Transformers Generations: Brainstorm by Hasbro

A couple of weeks back, I ducked into a Ross for the first time in ages to see what toys they had kicking around. They’re usually good for cheap Transformers every now and then and while they appeared to be picked pretty clean, I did manage to grab some Hero Mashers as well as Brainstorm, one of the few Generations figures I failed to pick up when he was out at the regular stores, mainly because I was quite satisfied with my Fansproject Smart Robin. But for ten bucks? Pfft, why not?


While the Combiner Wars packaging has grown on me, this Generation stuff was where it was at. Nostalgic G1 grid pattern? Check! Awesome character art? You got it. I love this deco so much. Brainstorm is packaged in his robot mode, but as usual, let’s start with his alt mode…



Brainstorm is a single seater starfighter, and it’s a passable design from certain angles. From the front, he’s kind of sleek with a nice set of twin blasters mounted on the nose, some stylishly angled wings, and a flip up canopy for his little robot pilot.



Unfortunately, as a whole package, this alt mode isn’t very good. I usually like to try changing my Transformers for the first time without the instructions, and I’m usually successful at it. Here, I was convinced I was doing something wrong and that was because the box doesn’t show the alt mode from the back. Once I looked at the instructions, I was able to see that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. It really is supposed to look like that. It looks unfinished, like it’s missing the top back of the ship. There’s no clever engineering or complexity here, it’s just the legs and arms folded back and that’s exactly what it looks like. You could argue that the original G1 toy transformed more or less the same, and I would agree. But then I think the original toy had an all around more solid looking alt mode.


Brainstorm’s little pilot, let’s just call him Arcana has a similar problem to his partner’s alt mode. He looks good from the front, but turn him a little bit and you realize he’s just an upside down head on legs. I’d also argue here that the original Arcana toy looked better than this in robot mode. That’s not just nostalgia talking. I’m looking at a picture of him right now.




In robot mode, it’s easy to see that the designers were working from this mode and going backwards. It shows because that iffy alt mode was sacrificed to deliver this damn great looking robot. Oh, I’m not terribly fond of the way the ungainly shoulder wings jut off to the sides, but they can be angled back or swept back all the way to fix that. The cockpit in the chest and the great proportions make for a beautifully bad-ass design. The coloring is pretty much the same in either mode with a pleasing mix of light blue, white, and gray plastics. The deco is rounded out with a little silver and red paint for trim and yellow and orange paint on the face.


Plugging Arcana into the neck causes the cockpit seat to flip down to display his stats just like in the old days. And yes, this noggin fixes the only complaint I had about my Fansproject Smart Robin. Mouth plate!



Brainstorm’s twin nose cannons are best detached during transformation and they can be wielded as dual handguns or, much like Smart Robin, they can be stored on his back, which is pretty cool.





Despite a lot of bitching, I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with this figure. The alt mode definitely shows a lot less thought than I’m used to seeing Hasbro put into their changebots, especially for a Voyager Class figure, but with a robot mode this good looking, it’s hard for me to do anything but love this guy. I’m still going to look to Smart Robin as an all around better designed figure, but Brainstorm sure looks nice standing alongside some of the other Voyager Class Generations Autobots on my shelf.


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.


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.




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.



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.



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.


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.



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.




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.


Transformers Generations: Jetfire by Hasbro

Call me late to the party, but I finally got around to picking up the big daddy of Hasbro’s Thrilling Thirty: Leader Class Jetfire. I held off on buying this guy because I was planning on getting the Takara version, but with my toy expenses running as high as they have been lately that just never happened. Plus, I did a lot of rationalizing about how much I still dig the Classics Jetfire and maybe I didn’t really need another. Then all it took was for me to see Hasbro’s version on clearance for me to say, “Aw, slag it!” and buy him. Coincidently it just happens to be Transformers Thursday, so let’s take a look!


Ah, the Generations packaging, how I miss you! With that deliciously vintage grid pattern and familiar Transformers logo, I think this has been the pinnacle of Hasbro’s changeable robot packaging and I mourn the fact that they dumped it for the current crop. But hey, I don’t save these boxes anyway so what do I care? Jetfire comes boxed in his robot mode and all geared up with his guns and armor. The red chrome! It’s already burning my eyes!!!


It’s the back of the box that makes me cry foul on you, Hasbro. You’ll note the non-chromed armor and guns and the extra black paint apps on these pieces too. I know that all of these boxes point out that the actual product may vary from what’s pictured, but this is a pretty big leap between what’s pictured and what we got. It’s also what made me hold out for so long in favor of the more expensive Takara version until that pesky notion of fiscal responsibility got the better of me. Anyway, let’s start off with his alt mode, and to be more specific, his stripped down jet mode.



