Transformers (2007 Movie): Ratchet by Hasbro

Well, we had a nice interlude with some new Generations figures and some Masterpiece offerings and now it’s back to dredging the toy totes in search of new fodder for Transformers Thursday. I’ve got a bunch of Bayformers that I’m getting rid of via Ebay and, like Scavenger here, you may see some of them turn up on what Thursdays we have remaining until the end of the year. Why? Because this will be my last chance to feature them before they’re gone. I usually send my unwanted Transformers to my nephew, but I don’t want to inflict these things on that poor kid, so maybe I can get some comic book money from them. Anyway, today we’re looking at Ratchet.




I’ve gone on record as liking the 2007 movie. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t what I wanted, but looking back at it, it actually seems like a quaint movie from a simpler time. A time before I realized that the franchise would be spun into three more terrible movies and that I would eventually give up and walk out of the last one. I didn’t even ask for my money back. I knew what hell I was walking into and I had no one to blame but myself. One of the few things the movies got right was keeping Ratchet as a doctor even if they did inexplicably change his alt mode from an ambulance to a Fire & Rescue vehicle. And to make matters worse, they made him puke green because… screw you Gwunners! Poor Ratchet’s character arc came full circle by the fourth movie in which he was horrifically murdered for no good reason other than to provide the final cause that drives Optimus Prime over the edge in his journey from hero to tragic war vet driven homicidal and insane by PTSD.



The 2007 Movie release of Ratchet is a Voyager sized figure and apart from being the color of regurgitated pea soup, it’s not a bad alt mode. I still don’t see the point of making him a Fire & Rescue truck over an ambulance since it’s pretty much the same vehicle just with different markings. The markings are red and look terrible against the green plastic. The detailing on it is pretty realistic and while the sculpt is rather soft in areas you can still make out neat little touches like the tools bracketed to the roof and the cabinets on the sides for life saving equipment. The wire frame guards on the front, back, and roof add some nice complexity to the design and you get a big spare tire near the back of the roof. All in all, this is a chunky and solid vehicle mode and it rolls along great. It’s worth noting that Ratchet was repainted as Rescue Ratchet, with G1 themed colors.



Transforming Ratchet isn’t terribly complex. The seaming on the sides of his truck mode suggest he’s a shell-former, but he isn’t at all. You do have to take the roof rack and spare tire off, but it can become a claw weapon or just attach to his back. The figure features some auto-morphing in the legs, but it’s hardly even noticeable. There’s also some clever stuff going on here, like the way his chest is formed by the upside down front of the car and the way his windshields split and travel to his back. There’s also some damn annoying stuff like the way the parts on the back of his thighs like to explode off of the figure when changing him. Those same pieces also do a lot to limit Ratchet’s leg articulation and in all honestly, I find Ratchet is better off if they’re just removed for robot mode.


One of the things I like about some of the 2007 toys was their inability to mimic the complexities of the movie designs. Instead we got some chunkier and more boxy robots that looked like a more sensible blending of the old school figures and the crazy new designs. Ratchet is definitely one of those toys. I actually really dig the way he looks. He’s stocky and powerful looking and actually resembles something we might have seen in the Unicron Trilogy rather than a statue made out of broken scissors and car parts.


The head sculpt is still a monstrosity, but in fairness it does resemble the character’s on screen portrait fairly well. Even the coloring doesn’t bother me as much in robot mode. What does bother me are those damn exposed screws on his shoulders. I hate when Hasbro does this with Transformers. Was there no way you could have put those screws in from the other side or plug them or do something with them?


Ratchet’s claw weapon doesn’t impress me, but it’s a serviceable use for the roof rack, I suppose. I’m glad you can just hang it off his back, though.


I’m still on the fence over whether or not Ratchet is getting dumped. I like the figure well enough, but with me unloading most of my Bayformers he won’t really have a place in my collection. I know I’m keeping Revenge of the Fallen Leader Optimus because I love that figure. If I can convince myself to just keep Ironhide, Bumblebee and Jazz, maybe it would be worthwhile just keeping the core Autobot team from the first movie. Maybe next time I’ll check out 2007 Movie Ironhide and see if it’s something I want to do.

And now for a couple of administrative notes… Next Thursday is Thanksgiving and as much as I am thankful for Transformers, I’m also thankful for a day off, so Transformers Thursday will return the following week. Hopefully I’ll have some new figures to look at by then, but if not it’ll be another trip to the Tote of Bayformers… and nobody is thankful for that!

There will also most likely be no new feature tomorrow as I have my studio torn apart for renovations. If the work is completed early, I may get to squeeze some work in, but if not I should definitely be back with content on Saturday.

Figma “Attack on Titan”: Mikasa Ackerman by Max Factory

I’ve been spending a lot of time unwinding after work in front of good old Crunchyroll and getting caught up on some anime. Granted, for every five series I start, I often only stick with maybe two, but Attack on Titan was certainly one of the keepers. Oddly enough what really made this show stick for me wasn’t the bizarre premise or the well fleshed out characters. Nope, it was that bitchin Omni Directional Mobility Gear. There’s something about that rig that is just so ridiculously anime and so brilliantly steampunk that I track from episode to episode waiting to see it showcased again. Damn, it looks so cool in action! Of course it wasn’t long into the show that I realized I had to have some plastic collectibles from this series on my shelf and while the obvious choice was Kotobukiya’s offerings, I actually took this opportunity to pick up my first Figma figure. I started with Mikasa Ackerman because, well she’s just a total badass.


After the compact boxes of S.H. Figuarts, I was pretty surprised at how big this package is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a huge box, but it’s sizable enough to display the figure with all her gear spread out beside her in the plastic tray. The box won’t win any awards for flashy art design as it’s all very shockingly utilitarian. The front uses a window to let you see what you’re getting but until you get it all together it just looks like a figure with a bunch of parts. The side panels and back of the box, however, do show the figure in various action shots, which should be more than enough to make anyone want to buy it. In fact, there’s no actual character art from the anime anywhere to be found.


