Jump to content

Recommended Posts

2 minutes ago, Valkyrie Hunter D said:

I reckon they would sell Fort Max in partitions like their Omega Supreme.  I honestly thought their Fort Max was an April Fool's stunt.

It's real. Not confirmed, but people supposedly close to FT have said to expect a price 4-5x Cerebros' for the body. That would make it around $1000. And while a part of me thinks that is cool someone is attempting MP citybots, a more grounded part of me can't justify that kind of money for a Transformer bigger than my kid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

It's real. Not confirmed, but people supposedly close to FT have said to expect a price 4-5x Cerebros' for the body. That would make it around $1000. And while a part of me thinks that is cool someone is attempting MP citybots, a more grounded part of me can't justify that kind of money for a Transformer bigger than my kid.

There is also the part where they haven't made an MP scale omega supreme or larger figure with good stable joints.  thats where DX9 kills FT in the omega wars.  also FT hasn't even released a combiner torso yet so we don't know if they have improved their know how on big joints since their omega fail (yeah i consider it a fail).  Add the fact that their fort max is supposed to be double the height (well more than) of their omega supreme and.....i'll believe it when i see it that they can make a good big bot withi decent joints.  that being said....i really don't need a 50" city bot in my life.  if i did $1000 seems high but not out of the question.  it'd be  once in a lifetime figure so the price being a little more than 2.5 zeta combiners is ...understandable althouh you got to be a REAL fort max fan to get it or just rich enough where $1000 is basically like normal collectors spending 150 bucks on a titan class from hastak.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Mechapilot77 said:

There is also the part where they haven't made an MP scale omega supreme or larger figure with good stable joints.  thats where DX9 kills FT in the omega wars.  also FT hasn't even released a combiner torso yet so we don't know if they have improved their know how on big joints since their omega fail (yeah i consider it a fail).  Add the fact that their fort max is supposed to be double the height (well more than) of their omega supreme and.....i'll believe it when i see it that they can make a good big bot withi decent joints

Good point, especially the way FT likes to overdo it on diecast.  There's already speculation that a lot of the holdup on the last Stunticon is because it's supposed to come with all the combiner parts, but they're having trouble getting the combiner parts to work because their Stunticons are so heavy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Good point, especially the way FT likes to overdo it on diecast.  There's already speculation that a lot of the holdup on the last Stunticon is because it's supposed to come with all the combiner parts, but they're having trouble getting the combiner parts to work because their Stunticons are so heavy.

After seeing those new 3P combiners with no extra parts, the hands and feet and whatnot are contained within the limbs, I refuse to even consider anything else.  Most Menasor's are the worst, with the limbs basically being shin and arm pads.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

Good point, especially the way FT likes to overdo it on diecast.  There's already speculation that a lot of the holdup on the last Stunticon is because it's supposed to come with all the combiner parts, but they're having trouble getting the combiner parts to work because their Stunticons are so heavy.

Speaking of too much die cast, FT's Swoop's lower legs are die cast and deceptively heavy for the size of the figure. I'm not sure if that's to blame,, although I think the weight is a contributor, my copy nearly faceplanted out of my Detolf last week when I opened the door to place a fig inside. Swoop's right up in front of the rest of the Dino's directly behind the door, so when I opened it, he went with it, something that's never happened before. Upon examination, one of the double hinges had become floppy due to a completely stripped screw which I couldn't remove regardless of what I tried. It would just spin in either direction without coming out. I tried a magnet to no effect, and I broke the tip of a fine tipped set of tweezers trying to get some purchase on it. Finally, I gave yup trying on the screw and resorted to putting an ample amount of Gorilla Glue, which hardens to a rubbery consistency, on the joint. Thus far, that seems to be working, as he's standing tall for now. I haven't handled him since I applied the glue (I keep forgetting), so one of these days I'm going to have to monkey with it and make sure everything still moves and he can transform ok.

But yeah, anyone who's handled any of FT's Dinobots knows they love their die-cast. It feels great to the hand, but sometimes it comes at the cost of joints weakening under the weight. I used to be one of those who decried Takara's cessation of using it in the MP line, but ultimately, I think the toys hold up better with everything plastic. Rubber tires, or a synthetic equivalent, would be nice though.

Edited by M'Kyuun
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, CoryHolmes said:

After seeing those new 3P combiners with no extra parts, the hands and feet and whatnot are contained within the limbs, I refuse to even consider anything else.  Most Menasor's are the worst, with the limbs basically being shin and arm pads.

You mean like MMC's Bruticus?  I'll admit that the all-in-one thing meant a few sacrifices had to be made, mostly to Onslaught, but the result is nothing short of gorgeous.

13 minutes ago, M'Kyuun said:

I used to be one of those who decried Takara's cessation of using it in the MP line, but ultimately, I think the toys hold up better with everything plastic.

I don't mind a little strategically-placed diecast, but Fans Toys tends to overdo it.  Pretty sure one of FT's Insecticons weighs more than say, MPM Optimus.  And I think jamming as much as they did into combiner parts is just asking for trouble.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

You mean like MMC's Bruticus?  I'll admit that the all-in-one thing meant a few sacrifices had to be made, mostly to Onslaught, but the result is nothing short of gorgeous.

