Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Brawn by Hasbro

Well, be still my energon pumping heart, today makes two Transformers Thursdays in a row that I actually have some new bots to look at. In fact, I should be covered for a little while now so the drought is officially over! Today I’m checking out Legends Class Brawn, another figure that I had to grab off of Ebay because these never show up around here. And then when I feared the deal might not be sound, my buddy came through with one for me as well. Either way I was covered, and in the end I wound up with two. Now, the downside of having to go second-hand on these is that both were shipped to me loose, so I have no in-package shot for you, but we all know what it looks like by now, so let’s jump right in to Brawn’s alt mode…

True to his original G1 form, Brawn takes the form of a green off-road vehicle, and this is a pretty solid one at that. There isn’t a whole lot of sculpted detail here, but you do get a spare tire on the rear of the roof. More importantly, the coloring on this little 4×4 is especially nice for a Legends Class. The pretty metallic green is joined by some black painted windows, and yellow bits peeking out from the sides and the front, all of which keeps his deco very faithful to the original toy. You also get some lovely silver on the front bumper and a tiny Autobot insignia on the hood. And so in the end, this vehicle may be a little modernized, but there’s no denying who this is supposed to be.

I was never a big fan of Brawn as a character, he always struck me as a jerk and even a bit of a bully in the original cartoon, but I loved his G1 figure for all its quirkiness and everything about this alt mode does that figure proud!

Despite being a Legends Class, Brawn can actually open up and take on a Titan Master driver! Here’s where things can get weird, because Hasbro already released a Titan Master pack with head robot named Brawn that transformed into Brawn’s head. So, yes, you can actually have Brawn driving himself around. That’s some weird and crazy Inception shit right there. What really cooks my noodle is that both of these figures had to be in production at the same time, as they’re both clearly designed for Titans Return, so why did Hasbro even bother making the Titan Master Brawn if they knew they were also making a proper Legends Class version of him. It really makes no sense.

Anywho… Transforming Brawn is as simple as it gets and it’s basically the same thing as a lot of the old school Minibots. I find that to be really refreshing and I wish Hasbro would embrace this kind of simplicity for the smaller figures more often. All you do is pull the arms out of the sides and fold the legs out of the back. OK, so Brawn cheats a little bit because you have to take off the the piece of the vehicle with the spare tire, but it’s hard to argue with the results, because Brawn looks absolutely fantastic.

I mean, just look at this little guy! I adore the fact that the structure of his blocky yellow torso is practically pulled directly from the original toy! He’s got some great proportions and all around a very clean and tidy robot mode. The only real kibble on him are his wheels and they look great on his shoulders and lower legs. Hasbro also saw fit to take away those unwieldy chromed metal meat hooks that the original toy called arms and instead give him proper sculpted fists with silver paint. Even from the back this little dude looks pretty good.

The head sculpt is also excellent. He features his trademark domed “helmet” with a face that sports a superb likeness to the animated Sunbow design. His face is painted with more of that lovely silver paint and his blue eyes are crisp. Brawn can also turn his head, which is something that can’t always be taken for granted with these Legends figures. Hasbro stamped another Autobot emblem on his chest and even broke out the blue paint expressly for that one little panel below it. Classy!

You have a few options as to what to do with the tire piece. You can have him hold it like a gun, as it does have those three sculpted emitters on it. He also has peg holes in the sides of his forearms so he can wear it like a shield. Personally, I don’t think it works all that convincingly as a gun or shield. Then again, that could be because I’m a middle aged guy that lacks the imagination and wonder of the child this toy was aimed at. Thankfully, you do have a third option…

Yup, just peg it right on his back. It really doesn’t add a lot more bulk to his backpack and in all honesty it looks like it was meant to go there anyway.

As far as I’m concerned, Brawn is a perfect modern update to the old toy and definitely ranks in among my favorite Transformers this year. Yes, I’d actually like to see more of the Minibot characters get the Deluxe Class makeover, but when the figure is this good, I’ll take what I can get. And it’s great figures like this one that makes me wonder why Hasbro can’t just take a crack at updating all the Minibots together in a timely manner. They’ve had some real hits with this one and Powerglide and even Generations Cosmos is a figure that still holds up very well. Sure, the last Bumblebee wasn’t so great, but I guess they can’t all be gems.

