Transformers Helicopter Week: Armada Cyclonus with Crumplezone by Hasbro

Back when the Armada toyline was first coming out, I was positively apeshit for Transformers. I was literally going out two or three times a week to look for the new toys. I was particularly keen on getting Thrust and Cyclonus and after a couple of weeks of fruitless hunting, I finally broke down and bought them on Ebay. That very next day I ducked into a Walgreens for some cold medicine and there they were hanging on the pegs. Not a Target, Walmart, Kmart or Toys R Us withing 50 miles had them, but Walgreens did! I bought them anyway and wound up keeping the others in the package to hang on the wall. Ok, story time is over, let’s look at the figure.

The real point of telling my little story was to explain why I actually have an in-package shot of this older figure. I really liked the Armada cards. The horizontal orientation was pretty cool, the package had the ingenius gimmick of using a collector card to customize the package artwork. The instructions were balled up under the figure and the back panel showed off the toy in both forms and the other figures available in that wave. The only thing I didn’t like about these packages was the tri-lingual text.

Cyclonus’ vehicular mode is an attack chopper and his Minicon, Crumplezone, is a tank. Cyclonus is a bit too chunky to be based on a real helicopter, but I still love this mode. There’s a ton of sculpted detail all throughout the figure and the color scheme works really well. With giant guns underneath and wing mounted missile launchers, he’s pretty well armed too. The chopper mode also has a cool action feature with a trigger placed under the tail boom that spins the rotors when you pull it. The front of the chopper looks a little stubby, but we can fix that by flipping up the cockpit and plugging his Minicon into the front to form a much better looking extended cockpit.

Naturally, all the Minicons could combine with the bigger robots in vehicle mode, but Cyclonus is one of the few Armada figures that had such a cool and beneficial union like this, which actually enhanced his alt form.

Transforming Cyclonus is pretty easy and obvious, but I like the results. In fact, the only thing I don’t like about this figure is his oompa-loompa face. The head sculpt, like a lot of Armada Decepticon figures, is kind of strange and the orange paint doesn’t help. Still, Cyclonus’ robot form is very unique and works well. You can choose to leave his rotors on his back or, as I prefer, you can plug them onto his arm as a weapon. He has Minicon ports on each of his arms, which fire his missiles when activated. And speaking of his Minicon, Crumplezone transforms into a cool little robot too.

Cyclonus’ articulation is pretty decent for an Armada figure, although it is pretty lacking by contemporary standards. His head can only bob up and down, which is part of his transformation. The arms rotate at the shoulders and have hinged elbows. You can get a little lateral movement at the shoulders too. The legs will rotate back a bit and bend back at the knees, but both of these points of articulation are part of his transformation.  Ah, but this look at Armada Cyclonus wouldn’t be complete without taking a peek at the two repaints of the toy.

First, he was repainted as Powerlinx Cyclonus with a green paint job. Were they going for a Springer homage here? Maybe. It looks mighty nice, though, and Hasbro even gave him a wash over the paint that really enhances the appearance in my eyes. Cyclonus was again available as a KayBee Toys Exclusive with a black and grey camo deco, which was also a pretty cool look for the figure. Naturally, both figures got repaints of the Minicon, Crumplezone, as well. Too bad all of these Cyclonus repaints shared the same orange Oompa Loompa face.

But Hasbro still wasn’t done with the mold, as they re-released it yet again, this time with a bit of retooling, as Buzzsaw in the Cybertron lineup. Buzzsaw featured a new cockpit and worked with a Cyberkey instead of a Minicon. He also had a crazy yellow, white and purple paint job. Buzzsaw also got a brand new headsculpt, which was a big improvement over Cyclonus’ mug.

Like many Armada toys, Cyclonus goes for a more toyish and less realistic approach. Some newer fans who are used to the likes of Classicsand the Bayformers may not take to it all that well, but I still love these guys. Cyclonus is a really well designed and very fun figure. I think the Powerlinx version remains my favorite of the re-decos, but they’re all still pretty cool.