As one would expect, the box is totally collector friendly so you have somewhere to store all those extra bits and bobs when you’re not using them. And holy crap, does this figure come with a lot of stuff, which is especially impressive when you consider that the Omni Directional rig is mostly comprised of one complex ensemble of parts and cables. Not only is all her stuff spread out in one tray, but there’s another tray nested beneath it.



The basic figure is a fantastic representation of Mikasa in full uniform, and boy do I love the design of AoT’s military uniforms. They’re very evocative of the Classic Battlestar Galactica look to me and all the details are recreated here through a very solid sculpt. The half-jacket, skirt, and scarf are all cast in soft plastic and layered over the rest of the sculpted uniform. The various belts and buckles are all sculpted on and carefully painted. The emblem of the Survey Corps is printed neatly on her shoulders, back, and left breast pocket. She also comes with her billowing green cloak, which is attached to the figure simply by popping off the head and sitting it around her neck. As long as we’re on the subject of popping off Mikasa’s head, you can also remove her scarf and substitute it for a shirt collar piece. They really thought of everything!




The head sculpt is a fine likeness for the character on screen. Mikasa is pretty, but not drop dead gorgeous and that’s reflected perfectly here. In fact, let me point out here that it’s rather refreshing to get a female anime figure that isn’t all skin and wanking material… says the guy with shelves full of Bishoujo statues. No, I’m serious! Anyway, Mikasa comes packaged with a fairly neutral face, which you can swap out for her slightly angrier face or her, “I’m going to carve a hunk of meat out of the back of your neck!” face. Face swapping is very similar to the Figuarts system and is as easy as pulling off the front of the hair. Speaking of which, I really love how they sculpted her ears even though they are almost entirely covered by the sculpted hair. It adds a lot of credibility to the portrait.



In addition to the extra faces, you also get an additional four pairs of hands. I love the fact that they come on a reusable hand sprue and not just in a tray. The figure comes wearing a pair of fists, but you also get relaxed hands, hands with the fingers splayed out, and hands designed to hold the sword hilts. The last pair is designed for holding something as well, but since they don’t have the separate fingers for the hilt guards, I’m not entirely sure why I need them. You also get an official Figma zip-lock bag to hold all the parts if for some reason you don’t want to keep the box.




As Mikasa is indeed my first Figma, allow me a moment to gush about how much I love the articulation. It’s so simple and yet so fun. I thought the Figuarts articulation was great, and to be fair I still think it is, but the jointing feels so much more solid on this figure. You get fully realized rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles. The hips are ball jointed and there are also ball joints in the torso and neck and hinges in the feet. And even with all that poseability the figure is rock solid and beautifully balanced. I could get used to this! I’m anxious to get her kitted out with her gear, but before I do, let’s take a quick look at the stand, which is a requirement for getting the most out of displaying her with her gear.


Yes, the stand is the only thing in the box that doesn’t wow me. The base feels rather flimsy and light. The stand includes a clear arm hinged in three places with a peg that plugs into the upper hole on Mikasa’s back. There’s also a clear plug to stick in there if you want to display the figure without the stand. While the whole assembly may not feel all that substantial, I’ll give credit where it’s due because as we’ll soon see it is perfectly capable of holding the figure in all sorts of airborne poses.


As great as the figure itself is, I’m totally blown away by the way Max Factory managed to recreate the Omni Directional Mobility Gear. It’s paintstakingly recreated in one elaborate harness of steampunk ingenuity and possibly one of my all time favorite action figure accessories. The belt pegs into the lower hole on the figure’s back and the two scabbards-slash-gas canisters peg into the thighs with the holes for the grapples positioned just above the hips and the two control hilts pegging into the ends of the wires for her to hold in her hands. The whole thing is just superb and fits the figure beautifully. The scabbards are stocked with permanent replacement blades, but naturally you get a pair of blades to peg into the control hilts as well.



A long effect part simulating the propulsion trail from the expelled gas canister plugs into the valve on the top of the belt and into the peg in the stand. It can be a little tricky to balance the figure right, but you can sure get some great poses using this piece.




In fact, once I had Mikasa all kitted out with her Mobility Gear, I became totally enthralled with playing around with her. The combination of her poseability and the intricate recreation of her gear kept a smile on my face for at least an hour. Most of the time I get these figures for display pieces and after a little inspection and some time under the studio lights, they go onto the shelf to be admired in passing. Mikasa, on the other hand, she’s just impossible to put down.




But as much fun as it is posing Mikasa zipping along the rooftops and slashing at giants with her swords, the display options don’t end there. Nope, you also get two grapple lines an effect parts simulating the expelled gas from their firing points. Damn, if that effect isn’t well done! You also get some cord and clear plastic hooks, which I presume are so you can hang the figure in mid flight? I’m not sure. The instructions weren’t all that clear to me, and I didn’t want to mess around with it.





Holy crap, is this an amazing figure. Max Factory has manage to not only capture the character splendidly, but this figure captures just about everything that is cool about the show. There aren’t likely to be any Titans forthcoming, but then I could always strip down to a loin cloth and try to bite Mikasa’s head off. Yeah… I won’t do that. Aaaaaanyway… these folks sure went all out with every little detail and created a figure that not only looks incredible, but manages to be an absolute blast to play with. Even at $55 I think she was a pretty solid deal. The quality and execution on display here is top notch across the board. I was originally thinking that one Attack on Titans figure would be enough, after all, they all wear the same uniform and gear. Getting different characters is basically buying variants of the same figure. But now that I have Mikasa on the shelf, I may need to grab a few more figures for my Survey Corps. The variety of display options alone would make having multiple characters in this line worthwhile.

Marvel Universe Infinite: Hyperion by Hasbro

Yesterday I served up some DC Comics action figure loving so we might as well flip the coin today and look at Marvel. I still have a few Marvel Infinite figures hanging around and waiting to be opened and today’s offering goes all the way back to the initial wave of this curious re-branding of the 3 ¾-inch Marvel Universe line. It’s Hyperion and it’s a crazy coincidence that last year at this time I was looking at the Marvel Legends version of this character. Folks, I gotta be honest, I’m really pressed for time so today’s feature is mostly filler… Sorry, Hyperion… no offense. But yeah, mostly filler.

