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It seems like not that long ago when I was buying 3P stuff left and right, and actually swore off the mainline.  Now?  The last 3P stuff I looked at was in January.  Like half a year ago!  I guess it's a combination of having 3P MP-ish representations of most of the seasons 1-3 Sunbow cast and $150-$250 becoming the norm, but I've slowed down.  To the point where I actually bought this figure months ago, but had it sitting in a pile waiting for that magical $150 "free shipping" milestone.  This is SND's The One, a CHUG-ish take on IDW Optimus Prime.


OK, it's not the more popular Don Figueroa IDW Optimus that's been done a few times by 3Ps (including the little guy on the right), this one's based on Andrew Griffith's design that first appear in Robots in Disguise #28.  And in some ways, SND absolutely nailed it.  The details on the legs, the gray joints at the top of the thigh, the wing mirrors on his chest, the outward-curving smokestacks, the (faux) arm wheels, the lights on the waist... it's all spot on.  In terms of sculpt, my only real complaints are that he's a tad too skinny, and there's something just a little off with his head.  I'm having a hard time putting my finger on it, though (aside from suggesting it might be a tad large).


And The One doesn't just nail it from the front, either.  He's not trying to hide a ton of kibble on his back.  Indeed, the backpack he has is accurate to the comics.  The only real deviation is that you can see the hitch on his heels, but Griffith drew the hitch on Prime's calves in the comics.

What I do find disappointing, though, is the white.  The comics are colored with a metallic sheen that tells you that pretty much everything you see as bare white plastic on The One should have been silver.  Now, I'm not the type of collector that demands paint.  I'm ok with bare plastic... when it's the right color.  The white's just off, but I suspect that the designer was taking inspiration from Gunpla.  Yeah, a lot of the parts on this guy are just kind of snapped on.  The designer forgot to account for one thing, though- Gundam is white, Prime isn't.

I guess I should also point out that although he's a bit shorter than a lot of MMC's Reformatted stuff, he's still a bit too tall to scale with Hasbro's mainline stuff.


The One comes with a few accessories, and most of them are replacement hands.  I know hands are more common with Legends stuff these days, but on a figure this size it again suggests to me that the designer was coming at this figure almost like Gunpla.  Aside from hands, you get Prime's trusty rifle, a stand adapter, and a pair of energon blades that I want to blame on the legacy of Bayverse Prime, which might be true, but Prime did actually use them in the comics, so it's fair to include them.


Oh yeah, The One also comes with a diecast Matrix.  Would have been nice to have paint or colored plastic, but it is what it is.


The One's head is on a hinged swivel, so he can look up a good bit, down a little, but no sideways tilt.  His shoulders swivel and can move laterally over 90 degrees, and if you unlock them for transformation he's got some forward/backward butterfly.  His biceps swivel, and his double-jointed elbows bend nearly 180 degrees.  Note that the faux tires on his forearms don't really lock in place, so after posing his arms you will probably have to adjust the wheels separately.  His wrists swivel, and there's a little inward wrist bend.  His thumb is on a ball joint that can swivel and fold over his palm.  His other four fingers are molded as a single part, permanently curled with a hinge at the base.  That is, unless you swap out the hands- the others are perma-posed with no articulation.  His waist swivels, and he's got a small amount of ab crunch/back bend.  His hips move laterally nearly 90 degrees on friction joints, then nearly 90 degrees backward and 90 degrees forward on a ratchet.  On his sides and back hip skirts flip up to get out of the way, but what's interesting is that in the front his hip skirt moves up with the hip, under his waist.  And, since his waist doesn't actually leave enough clearance for the hip to get the full 90 there's a small joint at the top of his thigh that hinges just enough for him to get to 90.  Sadly, as his legs contain a bit of diecast, they're a tad heavy and the friction between clicks is a little loose on the hips.  Not ideal.  His thighs swivel, and his knees are double-jointed.  You won't get 180 degrees, but you'll be able to bend his knees until his calves touch his thighs.  His feet have a slight up/down tilt, and about 45 degrees of ankle pivot.  Unfortunately, this little bit of up down tilt is probably among the weakest of joints on him, so while he can pull off some cool poses it's not uncommon for him to just tip over backward because his ankles gave out.

The One holds his rifle MP-style, despite being more CHUG-sized: tabs on the handle fit into slots on his palms.  Swapping the hands is pretty easy, they're just pegged in.  Simply pull and his hand will come off, then you can plug in whatever hand you can choose.  The default articulated hands are the only ones that can hold his gun, though, and they fit for transformation.  I didn't try the others, but the open hands and pointing hands definitely wouldn't, and I suspect the thumbs on the fists won't fit.  So while they're nice options, I'll probably leave mine in the box in the closet.


To use the energon blades, you open the outer flap on his forearm up toward is elbow (don't open the entire kibble flap backward toward the back of his arm).  You'll see a slot near the end, that slot fits a tab on the base of the blade.  As for the stand adapter, it clips around The One's undercarriage.


And now, for the part where every positive thing I've said goes straight out the window.  Transforming The One is a nightmare.  I mean, you're probably not familiar with SND, right?  Or if you are, maybe you might remember that they did an upgrade kit that turned Combiner Wars Optimus into a more MP-sized, Don Figueroa IDW Optimus.  Well, there's a certain familiarity in the way the instruction book is formatted, but you don't even need to open the box to know why.  The box is sealed with X-Transbots stickers, and The One ranks right up there with the very worst of Keith's over-engineered messes.  Seriously, it took me over an hour to get this guy into truck mode, and I have cursed this much transforming a figure since Fans Toys' Rouge.  There's a minimum of eight sliders that I counted.  The front of his shins turn out to the side, rotate one one axis, then rotate on another axis just to flip around to the backs of his legs when there really isn't any reason for the front of his legs to end up there in the first place.  But the worst is trying to tab his arms onto the middle section of a double-hinged armature.  Everything has to be lined up just right, then you tab the parts with the tires in, and if you manage all that the next step is to bring the front of the cab over between the chest windows, which don't actually open with enough clearance to do so, and chances are something is going to pop off and his arms are going to come untabbed, forcing you to go back to three steps to try to line it all up right again.  I very nearly quit at that point.  This figure came out months ago, you guys don't actually need me to review it.  But I powered on.


It's a shame that transforming The One is such a colossal pain, because the truck mode is honestly pretty good.  The cab is basically spot-on to the comics.  We do encounter a bit of problems as we come to the rear, though. He's a tad too long, and most of that is because there's so much stuff extending back further than the rear wheels.  Really, all that over-engineering and they couldn't find a way to collapse the legs better?  If you could move the hitch forward, so it's over the wheels, then eliminate everything past the wheels he'd be pretty much exactly what you see in the comics.


The One's hitch does have a shallow depression that looks like it can fit a trailer, but I don't really recommend it.  For one, it's not a snug fit.  For two, The One's a hitch is slightly too tall.  But, and this is the big one, it's back waaaaaaaaay too far.  The trailer would look a lot more natural if it actually pegged so it was just behind the red part on the sides, directly over the rear wheels.

The One puts me in a bit of an awkward position.  I would really like to see 3Ps get back into the CHUG game, so I wanted to support this project.  I'd like to see more reasonably-priced figures, and this guy runs between $75 and $90, depending on whether you're buying from a domestic store or directly from China.  And there are some definite positives here, like the articulation and the dead-on sculpt.  If you'd also like to support more 3P CHUG offerings and you're interested in a pretty slick Optimus Prime action figure then this might be worth checking out.  But do you want to transform your figures?  Then stay far, far away from The One.  Transforming this figure is enough to make you want to quit this hobby entirely and collect something less frustrating, like sneakers.


Bonus fact!  It's probably a little hard to tell, but Griffith's design was the basis for the "evergreen" design that became Combiner Wars Optimus Prime as well as Cyberverse Optimus Prime.  I'm not exactly sure how evergreen the design truly is, though... while it was used for variety of merchandise and mobile games during Cyberverse's run, Earthspark has replaced it on TV and Rise of the Beasts Optimus has replaced it on merch.

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Sometimes you preorder something because you know you're going to want it.  A new CHUG-scale Optimus for my Optimus Detolf?  Heck yeah!  Sometimes, though, it's FOMO.  Fans Toys' insistence on small runs of overpriced figures sometimes means they don't just sell out, they pre-sell out, so you preorder their Jazz then later come to your senses when the early reviews talk about a PITA transformation and honestly it doesn't really look better to your eye than the Maketoys one already on your shelf, so you cancel that preorder.  And occasionally, you FOMO preorder, forget about it entirely, then realize that you bought a new figure after you see the PayPal email.  That last scenario is how I wound up with Fans Toys Parkour, their take on an MP Cliffjumper, despite feeling like I was pretty content with MMC's Hellion.


Was I really content, though?  I mean, I don't think Hellion looked out-of-place on my MP shelf, but the head sculpt was always kind of smallish and not one of their stronger sculpts.  And his proportions are kind of weird with thin arms, a long, wide torso, a ton of gray tummy, and a short, narrow pelvis.  Then there's Parkour.  Now, I'll be the first one to call out Fans Toys' flaws, but sculpt isn't usually one of them.  Parkour's proportions are pretty much spot on, and he really nails that Sunbow look down to the lines around his wrist.  Credit to MMC where it's due, Hellion's overly-large chest is the actual alt mode roof, and while Parkour is able to nail that Sunbow look largely via a faux chest.


Of course, MP-45 Bumblebee (as well as X-Transbots Toro) did the faux chest, and the results led to big, messy backpacks.  And I can't really say that Parkour's back is the neatest, as he does have some flaps hanging on his back (basically the rear window and spoiler folded over the front windshield) like a cape.  It's not the prettiest, and from the sides you can see gaps around the enveloped windshield.  But I can't honestly say it's the worst, either.  It's not nearly the gappy mess of origami panels that Bumblebee's is.  Indeed, his actual sides under his arms are solid.  Nor is his little kibble cape as massive as the half a car that dangles on the back of Toro.  


Parkour comes with the same sort of accessories you've probably come to expect with a Cliffjumper figure.  You've got the skis for alt mode.  You've got the bazooka.  You've got a smaller blaster that looks nice, although I'm not sure how cartoon accurate it is.  And you've got three replacement faces you can use instead of the default stoic one.  There's a happy open-mouthed one, a more angry open-mouthed one, and a... well, I don't know what that expression is supposed to be.  A slightly open-mouthed "uh, I'm going to forget I saw this" expression after stumbling on Wheeljack's search history?  I don't know, but weirdly enough (given that I usually prefer the more neutral expressions) I kind of like it.  Swapping faces is easy enough.  There's a tab behind the face, and you pull it forward toward you, along with most of the head.