God, this is a great looking toy and a gorgeous recreation of the original G1 Jetfire’s jet mode. Little changes include a much pointier (and sexier) nose cone, and the addition of the tail wings. The cockpit is tinted blue and you get double stripes on the wings, where if I recall correctly the original only had the single stripes. Ah, but some things never change and the huge Autobot emblem is still crisply printed right on the nose cone in front of the cockpit. The primary wings can be angled back and there are three sets of landing gear for the jet to rest on. Of course, as with the original toy, you can load the jet mode up with the extra pieces to make a super armored mode…



Aaaand, here’s where Jetfire starts to stumble a little. The extra pieces consist of the booster assembly, which snaps onto the back of the aircraft, and two pairs of guns: One, which attaches under the wings, and the others that go over the rear landing gear. You can also attach his rifle under the nose cone, but I think that just looks silly. The pieces are all a lot simpler than what we got with the original toy, but I think they work really well, or at least they would if they weren’t all blinged out. Much has been made about Hasbro’s decision to use red chrome on these parts and I’m not going to beat a dead horse any further, other then to say I really don’t approve and I’m not sure why. Usually it’s just this kind of thing that makes the Takara version more desirable, but here it’s the other way around. I just don’t think it was appropriate and it makes an otherwise amazing looking jet mode look rather cheap.


Transforming Jetfire into his robot mode also results in both a stripped down robot and the armored up version. I have to say that I absolutely adore the basic robot mode. I honestly didn’t think this guy was going to replace my Classics Jetfire (other than for scale purposes) but I fell in love with this figure the first time I got him out of the box. He’s a really nice compromise between IDW and Sunbow versions of the character and he scales beautifully with most of my Classics and Generations figures. There are a few minor gripes, which I’ll get to in a second, but even so, this is the Jetfire figure that I’ve been waiting decades for.


From behind, it’s evident that there’s a lot of cheating going on with the transformation. I get it that it bugs a lot of people, but in this case I think the ends justify the means. I don’t think the cockpit hanging down the back looks bad at all. It’s a perfectly valid and stylish place to store that jet kibble and it’s quite unobtrusive. On the other hand just by being there and so visible, it advertises the way the engineering cheats. Again, if that’s what I need to sacrifice in order to get a more Sunbow accurate chest, I’m cool with that and I love the way they took the opportunity to put in all those sculpted components and an Autobot symbol inside the cockpit. I can’t see how they could have pulled that off with a legit transformation. This isn’t a case of Hasbro being lazy with the engineering, but rather just wanting to deliver an animated or comic style robot mode that never had to bend a knee to the harsh mistress of toy design.



The head sculpt is also fantastic. I dig the way the helmet frames his face and his noble expression just nails the character for me. Of course, you also get the option to put on the battle mask, which is included as a nod to the Macross head on the original toy. I’m not usually a fan of this sort of thing. I don’t think I ever displayed my Classics Jetfire with his battle mask, but I have to admit that this mask looks totally badass. It simply clips right over the face and it gives him a mouthplate, vibrant blue visor and even the antenna from the original toy.




Loading Jetfire up with his armor consists of mounting the booster package to his back, the smaller guns to his wrists and the larger ones to the sides of his legs. In theory it all looks good, and serves to cover up those unfinished looking areas on the outsides of his legs and arms. if only it weren’t for all that blasted red chrome. Honestly, I’ve usually preferred my Jetfire toys to be displayed without the extra bits, and that’s how I’ll be displaying this guy. Although, I have to admit, I do really like those arm guns.



The articulation here is pretty solid and thanks to some nice ratchets, he can hold his own weight, which admittedly isn’t all that much, and a lot of great poses. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels at the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and hinges in both the knees and the ankles. I think the Third Party stuff is really starting to spoil me because I really miss having ball joints or lateral rockers in the ankles, especially on a guy this big. There’s no torso articulation, but the neck is ball jointed.



In addition to all those extra bits, Jetfire also comes with a rifle and this is one of the bigger sticking points with me and this figure. I’ve always considered the gun that came with the original toy to be something iconic to the character and what we got here is just a fairly generic looking missile launcher, which also happens to be cast in the same awful red chrome. Blah!





