Masters of the Universe Classics: Callix by Mattel

If you thought Matty was going to be winding down Masters Classics this year, think again. Not only have they introduced another one of these “mini-subs” but they’ve also rolled out a whole lot of plans for next year. The extra sub for 2015 was a MYP-themed sub-line (or 200x if prefer) with a collection of great looking figures based on characters I do not recognize at all. It’s an odd thing because I own these DVDs and I’ve seen them all. I guess it’s time to run through them again. Anyway, the first figure in this sub is Callix and I don’t have to know who he is to recognize a totally bitchin’ rock creature when I see him.

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I’ve got nothing new or interesting to say about the packaging, so let me recount how this was the sub that almost didn’t happen for me. When July rolled around I only got shipping notification for my Club Eternia figure and not this one. I went online to check my subscription and it wasn’t there. I decided that I must have forgotten to sub this one and wrote it off with just a little bit of disappointment. A few days later an email came from Matty saying they couldn’t authorize my card. Of course not, because my bank sent me a new card with that new fangled chip technology and cancelled the old one. Fortunately, Matty held my figures for me and gave me the opportunity to update the card and that brings us to… Callix!

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Rock Lords! Rocks that come alive! Oh, that’s a different toy line. But isn’t it odd that apart from those two meteor transforming dudes, Callix here is the first rock creature to turn up in Masters Classics? I have like a hundred of these figures and no rock creatures. I’ve got a robot elephant-head, but nope, no rock dudes. I checked… twice! But that’s cool, because Callix is here to change all that and look damn great doing it.

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For what is essentially a gray buck with some rock parts attached, Callix looks amazing. I think he owes most of that to how beautifully sculpted the rock parts are. These craggy bits of plastic match the underlying buck perfectly and feature all sorts of cracks and fissures for an authentic looking chiseled stone effect. Add to that the Horde emblem on his chest and belt buckle and this is one fantastic looking figure that relies on  very little in the way of paint apps to make him work.

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I’m particularly fond of the head sculpt, although he doesn’t look particularly evil. Perhaps just ill-tempered? The face carries the same craggy and fissured look as the rest of the rock parts and features a prominent brow, a down-turned slit of a mouth and two beady black eyes. The way his rocky shoulder armor forms a neck guard is pretty cool and I love the somewhat prehistoric look to the Horde emblem on his chest.

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Despite the rocky bits, Callix’s articulation is pretty much in line with what we’ve been getting all along. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, feature swivels at hips and ankles, and hinges in the knees. He still has the ab crunch hinge and he has a ball jointed neck.

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Callix comes with a rock axe and a rock shield and that’s weird. It would be like me carrying around weapons made out of skin and bone. Gaaah! I’ve just creeped myself out. Both are pretty cool accessories and carry the rock theme in their sculpts and coloring. Of course, this is a member of the Evil Horde and we can’t have him going around without a crossbow, so…

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Yeah, the axe doubles as a crossbow. Not sure how that works what with it being made of rock and all, but we’ll just write it off to Eternian magical bullshit.

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Callix is exactly what my Masters Classics shelves were missing, a rock creature! Truth be told this was probably the one figure that tipped me over the edge and made me sub this line. I was really looking to start getting out, as this collection has grown way beyond what I had imagined it would be when I started down this treacherous path so many years ago, but I have to hand it to Matty because the figures keep me coming back for more. I don’t think I could tell you the names of more than one other figure in this sub-line, but I have seen most of the them and every one of them looks like a winner. I just really wish Matty would stop raping us so much on shipping.

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AL-01 Upgrade Kit by DX9

Yeah, there’s a title that just pulls you in, doesn’t it? In case you aren’t familiar and the catchy name doesn’t ring a bell, the AL-01 Upgrade Kit is a third-party set designed to enhance your Combiner Wars Leader Class Megatron. It’s crazy to think about how this whole third party Transformer thing started with unofficial upgrade kits for existing official figures before a few of these intrepid companies just decided to say, “screw it, let’s just make the figures.” I have plenty of 3P figures, but this is actually my first upgrade kit. It’s designed to do a bunch of things for the Megatron figure, some of which work really well and others are debatable.

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For what is essentially just a bunch of parts, DX9 executed the presentation here pretty well. The set comes in an enclosed box with some nice artwork. The front of the box has a sillouette of the figure with the parts attached and some blue and purple geometric patterns. The back shows you the parts on the actual figure and offers some very rudimentary instructions on how to use them. Surprisingly there’s no instruction sheet inside, but most of the stuff here is self explanatory and chances are if you can’t figure out how to put them on a certain way (like on the tank mode), you needn’t bother.

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Inside the box is a plastic tray that contains two hands, two feet, a gun barrel for the shoulder, a muzzle for the fusion cannon, and two leg wraps. The plastic quality for the set is very good and while there is some paint spray on the inside of some of the pieces, which cannot be seen when installed, the paint is otherwise very sharp.

