It’s creeping into that time of year when the stores I don’t tend to think of for toys start inflating their otherwise paltry toy sections for Christmas. One of those stores is Ross, the shabby discount clothing chain that dabbles in closeout selections. They’ve been a good source of cheap Transformers for me in the past. I got almost my entire Animated collection there for half off, so it’s worth a looksee every now and then. I haven’t been there in a while, but after throwing back a bunch of drinks at a bar in the same strip mall, I decided to stagger in. I came out with these two Hero Mashers.
I’ve been tempted by this line for a while, but with me unloading so many Transformers from my collection lately, buying any of these felt like a fool’s errand. Nonetheless at $6.99 each, I couldn’t resist. If you’re unfamiliar with the line, they’re basically action figures with pop-off parts that are interchangeable with each other. Hasbro’s also got this line going for Marvel and Star Wars and it must be popular because it’s been bleeding over to different companies. I’m pretty sure Playmates has one going for the TMNT line. Anyway, I should note that I have almost no interest in the mash-up gimmick and that I bought these solely because they remind me of glorified Action Masters.
I don’t have much to say about the packaging, other than they are colorful window boxes and my Megatron box is badly damaged. They’re obviously aimed squarely at kids and I think it’s neat that they put the characters on the side panel in case you want to keep the boxes on a bookshelf. They are collector friendly, which would come in handy to keep all the extra parts in the tray, although I’ve opted to pitch the packaging.
Stripped away of all those extra parts, these figures really do scratch that Action Master itch for me, only these are obviously bigger and more articulated. The G1 motif is there, albeit with a little more stylized charactersistics in Megatron. There’s also a rather impressive amount of sculpted detail on these guys and solid paint (especially on Soundwave) considering the age group their aimed at. In fact, my only complaint is that Soundwave looks naked without his Decepticon emblem on his chest tape door. OK, one more gripe, I wish Megatron’s fusion cannon didn’t have that long post. But these are rather insignificant nitpicks from an adult collector about a kiddie toy line and that in itself is commendable.
The articulation works in conjunction with the swappable parts system. The figures are basically loaded with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, neck, and ankles, and with swivels in the wrists. The lower limbs of these joints features a socket and peg allowing you to pull the joint out and replace with another. There are also sockets all over the figures to peg in weapons or extra bits. I could totally see this being hours of fun for kids, and while the concept approaches a certain morbid sense of body horror for the Marvel and Star Wars characters, it almost makes sense with these robot characters. Hell, even ignoring the swappable part gimmick, it’s fun to have Transformers figure with blow-apart limbs!
Megatron comes with a backpack, two parts that could serve as weapon pods or jet attachments for the backpack, a shoulder cannon, a missile for his Fusion Cannon, an Energon Mace, and Sideswipe’s arm. The backpack looks great on him, but you can’t use it along with the shoulder cannon. It’s either or. Obviously, my favorite part here is the Energon Mace.
Soundwave comes with a couple of pieces that look like they might be intended as batteries, a black and gold gun, his iconic shoulder cannon, his hand gun with missile, and Skywarp’s arm.
And it’s hard to deny the appeal of cobbling together Megawave and Wavetron. Or, maybe not. At the original MSRP of about $13 each, I’ve considered picking these up a bunch of times, but seeing them at $7 each and with the booze coursing through my veins, the purchase was a no brainer. Even now that I’ve sobered up I’m glad I bought them. They’re fun and quirky and kind of neat. Although I can’t say for sure I’ll be picking up many more of these, unless good old Ross stocks more of them for Christmas. Maybe I’ll do a sampling of some of the Marvel or Star Wars versions just for giggles.