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Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Gnaw by Hasbro

In case you hadn’t noticed, my last two Transformers Thursdays have been leading up to today, as I’ve been saving my most anticipated figure in this assortment for last: Gnaw the Sharkticon! First introduced in Transformers: The Movie, this ravenous horde of cybernetic beasties served as a form of execution for all who were condemned to death by The Quintessons. That sounds pretty bad ass, until you realize that the Sharkticons are a bunch of dumpy, goofy-looking dummies. Nonetheless, they were certainly something new and different and for whatever reason I thought they were cool. Unfortunately, they also came out at that weird time for me where I was still watching The Transformers cartoon, I definitely saw the movie, but I wasn’t really getting that many of the toys anymore. I kind of still wanted them, but my Christmas and Birthday gift requests were leaning more toward video games than toys. Which means that this Legends Class release is actually the first time I ever owned a Sharkticon. Am I excited? You betcha!

I’ve got something to say about Hasbro’s choice of size here, but first, can we just talk for a moment about that card art, because… HOLY SHIT LOOK AT THAT CARD ART! The bat-shit crazy, cracked-out green eyes, the massive teeth, the sharp claws. That particular flavor of nightmare fuel is not what I think about when I think about these guys. Kudos to whoever drew that, because it makes me see the Sharkticons in a whole new light. Now, about the size. When I first saw pictures of the toy, I was excited. Then I heard it was a Legends Class and I was really disappointed. Now I have the figure in hand and I’m realizing that it was a perfectly acceptable decision to go the Legends route. I’ll still argue that he’s a tad too small, but not so much so that I can’t accept him being in scale with the Deluxe figures. I’d also argue that the smaller size makes him more ideal for army building, but then I’ve had a hell of a time just getting my hands on one. Normally, I start my change-o-bot reviews with the alt modes, but let’s go with the robot mode this time…

I’ll just come right out and say it… I absolutely love this robot mode, but do I have a few complaints? Sure. The arms hanging off the backs of the feet is a textbook example of unsightly kibble. I kind of get the idea that the designer just threw up his hands and said, “Screw it… I got nowhere to go with them!” One might argue that they serve a function as heel spurs, but Gnaw already has those. I’ll also add that I wish the row of teeth in front of his head didn’t come up quite so high because it obscures his face quite a bit. But, with those gripes aside, I think this guy looks fantastic. The design manages to capture the familiar look of the G1 movie aesthetic and even smooth out the proportions a bit so he doesn’t look quite so ungainly. There are some lovely sculpted panel lines and detailing, and while a good deal of the coloring here is in the plastic as opposed to paint apps, the coloring is spot on perfect, right down to the bizarre choices of pink and blue used in the original toy, only more sparingly here. If I can get a couple extra Gnaws, I may try to color his teeth with a silver marker, but otherwise, I love the deco.

OK, so from the back, things aren’t as great. The top half of the alt mode is peeping back at you and looks like he’s going to wave. You also get some hollow areas and unfinished screws. Obviously, the Legends Class is held back a bit by budget and size, so let’s just say that it’s best not to look at Gnaw from the back.

Moving on to better things, the head sculpt is a wonderful update to the original toy. It’s not nearly as goofy looking. I always loved the shape of the Sharkticons’ “helmet” and they did a great job painting the eyes.

Like the original toy, Gnaw has a little spiked flail that he can wield in either hand and serves as his tail in his alt mode. And with that skillfully interjected segue, let’s turn to his alt mode. The transformation here has some cool and unexpected things going on and the result speaks for itself.

Yup, the “shark” mode represents pretty damn well, offering only a few things for me to nitpick. I don’t really care for the way his robot hands are exposed behind his feet and I wish that seam running down his face closed up a little better. Or perhaps I should say, I wish it stayed closed up a little better. Otherwise, I really love what we got here. The deco here shows off some more purple, and I can’t say enough great things about the plastic they used for his eyes. So much about this figure just feels so much more “premium” than your average Legends Class release, and that’s coming from someone who tends to really enjoy this Class quite a bit. The plastic looks and feels great, the colors pop, and even with some notable drawbacks in the design, the end result succeeds brilliantly.