Shitty red chrome or no, I absolutely love this figure, and I’m genuinely surprised at how I immediately accepted it as a replacement for my beloved Classics Jetfire. Plus, as a Leader Class figure, he really fits nicely into my Classics shelves. Well, he doesn’t actually fit on any of those shelves, but I mean he scales well with the likes of Classics Prime and all those Deluxes. That’s a claim that Classics Jetfire couldn’t really boast. To think that I almost passed this guy up is absolutely insane to me, although I can’t fault the outcome because I did manage to get him at the very appealing price of $35. I’d still easily recommend the Takara version over this one in a heartbeat, and if Transformers were all I collected, I probably would have gone for that one myself. It would have been a worthy investment, because everything else about this figure is so beautifully done. I’ll also be happily revisiting a remold of this figure next month when I look at Leader Class Thundercracker, a figure that I am very excited to get as he will likely wind up being my Masterpiece Scale version of that character.


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.


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!



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.



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.



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.


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.


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.



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.



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.


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!


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.




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.



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.



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.



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.


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.


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.




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.







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.


Transformers Generations: Roadbuster by Hasbro

It’s New Year’s Day and a lot of y’all probably have hangovers. Well, welcome to what I like to call… “every single morning, ever!” It just so happens that the first day of 2015 lands on a Thursday and, unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas, this time I’m not bumping Transformers Thursday. Instead, let’s look at something else I got for Christmas… Roadbuster! This is a momentous occasion for me, as I have been collecting Transformers since 1984 and yet this is my very first Roadbuster figure [No it isn’t, you idiot, you got the one from Dark of the Moon!]. In fairness, I can’t recall there being too many of them since the original. And that original figure, paired with Whirl, was one of them weird Transformers that didn’t seem to quite fit with the others so as a kid I stayed away from it. This is also a bit of a sad occasion too, as 2015 will see the end of the excellent 30th Anniversary “Thrilling Thirty” releases and move on to that whole Combiners Wars thing, a line that I will be really selective about buying.


Sigh… There it is, the 30th Anniversary packaging. Aside from that nonsensical angled corner on the bottom, I really liked this stuff. Granted, these Voyagers didn’t come with a free comic book like the Deluxe packs, but I’m still going to be sad to see this line go. The box features that familiar G1-style grid pattern and some rather nice character art along with a window to show off the figure and some of his goodies.


The back of the package shows off the toy in both modes and has a little bio blurb about how Roadbuster loves murdering Decepticons more than anything else, including eating chocolate ice cream. OK, I made up that last part, but I bet it’s true! Theoretically this box is collector friendly, but between the tray and the twisty ties and all the other nonsense, I haven’t gotten one of these Voyager Class figures out without shredding the packaging to all hell. That’s alright, though, because I gave up keeping Transformers boxes back when I opened one of my closets and got buried in an avalanche of empty Transformers Armada packages. That, I didn’t make up! Let’s start with Roadbuster’s alt mode.




The official name for Roadbuster’s alt mode is a Combat 4×4 and that’s a pretty apt discription. It’s also a pretty good homage to the original G1 toy. Stripped down to its basest form, Roadbuster looks like an armored off-road vehicle bristling with connection ports just begging to be customized with his inventory of weapons. Load him up with his ordinance and he looks like something that should be patroling the deserts in a Mad Max film. The green, brown, and orange paintjob is ugly as sin, which matches the design of the vehicle as well. But, what Roadbuster lacks in aesthetics he does make up for with playability and swapping around the weapons can be rather fun.



It’s also worth noting at this point that Roadbuster comes with a sticker sheet. They’re totally optional, but if you want to get a look approximating what’s shown on the box, you’ll have to have a little patience and slap some of these things onto the toy. Actually, better make that, carefully place them onto the toy. It is indeed an odd thing to get stickers with Transformers these days, although Metroplex came with them and as I understand it so does Whirl. Overall, I think the stickers are value added, although I was a bit choosey over which ones I put on and which I left off. Some just don’t fit in the proscribed area. I also got a good chuckle out of the “Do Not Paint” stickers and the irony about how few paint apps appear to be on the 2015 figures. It looks like someone at Hasbro is taking that idea rather literally. Anyway, the point here is that even if you aren’t into stickers, you might want to consider applying at least a few of these, because he looks rather barren without them.



Transforming Roadbuster is relatively simple and satisfying, but it’s here where I really felt that the odd quality of this figure starts to show itself. It feels a little cheap and hollow and a lot of the moving parts, thankfully the ones that aren’t the robot’s joints, feel rather loose and floppy. It’s hard to explain but this just doesn’t feel like a Generations figure to me. In fact, it kind of feels like a knock off. Once in robot mode things are on the upturn. I absolutely love Roadbuster’s robot design. It takes everything about the original G1 design and makes it modern and better proportioned and actually articulated. Like his alt mode, he’s ugly and raw and clearly built for one thing… battle. Even when he’s just standing on the shelf at attention, this guy looks still looks like badass personified.