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DX9 actually found ways to incorporate all of these parts into the tank mode, and while I appreciate the effort, most of them feel like an afterthought and that’s not why I bought this kit anyway. The leg wraps are the worst. They’re just supposed to clamp on the front and back of the tank and I won’t even bother with that. The feet actually don’t look too bad on the top of the turret, especially if you want to put a figure up there. The muzzle looks OK on the end of the main gun. As for the gun barrel attached to the side. Meh, I could take it or leave it. This isn’t a figure that I ever really display in alt mode, so none of this matters much to me at all. I’ll also note here that I’m not going to be bothering with the replacement fists. All they do is add hinged fingers and adding that feature is not worth the effort for me to take the arms apart. With all that having been said, let’s get to the good stuff… the enhanced robot mode!

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The muzzle for the fusion cannon fits over the front of the missile launcher and it definitely improves the look of this piece. It does not, however, magically transform it into the G1 fusion cannon. It’s still too long and the front and back are still too narrow, but I certainly prefer the figure with it on.

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The fake gun barrel is kind of a silly idea since it literally adds kibble to the figure, but it does so to help achieve an iconic feature of Megatron’s design. The intention here is that you can clip it to his right arm and if you articulate the arm you can bend the barrel so that it’s always pointing up. Who wants to bother with that? Fortunately, it can also be plugged into the screwhole in the backpack for what I think is a much better effect. I wasn’t sure whether I would bother with this part, but I have to say in the end I think it looks pretty good and I’m keeping it on.

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Finally, you get the real reason I bought this kit and that’s for the feet and leg wraps. The wraps peg onto the outside of the feet and secure quite well to the figure without inhibiting the knee articulation. Besides bulking out those scrawny lower legs, they add a pistol-grip look to the outsides of the legs and that familiar red panel to the interior. I absolutely love the way these look.

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The feet are basically just bigger “shoes” that peg into the bottoms of Megsy’s feet. The silver on these match the silver on Megatron almost perfectly and they add ankle rockers. The rockers don’t have all that much depth to them, but they will keep his feet flat on the floor in the normal stance, which is a beautiful thing. More importantly, they give Megatron that little bit of extra height that makes him capable of going toe to toe with MP-10. That’s the main reason I bought this kit and I’m happy to say that it succeeds while also making the figure’s lower half look fantastic.

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The only real downside of this kit is that it retails at about $40, which is almost as much as I paid for the figure. Granted, everything in the 3P world is more expensive and I can’t argue that the pieces here are well crafted and work well with the figure. And considering, I’m still well under what one of the 3P Not-Megatrons would have set me back, I’m extremely happy with this investment. I thought this figure was pretty spectacular to begin with and now I think he’s even better and I have absolutely no qualms about standing him on my Masterpiece shelf, at least until Takara comes along with something better.

Mortal Kombat X: Scorpion and Sub-Zero by Mezco

MOOOOORTAAAAAL KOOOOOOMBAT!!!!!!

Yeah, I couldn’t resist. Mortal Kombat and I have deep roots. I can remember being wowed by it a couple times in the arcades, but I really bonded with the game at home on my Sega Genesis. Oddly enough, I never owned it, but damn I must have rented that game from the local video store enough times to pay for it five times over. After that, the game wouldn’t turn up in my library until Mortal Kombat Trilogy for the PlayStation and then the game and I parted ways for a while. Now, Mortal Kombat X has hit the consoles and while I’m still debating whether I’ll pick it up (because I need another fighting game like I need Jax putting his metal fist up my ass), but when I saw Mezco’s figures, I had to jump on board.

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The first wave of figures consists of Raiden, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero and I’m looking at the first two of those today, as I’m still hunting Raiden. Oddly enough this is the exact same character selection that Jazwares used for their line back in 2011. And just taking note of that reminds me of how happy I am to see this franchise in more capable hands. Granted, I don’t own a lot of Mezco’s figures, just their fantastic Mega-Scale ThunderCats, but if they keep this one going, that’s about to change. One look at these figures and I knew that we were in for something special. The packaging is stylish, with the MK symbol embossed into the bubble, but not much in the way of artwork. The back shows the figure, offers a little character blurb, and shows you the accessories that are included.

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While starting life as mere palate swaps of each other, it’s nice to see that these foes have evolved into their own distinctive looks. I don’t think there’s a single shared piece between these figures and the detail in the sculpts is absolutely fantastic. Every single strap and buckle is meticulously recreated in Scorpion’s costume and on Sub-Zero you get beautiful little touches like the throwing knives sculpted into his wrist bracers and hanging off his chest. You can easily make out the fine threaded texture on Scorpions vest as well as the quilted stitching on Sub-Zero’s. What’s more the paintwork is precise. Even the coloring is great. That blue on Sub-Zero is so vibrant and I really like the mustard tone they used for Scorpion as well. Individually, these look great, put them together and you’ve got action figure magic!

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The articulation on this pair is identical. Their arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and have rotating hinges in the knees and ankles. You get swivels up at the tops of the thighs and the ankles have lateral rockers. There are also ball joints in the waist and neck. The joints are rock solid, with none of that shitty, brittle, clear plastic crap that DC Collectibles and Funko has been so fond of. Nope, these are really fun figures to play with and absolutely no worries of stuck or snapping joints. Imagine that!

