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Anyone ever bought anything from agesthreeandup.com ?

Looking at a TE-01 OP Leader Optimus for $149.00 USD ....and damn that NewAge Optimus looks fantastic!!! 

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20 hours ago, technoblue said:

I’ve bought a few things from them. They’re a legit shop serving Canada and the US.

Thanks technoblue  I appreciate it!

Cheapest offering I've seen on a te-01 Optimus. Now to discover the international shipping to Australia, fingers crossed.

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Well... I've got a CHUG collection.  I've got an MP collection.  I've got a few G1s.  I don't really need a Legends collection on top of all that... but it seems you guys are really into them.  Never let it said I don't know my audience.  Here's Magic Square's Beat Back and Collide, their tiny Breakdown and Wildrider.

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These guys come in a two-pack, so they're getting reviewed together.  Normally I prefer two-pack releases (like, say, Newage's Bumblebee 2.0 and Cliffjumper) to be separate, so you can just get the one you really want, but in this case I'm guessing there aren't a ton of people who really want Breakdown and not the other Stunticons, so...

Aesthetically, I don't have much to complain about.  From the knees up, Beat Back's looking spot-on for cartoon accuracy, minus some necessary slots on his chest for combined mode.  From the knees down he's got the right details- the big squares at the top of his shins, the vents that the bottom, etc.  The worst thing I can say about him is that the outside of his legs have noticeable chunks of car on what would nominally be just blue shins.  As for Collide, magic Square went the Fans Toys/DX9 route of assuming the white part of his torso is his chest, the vented area is his abs, and the animation model didn't really have much of a pelvis.  That's fine, but I do kind of prefer the XTB method of assuming the white area is his whole body from the waist up, and the vented area is is pelvis.  In any case, again, he's looking extremely cartoon-accurate, perhaps more so than Beat Back since Wildrider's animation model does have some room with visible tires on the edges of his shins.  Really, the only thing I can complain about here is the missing circles on his toes.

Point of order, the plastic feels different on these guys than my previous Magic Square figures.  It still seems like a nylon blend, so it's still a bit pliable and a bit mushy, but not to the degree that their older stuff does.  For the most part, I'd say I like it better, but I'd like it better still if they ditched the nylon entirely.

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Scale-wise, they're about the same size as one of the few other Magic Square cars I have, their version of Sideswipe.  If Fans Toys and DX9 are any indication there is a group of people who like Stunticons to be taller than the Autobot cars, but it's worth pointing out that Sideswipe is already taller compared to their Optimus than MP Sideswipe is to any MP Prime or than the scale chart would suggest, so I think it's fine.  Also for scale here he is with the only G1 Stunticon I own, Breakdown.  OK, this is when I like Legends-scale figures the best, when they come out to be roughly the same size as a G1 toy (see also Magic Square's Seaspray or Mech Fans Toys Astrotrain).

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For accessories, you get a blue rifle for Beat Back and a gray one for collide.  Both are reasonably cartoon accurate, although they're just single pieces of molded, unpainted plastic with minimal details.  They're fine.  You also get a bag of parts that we'll talk about at a later date.

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Articulation's not bad on these guys, especially as I tend to be more forgiving at this scale.  They both have neck swivels but no tilt.  Their shoulders rotate and can move 90-ish degrees laterally (if they raise their arm first they get a little less because of their tires getting caught on their backpacks, but even then you'll get plenty for most poses).  Their biceps swivel, and their elbows bend 90 degrees.  Their wrists swivel, as do their waists.  OK, now they both seem to have a double hinge in their waists that lets them lean back and decent amount and ab crunch forward.  Collide seems to have more range, though.  Beat Back looks like he has the same hardware, but it just doesn't want to go as far and I'm not comfortable forcing it.  Anyway, both have ball-jointed hips that can go 90 degrees forward or backward, and a little less than 90 laterally.  Beat Back has a little less lateral range than Collide, just due to the shape of his pelvis.  Both have cut thigh swivels, 90 degrees of knee bend, and feet that can tilt down a little and pivot at the ankle almost 90 degrees.  Just because he has a little more space, Beat Back's feet can also tilt up.

Both figures can hold their guns by plugging the handle into their molded hands.  They don't have any other storage for them.

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Beat Back and Collide both have almost identical transformations; the only difference is that you have to turn Collide 180 degrees at the waist and tuck his toes in.  Otherwise it's a simple case of opening the back, tucking the head in and rocking the shoulders up so the arms tuck in tight, closing the back and moving the hood in place, rotating the outside of the legs and turning the feet into the roof, then sliding the inside of the leg up over the thighs.

