Transformers Hunt for the Decepticons: Highbrow by Hasbro

Some of you might remember, a couple of reviews back, that I commented on how I rarely ever have a problem finding Transformers at retail. So long as I’m patient enough, they all turn up eventually. The one recent exception to that rule was Highbrow, and low and behold, I finally found him on the shelf while making a grocery run to Walmart the other day.

At first glance, this looks like a normal Hunt for the Decepticon Voyager Class box. Highbrow comes in his robot mode and the window is scattered with stickers for The Hub, the HFTD website, and anything else Hasbro is schilling this week. They did, however, mix it up a bit on the packaging here. Instead of having all the goodies on the back panel, the bio blurb and tech specks is located on one of the side panels, leaving just the photos of the toy on the back. It’s odd and I don’t recall ever seeing them do this before. Was it like this on Seaspray? I just don’t remember. Anyway… moving on.

Highbrow’s alt mode is basically a fighter plane right out of Capcom’s Strikers 1945 game. Seriously, as far as I’m concerned this figure is like some kind of impossibly awesome unofficial Transformers-Capcom crossover, which makes me wish for all kinds of similar arcade shooter crossovers. Transformers R-Type, anyone? The aircraft is slightly reminiscent of a P-47, but with a decidedly retro sci-fi styling to it. The sculpt is fantastic, with tons of sculpted rivets and panel lines and the green, grey and blue deco is pretty much perfect. Highbrow’s machine guns are detachable and if you press the engines behind each of the props, the blades will spin. Suffice it to say, I love this alt mode. It’s easily one of my favorites from the entire year.


Highbrow has an interesting transformation. It’s not overly complicated, but it is interesting to see how the toy incorporates the tailbooms and wings into his robot mode. The results, however, are a bit of a mixed bag. For starters, Highbrow’s arms are just strange. The forearms are short, wonky and kibbletastic. I appreciate the props on his arms, as they can double as a weapon, but these are not good arms. Remember X-Brawn from Robots in Disguise with the front of the car hanging off his arm? Ok, this isn’t that bad, but it’s the first thing I think of when I look at Highbrow’s arms. He’s also got some serious child-bearing hips going on, that look completely out of place under his waist.

That’s not to say he’s all bad in bot form. I like the way his chest incorporates the folding landing gear and the missile racks on his hips is very cool and reminiscent of Energon Bulkhead/Quickstrike. You can also holster his guns on his hips by pegging them in, which is always a nice touch. The head sculpt is really cool and reminscent of a vintage aviator’s hood with goggles and the light piping in his eyes works really well. I do think the coloring on the figure works better in his alt mode, as his robot mode is mostly gray and powder blue, which isn’t all that exciting.

I know I picked on Highbrow quite a bit, but he’s not at all a bad Transformer. I think I was just really excited about finding him and my expectations were probably set a little too high. His alt mode is stellar, and his robot mode is still solid, even with the noted flaws. I can still recommend him wholeheartedly. And while Highbrow isn’t really an authentic WWII design, I hope he sells well and Hasbro decides to create some more Transformers with vintage-style alt modes. It really is a pretty vast and untapped area with loads of potential.

Transformers: Legends Class Sandstorm by Hasbro

So, I don’t buy many of these Legends figures, but I stumbled upon Sandstorm on the pegs this weekend and I learned my lesson last time about not picking up the G1-styled Legends as soon as I see them. Which is, coincidently, why I don’t have this mold from when it was originally released as Beachcomber. But I absolutely love the idea of Hasbro releasing the vintage G1 Minibots as reimagined Legendsfigures and if they did this more often, I’d probably buy them all. I don’t need to be spending five bucks for a smaller version of a figure I just payed ten bucks to have as a Deluxe, but give me original figures in this class and I’m all over them. I also just think that the Legends size fits better with the simpler G1 stylings.

Sandstorm comes on a simple Hunt for the Decepticons style card and a bubble cluttered with Hasbro’s annoying stickered advertising for The Hub and their website. I honestly don’t remember if there was a bio on the back of the package, as I tore it open and threw it out pretty quick and I’m pretty sure it’s at the bottom of the can with coffee grinds all over it. Like all these new fangled Legends Class figures nowadays, Sandstorm comes packaged in his robot mode. he package lists him as a Level 1 conversion, which is Very Easy.