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As for accessories, both figures have a second pair of swappable hands, but aside from those Scorpion comes out on top with two swords and two chained spears, which cleverly attach by slipping rings over the wrist pegs when swapping the hands. These pieces look great for recreating that perfect “GET OVER HERE” pose. Scorpion also features a removable mask. I think the only missed opportunity here was a way to attach the swords to his back.

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Sub-Zero comes with his Frost Hammer and Frost Sword. Both are very nice pieces, sculpted in a frosty blue plastic and look like they were chiseled out of ice.. I’ve got no beef with what’s included, but it feels like maybe we should have gotten a couple of other effect parts with him to better balance out the extra stuff that Scorpion came with.

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It looks like the going rate on these is around $20 a pop, at least that’s what I paid for them. That’s right about where figures in the 6-inch scale collector market is hovering these days. These are certainly in league with the better sculpts that DC Collectibles is turning out, and again without any of the fragile joint anxiety. I’d also argue that they’re a confident step up from anything Hasbro is doing in the scale these days as well. I’ve given up trying to stumble on Raiden in the wild, so I’ll likely be ordering him off the InnerWebs, so expect to see him here soon.

ADDENDUM:

Yup, you can indeed put his swords on his back. Check it out…

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I love this. It’s very clever. But, come on, Mezco, you could have mentioned it on the package because I would have never figured this out.

Star Wars Black: Princess Leia in Boushh Disguise by Hasbro

I’m working to get caught up on a lot of figures lying around here before new stuff starts piling up on top of it and I need to call in an archaeologist to dig my way out. And so, today I’m jumping back to the last wave of Hasbro’s 6-inch Black series. I started this wave a week or so ago with a look at Commander Cody, today we’ll check out the second Princess Leia figure in this series and it’s her in the Boushh disguise from Return of the Jedi.

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There’s the packaging and I’ve got nothing new to say about it, so let me take this time to ponder what the hell is going through Hasbro’s collective head with character selection these days. OK, maybe not character selection per say, but rather the versions they’re choosing for Princess Leia. She’s cropped up twice now in this series and both are from the beginning of Return of the Jedi. The fact that we haven’t seen a New Hope version of her yet is just criminal. Not only is that version of the character the most iconic to me, but I also think it’s some of her best moments in the saga: All on her own, fighting against Vader to safeguard the plans that she knows will put an end to the Empire. All I want is her white outfit, a couple of hair buns and that bitchin’ long barreled pistol, is that so wrong? Hot Toys gets it. That’s why that’s the first version their doing of Leia. And have you seen that figure? It’s gorgeous! What? Oh yeah, back to Hasbro’s Boushh Leia…

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By now you all should know my take on this line. I have a litmus test that begs the question, is this figure better served by being in the larger scale? I’ll come back to that in a bit, but let me start out by saying that I think this is a very solid figure. All the regular points that I touch upon in my features, like the sculpt and paint look fine. Indeed, there’s some lovely little touches like the gold paint on the cartridges on her shoulder strap, the Ubese lettering on her backpack and the softgoods half cape that hangs down her back, which both Ubese and Mandalorians seem to love so much. These are all solid efforts.

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I’m torn on the portrait. On the one hand, Leia sports a pretty face and some well sculpted hair. On the other hand, I don’t see any Carrie Fisher in there at all. The Slave Leia figure’s likeness wasn’t a hit either, but I think there was a bit more resemblance there than here. The paint is also rather off. The brown from her hair line splotches unevenly on her skin, the lipstick doesn’t really match her lips at all and the eyes, while not totally wonky, aren’t terribly precise either. None of this is a huge deal for me as I will likely keep the helmet on her all the time, just like I did with my Kenner figure when I was a kid.

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And the helmet is indeed a nice piece of work. Not only do you get a lot of great sculpted detail, which is not always the case on these softer plastic removable helmet pieces, but some really nice weathering paint. It fits on the figure very well too. It’s also perfect for that Breen custom I’ve always wanted to do.

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The articulation features a nice range of points, only slightly marred by the sculpted robes. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have rotating hinges as well as lateral rockers. The rockers are nice, but with the restrictive plastic skirt, it’s tough to get a wide stance to use them. There’s a waist swivel hidden under her belt, a ball joint in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

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Boushh-Leia comes with four accessories. You get her removable helmet, a removable backpack, a thermal detonator and her staff-gun thingy. Seriously, what is this thing? If it’s a rifle how the hell does she hold it with no stock or trigger? Is it some kind of staff weapon cattle prod? I’ve been pondering this question since I was a kid. The detonator is a tiny ball of plastic that can peg onto her belt or be held in her hand. Yes, Vader couldn’t get a peg for his lightsaber hilt, but goddammit if we’re not going to let Boushh put her bomb on her belt! As tiny as the detonator is, Hasbro still managed to get some silver paint onto it.

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Scale continues to be an issue with this line. Just look at the difference between these two Leias. It’s even worse than the discrepancy we saw between regular Han and Hoth Han. This is a $20 collector line, why is it so hard to get the scale right on these figures from wave to wave?