Transformers Helicopter Week Begins: The Hunt for the Decepticons: Tomahawk by Hasbro

Yes, folks, not only am I taking a look at the new(ish) HftD Deluxe figure, Tomahawk, but I’m using the occasion to kick off helicopter week. Let’s face it, helicopters are cool, and when they turn into gi-normous robots, well, that’s just like smothering them with an extra heaping of awesome sauce. So all week, I’ll be featuring Transformers that get their kicks beating their rotors and spewing death from above. -FF

Lately, I’ve been buying up a hell of a lot of Animated and Generations figures, but today I’m going to throw a bit of loving behind The Hunt for the Decepticons line with the new Autobot attack helicopter, Tomahawk. I’m a big helicopter buff, so Transformers that turn into helicopters usually get extra points from me, but they still need to work well in their robot forms, which I don’t think is as easy to do as a car or a jet or a tank. So I always have a lot of appreciation for the figures that can get it right.

Yep, we’ve seen this packaging before. It’s not my favorite deco, but it’s cool. I’m used to it now. But I think Hasbro can cram a few more stickers on the bubble schilling their websites. I mean, I can still see the figure.

I loooove Tomahawk’s attack chopper mode. Between the black coloring and the heavy armaments, he looks almost too vicious to be an Autobot, which makes me wonder whether we’ll see Tomahawk repainted as a ‘Con one of these days. So, how about them armaments? He’s got two firing rocket launchers mounted on his wing, along with two clusters of bombs and miniguns mounted on the tips. There’s also a small sensor package under the cockpit that pivots from side to side. Yeah, I usually imagine Autobot choppers as rescue helicopters, but this guy is out to seriously slag some Decepticons. The cockpit screen is tinted yellow, and he’s got some gold and gray in the mix, along with silver Autobot emblems on his wings. Tomahawk holds together really well and features folding landing gear and spinning rotor blades. This is one seriously awesome helicopter mode with a heck of a lot of detail for a Deluxe Class toy.

Tomahawk’s chopper mode is so good, naturally his robot mode has got to suck big time, right? Not this time. Tomahawk has a nice, clean humanoid robot form with the cockpit forming his chest, similar to the design often used with jet Transformers, and the intakes forming his shoulders. The blades and wings position nicely on his back with his miniguns and bombs facing forward for added firepower. You actually have some leeway with how you want to position these wings. His missile launchers are removed from the wings and attached to hardpoints on his arms, using the same type of clips seen on Generations Darkmount. Overall, he still looks very much like a Decepticon in robot form, although his head sculpt definitely says Autobot to me. It’s just rather reminsicent of a flight helmet with a visor. Aesthetically, Tomahawk is one of those figures that feels like a hybrid between the Bayformers and the Generations, but why try to pigeon hole the guy when he looks so awesome!

The articulation on thsi figure is fantastic. Tomahawk has a ball jointed neck. His arms feature ball joints in the shoulders and hinges with swivels in the elbows. His legs are ball jointed in the hips and feature two sets of hinged knees, giving him those bird-like legs that appear in many of the Bayformer toy designs. He stands very well on his own and you can pose him in a lot of cool ways.

For me, the HftD figures have been the least interesting Transformers toys on the pegs right now, but Tomahawk has definitely made me sit up and take a second look at this line. He’s an outstanding figure in just about every way and he’s loads of fun to play with. Don’t hesitate to pick him up when you find him, and you won’t be disappointed.

Transformers Animated: Rodimus Minor by Hasbro

Transformers Animated is all but dead in the US now, but Hasbro is still tossing collectors a few bones by way of some Toys R Us Exclusives. So far, the retailer has brought us Cybertronian Ratchet and Ironhide, Arcee and now Rodimus Minor. Primus knows, I’m not the biggest Rodimus fan around, but I usually like the figures and homages to the character so when this figure turned up on the TRU website, I decided to grab him, rather than regret not getting him and having to go after him on Ebay later like I’ll probably be doing with Arcee.


Rodimus comes on the standard Animated style card. He’s packaged in his vehicular mode and he has his bow-weapon mounted next to him on the card. The only thing separating the packaging from the wide release figures is an “Only At TRU” sticker on the bubble. The back panel shows off photos of the toy in both modes and has a short bio blurb. I haven’t seen any of the episodes of the show with Rodimus in it, so I’ll just have to take the biography at its word.




