Transformers Generations: Nightbeat (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

Greetings, fans of Convertorobots! I’m still waiting for some of my new Combiner Wars figures to arrive, so I’m taking this time to look through the last holdouts of my Generations figures. On the last Transformers Thursday we looked at Jetfire, this time we’ll check out Nightbeat. I’ve already featured this mold twice before (as Bumblebee and Goldbug) and I was kind of lukewarm on it to begin with. So, why the hell did I buy it again? Well, primarily because I’m a toy-crazy idiot who doesn’t understand the value of money, but also because I don’t happen to have any version of Nightbeat in my collection.

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There’s the ingenious packaging, which uses a comic book reprint as the character art. Hasbro has had a lot of success at tweaking molds to make them work as different characters, but Nightbeat is not one of those instances. Just looking at the huge disconnect between the IDW character art and the Bumblebee mold leads me down a path toward bewilderment. Wasn’t the original plan to repaint Reveal The Shield Jazz as Nightbeat? What the hell happened there? Well, I knew what I was getting going in, so I have nobody to blame but myself. Let’s rip this guy open and start out with his alt mode.

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Yes, we get the same auto mode as the previous two releases of this mold. The car is now comprised of blue plastic and the windows are tinted blue, but there aren’t any changes to the mold. That’s not a complaint, mind you, as I really dig the overall look of this car with the swollen hood and split spoiler. The design is probably about as close as Hasbro could get to a modern Camaro without having to pony up money to Chevrolet for the license. No movie, no license… I guess that’s how that works. The Bumblebee version used a rather shoddy looking yellow plastic, I liked the gold plastic for Goldbug a little more, but this is a case where the third time is the charm, as I think the car looks great in blue. The yellow striping and flame decals on the doors also make Nightbeat the most visually appealing version of this car and one that suits the character fairly well.

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Nightbeat comes with the same pair of weapons as the prevoius two releases of the mold, this time with a yellow and blue paintjob to match the deco of the car. You can still peg these pieces into the sides of the car to give him some firepower while cruising the roads.

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The robot mode here holds few surprises to nutjobs like me who bought it twice before. Again, I like the blue plastic used here better than either of the other releases and the yellow accents and flame decos on the door go a long way to make the figure work for me as the character, even if the body doesn’t look anything like the character art. Still, my biggest gripe about this figure is the way the shoulders are constructed. The front quarter panels look great and I like the conventional Autobot door-wings, but the shoulders don’t lock into place. There is some independent arm movement, but for the most part, moving the arms means moving the whole shoulder assembly, which makes a lot of the poses look awkward and throws off the symmetry of the design.

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There is a brand new head sculpt and it’s easily my favorite thing about this new release. The yellow face and red visor are fantastic and the whole noggin ties the character together beautifully. Yes, this can be my Nightbeat, it’s just not the IDW version.

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Once again, the weapons are designed to be wielded separately or you can combine them together into one large cannon. I think they work pretty well in either configuration.

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In the end, Nightbeat is probably the best looking use of this mold, albeit wildly inaccurate to the source material. I could have easily done without owning him, but it was one of those instances where I stumbled upon him for about eight bucks and decided that I wanted a Nightbeat in my collection no matter what the mold looked like. While I have a hard time parting with any Transformers, if I were forced to make some cuts, Nightbeat would definitely be the one figure in this trio that I kept, so at least he’s got that going for him! On the other hand, i still can’t help but wish that Hasbro had delivered on the Reveal The Shield Jazzbeat! I’ve seen customs and digibashes of that potential figure and I really liked what I saw.

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Transformers Combiner Wars: Breakdown by Hasbro

If you follow the day-by-day doings here at FFZ, then you know I’m in the middle of a Marvel Legends Week, but I’m still going to observe the tradition that is Transformers Thursday around these parts. Afterall, I’ve got me some Stunticons to look at!!! A couple of weeks back I looked at Dragstrip and today we’re pressing on with Breakdown.

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Once again, I’m so happy to see that Hasbro is carrying the Comic Packs over to this new line. Sure, I still prefer the packaging deco used for Generations, but when you toss me a free funnybook, I’m libel to forget all about superficial things like what the package that I’m about to throw away looks like. Breakdown comes packaged in his robot mode, but as you’ve probably already guessed, I’m starting out with his alt mode.