I honestly didn’t know what I was going to think about Gnaw once I got him opened up. I wanted him to be great, but part of me was still wishing they had designed him as a Deluxe Class figure. Now, I’m not going to lie, part of me still wishes they had gone that route, but mostly because I’m curious as to what they would have done given a little more complexity of design. Truth be told, I’m totally satisfied with what we got in this little package and I’m going to do my best to try to track down as many of these little buggers as I can without paying scalper prices. The Sharkticon is an update that was long overdue, and Titans Return seems to be the perfect venue to revisit a lot of those overdue updates.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Bumblebee by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday and today I’m opening up another figure in the first wave of Titans Return Legends Class releases. Bumblebee was going to be an pass for me, but I found it easier and cheaper to buy the entire assortment in order to get my hands on Kickback and Gnaw. Let’s find out how that turned out for me…

It seems like we just had a Legends Bumblebee, but it looks like that last one was back in 2014. That Generations release was a damn fine little toy and even after two years, it’s going to be a tough act to follow. Granted, that one was going for more of a Fall of Cybertron look, whereas this one is definitely G1 inspired. The packaging shows off the figure in its robot mode and features some of the best character art for Bumblebee that I’ve seen on a toy package. I’ve also gotta say how much I love that they included his original G1 motto on the back of the package. Reading it literally made me smile.

The auto mode holds no surprises and I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. Hasbro went for a generic, yellow compact, which is about as close as you can get to a VW Bug without having to pay out for the license. There’s quite a bit of ugly seaming on the hood, especially for a Legends Class toy, but all in all I’m content with this alt mode. It displays particularly well with some of the Generations Legends cars like Windcharger and Swerve.

The yellow plastic is bright and fresh and matches the yellow paint pretty closely. The deco is rounded out with some black windows and striping. In addition to the Autobot emblem on the roof, Bumblebee even features some silver and red paint operations. As much as I’d love to see a Legends Class VW Bumblebee, this is a fair substitute.

The transformation here is not as overly complex as some of the Legends and the resulting robot mode reflects that. It’s a very traditional looking G1 Bumblebee, almost to a fault. You get the roof chest and the hood split into feet. All that is somewhat refreshing and the head sculpt is a total winner.

He even looks pretty clean from the back, albeit with some unsightly hollow feet. I wish they could have sculpted that disc he had on his back in the Sunbow cartoon, but I guess they needed somewhere to put all that COO and copyright crap.

Unfortunately, I’m having a problem getting past those arms. The bulky and over-sized biceps with those stubby little forearms make for a really bad combination. Do they ruin the figure for me? Yeah, I’m going to have to say they kind of do. Surely they had some engineering to spare that they could have used to fix those things. Instead, what we got feels a little lazy. I know that we’ve seen worse on bigger Transformers in the past, but I feel as if this little guy could have been a total winner if they had just found a way to fix those biceps.

In the end, I would have been totally fine with passing on this figure, but I don’t really mind owning him. I don’t have time or patience for toy hunting like I used to, but the few times I’ve ducked into a toy aisle, none of these Legends were on the pegs. Nope, not even this one, which seems like he should be warming those pegs. That’s Bumblebee’s job isn’t it? Anyway, I just kind of look at it like spending a little extra to get Gnaw and Kickback, and getting Bumblebee tossed in for free. Hey, whatever helps me sleep at night, right? And I probably shouldn’t be too hard on this little guy. I’ve certainly paid more for worse Transformers in my collection. It’s also a little easier to be more forgiving of a Legends Class, both in terms of complexity and price. On the other hand, the previous Legends Bumblebee, while certainly going for a very different style, is also a much better proportioned and engineered figure, so I probably shouldn’t be apologizing for this one.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Kickback by Hasbro

Hooray, it’s the return of Transformers Thursday! And anyone who says, “Oh, but it’s only a Legends Class figure,” watch out because I’m gonna slap your face! I love the Legends Class figures! They’re great fun and I can stuff them in my pocket and take them to work and have robot battles on my desk. I love them even more lately because I have some ginormous robots for them to interact with! And today’s little change-o-bot is even more special, because Kickback finally completes the trio of Legends Class Insecticons, which Hasbro started way back in 2014 with the release of Skrapnel. Bombshell followed in 2015, and here we are in 2017 with Kickback.

Yup, these little fellas span three different lines: Generations, Combiner Wars, and now Titans Return. If I were a mint-on-card collector, this shit would irritate me to no end. Of course, there’s something else about this figure that does that, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s bust him open and start with his insect mode!

Is he a locust, a grasshopper, or a cricket? Don’t look at me, I ain’t no bug scientist! I do, however, hold an honorary degree in toy robot bug appreciationology, and as such I give this alt mode my stamp of supreme approval. In fact, if these wings were painted silver, this Kickback would be a perfect update to the original G1 toy’s bug mode. The black and purple plastic looks fantastic (although he does sport a lot more purple than his G1 namesake) and the additional silver and yellow accents consist of more paint operations than some of the bigger bots get.

