Transformers Dark of the Moon: Laserbeak (Deluxe) by Hasbro

Who could have guessed that Laserbeak would have turned out to be the best character in Transformers 3? Well, he was my favorite anyway. Not only did he look awesome, he was a sadistic killer, and actually used his transforming ability to be a “robot in disguise!” I also thought I was going to have a nerdgasm when, in one scene, he actually landed on Soundwave’s arm. So, while I have been cherry picking the DotM toys, getting Laserbeak was always a certainty, and after rummaging through about 100 Deluxes at Walmart the other day, I finally found one.

Laserbeak comes in the standard DotM style package. The figure is mounted in his vehicle mode, which is some kind of fictional VTOL gunship, and his MechTech weapons are mounted beside him. The toy looks great on the card, but the illustration used for the insert is really odd. I’m not sure if its just me, but it looks nothing like the character did in the movie. The usual bio blurb is printed on the cardback and much to my chagrin it says nothing about Laserbeak having a tea party with a little girl right before murdering the shit out of her parents right in front of her.

Getting Laserbeak out of the package, the first thing that came to mind is that he’s way too big. I mean, it’s obvious he’s too big compared to the other Deluxes, but he’s even huge compared to the Voyagers. As a result, you’ve got to look at him as a stand alone figure to really appreciate him. Hopefully, Hasbro, will consider making a Cyberverse version, although I’m pretty sure I saw that a scaled down Laserbeak will be packed in with Human Alliance Soundwave, and that may be close enough.

Laserbeak’s gunship mode is pretty cool, but as we’ll see in a little bit, it isn’t all that different from his robot bird mode. It doesn’t help that his bird feet are barely obscured on the undercarriage and his tail is pretty obvious too. The detail in the sculpt is excellent, particularly in the two VTOL engines. Still, it’s obvious that the alt mode here was sacrificed to preserve the robot bird mode, and I guess I’m fine with that. He even has some bird-inspired nose art painted on either side of his cockpit.

The bird mode is where this figure really shines, although transforming him is very easy. You basically just pull out the head, wings, tail and feet, and do some minor repositioning. The head sculpt is pretty close to the on screen version and he can even open and close his mouth, albeit without any screen accurate cyber-slobber. My only real complaint here is the red wings, which I think should have been left grey or black. I think Hasbro went this route to make the to more colorful and appealing to kids, but it just doesn’t look very film accurate. I think the color change would be too subtle for a repaint, although a more muted version repackaged as Buzzsaw could get me to part with another ten bucks.

Laserbeak’s MechTech weapons consist of two machine guns, which can connect together to form one large BFG. The two guns can be mounted above or below the VTOL engines in either the gunship or bird modes. They’re a little big and bulky to go on top, but I think they look pretty good when mounted under the engines of the gunship. I really prefer to leave them off of Laserbeak’s bird mode. The combined gun is pretty cool, but it doesn’t really serve a purpose for Laserbeak, as it’s just too long and cumbersome to look good on him. It does, however, make for a nice weapon for some of the other figures in the line.

As a stand alone figure, Laserbeak is pretty cool, although he could have been better with some different coloring. The real downside here is that he’s just too big to be in scale with any of the other figures. I’ll concede that the smaller scales wouldn’t really have done him justice, though, so I’m still glad that Hasbro gave us this version and for the ten bucks that the average Deluxes sell for these days, he’s well worth picking up.

Transformers Human Alliance: Sandstorm and Private Dedcliff by Hasbro

I look at a ton of Transformers on Figurefan, but some of you may have noticed that I haven’t looked at any of the Human Alliance series. It’s not that I don’t admire the line, but paying $30 for a figure I already own in a slightly different scale is too rich for my blood. Well, with Dark of the Moon, Hasbro introduced a new class assortment to the line. These new bots fall somewhere between a Scout and a Deluxe in terms of size and complexity and still includes the little human figure. I’m still not overly excited about this line, but I decided to give it a try with Sandstorm.