Again, scale with Sideswipe checks out, and scale with G1 Breadown just makes me smile.

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OK, regarding Beat Back, no major complaints except I wish they'd painted around the door handles (although, to be fair, the cartoon didn't).  For Collide, my complaints are the lack of a badge (I get not sticking him with a real, painted Ferrari badge, but even the cartoon had a little spot drawn on), and the fact that his robo-shins are so sunken into the back that he almost looks like a Ferrari in the front and an El Camino in the back.

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I do have a few other complaints.  They roll fine, but there's nowhere to store their weapons.  And the nylon plastic blend can lead to some weird tolerances that make tabbing everything in, especially at this scale, a bit of a pain.  It seems like something is always not-quite-right.  I'll also note, for David's sake, that Beat Back is a dirty white bordering on a very light gray, with none of the cream color the G1 toy and (sometimes) cartoon had, although that doesn't really bother me.

I really can't stress enough that my gripes with this duo are very minor.  Indeed, as individual robots I think these guys are much better than, say, Iron Factory's Combaticons.  Which forces me to trot out the same thing I seem to say every time I review a Legends-scale figure- I wish someone upscaled these guys to match the War For Cybertron stuff.  I mean, yes, the MP-scaled stuff looks better and has more advanced engineering.  But that's what's frustrating; the engineering here is simple enough that Hasbro could do it.  Oh well.  Bottom line, if you're into Legends-style figures or your simply a fan of the Stunticons then you should definitely check this set out.  Big recommend from me.

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I'm a big fan of the cassette bots, and KFC has just revealed updated versions of his original Ramhorn and Steeljaw, and to my eye, they both look pretty good. I've never bought any KFC stuff, and my general impression is that it's not the best quality, i.e. loose pins, floppy joints right out of the box. These things are $35 a piece, pretty steep for such a small figure. Should I take the plunge?

CST-14 Rhinohorn 2.0 | KFC Toys (tfsource.com)

CST-15 Ironpaw 2.0 | KFC Toys (tfsource.com)

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2 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

I'm a big fan of the cassette bots, and KFC has just revealed updated versions of his original Ramhorn and Steeljaw, and to my eye, they both look pretty good. I've never bought any KFC stuff, and my general impression is that it's not the best quality, i.e. loose pins, floppy joints right out of the box. These things are $35 a piece, pretty steep for such a small figure. Should I take the plunge?

CST-14 Rhinohorn 2.0 | KFC Toys (tfsource.com)

CST-15 Ironpaw 2.0 | KFC Toys (tfsource.com)

I think it depends on how/where you want to display them. I mean, with the official MP tapes I've been ok with Laserbeak and Buzzsaw, but I replaced (actually, moved to my WFC collection) Rumble, Frenzy, and Ravage and replaced them in my MP display with the MMC ones, because I've always felt they do a bit of mass shifting in the cartoon and should be a bit bigger. For an MP display, I'd ideally like Steeljaw and Ramhorn to be around the same size as Ravage, so I'm waiting for MMC's (which I'm assured are not canceled, just low priority).

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So... how about those Magic Square Stunticons?  Legs yesterday, we'll do arms today with Pillage and Contain, aka Dragstrip and Dead End.

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So... I think both of these guys have a very good cartoon likeness and put the Combiner Wars stuff to shame, for sure.  But maybe this pair has just a little less effort give to them than the leg bots.  I'll overlook the orange stripes on Pillage's toes; they're not cartoon accurate, but if you use the spoiler for his feet and the stripes are their in alt mode it's going to be their in bot mode.  But after seeing the solutions that XTB, Fans Toys, and DX9 came up with the front of the vehicle just dangling on his back seems a bit unispired, and the blocks on his knees aren't particularly accurate.  Contain's torso is alright.  I like that they even gave him the lines on his forearms.  But those little squares don't really match the double octagons he had in the cartoon, and shin details are replaced by the rear of the car.  Minor stuff, to be sure, just minor stuff that makes me think MS did better on the other two.

For size, they're the same as the legs, so I'm just leaving G1 Breakdown in the shot.

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OK, accessories.  Once again we have two little guns and a bag of parts we'll talk about another day.  The gun with the handle further from the back of the gun is Contain's, and it's fine.  Like the ones from yesterday, is a single piece with limited but accurate detail with no paint.  Pillage's is slightly more disappointing.  The single piece and limited details are fine, but again it seems like MS got a little lazy and cast it in black because they had room on the black sprue.  It'd be better if it were purple.