And.. OMG, THAT TRANSLUCENT YELLOW CHEST PANEL, I LOVE IT SO MUCH! Also… OMG, THAT TRANSLUCENT YELLOW CHEST PANEL, I HATE IT SO MUCH!!! Yeah, the chest panel really elevates the whole figure tremendously. Unfortunately, it also poops all over the painted chest panels on the other two Legends Insecticons, and it’s that lack of consistency that really… dare I say it? It bugs me! Sure, the gold and yellow chests never matched between Bomshell and Skrapnel anyway, but they were at least somewhat close. Kickback busts the whole deal wide open. The reasoning here might have been to accommodate a Titan Master, but by furthering the inconsistency between the three decos, it it’s also very irritating.

Transforming Kickback feels slightly more involved than it need be, but the results are overall good. In fact, my only real complaint here is the way the wings sit behind the shoulders, rather than be integrated into them. On the flip-side, it does give you the option of sweeping them down instead of up. Us G1 old-timers will likely stick with the up position, but I can see just as many younger fans happy to point them down and out of the way. Other than that, I really am very pleased with this figure. It may not be as clean as the original toy’s robot mode, but I think it skirts that fine line between old and new quite well and the passel of ball joints make him lots of fun to play with.

Rating Kickback on his own, I give him very high marks, and I’m a bit surprised by that, because I’ve heard a lot of people dumping on him. On the other hand, put him with the other Insecticons and the mismatched gold, yellow, and translucent yellow on the decos bothers me more than I wish it did. Because of the designs of Bombshell and Skrapnel, there’s no way to reverse engineer them with the matching translucent yellow parts they deserve. So, if Hasbro or Takara ever does decide to release these three in a more uniform deco, the best I can hope for is a repaint of Kickback’s chest to yellow, and that would be a shame. It would be basically reducing the better figure of the three to match the lesser two.

And so, finally getting Kickback into my collection has been rather bitter-sweet. Yes, it gives me a sense of closure and I think he’s a very good figure, but as soon as this little trio is complete, I find myself longing for another attempt. I feel like these three should have been designed and issued a lot closer together. And considering how much I adore the Insecticons, I find myself tempted to come out of retirement from buying third-party figures, and hunt down one of those sets of unofficial bug-bots.

Transformers Titans Return: Wheelie by Hasbro

I cheated y’all out of last week’s Transformers Thursday because of holiday madness, so let’s bring it back home this week with a new Titans Return figure. This time I’m going back to the Legends Class to look at a certain Autobot that fans either love to hate, or hate to love… I can’t remember which.

So, what do you say? Let’s look at Wheelie today!

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Of course, Legends is the smallest of the classes, unless you count the tiny Titan Masters and their little vehicles. The package is the same format that we last saw with Rewind, and I like the character art here even if it misleadingly suggests that there might be a slingshot in here somewhere. If you want that, you’ll have to rob it from the last release of Wheelie, a figure that I never bothered to pick up. And I’m glad I didn’t, because that one was a remolded Deluxe and I think this brand new Legends Class suits him better. Let’s bust him out and have a look at his alt mode first!

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Wheelie’s vehicle mode is a little futuristic car, which certainly works for me! At least in theory. In practice, I could not get all the panels to lock together the way they should. The tabs are all there, it’s easy to see what’s supposed to be happening, but the tabs that are supposed to connect the arms to the hips kept popping out. I went in there with a razor and did a little shaving and he’ll hold together pretty well now, but I still get some gaps in those seams.

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Looking past that issue, everything else is great here. The orange and yellow plastic is bright and snappy and it really suits the character. Toss in some of that lovely silver that Hasbro’s been using lately and this vehicle mode pops beautifully. There’s not a ton of sculpted detail here, but that fits because he’s supposed to look smooth and sleek. You do, however, get a few sculpted panel lines and some grills on the front and sides.

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The canopy and the back each hinge upward and open to reveal a compartment for the driver. Wheelie’s head is not a Titan Master, but you can still take one from another figure and put him inside just like the Deluxe Class figures and that impresses the hell out of me. I grabbed Hyperfire here to demonstrate. I believe the Takara version will be coming with a Titan Master, just not one that can function as Wheelie’s head.

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Wheelie has a couple of ports on his sides, but he doesn’t come with any weapons, so you’ll have to borrow that too if you want to weaponize his vehicle mode. Once again, I made use of Blurr to give him a side gun. I like the way Blurr’s rifle matches the silver accents on the car.

Give Wheelie a gun, because killing is fun!