Roddy’s vehicle mode is a futuristic (Cybertronian?) speedster. Or a Hot Rod, perhaps? The design and color scheme is very reminiscent of past incarnations of the character. The body is mostly a deep crimson with gold flames on the hood and a gold, exaggerated spoiler on the back. He’s got a grey exposed engine poking through the hood and grey exhaust pipes flanking the rear quarter panels on each side. The wraparound windshield is translucent blue and looks really nice. I just have a couple of quibbles here, one pertaining to the design and one the quality. The big vacant hole in the back of the car irks me a bit. It feels like something should go in there, like Classics Rodimus’ weapon did, but nope. That’s not the case here. The other issue are the scratches on my figure’s hood. I haven’t had the best of luck with QC on my Animated figures and Rodimus here is yet another unfortunate example of that. There’s some faded areas in the glittery paint that makes up his flames and there’s some scratching and rubbing on the plastic. It’s not terrible, but if I hadn’t removed this figure from a sealed package, I would swear that it had been played with. None of this shows up all that well in the photos, but take my word for it, it’s there.


Transforming Rodimus is fairly simple, although there are a few steps that require a bit of precision. I found getting him back into vehicle mode a lot more difficult, particularly when trying to get the arms and hands positioned just right so that the car would lock together. There’s some nifty stuff here, like the way his lower legs snap are ever so slightly hinged to straighten out in robot mode. Or the way the engine flips to reveal his Autobot symbol… that’s just brilliant.


In robot mode, Roddy is a perfect super-stylized homage to his G1 self, from the spoiler angled up behind his head, right down to the exhaust pipes on the backs of his arms. In addition to his base crimson plastic, he shows off some lighter orange parts in his legs and arms, which fits the original toy very well. Even from the back he’s very clean looking. It seems like there should be a way to store his bow on his back, but I haven’t been able to figure it out. Either I’m missing something or it’s just a huge missed opportunity in the design.



I really dig the head sculpt too, I think it’s among the better ones featured in this line and the light piping gimmick looks great. It even looks like he’s got irises in there. It’s just beautiful!


Roddy’s articulation includes a ball jointed neck, arms with ball joints in the shoulders, elbows with a hinge and ball joint and ball jointed wrists; and legs with ball joints in the hips, hinged elbows and ball jointed ankles. His joints are nice and tight and you can get him into a lot of cool poses.



Rodimus includes a double-barreled bow type weapon, which he can hold in either hand and fires off two missiles. It looks cool, but sadly it doesn’t store anywhere in his vehicle mode, and while it’s hard to complain about getting a cool weapon, extra parts are something I’m not really down with when it comes to Transformers.

Besides being an exclusive, TRU jacked the price on Rodimus Minor, bringing him up to $14.99, as opposed to the rest of the Animated Deluxe figures, which retailed closer to $10. I will concede that he is more complex a figure than most of the other Animated Deluxes that I own, and when you factor in  the bigger weapon, I suppose you are getting something a little extra for the extra money. I would definitely recommend him to TFA collectors, or even anyone who is just a fan of Rodimus. He ranks up there as one of my absolute favorites in this line.

Doctor Who: Regenerating Weeping Angel by Character Options

I was going to take a pass on this figure, but when the Dalek Strategist came out, I wanted to order at least one more figure to make the cost of shipping worthwhile. I’ve said before that I’m not a huge fan of the Weeping Angels. Maybe it’s because they were introduced in one of those lame Doctor-Lite stories. Either way, I’ll give credit where credit is due, The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone were pretty enjoyable episodes, albeit with an ultimately anti-climactic story.

Anyway… the Angels have been released in figure form before, but this time we get them all beaten up and regenerating as they absorb the radiation from the engines of the crashed starcruiser, Byzantium. I’m told this figure comes in two variants, one with a calm head, and the one we’re going to look at today, which has a screaming head. I think swappable heads would have been nice, especially since we’ve had to choke down a lot of mediocre figures in Series 5 this year. But I digress…

Yep, it’s the same packaging we saw last time with the Dalek Strategist. I don’t have much to add here.

If you like your figures to look like statues, Series 5 was a good year for you. We got a stone Dalek, a stone Roman Auton and now one of these guys. Steven Moffat seems to have some kind of masonry fetish when it comes to Doctor Who adversaries. The only difference is that the Angel is sculpted to be made out of stone from the get-go, whereas the Dalek and the Roman were just repaints with some texture added. The detailing here is very nice and the overall effect of weathering and cracking and general wear comes across strong. Still, the face is my favorite part of the sculpt, mainly because it’s downright scary and captures the countenance of its screen counterpart perfectly.