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There’s the packaging. It’s been a couple of weeks since we looked at anything from Marvel Infinite so in case you forgot, I don’t like this packaging at all. About the only thing this has going for it is that it shows the figure off pretty well and it does indeed scream MARVEL! at you. Hyperion is not a character that I have a great affinity for. He turns up in my reading from time to time, I dig him well enough, but I don’t seek him out. I will say that it’s cool to get a figure of him in his more classic style costume, as we did with his Legends version, but at the same time I wish Hasbro had taken the opportunity to give us his darker and grittier Marvel NOW! costume.



If you’re familiar with the character than you should know what to expect here. If not, well Hyperion a pretty generic looking caped crusader. Oh wait, that’s the other guy. Hyperion always reminds me of Captain Marvel. Not Marvel’s Captain Marvel… DC’s Captain Marvel. You know, SHAZAM! Anyway, it’s obviously the red and yellow color pallet of his costume that causes my mind to make the connection. Hyperion is built on a very muscular buck and unlike the Legends figure, this one is sporting a little gold in the costume, particularly on the midriff. I dig it a lot. It just makes for a more visually interesting costume to me. Also, Hyperion’s cape is only attached by two pegs and is removable.



The portrait is very similar to the Legends head sculpt giving Hyperion a rather severe and somewhat pissed off visage. It’s possibly not quite as harsh as the larger figure, but he definitely looks displeased. I like it. There’s a lot of personality packed into this little head sculpt.



You get the same great articulation we’ve been seeing in most of the Infinite bodies. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, there swivels at the thighs and tops of the boots, and the ankles have both hinges and rockers. The torso features a ball joint just below the chest and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. My only gripe here is that there are some gaps in the swivels between the boots and his legs and they really bug me. I had this curious jointing phenomenon occur on one other Marvel Universe figure, but I can’t remember which one. Maybe Kang?


Yeah, like I said, today was mostly filler and I apologize. Hyperion is not a bad figure by any means, but I just can’t get terribly excited about the character. The figure tagged along as part of Wave 1 when I bought the assortment case and I’m cool with that. For me the 3 3/4″ Marvel line is all about universe building so any time I can add another character to my shelves, I’m happy, even if it is a character I don’t care all that much about. I’ll make up for phoning in today’s feature tomorrow with a look at something special…

DC Comics: New 52 Batgirl by DC Collectibles

Has it been a while since I’ve done anything DC? It feels like it, so let’s go with that… I have to confess that I’m not current on my Batgirl. Like all of the New 52 comics, I’m reading the book in the collected TPBs rather than monthly, but I have been enjoying reading it. But hey, it’s Gail Simone, so the fact that I’m enjoying it goes without saying. It also doesn’t hurt that I absolutely love Batgirl’s New 52 design, something that I can’t say about all the characters since the reboot. Anyway, Batgirl is getting a total makeover come issue #35(?) and while it’ll be a little while before I get there, I thought I should cover some of the collectibles based on her current look before it becomes dated. Today I’m checking out the newly released figure by DC Collectibles. It’s odd timing for this release, as one would think they would want to promote the new look, but then maybe they’re just trying to get the figure out while they still can.


I’ve featured a number of DC Collectibles figures this year so we’ve already seen the packaging plenty. It’s a window box with an extended card back and while it allows for a good look at the figure, the art design doesn’t really do much for me. The exception to that is the glorious old-school Batgirl emblem on the top of the card. That’s just awesome. The box is collector friendly, but I’m just going to rip her out of there and toss it into the bin.



Ah, there she is and man do I dig that look! I’d be sad to see it go if her new costume wasn’t just as cute as a button. This look, on the other hand, marries bad ass with everything I love about Adam Hughes Batgirl. How do you look so sweet, innocent and wholesome while wearing tactical armor? Well, Babs here pulls it off and so does this figure, sculpted by Jack Mathews. The panel lines and scalloped plates of the armor look fantastic and the plastic has an almost rubbery texture that makes it feel like it’s designed to absorb bullets and blows. I also really dig the bat cut-outs in the knees of her boots. Even the cape, with it’s narrow design, is as practical as a cape can possibly be when hanging off of a suit of modern urban armor. The only thing I don’t care for in the suit design is that extra bat at the collar. It just seems out of place and pointless and the paint on it is a bit sloppy.



As great as the suit is, it’s the portrait on this figure that really wins me over. I’ve had a thing for Barbara Gordon ever since Yvonne Craig donned the mask. It’s hard to pick out my favorite thing about this headscupt. I love the lips and the wide eyes, but I think I’ll go with the way the hair is sculpted. It just comes bursting out of the cowl and gathers up around her shoulders and damn if it doesn’t look great.



The paintwork on this figure exhibits some highs and lows. The paintwork on the face and hair is all great, and the bright yellow just pops beautifully against the black of the rest of the suit. I just wish that some of that yellow paint were more neatly applied, particularly on the bat symbol on her collar. I’m already not a fan of that piece of decor and the paint kind of makes it look like Barbara dribbled eggs onto her costume at breakfast. The bat symbol on her chest could be sharper, but I have to get in pretty close before I can notice. There’s nothing terrible here, but certainly room for improvement.


My favorite thing about DC Collectibles this year is the added articulation to their figures and Batgirl certainly shows that off. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and gloves. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, and hinged at the knees and ankles. You also get a ball jointed neck. Yeah, poses still come off as limiting and stiff, but it’s better than what we were seeing out of DC Direct.


Batgirl comes with one accessory and that’s her grapple gun. It’s a simple yellow plastic sculpt with a string running through it and tied to the hook, so you can display it ready to fire or already deployed. You can also use it to try to recreate that unfortunate pose used for her first Cover Girls of the DC Universe statue. Or better yet, don’t. On the downside, it’s a rather big and clunky looking gun and her hand does not seem like it was sculpted to hold this thing. I can barely get it into her hand and even when I do it looks rather awkward. It’s probably destined for the dreaded Tote of Forgotten Accessories.