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Both of these guys have ball joints for necks.  The way they're cut they can swivel and look straight up, but they can't actually tilt sideways.  Their shoulders both rotate.  Contain's shoulders can move 90 degrees laterally.  Pillage's tires hit his head, preventing him from getting the full 90, and unfortunately his lateral joint is in the torso, so he can't raise his arm and move it laterally, just one or the other.  Both figures have bicep swivels, 90 degrees of elbow bend, wrist swivels, and waist swivels, but no ab crunches.  They do have a weird joint that lets them bend sideways like they're making the "C" in the "YMCA" dance, though.  Hips are ball joints that go 90 degrees forward, backward, or laterally, and they have cut thigh swivels.  Knees bend 90 degrees.  Contain's foot can tilt up and down a little, and his ankles pivot nearly 90 degrees.  Pillage's foot also bends up, down a little, and pivots 90 degrees, but he has a heel that doesn't move, an extra toe hinge, and the tire moves independently of his foot.

Both of them hold their weapons fine, a little tightly even, but lack other storage.

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Contain's transformation is similar to the legs.  There are two important differences, though.  For one, he doesn't have the ab crunch that they do.  For two, he's got extra moving parts on his legs to move the rear of the car onto his knees and to swing the tires from the inside to the outside of his legs.  This causes a bit of problems because he winds up not having the same clearances that the legbots do, which kind of forces you to bend his legs around his hands.  And even after the panels, especially his feet, don't seem to want to line up properly.  Pillage fares a bit better with the simplest transformation of the four.  Again, though, tolerances are a bit of a problem for Magic Square- I had to file a slot on his legs where the engine in his belly is supposed to tab into once it's folded out.

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Aesthetically I don't have a lot of problems with these guys.  Maybe Contain looks a little long and flat, and maybe a steering wheel in Pillage's cockpit would have been nice, but in both cases they're the right mix of cartoon and real car.  Plus Contain doesn't have a visible back of his head like DX9's or weird alt mode proportions like Fans Toys'.

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As with the leg bots these guys roll fine, but they lack any place to store their weapons while they're in alt mode.

Both of these guys feel like a step down from the previous two, with Contain being the worst overall.  Despite my complaints, though, they remain simple, effective designs that I'd kill to have embiggened up to WfC's scale to replace the Combiner Wars versions.  So ultimately my recommendation is the same- get these guys if you have a Legends collection, or simply if you're a fan of the Stunticons.  They're good overall.

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3 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

I think it depends on how/where you want to display them. I mean, with the official MP tapes I've been ok with Laserbeak and Buzzsaw, but I replaced (actually, moved to my WFC collection) Rumble, Frenzy, and Ravage and replaced them in my MP display with the MMC ones, because I've always felt they do a bit of mass shifting in the cartoon and should be a bit bigger. For an MP display, I'd ideally like Steeljaw and Ramhorn to be around the same size as Ravage, so I'm waiting for MMC's (which I'm assured are not canceled, just low priority).

Truth be told, I'm not sure where I'd display them. My Detolfs are getting pretty crowded these days, but I'm sure I could squeeze them in somewhere. I also intend to get the larger MMC versions when they come out, but I thought it'd be nifty to have a pair of updated micro-cassette figs that actually fit in MP Soundwave, or some future MP Blaster, should Takara ever get around to it.  I passed on the original KFC cassette releases, as well as his Blaster, and these updated cassettes make me glad I did.  To get 'em, or not to get 'em; that's the question, to paraphrase some old British playwright. 

Anybody got anything recently from Keith? Just curious how the quality of his stuff has been of late.

 

Edited by M'Kyuun
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2 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

Anybody got anything recently from Keith? Just curious how the quality of his stuff has been of late.

I haven't bought anything recently from KFC.  I think the newest stuff I bought was their Octane and their Blitzwing, and both were... not good.  I also have their Blaster and their Wreck-Gar, though, and both of those are good (if a little dated, in Blaster's case).

I'll note here, though, that KFC and XTB are the same company (Keith owns both, they both use Keith's factories, they have different designers).  While I'd thought XTB was on an upward trend with a string of impressive releases (their Cosmos, Cliffjumper, Breakdown, Wildrider, and Seaspray were all very good) recent QC has gone downhill.  There was widespread breakage on Dragstrip, paint chipping on Dead End, less widespread but still oft-reported breakage on Dead End, stress marks on Motormaster, and a host of issues so bad on their Kup that XTB is apparently already putting out a 2.0 version and promising copies to people who bought the original one at just the cost of shipping.  So, right now, I'd suggest maybe waiting for a review or two.

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I think...  Yes, it definitely looks like... Menasor, right?  :huh:

It's Menasor.