The Angel has pretty good articulation, although the molded skirt does inhibit quite a bit of its leg movement. At least you can still make use of the hinged knees and swivels in the ankles. The arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The head also rotates. I was surprised to see that the wings can flap a little bit too and can also be removed completely, if you want to depict your Angel in a further state of decay.

I think CO did a pretty nice job on this figure and it’s probably worth your money even if you have one of the original Angel figures. It’s an impressive sculpt and I’m glad I picked this one up, even though I had my doubts beforehand. Of course, if you have a real Weeping Angel fetish, you can also pick up the Looping Angel, which is supposed to be the one projected out of the security vid that tried to possess Amy. I’m told that one is available in two variants as well. Happy hunting… just don’t blink!

Doctor Who: Dalek Strategist by Character Options

Folks, I really didn’t expect to get anything posted today. Black Friday was a bitch and I just got off working a ten hour shift this morning at 7am. I slept for a few hours, ate some pizza, and now I’m just trying to stay up a little longer before getting myself back to sleep, hopefully for the night, so I can get up and do it all over again tomorrow at 6am… yeah. Nonetheless, the postman dropped off this Doctor Who figure today and since it’s only a recolor of a figure I’ve already reviewed (twice now), I just thought I’d throw it out there.

So, slowly but surely CO is shelling out the New Paradigm Daleks in figure form. The red Drone Dalek has been available on a single carded release or as part of the Underhenge figure set, and now the blue Strategist has found its way to the pegs in a single carded version. Right now the yellow (Eternal) and the orange (Scientist) Daleks have also been available as limited exclusives, although word is that CO will be making all of the new Daleks available as single carded releases in the near future.

The Dalek Strategist comes in the Series 5 packaging. Again, I like the card and while mint-on-card collectors may bemoan CO’s dropping of the clamshell format, frankly I love the fact that I can now get at my figure without needing a blowtorch. The back panel shows this wave of figures, which is I guess what we would call a revision rather than a full wave. We’ve seen all of these figures before, with the exception of the Looping Angel, which is just the same mold recast in translucent plastic and Professor Bracewell with his hand painted to be wearing a glove like he was seen for a few seconds in The Pandorica Opens. Seriously, CO? No Rory, no Liz Ten and no River Song, but you had to rerelease a new version of Bracewell by painting one of his hands? Alrighty then…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love this mold. I’m still not convinced that I want this design to be the Daleks used from now on in the show, but it sure makes for a great action figure. Once again, the paint used for this figure is amazing. It’s high gloss with very little slop or bleed and it looks absolutely fantastic when flanked by my two Drone Daleks. I still don’t like the organic eyeball at the end of the stalk, though, it just seems silly.

The articulation remains the same. You have three ball joints: One for the weapon, one for the sucker, and one for the eyestalk. He also rolls around on three wheels.

And, yeah, that’s all I really have to say about this guy. If you own the mold in one of the other colors, you know exactly what to expect here. He looks great and he’s tons of fun. E-tailers seem to be selling him for an average of $14.99, give or take a buck, which is not too bad seeing as it’s an import and considering how much some of the first wave of Series 5 figures retailed for. So, go get him!

Transformers Generations: Red Alert by Hasbro

Happy Turkey Day, everybody. I’m off spending Thanksgiving with family but I wanted to drop in with an update before heading off to the festivities. I grappled with the idea of posting some long winded and sappy prose about all the things I’m thankful for, and believe me there’s a lot, but then I realized I’m always thankful for a new Transformer, so here’s a look at the Autobot’s Security Chief from the Generations line. -FF.

You may have noticed that when I did my Transformers Classics week I left out the Lambor Brothers, better known as Sideswipe and Sunstreaker. While this exclusion had a lot to do with me running out of time, it was also influenced by the fact that I knew I had a new figure based on this mold coming my way. Back in the day, Red Alert was a repaint of Sideswipe, so it’s only natural he gets the same treatment now.
Red Alert comes packaged in his vehicle mode on the standard Generations style card. While Red Alert’s gun stores under his vehicle mode, Hasbro chose to mount it in the bubble beside the vehicle. You can also see that Red Alert has the clear windshields from the Sunstreaker mold, rather than the painted windshields from Sideswipe. I know some folks don’t like to see their robot’s kibble through clear windshields, but I prefer this style to Sideswipe’s painted windshield. The back of the card has the usual biographic blurb, which is cool since it comes pretty close to admitting that Red Alert is paranoid and borderline crazy, which is always what I remembered about the character the most.