I don't mind a little strategically-placed diecast, but Fans Toys tends to overdo it.  Pretty sure one of FT's Insecticons weighs more than say, MPM Optimus.  And I think jamming as much as they did into combiner parts is just asking for trouble.

Agree. While the heft feels good in the hand, as I said, it takes its toll over time, and is something that should be used judiciously, as in armatures and such to which chunks of bot need to swing into place, and where plastic would tend to weaken, bend, or break over time, or with repeated manipulation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, CoryHolmes said:

Most Menasor's are the worst, with the limbs basically being shin and arm pads.

We can blame slavish cartoon accuracy for that one. It is the way Sunbow drew the toy(I hesitate to say "consistently" given the show in question).

 

With the market trending towards "exactly like the cartoon or no sale", spending more to do him right will likely only be punished with reduced sales, as disappointing as it is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, JB0 said:

It is the way Sunbow drew the toy(I hesitate to say "consistently" given the show in question).

If only their model sheets had hewed closer to the toy...

1728995187_ifonly.jpg.acc376adacd80c261081ee7582c35ac9.jpg

Something like this, eh?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, JB0 said:

We can blame slavish cartoon accuracy for that one. It is the way Sunbow drew the toy(I hesitate to say "consistently" given the show in question).

 

With the market trending towards "exactly like the cartoon or no sale", spending more to do him right will likely only be punished with reduced sales, as disappointing as it is.

I'm not like that, though.  I want good engineering solutions to the transformers question.  Like the Dinobots, for example.  Ever since MP-08 introduced the 'tail folds into the boots' gimmick, most if not all 3P and Masterpiece dinos went that route.  It was great the first time, but I want something new and original.

 

Same thing with the upcoming James/Bond from X-Transbots.  Punch is my absolute favourite transformer and I want to better engineering than just "flip visor, twist shoulder pads, bend knees the other way".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, CoryHolmes said:

I'm not like that, though.  I want good engineering solutions to the transformers question.  Like the Dinobots, for example.  Ever since MP-08 introduced the 'tail folds into the boots' gimmick, most if not all 3P and Masterpiece dinos went that route.  It was great the first time, but I want something new and original.

 

Same thing with the upcoming James/Bond from X-Transbots.  Punch is my absolute favourite transformer and I want to better engineering than just "flip visor, twist shoulder pads, bend knees the other way".

I'm very much in the same boat. 

On the one hand, it does save me a lot of money. But on the other... I want more cool robot toys!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, JB0 said:

I'm very much in the same boat. 

On the one hand, it does save me a lot of money. But on the other... I want more cool robot toys!

I'm willing to pay more for a GOOD Punch/Counterpunch toy.  The $100 Price tag for James/Bond doesn't exactly instill a great amount of hope for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a lot of Devastators.

IMG_20181005_163657.jpg.3d60f1d31e51b411b47653bc6708c4d2.jpg

(TW Constructor, GT Gravity Builder, Titan-Class Devastator, G1 Devastator, Maketoys Giant, TFC Hercules, DX9 Hulkie, and a KO upscaled Hulkie)

So... when MS and Newage started doing Constructicons, I figured I'd have to get both sets.  Haven't ordered any of the Newage ones yet, but while grabbing some other stuff from ShowZ I decided to toss the first (and so far, only) Magic Square set in.  So here's Shovel Master and Roller Master, their Legends-size Scrapper and Mixmaster.

20211004_205139.jpg.a957171a897c49af7ba4235ce9166b16.jpg

My initial impression out of the box was quite good.  The size is pretty big; they're both the same height as their Motormaster, and taller than the Stunticon cars.  And these are, by far, the most cartoon-accurate Constructicons I have.  Magic Square even went out of their way to copy some of the worst bits of the animation models, like the green lumps on Scrapper's shoulders and Mixmaster's shoulders and forearms where the animators drew the shape of the wheels but no actual wheels.   

20211004_210645.jpg.043478e59a901c18d84cfa8615f8118e.jpg

Shovel Master's got the stripes on his hip skirts, the gray and red on his chest, the bump outs on his knees, the dots on his shins, and the flared ankles with the wheels on his legs.  If I'm being critical, I'd probably say the worst thing about his sculpt is that it's a little flat.  The bump outs on his knees, the gray chest panel, and the purple center piece should all stick out a bit more.  Something else that doesn't really bother me when I'm looking at just MS's figures but is supremely noticeable when you put them with other Constructicons (in this case, the DX9 on the right and the G1 on the left) is what I'd have to say are some poor color choices.  The green is too yellow and too pale, like watered down Mountain Dew, and the purple is both too pale and not nearly blue enough.

20211004_210721.jpg.087787a873344c2bb5565c6b8e5abf72.jpg

Roller Master's got the green nozzles on his head, the squares on his pelvis, the red rectangle and linework on his chest, and the circles on under his chest where the animators drew his screw holes, plus the stepped green lower legs with the linework on the shins.  He's even got bump outs on his hips, although they actually serve a purpose here.  Where Roller Master deviates the most from the animation model is a little extra line work on his abs, legs that are more tapered (technically true for Shovel Master, too, but less noticeable there), and the fact that he actually has feet with just a bit of toe poking out.  Of course he's got the same color issues, but I expect that to match these guys the other four will as well.  So I'm not going to keep beating a dead horse over it.