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Just like the good ol’days, Breakdown is an off-white Lambourghini and a fairly good one too. There are the inevitable seams running around the body of the car and some of those gaps never seem to close up as much as I’d like no matter how much I fiddle with it, but all in all I’m pretty pleased with what we got here. The black paint on the windows looks great, as does the red on the hood with the Decepticon emblem prominantly displayed. I love me my Decepticon cars and I love them more when they proudly advertise what they are. Breakdown also sports some blue striping on the lower edge of his sides and there’s some silver paint for the lights and part of the front bumper. I could have probably done without the “15RACING” printed on the windshield, but it’s not a dealbreaker for me.

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Unlike the other two Combiner Wars Deluxes that I looked at, Breakdown actually makes great use of his combiner part in alt mode. It pegs just behind the spoiler and creates an external engine thingy that does a good job of mimicking the cannon that pegged into the original toy. Or if you prefer, you can leave that off and just plug Breakdown’s weapon into the roof. Either way, if you like weaponizing your cars, you have options!

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Breakdown’s transformation has a few neat things going on. I like the way the legs fold out and the way the chest plate folds under to form the front bumper is pretty cool. Unfortunately, the result is a robot mode that has some issues. You should note that he comes mis-transformed in the package, but I’ll get back to that in a minute.

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Let’s start with the good stuff! Breakdown is among the minority of the CW Deluxes that doesn’t show their combiner port as part of their chest and I like that. The plate that covers it up is nicely sculpted and the blue and silver paint look really good on him. The tiny off-center Decepticon emblem is a tad disappointing, but even still I like the makeup of this guy’s torso. Also well worthy of praise is that head sculpt, which I think actually outshines the one Fansproject used for their own Not-Breakdown. The squared off “helmet” and red face really sell the character to me. Good stuff!

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Alas, that brings us to the not so good stuff. Those legs, for starters, are pretty rough. The lower legs are way too bulky and having that much hollow space on display doesn’t work for me. It makes him look stocky. I’ll admit it’s actually falls in line with the original G1 toy design, but I’d rather have more of a Sunbow aesthetic with my Generations figures. Is it just my personal preference? Sure, but that’s what these reviews are all about. The arms also seem rather flimsy to me, especially in relation to the boxy chest and bulky lower legs.

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Lastly, there’s the backpack. I’ll concede that it tucks away nicely enough so that it’s all but invisible from the front and that’s something that fixes a major concern I had when viewing the figure in the package where it’s flipped up and visible from the front. On the other hand, it still looks rather bulky from the side or behind. And, so long as I’m getting crazy nit-picky here, it sure would have been cool if the whole thing could have been raised just a bit to put those wheels on his shoulders like the G1 design.

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Breakdown comes with a cool weapon that can double as either a rifle with a bayonet or a sword. It’s a great design made all the better because Hasbro coughed up the cash for a silver paint app on the blade.

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If you absolutely want to get that combiner part stowed away on Breakdown, you can peg it into his back. It does add a lot more bulk to what is an already rather unsightly backpack, but it works better for me than the way awkwardly Dragstrip’s pegged onto his shoulder. Either way it’s a moot point for me because I’m perfectly happy leaving the combiner parts separate from the figure when they’re not in use.

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I picked Breakdown to go first because I honestly thought I was not going to like this figure at all and I wanted to get the bad out of the way. Surprisingly, even with all my many gripes, that’s not at all the case and I actually find myself liking him quite a bit. He’s not at all a bad Transformer, but he does strike me as being rather dated. The issues I have him with him feel like issues I would have if I were looking at a figure from the Unicron Trilogy era, particularly those hollow legs and the backpack. That having been said, there’s still plenty to love here and I do believe I can overcome the rough spots and embrace this guy as my Generations Breakdown.

Transformers Generations: Chromia (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

Last Thursday I checked out the long awaited official Hasbro release of Arcee, but she didn’t come alone. Nope, her gal pal Chromia arrived with her. I was originally going to pass on Chromia, as I wasn’t all that smitten with the official Hasbro pics that I saw on the InterTubes, but it was actually easier (and almost cheaper) for me to get these ladies as a set so I figured I might as well add the pair of them to my shelf. She’s apparently built off a heavily remolded version of TF:Prime Arcee, which is one of the few figures in that line I don’t actually own, so she’s actually going to be one hundred percent new to me.

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Chromia comes in her robot mode in the usual delightfully G1-inspired IDW Comic Pack. I probably don’t have to go on any more about how much I love these things. Seriously, Hasbro, if you have any love for your fans you won’t keep these comic packs out of circulation for long. Bring them back as soon as you can!