As a repaint of Beachcomber, Sandstorm is still a nice little dune buggy. His buggy mode is certainly simple, but it works well for this size and it even has a little removable gun and a spare tire too. Not a lot else to say here, except I think it was pretty clever for Hasbro to repaint this guy as Sandstorm. I never would have thought of it in a million years, and yet seeing the toy in person it seems to make perfect sense. Even though he obviously isn’t a Triplechanger, the homage is a solid one.

Obviously, Sandstorm’s transformation is pretty simple, although it does have a snazzy little torso-slide-head-reveal that is very impressive on a toy this small. Admittedly, in robot form the homage to Sandstorm falls apart, as Beachcomber and Sandstorm looked nothing alike and this figure clearly just looks like a beige Beachcomber. Even still, this is a great little figure, and I’m glad to see Hasbro getting a second use out of the mold. Especially considering I wouldn’t have owned it otherwise. I think it would have been cool if his gun could have been held in his hand, but I think that might be expecting too much from this sized toy.

The articulation consists of arms that rotate at the shoulders and have some lateral movement, and legs that rotate at the hips and bend at the knees as part of the transformation. It’s certainly decent enough poseability for a toy this size.

Sandstorm was a total surprise to me. In this age of the Interwebs, I’m seldom aware of all the Transformers that are coming down the pipe, and by the time they get into my hands, I usually know everything about them. Still, I had no idea that Hasbro was planning this Legendsrepaint, and every now and then surprises like this are really nice.

Transformers Helicopter Week Begins: The Hunt for the Decepticons: Tomahawk by Hasbro

Yes, folks, not only am I taking a look at the new(ish) HftD Deluxe figure, Tomahawk, but I’m using the occasion to kick off helicopter week. Let’s face it, helicopters are cool, and when they turn into gi-normous robots, well, that’s just like smothering them with an extra heaping of awesome sauce. So all week, I’ll be featuring Transformers that get their kicks beating their rotors and spewing death from above. -FF

Lately, I’ve been buying up a hell of a lot of Animated and Generations figures, but today I’m going to throw a bit of loving behind The Hunt for the Decepticons line with the new Autobot attack helicopter, Tomahawk. I’m a big helicopter buff, so Transformers that turn into helicopters usually get extra points from me, but they still need to work well in their robot forms, which I don’t think is as easy to do as a car or a jet or a tank. So I always have a lot of appreciation for the figures that can get it right.

Yep, we’ve seen this packaging before. It’s not my favorite deco, but it’s cool. I’m used to it now. But I think Hasbro can cram a few more stickers on the bubble schilling their websites. I mean, I can still see the figure.

I loooove Tomahawk’s attack chopper mode. Between the black coloring and the heavy armaments, he looks almost too vicious to be an Autobot, which makes me wonder whether we’ll see Tomahawk repainted as a ‘Con one of these days. So, how about them armaments? He’s got two firing rocket launchers mounted on his wing, along with two clusters of bombs and miniguns mounted on the tips. There’s also a small sensor package under the cockpit that pivots from side to side. Yeah, I usually imagine Autobot choppers as rescue helicopters, but this guy is out to seriously slag some Decepticons. The cockpit screen is tinted yellow, and he’s got some gold and gray in the mix, along with silver Autobot emblems on his wings. Tomahawk holds together really well and features folding landing gear and spinning rotor blades. This is one seriously awesome helicopter mode with a heck of a lot of detail for a Deluxe Class toy.

Tomahawk’s chopper mode is so good, naturally his robot mode has got to suck big time, right? Not this time. Tomahawk has a nice, clean humanoid robot form with the cockpit forming his chest, similar to the design often used with jet Transformers, and the intakes forming his shoulders. The blades and wings position nicely on his back with his miniguns and bombs facing forward for added firepower. You actually have some leeway with how you want to position these wings. His missile launchers are removed from the wings and attached to hardpoints on his arms, using the same type of clips seen on Generations Darkmount. Overall, he still looks very much like a Decepticon in robot form, although his head sculpt definitely says Autobot to me. It’s just rather reminsicent of a flight helmet with a visor. Aesthetically, Tomahawk is one of those figures that feels like a hybrid between the Bayformers and the Generations, but why try to pigeon hole the guy when he looks so awesome!

The articulation on thsi figure is fantastic. Tomahawk has a ball jointed neck. His arms feature ball joints in the shoulders and hinges with swivels in the elbows. His legs are ball jointed in the hips and feature two sets of hinged knees, giving him those bird-like legs that appear in many of the Bayformer toy designs. He stands very well on his own and you can pose him in a lot of cool ways.