The figures come on a standard Dark of the Moon style cardback, which means the deco looks awesome. The layout of the package is very similar to the Power Core Combiner Commander two-packs. Sandstorm is in his robot mode and Dedcliff is mounted beside him. Yep, just like the PCC Commander and his Minicon. As always, let’s start with Sandstorm’s vehicle mode. The package is still schilling the whole MechTech gimmick, which I find a bit odd, since there is no MechTech weapon included. As always, let’s start with the vehicle mode…

Sandstorm is a military style dunebuggy. Just think of a one-seater GI Joe Awe Striker, and you’ve got the idea. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the single seater dunebuggy released in the 2.5″ Sigma Six line. It’s a fairly ugly vehicle, but I think the design serves it well because it is a military vehicle and not intended to look pretty. It is a very solid little toy and it rolls along great. I’m fairly impressed that the rollbar locks together nicely and the weapon has a clip that allows you to place it in a number of different points on the toy. Sandstorm’s seat has a peg on the back, which fits into the socket on Dedcliff’s back to keep him seated upright nicely. There’s plenty to like here, but if you compare him to, let’s say, Revenge of the Fallen Dune Runner, Sandstorm lacks a lot of that dunebuggy’s intricate sculpted detail, despite being a larger figure.

The Dedcliff figure is very impressive for such a tiny little guy and if you don’t like the name Dedcliff, just call him Duke because he’s the spitting image. The sculpt is very detailed and the paintwork is excellent. He even has a tiny Autobot emblem stamped on his shoulder! Compared to the older Human Alliance humans, this guy is a huge leap. His articulation is also remarkable. You get a rotating head, ball joints in the shoulders and hips, and hinges/swivels in the knees. Considering there’s plenty of larger figures on the market with less articulation, I’ve got no complaints about this little dude. If Hasbro had delivered the 2.5″ Sigma Six figures with this kind of sculpt and poseability, I think that line would have been a lot less despised. Either way, Hasbro went above and beyond with this tiny figures.

Transforming Sandstorm is easy enough and his robot mode looks great. He does have some rollbar kibble hanging off his back, but at least the ones that hang over his shoulder looks like they actually surve a purpose in blocking melee attacks ot his head. His articulation is excellent for a figure in his size class, with ball joints in his neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, and ankles, along with hinged knees. The figure features a lot of playability and the gun for his dunebuggy mode doubles as a handgun for his robot mode.

I’m generally surprised at how impressed I am with this set, considering I was not all that excited about picking it up. Sandstorm is a great Transformer and doesn’t sacrifice anything to satisfy the Human Alliance scale and gimmick. And as dumb as it sounds, I’m blown away by the quality of the Dedcliff figure. I should note here that Sandstorm also has a third battle platform alt mode, which I didn’t think worth showing. Either way, though, this is a remarkable little set, loads of fun to play with, and at $10 it actually feels like a bargain. Yep, I’ll certainly be buying some more of these.

Transformers Dark of the Moon: Thundercracker (Deluxe) by Hasbro

[Phew, it’s been a long week of DC Universe Classics goodness. I’ve got a shit ton of other toys piling up, but I need a day off, so I’m just checking in today with a quickie. No, I haven’t forgot that I still need to do the two All Stars bonus figures that I got with Wave 16. I’m going to break up the DCUC run for the next three or four days with some other stuff, and then I’ll get back to take a look at All Stars Joker and Deathstroke sometime around the middle of next week. For reals! -FF.]

So… Deluxe Class Thundercracker from Dark of the Moon seemed like a good choice for a quickie, since he’s just a repaint of the Starscream figure that I reviewed a week or so back, we can take a quick look at him without doing the mold a disservice.