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Starting out with Chromia’s alt mode, she spends her time cruising the backstreets of Cybertron as a futuristic looking motorcycle. The analogies to a Tron Lightcycle have been done to death and for good reason because they are certainly warranted. It’s a great looking alt mode and I particularly like the translucent plastic pieces used to mount the front and back wheels. It almost creates the effect that they’re floating. I also dig the fact that while she’s got a clear “cockpit” it’s clearly not designed for an occupant, which reinforces that this is indeed a Cybertronian mode. The bike stays together quite well and it even has a little kick stand to allow it to be displayed in this mode without toppling over. I love the coloring here, but since it’s practically the same as in her robot mode, I’ll hold my gushing until then.

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You also can attach Chromia’s gun to one of the sockets just behind the front wheel. It’s probably not the best looking or most strategic place for a gun, but it works OK for me.

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In robot mode, Chromia is drop dead gorgeous. There’s a great blending of feminine form and great Japanese robot design. In fact, let me just get the only thing I don’t like here out of the way and that’s the back kibble. It’s not as bulky as Arcee’s, but it does look more awkward and that’s probably because it doesn’t form anything looking like a conventional backpack. I can get behind the two pieces angled over her shoulders, as I’d like to think those are thrusters for a jetpack, but the one wheel just hanging off of her puts me off. Fortunately everything else about this figure is just so beautiful that I can easily turn a blind eye to her backpack-kibbly-blemish. The bulkier aspects to her arms and lower legs feature some striking contours and they gel really nicely with the more womanly nature of her torso and thighs. She kind of reminds me of those Gundam Girl figures that I have sitting around waiting to be featured here.

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The head sculpt is also great and very evocative of the G1 Autobot Femmebot aesthetic from the Sunbow cartoon. I like the complex nature of her “helmet” and while the amber light-piping in the eyes isn’t terribly pronounced, it looks mighty nice when I can get it to hit that sweet spot.

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And then there’s the deco! Chromia is a mix of blue, powder blue, and white with a little red and black thrown in. She really reminds me of a female Blurr. The colors here are simply exquisite and the paint job is phenomenal. It’s not often these days that I can gush about the coloring on a Hasbro Transformer, but Chromia definitely deserves props for being one of the most strikingly colored Hasbro bots that I’ve seen in quite a while.

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Chomia is slightly more articulated than her Autobot sister. She has ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, thighs, and neck. Her knees are hinged and she also has swivels up near the hips.

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If there’s one place that Chromia is lacking its in the accessories. Then again she does come with a gun and that’s about what we usually get with our Deluxe Transformers. I think the only reason it seems conspicuous here is because Arcee came with so many weapons. There also isn’t as much interaction between accessories and figure, although Chromia’s one gun can clip to her lower legs for storage. The option is there, but I don’t fancy the way it looks too much.

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Needless to say, Chromia is a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t terribly keen to get her, I wasn’t expecting much from her, and yet she really is a gorgeous figure and lots of fun to play with. If Hasbro could have found a way to make that back kibble work a little better for her, that could have helped. Surely, they could have turned that windshield into a shield or something? Ah, but why focus on one little flaw when the rest of the figure is so nearly perfect? I’m very glad I got her and I do hope that Hasbro takes a stab at delivering some more femmebots in the future because they certainly have a knack for it. What’s that? What about Windblade? Yeah, they can’t all be winners and I’ll get to her eventually.

Transformers Generations: Arcee (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It took me a while to get her, but Hasbro’s G1-style Arcee finally arrived at my doorstep last week, and only about 28 years late. It’s absolutely baffling that it took this long for the figure to be released, and don’t tell me it’s because of the whole, “boys don’t buy girl action figures” nonsense, because we’ve seen an Arcee figure many times over the decades, just never one this closely based on the G1 continuity.  This gal’s the real thing!

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Ah, the Generations Comic Pack. I guess we’re done seeing these for a while, at least on the pegs. I’ve still go a few of them to showcase here. There’s something so blissful about getting an action figure and comic book all in one tidy bundle and the deco of 2014’s Thrilling Thirty packages really hit my nostalgia right in the sweet spot. Granted, I wasn’t terribly keen on this comic’s story arc and it doesn’t do a great job spotlighting Arcee, but hey… free comic! I’m not going to scoff. Anyway, Arcee comes packaged in her robot mode, but as usual, I’m going to start with her alt mode.