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Wheelie’s transformation is pretty cool, especially the way the driver compartment shrinks down and folds up into the chest. While I had some nits to pick with the vehicle mode and its troublesome gaps, I’ve got nothing but love for this little bot mode. He’s nicely proportioned and just looks fantastic. There’s some wonderful little touches on him too like the sculpted springs inside his hollow thighs. If only the budget had allowed Hasbro to paint those silver to make them stand out more. I may have to take a Gundam marker to them.

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From the back, he looks a tad unfinished, but not bad at all. His arm kibble is a little more apparent here and it can get in the way sometimes, but it’s nothing that really bothers me. I really dig the way the quarter panels and wheels of the car fold in to fill out his lower legs.

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Titans Return has given us some great head sculpts and Wheelie here is no exception. The bucket-style “helmet” is a good match for the characters G1 animated counterpart and the silver paint on the face and blue in the eyes looks great. The strategically placed Autobot emblem on the chest is also appreciated.

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As is often the case with these Legends Class figures, you get a lot of ball joints for articulation. Shoulders, elbows, hips, knees are all ball jointed and the head can rotate. Wheelie is undoubtedly a fun little figure to play with and pretty well balanced too!

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I sure as hell wasn’t screaming for a new Wheelie figure, but now that I have this little fellow in hand, I’m mighty glad Hasbro made him. Despite being the smaller class, he scales perfectly with the Generations and Titans Return Deluxes and he brings me another step closer to filling out my Sunbow Season 3 Autobots. I’d argue that this is one of the best Legends Class figures we’ve had in a while, and that’s saying something, because most of them have been damn good. Now, if only I could find that Legends Kickback for a decent price and complete my Insecticons, I’ll be a happy camper.

Transformers Titans Return: Rewind by Hasbro

Well, I’ve done two days of horror figures for the week before Halloween, but today is Transformers Thursday and unless I want to run my feature on Mindwipe again, I got nothing both Halloweeny and Transformery to look at. Thinking back, I should have picked up Wheelie for today because he’s orange and slightly pumpkin shaped. But hindsight is 20-20, so instead, let’s check out Legends Class Rewind!

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I find this packaging to be almost indistinguishable from the Combiner Wars Legends figures. Still not a huge fan of the design here, but I’m just going to shred it, so it’s no big deal. I will say that I dig the character art, especially since it isn’t a goofy picture of the character’s head flying off or docking. The sticker on the bubble tells me in four different languages that he’s compatible with something, but not what. Flip it over and I find that he does indeed work with the Leader Class Blaster because he’s a cassette… right? RIGHT??? Well, no.

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OK, Hasbro, so you call this mode a “Spy Tablet.” I want to follow you on this. It’s the 21st century. Nobody uses cassettes anymore, so you don’t want to have the cassettes turn into cassettes. Tablets are a thing now, so you think, “let’s do that!” …But we’re also going to make the tablet’s screen look like a cassette for absolutely no logical reason at all. Well, here’s an idea. If you’re going to print a cassette tape on the screen of the shitty “Spy Tablet” mode… JUST MAKE THE GOD DAMN ALT MODE A CASSETTE!!!! I mean, seriously, for the love of Primus… what’s the point? Not to mention this thing looks more like a micro cassette recorder to me than any kind of phone or tablet. And not to kick an alt mode when its down, but the stickers on these look like crap and are already starting to peel off. I could end my rant right now, but I’m not going to.

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Because, nothing about this alt mode makes sense to me. I think if I were eight years old, I’d be less confused about getting a toy that turned into a cassette. Especially since my parents are going to have to explain what that is on the sticker anyway. Not to mention the fact that he’s still designed to go into a portable stereo alt mode. And now I’m thinking about how happy I am they didn’t make Blaster transform into an iPod docking station. Also… HIS NAME IS REWIND!!! Hell, if I had a kid, I’d rather have to explain to him what a cassette tape was than have to explain that and why there’s a picture of a cassette on the screen of a data tablet… that’s named Rewind. Jeez! Who knew a slab of plastic could get me so upset? But, I’d seriously rather they just went with a straight out slab of plastic and called it a Data Slug mode. Or, here’s an idea… some kind of digital video camera.

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If I had to say one good thing about this mode, the designers were clever enough to make it so that he can store his gun by tucking it in the side. That’s pretty cool. Well, at least he has another mode…

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The tank mode! This isn’t exactly appropriate for Rewind as I know him, and as far as alt modes go, it’s pretty weak. It’s a tank in the most abstract sense of the word. At least the red and silver paint looks pretty sharp. Still, at least this is something I would be able to play with as a kid. There’s a port on the side of the turret that can take another weapon and there are tiny pegs on the top of the turret where you can stand some little head robots. All in all, it’s OK for a tacked on second alt mode, and frankly much better than the first.