Batgirl set me back $21 at an online retailer and I think she’s a really great figure, even with some minor opportunities with the paintwork and the accessory hand malfunction. I could have tried finding one with better paint, but the nearest comic shop is an hour away, so I’m fine with the one I got. Besides, I hear tell some people are getting figures with googly eyes, and I’d much prefer a figure with normal, pretty eyes, and some slop on her armor. DCC still has the odd kink to work out of this line, but all in all I’m still happy to collect it, especially in light of the vacuum that was left behind by Mattel pulling of of DC Universe Classics. Next week, we’ll check out another DC lady that shipped in the same wave… Supergirl. Then maybe next month I can start digging into some of the others.

Star Wars Black: Darth Vader (Return of the Jedi) by Hasbro

Alrighty, It’s Saturday and I’m running into overtime, but I promised to end this week with another Star Wars Black figure and so here we are to take a look at Darth Vader. Obviously, the Dark Lord of the Sith was on a lot of collectors’ 6-inch scale want lists and Hasbro didn’t take too long to deliver him. However, they did go the somewhat controversial route of giving us a Return of the Jedi version with a removable mask. Was it a good call or will I be crying for a do-over? Let’s find out together!


There’s Vader in his box. As noted last time, Hasbro has done some tweaking to the SWB packaging, but it’s mostly just cosmetic. You still get a collector friendly window box that is happy standing on the shelf or hanging on the peg. To be honest, Vader doesn’t look all that impressive in his box, but I think that’s because he’s kind of all smooshed in there.


With Lord Vader out of the box and properly fluffed, I’m digging him a little more. The first thing that strikes me about the figure is how well the soft goods are executed. I remember back when the line was first announced the use of soft goods was one of the selling points for me. How’s that been working out so far? Not so great. We didn’t even get proper Jedi cloaks with Obi-Wan or Anakin… just skirts. Vader here, features a cloth inner garment, which wraps around his torso, flows under his belt and forms a skirt plus a nice flowing cape. The cape secured around the neck with an actual chain and also secured to the shoulder armor. The soft goods are far from perfect, but it is pretty much the selling point for me with this figure. Maybe it’s just because I’m so desperate to see mixed media used in this line to some advantage.


The sculpted detail on the rest of the figure’s body is fairly good. The suit has that great quilted leather texture and I dig the way the shoulder piece looks. Plus… oh, hell… I can’t do this anymore. How many Darth Vader figures have I owned over the years? I don’t even have a large Star Wars collection any longer and I’d still bet I have two dozen. The body sculpt here is passable, but is it better than some of the better 3 3/4” Vader’s. Not really. Regular readers should know my litmus test with the 6-inch Black line by now. Is the figure improved by the larger scale? Again, not really. The truth is there’s nothing here about the sculpt that really stands out as anything we haven’t seen before, but it’s certainly good work. Let’s move on to the portrait.


So, when I heard Hasbro was going with a removable helmet, I expected a soft and squishy train wreck of a sculpt. We did not get that, but there’s still something seriously off about it and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Granted, I’m not a Vader helmet expert and I can’t tell you all the little differences between the costumes. The red eyes are certainly off putting, because whatever the truth is about the costume, they always looked black on screen to me. Overall, I was expecting worse, but that doesn’t make it particularly great either.


Pop off the helmet and you get Anakin unmasked. Here again, I’m going to throw out a “meh.” It’s not bad, it’s not great, it just is. I think the sculpt on the face is actually pretty decent but it’s let down by the paint job. I’m particularly put off by the cartoony look of his eyes. What I do think is fairly impressive is the work they put into the little controls and doo-dads on the tray in front of his mouth.



Generally speaking, I don’t require a lot of articulation out of my Vader figures, but this guy features some competent poseability. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but alas no bicep swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, hinges in the ankles and we even get some lateral rockers in those ankles too! There’s a ball joint in the waist and a ball joint in the neck. On the downside, those hip joints are pretty loose and sometimes Vader can’t support his own weight when doing those wider stances.




Vader comes with his lightsaber and the blade is detachable so you can go for a lit or unlit look. The problem? There’s no way to attach the hilt to his belt. Seriously, Hasbro? How hard is it to put a peg and a peg hole on the figure? This kind of oversight really pisses me off, especially when they’ve released three Luke figures and all of them have had a lightsaber hilt that could attach to the belt. Grrr…




Armed with the knowledge that Hasbro went for the removable mask, I was expecting this figure to be pretty damn terrible. Now that it’s in hand, I wouldn’t call it terrible, but rather pretty average. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that going for the removable helmet on the first Vader in the line shows poor judgement on Hasbro’s part. Granted, I’m not sure if my issues with the helmet are caused by the fact that it’s removable or if this is the sculpt Hasbro would have went with otherwise, but either way it isn’t all it could have been and that really sums up the figure as a whole. It’s far from the worst figure we’ve got in the line, but a character as important as Vader deserved better than this. Still, it certainly won’t be the last Vader we get in this line, so better luck next time, Hasbro!

Transformers: Masterpiece Optimus Prime (MP-10) by Takara-Hasbro, Part 2

Yes, folks, Transformers Thursday is bleeding over into Friday as I’m back to conclude my look at the Asian Market Reissue of MP-10. Yesterday we looked at the packaging, the bonus incentive, and Prime’s robot mode, today we’ll check out the alt mode, but before I get Prime transformed, let’s take a quick look at his trailer’s repair bay mode.



By opening the trailer and standing it on its end you get a repair bay for Prime’s robot mode. It’s funny, but the original G1 toy did this too and I never had any use for it or interest in it. But here, I think it looks so cool, I could easily see myself displaying the figure like this from time to time. There’s so much sculpted detail in the inside of the trailer! It’s also a little reminiscent of that Soul of Chogokin Mazinger Repair Bay that I wish I had the scratch to buy. There’s room for Prime’s weapons at the top corner of each side panel, but I prefer to keep his rifle in his back when not in use, and what sense does it make to put the energon ax up there when it just forms from his arm?