Parkour's articulation is fairly standard, the sort of C+ effort where he checks all the required boxes but doesn't really go above and beyond, which is kind of typical for Fans Toys.  His head can swivel, and a hinge allows him to look up 90 degrees, but there's no downward or sideways tilt.  His shoulders swivel and extend laterally 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend about 120 degrees on a single hinge.  His wrists swivel, his thumb is fixed, but the other fingers are a single perma-curled part hinged at the base.  His waist swivels, but there's no ab crunch.  His hips are soft ratchets that go forward 90 degrees but only about 40 degrees backward, with the hip skirt moving up under the waist going forward (and sometimes needing a little manual adjustment coming back down).  Hinged flaps on the side lift to give him a little over 90 degrees of lateral hip movement on friction joints.  His thighs swivel, and his knees bend about 120 degrees on a single hinge.  His ankles are actually ball joints, they swivel and he's got some limited up/down tilt.  Unfortunately, his ankle pivot is similarly limited to well under 45 degrees.

Parkour's guns have tabs on the back of the handles, and those tabs plug into the base of the palm going in toward the wrist.  It works.


And the working bipod and strong upward head tilt does allow Parkour to lay on his belly and aim his bazooka.


Well, it's a Fans Toys figure, so you gotta figure that I'd have some complaints sooner or later.  And, in a shocking revelation that I'm sure will surprise exactly no one, Parkour isn't very fun to transform.  The rear bumper unlocks from his armpit and the entire rear third of the car explodes from his back, sandwiching his arms in front of his chest.  That in and of itself wouldn't be bad, except that Fans Toys mixed double-hinged armatures, sliders, parts on ball joints, thin panels, and swiveling armatures into the mix.  Now, generally speaking, what you're supposed to do will be pretty obvious, especially on subsequent transformations, but he's a tad finicky and in things are lined up just right the rear of the car won't want to tab together.  Meanwhile, his legs collapse with minimal clearance an the entire nose and the doors unfurl from his feet.  Then, just when you think you've got that in place, you're left with the backpack flap that forms the rear window, spoiler, roof, and front windshield, and the challenge becomes unfolding it so that the windshield tabs under the roof, then under the hood, and the spoiler into the rear while also lining up tiny pegs on the side windows to the underside of the roof.  Really, I think Parkour's transformation is more intuitive than Hellion's, but Hellion's is easier to actually pull off.  All that being said, Parkour's transformation isn't the worst Fans Toys has delivered, and it's a picnic compared to The One from yesterday's review.


And hey, you might actually want to transform Parkour!  OK, so I'm sure I've told this story before, but I was in my 30s before I realized Cliffjumper was supposed to be a Porsche.  The penny racer style of the original toy carried over into the animation, and I took Cliffjumper for some kind of Japanese kei car with similar proportions to a Beetle.  Indeed, even after knowing that Cliffjumper's supposed to be a Porsche I still have a hard time seeing the animation model's hard angles, big red bumpers, and continuous rows of red rectangles for headlights as the more tapered nose, black bumpers, pop-up headlights, rectangular marker lights/turn signals flaking a front plate bracket, etc of a Porsche 924.  So when it came time to choose between Toro's realistic 924 alt mode (that didn't really look like Cliffjumper) or Hellion's semi-realistic, semi-chibi car I went with Hellion.  And as good as Parkour's bot mode is, I'm pretty sure his alt mode is why I preordered.  Parkour doesn't even pretend to be a Porsche 924.  Fans Toys went all-in on the Sunbow look, actually delivering the "kei car" I remember from the animation.  He's even got the overly-simplistic raised circle on a recessed circle rims the animators drew.  But that's not to say that Fans Toys phone it in, though.  Parkour's got wing mirrors, sometimes but not always seen on the animation model.  The windows are tinted blue, but aside from the rear window they're translucent, not paint.  The tires are rubber, and he rolls great.  The rims are chrome, and even the lights are done in red chrome to make them stand out but still cartoon-red.  He's got a little molded scoop from the G1 toy, and unlike the animation model he's got molded door handles.


Speaking of the door handles, Parkour's doors can open in alt mode.  It's a nice touch that can be used when displaying him with some human figures from some angles, but if you actually look inside there isn't much to see besides Parkour's crotch.  He doesn't have an actual interior the way Hellion does... but that's fine with me.  Frankly, I think Hellion might have wound up a lot less compromised if they didn't try to give him a more realistic interior.


As for alt mode accessories, he's got the skis.  They attach by wedging the wheels between the silver outside of the skis and a curved inner edge that grabs onto the axels.  Parkour can carry his guns in alt mode, too.  However, the smaller gun doesn't attach directly.  You need to first fold up the handle of the bazooka, which will reveal a tab.  That tab plugs into a notch where the rear window meets the roof.  The smaller gun's handle folds back, and the barrel twists, revealing a slot that fits over the fin on the back of the bazooka and allowing the gun to have the clearance to lay along the bazooka's barrel.  Personally, as I don't care to display my Cliffjumpers with the bazooka, I'd have preferred a way to store just the small gun.  But I'll note that Hellion lacked any way to store his rifle or bazooka, and the only way to stow his smaller pistol was to toss it (loose) into his cabin.

When given a choice between Fans Toys and a competitor I tend to prefer the competition.  Sure, the paint and diecast do make for premium-looking figures to stick on a shelf, but I'm not a display and done guy.  I like to mess with my figures, so I usually prefer figures with more articulation than Fans Toys offers, and with more fun transformations than Fans Toys will give you, and that's without mentioning that Fans Toys are almost always more expensive.  I went with XTB over Fans Toys for both Perceptor and Kup.  I decided against replacing my Maketoys Jazz with Fans Toys'.  My Huffer and Brawn are both still BadCube.  With their track record of good articulation, fun transformations, and solid build quality I'm especially inclined to go with MMC over Fans Toys.  I actually sold off Fans Toys' Arcee and replaced it with MMC's, and consider the Fans Toys one to be one of the absolute most miserable figures I've ever handled.  I never once considered Fans Toys' Springer, using Open & Play's as a stand-in until MMC released theirs.  I was totally prepared to hate on Parkour, then sell him off and keep Hellion on my shelf.  And yet, while it's true that Hellion has better articulation and a smoother transformation, as I noted Parkour's not the worst Fans Toys has done on either of those categories.  But really, Parkour absolutely murders Hellion when it comes to looks.  Side-by-side I can't help but see how goofy Hellion looks, and how spot-on Parkour is.  And so far Parkour is the only MP-scale Cliffjumper that totally eschews any semblance of a real Porsche 924 and goes all-in on the animation model the way I want.  Really, it's no competition.  Parkour is hands down the better Cliffjumper.  Even if you already have Toro or Hellion on your shelf, Parkour is worth picking up as an upgrade.  The only reason not to is if you're holding out for the Takara one, but even then from what I've seen I'd probably still go with Parkour.

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If The One and Parkour both came out awhile ago, what was I waiting for before shipping?  Well, something to hit free shipping.  To ship Parkour from one store, I think it's more fair to say I settled on ordering DNA Designs DK-40 upgrade kit for Legacy Megatron.


You get a few parts in this kit.  There's a new dragon-mode chest, extra segments for the dragon tail, a new robot right hand, a new top for the robot head, a wig, and three new faces.  Not gonna lie, I bought this kit just for the faces.


Before we get to the faces, though, let's start off easy.  Pick a segment on the bottom of Megatron's tail, and using a spudger or similar tool gently pry up the gold part.  Do the same on the DNA tail part that has a ball socket.  Gently pull Megatron's tail off of the ball joint you exposed, then insert the DNA parts by fitting the exposed socket on the ball joint you just vacated, then put the chunk of tail you pulled off onto the ball joint on the DNA part before replacing the gold parts.


The gist here is that this makes Megatron's tail a little longer.  Now, I didn't really have a problem with his tail as it was, but looking at the before-and-after pics I have to admit that his tail seems a bit more proportional with the extra segments.  Plus, more segments means more joints, and more joints means more poseability.  And while this does mean that his robot "pony tail" is longer, it still doesn't reach the ground or anything so there's no issues there.  And for what it's worth, I think DNA did a really good job matching both the plastic and paint colors.  If you didn't know he had an upgrade you wouldn't notice it.  That said, if you do know it, you can spot some subtle differences.  The purple paint is a little thinner, and the scales on the sides of the tail are mushier and less defined.


For the rest of the kit we're going to have to break out the screwdriver.  Starting again with the easier job, remove the two screws from the inside of Megatron's humanoid forearm.  Remove the inner side.  You'll find is hand has one of the screw posts running through it.  Just slide it off and slide the new hand on, making sure the thicker side is on the bottom of the arm, then put his arm back togther.


So what's the benefit here?  Aside from folding downward for transformation Megatron's old hand had no articulation.  DNA's hand has a wrist swivel, which I definitely like to see, plus the index finger is now separate from with articulation at the base and mid-knuckles.  Not necessary in my book for a mainline Hasbro figure this size, but it's certainly nice to have.


From here on out is a bit more involved, but the instructions make it look more complicated than it really is.  Start pulling his head/tail/dragon chest assembly away from his body like you're going to transform him.  On the red part that his head is sitting on and his dragon chest is hanging off of, remove the screw closest to the dragon chest (green).  Loosen, but don't totally remove, the other screw (orange).  When you pull them apart enough the head/tail will fall out.  Then you can slide the chest off of the post (white).


Turn the chest over.  Remove the indicated screw and pull out the translucent orange part.  Install the translucent part on the new chest, but DON'T use the original screw (for some reason- that's from DNA, not me).  Instead, use the only screw DNA included in the kit.  Once you've done that, you can slide the new chest back on the post.


Here's a quick comparison between the original (left) and DNA (right).  There's some significant differences... DNA used a lot less gold paint, especially on the chest but also by not overspraying the middle scales running down the abdomen.  They also made the vents in the middle larger, and gave the ribs and sides a smoother, less scaled texture.  DNA's also has those funky square cutouts, probably because of the hinges on the underside.  I kind of think the DNA one looks cleaner, but prefer the extra gold on the chest of the original.  That said, less gold is more cartoon-accurate, more gold more toy accurate.