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But, getting back to my original point, because here’s an instance where Hasbro has released this version of the character in both the 6-inch and 3 3/4-inch Black lines almost at the exact same time. I don’t own the smaller scale version, although I may pick it up for the purposes of comparison, but the pictures that I’ve seen tell me that the smaller scale version is every bit as good. Softgoods cape? Check. Removable helmet? Pleeeease… the original Kenner figure had that! Articulation? A few changes there, like the smaller figure appears to have rotating hinges in the knees as opposed to double hinges, but let’s just say comparable articulation.

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And so once again I ask myself, is the point of this line just to sell us up-scaled versions of these characters? Or is it to deliver us versions better than what we could get in the smaller scale? It’s increasingly obvious that the answer is the former. Now, you could argue that’s a credit to how good Hasbro has become at making the smaller scale figures, but I would argue it just devalues these 6-inch figures as a collector line. And yet here I am… still buying them. And maybe it’s not fair to unload all of this on this particular figure. It’s been the case all along and I’ll reiterate that I think this is a solid figure. Maybe It’s time to just accept that these are more or less up-scaled figures and not dwell on this stuff so much in the future.

My Little Transformers Corner

I spent some time moving things around in my little Transformers Corner tonight so I thought I’d snap some pics and share them…

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This little Change-A-Bot Nook is tucked away in a corner of my Den. Displaying my TF collection used to frustrate the hell out of me until I finally decided I didn’t have to display all of it at once, just some of the pieces I like the most. It would be more accurate to say that these are among my more recent acquisitions. Even when I had a whole wall of Transformers set up, I was never quite happy with it, so now the bulk of them live in Totes and I’ve gone for a “less is more” kind of deal. Gotta love these $30 Big Box bookshelves. They’re fine for what they are, but god help you if you try to move them, they’ll crumble in moments.

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I generally like to display my combiners as teams, but if I had the vertical space, I think I’d display the Constructicons as Devastator. His combined mode is just so damn magnificent. As it is, they fill out a shelf nicely.

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I started the top shelf as just Wreckers, but I’ve been gradually adding more Generations figures here and there. The Unite Warrior Aerialbots have to live waaaay up on top of the MP boxes. Sorry, Silverbolt. I know you’re scared of heights.

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It’s a lot of lovely 3P stuff here. As much as I love all of these guys, I’m trying to steer away from investing in any more 3P combiner teams, as I’m spending a lot more money on Hot Toys these days and something had to give. I feel like my favorites are well represented.

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I do wish I had room to display Uranos, but for now TFC’s Not-Aerialbots have to live in their boxes for now. Still not sure what to do with Hasbro Air Raid. He’s pretty redundant right now. Otherwise, I’m hoping I can keep things status quo for a little while here. I do have a shelf of books in one of these cases that I will have to move when I get Unite Warriors Defensor. And I have no idea where I’ll go with Leader Class Starscream.

 

By figurefanzero

Marvel Legends (Ultron Wave): Bulldozer by Hasbro

In the past, Hasbro has had a rather annoying track record for showing off Marvel Legends figures only to have them never make it out to retail. I’m still waiting for that red-suited Deadpool. And what happened to Emma Frost? And what about the final team member of the Wrecking Crew? Well, at least they have us covered on that last one. Originally planned as a running change for Wrecker’s slot in the Rocket Raccoon BAF, he never did make it to the pegs. But now, back from oblivion, Bulldozer has finally shown up as part of the Ultron Wave.

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At this point there isn’t much notable about the packaging, except maybe to pointlessly speculate why Bulldozer is appearing in an Ant-Man package. I’ve got to tell ya, folks, I thought I’d have to throw a lot of extra money to some dirty scalper to get this guy in hand. He debuted on Amazon in the $35 range, but soon settled at a more reasonable $21 and I quickly grabbed him up. Like all the Legends Wrecking Crew, Bulldozer is a big boy and he fills out his package nicely, with only a little extra room for that BAF Ultron arm.

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Out of the package, Henry Camp is a formidable presence on the shelf. He’s built off the same large buck as his chums, Thunderball and Piledriver. I can remember a lot of fans having issues with these guys being so damn big, but I was fine with it, mainly because it allowed them to stand toe to toe with the massive Thor figures Hasbro has served up in the current Legends line. Besides, I like this buck a lot. It’s big and chunky and tons of fun to play with.

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Bulldozer’s costume is comprised of bulky pieces reinforcing his orange jumpsuit. The sculpting on these pieces is really nice, complete with huge rivets and a lot of pitting and scratches to make them look weathered and used. The same techniques are used on his helmet. The head sculpt is pretty good, but it’s rather obvious that it’s all one piece. I think it would have been cool if they had layered the helmet onto the head to give it a little depth.
Articulation is identical to the rest of the Wrecking Crew. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double hinged knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. Bulldozer can swivel at the waist, he has a hinged ab crunch, and the neck is hinged and ball jointed.