Yeah, look at that mug. It’s cold and completely void of emotion. Take a good look, Decepticons, it’s the last thing you’re going to see before he rips your energon pump from your chest and drinks from it. Yeah, I realize he doesn’t have a mouth, but it still sounded cool. He has a clear plate on the back of his noggin for light piping, but it seems like they painted over the visor, because I can’t really get any light out of it.



Roadbuster features some solid articulation and thankfully lots of ratchet joints to keep his general floppiness from effecting the important joints. The shoulders have swivel hinges, the elbow had double hinges and there are swivels in the biceps. The legs have universal movement in the hips, double hinges in the knees and hinges in the ankles. The ankles also feature rockers as a side effect of the transformation and the neck is on a ball joint. My one complaint here is that the lateral movement in the hips is not ratcheting and my Roadbuster has a habit of doing the splits if you make his stance too wide.



As with his vehicle mode, you can go crazy customizing the weapons on Roadbuster’s robot mode. He has pegs on the tops of his shoulders, sides of the shoulders and he can hold them in his hands. It all makes for some good fun… except for that little rocket pack piece. That piece can go to hell, as it doesn’t seem to want to fit anywhere without excessive force. Best I could do was get it into one of his shoulders.



I seem to recall a lot of fans losing it when this guy was announced and when you add that to the fact that Fansproject’s version before this sold quite briskly and for a lot of money, I come to the conclusion that this is a character that is really popular with the fans. I’ve already indicated, however, I’m not a huge Roadbuster fan, but I’ve got nothing against him, nor do I have a lot against this figure. Like the original G1 toy, it’s rather odd, it feels different, and the stickers and customizable weapons make him a bit of an anomaly. On the other hand, he looks great and he is rather fun to play around with, so I will happily find him a place on my Wreckers shelf. I’ll also add that he was a great gift, because I probably would have never bought him myself and I would have been missing out on a rather cool figure like I probably did with the original toy back when I was a kid.



Transformers Generations: Dreadwing (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

Yes, it is indeed Transformers Thursday again and today I’m checking out the last figure I have from the Skids/Goldfire/Waspinator/Dreadwing wave. Dreadwing is a repaint of Stealth Bomber Megatron from what I believe was the last wave of comic packs. It’s a figure that I thought was pretty neat, but I was never sold on it as being Megatron. Nope, not even after having read the comic. If you want to start out in the proper context you can find that review HERE. And, holy shit, has it really been over a year since that figure came out??? Where does the time go? Anyway, I’m hoping that a new name, a fresh coat of paint, and some tweaks to the mold might make this release go down easier.


As always the concept behind these IDW Comic Pack’s is a thing of beauty. The figure comes packaged in his robot mode with a G1 inspired card and a reprint comic book serving as the character art. I can sum up this whole idea in one word: Yum! Besides being based off the IDW portrayal of the character, Dreadwing is also an homage to the Generation 2 toy, a tactical bomber bundled with a smaller jet named Smokescreen. I never did own that G2 toy, but at one point I owned the sexy black Japanese Beast Wars repaint of BB with Starscream, and I still own the Universe repaint of Dreadwing and Smokejumper, which is a far less interesting deco, but still a wonderful set of toys. Anyway, let’s kick things off with Dreadwing’s alt mode.




This stealth bomber alt mode looked good great before and still looks great here. If it’s your first time with the mold, you may find that getting all the panels to line up properly can be a bit of a chore as some of the tabs are prone to popping out unless you have everything positioned absolutely perfectly. Yes, there are a lot of seams running through the aircraft’s hull, but I find that it works well as panel lining and isn’t as terribly unsightly as it would be if it were on a car alt mode. There’s a tiny flip down landing gear on the front, but the aircraft really doesn’t need it to stand up properly.



While I think the black deco on the Megatron looked really good and certainly more appropriate, I can’t help but favor the purple and silver of this G2-inspired deco. It’s actually not as garish as some of the G2 decos, for that was a time when I’m convinced Hasbro design teams were getting high by huffing the fumes of neon highlighter markers. The deco is further enhanced by the bright red paint on the windows and the awesome G2-style Decepticon insignia neatly printed on either side of the cockpit area. Even the tips of the wings, where the translucent red plastic shows through the cracks, looks cool to me. It’s like this guy is pulsating with Energon.