The main benefit to the new chest is supposed to be the aforementioned hinge.  See, the original chest had no hinge, and kind of stuck out behind Megatron like a cape.  But with the hinge, the new chest can tuck in against his butt.  I guess that looks better?  To be honest, while I can't honestly say that the old "cape" didn't bother me, I can say that it didn't bother me so much that I needed to "fix" it.  And, sure, the DNA part is a minor improvement, but not so much that I'd call this part vital.  It's more like it came with the faces I really wanted, so I might as well install it.


Oh yeah, the faces.  On the underside of the head/tail assembly there's a rectangular part with a cutout around a large round mushroom peg.  Remove that rectangular part and set it aside (noting the orientation... the directions show you sliding it toward the back of his head, but they don't tell you that you have to rotate it 180 degrees to do that.  When you're putting it back together later remember that the cutout points toward the back, the flat edge toward the front.


Remove the screws Megatron's "ear" and the first tail joint, then pull the side of his head off.  With the side of his head off, you can pull out his face and the translucent parts as one unit.


With that unit freed, gently side the translucent part with the forehead crest and eyes off from the back of the face.  Hang on to it!  With that part out of the way, the top of the head is just loosely gripping the face and will come right off.


Pick which face you want.  You've got the original, which I didn't care for.  I'm not sure what Hasbro was thinking with the default head... neither the original toy nor the cartoon had sharp teeth like that, and they combined with the slightly open grimace to make him look like a feral mouth-breather.  The DNA faces are a bit softer, sure, and could probably use a bit of bluish tint, but overall they're significantly more cartoon-accurate and give you a better looking grimace, a more neutral scowl, and that smug smile that instantly calls to mind David Kaye's "yesssssss".  That's the one I'm using for sure.  So pop the solid red DNA head top on, slide back in the translucent part with the eyes, set the combined unit back into the head, close the head up, slide the part back onto the mushroom peg, fit it between the armatures it fell out of, and close it all back up.


What, aside from cartoon accuracy, is the point of swapping a solid red top onto Megatron instead of the original toy-accurate translucent orange one?  Glad you asked!  You'll note that the DNA top has two slots in it that the original did not.  Those slots are for the final accessory... the wig!    Yeah, it's a "that thing from that episode" bit.  Specifically, it's from the episode "Other Victories," where the Predacons are having a trial for Quickstrike.  Megatron, as the judge, is wearing a wig.  Personally, I don't really need it, am not going to display him with it, and will probably leave it in the box.  That said... if they're doing the wig, they should have included a gavel, too.  Oh well.

Well, like I said, I really didn't like the original Hasbro face, and I bought this kit entirely for a replacement.  On that, DNA definitely delivers, no complains there.  I'm not really using the wig, but having it isn't a big deal, and as noted the solid red top is technically more cartoon accurate, so I'll call it a minor improvement.  Likewise, I don't think the new dragon chest is anything exciting as it mildly improves a minor issue without actually fixing said issue, but a mild improvement is still an improvement.  Then we come to the hand and tail.  Again, neither were things that I felt I needed, but in person there's no denying that more hand articulation is better, and the tail does look more proportional.  Ultimately I'm going to give this kit a recommend.  It boils down to getting a vastly superior face for Megatron in a package with a lot not necessary but nice-to-have minor upgrades without any real drawbacks or introducing new QC issues the way DNA sometimes does.

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Brace yourselves for a long one.  DK-40 isn't the only kit I got.  I also picked up DNA's DK-38 upgrade kit for Legacy Menasor.


So let's see... looks like we've got two new thighs, a new front of the pelvis, two new hands, a new chest, a larger sword, some shoes, an important (if unimpressive) extender for the trailer hitch, a bag of screws, and five parts whose purpose is not immediately clear, three gray and two purple.  We shall henceforth refer to them as "bits and bobs."

Well, we've just opened the box and I already have two (relatively minor) complaints.  The first is that this is a kit for Menasor, not the Stunticons.  That means that there's no rifle for Motormaster.  Well, that's OK, I got a loose rifle from a G1 Menasor for relatively cheap back when I got Motormaster, and I do believe that it might be the best rifle for the Legacy toy anyway.  But the second complaint is related.  Sure, there's a big sword so Menasor doesn't have to use Motormaster's tiny one, but there's no Menasor-sized rifle.  And that, as we'll see, might be a bit more problematic.


But let's get this kit installed and see what it does do.  First, we're going to remove these screws from the bottom of Menasor's hands.  When you open them up note that there's a ratchet part, you'll need to remove that and stick it into the DNA hand.  Then it's just about capturing the wrist and screwing the new hand back together- use the smaller screws DNA included (there's only enough of the small ones for the hands, and then the rest of the DNA screws are the same after that).


So what's new with DNA's hands?  Articulation!  The stock hands are molded fists with 5mm ports... which is fine on smaller figures, even up to leaders, but for Menasor and up it's a bit inadequate.  Even the crappy hand/foot/guns from Combiner Wars have at least a hinge at the base.  Well, the DNA hands have each finger individually-articulated.  There's hinges at the all three knuckles, but a hinge to allow for finger spread.  As for the thumbs there's hinges at two knuckles for curling the thumb and one at the base for folding the thumb over the palm.  More articulation is always better than less, so this is a pretty significant upgrade.


Next up is the pelvis.  Turn him over and remove five screws from his back side.  With his butt removed you can lift out the waist on it's mushroom peg and the hips and thighs, along with the ratchets in the middle.


Before you toss the original pelvis, note that there's two ratchet parts inside that you'll have to move to the new pelvis, and that getting them into their nooks is probably the hardest part of this operation.  Once it's done, side the new front onto the waist, drop in the hips/thighs, and replace his butt with the original (but using the DNA screws this time).

What's different here?  Seems DNA tried to stay close to the look of the original, but for some weird reason took the concave purple area and made it convex.  The main difference, though, is the hip skirts that fill it out and cover the hips a bit more than the stock part.  You technically don't even need to do this part if you prefer the stock pelvis, so your mileage may vary on this one.


The thighs come next, and this step seems to be the one most people are complaining about, but there's at trick to it.  OK, first, undo the two screws on the inside of the thigh.  Carefully split it open- there's a spring inside pushing on the gray part in the combiner port.  With both pieces of the thigh off, slide the outside part of the DNA thighs onto the hip's mushroom peg.  Take the original spring, put it over the little peg on the original gray piece, then line it up into the thigh.  Now, you'll notice that the spring will want to push back out when you try to put the other side of the thigh on.  What you want to do is grab the lower leg and place it into the combiner port.  This will provide enough tension to keep the spring from just pushing everything back out while you put the other side of the thigh back on (with DNA screws).


The result here is pretty obvious- longer, thicker thighs.  Proportionally, Menasor's stock thighs are too short.  This does fix that, but it'll make his legs kind of long-ish overall because his lower legs are still too long.


OK, now the chest.  To install, you have to remove the stock chest by taking this tensioned rivet and forcing it out.  Then the replacement chest, which just has a simple peg.


And we can complete our Menasor upgrade by taking his feet and just sliding them forward into the slippers.  If you did it right, the peg on the back of the inner edge of Menasor's foot will clip under a hook on the inside edge of the slipper.


And here we have our upgraded Menasor.  His feet are a bit bigger, which is fine I guess.  They do feel a bit more stable than the stock ones.  And the longer thighs make him look less gorilla-armed, as noted, but he's still kind of leggy because his shins are a bit long.  Or maybe his torso isn't long enough.  Not sure.  One thing I am sure of is that if you were enjoying all your combiners being about the same size (save for the way-too-big Devastator and Predaking) that Menasor will now be a head taller than the rest.  The new hands are great, the new pelvis is a lateral move from the old, but the chest... I'm not a fan.  Normally, I do prefer a toy-style look to Menasor, but the problem here is that the red of the toy-style chest doesn't really work with the purple on the cartoon pelvis- the toy has a yellow-bordered red rectangle on the pelvis, and some red and yellow on the tops of his thighs.  And what's the point of making the chest more toy-like if he's still got the cartoon head?


Well, with Menasor upgraded and put back together we can arm him up.  And to do that, we'll fit his new sword into either palm using an MP-style tab on the handle that fits into a slot on either palm.  And hey, he looks pretty good, and all his joints are holding it just fine.  But, the MP-style tab/slot comes with a distinct lack of 5mm ports.  Which in turn means that he can no longer hold Motormaster's smaller sword (not that you'd want him to), but also none of the various 3D-printed Menasor rifles floating around out there.  This makes DNA's lack of an included rifle a bit more of an issue, because no one else is going to support DNA's hands.  Oh, and what about the gun from the turret you make from the leftover trailer bits?  Menasor can't carry that anymore... at least not stock.


OK, so first we're going to want to store Menasor's new sword.  And that's pretty easy!  On one side of the new hitch part you'll find a slot.  That slot fits into a tab in the hilt of the sword.


With the hitch attached the the sword, you can use the 5mm peg on the hitch to plug into the 5mm port on Menasor's back.  You can even swivel it to get the sword hanging at an angle across his back.  And that just leaves the bits and bobs...


OK, start with the leftover trailer turret.  Remove the gun, then open the bottom.  Take the bit with the hinge, and slide it into the corner on side of the bottom so the peg on the bent hinge points toward the little wings, then close the other side to sandwich it in place.


Speaking of those little wings, grab the two purple bobs and use the pegs on them to attach them to the 5mm ports on the wings.


Now, grab the gray bit that looks a bit like a robot foot.  There's little tabs at the top of the turret, near the peg where the gun sat.  Attach the "heel" of the robot foot-thing using those tabs, then plug the gun back in under it.  But not like it's sitting on a turret.  Put the gun on so it's pointing straight up, with the robot foot on top of it.


Last but not least, take the remaining bit and, using two pegs, fit it over the "step" in the turret, near the purple stripe.


Now, slide the bottom of the turret over Menasor's hand, so the peg on the hinged bit we added plugs into a 5mm port just above his wrist.  Balance the rest on his free hand, and you've turned his leftover trailer turret into a leftover trailer BFG with some extra bits and bobs on it!  Well... it doesn't look very good, even with the extra bits and bobs, does it?  And it's way too heavy... getting him in a pose without him falling over onto his face was a real bear.  Honestly, I'd rather just leave it as a turret, especially since the various 5mm ports on it give you places to stow Motormaster's sword (and a gun, if you got him one), and maybe some of the other Stunticon guns, while they're in Menasor mode.