For me, the HftD figures have been the least interesting Transformers toys on the pegs right now, but Tomahawk has definitely made me sit up and take a second look at this line. He’s an outstanding figure in just about every way and he’s loads of fun to play with. Don’t hesitate to pick him up when you find him, and you won’t be disappointed.

Transformers Hunt for the Decepticons: Hailstorm by Hasbro

The newer assortment of Deluxe Transformers are starting to hit the stores near me and a few days ago on my weekly grocery run to Wally World, I picked up Hailstorm. He’s one of the few figures in the Hunt for the Decepticons line that I was really looking forward to, probably because he’s one of the few that isn’t just a repaint/rehash of a Revenge of the Fallen figure. He was kind of a surprise to me, as I had only first seen the early release shots of him about a month ago, but as soon as I saw him I was eager to pick him up.

The packaging? Blah. It’s a simple card with the figure mounted in its alt form. I don’t have much else to say that hasn’t been said before. It’s serviceable and it has a short blurb about the character on the back. Nothing more, nothing less. Good thing, too, since my card is all bent to hell. Usually this only happens when I order from Walmart online, but this mangled mess came right off the peg. They had better ones, but I decided to leave those in case a mint-on-card collector needed one. Yeah, I’m cool like that.
Hailstorm’s alt mode is a missile carrier, which is perfect for a Decepticon. He’s green with a spattering of white and black camo on the sides. It’s pleasantly conventional and adds a nice touch of realism to the deco. The sculpt is certainly solid for a Deluxe figure, with great detail on the molded treads and the cab. The missile launcher can raise and lower and turn, and all eight of the missiles are removable. On the downside, Hailstorm’s alt mode would have benefited from some more pegs to hold his front end together better. You really need to get everything stowed away perfectly for his alt mode to work, and even then the front feels a bit soft if you handle it. As mentioned, the treads are sculpted, but he does have four concealed wheels and he can roll along fine.
In robot form, Hailstorm retains the same basic color scheme as his missile carrier mode, with only some gray added. I like it because the military deco still suits him in bot form. He’s a stocky robot with over-developed biceps and really short, stubby forearms, but I love his overall design. It falls somewhere between the Bayformer look and the more boxy Classics/Generations style. He’s got a mean looking head sculpt, and his missile launchers peg nicely into position over his shoulders to give him the same amount of firepower in either mode.
Hailstorm has solid articulation, with balljoints in the neck, shoulders and hips. His elbows have are double jointed with additional balljoints at the forearm, and his knees and ankles are hinged. At first, I thought his claws were articulated too, but there not. That’s probably too much to ask from a deluxe.
This figure is definitely a big hit for me and I think that even the Bayformer-haters out there may want to give him a look. I think he’s a great example of compromise between the opposing schools of Transformer design. In fact, with a different head sculpt, he probably could have been released in the Generations line and no one would have really known the difference. Eh, then again looking at those arms… maybe not.  Either way, he’s an excellent addition to any Decepticon army. Check him out if you get the chance.

Transformers The Hunt for The Decepticons: Hubcap by Hasbro

I don’t know how many Hunt for the Decepticon figures I’m going to actually pick up. I’m not keen on too many of the repaints (except maybe Jetblade), and I have no real interest in buying Deluxe versions of Ironhide and Ratchet when I already own the Voyager versions. There are, however, a number of interesting looking Scout Class figures in this lineup that I will no doubt buy, and the first is this little Autobot named Hubcap.

Hubcap comes on a simple card and mounted in his robot form. The packaging is serviceable, but very reminiscent of the Egyptian theme used for the Revenge of the Fallen toys, just colored more orange than red. As the packaging suggests, these figures are designed to fit in the “Bayformer” aesthetic (although as we saw a few posts back, Sea Spray is an exception to that rule). As usual, there’s a small bio blurb on the back of the package along with the character’s stats.

Hubcap’s alt mode is a vintage automobile. Its a pretty simple car without a lot of sculpting detail or paint apps. The body is somewhere between orange and red, the windows are painted black, and there’s gray exhaust pipes, bumpers and radiator grill. He’s also got a tiny little Autobot emblem right about where his hood ornament would be. Like i said, it’s simple, but still very appealing. It holds together well, although the seaming down the trunk is a little bit sloppy, and it rolls along great. I suppose Hasbro could have gotten a little more creative with the color scheme, but I’m sure they’re just saving that for an inevitable repaint.

Transforming Hubcap to and from his robot form is a breeze. He actually has one of the most simplest conversions I’ve seen in the movie based lineup. In fact it’s almost reminiscent of the simpler G1 styles. Nonetheless, Hubcap has a really great robot mode. He pretty much wears his car parts as armor and the robot underneath is two-tone gray. His head sculpt leaves a lot to be desired, but for a Scout, I guess it isn’t too bad.