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Bulldozer doesn’t come with any accessories, but he really doesn’t need any. Hey, we all have that extra ball and chain that came with Piledriver, so feel free to lend it to him. Or you can just have him beat on people with Ultron’s arm.

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Hasbro started this team waaaay back in 2012 with the second wave of the new Marvel Legends and I’m so glad they finally wrapped it up. I’m sure a lot of obsessive collectors out there can sympathise when I say completing a team helps me sleep better at night. And besides these guys look great together on the shelf! Thanks, Hasbro!

Transformers Combiner Wars: Titan Class Devastator by Hasbro, Part 3

Yeah, the boozing snuck up on me yesterday and I was in no condition to finish up this three part Feature, so here we are on Sunday to wrap things up before I move into a brand new week of toys and tomfoolery.

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Before I get with the combining, let me just say a few things about the Constructicons as a team. All lined up on the shelf, I think they look fantastic and a lot of the oddball feelings I had about them, concerning the plastic and the simpler articulation has melted away and been replaced with that warm fuzzy feeling of having a collection of (mostly) G1 faithful Constructions in the Voyager scale. There are certainly some nits to pick here, but as individual robots making up a combiner team, I think Hasbro did us proud with these fellas. I’ve been in love with this dirty half-dozen since I was a kid and these are certainly the best versions of the characters I’ve owned.

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While they’re woefully out of scale with most of the other Combiner Wars figures, they do fit in beautifully with CW Leader Class Megatron. And yes, he is wearing the DX-9 Upgrade Kit, which I’ll be looking at on this coming Transformers Thursday.

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And if they fit in well with Leader Class Megsy, that means they’re pretty close to Masterpiece Scale too. Mixmaster, for example is just a bit taller than MP Lambor and that works for me. Even the aesthetics work together fairly well.

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And one last size comparison shot shows that they can easily hang out with Warbotron’s Not-Combaticons. I think Sly Strike and Scrapper look damn fine together. But we’re here to make with the combining, so let’s go ahead and do it. It’s generally best to start with all of them in their vehicle modes, although it probably doesn’t matter so much with Long Haul. I was happy to see that combining these guys is very similar to the original toys, at least in principal, with the main differences being the various pegs and tabs that help secure strong connections.

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Case in point, the legs should be familiar to anyone who’s played around with a G1 Devastator. While I wouldn’t have it any other way, this leads to some stability issues with Scrappers foot mode. Sometimes he likes to bend in the middle, which can at times assist the stance and articulation, and other times can undermine it. Naturally, there are no ankle rockers, and that sometimes creates issues with wide action stances. The only other quibble I have here is the absence of silver paint on Mixmaster’s cab foot, which will be remedied in the Takara version.

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The connections between the legs and Long Haul’s pelvis mode are brilliant. Each leg tabs in multiple places and not once have I ever had the legs come apart even when manipulating those heavy ratchet joints in the hips. It’s easy to see now why Long Haul had to put on so much weight for this update and I whole hardheartedly approve. The knees also feature some nice strong joints, but they are placed rather high on the figure, up near the connection points. It’s understandable why it’s done this way, but worth pointing out nonetheless.

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Getting Hook and the arms all connected is where things got a little tricky for me. There are a couple of crucial locking points between Hook and Long Haul, which are easy in themselves, but doing it while getting three other tabs to line up and connect can be a bit of a pain. Fortunately, wrestling with this toy isn’t as scary as some of the 3P combiners, because a) This guy is a toy made to be played with and b) He’s about one fourth the cost of your average 3P combiner team, which makes me a lot less nervous about handling him. The way the arms attach is quite clever in that the treads of Scavenger and Bonecrusher lock into place and the shoulder articulation is in the vehicle itself. The back treads are stabilized with tabs connecting to Long Haul’s arms and the front treads are stabilized by the chest piece.

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Which brings us to the three extra parts: The chest piece and the two hands. The chest piece is a work of art. It’s beautifully sculpted in the same brilliant purple plastic as the rest of the set. The Decepticon emblem looks great and there’s some nice red and silver paint hits to round it out. It attaches at several points and offers some nice stability to the chest and shoulders. It’s also very solid. I’ve yet to have it pop out while playing with him. The arms simply peg into the stumps provided by Scavenger and Bonecrusher and they’re well proportioned, although I do wish they were purple instead of black. I believe that’s something else Takara will be fixing, at least where the fists are concerned.

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There are no big surprises in the back. Most of Devy’s other side is dominated by Long Haul’s dump truck bed and it looks good.

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The head sculpt is amazing and while the Unite Warriors version will come with an alternate portrait with eyes, I’m glad Hasbro went with the visor because it’s my preferred look for this big guy. Alas, there’s no ball joint in the neck, but he can turn his head from side to side.

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The last two extra pieces connect to form Devy’s rifle, which looks fantastic. He can hold it securely in either hand without the need of support pegs or trickery. It is worth noting here that there aren’t ratchets in Devy’s elbows and while he can hold the rifle aloft, I did have a few instances where the elbow gave way and twisted around. Also, as I believe I mentioned before, all of these extra combiner bits have alternate weapon modes, but I haven’t bothered with any of them. Another good reason to consider the Takara release is that it will come with the individual guns for the Constructicons.