And, unless you're a display and forget guy, you probably won't always have him in Menasor mode.  Sometimes you'll want to have your Stunticons in alt modes.  Or maybe in robot modes with Motormaster's trailer off to the side like Prime's.  Right off the bat we have a problem... the new DNA chest is not compatible with transformation.  You're expected to remove it and put the stock chest back on.  I'll remind you that while you can pull the stock chest off, you clearly weren't meant to.  I'd recommend just sticking with the stock chest all the time, making the new chest piece a total waste of plastic.

Aside from the chest, though, the torso transforms just the way it always does, including plugging Motormaster's sword onto the purple clip.  The hip skirts on the new pelvis are double-hinged and do not interfere with the thighs folding over.  And the thighs have grooves so they line up properly, you just need to turn the thighs so that the combiner ports on the backs are facing each other.


Once you have the torso in trailer mode, grab the new shoes.  Unfold the panels on the bottom, and flip the toes over.  Line it up in front of Menasor's chest, then fold the top down so that the peg and tab on the panel goes into the hole and slot on the new thigh part.  Once both shoes are attached this the other panels will cover the old "front" of the trailer and lock together.


Alright, now get the arm parts and transform them like you normally would... almost.  You'll find that you're going to run into a problem- while the hand on the Dead End side fits over the pegs like the stock hand did, the hand on the Dragstrip side doesn't.  It's too wide!  Instead, DNA directs you make a fist and turn it the other way, palm down.  Also, for now, leave the thumb on the Dead End side extended.


Now take Menasor's new sword, pull the blade off, and split the blade into two.  There's two tabs near the handle on the hilt on one side, they fit into notches in the trailer so the handle goes between the hands.  Then you can fold the thumb extended thumb over the handle.  If you have fit issues later, you may also find that extending the fingers on the Dragstrip side may help.


Now for the leg parts.  Fold the foot in, but don't close the panels yet.  Take the purple bobs and you can loosely tuck them into the gap above the foot.  Take the hinged bit and tuff it into the hollow space under one of the feet.  Then you close up the panels and attach them together with the turret gun.


You'll find that the parts of the blade have tabs on them that fit into a two holes near the combiner joints.  Stick them there, then you can sandwich the legs onto the arms, and slide the front of the trailer on like normal.PXL_20230609_193843897.jpg.5b22633867db63e3ef4cb84b28f7541c.jpg

Grab Motormaster and the new hitch.  Plug the peg on it into the port on Motormaster.  Then the hole will fit onto the the peg that originally attached the trailer to Motormaster.


We just have to store the remaining bits.  DNA tells us to take the robot-foot-looking part and stick the square cutout at the "ankle" onto the same peg as the hitch.  Meanwhile, a fin on the remaining piece is supposed to wedge into the gap between the arm sections of the trailer.  But, guess what?  Both parts fit so loosely that they're just going to fall off the minute I turn the truck right side up.  I'd be pretty mad if those parts weren't useless in the first place.


Well, good news!  The new slippers extend the length of the trailer.  That isn't just a necessity to cover over the longer thighs, it vastly improves the proportions of the stock too-short trailer.  Better yet, it covers Menasor's chest, basically addressing all my complaints with Motormaster's alt mode.  That said, the connection is a bit iffy.  I don't think it's going to fall off, mind you... it's locked solidly onto the new thighs.  That said, it's not actually attached to the stock trailer in any other way, and the sides are only held in place by clipping the front together.

So where does that leave us?  New hands, thighs, and sword, and a way to store the sword on his back that are improvements to Menasor (at the cost of making him a bit taller).  New shoes that form a trailer extension, covering up the new thighs and combiner chest and improving the trailer's look and proportions in alt mode.  Very nice!  But they also come with a new pelvis that isn't all that different than the old, some bits and bobs that turn the leftover trailer turret into a BFG that's too big for Menasor to handle, and a partsforming chest that's just rubbish.  And this is a relatively expensive kit.  I really wish there was a kit that did away with the chest, the bits and bobs, and maybe the pelvis, and then shaved like $20 bucks off.

Oh, wait.  There is.  There's a knockoff (that I suspect is actually from DNA themselves) going around under the name DKA-38 (as opposed to DNA DK-38) that does exactly that.  Actually, I hear that the new hitch part is a bit improved to boot.  So, yeah.  There's some really good ideas in this kit that go a long way to improving Menasor, but you're better off buying the DKA kit to get what you need without paying for the parts you'll never use.

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Menasor was one of the worst (if not the worst) of the Combiner Wars gestalts, and the Legacy version was a huge upgrade.  I hope the rest get similarly upgraded!  Until they do, though, it occurred to me that the Combiner Wars/Power of the Primes are about the best we've got, so at one point I went and picked up a used Takara Computron with Perfect Effect hands and feet.  Piranacon already has ankle and finger articulation, so I left him alone, but I grabbed KO PE hands and feet in silver, white, and black for Bruticus, Superion, and Defensor, respectively.  I'd like to get an upgrade for Abominus but I can't really find one at a reasonable price.  I'm not counting Devastator or Predaking since they're way out of scale.  So who'd that leave?  Volcanicus.  And, again needed to buy something to hit that $150 free-shipping mark, I wound up buying the Transform Dream Wave TCW-06T kit, even though Volcanicus is also one of the worst gestalts Hasbro has done.


As I said, this is the 06T version, which I believe is a slight recolor of the original release meant for the Volcanicus gift set redeco.  So what do we get with it?  What does it do?  Well, for starters, you may recall that Slag and Sludge came with guns and hands but not swords, Snarl and Swoop came with swords and hands but no guns, and Grimlock came with feet and... well, just feet.  So the first thing TDW addressed is the missing weapons.  Weirdly, we get  doubles, though.  Two guns for Swoop, two guns for Snarl, and two guns for Grimlock.  Plus, two swords for Slag, two swords for Snarl, and two swords for Grimlock.  What's interesting is that all the guns are simply doubled- two of each, both black.  But the the swords come one in plain black plastic, one with the blades painted with a nice yellow-to-orange fade (which is, in fact, the easiest way to tell if you have the regular or T version of the kit... the blades are red on the regular).


With two hands each, though, you'd likely want to use one gun and one sword for each Dinobot, right?  So, really, instead of using all that plastic to double up everything that they did give, I'd kind of rather they instead made a new gun for Sludge.  Sure, he came with one, but it's the same one as Slag's, and accurate to G1 Slag but not G1 Sludge.  Oh well.

Oh, and I suppose Swoop's the one guy I do want two guns for. because I'd like them to go on his wings like the G1 animation model.  And they're supposed to!  There's molded fins that are supposed to double as tabs that fit into the slots meant to lock his wings in place in limb mode.  I don't know if it's due to different tolerances between the 06 and 06T kit and the retail PotP Dinobots vs the gift set, but there was zero chance that they were going to attach to my Swoop's wings.  I even tried on the toy-style Gen Selects Swoop, and nope, not going to happen.


The rest of the kit is lots of parts that are really meant for combined mode... a new chest piece, and new back piece, some pelvis armor (front and back), parts to bulk up the thighs, some fillers, new hands and feet, and a pair of swords (again, one solid black and one with the yellow/orange fade).


I'm going to let you guys in on a little secret... at this scale, at retail prices, I actually don't care if some partsforming is necessary, as long as the gestalt is good.  Save the clever all-in-one engineering for MP-scale stuff.  So on that note, I'm actually fine with a box of parts that serve no purpose except as combiner bits, but TDW seemed to feel that everything should have a use.  So, the chest, back, and front of the pelvis combine to form a shield of sorts.  The front of the pelvis?  Another shield.  Thigh fillers?  Stick them together and you've got a shield.  The other fillers?  A pair of guns.


But wait, there's more!  The feet come apart, and each foot contains one part that's like a mini missile pistol and two rifles, while the black part can be yet another shield.  The hands fold over on themselves to be still more guns.  And the toes... well, they're just leftover.  I'm a little curious why they managed to turn everything else into a shield or a gun but they couldn't be bothered with the toes.


That kind of half though out attitude carries over into storing the kit in dino modes.  The chest/back/pelvis shield can attach to Grimlock's back, and it's even got bits that allow you to store both of Grimlock's guns.  And you'll find some 5mm ports on the hips of Snarl, Slag, and Sludge that you can plug some guns into.  But you're going to quickly realize you have more weapons that you do 5mm ports to store them in. I'm not really mad though.  With all the regular doesn't-turn-into-combiner-bits swords and guns they included I don't actually need more guns and shields, for either robots or dinos.  So as far as I'm concerned just because they can be weapons doesn't mean that they're not all just a pile of combiner bits.


And to that end, let's get him combined.  We'll start with the limbs, because they're the easiest.  You just replace the Hasbro hands and feet with the TDW ones.  That said, while the quasi-official configuration is to have Swoop and Slag as arms and Sludge and Snarl as legs, I recommend swapping Slag and Sludge.  You're also going to want to open up Snarl's tail.  We'll get to that in a minute.


Most of these parts are actually going to go on Grimlock.  So get him into his normal combined mode, then grab the TDW chest.  There's gold tabs that will fit into gaps in his original chest, so lift Grimlock's dino head, slide the chest on, then use red clips to grab onto his stock waist before pushing the dino head back down.


Next, turn Grimlock's arms so that instead of facing forward his dino hips are more downward-pointing, at an angle.  His robot forearms won't be able to be tabbed in this way, but  that's alright.  Get the new back piece, and you'll find tabs that fit into slots on the stock back (be sure the hinged back inside is pointed up).  When the back piece is attached you can plug the 5mm ports on Grimlock's forearms into the angled ports on the armatures sticking off of it to lock everything in place.


Now we'll add those filler bits hat could be used as pistols.  They're simply to help cover over Grimlock's robot hands and make that area look more solid.  They attach by sticking a slot on their backs into tabs on Grimlock's shoulders.


While he's on his back, we can install his new butt.  Start by taking Grimlock's legs out of the official combined mode and straightening them back to bot mode, then spreading them a bit.  The new but has a winged post with a port on it.  That port will plug into a peg on the stock Volcanicus crotch, and the wings will keep him from bring his thighs back together too closely.  The finish securing the butt, take the side skirts and fold them over.  Slots on them will fit onto tabs on Grimlock's thighs.


With the butt in place we can attach the new crotch.  All you want to do here is stick the angled tabs on the back into cutouts on the stock Volcanicus crotch.  The difference, as far as the crotch itself goes, is kind of minimal, but you'll notice that it fills in his waist and better matches it with the red from the new chest.