I find transforming this mold to be a fidgety affair, thanks mostly to the flipping involved with the torso hings, but he’s much easier going into robot mode than the other way around. Parts-former alert! You do have to detach his wing tips, as they become the two halves of his arm cannon. His robot mode features a wide upper body with really broad shoulders and not much of a waist. Nonetheless, I think he looks great as long as he’s posed with a wide stance. I really dig the jet intakes on his shoulders and the way the cockpit splits to form his torso. Hasbro also graced this guy with a brand new head sculpt that is a perfect love letter to the original G2 toy. The high gloss paint on his new noggin looks great, I only wish that plate behind his head didn’t inhibit the light piping for his red visor. I did manage to get it to pop in few photos, but it wasn’t as easy as it could have been. Oh well, it’s still a fabulous portrait.


In robot mode, Dreadwing’s deco pays an even stronger homage to the G2 toy’s coloring. You get the same purple, silver, and red only now with an extra dose of mint blue-green in the limbs. The crazy decos of the 90’s are usually love it or hate it affairs. Personally, I have a lot of fondness for the Transformers decos, but not so much when they applied this sort of thing to the GI Joe line. Either way, I think this figure’s colors are gorgeous.


Dreadwing features some great articulation. The shoulders are ball jointed, the elbows are hinged, and he has swivels in the biceps. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. He also has a ball joint in the neck. The only thing I find conspicuously absent is a swivel at the waist. I should also note that the joints on my figure are unusually tight, which makes for a pleasant surprise.




I’m still on the fence over this mold’s arm cannon. Sometimes I dig it a lot and sometimes I think it looks like a forced use of kibble and takes away from the symmetry of the figure. I will say that I like it better on this figure because it isn’t trying to be a misguided homage to Megatron’s fusion cannon. In the end, I wish there was a way you could peg the two halves on his back just to get it out of the way when not using it as a cannon. Nonetheless, I will likely end up displaying the figure with the arm cannon attached.



If I were buying these IDW Comic Packs individually, instead of as entire waves, I certainly would have been happy to pass on the Megatron in favor of Dreadwing. I think it’s a great mold and while I think both figures look good, I’m much happier seeing this figure characterized as Dreadwing rather than Megatron. But hey, that’s just me. I don’t think you can really go wrong picking up either version and I’m certainly not sorry about having the Megatron in my collection.



And that wraps up what has been a pretty solid wave of Deluxes with two great original figures (Waspinator and Skids), a damn fine repaint (Dreadwing) and a mediocre repaint (Goldfire) that at least improved on the original release. On a side note, I am once again fresh out of new Transformers and you know what that means? Yup, next week I’ll be digging my sweaty mitts into a storage tote and feeling around for an older figure to review. Actually, it might not be random this time, as I’m thinking of sending another box of Transformers to my nephew so I may dig out some figures that I’m read to let go and give them a proper send off on FFZ before I pack them up. But fear not, I should have the current wave of IDW Deluxes in a couple of weeks, along with MP-14 Red Alert, so the interlude shouldn’t last too long.



Transformers Generations: Waspinator (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday again and I’m still chipping away at my last wave of IDW Comic Packs. There were two figures in this wave that I was really excited to get: The first was Skids and the second was good old Waspinator here. I’m still not a steady reader of IDW’s Robots in Disguise comic, but at some point I will get to reading my stack of RiD TPBs. I promise! I haven’t been terribly impressed with the half dozen or so issues that I have read, but then it’s kind of been eclipsed by the brilliance of More Than Meets The Eye. One thing I will applaud about the comic is IDW’s willingness to bring characters from other continuities into the fold. Sure, we got a straight up Beast Wars version of Rhinox in Generations, but he was a Voyager and as far as Deluxes go, right now it seems that Hasbro is predicating the releases in this size assortment as part of the comic packs, at least where the Generations toys are concerned.


And there’s nothing wrong with that because as I’m so fond of pointing out, I think any kind of action figure comic pack is just amazing. Ok, so yeah it’s a little odd to see Waspinator on a G1-inspired cardback, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Beast Wars figures in the Classics-Universe-Generations lines. Anyway, I’ve gushed on and on about my infatuation with the presentation of the Generations Comic Pack long enough in the past and so let’s just move on to the figure. I’m going to buck the trend here and I’m actually going to start with Waspinator’s robot mode.



So, perfection isn’t a word I throw around a lot when talking about action figures, and I’m going to come just short of doing it here today. But damn, if this Waspinator figure doesn’t come close. There are minor nits to pick, the exposed hollow portion of the wasp butt between the legs is a little unsightly, but when you consider what a complex and difficult character design this is to reproduce at a Deluxe Class level, I’m willing to overlook whatever minor blemishes there may be. I love the way the wasp head splits to form the chest and even the bug leg kibble feels like it belongs there rather then getting in the way. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how I would sit down and design a transforming figure like this one, and that makes it all the more impressive to me. So, how could I possibly improve on this figure? Give him a sound chip that says, “Wazzzpinator has planzzzzz.”