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The Masterpiece Scale of the individual bots translates pretty well to the combined mode. Of course, scale was all over the place in the Sunbow cartoon, but with the MP cars coming up to Devastator’s knees, I think that works pretty well for me.

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Of course, if you want to employ a little mass shifting magic, it’s a lot more fun to have him interact with the Legends Scale figures.

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There’s no doubt about it, Combiner Wars Devastator is a love letter from Hasbro to old school Transformers fans dripping with sloppy kisses and maybe even a courteous little reach around. I certainly never thought we’d ever get an official product like this one and it’s an instance where I’m very happy to have been proven wrong. Was the motivation behind this guy driven by the popularity of the expensive 3P combiners? Maybe, but in the end all that matters to me is that Hasbro is doing such amazing things. I may have said this already, but I do think it would have been interesting to see this guy in the Deluxe Scale to fit in with the other Combiner Wars gestalts. Part of me is a little sad that I can’t have Devy face off against my CW Superion or Defensor. It’s also possible the individual robots would have worked better, but then I look at this behemoth and say, “Nahhh, they made the right call.” With something like this standing on my shelf, along side the Titan Class Metroplex, I truly believe that the sky is the limit for Hasbro and the TF brand. I mean hell, we’re even getting a new Sky Lynx! Can a new Trypticon possibly be that far behind? I think not. In the meantime, the Unite Warriors version is due to ship at the end of the year and while that’s some bad timing for me and my wallet I’m going to make every effort to work the Takara version into my budget and show my support for such a wonderful endeavor.

Alcohol Delay

Regrettably, Part 3 of my Review of Hasbro’s Titan Class Devastator will be delayed due to alcohol. This is why I try not to schedule Features on Saturdays anymore.

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Come back tomorrow and I should be good to go… Hopefully.

 

By figurefanzero

Transformers Combiner Wars: Titan Class Devastator by Hasbro, Part 2

Alrighty, folks, I’m back to check out the second half of Hasbro’s Combiner Wars Constructicons. Yesterday I looked at Scrapper, Mixmaster, and Long Haul and today is all about Bonecrusher, Scavenger, and Hook. Let’s go ahead and take them in that order.

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Bonecrusher stays true to form with a bulldozer alt mode, which features molded treads an articulated front plow, and a fair amount of detailed sculpting, particularly on the outsides of the treads. He also comes dangerously close to melting my eyes with all that neon green and showing very little else in the way of color diversity. You get a little silver paint on the side vents, some purple paint on the windows of the cab, and some black on the robot parts showing from the back. All in all, it’s a tight little construction vehicle that rolls along on some wheels concealed inside the treads and pays respect to the original toy. Unlike the trio we looked at yesterday, Bonecrusher actually features some relatively complex transformations, with some pretty impressive results.

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The original G1 Bonecrusher was my least favorite of all the Constructicons because his robot mode was awkward and even as a kid it didn’t work for me. This updated version bucks that trend and becomes one of the best this new bunch has to offer.  Most notably, he’s surprisingly well proportioned and best of all he has some of the best articulation in this whole set. You get proper ball jointed elbows and even lateral rockers in the ankles. Oddly enough, the first time I played around with him, I had all sorts of trouble keeping his crotch together, but I haven’t had that problem since. Maybe I just didn’t have it locked together properly.

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Bonecrusher features a fantastic head sculpt, which invokes the original G1 character beautifully. The way the back of the plow becomes his chest works remarkably well here and there’s a ton of sculpted detail and paint to reproduce the look of the sticker on the original toy. I can’t say enough how much I love this new silver paint Hasbro is using. It really looks great with the red and purple paint and you get a Decepticon emblem right in the middle of his chest. Beautiful! I didn’t have any high hopes for this guy, but he’s probably my favorite figure in this set, next to Scrapper.

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Also running high in my favorites is Scavenger. The alt mode here is a familiar backhoe and thanks to some purple paint on the sculpted treads, he isn’t quite the green-overkill assault on the eyes that his tracked-brother Bonecrusher is. You also get some purple paint on the cab windows, a little silver on the scoop hydraulics, and some red and silver vents on the sides. Sadly, Scavenger cannot pivot on his tracks, but you do get two points of articulation in his scoop arm, so that’s not too bad. Like Bonecrusher, Scavenger has a relatively complex transformation, which results in another great looking robot.

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A lot of what i said about Bonecrusher is the case with Scavenger here. The way the treads form the legs is almost identical and while Hasbro could have easily gotten away with repainting and reusing the same treads here, they are actually completely new sculpts, which is cool. Scavenger also features the better articulation with ball jointed elbows. The crane arm folds up into his back as best as can be expected. It’s still rather obtrusive, but surprisingly enough Scavenger isn’t terribly back heavy and I have no problems getting him to stand up.