We have to attach the legs before we go any further, and this is why we have to adjust Snarl's tail and why I suggested swapping Slag and Sludge.  You'll notice that, with the reconfigured legs, Grimlock's tail kibble is now on the front of Volcanicus' thigh.  Sludge's head can't quite get out of the way, forcing you to either turn Volcanicus's lower leg out  at an angle or to bend his knee.  Slag's head, though, can get out enough.  Meanwhile, while Snarl's tail can't actually move out of the way, you can open it to allow Grimlock's tail to sit in between the segments of Snarl's.


In any case, one you have somebody attached in the lower limb spots, you can attach the thigh fillers.  They fit onto the sides of the thighs, with a flap that goes across the front and pegs onto the little nubs for Titan Master feet that happen to be there, while another flap fits around the back of the thigh and clips over the inside edge.


Not gonna lie... the "before" Volcanicus looks terrible.  Just irredeemably wonky proportions all around, (but especially bad if you're not using the extra hands as torso filler).  But with the kit, I dare say he actually looks pretty good.  The new torso parts bulk up and fill in, raising the combiner ports helps him look less gorilla-armed, and simply having smaller, five-fingered hands, larger feet, and thicker thighs does wonders for his proportions.  No one's going to mistake Volcanicus for something that might go on an MP shelf- Volcanicus is still largely limited by his constituent parts, meaning things like gaps in places you don't really want 'em, dino limbs that aren't really tucked away, and elbow joints formed from the waist and knees of the arm bots, complete with thigh gaps.  But the upgrade Volcanicus no longer looks like trash next to Legacy Menasor, and that's really enough for me.


We can arm Volcanicus up with his swords; his hands have 5mm cutouts in the palms, and despite their large size the swords have 5mm peg-shaped bumps on the handles.  They ahso have 5mm pegs on the hilt, and you can plug them into the 5mm port on the center of his new back (if you're just using one sword) or into the 5mm ports on the backs of the armatures that secured Grimlock's forearms (if you're using both swords).  Note that the swords are fairly hefty, and the wrist pegs have hinges.  On my copy he had trouble holding the sword straight because his wrist would want to bend down under the weight.

Speaking of the wrist hinges, in addition to adding that bit of articulation the new hands have individually-articulated fingers with three hinged knuckles on each finger, plus an additional hinge to allow the fingers to splay outward.  The thumb has two hinged knuckles plus a ball joint at the base.  The ball joint allows the thumb to both swivel and fold over the palm.

Aside from the hands, I'm not sure that the kit really adds or subtracts from the articulation of the base gestalt.  Like, he's got ankle pivots, but unlike Combiner Wars the POTP feet always did.  His shoulder, bicep, elbow, waist, and knee articulation is unaffected.  He has a thigh swivel, which I think he did before.  The only thing he doesn't have is lateral hip movement.  I think he technically did before, but I also think that you weren't practically going to use it anyway.

Transform Dream Wave doesn't seem to have the experience that, say, DNA or Perfect Effect do.  They have big ideas, which I applaud them for, but tolerances are sometimes an issue.  Even still, this kit is a drastic improvement over stock Volcanicus, and if you're displaying Volcanicus on a shelf somewhere and you don't mind some extra partsforming you really should consider picking this kit up.  That said, the stock figure is still Volcanicus.  With Volcanicus being a newer creation, not from the original cartoon, and the Studio Series 86 Dinobots killing it, I wouldn't advise hunting down Volcanicus just to get this kit for.

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I actually have that set. A nice collection of MIA dinobot weapons, and hands and feet for my headcanon Dino-Soar. Was pleasantly surprised that the two silver blocks for Volcanicus's shoulders are sized almost perfect to fill the gaps in Sky Lynx's torso ribs. They don't lock in, though. I need to rig a GI Joe-esque rubber band and hook solution.

Did I overpay, given half the pieces are completely useless to me? Yeah, I did. Would I do it again? *siiiigh* Yeah, I would.


My set's wrists can't hold the sword either.

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2 hours ago, JB0 said:

My set's wrists can't hold the sword either.

I'm going to try some floor polish.  See if that helps.  I could try to permanently lock the joint, but I'm loathe to do it since sometimes you actually do want that kind of articulation on a sword-wielding hand.

1 hour ago, sh9000 said:

Your upgraded Volcanicus looks good.

Thanks, but TDW gets the credit.  I really want to get my hands on their Abominus kit, but it seems like it's going for way, way, way too much on the aftermarket.  Their King Poseidon set is still available, though I'm unsure if I want to spend money on that one.  It looks really nice installed, but it seems like it was designed for King Poseidon to be kept in combined mode permanently.  You have to remove parts from Turtler/Snaptrap that weren't really meant to be removed, you have to attach the parts that bulk up the thighs with screws, and to use the new elbow joints you have to pull the legs off of the arm bots, capture their pelvises inside the new elbow joints, then attach the legs onto ball joints on the new elbows.  And after all that you don't even get new hands.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Chosen Prime and FansHobby are continuing their TFCon exclusive like of repainted/remolded Euro G1 characters. This year they are doing a Stalker from Doubledealer:



More pics and info over at TFW2005: https://www.tfw2005.com/boards/threads/fh-x-tcp-mp-19c-huntsman-tfcon-toronto-2023-exclusive.1250372/

Limited to 600 pieces, 210 CAD.

I’m very tempted since we probably never gonna get a proper Stalker but on the other hand it just doesn’t look quite right.


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  • 2 weeks later...
27 minutes ago, CoryHolmes said:

Any news about X-Transbot's James//Bond?

I don’t think so, but TFCon Toronto is this weekend, so the possibility for news on the XTB products is higher than usual.

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On 7/16/2023 at 6:59 AM, Scyla said:

No news from XTB

And yet, surprisingly, this sexy beast showed up on my doorstep today... 😲


I had to check my pre-order history.  When did I order this?


Last September...?


Actually, it was September of 2021...!


Well worth the 22-month wait, if you ask me. 😁

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3 hours ago, mikeszekely said:

I feel like that's always a crapshoot with XTB.

It is indeed... despite this awkwardly-prominent sticker. 😅


Some joints could be a little tighter, some joints are decidedly too tight, and the headlight gimmick is a little problematic:


One side doesn't fit as flush as the other...


...and yet the opposite side won't pop up completely, so neither functions perfectly. 🤨


Still, minor nitpicks for such a handsome dude. ☺️

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I have no attachment to the Omnibots.  Didn't have them as a kid, and they had zero presence in the G1 cartoon or old Marvel comics.  That and, well, it's XTB kept me from going in on these guys.  But that Ferrari 512 alt mode, *chef's kiss*.

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If anyone is interested in the FansHobby Huntsman it will go up on The Chosen Prime (today at 10am PST) and the FansHobby shop website around the 20/21st of July (depending on your time zone).

More details here: https://www.tfw2005.com/boards/threads/fh-x-tcp-mp-19c-huntsman-tfcon-toronto-2023-exclusive.1250372/page-15#post-21513005

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/18/2023 at 5:28 PM, tekering said:

It is indeed... despite this awkwardly-prominent sticker. 😅


Some joints could be a little tighter, some joints are decidedly too tight, and the headlight gimmick is a little problematic:


One side doesn't fit as flush as the other...


...and yet the opposite side won't pop up completely, so neither functions perfectly. 🤨


Still, minor nitpicks for such a handsome dude. ☺️

Handsome fella, indeed. Overdrive, IMHO, is arguably the best looking of the three Omnibots, with his lovely Ferrari 512 alt mode and appealing bot mode featuring the iconic hood-cum-chest similar to Jazz and the Nissan RX-7 Fairlady bros. 

Regardless of your opinion of Xtransbots, you can't argue that they put in the effort to give this fig the best-looking car mode possible. They even put in a little seat detail (well, half a seat anyway) and a steering wheel). While the headlight gimmick is appreciated, like Tekering's copy, mine has the same issue where one side goes down flush but the other doesn't, and it looks to me like it was assembled incorrectly, or they made too many right light covers and just tried to use them for the left side as well. However, I'm able to push it down so that it sits mostly flush; it's the shape of the cover itself that's noticeably off.

100_6244.JPG.7417ddd55c6a6a40fb0d31d81f130ec2.JPG100_6242.JPG.5e38f54ae01482deeb0e1cd82f941722.JPG100_6247.JPG.385984713e9b26c16ecbf3282bb826f6.JPG100_6246.JPG.24fb4896d6d41512db981669835ec720.JPGThe defining feature of the Omnibots, besides their non-retail, mail-in only with $5 and 4 Robot points procurability, was their ability to assume a battle mode in vehicle form (kinda like M.A.S.K., which premiered in 1985, same as the Omnibots). I wish they, like Tracks, whose armed flying car mode sets him apart as a potential fourth Omnibot, would have all been available at retail and included in the tv series to cement their popularity. Alas, no.


I think it's funny how XTB even included little flip panels on the car's roof with little slopes painted to match the OG toy's decals to represent the OG toy's toes.  It's a superfluous detail that they could have simply left out since the transformation differs in that regard from the OG toy, but I appreciate the effort. For the benefit of the car mode, I'm glad they tuck away to present a flush roof, though. Can't say enough how beautiful the car mode is. 

Here's the underside of the car for those curious:


Note the light grey bits just below the head are his folding double-barreled pistol and single-barreled pistol based on the OG toy's weapons. A third gun was also included, which you can see tabbed into the top of the car in the battle mode pic. Unfortunately, the third weapon doesn't have any official stowage in car mode, although it may fit in the cabin. I haven't tried it to verify. Regardless, I'm glad his two main weapons have well-integrated stowage in vehicle mode; I wish this was the standard instead of the exception, and I give XTB due props.

Bot mode. From front or rear, he's a good-lookin' bot. Kibble is well-managed and virtually nil, unless you count the wings folded over the car doors on his arms, but that's how the OG toy did it, and XTB followed suit. In hand it compresses nicely, although neither the doors nor the wings tab into anything, so they may move about when manipulating the arms, but it's no trouble reorienting them.


This fig has some heft due to the use of die-cast in the thighs and toes and possibly some of the plates and linkages in the rear lower legs. It's hard to tell the extent of what's die-cast and what isn't, but my hope is that the thin linkages to which the feet are attached are, as they bear the weight for the whole thing as well as swing themselves on an upper hinge for transformation and have a lower hinge for ankle rocker. That's a lot of stress on a very thin linkage, the likeliest beaking point for the toy IMHO. I've transformed it through at least two full cycles thus far, and haven't noted any malleability in that linkage, so my guess is that it's metal, but all the same, it warrants a cautious bit of handling.