 

A third-party Menasor, I assume, since it's been posted in this thread...  🤔

 

...but with absolutely no context whatsoever, of course...  🤨

 

...because @sh9000<_<

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18 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

I haven't bought anything recently from KFC.  I think the newest stuff I bought was their Octane and their Blitzwing, and both were... not good.  I also have their Blaster and their Wreck-Gar, though, and both of those are good (if a little dated, in Blaster's case).

I'll note here, though, that KFC and XTB are the same company (Keith owns both, they both use Keith's factories, they have different designers).  While I'd thought XTB was on an upward trend with a string of impressive releases (their Cosmos, Cliffjumper, Breakdown, Wildrider, and Seaspray were all very good) recent QC has gone downhill.  There was widespread breakage on Dragstrip, paint chipping on Dead End, less widespread but still oft-reported breakage on Dead End, stress marks on Motormaster, and a host of issues so bad on their Kup that XTB is apparently already putting out a 2.0 version and promising copies to people who bought the original one at just the cost of shipping.  So, right now, I'd suggest maybe waiting for a review or two.

Thanks for the heads up. I've never bought anything from XTB or KFC, but I've read many a complaint about KFC stuff over the years which gives pause. As much as I like cassette bots, $70 is a lot of cash to throw at toys, and there are certainly things of better quality I could throw money at, like LEGO, my preeminent vice, or even a legends from MS or NA.

Yours is sage advice, and I think I will indeed wait for reviews.

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8 hours ago, sh9000 said:

It’s from XTB.

Thanks for the clarification!:hi:

7 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

If it's cheaper than the regular version I might bite.

Slightly cheaper, perhaps, but the asking price is still over $200 USD... :unsure:

 

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4 hours ago, tekering said:

Thanks for the clarification!:hi:

Slightly cheaper, perhaps, but the asking price is still over $200 USD... :unsure:

 

Considering that the Youth versions have typically been more than the cartoon versions that's still a good $20-$30 less.  I'm tempted, if it's a slower month when it releases...

EDIT: it's actually A LOT cheaper than the first release, as it's being reported that the Youth trailer will come will also come with the accessories (faces, cannons, car shells, etc) that were a separate $75 purchase the first time.

Edited by mikeszekely
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Dreamstar Toys DST01-002 Highdive (Aerialbot Skydive) Gray Prototype - Transformers News - TFW2005

This is the F-16 figure in Dreamstar's original take on the Aerialbots. I PO'd this guy and the Harrier fig awhile back, as the alt modes for these things are extremely well done, relative to jetformers historically, official and otherwise.  Unfortunately, their take on Silverbolt isn't nearly as refined as their limb bots, and he has the old tried and true boxy bot under a sleek Concorde fuselage. I wish they'd look at what Fans Toys did with maverick and redesign to make their Silverbolt closer to the real jet's proportions like the rest of their Aerialbots. OR, make their Silverbolt a B-1 Lancer, which IMO, would be more fitting for a group of military jets.

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Sorry, friends.  Some official stuff came up that I wanted to cover right away, as it's a bit more timely.  But we can now continue looking at Magic Square's Stunticons with Overlord, their Motormaster.

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A theme that comes up with these smaller-scale figures is how great they are for their size.  Like, we know that these things aren't MP-level, but they're cheaper and tinier so we don't really expect them to be.  Except this time, maybe Overlord is a borderline MP-style figure.  I mean, I've got Fans Toys', DX9's, and XTB's Motormasters, and I think aesthetically Overlord is more or less on par with those figures.  I mean, sure, he doesn't have the diecast, the paint, the ratchets, or the articulated fingers.  But he's clean and largely kibble-free.  He's feet are tidier than DX9's, with better arm proportions.  All of his shin windows are colored, unlike XTB, and he doesn't have that toe tab that XTB's does.  His legs are actually black, instead of gray with a flap over it like Fans Toys, and the back of his arms aren't gray like Fans Toys.

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He's not as think from the side as DX9's, but his backpack is smaller and cleaner than either FT's or XTB's.  I mean, really, the worst thing I have to say about Overlord is htat he just has the one big wheel on the side of his foot instead three little ones.  It's one minor deviation from total cartoon accuracy, but one I don't really mind.  The three MP-ish options had them, but in all three cases the overall leg was messier for it.

Also, as seen in the first picture, Overlord scales great with their Optimus.  Motormaster's scale is something XTB and FT struggled with.

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Compared to the other sets, Overlord's got the most accessories.  There's a trailer (that's right, like XTB's Overlord is just the cab), a purple rifle and a sword for Overlord, larger versions of said rifle and sword for the combined mode, and a third bag of parts that we'll talk about more another day.  Come to think of it, we're not going to see the bigger sword and rifle again today, either.