Hubcap sports excellent articulation. He has ball joints in the neck, elbows and hips. He has universal joints in the shoulders and hinged knees and ankles.

For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed most of the Scout Class figures that came out of the movie lines, but Hubcap here has a special place in my heart. He has an unabashed G1 simplicity to him and yet once transformed he makes for a great action figure, and there’s something in me that loves a Transformer based on a vintage car. Hasbro really should do more of these. Either way, I really recommend picking up Hubcap. Even if you have been shying away from the movie based “Bayformers,” this cool little guy might be worth a look for you.

Transformers The Hunt For The Decepticons: Sea Spray by Hasbro

The new Transformers are showing up all over the place here. Its taking all my resolve to resist picking up all the new stuff in one shot, but I’m trying to pace myself and just grab a couple new figures each time I hit the toy aisles. On my last trip to Walmart for groceries, I didn’t intend to pick up any new toys, but when I saw Sea Spray, I couldn’t help myself.

Ok, so technically Sea Spray is part of The Hunt for the Decepticons line. Its how he’s listed in retail inventories and that’s the style of packaging he comes in. But why? Clearly this guy should have been released as part of Generations. I’m guessing the reason is that Hasbro didn’t plan on anything in Generations being larger than a Deluxe, so it was just easier to go with The Hunt packaging. Either way, I consider Sea Spray as part of the whole Classics/Universe 2.0/Generations continuum. Besides being an obvious G1 homage, his style clearly doesn’t fit in with the movie stuff.

The Voyager Class figures in The Hunt lineup are packaged in robot form. I like this idea, because I get a good look at what the bot form looks like. Afterall, the alt modes are almost always solid. I’m not so crazy about package deco used on this line, though. It still looks like its hanging on to the Egyptian theme from Revenge of the Fallen and I really think its time to move on from that. The angular edges on the box does make the package stand out nicely and the package is pretty collector friendly if you want to return your figure to it for display.

The most obvious thing about Sea Spray is how much he’s grown since his humble G1 days as a minibot. As a Voyager, he stands shoulder to shoulder with Classics Optimus Prime. I don’t mind this so much, because despite being larger, Sea Spray’s proportions still work with the Classic style figures, whereas when fellow minibot Power Glide got the larger make over, he just didn’t seem to fit in with the Classics. Besides, which Sea Spray’s alt mode is designed to carry other Autobots, so his larger size just makes sense.

Sea Spray’s alt mode is a hover craft, and a good one at that. There isn’t a lot of substance to him as he’s pretty much hollow underneith and a good portion of him is the flatbed platform. The main bulk of the toy is the ring that runs around him and the control cabin. There’s a good amount of detail on the cabin structure, and the blue ring is textured. Sea Spray features two firing missile launchers, adjustable fans in the back, and a moving ramp to provide access to his flatbed. The flatbed will fit most Scout Class vehicles, but Minicons definitely work better. Overall, this is a great looking alt mode, and with the blue and white color scheme, he’s a good match for G1 Sea Spray, although he would have been closer if Hasbro had used yellow instead of gold for his fans.

In theory, transforming Sea Spray is pretty simple, but things get a bit sticky because of the way the blue ring locks together. Its tough to figure out where to disconnect it first to start the transformation. I’ve done it quite a few times, and locking/unlocking the final pieces always seems to be a little frustrating.

Sea Spray’s robot mode is outstanding. The proportions are excellent, making him look like one powerful dude and he has good balance. There’s a great deal of nautical influence in the robot mode as well. Sea Spray’s head is obviously derived from a diving mask complete with breathing aparatus, his back with the twin fans looks a bit like a diving backpack, and if you so desire, you can fold flippers out onto his feet. I just pretend that option doesn’t exist! The side mounted missile launchers from the hovercraft mode wind up on Sea Spray’s arms, giving him some solid firepower.

Articulation includes universal joints in Sea Spray’s shoulders and hips, as well as hinges in his elbows, knees and ankles. His head can also turn and you can make adjustments to his fans.

Sea Spray retails for $19.99, which is right on point for the Voyager size toys. As far as I’m concerned, Hasbro hit a home run with Sea Spray. The size change made good sense, and they made good use of it to create an impressively designed toy. He’s a nice update to the vintage character, loads of fun, and makes a great addition to my collection of Classics, er Generations, er whatever.