Take note of the teeny tiny Spike figure that comes with the set. He’s very simple, there isn’t even any paint on his creepy blank face, but a great little pack in, nonetheless. I love standing him on the shelf beside Prime because it gives such an awesome sense of scale. He can also sit inside the repair module, which I always called Teletran-1 when I was a kid. In addition to the opening canopy, Teletran has an articulated repair arm and a little rotating radar dish. I think the reason I love this set up so much is because I get a warm and fuzzy Micronaut vibe out of this whole thing, which makes sense because of the ties between that line and the original incarnations of the Transformers.


Transforming Prime into his cab mode is not nearly as difficult as I expected. Yeah, it gets a bit fiddly, but like all good Masterpiece Transformers, the engineering starts with the transformation of the original figure and then just tweaks it to make up for the better proportions and articulation of the figure. In this case, Prime’s grill is faked out, but everything else works in a manner very similar to the original toy with the complexity beefed up a lot. I consulted the instructions the first time to make sure I wasn’t going to break anything, but after that I was able to do it just fine on my own, which certainly points to a very intuitive transformation. There are a few scary parts, mainly where I’m extra careful about not scratching the chrome, but otherwise, it’s all good!


The resulting cab mode looks fantastic and makes the 20th Anniversary Prime’s alt mode look like a piece of crap by comparison. If you do everything correctly, the panels all line up and lock together perfectly and Prime can roll along on his wheels beautifully. The combination of chromed parts and silver paint looks just as fantastic here as it does on Prime’s chest. Also, I can’t help but keep appreciating the extended smokestacks. It may sound like a stupid little detail, but I’ve been deprived of those on my Prime toys for so long. They’re glorious!


You can also open one of the windshield panels on Prime’s cab and put the Spike figure inside and I’ll also refer back to the feature that allows Prime to carry his collapsed rifle in his back compartment while in truck mode. Neat!





The trailer hooks up to the cab via a couple of tabs set on a rotating platform so that the cab can turn independently of the trailer. The trailer is just a glorious love letter to the G1 toy only bigger and beefier. I love the detailed railings added to the two supports that fold out from underneath. The sculpted Autobot insignia on each side are fantastic and all the little detailing that I remember from my G1 toy are present. The result it a big truck that scales beautifully with the Autobot cars.




Speaking of which, the back of the trailer opens and there’s a ramp that pulls out and drops down. You can drive an Autobot car right up into there and close it up. I love this feature so much and it easily makes up for my quibbles about Prime being too tall in robot mode.


Before opening up the trailer, I’ll take the opportunity to point out that X-Transbots Krank (Not-Huffer) is fitted with notches so that he can link up with Prime’s trailer and pull it. Krank looks appropriately undersized compared to the trailer, but he can still pull it just fine! It’s a feature I’ve been wanting to try out ever since I got Krank and it’s a lot of fun to finally be able to do it.


I’ve already shown the trailer open as the repair bay, but here we are with it open as the horizontal base mode. You get all that same great sculpted goodness on the interior of the shell and a ramp so Autobot cars can drive up onto it and get a tune-up. Displaying the trailer this way also features two work stations where you can sit Spike. I think there’s something I’m forgetting… what is it?



Ah, Roller, the unsung Autobot! There’s really not a hell of a lot to say about this toy, other than it has a driver seat for the Spike figure and it rolls along on six wheels. He’s blue, which is at odds with the Sunbow animated appearance and for the life of me I can’t remember what color my old G1 Prime’s Roller was. Ah well…



You can mount Prime’s rifle on top of Roller and he can also pull Prime’s trailer. Well, take that, Huffer, I guess you’re not so special after all!






So, it’s been a long road to getting this guy into my collection and there’s no doubt that all that all that waiting was worthwhile… which is sort of a loaded compliment. While I was never prepared to pay the $300 this guy peaked at (I say peaked, but last I looked there were some jabronies actually asking $500+ for him on Amazon Marketplace) I did come close to paying $200 for him at one point and I’m very glad I didn’t. I’m not just saying that because I eventually got him for less, but because as amazing a toy as he is, he’s not worth it. Honestly, I’m not sure he’s worth the $160 I ended up paying, other than to finally get him in my collection and be done with it. I think the $100 MSRP on the TRU version was right on the money. I would have been comfortable walking into the store and paying that, but I wasn’t about to drive an hour one way to take a chance that they had one. Anywho, the bottom line is I love this figure and I had to have him. MP-10 is such an important figure for TranFans. It helped reboot the Masterpiece endeavor into a more cohesive line and it fixed a lot of mistakes made with MP-01. But ultimately, it’s undoubtedly the best version of the character on my shelf, and that’s saying something because I own a lot of Primes.

Transformers: Masterpiece Optimus Prime (MP-10) by Takara-Hasbro, Part 1

Holy shit, Toyhounds, this acquisition has been a long time coming. I didn’t get in on the original release of MP-10 because I convinced myself I wasn’t going to collect the Masterpiece line. When I could finally hold out no more MP-10 was sold out everywhere and going for in excess of three bills on the secondary market. The Hasbro release of the figure granted me no better opportunities as there are no more TRU’s within my happy hunting grounds and even that version was getting scalped for ridiculous prices online. It seemed like owning MP-10 just wasn’t in the stars for me. Thankfully the tables turned in a most bizarre way…


Behold the Asian Exclusive MP-10 reissue based off the US Hasbro release. Say whaaaaat? Yeah, this is an odd duck. It’s the Hasbro version of MP-10 in the Hasbro packaging, but it was released for the Asian Marketplace. It was made readily available at all the usual collector-orientated online toy retailers and with a $159 price tag it may cost more than the TRU Exclusive, but it’s also a far sight better than the $200-300+ secondary market price that just about any version of the figure was selling for. At the time of this post it should still be available at many e-tailers.