Hasbro did a fine job on Red Alert’s repaint. He’s sculpted in white with a red deco on his underside and clear plastic headlights. The only real structural difference with the toy is the added lightbar on the roof. Yep, he’s still got the removable engine component that both Sideswipe and Sunstreaker have. I really dig the Fire Rescue lettering on the doors and the hood deco is fantastic too. It’s not a perfect recreation of the original toy, but the inspiration is definitely there and I like it. Red Alert’s also got a new license plate that reads 05 Alert. As already mentioned, the windshield and windows are now clear and I love the way the Autobot insignia shows through from the top of the dash.

In robot mode, Red Alert’s new deco still looks awesome. The limbs are now red and grey and the red inserts on his thighs look really nice. The head sculpt is exactly the same as Sideswipe’s, which is accurate to the original toy. I’m going to be a real nitpicker and say that I would have preferred if Hasbro went ahead and colored his helmet red like the cartoon version of the character, but the black still looks nice. The only real downside here is that Red Alert’s engine piece won’t clip on his back in robot mode because of his lightbar.

Red Alert’s articulation is excellent. His head is ball jointed. His arms have ball joints on the shoulders, double hinged elbows and swivels in the biceps and wrists. His legs are ball jointed at the hips and ankles and hinged at the elbows. Like the Lambor brother’s he’s a fun action figure to play around with when he’s in bot form.

The only reason I can see to not pick up Red Alert is if you really are dead set against repaints or just don’t have any fondness or nostalgia for the character. Red wasn’t exactly one of my favorite Autobots in the G1 continuity, but he became fairly prominant in the cartoon and I still have fond memories of owning the original figure as a kid. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s based on one of the better molds in the Universe 2.0lineup, and that’s saying quite a lot. As Generations continues the heritage of updated figures for G1 characters, Red Alert here is a homerun.

Transformers Animated: Grimlock by Hasbro

Ok, so yesterday I figured out that Animated Shockwave wasn’t exactly awesome, today let’s give it a go with another Animated Voyager Class figure I picked up on clearance at Marshall’s last week. It’s everyone’s favorite Dinobot, Grimlock. Yes, he is your favorite… don’t lie to me!!! Apart from giving him the show’s super stylized treatment, Grimlock’s design doesn’t change all that much from G1 to the Animated series, and I’m happy to say Hasbro managed to clearly convey that through this figure’s simple, but elegant design.


Grimlock comes packaged in his T-Rex mode in the typical Animated Voyager Class box. I don’t have much new to add about the packaging, but I will say that I’m glad that they made him a Voyager. If there’s one thing that Classics Grimlock proved to me is that he doesn’t work well as a Deluxe Class toy. He should be large, hulking, and bigger, or at least as big, as Optimus Prime.



The T-Rex mode is the spitting image of the new Animated style. It’s very angular in the body and features some contours in the legs. I really like the strong mechanical look to his giant hinged jaw, which features that massive under-bite that makes him look like he’s related to a backhoe.There’s also a lot of play value in this mode. There’s a button on the back of his neck that gives him chomping action, and his legs have a satisfying amount of articulation, including two hinged “knees,” hinged toes, a swivel above the ankle and universal movement in the “shoulders.” He can balance pretty well too. The only downside about this mode is that his belly has a hollow look to it, but unless you’re turning him over, you probably won’t see this much.



The coloring here is damn nice too. Grimlock gets by with a lot of gray plastic, mixed with some maroon and gold accents. The gold paint has a great metallic finish to it. He also features a silver Autobot insignia on his upper left leg and he has bright blue eyes.


Transforming Grimlock should feel like Deja Vous to anyone who has owned or still owns the original G1 toy. He’s a very easy figure to convert and the resulting robot mode is both pleasing and familiar. I particularly like the way the legs pack together to form heels and the tips of the tail tab in to the sides of his legs. The production photos I’d seen of the the toy made him look really squat, but in hand he is far better proportioned and he really doesn’t suffer from Lugnut’s tiny legs syndrome as I had feared he would.