Fioravanti's neck swivels at the base, although the hood plate to which it mounts doesn't tab into anything and can rotate a bit, too, annoyingly. The head has in internal swivel which allows the chin to dip a little bit, but he can cock it back a full 90 degrees due to transformation. There's no side-to-side for quizzical or attitudinal posing, but what you get is more than adequate, IMHO. The shoulders are made up of a series of hinges which function both for poseability and transformation. He has a little butterfly motion fore and aft which circumscribes an arc of about 20 degrees or so. Shoulders can rotate full 360 degrees and can abduct a little past 90 degrees. He has double jointed elbows which get you about 120-30 degrees. His biceps swivel 360.


The hands have wrist swivel as well as an integrated joint allowing for the palm to rotate a full 180 degrees. The thumb rotates on a base pin to allow for clasping, and the independent index finger and conjoined remaining fingers rotate on a base pin. The palms each have an indent to fit the little tabs on the weapons, which has become standard practice. On my copy, the guns enjoy a more secure fit in the right hand; they tend to be a little looser in the left, prompting occasional corrections. While the hands are functional and serve the fig pretty well, the retractable plate to which they're mounted free-float on mine and constantly retract when handling the hands, as they seemingly have no detent to keep them in place in bot mode. It's mildly annoying. Too, there's a notable gap in the forearm, which is where the hands lie in vehicle mode, that let you see into the forearm in bot mode. It's a shame they couldn't have made a folding panel there to both cover that gap and lock the retractable plate in place. 


The waist can swivel 360, and he has about 3 degrees of ab crunch- it's there, but extremely minimal.

 The hips can rotate a little fore and aft within the skirt assembly, but the skirts can rotate to about 120 fore or aft- pretty impressive range. they can also abduct a smidge past 90. The knees are double-jointed and also bend to about 120-30 degrees. Surprisingly, the ankle rocker is a rather shallow 10 degrees or so, although that skinny linkage which I mentioned earlier can be employed if desired to allow for a deeper A-stance. The feet can rotate toe-up about 3 degrees, toe-down about 80 degrees, and the toes can bend up almost 90. The heel bits can rotate a full 180 for transformation. They don't have the greatest friction on my copy, but they could still be useful in helping stabilize more ambitious poses.


As a long-time proponent for Omnibots, I was pleased to see these figs from XTB. My only previous experience with their products is Apollyon, which I got when it seemed that we'd never get an official G1 Megs in MP again. Apollyon is a fiddly, involved transformation and not very much fun; as such, I've only attempted it maybe twice and he has remained in bot mode since I bought him. Fioravanti is a breath of fresh air by comparison.  He's relatively intuitive, and while there are a handful of small moving panels/parts, overall they're not as bad or unforgiving as other figs I've handled, including FT's Jive, although a spudger is highly recommended. Presentation in both, or should I say all three, modes is beautiful. Poseability is overall above standard. He's virtually kibble free.  Going to battle mode is uncomplicated, as it should be for a major feature. His two primary weapons stow easily in vehicle mode. He's well painted and features a goodly amount of tampo consistent with the OG toy's decals. Alas, he's not without his flaws: the freely retractable hands, the single small thin linkage connecting the feet to the body, variances in tightness on some joints and looseness in others, cramped space when transforming the legs. Overall, the good outweighs the bad by a fair margin in this fan's opinion. Having outlined the good and bad, I feel confident in recommending him to anyone fence-sitting. As a fan who's been waiting 38 years for Omnibots in any shape or form to come to fruition, I'm pleased with what XTB have done with this fig in hand, and judging by prod shots of the remaining two, I'm very much looking forward to having them in hand as well. I hope these figs sell well, indicating a desire to have Omnibots as part of collections, and we see them appear in other 3P and official releases. They're cool figs and they're long-deserving some modern updates. I hope it happens. Thanks for reading. Cheers!

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9 hours ago, Firefox21 said:

It's a very nice figure and surprise that no one attempted Omnibots until now. I've got mine but it has some QC issue, one of the feet is very loose. 

Sounds like QC is all over the place with this fig, which is unfortunate, being the only option at this point. I think Keith did a good job with presentation, but build quality is questionable at times, especially those thin linkages for the feet. Skullface broke one in his review; naturally he didn't have a positive view of the toy. However, if you go in knowing about it, you're at least forewarned before handling him, which hopefully will prevent more breakages.

While I like die-cast, I also like the judicious use of it, preferably when the figure's base is substantial enough to bear it without issue. I don't think that's the case here, which is further reason why care need be exercised when handling him. He's a relatively heavy fig for his size, and I kinda wish everything had been plastic except for those linkages just to reduce weight and stress.

I'm hoping the next two Omnis from XTB won't have similar issues, but KFC/ XTB don't exactly have a sterling record for quality. More's the pity.

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Got my Fans Hobby Huntsman this week and as an Stalker homage it is excellent. I think it is the best they could do with a Doubledealer remold and the given budget.

Love the clashing neon colors.

I would love to have another company make an upgrade set for it. There are so many possibilities:

  • Accurately colored hands: both the original Stalker toy had neon red hands so the black ones on Huntsman really stands out
  • An accurate gun
  • An accurate missile tip and armature to attach the complete missile on his back
  • A clip in cockpit piece for the empty spot on his right shin

Ah, one can dream…

The base mold is ok. The biggest problem are the feet that have a hard time supporting the figure in a lot of poses.

It also has a lot of vestiges from Doubledealer that make the toy more unwieldy than it needs to be, like the 100 pieces that make up the backpack and were the wings on Doubledealer.

I only bought one previous FH product which was their Archenemy (RiD Scourge). And based on this toy I felt that FH is lacking some of the sophistication in sculpt and execution that I would like from my collectible toys.

And that is certainly true for Huntsman as well. Most of the ratchets are too strong and too widely spaced and the whole toy is missing a certain something that makes it great. As is Huntsman is a good toy.

That is also true for all the other releases by Fans Hobby from what I gathered watching FH product reviews. 
I would love to get a Powermaster/Armada/Energon Optimus Prime but all their products are not what I want from my MP Transformers.

Their Buster/Dreadwind looks very promising though, so I look forward to that.

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This guy showed up on Thursday, and being a cassette fan, I thought I'd do a little review. Being aware of KFC's spotty reputation for quality, I hesitated, but I thought his rhino mode was the best I've seen thus far and bit. I'll state my bias for this figure right up front; I think it's the best iteration of Ramhorn thus far, and I also think it features one of the most intricate yet elegant transformations of any cassette at this scale. I love it.  Is it perfect? No, but it's still pretty darned cool. 


File:Rhino 2.jpg

Other than a pointy posterior, he captures the look pretty well. I love the painted hooves. While he may be a little idealized, and perhaps a tad chibi due to his size, I quite like the overall proportions, which are very similar to the G1 toy. For whatever reason, my G1 Ramhorn has silver, rather than gold weapon accessories. Unlike the G1 toy, Rhinohorn's weapons are integrated into the transformation, and he benefits from some cool engineering giving him a rhino mold that's twice the width of his cassette mode, which looks much better than the wafer-thin G1 toy's rhino. Unlike the G1 toy, KFC did not imbue this guy with any cassette livery, which would have been nice, but I'm sure Toyhax will have us covered eventually.


Articulation is virtually identical to the G1 toy- pinned joints at the shoulders/hips, forelegs, and feet. The tail can pivot up and down for transformation, and Rhinohorn's head can pivot ever so slightly up and down. His mouth is molded and doesn't open. His neck can pivot up and down, but that breaks the mold rather significantly. I wish KFC had picked out more of the tummy mechanical detail that the G1 toy sports; I love details of that nature and wish more of it carried over to other interpretations.


Here are G1 Ramhorn, Fanstoys' Ramhorn, and KFC's Rhinohorn in cassette mode. Neither FT nor KFC applied any mini-cassette style livery a-la the G1 toys, although FT did at least paint the reels. In addition to similar leg and tail articulation as both the G1 and KFC's Ramhorns, FT's take's head is on what feels like a very limited ball joint allowing for about a degree of side-to side either way and a couple degrees up and down. Too, his mouth can open to a barely visible slit, at least on mine. At so slight a movement, I wonder that they didn't just mold it slightly open like KFC did.


L-R: FT Ramhorn, KFC Rhinohorn


Due to extreme differences in transformation mechanics, FT's pulls off the cassette aesthetic on both sides pretty well; not so much KFC's . However, often times only one side of the G1 and later MP cassettes had the livery painted on, or presented well as such, so the messy backside is easily forgivable. FT utilized a more G1-ish transformation, with the shoulders and hips on double hinges and sliders, respectively, to widen the rhino mode, with the head and tail flipping out like the G1 toy. KFC's iteration requires far more origami to go from one mode to the other. It's quite clever and I prefer the final result. The negative effect of so many joints, however, is the plethora of unpainted round-headed rivets that detract from the overall aesthetics. It doesn't bother me as much as others, but FT's painted rivets clearly show the benefit. Notably, due to the more straightforward G1-inspired transformation of FT's Ramhorn, the rhino form is larger than KFC's whose clever design uses more of the cassette mode's real-estate to close up the upper body of the rhino mode, which looks much better but results in a slightly smaller rhino mode. I prefer the KFC approach, personally. Again, I think Keith has crafted the best-looking rhino mode of any iteration of Ramhorn thus far. MMC may beat them if they ever get around to producing one of their full-scale cassette figs, but until then, Rhinohorn wins the prize IMHO. That said, he could stand some paint on those rivets and some decals to make hm more cassette-like.

Edit: As to materials, KFC's is entirely plastic. the dark foreleg bits may be die-cast, but I can't tell. FT's Ramhorn's body core is die-cast, and the forelegs feel like metal, too. It's quite hefty for a such a small toy.

As to fit, FT's Ramhorn is a few mm wider than KFC's which in turn is about a mm or so wider than a G1 cassette (I had Buzzsaw at hand before I remembered to grab my G1 Ramhorn).


Both FT's and KFC's fail the G1 Soundwave fit test, although if I exerted a little undue force, I could probably get Soundwave's chest to close with Rhinohorn aboard. However, I'd rather not inflict damage to either to prove a point, so I took the photos at the closest point to closing as I could manage. FT's doesn't even fit in the tray; it's too wide on the thin side to fit within the little guides molded into the tray. KFC's fits in the tray, but it's just a little too high to allow it to close without force. Apologies for all the dust on my Soundwave; I took him out of storage and didn't bother cleaning him up before shooting. I'm a little bummed that neither work with the G1 toy; I haven't tried MP Soundwave yet, but given that MP uses the original RW micro-cassette scale, the tray is likely about the same dimensions and results will be similar.