I thought I was going to bemoan the fact that I was getting the figure in Hasbro packaging, rather than a box that matched all my other Takara MP figures, but once I removed this behemoth from the shipping box, I was simply in awe. The box is massive and the presentation is absolutely fantastic. I’m not crazy about the fact that the deco is reminiscent of some of the movie packaging, but there isn’t much of it as this box is mostly a giant window. It certainly isn’t as collector friendly as the straight up boxes that Takara uses, but with a little care and patience, I was able to preserve the packaging through the unboxing process. I originally thought it was going to go into the trash, but it looks so good that I’ve decided to save it and use it to hold the trailer and other goodies while Prime is displayed in robot mode. It also juuuust barely fits on the top shelf behind him and some of my other MP’s and will make a great backdrop.




This release of MP-10 also includes the bonus item, The Key to Vector Sigma, packaged separately in a little cardboard trapezoid box. This is a cool bonus, so long as you aren’t expecting anything amazing out of it. It’s basically a gold-plated diecast key stuck in a plastic orb. In my days as a much younger and more carefree nerd I could see myself wearing this on a chain around my neck and representing my G1 love to the world. My Cyber-Bling! Now, I have no idea what I’ll do with it. The truth is that if you’re pissed about already owning MP-10 and missing out on this incentive, don’t worry about it, you aren’t really missing much. Still, I think it’s certainly better than those collector coins that have come with some of my other MP figures. But enough about the packaging and extras… let’s get to the figure. Today I’m going to talk about Prime’s robot mode and tomorrow I’ll circle back and check out the trailer and alt mode.


So, for starters, I’ll say that the robot mode is pure money. I love the proportions and I’m so happy to see that the stacks haven’t been snipped as they were on my 20th Anniversary Prime. The sculpted panel lines, rivets, and other details look great, but they don’t overpower the figure’s somewhat animated aesthetic and to me that’s a very good thing. I like the mix of chrome and grey plastic and the red and blue both look gorgeous. The translucent yellow plastic in the pelvis is a nice touch too. The wheels in the legs aren’t completely concealed, but they are shrouded from view from the front. I thought the exposed connecting rods in the shoulders would bother me, but I was pleased to find you can close the gap and conceal them when Prime isn’t posing his arms too wildly. If I had one gripe about the overall look of the robot mode it would be that the doors on his chest don’t always close up properly, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.


After seeing the initial pictures of MP-10, I wasn’t too pleased with the scaling, but now that I have him standing beside my myriad of MP cars, I’m pretty OK with it. Some comparison pics will follow both parts of this feature. Suffice it to say, I would have liked a little less disparity between their heights. To me, characters like Prowl and Wheeljack should come up to at least the middle of Prime’s chest, but I appreciate that Takara wanted to keep the vehicle modes in scale and in the end I think they’ve won me over on this decision. Yeah, he is also a smidge taller than MP Grimlock, but let’s blame that on Grimlock and not Prime here.


The portrait here is very stylized and I like it a lot, but I don’t know that I prefer it over the head on my 20th Prime. It’s not so much a question of one being better than the other, but two very different versions of the head. That having been said, I find the head on MP-10 to be clean and beautifully painted. I particularly love the paint they used for the eyes and the fact that the antenna rotate. It’s definitely some great work and a great rendition of iconic Prime.


One thing that surprised me about this figure is how toyish some aspects of it seems. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of him, but didn’t know a lot about what to expect when I got him in hand. He feels a lot more like a toy than my 20th Prime and that’s in a lot of ways a good thing. I don’t have to worry about him taking a shelf dive because of diecast making him so poorly balanced. The joints are much easier to work with, making him so much more fun to play with. Anyone who’s tried to work with those ratchet joints in 20th Prime’s hips probably knows what I’m talking about. On the other side, there are some things about MP-10 that are disappointing for a figure at this price point. Seeing all those ugly exposed screws from the back is certainly one of them. It makes him feel like he isn’t quite in the same league as the MP Autobot cars.



As hinted at earlier, Prime’s chest opens up to reveal the Matrix of Leadership and damn, it looks spectacular when opened and on display. I’ve never been a huge fan of this gimmick in my Prime toys, but I think this figure just nails it almost perfectly. The Matrix itself is diecast and while it’s a little hard to dig out, it’s a great looking piece. Unfortunately, I find that the best way to get Prime’s chest to close up perfectly is to leave the Matrix out, which is not at all a big deal, although I may find myself occasionally displaying him with the chamber open and the Matrix exposed.



Naturally Prime comes with his trusty rifle and he can hold it quite comfortably in either hand thanks to the combination of a tab and hinged fingers. It’s a pretty light piece, so Prime has no trouble supporting it in pretty much any pose. And then there was this cool surprise…


The rifle can fold up and store in the compartment in Primes’ back. Nice!




You also get Prime’s energon ax, which is cast in translucent orange plastic and fits over the right fist. It’s a snug fit that makes me a little nervous pushing it on, especially with how fragile Prime’s fingers can be. His hinged index fingers have a habit of popping off, although they will pop right back on again. All in all, this weapon is not a bad looking effect, but I like the way the 20th Prime did this ax much better.





I’ll point out that if it sounds like I’m nit picking MP-10, you have to keep in mind that I’ve been waiting to get this figure for a long time and my expectations have been building like crazy, especially considering the insane prices I’ve considered paying for him. The truth is, I really do think this is an amazing figure and I’ve had loads of of fun playing with him since the day I unboxed him. As much as I still enjoy looking at my 20th Prime, I can’t say the same for that figure. Anyway, I’m running out of time and I’ve gone pretty long already, so I’m going to break here and pick it up tomorrow with a look at some of the trailer’s features and then Prime’s transformation and alt mode.

Doctor Who: Time of the Doctor Collectors Set by Character Options

Series 8 of Doctor Who is over and that makes me a very sad Whovian. However, it’s November 12th and what better day could there be to look at an action figure set that includes both the 11th and the 12th Doctors? Eh? 11-12? Get it? Anyway… besides commemorating the episode “Time of the Doctor” in which Matt Smith handed the torch off to Peter Capaldi, this set also proves that Character Options can’t seem to let the 5-inch scale action figure line completely die out. And that’s alright by me! There have been lots of “Regeneration” figures in this line, depicting a new Doctor in the previous Doctor’s costume, but this is the first time CO has put out a figure that can be changed. And no, I don’t count The War Doctor with Paul McGann’s head because that one didn’t even make sense. Ah, but the fun doesn’t end there, because with a third head offers a figure of the really old 11th Doctor who aged while guarding Tranzelore. Let’s take a look at this curious set!