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Luckily the robot mode is here to save the day and make me quit my childish bitching over a toy designed for eight year olds. Yeah, his arms are a little beefy in general, and his forearms in particular are a bit ugly, as the right one looks finished and the left one is all hollowed out. Y’all know by now I’m not a big fan of this bare gray plastic, but in small amounts like this it doesn’t bother me so much and at least the red, silver, and yellow paint apps smarten him up quite a bit.

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I also kind of dig that you can see a good part of the cassette sticker on the back, so I can delude myself into believing he turns into one. He does have hollow leg syndrome, but on a Legends Class toy, that’s to be expected.

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The little head sculpt is fantastic, and they even sculpted on the little camera beside his visor. I wish they had painted it, but that will be an easy fix with a Gundam Marker. Yup, this is undoubtedly Rewind to me and i really dig this robot mode. Overall, there’s a good range of articulation here and that, combined with how solid he is, makes him a fun figure to play around with.

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Rewind can hold his gun in either hand, or you can plug it into his forearm. That’s pretty cool.

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Reunited and it feels so good!

I’ve been avoiding buying any of the so-called cassettes, simply because the animal ones look pretty lame. Keep in mind, that may change, because they’re pretty cheap and I’m a hopeless Transformers addict. But, I picked up this one simply because he’s Rewind and I needed him to put next to my Chromedome and finally reunite these two bots. He was a character I cared nothing about in the G1 continuity, but he sure as hell gave me the feels in MTMTE. And so shitty alt modes be damned, I’m glad I bought this guy because he’s a great little figure and he and Chromedome look great together!

Transformers Combiner Wars: Legends Class Shockwave by Hasbro

While I’m not ready to bring Transformers Thursdays back full-time, I did get lucky this week when picking up my Force Awakens Blu-Ray and found Legends Class Shockwave hanging on the pegs. I’ve been hunting this guy for a while now, since he’s going for scalper prices on most online sites, so you can imagine my excitement when I spied him there among all the other common peg fodder. It also worked out well because I am craaaaazy busy this week and I really needed something that I could do quick-and-dirty today and this little guy should do nicely!

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The Combiner Wars packaging has grown on me a bit. We get some nice character art on the top of the card and a big bubble to see the figure, which is packaged in robot mode. The back of the card identifies Shockwave as specifically interacting with the Onslaught figure by attaching to his alt mode, and also points out that in this aspect of the Transformers fiction, it was Shockwave and not Starscream that created the Combaticons. I’m going against convention today and starting with his robot mode.

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Yup, that’s Shockwave! Generally speaking, I’ve been pretty impressed with the recent crop of Legends Class figures and Shockwave does nothing to buck that trend. Yeah, I have a few minor quibbles, like I wish he had less molded kibble on his forearms, and I wish his gun hand was a little more pronounced, but on the whole, this little guy is pretty great. There’s a crazy amount of sculpted detail on him for such a small figure, the purple and translucent purple plastics look great together and the extra little silver paint hits go a long way to jazz things up. The tiny little cyclops head is also right on point!

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From the back, we’ve got some hollow leg syndrome, which is perfectly acceptable to me in this smaller scale figure. The T-shaped backpack isn’t the prettiest thing around, but as far as kibbly backpacks go, it isn’t terribly intrusive either.

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You get a lovely range of articulation for such a small figure. This includes ball joints in the shoulders, which are also on hinged posts, ball joints in the elbows, ball joints in the hips, hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs.

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Transforming Shockwave is pretty simple and the result is a cannon or perhaps some kind of space cruiser a little reminiscent of the Fall of Cybertron Delxue Shockwave. On it’s own it isn’t much to look at and since I don’t have Onslaught (still waiting for the Takara version) let’s see how he works out with a couple of other figures…

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Probably the most disappointing thing is that he really isn’t designed to be held by Combiner Wars Megatron and that’s because there’s a square peg right in front of the regular circular peg that would otherwise fit into the hand. I can get it to work, but it’s hard for me to comprehend why they wouldn’t have designed the figure to work better with the Leader Class Combiner Wars figures.

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Ironically, it does work perfectly in many Third Party figures with the hinged knuckle. Above is Warbotron’s Not-Onslaught wielding Shockwave quite comfortably and I think this is where the little dude is going to stay for the time being.

