Transformers “Power of the Primes” Cutthroat by Hasbro

It seems like all I’ve been doing this week is working and sleeping, but the weekend is here and I’m going to ease into it by taking some time to enjoy myself and open up a brand new Transformer! It’s been a while again since my last Transformers reviews, but I had some other things I wanted to get caught up on. That’s all done and now I’m ready to continue my look at the Power of the Primes Terrorcons. I should be able to stick with Transformers on Fridays at least for the next few weeks. A while back I reviewed Rippernsapper and today I’m opening up Cutthroat!

I don’t have much new to say about the packaging, except that I really dig the character art on the card. Cutthroat is shown in his beast mode and looking mighty fine. I’ll also toss out there how surprised and pleased I am that Hasbro can still get away with using the name Cutthroat on a children’s toy. Yeah, it has other, less violent, meanings, but it’s still a word that conjures up a pretty grisly imagine in my mind. I’d like to think this Terrorcon got his name not because he drives a hard bargain, but rather because he literally slices people’s throats with the sharpened edges of his metal wings. When I looked at Rippersnapper, I started with his robot mode, so let’s keep that trend going for the rest of the Terrorcons…

When I first glanced at pictures of Cutthroat I wrote him off as a quick-and-dirty recycling of Swoop. Getting him in hand tells a whole different story. There are certainly similarities, but so much of this guy has been completely reworked that the resemblances are fleeting. The arms and upper legs are the same, the torso has a similar shape, the combiner port is still buried in the back, and both bots wear their beast heads on their chest and their wings on behind their shoulders. But what impresses me is how much re-sculpting Hasbro did here. The wings are completely redone, as is the detail work on the torso. The lower legs are completely new as well. His profile may be similar, but Cutthroat is bulkier and decidedly less sleek.

He’s a damn clean looking robot from behind too, and you have a few different options on how you can position his wings. The deco on this figure is pretty out there, but it’s certainly faithful to the original toy. You get some dark green in the torso and lower legs, some purple in the wings, hands, and around the neck and chest, and yellow in the arms, upper legs, bird legs, and “helmet.” These are not colors that I would think to put together, but I can’t say as I hate it. Little extras like the silver and blue paint hits on the legs and silver up near the shoulders make for a nice touch.

I like the head design a lot, but it doesn’t scream Cutthroat to me. With that having been said, the yellow “helmet” looks great and the silver face and red eyes are both sharp and snappy. He’s got a bit of a grim expression, maybe a little pissed off, but he’s not quite selling me on being a vicious Terrorcon.

Cutthroat comes with two accessories, but only one of them really matters to me and that’s his gun. It’s a compact double-barreled rifle, which is a pretty good update to his original G1 weapon and he can hold it in either hand.

The other piece is his Prime Armor, which attaches to each side of the bird head on his chest and has a compartment to put a Prime Master figure in there if you like your robots with ridiculously beefy chests. I’d toss it away, but it doubles as a hand for Abominus, so I guess I’ll need it when I eventually combine these guys.

Cutthroat transforms into some kind of monster bird and once again I’m pleased by the way he sets himself apart from the Swoop mold. The beast head still folds up over the robot head and the arms still fold in at the sides, but instead of folding up onto the back, the legs just collapse to make a longer body. From the front he’s got mostly bird stuff going on, but the stubby tail in the back looks decidedly more reptilian. He has a notch on his back where you can stow his gun between his wings and it looks like it could still serve as a functional weapon for his beast mode.

The colors here are more or less the same as in his robot mode. As for articulation, you get ball joints where the legs meet the body and hinges about halfway down. The wings are hinged at the body so they can flap and hinged again about a third of the way in so they can close up or spread out. The mouth is hinged, but the neck can only look up so far, which isn’t always the best for flying poses, but it works fine for when he’s just standing around.

I mentioned in my Rippersnapper review that these will be the first versions of the Terrorcons that I’ve ever owned and so far I’m enjoying the hell out of them. Cutthroat is a great looking figure and he’s loads of fun to play around with. I love when Hasbro takes the old basic-sized G1 toys and beefs them up to Deluxes. It really fleshes out all new possibilities for these characters. Next week, I’ll tear open another of the Deluxes, because I’m anxious to get through these guys and combine them to form Abominus!

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Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Snarl by Hasbro

It’s been a hard fought battle, folks, but I finally got a full set of the Power of the Primes Dinobots and today I’m opening up the last one, which just happens to be Snarl. I never had his toy as a kid, and since Fansproject snubbed him when it came to their Lost Exo Realm Not-Dinobots, I don’t even have a third party version. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to pop my Snarl cherry. Eww, that sounded all kinds of wrong.