A unique set deserves unique packaging and CO certainly delivered here. The figure comes in a window box with two front flaps illustrated to look like the TARDIS. They are hinged at each end and held down by velcro. I was expecting just a regular blister pack or a tube or something, but certainly not this. The presentation is great and the whole thing is totally collector friendly so no matter which way you choose to display the figure, you’ll have a place to keep the extra parts.


So, speaking of extra parts, here they all are and here’s how it works. The heads are simple swaps, but the real kicker is the ability to change the front of the torso to reflect the bowtie-wearng 11th Doctor (bowties are cool!) or the no-bowtie, newly regenerated 12th Doctor (with eyebrows like these, who needs a bowtie!). These fake shirts are made of soft plastic and tab into the figure’s torso and tuck under the jacket for a pretty cool switcheroo! It’s very similar to the way they did the removable shirt on the Professor Bracewell figure. The figure is packaged as straight up 11th Doctor, so let’s start there…



We’ve certainly had no shortage of 11th Doctor figures, but I think many fans will agree that this is a most welcome version. I’d also say that even with the potential complications of the chest-swap gimmick, it’s one of the better executed ones and certainly far superior to the one that came in the last set with Clara. The sculpting and paint on the vest piece is really good, especially the now iconic bowtie and the chain for the fob watch. The same goes for the shoes. In every way it feels like this is CO trying to make up for the lackadaisical effort that we got for the 11th Doctor figure from “The Snowmen.” And it is most appreciated!





Articulation is right on par with what we’re used to seeing in the recent 5-inch scale releases. That means the head rotates, the arms feature swivels in the biceps and wrists as well as hinges in the elbows. The legs have universal movement in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinged knees. But, wait… what’s this? Rotating hinges in the shoulders! Happy day!





The second version is the aged 11th Doctor after he has spent centuries protecting the town of Christmas. This look is achieved with a mere head swap and while I can’t say I was really clamoring for this figure, it’s certainly nice to have options, especially when it consists of merely including an extra head in the package and you can take it or leave it. CO did an exceptionally nice job on this sculpt, even making the glasses work as a separate piece attached to the head. And aged 11th Doctor even has his cane so he can twirl it at the Daleks in defiance while shouting, “this one’s going to be a whopper!”



Lastly, you get the swap out chest and head to make the newly regenerated 12th Doctor. The vest is identical save for the omission of the bow tie, which the 11th Doctor dramatically pulled off before regenerating. The Capaldi likeness isn’t bad, although with one eye arched upward, the expression is pretty specific. I thin they were going for that crazed look he gave Clara when asking her if she knew how to fly the TARDIS.




Ah, but we’re not done yet. The set also includes the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver and… HANDLES! Yes, we finally have a 5-inch Handles accessory. It’s a beautifully detailed sculpt of the poor wrecked Cyberman head. Is this the closest we’re ever going to get to a 5-inch Series 7 and 8 upgraded Cybermen? Possibly.





After being underwhelmed with the last 11th Doctor and Clara set, I have to say that I am both pleasantly surprised and impressed by the way this one came out. I feared that CO might have been phoning in the 5-inch scale releases now, but the quality and execution of this set certainly suggests that the last one was an exception rather than the new rule. I’ll refer back to the Capaldi portrait as my only real nit-pick and even that’s just a matter of personal taste and I’d still gladly by a 12th Doctor figure in his regular outfit even if it simply recycles the same portrait.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Sweet Bee by Mattel

Once again, I find Matty Sale Day rapidly approaching while trying to play catch up with last month’s figures. In addition to the previously featured Light Hope an Eldor, October also gave us Sweet Bee, not to be confused with Sweet Dee from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Not that anyone is likely to make that mistake as Sweet Bee is exactly what her name suggests she is… a bee lady, albeit not quite to the extent that Buzz Off is a bee man.


There’s the packaging. Nothing new to see here. Sweet Bee includes the “Princess of Power” sticker on the front and she looks great inside the bubble. And check out that groan-inducing tag line… “Honey of a Guide!” Ugh. Her wings come detached and sealed on the back of the card just like Flutterina’s. Let’s get her open!



Sweet Bee strikes me as a big departure from the last Etherian lady I looked at, Entrapta. Her outfit features a much simpler sculpt and a more focused color pallet. She’s basically just sporting a yellow dress with a black belt and black trim on the skirt. There’s a sculpted pink crest on her chest that’s vaguely insect-like in an abstract sort of way. She has orange-brown wrist bracers and tights and yellow boots with sculpted strapping tied around them. I think the colors on the outfit work pretty well, even if they aren’t all that exciting. I do wish the straps on the boots were painted black as it would have added a little more excitement as well as help to enhance the black and yellow bee motif.


Yes, the head sculpt features a portrait that is still very evocative of the rest of the ladies in this line. It’s a very similar facial structure that we’ve been seeing since Teela and Adora. I know I say this every time, but I think it’s worth repeating. The dudes in this line have far more unique facial features than the ladies. That having been said, there’s something a little off about this one. The lips and eyes seem too big and the eyebrows are mighty beefy looking. There’s also some mold flashing on her jawline, which annoys me. Her orange hair looks like its fashioned out of modeling clay and the pink paint around her headband is slopped all over the hair. Granted, you have to get in pretty close to really notice a lot of this stuff, but it still feels like the QC on Sweet Bee’s noggin has taken a dive.


Speaking of her hair, Sweet Bee’s orange hair is sculpted with two parts in the back to allow for the wings to plug in. It’s the same sort of thing we saw with Flutterina and it has the same limiting effect on the neck articulation. The wings cast in semi-translucent pink plastic and attach via rotating hinges that peg into the sockets on her back. They look great, but the hair really renders the articulation on the connection pointless. Nonetheless, as much as it sounds like I’m griping about the way the wings work, I can’t see any other way they could have done it.