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See? I told you today was going to be quick-and-dirty! Legends Class Shockwave is an excellent little figure, but I’m glad I didn’t break down and overpay for him. He’s going for $20 now on Amazon and that’s just plain cray-cray. But at just under ten bucks, I’ll pick up the Legends Class all day long. They’re fun, they’re posable and while I wish the hand grip on his gun mode was a little more forgiving, the fact that he can work as a weapon for larger figures makes him all the more enjoyable.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Legends Class Rodimus by Hasbro

I almost didn’t have anything new for Transformers Thursday this week and then I saw this little guy swinging on a peg and decided to pick him up. I’m really feeling the bite of pressure from real life this week, so I figured this was the perfect day to kick back and chillax with a Legends Class quickie. Let’s take a look at Combiner Wars Rodimus…

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Package shot. He comes in robot mode. Bubble held on with scotch tape. Keeping it classy, Hasbro! Nothing else to say. Let’s move on to the alt mode…

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Of course, Rodimus is a repaint of the Stunticon Blackjack, a figure that I liked a lot as a stand alone piece, but he doesn’t really fit into my Menasor, so I don’t really consider him an official Stunticon. The car is re-cast in a pleasing crimson plastic with blue painted windows and a bitchin’ flame deco on the hood. But, why you no have Autobot symbol on your hood, Rodimus? It seems very conspicuous by its absence. But also, apart from the deco, I’m not really feeling this as Rodimus. It’s missing something…

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Oooooh, yeah. Well, plug the axe weapon into the top and it sort of looks like a spoiler and now it kind of looks more like Rodimus to me. But seriously, Hasbro, why isn’t there an Autobot symbol on his hood? That’s really pissing me off. Anyway, transformation is the same as Blackjack…

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It’s quick and easy and it results in a nice looking robot mode, but one that is still a bit of a reach for me as Rodimus. Again, the coloring works well enough, and the new head sculpt looks pretty good, but the homage isn’t as tight as it could have been. Hasbro has done some impressive stuff with shared molds for different characters, but to me, this one isn’t one of their better efforts. Maybe if there was a way to put his axe on his back, it would have helped it along a little more.

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And yes, the axe still serves as a cool weapon, but again… an axe for Rodimus? Meh, not really.

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I know what you’re saying. Quit picking on the little guy. Well, don’t get me wrong, I think this is a cool little figure and I picked it up for under eight bucks so I’m not going to be super demanding of it. It’s an attractive figure and it’s fun to play around with. So while it sounds like I’m being really tough on him, I’m still plenty glad I picked him up, as he’s another little bot to wage war around my Titan Class Metroplex. I just don’t think he’s going to get to keep his name. Maybe I’ll just call him Hot Shot.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Legends Class Skywarp by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday and it is also Thanksgiving, which is very appropriate as I am always thankful for little robots that turn into other things. I’m taking today to relax and be with family so I’ll be honest, I looked for a figure that I could do quick and dirty and Legends Skywarp seemed like the perfect fit.

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Here’s the packaging and there ain’t a lot new I can say about it. Mine came from Amazon and it’s sort of beat to hell. It was way back in the Summer of last year that I started down the path of Legends Seekers with Generations Starscream. In February of this year, I looked at Combiner Wars Thundercracker and now Skywarp finally gets his due. He’s packaged in robot mode, but let’s start with his alt mode.

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No surprises here, as this is the second straight repaint of this mold. It’s a great little jet mode, which straddles the line between update and homage. Of course, Skywarp does have a leg up by sporting the most bitchin’ deco of all the Seekers. Ooooh yeah. The Decepticon flag is purple and black, baby, and these colors don’t run! Seriously, look at him. He’s gorgeous! He’s got his null rays slung under the wings and a hinged landing gear under the nose.

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Transforming Skywarp is simple and fun and the robot mode is still just as solid as ever. Again, nothing new to the mold here, even the head is the same, but at this scale who’s going to notice anyway? There’s some nice sculpted detail on the chest intakes, and a surprising amount of detail sculpted inside the chest cavity behind where the cockpit piece goes. You’ll only see it going from one mode to the next, but it’s there! I also dig that the painted face of the wings face forwards, which is something that even the Leader Class versions of the Seekers didn’t do.

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The articulation on these figures is lots of fun. You get ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and the knees are hinged. The null rays on the arms can rotate and they don’t even have to be removed for transformation.

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The price on these little Legends have been all over the place, but I was able to complete my Seekers with Skywarp at the laughable price of $7.50. What a bargain! It’s great to have all three Seekers finally together in this scale so they can start their futile attack runs against Metroplex. And so, I am indeed thankful for cheap little changeable robots that I can stuff in my pocket and play with as I’m waiting for the turkey to digest.