20211004_211505.jpg.f0771a6d94aac804f6f5813f9d16606f.jpg

Given the relatively high price for this set I'm a little disappointed by the lack of accessories.  You get two guns, molded fairly cartoon accurate and cast as single pieces in black plastic.  The bigger one is Shovel Master's, the smaller one Roller Master's.  You get an alternate head for Shovel Master.  And you get a replacement robot-mode backpack for Roller Master.

20211004_211204.jpg.b151ea2e9b14b3da207883fcf960e7c1.jpg

Shovel Master's head is probably a ball joint.  He can look up and down a little, nothing really sideways, and it can swivel.  His shoulders rotate and extend laterally just about 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel, double-jointed elbows bend well past 90 degrees, and his wrists swivel.  His waist swivels, and if you start to pull him apart for transformation you can get a little ab crunch.  His ball-jointed hips can go 90 degrees forward, 60 degrees backward, and just under 90 degrees laterally.  His thighs swivel, and his knees are double-jointed and bend until his calves meet his thighs.  His feet can tilt up an down a little, with additional hinges at the toes and heel, and his ankle can pivot 45-ish degrees.

Roller Master's head is on a ball joint.  It swivels, he can't really look down or tilt sideways but he can look up around 45 degrees.  Shoulders rotate and extend laterally 90 degrees, biceps swivel, double-jointed elbows do over 90, and wrists swivel.  His waist swivels, no ab crunch.  His ball-jointed hips go 90 degrees forward or backward, but those packs on his hips keep them from doing more than 45 degrees laterally.  His thighs swivel, and his knees are double jointed and bend until his calves touch his thighs.  His feet tilt down, but there really isn't room for them to tilt up.  His ankles pivot 90 degrees. 

All-in-all, both figures have pretty good articulation, especially for their size.  They hold their weapons by sliding the handles into their molded hands.  However, articulating them is where we start to see some of the flaws in MS's designs.  See, they're fairly intricate, especially for their size.  But, the designs are paired with materials that are more of a return to nylon form, and I have to say that while nylon can be a great material on a part that needs some flex and durability I'm really starting to question MS's decision to go all out with it.  It leads to imprecise fits for tabs; Shovel Master's sides are constantly coming undone while I'm moving his arms, same goes for the sliders in Roller Master's torso and the top of his lower legs.  It also leads to loose hinges over time, and already out of the box Shovel Master has a lose up/down tilt on his left foot, Roller Master has a totally floppy ankle pivot on his right foot, and he's got a part on a mushroom swivel for transformation that comes off every time you twist it.

20211004_211759.jpg.77755be294e0eff07b8fdba85517e40d.jpg

As for the other accessories, you swap Shovel Master's head by pushing his face off, then removing the helmet from the ball peg.  While I can see the differences in the sculpt, I'm not sure the alternate head captures the cartoon any better than the stock one.  As for Roller Master, his mixing drum is attached via a small peg near the top of the backpack and two tabs at around armpit level.  It just pops off, and you can put the alternate one on via a peg in a hole below the stock drum's, and a larger tab that goes into the small of his back.  This drum gives him a smaller, more cartoon accurate backpack that lies flat against his back, but it doesn't transform like the stock one so it'd have to be removed and swapped back to stock for alt mode.

20211004_215911.jpg.e8b50013f4a9eca2487362e0e0006c14.jpg

Speaking of alt modes... Shovel Master's is pretty good.  He eschews the closed cabs of some of the more modern interpretations of Scrapper in favor of a more cartoony, G1 toy open roof on two supports.  There's lots of little linework, too, that gives him a bit or realistic detail, though.

20211004_215958.jpg.d6a979c5ebd9ece15bee6b6e25d8ab00.jpg

A lot of the same positives can be said for Roller Master's alt mode.  He's got a lot of the cartoon details like the shape of the grill, placement of the headlights, the single-pane windshield the two-tone bumper, etc.  But there's a bit more realistic detail, too, with the hip packs becoming fuel tanks, molded and painted windshield wipers, and linework depicting more realistic door panels.

20211004_220020.jpg.af6873bd610a2d3f716069afe340d858.jpg

The engineering and transformation is again the biggest problem I have with these guys.  In the case of Shovel Master it's not too bad, maybe a little ambitious for the scale and definitely for the materials.  Use the same engineering on anything from a WfC-scaled Voyager to an MP-scale with more traditional plastic and it'd probably be quite brilliant, but as it stands the legs feel weird, some stuff doesn't seem to tab in place at all, most noticeably the roof, and the things that do tab in don't seem to line up quite right.  As for Roller Master, from the waist up as he forms the back of the truck the engineering is quite clever.  The mixing drum expands, the arms tuck away, and wheels come out of the inside of his torso.  His legs, though, explode into a mess of panels that have to be rearranged in just the right way to form the cab of the truck.  The instructions are tiny and hard to decipher, and if you don't do things in the right order some parts will wind up in the way of the others and you won't be able to collapse everything into the necessary cube shape.  Again, maybe it'd be better at a larger scale or with some better instructions, but as it stands it was possibly the least fun I've had transforming a figure in 2021.  I actually had all the pictures done yesterday, but I decided to wait until today to write the review because I wanted to cool off and not have the transformation color my opinion too much.