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Overlord's articulation is pretty good, too.  His head only swivels, but with that box around it I think that's ok.  Shoulders are ball joints that rotate and move laterally 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees.  His wrists swivel, and if you undo the flap under his forearm you can bend them down to get a nice sword pointing pose.  His waist swivels, and there's a double-hinge in his abdomen that'll give him an extreme back bend or ab crunch.  His hips ball joints that can go 90 degrees forward and laterally, and just a bit less than that backward.  His thighs swivel, and his knees are double-jointed and capable of bending nearly 180 degrees.  His feet don't tilt down, but there's a little room to bend his toes upward, and he's got 90 degrees of ankle pivot.

He holds his accessories just fine, but as with the others he doesn't have anywhere to store them except in his hands.

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While none of the MP-ish Motormasters were pull-your-hair-out frustrating they all had a certain level of complexity that made transforming them a bit of a process.  By comparison, Overlord is delightfully simple.  I mean, even by Legends or Magic Square's own standards, transforming Overlord is a quick, painless process.  And the resulting truck is good!  The trailer is bigger than the one that came with their Optimus, but that's not a bad thing as that trailer was a bit small.  Overlord's seems quite proportional.

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Although the trailer is larger, the cab itself is right around the same size as their Optimus, which is great.  If you like, Overlord can even pull Optimus' trailer, better than Optimus himself since Overlord actually has a place to plug the trailer into.

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As great as Overlord's robot mode is, I do have to point out some flaws with the truck mode.  His fuel tank is flat and silver (FT's was chrome, and I actually prefer that, but total cartoon accuracy should be purple).  No complaints about the headlights, which aren't exactly cartoon-accurate but very in-keeping with the MP options, and the gunmetal paint on the grill and bumper are a better choice than the chrome on Fans Toys or the metallic purple on XTB's.  But Overlord is lacking the horns, marker lights, and wing mirrors of the larger options.  The trailer has some nice details on the sides; the seems in the purple bands strike a nice balance between the cartoon and the toy, I like the supports on the sides (although they're upside down in the above pic; likewise I don't have the front tires on the cab rotated right) and the bumper and tail lights on the back.  But the front of the trailer is a bit of a panel-y mess, and the rear is downright gappy with no hint of the trailer doors.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want or need the doors to open and for the trailer to have storage inside.  It's just a shame that they couldn't make it a bit tidier.

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Speaking of untidy rears, while I think most of the cab looks great (even the back of the cab proper, which a lot of companies neglect) the hitch area is clearly Overlord's chest, which I don't honestly mind, and his barely-folded arms and super visible hands, which I do mind.  This is where the concessions to size come in; it's acceptable here, and I'd honestly even roll with it for a Hasbro release, but I'd demand the hands are totally hidden and the arms tuck in more so they don't stick out past the rear wheels on an MP.

You can see the square hole in his chest where the trailer pegs in.  He rolls fine, but like the cars there's nowhere to store his sword and gun (or the larger sword and gun), even with the trailer.

Hasbro, if you're reading this, steal this design and upscale it to fit with WfC.  What's Magic Square going to do?  They can't come after you for stealing their design without you going after them for stealing their IP.  And I'm encouraging this because this is a fantastic Motormaster figure that deserves to be more than three inches tall.  While he has a few flaws, sure, the truck is definitely good enough, the robot is clean and well-proportioned, and the transformation is simple and fun... this might actually be my favorite Motormaster toy overall.  He's a must-have if you're into Legends-scale stuff, and worth checking out even if you're not if you're just into Motormaster or the Stunticons.

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20210802_211956.jpg.5e4e4a9a1ddb9a35687542bbb5ee1f1a.jpg

So, especially for their tiny scale, Magic Square made a great set of Stunticons.  But, no matter how much you love your Stunticons, the question is always going to be, "But how's Menasor?"  So let's get these guys combined up, shall we?

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To begin with, like XTB's or a large chunk of DX9's, most of Menasor is fully-formed without the Stunticons at all simply by transforming Overlord's trailer.  And yes, this sort of partsforming is a generally a bit more than I like, but I do think Menasor gets away with it partly because of the challenges of bringing an animation-accurate robot, especially with such low/thin sports cars for legs, and partly because the parts at least come from something.

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Overlord's top spins around like you're going to robot mode, but otherwise he just scrunches up a bit and plugs into the back/top of Menasor.

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For the arms, they work like DX9 and XTB in that the cars split in half.  There's no buttons or gimmicks, rather, the peg is keyed so the halves can only separate when one half is rotated 90 degrees vs the other half.  Once separated, the halves tab onto Menasor's arms.  They stay on pretty securely.