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I’ve never been a huge fan of Scavenger’s head sculpt, mainly because of that weird box that makes up his mouth plate, but I’m still glad that Hasbro reproduced it faithfully here and they did a nice job with it too. The familiar silver plate that makes up Scavenger’s chest is also recreated nicely with more of that beautiful silver paint.

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Last up is the leader of the Constructicons, Hook. Again, we get a very faithful recreation of the original G1 vehicle mode, in this case a boom crane truck. Hook features a fair amount of color diversity, at least within the confines of the Constructon deco. You get a lot more purple showing than some of the other figures and also some black on the wheels and side panels, and a little bit of silver on the hook itself. Hook has a bit of an undercarriage, which prevents him from rolling as well as I would like. Also, the crane will not rotate, which is understandable. What’s not as understandable is that the boom doesn’t extend, although it does at least raise and lower on a hinge.

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Hook feels like he has a lot in common with Scrapper in the way he transforms and he does have some little drawbacks. Unlike Mixmaster, Hook’s back kibble does drag on the ground, so when he’s standing, he’s usually also leaning on the hook. You can angle it back further if you want him in a deeper stance, so it’s not that big of a problem. One annoying characteristic is the way his feet can pop off when I’m posing him, but at least he does have lateral ankle rockers. The arms technically have elbow hinges, but they’re placed a little too far down for my taste. Plus they’re those weird hollow elbows made up of a hinge on the end. I’m mostly content to just pretend he doesn’t have any elbow articulation at all.

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The head sculpt is fantastic and I’m pleased that the plate hovering above his shoulders doesn’t interfere with the head articulation at all. Hook does have a combiner link making up his chest, so his torso isn’t quite as stylish as all the others, but it still looks good thanks to some great sculpting and a little paint work.

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And that wraps up my look at the individual bots. I dig these guys a lot and getting them was such an amazing surprise that I’m hesitant to nitpick a lot. Nonetheless, when you look at how great Scavenger and Bonecrusher came out in terms of articulation, I really wish they could have done a better job with the others. I’ll also point out that the lack of individual guns is a huge issue with me, making it more likely that I will be picking up the Takara release later on down the road. Yes, the combiner parts have some afterthought weapon functions, but nothing in my opinion that is worth bothering with here. Nonetheless, each figure has its own charms and they look absolutely fantastic displayed on my shelf as a team. Ah, but let’s face it, the real draw of this set is the ability to build a giant Devastator and tomorrow I’ll be back to do just that!

 

 

Transformers Combiner Wars: Titan Class Devastator by Hasbro, Part 1

Ever since the Toy Fair in Germany earlier this year I’ve been waiting to get my hands on Hasbro’s latest bombshell reveal… A Titan Class Devastor comprised of Voyager sized versions of all six original Constructicons. I mean, holy hell, I can’t think of too many toy lines getting as much love these days as Hasbro is showing toward their change-a-bots. Of course, since then we’ve been treated to peeks at two other versions, including an SDCC Exclusive and Takara’s own with some added articulation. I went with Hasbro’s for now, but I’m not ruling out picking up the Takara version later on down the line. This Feature is going to be broken down into three parts. Today I’ll check out the packaging and the bots that make up Devy’s lower half: Scrapper, Mixmaster, and Long Haul. Tomorrow, I’ll check out Hook, Bonecrusher, and Scavenger. And on Saturday we’ll take a look at Devastator himself.

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The package here is pretty damn simple, and I don’t have a lot ot say about it. It’s a completely enclosed box, which is not nearly as big as the Metroplex box, despite them both being classified as “Titan Class” figures. The deco is in keeping with the style introduced for the Combiner Wars line with a landscape style front and some really nice artwork of Devastator doing what he does best. On the back of the box you get pictures of both the individual vehicles and robots, as well as the combined mode. Inside the box is a cardboard tray, which has the figures in their vehicle modes. You also get one character card for Devastator (sadly, none for the individual bots), and a huge folded instruction sheet. It’s all totally collector friendly, and while I do still have my Metroplex box, I doubt I’ll hang on to this one.

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Before getting into specifics, I’ve got to say that these guys are an odd bunch and I feel like I need to offer up a disclaimer. They definitely feel like up-scaled figures in that they are very simple and chunky and feature rather limited articulation. The plastic used here also feels lighter than what I’m used to getting and I suspect that has something to do with making the combined mode work without being too heavy.  In all honesty, if someone had handed me one of these figures without me knowing what it was, I would bet money that it was a knock-off, albeit a mighty nicely sculpted one. I know, that sounds bad, but the truth is when all is said and done, I’m able to look past that, because so much of this set is executed so well. It’s just worth noting that if you’re expecting the same quality, detail, and complexity of other Voyager figures, you aren’t going to find it here. These guys are scaled to work with the Masterpiece figures and they scale well with a lot of individual 3P combiner figures like Worbotron and Feral Rex, but the style and detail in the sculpt isn’t there to back it up. On the other hand, they do look just fine displayed alongside Leader Class Megatron. Anywho… let’s start checking out the individual figures and I’m going to start with Scrapper, because he’s always been one of my favorites…

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Scrapper is probably my favorite of the entire lot because he looks like a properly updated version of the original toy. His vehicle mode is what I like to call a scoop-dozer, because I have absolutely no idea what you really call these things. It’s a pretty good rendition of the original vehicle mode with a fair amount of panel lines, sculpted bolts, ladders, vents and all the other bits and bobs. He rolls along on four chunky wheels and you get some nice articulation in the scoop.