So where does that leave us, then?  I'd say it depends... is your collection more Newage or Magic Square?  If your collection is more Newage, then these guys are almost certainly too big.  Being as tall as MS's Motormaster means they're also as tall as their Optimus. If Magic Square, then there's are mostly good, cartoon accurate Stunticons and you'll probably be happy adding them to your collection, although again perhaps smaller Newage ones work better if you think they Constructicons should be a little smaller.  Or maybe you just don't like the colors and materials Magic Square used.  I expect I'll have a more definitive recommendation after I have the Newage ones in hand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So all this talk of Star Saber lately had me finally invest in a fix to one of MP-24's most annoying accessorie - the long sword hilt.

From Shapeways I got these two bits which aid to change the orientation of the grip, therefore allowing Star Saber to actually wield the sword with the blade's edge. One is a complete replacement, the other is an adapter designed to to work with original hilt.

20211002_152930.jpg.ab6c35ef45b9f693c1a328de2ecad720.jpg

20211002_152432.jpg.e343fe4f714a45e6c0f19f2f1eb37511.jpg 20211002_152704.jpg.7e24489f2dd982b573e21a6131133d26.jpg 20211002_151920.jpg.9bdc0ed71307fcfd5e777729113719b8.jpg 20211002_151800.jpg.b2068290be8861ed135619b65c9ee038.jpg

If you have the KFC upgrade hands, then you can use the included hand-adapter with the new hilt for even more grip. It's a snug fit, so put it in the adapter first and then insert it into the hand.

20211005_205839.jpg.686e5dcadedb7e6896fc393156fedf73.jpg 20211005_210049.jpg.f5fb929d3f043a3f1e328953b9bd2948.jpg
Overall I am happy with both, the blue is not a match with the original but I can live with that. The material feels robust on both, but it doesn't have a smooth texture. If you want to save a little and can live with Star Saber holding the grip on the narrow edge, then just get the adapter.

20211005_205653.jpg.b5ca121734a4e3fb3a5d6d683fba87a2.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, mikeszekely said:

I have a lot of Devastators.

<snip>

So where does that leave us, then?  I'd say it depends... is your collection more Newage or Magic Square?  If your collection is more Newage, then these guys are almost certainly too big.  Being as tall as MS's Motormaster means they're also as tall as their Optimus. If Magic Square, then there's are mostly good, cartoon accurate Stunticons and you'll probably be happy adding them to your collection, although again perhaps smaller Newage ones work better if you think they Constructicons should be a little smaller.  Or maybe you just don't like the colors and materials Magic Square used.  I expect I'll have a more definitive recommendation after I have the Newage ones in hand.

Good review. Thank you, @mikeszekely.

For full sets, I only have Generation Toy, Master Made, and now Newage Devy. I gave away my copy of Combiner Wars Devy (the Takara release) and I've never had G1 Devastator (even as a kid). I did pick up the first two Magic Square Constructicons because I was into the unique style (from teaser photos) and the subtle differences in articulation and scale.

However, yeah, the most obvious oddity is the color palette. The Magic Square Constructicons look washed out. I'm not sure if this is intentional or due to the bare nylon plastic that they use. Honestly, I'm not really well-versed in the debate about nylon versus other plastics. I am keen to see if Magic Square will do metallic or toy-style repaints like they have done for other figures. If those are announced, then I may wait for them. Of course, it is taking a while to get a glimpse of the next Constructicon pair, so maybe I'll just stay the course. 

The transformation is challenging and the instruction are not anything special. I can see how they could get frustrating. I was able to work through parts of it on my own but I needed a video to help me through my first bot to alt mode conversion. There was one bit with folding and tabbing the leg pieces to build the cab that I goofed up and another part with the arms that I plain missed.

On a related note, the tabs that slot in to hold everything together in alt mode work okay on my two bots, but they also do not inspire confidence. My main concern is with how the tabs will hold up over time and repeat transformations. I guess we'll see how that goes. 

Overall, I like it but Magic Square is introducing next-level complexity so fans ought to know what they are getting into. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with your review, @mikeszekely

Those Constructicons look great, but are a pain to transform. My collection is mostly NewAge, but I chose MS for Devastator 'cause I didn't like NA's approach for combining the Constructicons. 

 

They may not scale well with the rest of my collection, but as long as the whole set makes a great Devastator, I'm fine with that

 

PicsArt_09-06-10.59.42.jpg

PicsArt_09-06-10.55.43.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I finally got a Menasor I'm content with...

challenge accepted.jpg

...aesthetically, at least. :unsure:

XTB's "Monolith" (the so-called "youth" version) gives you the option of a cartoon-style profile with additional toy detailing, harking back to the classic Masterpiece styling of Shogo Hasui.  Color, proportions, and sculpted details are all superior to the other options I've seen.  However, it's virtually impossible to transform the trailer into a robot without breaking tabs in the process.  It's unbelievably counter-intuitive, and the instructions are hopelessly inadequate ("fasten the five buckles of the protrusion in the direction of the arrow").  Easily the least fun I've had with a transformer in years.  Remember the nightmare of MP-5 Megatron? <_<

What's worse, it lacks ratchet joints where they're most needed -- namely, the ankle joints that hold the damn thing up -- and the hollow legs barely handle the weight of the upper body.  Menasor is always ready to topple forwards (or backwards), and it's difficult to find a decent pose he will pull off effectively... and that's with an empty torso!  I haven't even added the weight of "Gravestone" himself.  I don't dare put him up on the top shelves with my other combiners.