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The legs tab onto one side of Menasor's legs.  Now, I was thinking like the G1 toys, which have the noses of the cars pointing up, but the tabs are arranged so that they can go on nose down as well.  If you prefer, Menasor's legs can rotate below the knee, and his toes can be removed and placed on the other side of his feet, so that the cars can face forward.  No, it's not really cartoon accurate, but it's a display option that seems to have a certain following with adapters being made for the DX9 set to do something similar.  I'll note here that due to Magic Square's tolerances, the nylon plastic, and the design of the leg frame that the connection between the cars and the legs (or even keeping the panels that form the legs together) is a bit of a pain.

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All combined up, and we have a very cartoon accurate Menasor, one who's a pretty big boy for a Legends-style figure.  He's a full head taller than my Iron Factory Bruticus (which honestly mirrors my MP display, where I have the shorter MMC Bruticus with DX9's Menasor).  That'll make him significantly taller than DX9's Hulkie, but with both Newage and Magic Square putting out Devastator's I don't imagine that's a problem.  Menasor's animation model is kind of bland, so I really like the molded details Magic Square managed to work into the design.

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And if you're wondering, here's how he scales with Magic Square's Prime and Magic Square's Sideswipe (which also shows how Menasor scales with Motormaster and the other Stunticons, if you're wondering).  I think that works fine.  If anything, MS Menasor is slightly taller vs MS Prime than DX9's Menasor is to MP-10/MP-44/TE-01/MS-01.

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Menasor's head is on a ball joint with up, down, and sideways tilt plus the requisite swivel.  His shoulders rotate and could, in theory, move 90 degrees but in practice the tops of the cars on his shoulders are going to get in the way.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees, again in theory because in practice the cars limit it to a bit less.  The wrists swivel.  The thumb is on a ball joint with an additional hinge, and the fingers are individually-articulated with a hinge at the base and a hinge ad the middle knuckle.  His waist swivels, and he has 90 degrees of ab crunch.  Once you move the hip skirts out of the way his hips can go 90 degrees forward and laterally and just a bit less backward.  His thighs swivel, and his knees bend 90 degrees.  His ankles have a very slight up/down tilt, double jointed pivots that'll go way over 90 degrees, and a swivel.

It looks like his weapons have tabs that fit into slots on his palms, but the tabs are actually much smaller than the slots.  As a result, he holds his weapons a little looser than I'd like, mostly with the tension of his fingers.

But what about the other accessories that came in baggies?  The ones I kept promising we'd talk about later?  Well, Magic Square is giving you options.

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For one, remember all the pictures of Menasor that come up in a Google search of him holding up the lightning bug?  The ones that look like the cars are dangling off his shoulders, and don't contribute at all to the forearm?  Well, find these flat pieces and attach them to Menasor's forearms just like this- the one with tabs running parallel to the short sides goes on Dragstrip's arm, with the t-shaped hole pointing toward the hand, and the one with the tabs running parallel to the long sides goes on the Dead End arm with the t-shaped hole pointing to the elbow.  Then, note that the shoulder connections actually hinge outward on a flap.

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There you go- the flat parts bulk out the forearm, and the cars dangle entirely from the shoulders.  Menasor's ready for a lightning bug!  Too bad you don't get one...

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For every one person that likes this configuration, I'm sure that there's another that would prefer the cars to simply be the arms.  And Magic Square's got you covered there, too.  The arms are connecting to an underlying shoulder piece.  Pull them off, then pop the hands off.

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Dragstrip and Dead End actually have some complicated hinges and swivels inside their bodies, allowing for a bicep swivel and elbow joint without physically splitting the cars in half.  You just need to add the hands, which we actually do by plugging them into the t-shaped holes on the flat parts, then plugging the flat parts into the bottoms of the cars.

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Now the cars are the arms!  Mostly... you've still got the shoulder panels the cars connect to, and the flat bits holding the hands and filling out the forearms.  I suppose that's a blow against partsforming, but I have two reasons not to do it this way.  One, it leaves that chunk of arm leftover (and you'll need it to go back to trailer mode).  Two, there's one more use for those flat bits.

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See, we still have all these parts leftover.  It's an alternate chest, thighs, toes, hip skirts, and head.

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The chest is the hardest part to swap, as it does involve unscrewing the original and screwing the replacement on.  The halves of the head are simply pegged together around the ball joint, so you can pull them apart.  Since both faces have similar expressions with slightly different sculpts I didn't really try to see if the faces are interchangeable.

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The hip skirts are plugged into a peg hole on the crotch, and the thighs are tabbed on, so it's simply a matter of popping them off and popping on the replacements.