Bam! Dark of the Moon Deluxe packaging with the figure carded in his jet mode. The package deco still looks great. I found Thundercracker’s bio blurb a little funny as it basically says he’s Starscream’s protege. Seems as though Starscream has taken him under his wing. HA! Let’s move on…

It’s the same awesome Deluxe sized F-22 Raptor that we saw with Starscream, but the new paintjob really pops compared to Starscream’s cyber-tats. Besides the nice deep blue of G1 Thundercracker, he’s got some gorgeous red and silver striping on the wings and rear fins. The grey dorsal hinge is a little unsightly, but apart from that I couldn’t be happier with this figure’s jet mode aesthetics. On the downside, the plates on my figure don’t line up all that well, certainly not as well as on my Starscream.
I’m still impressed with the transformation on this mold and how solid the resulting robot mode is. Granted, if you don’t like Starscream’s movie design, I doubt this repaint will win you over. As I said in the Starscream review, this design has grown a lot on me and I think it looks great in the new color scheme. I’m particularly fond of the black paint job on the head.

Hasbro went an interesting route with Thundercracker’s MechTech weapons. They included one of Starscream’s Null Rays, which can peg in under the wing or onto his arm, but without the other half, it really isn’t a MechTech weapon anymore, is it? He does, however come with a repaint of my favorite MechTech weapon so far: Roadbuster’s chainsaw. I’ll grant you it doesn’t serve much purpose to have a chainsaw mounted under the wing of a Raptor, but it sure works great on his arm in robot mode.

Thundercracker is either an easy pick-up or an easy pass, depending on your take on the Deluxe Starscream mold. I was impressed with it and found it to be a big improvement over the old Voyager mold in terms of stability and playability. What’s more, Hasbro put some real love into Thundercracker’s deco. A figure that could have easily been a quick and dirty repaint cash grab, turned out to be a really snazzy looking repaint cash grab. And doesn’t that mean we all win?

Transformers Dark of the Moon: Roadbuster (Deluxe) by Hasbro

If you read my look at Topspin from a little while back, than you know I had mixed feelings about the first of the Deluxe Class Wreckers I purchased. I had high hopes for this next one I picked up, Roadbuster. I loved Topspin’s auto mode but I had a few issues with his robot mode. Well, it turns out the opposite is true with Roadbuster. Let’s check him out.

The Deluxe Class packaging is getting pretty familiar now. Not much new to say here. Roadbuster comes carded in his auto mode with his MechTech weapon mounted beside him. The back panel has the Tech Specs and the bio blurb. I didn’t see it on Topspin’s but there’s a NASCAR hologram sticker on the back of the Roadbuster’s package. I’m pretty sure it was on Topspin’s card too, but I just failed to notice it. The back panel has the obligatory photos of the figure in both robot and auto mode. Hey, check out the auto mode photo that has the MechTech weapon plugged into the socket on the car’s side panel, because we’ll be coming back to that later.

Topspin’s auto mode was armored and bristling with weapons and he looked absolutely badass. Roadbuster’s auto mode doesn’t have all the cool weapons and armor and is just a straight forward race car. The paint job and sponsor logos make for a nice looking racecar, but there’s some noticeable and unsightly slop along the white paint lines. Interestingly, the peg sockets on the side panels and the roof have covers that drop down when you peg the weapon into it. It’s a cool way to hide the unsightly peg socket, but it does result in some MechTech weapon problems, which I’ll talk about in a little bit.

On the flipside, Roadbuster’s robot design is simply awesome. I adore the proportions on this guy and the way his wheels wind up on his shoulders and hips. All in all, he has a much cleaner look than his Wrecker comrade, Topspin. Instead of the bulky car pieces hanging off the shoulder, Roadbuster just has a pair of rocket launcher pods positioned over each shoulder. Much better. I also like Roadbuster’s headsculpt quite a bit. It’s a big improvement over Topspin’s failed effort at a Cyber-Mullet. The only downside here is that the grey component of Roadbuster’s torso is left unpainted, bare grey plastic and it looks pretty bland. Some paint apps or even a general wash would have really helped this figure look loads better.

So how’s Roadbuster’s MechTech? Ok, the weapon itself is pretty damn cool. Y ou get a blaster that converts into a friggin battle chainsaw. Unfortunately, my gripe with most of the MechTech weapons holds true here: You still can’t lock the weapon into its converted chainsaw mode and that just sucks. The other problem with Roadbuster’s MechTech system are the covered peg ports I mentinoed earlier. The weapon pegs into the roof just fine, but the peg ports on the side panels will only grant access when the figure is in robot mode. Not only does this really limit the versatility of the MechTech weapon, but it makes the artwork on the package deliberately misleading.