Now, to be fair, I've had very similar experiences with smaller combiners (TFC's "Hercules," "Uranos," and "Warbotron" spring to mind), so it's nothing new for 3P.  Still, ToyWorld established a new standard with "Constructor," and both Zeta and MMC have followed suit with their MP-scaled combiner teams.  "Monolith" feels like a significant step backwards in engineering. <_<

Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

It's a shame Toyhax or someone didn't make decals for the legs of DX9's Menasor.

Regardless, decals wouldn't be able to hide those grey arms... :unsure:

i-img900x1200-1609656324rqzws72331348.jp

...or do anything to disguise the fact that Dragstrip and Dead End have obviously been ripped apart. :unknw:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, tekering said:

Regardless, decals wouldn't be able to hide those grey arms... :unsure:

i-img900x1200-1609656324rqzws72331348.jp

...or do anything to disguise the fact that Dragstrip and Dead End have obviously been ripped apart. :unknw:

Ah. That didn't really bother me. But maybe you could paint the arms to match the cars? I don't recall that those parts show on the truck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, mikeszekely said:

Ah. That didn't really bother me.

The grey arms are toon-accurate, of course:

CosmicRust_Menasor_holds_aloft_bug.jpg

The choice to split the cars in two, however, only makes sense if you're going the Studio Ox route, depicting Drag Strip and Dead End as the actual arms (rather than just big shoulder pads).

E4GHS1XUUAM95ta.jpg

Having half a car stuck on each grey forearm isn't accurate to anything, and just looks ridiculous. 🤨

Unfortunately, it seems to have suddenly become the default solution:

msb1213-pillage-contain-05.jpg

Even Magic Square is doing it now. <_<

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, tekering said:

The grey arms are toon-accurate, of course:

CosmicRust_Menasor_holds_aloft_bug.jpg

The choice to split the cars in two, however, only makes sense if you're going the Studio Ox route, depicting Drag Strip and Dead End as the actual arms (rather than just big shoulder pads).

E4GHS1XUUAM95ta.jpg

Having half a car stuck on each grey forearm isn't accurate to anything, and just looks ridiculous. 🤨

Unfortunately, it seems to have suddenly become the default solution:

msb1213-pillage-contain-05.jpg

Even Magic Square is doing it now. <_<

 

I mentioned in my my review, but MS had three different ways to do the arms- split the cars and put half on the shoulder and half on the forearm, don't split the car and put the whole car on the shoulder, or extend the car and make it mostly the whole arm.

Edited by mikeszekely
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny.  Seems to me like if you get a MP/CHUG/Legends Springer it's not a huge deal if you don't have or bother with Sandstorm and Broadside.  But if you get just one Decepticon Triple Changer you've got to get them all.  And so, since I reviewed Mech Fans Toys/Mechanic Studios' Astrotrain (three of them, actually) I had to get their Octane.  And with Astrotrain and Octane in hand I had to get this guy- Thunderbolt, aka MFT's Legends+ Blitzwing.

20211008_144608.jpg.f7e32302ef860cb1bc75ec0b5d660f2a.jpg

Once again, I feel like MFT really knocks it out of the park on cartoon accuracy.  Thruster feet?  Check.  The red, yellow, and gray geometry on his chest?  Check.  White stripe on his tummy?  Check.  Beveled thighs?  Check.  Shoulder pads with purple stripes?  Check.  Fins at the bottoms of his shins?  Check, although technically it's optional because you can fold them in while he's in bot mode.  What I really find impressive is that he manages it all with a backpack that isn't as big as DX9 or KFC's MP-esque Blitzwings.

20211008_144644.jpg.f877208f83c499266010ce096522b7f4.jpg

And for size, there he is with his MFT triple-changing buddies.  I think he'll work fine in a largely Magic Square collection.  He might be a tad big for a Newage collection, but I could see Blitzwing being kind of a big bruiser, so maybe he'd get a pass.

20211008_143410.jpg.f26b2ee87c6a2d05782d5e4748f95e2c.jpg

Thunderbolt comes with two accessories you need, and one you probably don't.  You get his gun, nothing fancy in purple plastic but with a nice cartoony sculpt.  You also get his sword, which has lovely metallic purple paint on the blade.  Then you get an alternate head, apparently based on Animated Blitzwing's crazy face.  Because apparently you can't have G1 Blitzwing without at least one unrelated head based on a totally different Blitzwing.  Needless to say, that's going back in the box.

20211008_144911.jpg.81cd87a35152fb04571b14c85773b0ab.jpg

Thunderbolt's head is on a ball joint with a good amount of up/down tilt and too much sideways tilt.  His shoulders are on ball joints.  They rotate, but only about 90 degrees due to his shoulder pads and back kibble.  They also move laterally 90 degrees, as his shoulder pads hinge out of the way for that.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees.  No wrist articulation.  He does have a little waist rotation behind his pelvis flap, but it's very limited.  His ball-jointed hips can move forward and laterally 90 degrees but just a bit backward.  His thighs swivel both above and below his knees, which bend 90 degrees.  His feet can tilt up, his toes can tilt down, and his ankles can pivot 90 degrees.

He holds either of his weapons with no trouble by sliding the handles into his hands.