The head sculpt is poetry in plastic. It has a remarkable amount of depth to it, particularly around the mandibles. I love the white plastic light piping in the eyes. I don’t recall seeing white plastic light piping on any previous Transformers, but it sure looks great here. Alas, there is a little chipping to the yellow paint on my Waspy’s noggin, but I don’t think it’s going to bother me enough to make me try for a better one.


If I have one significant gripe, it comes in the articulation, but not in the individual points. No, my only real issue is with how loose the joints are on this guy, particularly in the hips. If I put him in too wide of a stance, he’s likely to buckle and do the splits. It’s nothing that a little nail polish won’t fix, but still worth pointing out. As to the rest of the articulation, Waspinator features ball joints a plenty which not only gives him great articulation, but also makes for a nice nod back to the Beast Wars figures where ball joints started appearing as the order of the day.




Waspinator comes with one accessory and that’s his little handgun that transforms from his wasp stinger. The barrel is made of the same milky translucent plastic that they used for the light piping in his eyes. It looks cool enough and he can hold it well in either hand. You can also store it by pegging it into his wasp butt.



With how good Waspinator’s robot mode is I was expecting the beast mode to be a terrible afterthought. I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it’s apparent that the designers went for the robot mode first and the wasp second, but it’s still a remarkably solid alt mode. Not only can he stand perfectly on his insect legs, supporting the full weight of his body, but the engineering includes a plethora of tabs and slots and pegs to secure this mode together quite nicely. Everything has an obvious and intentional place to go and it’s all intuitive enough that I didn’t even have to look at the instructions once. And you’ve just got to love the way his gun becomes his stinger.


Yes, he’s rather blocky under the wasp head, yes you can see through parts of him from the side, and yes, you can see his robot arms and hands pretty clearly, but I’m willing to forgive all of that for the sake of having such a great robot mode.


I didn’t talk a lot about the deco in robot mode, but it remains pretty much the same in both modes, so let’s discuss it here. You get the same two tones of green, the beautiful and bright yellow striped butt, and touches of brown for the legs, antenna, and other bits. I also really dig the paint they used for his huge compound eyes. Oh yeah, you get a perfect little Predacon insignia stamped on his back. The translucent wings include sculpted veins and look pretty good and by working the button on his back you can make them flap. I didn’t really need that gimmick in the toy, but then it really doesn’t hurt anything either. The wings are still connected with ball joints so you can angle them in a variety of ways.




Waspinator was easily one of my favorite characters in the Beast Wars series because he always made me laugh, and that shouldn’t be discounted. Comic relief characters are hard to do properly, particularly in a series aimed at kids. Just ask Jar Jar Binks! But Waspinator worked. He was endearing and he was the one Predacon I always felt bad for even though he was a bad guy. He was just trying to get by and could never get a break. It’s no surprise I had high hopes for this figure to turn out well and I’m so pleased that Hasbro did such a great job on him. Primus knows that Hasbro has put out some amazing figures this year in the Generations line, but Waspinator is definitely vying for the top spot as one of my favorite Deluxes this year. How about that? Never in a million years did I think I’d be raving about a Generations figure of Waspinator.


Transformers Generations: Goldfire (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday again and after a Masterpiece inspired detour last week, I’m back to checking out the last wave of Generations figures I picked up. I started with Skids, the one I wanted the most out of this wave and now I’ll check out the one that I had to choke down to get him… It’s Goldfire. He’s a repaint of the IDW Comic Pack Bumblebee and despite his copyright-challenged new name, in a roundabout way, he is intended to be an homage to Goldbug.


And there’s that great packaging fortified with 100% comic book goodness. I’ve opted not to read this one all the way through, as I’m pretty sure it’s a reprint of an issue of Robots in Disguise, and I’ve only read the first six issues of that book. I’m not in a rush to get back to it, but in case I do eventually, I didn’t want any spoilers. I do know that this is the issue where a wrecked Bumblebee gets an overhaul into Goldfire, although he’s not actually named in this issue so I’m not sure if he still goes by Bumblebee, Goldfire, or Goldbug. Either way let’s check out the figure and we’ll start with the alt mode…



Golfire’s car mode is a muscle car that is quite clearly inspired by the Chevy Camero that Bumblebee adopted in the Bay movies. I love the styling on this car, as it borrows from vintage and modern designs and the contours just looks amazing. There’s something about the way the hood swells really does it for me and I also dig the split spoiler in the back. One issue I still have with this mold is the faked out chest for the robot mode leaves zero clearance underneath so the car doesn’t roll as well as it should.