Sweet Bee comes with three accessories: A gun, a shield, and an alternate helmeted head. The shield is the same PoP shield we’ve seen over and over again. It’s sculpted in yellow plastic with a yellow crystal. I do like that Mattel sprung for the gold paint apps for the ornamentation, although I’d rather they spent that money on black paint for the boot straps. Yeah, I’m still dwelling on that! Still, you don’t always get the extra paint hit on these shields so I guess that’s something.



I’m not a big fan of the bee gun. Yeah, it’s a bee-themed gun, I’m OK with that, but the way the stinger droops on the end makes me wonder if it can shoot straight. It just comes off as pretty dopey looking. Yes, I realize that I’m complaining that the bee lady’s weapon is too goofy. I’m not suggesting we give her an AK-47 painted with black and yellow striping. I’m just saying I think there could have been a happier compromise.




And then there’s the helmet head, which is also an odd piece. It’s basically just a bucket with antenna and a huge blue face shield. It’s overly simple and it reminds me of the Morolians from SEGA’s Space Channel 5. Also, where does all the hair go when she’s wearing it? Does she get it all tucked up in there? On the plus side, displaying her with the helmeted head opens up more articulation for the wings.



I’ve made it no secret that I’ve been more excited by the Princess of Power ladies lately than the main Masters line, but it didn’t work out that way this month. That’s not all Sweet Bee’s fault, she just head some really tough competition going up against two excellent figures like Eldor and Light Hope. And I’m not saying I hate this figure. Even with the questionable head sculpt and unappealing gun, I still dig her. She’s colorful and fun and she looks great standing with the other ladies of the Rebellion or just chilling with her fellow winged warrior, Flutterina. So long as I can keep Buzz Off from trying to pollinate with her, she’ll be a solid addition to my Princess of Power shelf.

Star Wars Black: Chewbacca by Hasbro

I’ve had the most recent wave of Star Wars Black 6-inch sitting on my receivings pile for a while now so I’m going to bookend this week with two of the figures from this assortment. No doubt, Hasbro has made some erratic character choices for the initial waves of the series. Three versions of Luke and where the hell is my C-3PO? Well, R2 may be waiting for his prissy counterpart, but at least this last wave has finally reunited Han Solo with his trusty shaggy chum, Chewbacca. I’ve been looking forward to this release ever since I opened Han, so let’s get to it…


Hasbro has made some tweaks to the packaging for this new wave, but the changes are mostly superficial. Chewy still comes in a black window box, which is designed to stand on the shelf or hang on a peg. The figure comes on a clear plastic tray and the packaging is still totally collector friendly. His bowcaster is mounted, partially disassembled, at his side. Of course, the changes are bound to piss off collectors who have been keeping their figures boxed and like to line them up on the shelf. Ah, but I pitch the boxes, so I care not!



So straightaway, I really dig the sculpt on this Wookie. Just looking at the figure and taking it all in, I think it looks great. Is it a huge improvement over any of the 3 3/4” Chewie offerings? Yeah, I think he is! I love the way his sculpted hair looks appropriately shaggy, particularly around his wrists and ankles and Hasbro did a nice job using that sculpted shag to conceal some of the jointing. I also dig the way they actually sculpted his hands and feet under all that hair. Look… Wookie Feet! (Remember that password, Kyle Katarn, it might come in handy later!) The bandolier strap and satchel are sculpted in a separate piece and if you want to remove it, you need only pop off Chewie’s head to do so. Oh yeah, did I mention he’s really freaking tall? Han barely comes up to his shoulders. Nice!



This figure has caught a lot of criticism over the head sculpt, most particularly the open mouth mid roar. Fans seem to have preferred Hasbro went with a more neutral expression. I’m actually quite pleased with the way the expression came out. It’s not quite a full roar, more like Chewie’s just talking. Whether I decide to pose him just standing next to Han or repelling a squad of Stormtroopers, I think the expression can work for either. In the end, I suppose it comes down to just a matter of taste.


The paint on the figure isn’t terribly complex. You get a couple shades to the fur which gives him a combination milk chocolate and dark chocolate look. Maybe the dark is a little too much on the upper legs, but it’s nothing I’m going to really complain about. There’s also some grey on his fingers and toes, which is something I’ve never noticed on any previous Chewie figures, but I like it. The only drastic departure from the fur is the metalic silver paint used for the cartridges and fixtures on his bandolier.


If I have one issue with Chewie it’s in the articulation, but before I get to that let’s run down the points. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and have swivel cuts in the thighs. Chewie features two sets of ball joints in the torso and a ball joint in the neck. What, no swivel cuts in the biceps? Yup, that’s disappointing. As I expected the sculpted hair certainly interferes with how much some of the joints will move, but you can still get a good amount of poses out of him. The head includes a generous triangle of hair that runs down his front and back. You can get a little movement left or right, but much more then that and his head will pop off. I think this was an issue of sculpt over articulation, and in hindsight Hasbro probably made the right choice.




In addition to his bandolier strap and pouch, Chewie comes with his trusty bowcaster. Hasbro has had its share of troubles recreating this weapon in the 3 3/4” scale but they did a pretty nice job on this larger one. It comes in two pieces with the bow pegging into the weapon. Some have reported problems with getting them to stay joined, but mine connects pretty firmly and seems to stay put unless I drop it. It’s a little tough to get Chewie’s right hand to grip it, but he can do it.






I absolutely love this figure! While there were a few compromises between sculpt and articulation, I think Hasbro hit all the right points and delivered an incredibly fun and great looking version of the big walking carpet. I found myself playing with him on my desk a lot longer than I have some of the other figures in this line and that’s always the best compliment I can give. In fact, he’s probably in my top four figures released in this line so far. What’s more he looks absolutely amazing when posed besides Han or crushing loads of Stormtroopers with his bare hands. I only hope that we eventually get a break apart C-3PO with a net so Chewie can carry him around on his back.

Saturday I’ll swing back to more Black with a look at The Dark Lord of the Sith himself!