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And that alt mode is indeed a pink, white, and black Cybertronian convertible, and I’ll be damned if it ain’t great looking. The long, stylized hood is a little reminiscent of a 70’s Chevy Corvette and I love the fin protruding up from behind the seats. The driver area is pretty nicely detailed with a sculpted steering wheel and console and a translucent blue windshield. The coloring is excellent and that big, crisp Autobot emblem on her hood is pure love. All in all this is a pretty faithful recreation of Arcee’s Sunbow alt mode design. I can’t think of anything off hand that I would have improved on. Even the seaming on it isn’t bad so long as you take the time to make everything go where it’s supposed to.

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Arcee comes with a plethora of weapons, I’ll look at those more closely in a bit, but all of the weapons can be attached to her car mode in one way or another. Her pink gone can clip under the back of the car plus there are two tabbing ports on the top near the trunk and two more on the sides. As is often the case, weaponinzing the alt mode can get a bit silly, but I must admit to being rather fond of just having the single cannon mounted above one of her rear wheels. It actually look like it’s designed to go there and not like a tacked on afterthought.

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Moving on to transformation… are you familiar with the term “shellformer?” Hmmm? Sure you are! And that term is certainly applicable here. Now, you’ve got your shelformers that involve a whole lot of plates fitting together just right like a car-bag around a bundle of robot kibble. To me, those are the worst offenders. Arcee isn’t that bad, although she does basically wear her alt mode on her back. It folds out to form the car shell and the arms and legs fold in underneath. Normally I’d be pretty critical of this sort of thing, but lets not forget that Arcee is a toy based on a totally made up animation model and one that had to retain a certain femininity in robot mode. That’s a tall order for the engineering department and a $15 toy, and so I’ll be cutting Arcee some slack here.

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Yes, that my friends is the G1 Arcee I know and love and looking at the feminine curves of her body, it’s easy to see why they had to go the shellformer root and why she wears the car on her back. Still, the way the figure is designed it really does look like Arcee wearing a backpack and I’m very much fine with that. The proportions are pretty good, although Arcee is definitely sporting some child bearing hips she still manages to have a slender waist, a curvy (almost organic looking) midriff, and a strategically placed angle in her chest plate to form them robot ta-ta’s. What’s impressive is that even with that bulky backpack, Arcee has no troubles with balance. The coloring here is more of the same, appropriately white and pink with a little blue and black trim to make things interesting.

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The head sculpt is pure G1 love. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. She has a cute little pink face, tiny painted lips, and the Princess Leia buns sculpted into her “helmet.” It’s certainly more Daniel-loving G1 Arcee than “You’re going to come home and find that I boiled your Petro-rabbit on the stove” IDW Arcee. That’s both G1 Transformers and a Glenn Close reference all rolled into one, kids… Weeee! Anyway, the head sculpt could be good or bad, depending on your personal tastes. Frankly, I never liked what IDW did with the character, so I dig it. Arcee also sports some really nice light-piping in those baby blue eyes of hers.

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I don’t always bother running down all the articulation points in my Transformers, but in the case of Arcee it’s so damn impressive that I’m going to make an exception. Her arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels at the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ankles, and have swivels in the thighs. There’s no articulation in the waist, but the neck is ball jointed. So Arcee isn’t loaded with a ton of points of articulation, but it’s what you can do with them that count. The joints have a great range of motion and they’re all firm and can hold poses really well.

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How about those weapons? Arcee comes with a formidable little assortment of killing tools. You get a pair of blue energon swords, which I suppose can double as rifles. Or is that vice-versa? You also get a medium sized gun and a smaller pistol. She can hold any of these weapons in either hand, although the guns tend to sit rather high in her grip, making them look a little awkward when she’s wielding them. Arcee also has tab ports in her forearms and thighs so she can wear her weapons like they’re holstered or wield her blades on her arms.

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Arcee is a great little figure made all the sweeter for how long we had to wait for her. Yeah, she’s a shellformer, and yeah she wears a car on her back, but she’s also happens to be a gal with plenty of charms. The sculpt and coloring are great and I was surprised at what a solid and stable figure she is to play around with. Is she enough to keep me from blowing $60 on MMC’s Azalea? Well, the jury’s still out on that one. What I will say is that for a $15 Deluxe I think Hasbro did right by us old-timer fans with this release. She looks really good hanging out with the likes of Generations Blurr and Kup, but it’s a pity she’s too undersized to hang out with her boyfriend, Springer.