There aren’t a ton of paint apps, but the gold plastic looks so much better to me than the crappy yellow used on this mold the last time around. You get some black striping, silver and black on the front, and some black and red on the tail end. That’s it. The windows are clear tinted blue plastic, and Hasbro opted to not paint the rear window this time, which I think actually looks better, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense. On the downside, the door pieces are cast in the same clear plastic as the windows and painted over and the gold paint on was already showing a few chips and scratches inside the package.



Goldfire comes with repaints of the same two weapons that came with Bumblebee and you can still peg these onto the sides of the car to weaponize him in his alt mode.



I was pretty indecisive over this mold’s robot mode when I looked at the original Bumblebee release. I think I came down in favor of it last time, but it hasn’t exactly been growing on me a lot. I actually have no problem at all with most of the figure, but it’s those shoulders that drive me nuts. The designers were definitely inspired by Bayformer Bumblebee what with the doors becoming wings and I think it looks OK right up until I start moving his arms. I just don’t like that the whole assembly is tied to the arm movement. If those pieces locked into place as shoulder armor and the shoulder joint was located inside and independent, I would have been totally on board with this guy.


The only new sculpting on this guy is found in the head. Goldfire sports a faceplate and his eyes are painted rather than light piped. It’s a decent enough sculpt that matches the comic art quite well, and it’s very nicely painted.


I’ve already talked about how the deco is much improved and obviously that carries over to the robot mode. Here you get the same gold plastic with black paint apps as in vehicle mode, but you also get some additional blue showing up int he feet, legs and biceps. It’s an odd color mix for the gold, but somehow it works. I also really dig the way the blue translucent plastic on the door wings looks with some light coming through it.



Goldfire’s two weapons can be held in both hands to be wielded akimbo, or you can put them together to make one big cannon. The Bumblebee figure was able to have the two halves peg into his forearms, but the pegs are too loose on this one and they keep falling out.






So, I still find myself waffling on this mold. The car mode looks great and the deco is much improved, but the robot mode still gives me pause. It looks fantastic standing on the shelf, but it loses some favor with me when I pick it up and play with it. The best thing I can say is that after having been forced to buy it to get the other figures in this wave at a good price, I’m not as displeased with the figure as I thought I would be. The new deco alone makes it an improvement over the original Bumblebee release, but that’s still not a ringing endorsement of this guy. Next Thursday, I’ll check out the other repaint in this wave… Dreadwing!


Transformers Generations: Autobot Skids (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday and I worked late into the night to spare you all another Armada figure! Yes, I had some new newish figures arrive in the mail yesterday afternoon and I jumped on the opportunity to get one of these guys ready to go for today’s feature. Skids is from a couple waves ago, but he’s been eluding me for a long while now and I’ve been reluctant to pay scalper prices for him because of many reports that he isn’t all that exceptional. But he’s Skids and I needed him for my Classics/Generations shelf, so I was willing to take a chance. Fortunately an online retailer surprised me and put this wave back up for order a couple weeks back and I was able to pick him up with the rest of the assortment.


Oh god, how I love these comic packs! The presentation is just so superb… from the old school Transformers logo and grid pattern on the card to the way it cleverly uses an actual comic book for the packaging art. Hasbro has used this style with great success for everything from Marvel to GI Joe and Star Wars. I wish they’d bring all of it back because I can’t get enough of it. Also, I gotta say for a figure that I’ve heard a lot of negative things about, he sure looks fine to me in the package. Let me bust this guy open and check him out. But first, I’m going to light up a Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Cigarillo and enjoy the comic book. Be back in a few.


And BACK! Yeah, this is More Than Meets The Eye #22, so I’ve already read it. In fact, I believe this is the last issue in Volume 5 of the TPB with Volume 6 not due out for a couple of more months. It’s still a great read, but that goes without saying as I’m on record that MTMTE is not only my favorite piece of Transformers fiction, but one of the best comics I’ve ever read. For those still not blessed with the experience, this issue is a nice way to dip your toe in and get the flavor as it showcases some of the great humor, dialogue and characterization. Although I’m not really sure why they chose it as Skids’ comic because he’s not at all central to the issue. Anywho… let’s start off with Skids’ alt mode.



