I’ve been sick as a dog for the last two days and I didn’t think I was going to be able to get any midweek content in, but thanks to just the right cocktail of Nyquil, cough drops, and Jameson, I’ve managed to prop myself up at my computer and tap something out that’s quick and painless. A little thing called Toy Fair happened over the weekend and boy there were a lot of surprises and tons of cool stuff shown. One of those things was Super7’s new Wave of ReAction Transformers. These are kind of like the old Action Masters, in that they don’t transform, with a smidgen of Heroes of Cybertron. They’re roughly 3 3/4-inch scale, they’re based on the Sunbow cartoon designs, and like most ReAction figures they feature a nostalgic five points of articulation. The moment I saw these on the cards, I knew I was going all in. Unfortunately, I only have one set and I’m not opening them, so we’ll just have to settle for checking them out in package. And that’s fine, because I think these shine the most when carded. The initial assortment consists of Megatron, Starscream, and Soundwave from the Decpticons, and Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Bumblebee from the Autobots. Let’s start with the Autobots!
Oh yeah! These cards are absolutely gorgeous! We get all new character art, unique for each card, showing the character against a Cybertronian backdrop. The bubble is orientated to the left and the borders feature the familiar grid pattern that transitions from black to red, just like it did on the original figure packages. The top of the card has the iconic original Transformers logo in red for the Autobots and purple for the Decepticons, and you get the Kenner-style ReAction logo on the bottom right hand side. Even the character’s name above the figure is printed in the yellow and black box similar to how they originally called out the character’s name and function. The figures are secured in a tray so they don’t rattle around in the bubble like some ReAction figures do, and if they have a weapon it’s placed to the figure’s right.
On the flipside, you get a classic “Collect Them All” style spread showing all the figures in the wave. I’ll note that this card-back is taken from Soundwave and not Optimus Prime, as it has the Transformers logo in purple and says “Evil Decepticons.” I really dig that they even did some customization on the back, but I’m only going to show the reverse side for one. And yeah, I would have loved a reprint of the old tech spec card on the bottom instead of the multi-lingual warnings, but I guess you have to pay the lawyers, right?
Prime looks pretty good, although this is the one figure in this wave where the proportions are a little off. He seems a tad big-headed and his upper body makes his legs look a little scrawny. It’s not too bad, but worth pointing out, especially since the rest don’t really have this problem. The simple sculpt reflects the animated style of the cartoon, but there are still some great touches of detail like the markings on his forearms and the vents in his lower legs. The head sculpt looks great too. The coloring is just about perfect, with bright red and blue plastic and a flat gray for what would have been silver on the toy. There’s even some yellow paint hits on the pelvis and the chest windshield is painted blue. Finally, you get an Autobot symbol stamped on his left shoulder. I think this one is the weakest of the bunch for me, which is ironic because it’s freaking Optimus Prime. I still dig him, but I think he needed some tweaks. Prime comes with his iconic buster-rifle, which he can hold in his right hand.
Jazz is up next and I think he turned out great. I especially love his character art, where he’s offering a reassuring smirk, giving me the thumbs up, and just oozing personality and character. I can practically hear Scatman Crothers voice when I look at it. The figure is also excellent, although I would have liked a wider stance for just about all of these figures. The head sculpt on the figure is superb. Here you get a white and black deco with a couple of shades of gray and some blue and red hits, and of course a beautiful Autobot insignia on the chest-hood. Jazz comes with his gun, which looks to be accurate to the original toy’s weapon, and it looks like he can hold it either hand.
The last of the Autobots is Bumblebee, and this is probably my favorite of the three. I was surprised too! But for some reason as a kid I was obsessed with having a figure that actually looked like Bumblebee in the cartoon and this is about as close as I’ll likely ever come. His character art is pretty solid, but it’s the figure really shines for me. It reflects all those impossible changes in the cartoon where his car kibble is softened over to the point where you can barely make out the hood details in his feet, his upper arms are black instead of yellow with those segmented round tubes for elbows, and his chest is flattened and boxed out instead of curved. I absolutely love it! The head is probably too big, but I’m OK with that and I like how they emphasized his devil horns. The coloring here is mostly black and yellow but with some blue added for the windows and the red Autobot insignia on his chest. Unfortunately, the paint on this one is the weakest of the bunch. The paint lines on the black are a little rough in some areas, but it’s not terribly apparent when the figure is in hand. Bumblebee comes with his little pistol and I’m glad they included that! I should also note here that Bumblebee is scaled to be smaller than the other figures in the wave and that’s pretty cool too! Moving on to the Decepticons!
Megatron’s card art is epic, as he stands with his fusion cannon aimed and ready to fire. The figure is no slouch either. Maybe a little too much upper body bulk compared to his legs, but it’s all good. The head sculpt is just about perfect, and little touches in the figure’s detail include the triggers on the tops of the shoulders, the little triangles on his chest, and the vents on his abdomen. The pale white plastic they used is a great fit for his cartoon color and you get some darker gray on the legs, black for the cannon, pelvis and fists, red in the elbows, and some red, yellow, and blue paint hits for the panel under his chest. Megatron doesn’t come with an accessory, but that’s because he has his mounted arm cannon. I think this guy turned out all kinds of great.
Up next is Soundwave, and oh boy is he perfect! The card art shows him holding his rather distinctive gun and about to eject one of his Cassette Warriors and it looks so damn great. The figure features a sharp sculpt and you get some cool details from the tape deck buttons on his pelvis to the vents on his lower legs. The coloring here is spot on from the blue and gray body to the yellow and red applications, it’s all right on the money. You even get the razor thin red stripes around his forearms. I like that they used the same blue for his tape door as the Autobots’ windows, it adds a nice uniformity to the line’s color palate. Soundwave comes with his battery gun, and they went all out with the paint on this one, giving it the red accents and painting the beam emitter silver. I’d say this is my favorite of the Decpticons, but there’s some pretty stiff competition here because Starscream is coming up next.
And he serves up some tough competition. Starscream’s card art oozes arrogance as he stands with hands on hips and offering a defiant smirk. The figure’s bubble is extra wide to accommodate the wingspan, and I’ll mention here again how much I dig the subtle size differences in some fo these figures. This sculpt is up there with the best of them, and it’s good they did such a fine job because I presume we’ll be seeing it at least two more times. Five more if they want to give us The Rainmakers, and hell yeah I’d buy them too. The head sculpt is possibly the best of the bunch. They captured Starscream perfectly, and I’ll be interested to see if the other Seekers get original portraits or if they just keep using this one. Like Megatron, the pale gray plastic they use here looks great, as does the blue and red coloring. He’s got red and white striping on his wings, as well as Decepticon insignia, and the yellow on the cockpit really makes the figure pop. Starscream comes with Megatron on his gun form.
The idea of Transformers that don’t transform may seem pretty daft to a lot of people, and I get that. But ever since I was a kid I wanted a proper line of figures based on the classic Sunbow designs, and these scratch that itch wonderfully. Indeed, if these were swinging on the pegs when I was a kid I would have gone crazy over them. Granted, I can’t vouch for how much fun they are but every time I glance over at them carded and standing on my shelf, I can’t help but smile. Better articulation would have been optimal, but I think this format gives us the best chance of getting a lot of figures. I will likely buy a couple doubles to open at some point down the road, but right now I’m just so excited about what else is coming for this series. The stuff Super7 showed off at Toy Fair looks great, and I hope this line goes on forever.
I’d buy em and call em Action Masters. They look good.