The head sculpt is pretty awesome, and I love how he retains that heavy mechanical jaw look even on his robot head, as it gives him a ton of personality. He also sports some mighty impressive light piping in his blue visor. The colors in robot mode are pretty close to his dinosaur mode, only with a little more of that lovely gold paint on display. His chest features a sculpted transparent plate with some cool circuitry patterns sculpted in behind it and a silver Autobot emblem centered proudly on his chest.


Grimlock’s articulation in robot mode is decent enough, and look… he can do the hurt RoboCop pose! I love that! His arms are exactly the same here as his legs are in T-Rex mode, so all of that articulation carries forward. His legs feature ball joints in the hips and hinges in the ankles, and his head is also ball jointed.


Grimlock comes with a huge flaming sword with a play feature of its own. If you put it in his hand and turn the hand, spring-loaded flames will pop out of the edges. I didn’t say it was a great play feature. Truth be told, it’s not all that noticeable, but the sword still looks great. It’s got a molten lava motif going on and features some very pretty translucent orange plastic.


If you read my look at Classics Grimlock from last week, you may remember I had issues with the way Hasbro over complicated his transformation. It was like they were intentionally trying to just be different. Animated Grimlock takes the wiser and simpler route and maintains almost the same conversion process as the G1 toy, with just a few added tweaks and bobs. What we got is a toy that is surprisingly more faithful and ultimately a lot of fun. Granted, this toy is riding on a fondness for the Animated design, but if you count yourself among the fans, than this guy should satisfy. It’s quite simply a beautiful rendering of that quirky Animated style in plastic form.

*This Feature was Updated with new Photos on 6/11/15.

Transformers Animated: Shockwave by Hasbro

Thanks to some great deals at Ross and Marshalls, I’m continuing to delve into the Transformers Animated figures. I picked up two new Voyagers this week so today we’re going to take a look at Shockwave. I haven’t finished muscling my way through watching the TFAseries. I’m almost done with Season 2, but I still haven’t met Shockwave yet. I’m guessing he’s got a Sideways/Punch-Counterpunch vibe going on what with him being a faction-changing spy, but I don’t really need to know anything about this incarnation of the character to check out the toy.

Shockwave comes in the typical TFA Voyager box. And hey, Hasbro finally got the rights to the name Shockwave back. Yay, no more Shockblasts! Overall, I enjoy the style of this packaging. It’s bright and eyecatching, and I suppose if you were really careful, you could preserve it and return the figure to the box for display. I am growing weary of the angled edges on the Transformers boxes. It just makes them more of a pain to open and it can’t be good for collectors who like to keep the package in good shape. Anyway, Shockwave comes packaged in his tank mode and the front of the box exclaims “4 Modes!” and oh, that can’t be good, can it? It almost never is. The back of the package shows off the toy in it’s various alt modes and has some info about the character. Oh yeah, notice the package declares Shockwave is a Level 3 Advanced Conversion. Really, Hasbro? I think not.

Ok, so Shockwave does indeed have four modes. The good news is that the two robot modes and two vehicle modes are just slight variations on each other, so we aren’t dealing with a figure that totally sucks because of the multi-changer gimmick. On the other hand, apart from the heads, the differences between the Autobot and Decepticon robot forms is pretty arbitrary, so without consulting the box or the instructions, it’s hard to know what to do for each mode. Personally, I plan on forgetting the Autobot mode exists, but we’ll look at it here for the purpose of the review.

But before we get to that, let’s start out with the mode that Shockwave is packaged in… the tank! The tank mode is ok, but it’s pretty obvious that it’s just the robot lying face down with some adjustments made to his arms and legs. I am a little surprised at how well everything pegs together and he does hold this mode pretty well. It’s sort of reminiscent of Armada Megatron/Galvatron, only not nearly as cool or fun. I do like the design of the cannon, though, and the nice Decepticon insignia on the barrel.

Converting him to his crane mode is ridiculously easy. You just bend the treads to make stubby little legs and fold the cannon barrel into the crane. That’s it. It’s about on par with some of the hidden fan modes people come up with for regular figures. It’s also not a very fun or exciting mode because the boom doesn’t extend very far and the hook doesn’t raise or lower.