20211008_142437.jpg.f914fdfba839cc1a3fc11e92f5fc061f.jpg

Thunderbolt's tank mode is pretty good!  Not as realistic as KFC's Ditka, sure, but cartoony enough and an honest improvement over DX9's Gewalt or the sub-par Titans Return version.  The only thing I can really fault is that there isn't a chunk of the jet-mode's cockpit jutting out the front, but is that really a bad thing?

20211008_143332.jpg.04966d3efc945ec2caa07997f38f1282.jpg

He does have the prominent jet exhausts, but for some reason I think a tank with jet exhausts is kind of cool.  There's little wheels for him to roll on, and the turret can rotate.  The barrel has a limited up/down range.  Using tabs on the weapons, you can plug them into the sides of the tank for storage if you like.

20211008_143724.jpg.98e6a0b33d117daf71f6cfd39bab4830.jpg

Thunderbolt's jet mode is fine, too.  Perhaps not as cartoony as KFC's, as the kibble is tucked in tight and the lower "wings" missing, plus there's non-cartoon cannons (that do sort of call to mind the molded bombs on the G1 toy).  Not as realistic as DX9's, either, because it does have the kibble, delta wings, and overall proportions of the cartoon/G1 toy.

20211008_143817.jpg.9aa614e110b3caf61e9bff61f4e60ea3.jpg

A quick peak at the underside reveals the tank turret just chilling out underneath.  I think that's just the cost of doing business with Blitzwing.  I don't really mind it, and there's bumps on the turret for the jet mode to rest on and stay level.

Disappointingly, there doesn't seen to be any way to store his weapons while he's in jet mode.

Thunderbolt's a pretty good toy, I think.  He's not without his flaws (I like him better than MFT's Octane, but not as much as Astrotrain), but he might be the best Blitzwing I've seen in any scale.  Which, as if often the case when I do a Legends review, just makes me wish that they'd make these things in WfC-scale.  But if Legends is your thing, I'd definitely give Thunderbolt a recommend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good review of Thunderbolt, Mike. Blitzwing is my favorite of the triple changers (Astrotrain is a very close second), primarily due to his very complimentary , and very cool, alt modes. That said, his tank turret is an albatross that virtually every Blitzwing toy has to deal with, and it makes me wish I could jump back in time and change the original design to better incorporate it into the jet mode somehow. Even with today's engineering and tech advantages, that turret continues to be so much luggage under the jet on most Blitzwing toys. Digressing a little, I hope Fans Toys arrive at a favorable solution for integrating the turret on their version.

Turret aside, MFT did a commendable job at legends scale. It favors the G1 toy, especially in tank mode, and I think their jet mode improves on the G1 toy's double wing anomaly. Not a bad thing. FWiW, I think the jet thrusters sticking out of the tank's backside are pretty cool too.:p  I'm trying to chill on the legends stuff, and I passed on all these guys, but I can appreciate what MFT have accomplished with these toys. Good stuff!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blitzwing is unique since he is the one triple changer with Diaclone origins, per TFWiki. I agree that MFT’s Thunderbolt does a very good job capturing his G1 likeness and I was impressed by the tank tread transformation when I got my copy. It is too bad they couldn’t fit in retractable landing gear on the nose in fighter mode, though. I do think that would have been a nice feature to carry over from the original toy. 

That one nitpick aside, I’m happy I picked up Thunderbolt too. Looking at the photos @mikeszekely shared in his review, Poison/Octane looks like the odd bot out. It makes me wish he was a smidge taller so that all of MFT’s released triple changers were the same height in bot mode.

Edited by technoblue
Link to comment
Share on other sites

While it's often been the case that multiple 3Ps will come out with or at least announce a character around the same time as another 3P, I don't think there's ever been a case of that as extreme as Springer.  Unique Toys released their Allen, then all of the sudden heavy hitters Fans Toys, X-Transbots, and MMC/Ocular Max announced theirs, ToyWorld came up with a more Studio OX-inspired design, and the rumor goes that a few other players banded together and the "Open and Play" branding to release Big Spring just as a low-cost stab at Fans Toys.

To be honest, my initial thought was that I'd go with X-Transbots.  I already had issues with Allen and his yellow feet, ToyWorld's OX line was never going to cut it on a G1 MP shelf, and of the remainder XTB's seemed to be the most-accurate in all three modes (arguably still does).  When it became clear that I had a wait ahead of me, I gave Big Spring a try, and I really liked him.  It wasn't without it's flaws, though, and it was never meant to be my permanent MP Springer.  As time passed, though, XTB's still hasn't come out (yet somehow preorders are running $200), and Fans Toys' is a poorly-articulated engineering nightmare that I honestly think would be universally reviled if it weren't for the Fans Toys Kool-Aid.  MMC's seemed to be getting a lot of positive buzz, though.  I missed the original release, but when MMC announced they were going to do a new version with tweaked colors I decided to jump on it.  So tonight, we're taking a look at MMC/Ocular Max Saltus Alternative, my second MP Springer.

20211008_163251.jpg.d398f52a57da4d861f5ec967f7ccfde9.jpg

So that's Saltus on the left, Big Spring on the right.  While I don't think Big Spring looked too bad, face aside, Saltus definitely has an edge here.  It's not just that the head is just the spitting image of the smiling Springer giving Daniel an exo-suit, but the fact that the proportions are all-around the thicker slab of a bot Springer was animated as compared to Big Spring's too-slender build.  You'll note the area around is collar is cleaner, too.