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There are virtually no paint apps showing on Scrapper’s vehicle mode other than the purple on the windows and a Decepticon emblem on the roof. You do get a little hint of purple plastic peeking out here and there from his robot parts, the black wheels, and a whole lot of glorious neon green plastic. I’ve heard some people complain about the green being off. It’s definitely brighter and more intense than the original toys, but it works just fine for me.

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Scrapper’s transformation is pretty simple. There’s a little more going on with the legs, but otherwise it ain’t all that different from the old G1 toy and damn it the results aren’t amazing. This is every bit a larger and modern update to the Scrapper toy I knew and loved as a kid, and that is wonderful. You do get some hollow caverns in the back of his lower legs, and no articulation in the elbows, well none other than swivels, but just looking at him standing on the shelf makes me happy.

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It’s obvious that all of the paint apps went into the robot mode and there is indeed a lot of nice work here. What was once stickers on the G1 toy are now replaced with sculpted detail and some beautiful red and silver paintwork. You also get another big Decepticon emblem on his chest and a little gold trim on his waist. And check out the head sculpt. It’s pure old school goodness. I absolutely love this figure!

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Moving on to Mixmaster, here we have a pretty big departure from the old G1 toy. He’s still a cement mixer, but a different style, with cabs on the front and the back. I’ve been told by someone who would know this is a legit design, but it feels so weird compared to the more simple G1 design. The drum is now angled up on the front, at least I think that’s the front. Holy crap is this a confusing design! You get the same black, purple and green deco on Mixmaster, with a little silver on the side tanks, front grill, and the smokestacks. In all honestly, he’s probably got just as much paint as most Deluxes shipping these days, and probably a few Voyagers too. Still, I can get behind this design, especially when the transformation preserves so much of the look of the original robot.

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Yup, that’s Mixmaster, alright, right down to the twin cannons positioned on a shelf over his head. He’s even got the twin wheels positioned on his arms… beautiful! He does feature a cement drum tail hanging off his back, but it’s not too bad and it doesn’t need to rest on the ground to help the figure stand up. Mixmaster also features hinged articulation in the elbows, which is definitely one up on Scrapper.

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I love the headsculpt on this guy, as it feels like a nice homage to the old toy. And as with Scrapper, you get all kinds of great sculpted detail on his chest along with some gold, silver, and red paint in place of stickers. Whatever points Mixmaster might lose because of the crazy new truck mode, he easily recoups for a bitchin’ robot mode.

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And now we come to the big elephant in the room… Long Haul. Long Haul was my first Constructicon as a kid and so I have a special level of affection and nostalgia for this guy. He’s still a dump truck, and he’s a mighty big one, which makes me think of him as a hybrid of the original toy and the Revenge of the Fallen version. Besides being a big boy, Long Haul has some nice sculpted detail, and with some black, purple, and silver paint showing, he’s a little more dynamically colored, but you do still get an awful lot of neon green. I loved this mode to begin with, but once I got a look at that Decepticon emblem above the front grill, it was on a whole new level of greatness.

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Of course, there’s been a lot of hate thrown Long Haul’s way because in robot mode, he’s a bit husky. So what? It’s been 30-years since we’ve seen this guy and he’s let himself go a little. I’m a somewhat portly middle-aged fellow, so I can relate, Long Haul. You won’t get any fat-shaming from me. All kidding aside, the thing I loved the most about G1 Long Haul was the way he wore the front of his vehicle mode as his chest, similar to some of the Autobots, and this design keeps it real.  Sure, he’s got little stubby arms, but so did the original toy. The bottom line is that Hasbro had to make this guy a powerhouse in order to take on the center of Devastator and I’m fine with that.

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No, I think if I had one gripe about Long Haul, it would be that I wish they had painted his “helmet” black like the others. I don’t dislike his head. It’s got an interesting Cylon motif going on, but it just doesn’t match the others and that bugs me a little bit. Otherwise, Long Haul’s robot mode features some nice silver and red paint apps and there’s that Decepticon emblem on top of the grill. Don’t let the haters get you down, Long Haul, I’ve got your back!

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Despite my initial disclaimer, I hope I’ve made it clear how much I like these figures. Yes, they’re a bit strange, and it’s so hard for me to put my finger on why these figures feel so different from any other Transformers Hasbro has been putting out lately. Yes, there are some paint apps I would have liked to see added, but there’s also some particularly nice paintwork on display here as well. Maybe it’s just the recognition that they seem to have started life as something smaller, or maybe that’s not even true. I’d be really curious to see how they would have turned out as Deluxes, putting them more in scale with the rest of the Combiner Wars, but then I’m getting ahead of myself, as I still have three more figures to look at. Tomorrow, I’ll be back to check out Hook, Bonecrusher, and Scavenger.