Moving on to the bot modes… We’ll start with the Autobot. First off, the faction emblem on his chest is supposed to flip between the Autobot and Decepticon emblems. It is so hard to do this, I needed to push it with a screwdriver with all my might just to get it to change once. I am not changing it again for this review, so just imagine him with an Autobot insignia, mm’kay? I don’t think there are a lot of surprises in this mode. Again, it’s vaguely reminscent of Armada Megatron/Galvatron. His articulation is decent and his cannon/crane stores on his back.

Converting him from Autobot to Decepticon is simple. Flipping his head is the most clever thing about this conversion. You can make his Con head have white eyes, but I prefer to leave it black and make him a cyclops like his G1 namesake. You flip the panels on his shoulder, you turn his lower legs around, and you flip his claws out. Oh yeah, don’t forget to change his faction insignia… good luck. This robot form is basically the same with just a few tweaks. Again, he can wear his cannon on his back or he can hold it as a huge weapon.

In case you haven’t guessed I’m really not all that impressed with this figure. He doesn’t have the complexity that I’ve come to expect from a Voyager Class, even with all four of his modes. He’s not terrible, I don’t hate him, but if I hadn’t found him on sale he would have been an easy pass for me. He doesn’t do the character justice at all and just falls flat. He’s definitely not worth hunting down, but if you’re a big collector of the Animated figures and you can find him on clearance, I suppose you could do worse.

Transformers Generations: War For Cybertron Soundwave by Hasbro

If you aren’t a Transformers fan and you still managed to muscle through the last week here, I’m afraid I don’t have any good news for you. While I’m going to specify another theme for this week, it’s still going to be mostly about Transformers. I’ve still got a few on my shelf that I need to get to and through the course of this week I’m going to have a whole bunch more rolling in. I’ll try to break things up midweek with something different, but I won’t make any promises. -FF

So, I got sick and tired of waiting for Soundwave to show up on the pegs so I broke down and ordered him online. I seriously had a nightmare that I missed him at retail and the only way he could be had was on Ebay for $50. No joke. These are the things I have angst about. I actually got him quite a few days ago, but every time I sit down to start writing up a post on him I wind up staring slackjawed in wonder at what an amazingly gorgeous figure he is. And just when I think I can’t love him any more, I stand him up next to Universe 2.0 Ravage or some of the Seekers or Galvatron and Cyclonus, and I just fall in love all over again. If you don’t feel like reading a lot of sappy gushing over a little piece of plastic, you can quit now, because that’s all you’re going to get here today.

Awww yeah, War For Cybetron Soundwave even makes the mediocre Generations card look awesome. Amazingly, this is one of the few times I’ve ordered a carded Transformer from Walmart’s website and it didn’t arrive with the card all beat to hell. He comes packaged in robot mode, so you can see him in all his Soundwave glory. If ever I was going to buy an extra Transformer to keep carded, this would be that figure. The reverse panel shows off photos of the toy in both forms and has a little blurb about the character, but he’s Soundwave, what more do you need to know about him?

Even though he comes in robot form, I’m going to start with Soundwave’s vehicle mode. Yep, if you haven’t played War For Cybertron yet, you may be surprised to see that Soundwave now transforms into a vehicle even though his robot form is pretty close to the original G1 version. I don’t know what you would compare his vehicle form to on Earth, because it sort of looks like an angular blob on wheels. I guess it’s like a little van, but with huge ramming teeth on the front and weapons mounted on the sides. The “tape door” has been reworked into his front windscreen, which can be opened and used to store his two weapons. And yep, they still look like a pair of batteries. The alt mode works beautifully. It’s more fun than a tape deck and it sure beats that stupid Cybertron “tower” mode shown in the More than Meets the Eye miniseries.

Moving on to Soundwave’s robot mode. Ahhh. Let me take a minute. Mmmm. Oh yeah. That’s good robot. He’s so damn amazing. The headsculpt is pure G1 Soundwave. It looks great, although I’m puzzled as to why Hasbro dropped a lightpiping plug into his head when his visor is painted. That’s ok, though. His angular shoulders are dead sexy and his chest opens up just like old Soundwave. His blue and grey deco is exactly what you would expect, although I love the only added gold is around his tape door as if to really rub our faces into the fanwank “tape door.” Simply awesome. As with the original G1 toy, you can plug one of his guns into his shoulder and the other can be held in either hand.