20211008_163320.jpg.9522d3e262273799ab098d6aa3a171b8.jpg

Of course, it's not just his proportions that are thicker.  Despite carrying pretty much the same stuff, Saltus' backpack definitely sticks out a bit further.

20211008_163504.jpg.86042848359902ae7d7173bc7a341777.jpg

But Saltus does offer another advantage over Big Spring, and that's his shoulder pads.  By default, they're wrapped around the sides of his shoulders, like Big Spring (and, as far as I know, Fans Toys, Unique Toys, and XTB, too).  But MMC gives you options.  You want them on top of his shoulders, like the Siege toy?  You can do that.  You want them on the back of his shoulders for an OX look, like ToyWorld or the G1 toy?  You can do that.  You can even angle them partly around the side and partly over the top, which is how I think the cartoon did it.

I'll note too, although I never really had problems with Big Spring's plastic, MMC's plastic definitely feels better, plus he's got diecast in his chest, thighs, and feet and a ton more paint.  This definitely gives him a more premium feel, but that's to be expected when he cost me more than double what I paid for Big Spring.

20211008_151159.jpg.399fcbab737f384c5b09f49e19ac312b.jpg

Speaking of the cartoon, Saltus comes with a number of accessories, and some of them are definitely "that thing from that episode/movie".  You of course get sword and a rifle.  Nothing mind-blowing there; the rifle is gray plastic with a nice sculpt that recalls to me the original toy's, and the sword has silver paint the blade.  You get the warhead they fired at Devastator in the movie.  Big Spring did, too, but MMC's is painted so there's that.  You get two alternative heads, and two black clips we'll get to in a bit.  And finally, you get a spear-like weapon that you have to assemble yourself.  This spear is the "magic lance" Springer and Razorclaw used to kill a dragon in the episode "Nightmare Planet," and it's notable because the entire shaft is metal.

20211008_164327.jpg.389df7446f4d69f98d8d0dd61a87ffcc.jpg

Saltus' articulation is quite good.  His head is on a hinged swivel, and he can look up a good bit.  His downward articulation is good but a bit more limited, however you can use a transformation joint to crane his whole neck forward a bit and fake plenty of downward tilt.  His shoulders rotate, no issues, and extend laterally over 90 degrees, plus he's got a little forward and backward butterfly.  His elbows are double-jointed and curl just about 180 degrees.  His wrists swivel, plus then can bend downward a little.  Each finger on his hand is individually articulated.  His thumb has a ball joint into the palm with a pin at the base of the peg, and all of his fingers are pinned at the base.  Three of his fingers are molded into curls and don't have any additional hinges, but his index finger does have not one but two additional knuckle hinges.  His waist swivels, and he has an ab crunch.  His hips are ratcheted all around, and can go 90 degrees laterally or backward and over 90 forward.  His thighs swivel.  His knees are double-jointed and can bend 180 degrees.  His feet have all the up/down tilt you could want, and about 45 degrees of ankle pivot.

The handles of his sword and gun have tabs on them that fit securely into his palms, in your typical MP fashion.  They can store on his back if you use the included clips.  One has a tab that fits into a small slot under the rifle's barrel, and adds a tab that fits into a slot on Saltus' back.  The other wraps snuggly around the blade of Saltus' sword, and uses two tabs that fit into slots on the other side of Saltus' backpack.  It's not official, but you can also kind of slide the sword into a gap in his backpack if you want it more on his back and stored without using the clip.  Just take care that you don't scratch the paint on the blade.

20211008_164610.jpg.6b166df182c19d2d9a8b91fb26a8a78c.jpg

Saltus can interact with the other accessories, I suppose.  I mean, I was able to get him to hold the lance and the warhead, but they're not really locked in like the gun or sword.  It's just the tension in his finger joints holding the lance, and careful balancing of the warhead on his hands.  And they don't have any method of storage, so... back in the box they go.

20211008_164937.jpg.0d48bb916ef611d1ab55cebcdd2fb25a.jpg

They'll have company in the box with Saltus' extra heads.  As I mentioned, the default head is kind of a happy smile.  The other two are more stoic expressions.  The difference between the two is that one is the same Sunbow-style sculpt that the happy face opts for, while the other has eyes closer to the top of his helmet, sharper lines on the helmet's contours, and a narrower face with a smaller chin.  That head is supposed to be Studio OX-style.  I kind of thought I'd prefer the OX-style head, but in-hand I definitely like the Sunbow ones.  That said, I'm swapping happy Springer for neutral Springer.  Swapping the heads is easy, it just requires you to undo the screw on the back, separate the halves of the head, then pop the new one in place so that it captures the neck hinge.

Not an accessory, but one final "that thing from that movie" gimmick Saltus has is that panels on his forearms can open to reveal the little internal gun he fired at Starscream during the battle of Autobot City.

20211008_150126.jpg.4477d0eca2b23ae53cc5e1bee852ee8f.jpg

One of the advantages Big Spring had, especially compared to Unique Toys' Allen and Fans Toys' Apache, is that the engineering was fairly simple.  He didn't even come with instructions!  Saltus definitely comes with instructions, but honestly I wound up not really using them because somehow Saltus' transformation is even more straightforward and easy.  Indeed, there are some steps that look confusing in the instructions but once you know how the parts move it's kind of obvious where they go.