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It's hard to see, but the toes have hook tabs and have to slide outward and off of Menasor's feet.  Then you can slide the replacement's on.  As I mentioned, they can tab into the back of Menasor's feet, too, if you want to spin the legs around and have the cars facing forward.  Or if you just want bigger heels.

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Finally, those flat bits we've been using as forearm filler?  They can unfold into these pieces, which clip onto Menasor's collar.

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The result is a much more toy or OX-style Menasor.  Now, while I spent a lot of time watching the cartoon and like my combiner team members to be cartoon accurate, I spent as much time or more looking at those checklist catalogs that came with the G1 toys, and as such I actually prefer a more toy-style combined mode, so this is how I'll be displaying mine.  The only real issue I have is that I think the thighs for this mode should be silver, and I'd love some stickers or something to decorate the front of Menasor's legs with details from the G1 toys.  Still, the most important thing to me is that he's got (what I consider to be) the correct head and the shoulder/collar pylons.

Oh, and just to make sure, I transformed him back to truck mode.  You don't have to swap any of the parts back to the cartoon-style ones.  Some of the tolerances are a bit tighter, but everything still works.  The only downside is that the parts that turn into his shoulder/collar pylons have nowhere to go outside of the combined mode.

At this point, I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but this is an impressive Menasor, one just just about as accurate and nearly as impressive as the MP options despite standing just a little taller than an MP Optimus.  I really, really wish this guy scaled with War for Cybertron.  He's not without flaws; Magic Squares wonky tolerances and nylon plastic doesn't do them any favors here, causing problems with the legs and making his grip on his weapons a tad loose.  But I love that this set gives me the options to display both the cartoon and toy/OX Menasor without having to buy two sets of Stunticons, and I love that the smaller size of the combined mode makes for a combiner that's easier to play and pose with than a 20" display piece with ratchets that take two people to move.  Absolutely recommending this guy for any Legends collectors, but I'd also suggest checking him out if you're simply a Menasor fan.

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Real quick, I picked this up when I finished grabbing the Magic Square Stunticons.  It's DK-12, and an upgrade kit for MPM Ironhide from DNA.

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Of all the MPMs since MPM-03, Ironhide was by far the worst.  Could this kit help?  Well, we've got two guns like he had in Dark of the Moon, complete with knives/bayonets.  There's also two small clips, a large chunk of... thing, and a little peeing Mojo.

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One of the big complaints I had was that the door kibble didn't stay attached to his arm.  Well, the clips fit over the clear ridges on the door kibble.

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Then, the tab that nominally goes into those ridges fits into a slot on the clip.  I'll say it's still not as secure as I'd like, especially since the the clip wants to pop off of the left arm, but it's definitely a huge improvement.

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The other complaint I had was that the the truck halves with his shoulders didn't seem to lock into a specific place.  That's what the larger chunk is for.  Fold down the part of Ironhide's back with the smokestacks.  Note the gray parts with the h-shaped cuttouts where his shoulders connect, and the large tab in the middle of his back.  The chunk has bits that slide over and around the h-shaped bits, and a large tab that fits into the middle of Ironhide's back.  Once they're in place the wheels will kind of wedge behind the clips on his shoulders, locking everything into place.

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After, the instructions imply that you should bend his back flap a certain way, forcing the old tab that went into his back down past some other piece, then wedging the end up into the gap in the middle of the DNA chunk.  The gap isn't wide enough, though, so I'd say just fold the back up like normal and tuck the tab on the back flap under the DNA part.

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Well, the DNA parts don't do anything about the kibble flaps all over his arms, or the weird location of his shoulder joints.  But they do keep the kibble and shoulders locked into place, so they're successful in that at least.  Aside from that, Ironhide can hold the guns or knives by wrapping his fingers around the handles.  And you can put Mojo wherever you like to leak lubricant on Ironhide's foot.

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The guns also have little pegs that fit into little holes on the DNA part on his back.  For strorage.

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A robot mode fix is fine for a display, but what if you want to transform Ironhide?  Well, you're probably a sadist... the transformation is fairly simple, lining up the sections of the hood and the flaps that make up the roof and doors is a colossal pain, as right when you get one lined up another will pop back open.  But the DNA parts do work with the alt mode, albeit by partsforming.  So start by taking all the DNA stuff off of him.  The knives have slots on the handles that allow a tab that looks like a magazine to slide through, attaching the knives like bayonets.  The clips also attach to the guns just in front of the handles.

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Now, if you look at Ironhide's bed you'll find some tabs near the back and slots near the cab.  The guns have corresponding slots and tabs, so they just clip right on.