Gone are the old days of being a mini-van! Skids’ auto mode is a cute and compact blue sports car and not a bad one at that. The first thing that strikes me about him is the deco and that’s worth pointing out because the color and paintwork on Hasbro’s Deluxes these days hasn’t always been the best. Skids bucks that trend with a vibrant blue plastic as the base coloring of the figure and some bright red and white paint to jazz things up. The windows may appear to be painted black, but they’re actually just a really dark tinted clear plastic. The front grill is picked out with some additional gray paint and some gold hits as well and there’s a tiny Autobot emblem stamped right where the hood ornament might go. This car is defintely pleasing to the eye. Just compare Skids’ auto mode to the IDW version of Bumblebee and look at the difference in overall quality and appearance.


Skids does have his share of seams from the transformation, but nothing too bad. It was a little tough for me to close all the gaps and tighten it all up when going into car mode on the first go around. The transformation here is very clever and feels very fresh, but it’s one of those designs that requires you to lock everything up at the end and while there’s certainly a tab for everything to hold it in place, making it happen just right requires precision transformation skills. On the other hand, going to robot mode is pretty intuitive.



There are sockets located just in front of each of Skids’ rear wheels that allow you to peg in his extra weapons. I always enjoy this option. Any time that I can’t store the weapons under the car, I like to have the ability to weaponize the hell out of it. Skids actually looks pretty decent with his guns hanging off his sides. So far so good, we’ve already had a peek at his robot mode, let’s check it out for reals!



So my initial reaction is one of pure love. Skids is a wonderfully intricate design and a fantastic reproduction of his comic character art. The way he wears the front of his car mode instantly reminds me of IDW Trailcutter and Hoist, which ain’t a bad thing at all. But there’s so much else going on with him. To be more specific, he’s positively bristling with weapons! He’s got rocket packs in his shoulders, two double barreled cannon angling up on either side of his head and two more sets of double barreled guns on his arms that can be slung below his fists or worn in a split fashion. So cool!


And check out that portrait! It’s a great likeness to his IDW counterpart. The odd thing here is that he’s decked out on the back of his noggin for light piping, but his eyes appear to be painted over. And yet they have an eerie piercing quality about them. It’s pretty nice work.



As solid as the deco is in car mode, it’s in robot mode that it really shines. Skids carries over all of that brilliant blue plastic and shows off some more of that striking red paint. I’m extremely impressed with the paint apps that went into each of his individual rocket hatches. This stuff may sound like nothing to crow about, but with how stingy Hasbro has been with paint lately, I really want to call it out when it looks this good.


Ok, so with all that having been said, I can certainly see some issues. First and foremost his shoulder articulation is at odds with all his car kibble. His shoulders bump up against the roof and door parts on his back. I can still get a full rotation out of the shoulders by shifting things around, but there’s almost no lateral shoulder articulation. The articulation is there, but the sculpt won’t allow it. He is an amnesiac. I suppose I could just pretend he forgot how his shoulders work.


Two other points worth mentioning occur down south in his legs. First off, those plates that jut off the backs of his lower legs are rather unsightly when viewed from the side. Also, Skids is in dire need of a set of heel spurs. He doesn’t look like he’s back heavy, and yet he’s constantly falling backward. I really dig the way his wheels fold down to form his feet, because you don’t see that a lot, but it’s clear that his footsies aren’t up to the task of holding him vertical. I mention these two things together because if Hasbro had been able to engineer a swivel into those lower leg parts they could have angled downward and solved both problems. I know, it’s easy to say but something like that isn’t simple or cheap to execute. I’m imagine it wouldn’t cost out for a Deluxe. It looks as if they already maxed the budget on this guy with sculpt and paint.


The last thing to talk about is Skids guns, which combine together to form a big rifle. I love the design on these things, especially the pistol, which looks like it has a drum magazine. They look great when combined and they have multiple pegs so you can attach them to any like sized port. I think the pistol works well for my Generations Swerve, at least until I get around to buying that third-party “My First Blaster” for him.



And so, I was tempering myself for disappointment, but in the end, I’m really not seeing why this guy gets such a bad rap by some. Granted, I’ve been told that I’m really forgiving when it comes to my assessment of Hasbro’s Deluxe Transformers and I would tend to agree with that criticism. Anyone who is an articulation whore, and there’s nothing wrong with that, will certainly be frustrated by Skids’ arms, but I really dig the engineering of his transformation and looking at him up on my shelf, I think he’s one of the better looking Deluxes in my Classics/Generations lineup. At one point, I almost laid down $25 for him and in retrospect I probably would have been OK with that. Of course, it was better to get him for $15 as part of the wave assortment.

Next Thursday I’m going to detour to check out Masterpiece Wheeljack and after that I’ll come back to this Generations wave and start looking at the rest of them.