20211008_150138.jpg.5f7a43a1f4fb07ea0dfa5ed19a73df54.jpg

Springer's car mode has always been sort of wonky.  I have to give MMC credit for shaping Saltus into something that does look like it could be some kind of armored military vehicle of the future... but it's not at all accurate.  Not to the cartoon, not to the G1 toy, and not to Studio OX's art.  Now, I'm not necessary saying the lack of accuracy is a bad thing, given how wonky the animation model is, but between the two Big Spring is a lot closer to the mark.  Now, the biggest thing I've though worked against Big Spring is the gap between his legs makes the rear of the car look sort of unfinished, but I can't really say that Saltus solved that problem with a similar gap between is rather visible robot thighs.  Still, it's pretty cohesive, kind of low and sleek... I think I prefer Big Spring's, but I definitely like it better than the weirdly-stretched car on Apache.

20211008_151346.jpg.f1041b8aa67b1fd04d5674b6f9a65b91.jpg

You can use the same clips you used to store the rifle and sword on Saltus' backpack to store them on the sides of the car.  It's not ideal, since it requires you to keep extra clips around, although you can kind of just leave the one on the gun permanently on the gun, or leave the clips in place in all three modes.  Personally, though, I'll put them back in the box with the lance, warhead, and extra heads and simply not stow the weapons on the vehicle.  I do wonder, though, why the handle of the rifle folds in and what looks like a two-pronged peg folds out if it doesn't do anything, or why the sword couldn't be stowed under the car (which looks like what XTB will do).

As far as other gimmicks, the tires are rubber.  The headlights can fold out, just as they did on Big Spring and ToyWorld's, as depicted in Studio OX.  The canopy also opens, revealing a little steering wheel.

20211008_160606.jpg.cd0f60a0f13788122e61e29f9314220c.jpg

If going between robot and car is easy on Saltus, going between car and helicopter is almost effortless.  You fold the boom out from the legs at the back of the car, turn the legs sideways, scrunch part of the back more to the top, make the front wheels and the forearms swap places, then rock the shoulder pads back and you've more or less got it.  As is usually the case, the sword splits in half along the blade and plugs in to form the helicopter's rotor.

20211008_160724.jpg.75fc3dfd48b6e0cc5fdc23c1b0ce5816.jpg

The biggest strike against Saltus is, again, that the helicopter isn't cartoon accurate.  To be fair, I don't think anyone's really pulled off the helicopter perfectly (although I begrudgingly admit that Fans Toys came the closest), and I don't really feel like nitpicking all the little things Saltus got wrong when almost everyone got the same things wrong and the ones that didn't got other things wrong.  However, there's one thing that Saltus really got wrong, and that's the tail boom.  Let me show you another picture to illustrate.

CSA-2006-02-24-095553.jpg.ca5b188a6b0296096d1c8363e64ed475.jpg

In this photo, the helicopter at the top is an AH-64 Apache, and the one on the bottom is an OH-58 Kiowa.  On the Apache, you can see that the boom projects roughly from the bottom of the helicopter, and the top is kind of like a hump that curves down to the boom.  It's not clear from the Sunbow character model (indeed, it almost looks to be the opposite), but if you watch scenes of Springer in the movie and the cartoon and looked at the G1 toy that's how Springer's tail boom is supposed to be, it's how the Siege toy is, and it's how all the 3P MP-style Springers are except MMC's.  Instead, Saltus' boom runs along the spine of the helicopter, with the belly curving up to meet it like the Kiowa.  Maybe not a deal-breaker for many of you, but it is the single biggest flaw with Saltus in my opinion, and for all its own flaws it's why Big Spring still has a more accurate helicopter mode.

If you like, the canopy still opens, the headlights still fold out, and you can still use the clip to store the gun on the side of the helicopter.

So ultimately, where does that leave Saltus?  I mean, it's a pretty great figure. The quality and engineering on the figure are top notch, and right out of the gate I'd handily recommend him over ToyWorld, Unique Toys, or even Fans Toys.  For most collectors, I think bot mode is the priority and MMC really knocked that out of the park with a strong sculpt, premium materials, and excellent articulation.  He's a joy to handle, and he'll be replacing Big Spring on my MP shelf.  That said, while I like his car mode it's definitely not accurate, and the helicopter mode is just wrong.  Open and Play's Big Spring beats Saltus in both of those modes, and it's only the fact that the robot mode and materials are so much better on Saltus that's keeping me from giving Big Spring the crown.  Even then, you might still want to wait.  XTB still hasn't released their Springer yet, but from the last test shots I've seen it is the most Sunbow-accurate in all three modes and should have excellent articulation and plenty of accessories.  Then again, it's XTB, who lately has either had high prices, poor QC, complicated engineering, or all three (culminating in their Kup being so bad they're apparently reworking it and promising to replace the ones that were already sold).  So for now, Saltus gets the recommend as the best of many MP-style Springers available as of October 2021.  He's a fantastic robot with a better-than-accurate car and a so-inaccurate-it-bothers-me helicopter.  But I'm not going to blame you if you want to wait and see how XTB's shakes out, because it certainly looks better if they can get their QC under control.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

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

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

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

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

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

×
×
  • Create New...