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I’m also really grateful for everyone who reads my crazy ramblings about toys and the many people I’ve befriended (whether through emails, comments here, or on Twitter) since I started this silly little blog so many years ago. The Internet is many things, a lot of them bad, but for me it’s shining virtue is that it can bring together kindred souls and make fast friends of people who have never even met. And so, to my Internet Family, and if you’re reading this, you have a seat at the table… Have a Happy Thanksgiving and may The Matrix light your darkest hour! Gobble, Gobble!

Transformers Combiner Wars: Blackjack by Hasbro

After taking a couple of weeks off, Transformers Thursday is back in action and today I’m looking at the last and tiniest of the Stunticons, Blackjack. Yeah, I know, at first Off-Road was the last and then Brake-Neck was the last, well now it’s this little guy. Scale has never mattered much to me when it comes to Transformers, but even I have to balk a bit at the silliness of this one tiny car cruising around with the others. Nonetheless, I had to pick him up because I love Decepticon cars, I love the Legends line, and while this Legends Class car isn’t a necessity for rounding out Menasor, I was curious to see what it would bring to the table.

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This isn’t my first time looking at a Combiner Wars Legends figure, so I won’t dwell on the package much. It’s a simple card and bubble affair with the now familiar CW deco, which I will admit is now growing on me. Despite being new, the bubble on mine is clearly attached to the card with cellotape, so I’m not sure what’s going on there. Blackjack comes with a weapon, a character card, a folded instruction sheet, and he’s packaged in his robot mode. Of course, we’re going to start with his alt mode.

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BJ’s auto mode is a sexy little black sports car with a little purple trim, gold painted windows and a crisp little Decepticon logo stamped on the hood. The sculpt is simple, but it still manages to offer some nice contours. Alas, it doesn’t roll very well. Either I can’t get it all locked up right or the undercarriage is dragging.

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What does work well is the way the weapon attaches to the top to give him a roof mounted cannon. Hmm… that looks familiar. Could it be they’re repainting this guy into Rodimus? Oh, wait… they already did.

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Being a Legends Class, there isn’t a whole lot to the transformation, but I’ve got to say I’m quite happy with the robot mode. BJ wears his rear window on his chest, while the rest of the top of the card falls down his back. The way his front wheels wind up pointing backwards on his biceps is both unexpected and pretty cool. You get a little more gold visible in his robot mode, but overall he keeps his black and purple deco, which are always welcome colors for a ‘Con. The head sculpt isn’t terribly detailed, but with a simple visor and mouth plate, it gets the job done.

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One of the things I appreciate most about these Legends figures is the use of ball joints for most of the articulation. In this case, BJ’s got them in his shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees and that makes for a remarkably fun figure for someone so tiny. His head will also rotate.

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The weapon that makes a roof cannon for his auto mode can be wielded as an axe in his robot mode. Pretty simple, but not bad. If I were to stop right there, I’d say Blackjack is a worthy enough pick up if you’re as into tiny Transformers as I am. Something about these little fellas reminds me of being a kid and throwing Bumblebee or Windcharger into my pocket before getting dragged off to go shopping or something by my parents. Boredom just isn’t an issue when you’re a kid, you have an imagination, and you’ve got a tiny transforming robot in your pocket. But, of course, Blackjack has one more trick up his sleeve, and that’s forming a piece of chest armor to fill that awkard hole in Menasor’s chest. How’s this work?

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Sadly, it doesn’t. The idea is that in car mode, Blackjack pegs into those two posts in Menasor’s chest, with the weapon attached to the roof. In theory it looks great and does indeed fill up that chest cavity quite nicely. In practice, he doesn’t fit because the pegs are too thick to peg him on all the way and he just keeps falling off. I had to use a couple of wads of bluetack just to get it to stay on long enough to shoot some pictures. How you can design something to work like this and not even check to see if it will fit is beyond me. It’s also worth mentioning that with Menasor being such a god damned frustrating mess to handle in the first place, the last thing it needed was a chest piece that keeps falling off. By the time I was done shooting just a couple of pictures I wanted to crumple this thing up and throw it against a wall.

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And so, Blackjack is a neat little figure on his own and maybe one day I’ll shave those posts down on Menasor to get him to fig properly because that’s the main reason why I bought him. For a figure that was going for scalper prices on a lot of online retailers, the best thing I can say is I waited until I found him at retail and only paid about $11 for him. I can live with that, but as an additional piece for Menasor all he really does is salt the wound.