like they came from a Gundam kit.  They swivel at the wrist and a transformation hinge allows them to bend up.  Her thumb has a hinge for opening and closing, but no other articulation.  Her fingers are all molded together, with a hinge at the base and second hinge at the middle knuckle.  Her waist is a double ball joint, so she can swivel, arc her back, ab crunch forward, or lean to the sides.  Her hips are ball joints (which I'm not a fan of on a figure this size), and they can go forward 90 degrees, backward maybe 75 degrees, and laterally about 75 degrees.  They're not the tightest joints, but fortunately ball joints are one of the easier joints to tighten with floor polish.  Her red thighs swivel around the black hip joint.  Her knees are double-jointed, but both of them together just get you 90 degrees.  Her feet don't really tilt up, but they do tilt down a little and her toes tilt down even more.  Her ankles only have a little pivot, but the front of her foot is on a swivel so you can fake more.

When unfolded her guns have tabs on the handles that fit into slots on her palms in a manner that's very typical of most MP-style figures (but rather uncommon for Fans Hobby, who usually use those rails on the handles that slide into the palms).  While folded there are slots on the sides that fit over tabs on the sides of her thighs.

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Athena's transformation isn't terribly complicated, but it can be a bit fiddly.  Her lower legs make up the front of the car and the doors, most of the rear is on her shoulder kibble, and the roof, windows, and the rear spoiler are the removable backpack kibble.  This essentially means that two thirds of the car are basically a shell around a robot doing yoga, and if her waist is a little crooked or her arms aren't folded up just right the outer shell will have trouble lining up and staying tabbed in right.

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If you do get everything lined up right, though, it's a pretty nice car mode.  The front has accurate placement for the headlights, turn signals, and grill.  The fenders and side skirts flare out right, and it's got the vents on the corners of the bumpers.  It's got the intakes on the rear fenders (the 959 is a rear-engine car), and accurate rims.  The spoiler is right, and the rear lights wrap all the way across in the correct manner, with translucent parts on the corners and paint down the middle.  I might point out that the translucent parts should be orange, though, that the gas cap is on the right side but in the wrong spot (it should be just behind the door, above the intake on the fender).  It's got the spot for the rear license plate, but none of the vents or the twin exhaust tips.  And while I appreciate that Fans Hobby painted the mirrors silver they're obnoxiously big.

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You can, if you like, open the front windshield and roof like the G1 toy, and the steering column lifts up out of the way.  In theory, you're supposed to be able to put the headmaster inside so she can drive the car.  In practice, the size of the space under the dashboard and the angle it forces her legs into mean she doesn't really fit.  I can get one leg in, but the other will pop right off the ball joint.  The only alternative was to fold up her legs like I would for head mode, but that doesn't secure her in the seat and she'll rattle loosely around the cabin.

If you pop the top off, you also find two holes behind the seat.  You can plug the antenna on the helmet piece into those holes, securing it for alt mode.  There's also some space above her tucked-in arms at the rear of the vehicle.  You'll find slots there, and if you fold up her guns and line them up so the barrels are pointed toward the front of the car there are some molded bits that fit into those slots, allowing the guns to be stored inside as well.

I touched on a few issues, like partsforming, fiddliness, ball joints, Gundam hands, and the fact that the headmaster doesn't really fit in her seat.  But there's more I need to call out.  The plastic doesn't feel all that great; it's not bad KO-level plastic, but it's a softer plastic with a texture that feels off.  The headmaster is hard to remove from the neck socket; I filed the connection down a little, but other people have pulled the headmaster off and found her head still stuck in the socket.  And there are tolerance issues with the doors on the backs of her legs so manipulating her has a tendency to pop them out of place.  All-in-all it's a significant step down in quality from pretty much every other Fans Hobby figure I've bought.  Athena doesn't really feel like an MP figure.  She feels kind of cheap.

On the other hand, that's because she is kind of cheap, retailing for around $60.  For all her flaws I do feel like she's worth that price- I got my money's worth.  I won't buy the Nightbeat repaint; I consider Nightbeat to be the more important character, and I'd rather wait for someone else to do him better, even if that eventual figure costs more.  But for a Japan-only character and the opportunity to add another fembot to my collection I don't regret picking her up.  So, no, I don't really recommend her.  Most collectors will do just fine without her in their collection.  But if you're a Masterforce fan, or just like the idea of a female medic that turns into a Porsche then Athena is worth the price, as long as you know what you're getting into.

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15 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Fans Hobby has indicated that they are going to release this mold as Nightbeat, and I wondering how much remolding they're going to do to give him his chunkier, '80s Transformer proportions

So, I was looking at prototype pictures of Ace Hitter, Fans Hobby's upcoming Goshooter/Siren.  And since it looks like Ace Hitter and Athena use almost identical engineering I think the answer to my earlier questions is simply a remolded chest door.  If you put a Nightbeat-style chest on Ace Hitter, then swap the lower legs, the shoulder kibble, and the removable back kibble with Athena's so the result turns into a Porsche instead of a Mazda and you're basically done.  Nightbeat even had Siren's face in the comics, so you don't even have to change the face.

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21 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

Bit of a throwback post, I was messing with my oversized Greenscream, and realized it's very easy to fix the colliding inner wing flaps.

I just filed away half the thickness of the leading edge of the flap on the underside, and blended it toward the trailing edge.

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They don't lay perfectly flat when folded, but it's not like anyone's looking at the backside of the wings anyhow, and it doesn't show at all in jet mode.

I've always wondered WHY they don't fit/fold right.  It's clearly a design flaw, and not just a tolerances issue IMHO.  But I never could figure out for sure "what was wrong", and if Takara's at fault any.  (they're not great on the actual ones, but the OS ones seem to be much worse)  

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@mikeszekely I think what I‘ve meant with fit and finish of Incursus are the ugly gate marks on visible places all over my copy. Thankfully Volatus has nothing like it as far as I can tell.

After fiddling with Volatus some more I really wish that the inner arm kibble would rotate around 180 degrees to the forearms. This would also hide the front landing gear on the backside of the robot.

Shame that they didn’t implement that. It is the only real eyesore of that toy.

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17 hours ago, David Hingtgen said:

I've always wondered WHY they don't fit/fold right.  It's clearly a design flaw, and not just a tolerances issue IMHO.  But I never could figure out for sure "what was wrong", and if Takara's at fault any.  (they're not great on the actual ones, but the OS ones seem to be much worse)  

I think it more passable on the MP3/11 molds because the OS mold beefed up the original some to structurally reinforce certain points.  That block of plastic getting in the way looks like it could be important to reinforce the outward pivot for the wings.

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On 8/13/2020 at 5:50 AM, anime52k8 said:

I like how it has a specifically car-shaped cutout insinde so you can technically carry the stuticons in the trailer

 

There doesn't seem to be room for the door to close, though.

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How do you guys find about the quality of third parties, generally speaking? Over the years I collected some. Many are over complicated to transfom and clearly their moulding/product quantity cannot match their design. Too many times the products break the first time it transform. So far, only my Unique Toys Peru Kill stands the test of time and multiple transformation.

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2 hours ago, Firefox said:

How do you guys find about the quality of third parties, generally speaking? Over the years I collected some. Many are over complicated to transfom and clearly their moulding/product quantity cannot match their design. Too many times the products break the first time it transform. So far, only my Unique Toys Peru Kill stands the test of time and multiple transformation.

There are many reviewers on Youtube these days.  You could try searching for the name of the toy + review.  But these days if it looks like something I might like I just buy it.  There's a chance that I might not like the transformation or something might have poor quality, but for the most part 3P toys are higher quality across the board than they were five years ago.

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