I don’t have much new to say about the packaging. It looks good, I like that they used the Dino modes as the character art for these figures. I also really dig how the bubble insert has a picture of the toy in his Dino mode right in front of the figure packaged in his robot mode. I’d say that as a character Snarl has been my least favorite of the Dinobots, but that’s not something he should be ashamed of, because somebody had to come in last even in a group of awesome Dinosaur robots! Let’s start with his alt mode…

When I was a kid this was called a Stegosaurus. Have the dinosaur scientists changed this yet? It seems like they’re always telling me the dinosaurs I grew up learning about never existed or they changed the names or some such nonsense. Pfft… Science… am I right? Anyway like all the PotP Dinobots, Snarl has a fantastic alt mode that pays respects to the original toy. And while I think he tends to be the least photogenic of these Dinos, I still think Hasbro did a great job on him. There’s plenty of sculpted detail in his body, from vents and panel lines to various other ports and mechanisms. They even remembered to put the tiny spikes at the end of his stubby tail! It kind of sucks that they decided to stamp copyright bullshit all over the outside of one of his back plates, but whaddya gonna do, eh?

The coloring is also spot on. You get some gray and red plastic making up the bulk of his body, both of which do a nice job of matching the colors on the original toy. He also features clear plastic over gold and silver to mimic that rather distinctive effect that the original Dinobot toys had. OK, I actually don’t remember Snarl showing that off too much, but I like that they included it here to make him match the other figures better. Snarl also includes some matte gold, which isn’t as snazzy as the metallic gold on the original toy, but it looks fine. The deco is rounded out by some black plastic on the side panels and rear legs, and some tampos on his back. He looks a little more patchwork in design than some of the other Dinobots, but I still dig him.

Articulation in Dino mode features basic stuff. The back legs connect to the body with ball joints and have hinges about halfway down. The front legs just rotate at the body. There’s no articulation in Snarl’s jaw, but two of his back spikes can hinge down and have footpegs to allow some Titan or Prime Masters to ride on his back. Cool!

And you just know that I have to bring up the size and how diminutive these Dinobots are, so let’s do it! Here’s a shot of Snarl’s Dino mode next to Chromedome from Titans Return in his Auto mode and I just can’t accept this. I think this mold would have worked fine as a Voyager Class and I really wish Hasbro had gone that route. But I’ve said all this a bunch of times already, so let’s move on to the robot mode…

All of the PotP Deluxe Dinobots have had solid robot modes and Snarl carries on that tradition nicely. The front half of the Dino mode becomes the legs, with the front Dino legs on the sides and the head spit and tucked behind them. I like how the spine bits run up the front of his legs. Snarl advertises his combiner port in the center of his chest, but to be honest it works with the overall look just perfectly. He also features an Autobot insignia stamped in the middle. Easily the most distinctive thing about Snarl’s robot mode is the way his tail splits and arches up behind his head and shoulders like a crescent moon. The deco is largely in keeping with the alt mode deco. I dig the gold forearms and the way the colorful tampos on his Dino back wind up front and center on his robot legs. He also has a few more tampos on either side of his chest.

From the back things aren’t too bad. I’d say the most unsightly thing here are the halves of the Dino head that hang off the backs of his legs, but as far as kibble goes, it’s not awful. I should note that I really dig the proportions on this guy, and that’s been the case for all the Deluxe PotP Dinobots.

The head sculpt is excellent, although I’ll confess to not being all that attached to Snarl’s likeness in the cartoon or comics. He has a very human-looking face, painted with brilliant silver and two neatly painted red eyes. I also dig the horns that come up off his “helmet.” They go well with the spiked crescent behind his head.

One of my gripes about these Dinobots has been their weapons. We all know by now that Grimlock didn’t come with a gun or a sword, which was criminal. As for these Deluxe figures, Hasbro basically sculpted a single gun and a single sword, and gave two of the figures guns and two of them swords. Snarl’s sword is cast in clear plastic, but otherwise it’s the same as the one that came with Swoop. I like the design, but it looks kind of puny in his hand. I’m also not a big fan of the clear plastic. I’d rather they just gave us another red one, or even better painted them both silver. Of course, Snarl also comes with a Prime Armor piece, which I’m going to totally ignore.

Shall I bring up size one more time? Why not. Here he is in robot mode with Chromedome and while his tail crescent actually does make him a bit taller overall, he still looks so undersized to me and even kind of puny. Chromedome looks like he’d have a fair chance taking down Snarl in a fight, and that shouldn’t be the case.