Soundwave is a solid figure with excellent articulation. His head is ball jointed. His arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists and hinged elbows. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ball jointed again at the ankles. He stands great and he’s tons of fun to play around with and pose.

Ok, I do have one criticism to lay on Soundwave’s door. Hasbro should have found some way to incorporate Universe 2.0 Ravage into his design. I guess he’s too small for that, but that’s ok, Ravage still looks great standing next to him. I suppose I could have asked that he be a bigger figure, but then I love having all of my Classic themed Transformers figures in one size, and Deluxe just works fine. Soundwave here just reminds me that it’s such a sweet time to be a Transformers fan and collector. And with awesome forthcoming figures like Kup, Wreck Gar and Scourge and Laser Rod Optimus, we’ve got some great months ahead of us, that is until the new movie line comes along and… well… you know.

GI JOE 25th Anniversary Collection: Sgt. Airborne and Croc Master by Hasbro

What do these two figures have in common? They were two of the last figures I needed from this collection and I found them both on clearance at Marshall’s last week. Seriously, if you haven’t been to your local Marshall’s lately, it’s been transformed (HA!) into a wonderland of clearanced GI Joe and Transformers toys from yesteryear. I could go on and on, but today we’re just here to talk about the two I picked up on this particular visit.

The recent Star Wars Vintage Collection is all well and good, but oh God, these 25th Anni. cardbacks are awesome. I love the artwork, I love the smaller bubbles, and even the back of the card is similar to the way things used to be, complete with vintage style filecards. I can’t tell you how close this line brought me to starting a second mint-on-card collection just to decorate my wall. I really had to utilize every fiber of my resistence to not do it. Anyway, I tore these bastards open as soon as I got home.

Sgt. Airborne is a really nice update from the vintage figure, although that’s based a lot on my fuzzy nostalgia because It’s been a really long time since I owned the vintage one. I do remember him being among my top tiers of Joes to draw from when I was playing with them, and he often took the back seat in my SkyStriker. I can’t say a lot about his character from the cartoon. All I really remember about him was he had some wacked out brother who got kidnapped by Cobra so they could turn his ESP into some kind of crazy super-weapon. Wow, do I need to watch some of those episodes again.

Airborne’s sculpt is a home run and he’s got plenty of added gear to enhance the figure even further. His vest is removable, as are his belt and leg straps, and his helmet. His backpack is also a separate piece and pegs into his back. I actually had to do some shaving on the peg to get it to fit in. His sculpted gear include a combat knife and a grenade on the vest and he’s got a working holster sculpted on his hip for his pistol. He comes with a personalized figure stand, an assault rifle with bayonet, and an automatic pistol.

And then there’s The Croc Master, also a brilliant figure. In his case, I never owned the vintage one and I only vaguely remember him from the comic. I don’t recall him ever being in the cartoon. Still, you need only look at his file card to see his impressive pedigree. As founder of Gator Guard Inc. he wanted to sell alligators to people for use as home security. Wait, what? Is he Croc Master or Gator Master? Either way, it’s obviously that kind of thinking that Cobra values. Interestingly enough, I already owned a variant of this sculpt as it was reused for the Viper that was packed in with the Mole Pod in the Rise of Cobra line.

The sculpt here is pretty nice. He’s got textured reptile skin making up his vest, boots and holster. The mask is cool and has a hose that comes out of the mouth and runs to an oxygen tank on his back. The holster holds his grey revolver and he also comes with a whip, because apparently he whips his gators? Or crocodiles? It’s all very confusing. He also comes with a personalized figure stand.

The croc figure is awesome. Instead of being just a hunk of plastic, he actually has a hinged jaw so you can have him clamp down on your Joes. The paint apps on him are also surprisingly well done and he’s got a spiked collar and leash, which can be removed. Hasbro easily could have half-assed this piece, but instead it got some pretty good loving.

Both Airborne and Croc Master have the same level of articulation. They have ball joints in the neck. The arms have ball jointed shoulders and elbows and swivel wrists. The legs feature ball jointed hips, double hinged knees and ball jointed ankles. There’s also the ubiquitous swivel and ab crunch in torsos.

These guys set me back a whopping $3.99 each, which was the price of all their single carded 25th Anni figures. It was all I could do to resist grabbing a shopping cart and filling it with figures. If you’re looking for