No doubt, Roadbuster has a few stumbling points, but nothing to ruin the figure for me. In fact, this guy is one of my favorite Deluxe Class robots to come out of the movie lines. The snafu with the MechTech ports on the side of the car is what bugs me the most. Sure, these little inconsistencies will occasionally happen when going from production to final piece, but understanding that doesn’t make me any happier about it. I would absolutely love to see a non-NASCAR repaint of this figure, or even get to see it turn up later as a Decepticon.

Transformers Dark of the Moon: Topspin (Deluxe) by Hasbro

I had high hopes for The Wreckers appearing in Transformers 3. Why? I dunno. It was clear they wouldn’t match the awesomeness of their comic book counterparts, but I thought it was cool that something so obscure outside the Fandom were being worked into the movie. As it turns out, they were OK, but they never really attained a level of kick-assery that I was hoping for. Nonetheless, today we’re going to check out my first Deluxe Class Wrecker figure. He’s Topspin, also known as the Lowes car.

There’s that awesome DotM packaging. I love it. It’s functional and yet so much more pleasing on the eye than the Revenge of the Fallencards. You’ll notice that Topspin is one of those names that Hasbro needed to tack the word “Autobot” in front of in order to avoid some kind of copyright infringement. For those of you old school G1ers playing along at home, you’ll remember that Topspin, along with Twintwist was one of the Battlechargers. Anyway, Topspin is packaged in his auto mode with his MechTech weapon mounted beside him. There are Tech Specs and a bio blurb on the back of the card, and as with Cyberverse Leadfoot, nowhere on the package does it say that Topspin is in fact an asshole.

I really dig the whole NASCAR-attack-vehicle thing that the movie did with The Wreckers. It’s as dumb as all hell, and makes no sense, but you could probably say that about the whole damn movie and I still loved it, so why should this be any different. Anyway, the sculpt is really nice, with lots of little details like armor and spikes. Topspin has four guns, all of which peg into sockets on the car and are thus removable. The MechTech weapon pegs into the hood, but we’ll save that for later. The bright blue and grey and silver color scheme is pretty pleasing and many will be happy to see that the Lowes emblem made it onto the toy. I’m guessing since Lowes doesn’t sell toys, the other big boxers didn’t care. There is some unfortunate seaming on the rear quarter panels, that just don’t seem to fit together all that tightly, but otherwise, this is a nice looking and fun alt mode.

Transforming Topspin isn’t terribly difficult and the resulting robot is pretty good. You do get some odd bits of car kibble hanging over his shoulders. They sometimes get in the way, but if you fiddle with them enough you can probably find a way to position them so that they aren’t that much of an eyesore. I’m not terribly keen on Topspin’s head sculpt. I think he’s supposed to have a mullet, but the sculpt just makes him look strange. The rest of the robot, however, looks great and I’m particularly fond of his huge pincer claws, which are a nice change from the norm. Topspin has sockets on his arms so any of his weapons can be pegged in, giving him some serious fighting chops.

Topspin’s MechTech weapon is a gun that converts into a capture claw. Honestly, I had high hopes for these MechTech weapons and on the whole, they just aren’t really jiving with me. They’re a cool idea, and I like the fact that they’re interchangeable, but I don’t think Hasbro has really captured the full potential of the gimmick. Either way, the weapon can peg onto the hood of the car or it can be pegged onto his arms when he’s in robot mode.

In the end, I’m a little torn on this guy. I love his vehicle mode, but I’m kind of iffy on his robot mode. It’s not terrible, and you can get some nice poses out of him on the shelf, but the kibble hanging off his shoulders feels like a half-assed design and the more I look at his head sculpt the more I hate it. I’m glad I have him in my collection and even though he’s got issues, but you could do worse. And that kills off the first Trifecta of DotM Deluxe figures. I’ll try to mix it up a bit this week before getting back to the insane amount of Transformers I’ve yet to look at.