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That leaves the back part.  The sides hinge up, like a U.  Look at the back side.  You'll notice some slots, and a gappy space.

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Now look under Ironide's front end.  You'll find some tabs on the parts that the tires tab into, and a hinge under the "Road Armor" logo on the bumper.  The tabs fit into the slots on the DNA part, and the gappy space fits over the hinge, securing it under Ironhide's front.

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So... I'm kind of at a loss to describe my feelings here.  I'll say that I could do without the guns, knives, and Mojo, but I don't hate them.  I like that everything has a home in both modes (except the dog, but he's just for posing anyway).  The clips and the back part do what they set out to, and are a huge improvement over the stock figure.  But, even with the improvements, Ironhide is still the worst of the MPM figures.  He's still got awkward articulation, he's still got way too much kibble on his arms, and his transformation is still a finnicky affair due to shellforming the front half out of panels that don't like to tab together.  The bed is better covered and the robot has more accurate proportions, but I still think the Studio Series figure is a better movie Ironhide toy.  So I guess my recommendation works like this... do you have MPM Ironhide?  Then you should get this kit, as it fixes two major problems I have with the robot mode.  Do you not have MPM Ironhide?  Then don't waste your money on him, because while this kit does help a lot Ironhide is still not a very good figure.

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I like how trim his backpack is, but from the front it looks like a little MP-44. Which, compared with Magic Square's, isn't a good thing (to my tastes).

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1 hour ago, mikeszekely said:

from the front it looks like a little MP-44

I was about to say the same thing.  In fact, it looks a LOT like MP-44 (which, as you say, isn't a good thing). :unsure:

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Eh… If we’re making comparisons to MP-44, then Magic Square’s v2 Prime is a closer take with the shin detail on the legs. Neither NA nor MS implemented MP-44’s flippable window transformation gimmick, although I think MS arguably scales it down better by moving the truck window/cab detail to the backpack in bot mode.

NA’s version of the window gimmick makes for an extra-thick chest that stands out in certain photos, but maybe it will look better in person like their Bee and Cliffjumper? It is interesting how NA reverses MP-44’s design cues in the bot-mode torso.

Anyway, I’m still getting both the NA and MS Prime updates and I’m looking forward to compare them once they’re both out in the wild. Also, I’m excited to compare the MS v2 update to its v1 counterpart.

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I'm also not a fan of the double windshield. I don't mind Prime with a flat chest, nor do I mind a truck with windshield windows angled. Pick one and go with it, but this sudden need to have two different windshield shapes in a single figure brings with it some compromises that generally affects one or the other mode negatively. That said, since that's the direction NA went with this version of Prime, I think it's pretty well implemented- the bot mode still looks really good from any angle except straight down where you can see the bot mode windshield sandwiched against the truck windshield, along with the double set of cab lights that looks weird. The back set of wheels stick out away from the truck, which looks a little odd in a 3/4 view. Beyond those niggles, it's a fine looking figure in both modes. High praise for the insane amount of articulation they achieved. It's hard to believe this is a legends scale figure. There's definitely passion at play in this design, and I tip my hat to NA for the design and finish. It's beautiful. Fit, of course, remains to be seen with in-hand reviews, but as the owner of several NA figs, I can attest that the fit on my figs is pretty good. Now they need to go back and redesign their Megatron, which was a pretty nice fig in its own right, but lacked the polish and toon accuracy of the Magic Square, which is the best G1 Megatron toy I've seen or owned. I wish MS would upscale it to match Light of Freedom, my MP Prime of choice. As it happens, I also chose MS' Light of Justice 2.0 for my legends Prime as well. I just really love the look of their Prime figs. I wish it had clear windows, and the final may have them, but painted windows are fine. Anyway, looking forward to seeing painted samples, and of course, having the thing in hand to stand next to my MS Megatron.:wub:

@technoblueI look forward to your MS Prime comparison, as I don't own V1, and am glad now that I waited, as V2 nails the backpack aesthetics better, and just overall incorporates any number of improvements. Its articulation is also quite impressive based on the proto shots I've seen.

As a kid, and even a young adult, I never imagined that I'd see Transformer toys anywhere nearly this well done. I hoped for better versions of the G1 characters, but I never would have guessed that it would happen, and certainly that it would happen at this level, but I'm ecstatic that I'm alive to see it, and financially capable of picking up the odd fig that I want. I hope the younger collectors among us appreciate just how far these Transformer toys have come, both official and non. I think we're exceptionally fortunate that, unlike many 80s IPs, the franchise is thriving, and the toys just continue to evolve. I'm grateful.:hi:

 

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