So that wraps up my review and comparison. I've resisted getting KFC products until now, as Keith's Ramhorn really appealed to me from the production pics. In-hand, my opinion is only strengthened. The joints are all pretty well toleranced on my copy, although the turning part of one of his side weapons could probably stand to be loosened a quarter turn of the screw. But, for my first KFC product, and a cassette no less. of which I'm rather fond, I'm exceedingly pleased with Rhinohorn and recommend him if you, too, are in the market for a G1/MP-scaled Ramhorn. Cheers!

Edited by M'Kyuun
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13 hours ago, tekering said:

I've had KFC's "Rhinohorn" for years, and it looks nothing like yours...


Looks like they must've gone back to the drawing board. 😶

Yep, it's a recent update. He also updated his Steeljaw, which I also have on order. I passed on his first iterations, as they just didn't look that great and allegedly had numerous quality issues. In hand, I'm pretty impressed with his new version of Ramhorn- joints are all pretty well toleranced, the transformation is unique and fairly complex for such a small fig, and I love how the rhino mode looks, prominent rivets notwithstanding. Looking forward to getting Ironpaw 2.0 in hand. I hope he updates his dino cassette designs, too. I have yet to own a single dino cassette and if he can update them as well as he did these two, I'm sold.

CST-15 Ironpaw 2.0 | KFC Toys

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/8/2023 at 3:52 AM, MKT said:

Perhaps deserves its own thread, but posting it here for now:

Good Smile has a follow up to its Cyclion, a Type Darktail.



I gotta have it! Thanks!

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Over in the official thread I reviewed a new set with a Core-class Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, and as I often do when reviewing Hasbro's Core stuff I brought up again how Dr. Wu is basically doing the same thing but better and smaller with his Extreme Warfare line.  So I thought it's a good time to look a few more recent Extreme Warefare releases.


Up first we have Elegy (left) and Propel (right), who come together in a pack.  They're retools of Dr. Wu's previous Seeker mold, exemplified here with Starscream and covered here.


There's not a ton to talk about... as is often the case, they get new cone-shaped heads and they put different wings on the hinges, and in this case Dr. Wu gave them new accessories to better match their toy-style weapons.  But there was nothing remolded on the chests or knees, so they lack the cartoon-style extra chest intakes and taller knee pads.  They're also lacking the cartoon's painted knee details, but they're otherwise fine, with the same sorts of pros and cons that the season 1 Seekers had.


Of course, the season 2 Seekers aren't complete with Ramjet, and for that Dr Wu gives us Turbo.  Once again, we have toy-style accessories, and we're missing cartoon details from the chest and knees, but it's a pretty good representation overall.  I might nitpick that his hands should be black, but this is a detail that even the Legacy toy missed, and I prefer all-white to black forearms (ToyWorld/Zeta) or all-black arms (Maketoys).  Likewise, while I've seen Ramjet's thighs portrayed as both black and white I think I prefer the black that Dr. Wu went with.


But aside from new wings, heads, and accessories engineering and articulation is the same on Turbo as it is on Propel and Elegy, and the same as it is on the G1 Seekers.  Which, yeah, isn't the most cartoon-accurate, the most articulate, or the most impressive engineering, but when they're this small and you're getting two Seekers for around $25* they're definitely good enough to recommend as tiny figures that you can display with your Titan-class toys to make them look bigger.

*Not in Turbo's case, though.  I suppose Dr. Wu could have included a Ramjet repaint, since Hasbro themselves have released theirs in three other colors.  But, while Dr. Wu isn't above repaints, seems he'd rather give you a different G1 character you might want more than a G2 repaint.


So Turbo comes packed with Space, an itty-bitty take on Cosmos!  Which is a lot more respect than he got from Hasbro, who shortpacked him in a store-exclusive subline.


As you'd expect from a figure this small with a low budget by 3P standards he's not 100% cartoon accurate.  I can nitpick that the yellow paint on his arms doesn't cover the joints, or that his entire pelvis is green instead of just his crotch.  He's got a little backpack.  But really, I think he looks pretty good for a figure that could be twice his size and price.


His articulation isn't the best.  His head swivels, no tilt.  His shoulders are ball joints, which swivel fine but don't have a lot of clearance for lateral movement.  His elbows bend 90 degrees.  His waist has a little swivel, but it's mostly blocked by a sliding mechanism used in his transformation.  His hips are ball joints which can go 90 degrees forward and backward, and just a little shy of that laterally.  What play you get moving the leg around the ball is also all the thigh swivel you get.  His knees bend 90 degrees.  His ankles are ball joints, so his feet can swivel and tilt down, and he gets about 30 degrees of ankle pivot.

No accessories are included for Cosmos, which ultimately is fine.  I mean, the G1 toy didn't have any, and he's got his built-in wrist guns/thrusters.


Transformation is a piece of cake.  His hips slide back so when he lifts his legs up his feet are where they should be, his arms swing down into place on some armatures, and his backpack spins around to fill in the back.  His head simply slides into to the top, and you've got a cute little saucer.


The reality of the way he transforms and the overall simple nature of the toy means he's missing the yellow stripes on the saucer (that were actually relics of the G1 toy's legs showing).  Likewise, no silver spot with an Autobot insignia, and somewhat visible hands on the back.  Still, the details you'd want are mostly there, and the proportions seem pretty decent.  Also, the smaller something is the more forgiving I can be if some tiny details aren't perfect, or if the articulation isn't quite what I'd like, and I'll point out that in robot mode Space is only a little over an inch and a half tall (about 4cm).  I actually think that Space is one of Dr. Wu's better releases so far, so I actually like the set of Space and Turbo better than Elegy and Propel, but they're both worth picking up.

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catching up here...i see fiorvanti (xtb overdrive) is getting the love he deserves.  its a great bot but the one weak spot is the lower leg and foot design.  it depends a bit on gravity to hold some of the armatures in place (so foot needs to be down so the load transfers up the armatures assuming they are straight to support the leg).  my copy is hampered by some loose joint in his lower leg system (the one thats pinned and not a screw unfortunately) so its a bit of a pain sometimes to pose correctly.  There is a guy selling a filler for the lower legs that will definitely solve the stability problem but i haven't got mine in yet.  once that problem is fixed it will become one of my favorites i think.

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Just one Dr. Wu figure to review today, but it's a doozy.  It's Tactical Commander, the Extreme Warfare version of Ultra Magnus.


Tactical Commander is, at heart, a repaint of Prime Commander, their Optimus Prime.  Honestly, Dr. Wu's really milked this mold, as I believe it's also been released in Nemesis Prime, Toxitron, Evangelion, BAPE green, Sleep, Golden Lagoon, and Shattered Glass colors.  Technically, this variant, now referred to as "toy color," has also been released as a cab-only figure under Prime Commander's model number (DW-E04W) but when I picked it up it was being released in limited quantities with a trailer with the new model number DW-E23T.  As the name suggests, the colors are based on the G1 toy's blue-faced, all-white inner robot with blue on the pelvis as per other modern interpretations of white-repainted Optimus Primes.


Two additional variants were released at the same time, another version of Magnus that appears to be the new base model DW-E23 that seems to be based on the old Generations toy, replacing the white lower legs and feet with blue, painting his hands darker, using silver for his face, and painting the details on the pelvis yellow.  The other is DW-E23D, a Delta Magnus version.


For the base figure, not much has changed since DW-E04.  The mold itself is identical to Prime Commander, and as near as I can tell the colors are identical to DW-E04W.  The second biggest difference is that E04 came with an ion rifle, all the E23 variants have an axe instead.


Transformation is unchanged.  In alt mode there's one additional difference in the cab between this version and the standard E-23 release, and that's that it has the cartoon-style red bumper.


Now, I did say that the second biggest difference between DW-E04W and DW-E23T is that the newer release has an axe instead of a rifle.  But the biggest difference is that E04W was only a cab, while all the variants of E23 come with a trailer.  And not a simple redeco of Prime's trailer, but a whole new car carrier. 


At a glance, especially at this scale, it's perfectly fine, but if we're going to over-analyze I might note that there's no way to move the missiles to the front of the trailer, that the trailer is missing the red trim along the bottom, that the trailer's ramp doesn't open and you can't actually put any car in it, and that even if you could open the ramp there's some kibble in the way that'd still prevent you from putting any cars in.


But the trailer connects to the cab the same way Prime's does, the cab can turn on the trailer, the whole thing roles, and there's a spot on the side where you can plug in a new Magnus-style rifle.  Note that the Magnus rifle has a peg and not the clip that Prime's rifle does, so the white Optimus can't wield it, so the inner robot just has the axe.  And the axe doesn't appear to have any storage on the alt mode; there is a small peg on the side, but it's too small for any of the holes on the trailer.


But that's ok!  Because this set is more than EW04W with a trailer to make him look more Magnus-y in alt mode.  Pull the guns and missile launchers off, then the trailer breaks into four pieces.  Fold the cab's head in like you're going to alt mode, then twist his arms around so that his shoulders are behind him like they'd be for alt mode, but turned upside down with his forearms across the top of the cab.  The rear-most section of the trailer turns into boots that clip over the cab's lower legs.  The middle section has a flap that folds down, then it has tabs that attach it to the cab's arms.  The rest of the trailer clips over the cab's pelvis, then the sides swing around at lock into tabs that are on the the sides of the piece you just attached, while the top of the trailer folds in a few spots to form arms.


And boom, now you've turned a white Optimus repaint into a proper Ultra Magnus.  He's gained a bit of height, more proportionally than Kingdom Magnus over Earthrise Optimus, or MP-36 over MP-22, but I suspect the size difference is going to be similar to Combiner Wars Magnus or the upcoming Commander-class Magnus over Earthrise Optimus.  While I'm mentioning the Commander-class and MP-22, I might suggest that Tactical Commander has better proportions than either of those, or at the very least better than MP-22, despite being an armored Prime instead of an all-in-one design.


The differences between E23T and the standard E23 are less pronounced when he's armored up.  As near as I can tell, the standard version of E23 uses a slightly lighter blue plastic and he lacks the red-painted details on the shins.  Also, there's a cutout on the boots to allow for flaps on the sides of the inner robot's legs to fit into.  Because the standard release has blue legs on the inner robot the armored robot will have solid blue lower legs, but since E23T's legs are white the armored robot winds up with white strips on the sides of his legs.

I do suppose the back could be neater.  The inner robot's head is pretty visible, although no worse than truck mode.  Then again, at around $30 this is one of the cheapest Ultra Magnus figures on the market, cheaper than even Hasbro's releases, and it doesn't have a butt flap like MP-22.


Considering that this figure is a smaller figure wearing his trailer at a very tiny scale, articulation isn't too bad.  His head's on a ball joint that can swivel, tilt sideways slightly, look down slightly more, and look 90 degrees straight up.  His ball-jointed shoulders can swivel, but only move laterally around 45 degrees.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend 90 degrees.  No wrist articulation, and no waist articulation, which isn't really surprising given that the base figure doesn't have waist articulation, either.  His armor restricts his hips slightly, so he can get almost 90 degrees forward and backward on ball joints, and about 60 degrees laterally.  Likewise, his knees are limited to about 45 degrees of bend with his boots on.  No up/down tilt on his feet, but he's got 45 degrees of ankle pivot, which is certainly better than Hasbro would do at this size.


And, just to remind you guys, this size is really small.  Even with his armor on Tactical Commander is shorter than a Hasbro Core-class.  The inner robot (or just regular Prime Commander) is smaller than Earthrise Prime's lower leg, with figures like Cosmos being tinier still.  So, yes, Tactical Commander has his flaws.  But despite his flaws he still executes the white Prime to cartoon Ultra Magnus extremely well.  Fairly simple engineering makes him (and really all the Dr Wu figures) toys that you can have fun playing with, their small size makes it easy to find space for them (and is great for making your Titans seem big), and their relatively low prices make them borderline impulse purchases.  While I'm not interested in purchasing every repaint under the sun, I'm looking forward to announced figures in the line like Wheeljack, Inferno, and Megatron, and expect that I'll happily snatch up whatever Season 1-3 figures Dr Wu chooses to do in this line.  Regarding Tactical Commander, I'd say it's the most ambitious release in the Extreme Warfare line so far, and it's paid off as one of the best releases.  It's honestly a bit nuts that Dr. Wu can release a 3.5" (9cm) Ultra Magnus for $30 that shows up a $50 Hasbro Leader-class, but there you go.  Highly recommended.

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Something I've had to come to terms with is the fact that Legends are the new hotness when it comes to unlicensed 3P Transformers, but also that I just don't have it in me to supplement the MP collection (or, more drastically, liquidate it) and start over on a new scale.  Every now and then, though, something catches my eye, and it in this case it's a figure labeled MK-06 T-Rex Dinosaur, that's either from a company called Mike or the figure's name is Mike.  I'm not sure.


So, yeah.  It's a modified KO of Newage's Ymir, their Legends Grimlock, and Newage gets most of the credit for the aesthetics, which are very Sunbow.  This means he's got yellow for his chest and dino claws, including the middle section, smallish wings, long arms, thin proportions, dark gray thighs, and minimal details.


Surprisingly, Mike (I don't really care what the original intentions were, I'm calling him Mike) isn't any bigger or smaller than Ymir, but nor is he a straight up 1:1 KO.  I had to do a little research to be sure what the changes even were, but as near as I can tell the major differences seem to be that the mechanical details on the red strips on his wings have been replaced with a smooth red stripe and similar details on his shoulders were replaced with a simple flat, circle, all in an effort to look even more Sunbow accurate.  The other big difference is that they added covers to the insides of the lower legs so you don't see the folded-up tail.  Regarding that, I do think it makes Mike look a little cleaner, but it adds a bit of extra headache during transformation.  Regarding the other changes I'm not exactly in favor.  There's such a thing as too Sunbow, but I seem to be a minority in thinking like that.


Another change from Ymir seems to be the accessories.  Mike comes with a flame accessory, a hilt accessory, swappable open hands, a fish, a toy-style missile launcher (molded as one piece, no detachable missile), and a rifle, which is what Ymir came with.  But Mike also comes with a crown, a replacement translucent chest piece, a replacement translucent dino neck, a cloth apron with bowtie, a serving tray, a second hilt with a translucent blade, and a helmet, plug, and wire for Grimlock's intelligence transfer device.  Most of that stuff is just going to wind up in a baggie, though.  A lot of those accessories are for dino mode.  The crown is ill-fitting.  The wire is a little too thick to actually connect the helmet and plug.  While I do like the actual sword blade, NewAge's intention was that the flame effect would go on a hilt and it'd look like his sword was on fire.  His gun looks kind of awful, with simple shapes and basically no details, it's a shining example of something that's too Sunbow.  That said, I do think I prefer the translucent chest.


But I digress.  Mike's articulation head is on a ball joint that can swivel, tilt down and sideways slightly, and look straight up 90 degrees.  His shoulders rotate and can move laterally 90 degrees.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend just over 90 degrees.  His wrists swivel.  His waist swivels, and he's got 90 degrees of ab crunch.  His hips can move forward, backward, and laterally just under 90 degrees.  His thighs swivel, and his knees bend 90 degrees.  His feet can tilt up but not down, and his ankles pivot 90 degrees.  His wings can be angled upward, but the dino head on his back prevents them from folding any farther back.  I presume this is the same as Ymir.

His weapons fit into either closed fist, the swords (both hilts) slightly loose, the guns nice and snug.  The hands are just pegged in, so swapping them is as easy as pulling them off and swapping the other hands in.  Same goes for the chest.


Broadly speaking, Mike's (and by extention Ymir's) transformation is your typical Grimlock; legs turn around and the insides come out to make the tail, his hands tuck away (if you kept the default closed fists on) and his arms become his legs, his backpack moves up and his wings close over his head to form the upper dino body.  There's some new tricks, though.  It's debatable whether or not these tricks paid off.  The one that stands out to me the most is that, in an effort to take his relatively thinner forearms and bulk them up as dino legs, his forearm splays open and the interior rotates around so that when it closes back up it's stopped from closing as far.  Looks fine from the outside, but from the inside it leaves some unsightly gaps.


Aside from that, though, I don't have much to complain about.  A bit overly-Sunbow, sure, but his proportions are pretty good.  His tail is longer than a lot of Grimlock toys tend to be, which I approve of, and it's got a few hinges so it can waggle to the sides a little.


Going beyond the tail, his neck swivels, but that's only good when he's standing upright.  He can look down a little and look up about 90 degrees, so he can do more forward-leaning poses.  His jaws open.  His shoulders rotate and are hinged for lateral movement, with bicep swivels and 90 degree elbow bends.  His wrists are ball joints for swiveling, limited upward tilt, and 90 degrees of downward tilt.  Because his robot arms are now legs they can swivel at the hips and splay out 90 degrees laterally, and he's got thigh swivels.  AFAIK, though, Ymir's only knee articulation was his elbow, which bends the wrong way for dino mode.  The people that made Mike tried to fix that, and with the joint fully extended he can bend his knee slightly in the correct direction, but only slightly.  His claws can move up and down, but he doesn't have any dino ankle tilt.

There's a peg hole on his back that you're supposed to be able to plug one of his guns into; on my copy the hole is too tight.  A post on a hinge allows you to attach the flame effect so it looks like he's breathing fire, but there doesn't seem to be anywhere to store the sword hilt.  I can't figure out how to take his neck apart to swap for the translucent piece, and the instructions don't mention it.


You can tie his apron on, and the apron has a little pocket for the fish.  In the pictures I've seen of Ymir the fish is just stuck between his dino hands and relying on the tension of the joints to hold it in place, so maybe that's an improvement.  Then again, all you can do with the serving tray is balance it on his claws.  It doesn't lock in place.  The helmet to the intelligence transfer device fits pretty snugly on his head.

Speaking of his head, he has one more gimmick in dino mode.  You can lift up the top of his head, and inside you'll find that his eyes are blue paint on a translucent part.  The translucent part swivels so that you can display him with red-painted eyes instead.  While I do think options are nice, if I'm being honest the robot mode didn't get the same options, and given how Sunbow this thing is, I think I'd have preferred they just stuck with blue eyes and probably fewer seems in his head.

I have kind of mixed feelings about this figure.  On the one hand, it's pretty clear that NewAge designed a figure with excellent robot articulation and a transformation that makes for a very solid dinosaur mode.  On the other hand, gimmicks like the forearm transformation hurt more than they help, the lack of proper dino knees is a bummer, and the overall aesthetic leans a little too far into the cartoon for my tastes, especially his gun.  The result is somehow both one of the best and also the most disappointing Grimlock figures I've experienced, and those issues are NewAge's, not the result of being a KO... the only issues that I can directly attribute to it being a KO are some joints that are a bit looser than I'd like (but still perfectly capable of holding poses).  With Ymir retailing at over $100 at most US stores, for a figure smaller than most Hasbro Deluxes, I'd have a really hard time overlooking the figure's flaws (subjective though most of them are), and I'd probably tell you that I don't recommend him, I'd maybe wait and see what Magic Square will eventually come up with (not that anyone would listen, because Ymir seems to have sold out everywhere anyway.

But, even though Mike is mostly Ymir, Mike's not actually Ymir, and I picked him up for for around $25 shipped.  His flaws are a lot easier to overlook at that price, and the reality is that his articulation (if not his aesthetic) is so much better than the Mech Fans Toys Grimlock, and the I'd (again, subjectively) say the dino mode is better all-around.  So what's a "no" at $100 is a pretty easy recommend at a quarter of that price.

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Recently browsed through old pics, and Unique Toys' Peru Kill (Bayverse AoE Lockdown), piqued my interest again..



So I took it down from the display to fiddle with it again after some years. Back when it came out, there were many comments on how UT did some black magic for its transformation design, and no wonder, as there were hardly any car bits to be found in its robot mode visage, whilst maintaining pretty good accuracy to its on-screen counterpart.


The car bits weren't pushed to the back either to result in all sorts of hanging kibble. In fact, it probably has the least (none!) kibble of any car bot that I know. Only a couple of details are visible from the back that gives a hint to what Lockdown actually transforms into..



Figure not without its faults though - in robot mode it probably looks the best in basic A-stance, as due to the transformation the joints can be located in slightly odd positions and dynamic poses may make it look a bit out of whack. Still, when returning it back to its shelf, I'll put it in what I think is a bad ass stance that defines this iteration of Lockdown - its B.F.G Face as seen in the movie.


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