I can’t stress enough how much I love these figures on their own. They really are great little modern updates to the original Dinobots, keeping the iconic aesthetics but adding articulation and play value. Just having them all together on the shelf is making me so happy because I never owned a full set of the original Dinobots, and these guys look amazing together. It’s only when I display them with other Transformers that I get bummed out because of how small they are. I’m not inherently against the idea of Dinobots as a combiner team. It kind of makes sense, but I can’t help but feel sacrifices were made in favor of that gimmick and if Hasbro hadn’t gone that route, maybe we could have had these as Voyager Class figures with Grimlock as a Leader Class. Man, that would have been so cool!  Oh yeah, and in case you’re wondering, I’m not going to be reviewing the combined form of these guys. I just really don’t care enough and I don’t think the end results warrant the effort. It’s possible some day I’ll invest in a Third-Party upgrade kit, and if that’s the case I’ll look at Volcanicus as a means of reviewing the kit, but for now I’m going to leave it at that.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Sludge by Hasbro

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know how hard it has been to find me some Power of the Primes toys. Indeed, the poor distribution in my area and the scalper prices I’ve been seeing online played a big part in me justifying a roll back to three reviews a week and killing off Transformers Thursday. Thankfully I managed to bust that log jam and pick up the remaining Dinobots as well as the rest of the Terrorcons. And while I’m not about to bring back Transformers Thursday, I’d say it’s a safe bet that you’ll be seeing Transformers reviews dominating Fridays for the next month or so. So, hooray for more Transformers reviews! I’m really excited to get to the Terrorcons, but I feel like I should take care of unfinished business with the Dinobots first, so today I’m opening up Sludge.

And here’s the in-packaged shot, showing off some pretty rad character art. I like the fact that they’ve been using the Dino Modes for the card art, even though the figure comes packaged in his robot mode. It also makes me happy that the Copyright Gods allowed Sludge to keep his name, unlike poor Slag… I mean, Slug. I’ve yet to see these guys in the wild and for the longest time they were selling for around $35 at my usual online sources, but just last week Amazon dropped them to regular retail and I jumped on them. Let’s start with Sludge’s alt mode…

So, I don’t even know what’s going on in the world of dinosaur taxonomy these days, but back when I was a kid this was called a Brontosaurus and since we all know dinosaurs are an invention of The Illuminati anyway, I’m sticking with that name. And he’s a pretty great looking little dinosaur. Hasbro went nuts with the sculpting on these Dinos, giving them all sorts of panel lines and and little vents. Sludge also has some open panels on his back plates that allows you to see into his inner workings, which is kind of neat. He also has some peg holes on the sides, just in case you want to weaponize him. Hasbro even slapped some stickers on him to recreate the circuitry behind the vents on his back.

I really dig the way Hasbro managed to recapture the deco of the original toys by using clear plastic over gold for part of the head. The tail and back legs are also clear with what looks to be silver painted in from the inside to create a similar effect, along with some gold circling the joint. The gray and red plastic looks pretty close to the original toy too. Throw in some black and gold paint, and you’ve got a deco that does the old G1 release proud.

The articulation is serviceable. The front legs are ball jointed where they meet the body, have hinges in the knees and swivels halfway between. The back legs only rotate at the body and there’s no tail articulation at all. The jaw will open a bit, and there’s a swivel at the neck, which is there for transformation purposes, but it can be used to make Sludge tilt his head from side to side. So far so good, but then we get to size…

All in all, if I were looking at this alt mode in a vacuum, I’d have very little nitpicks, but I keep coming back to how ridiculously small these guys are, even for Deluxe Classes. I’ve been a Transformers collector almost all my life and I’m willing to overlook a lot of scale issues, but it’s hard for me to overlook this one. Just check him out next to Generations Wheeljack. As Grimlock might say, “Dino not same size as car! Why Dino same size as car?” Actually, Sludge looks a little smaller than Wheeljack’s auto mode. In a perfect world, I think modern Dinobots should be Leader Class, but I would have happily accepted Voyager Class. These guys are supposed to be big and imposing, but here he just looks puny and pathetic. Oh well. Let’s transform him and check out his robot mode.

There’s nothing too complicated going on with the transformation here and the resulting bot is pretty damn good. The dino hind legs are a little kibbly on his lower legs, but I do like how the two halves of the tail fold to the back and serve as additional heel spurs. I think the biggest departure here from the Sludge design I’m used to seeing is the way the wings are lower down on his torso and not up over his shoulders. It’s not a big deal to me, and you can actually just swing those all the way back if you want to give him a cleaner look from the front. It’s worth noting that Sludge’s combiner port lands on his back, giving him a clean and distinctive torso design.

He’s not quite as tidy in the back, but there’s nothing here that’s too terrible. The dino neck and head hang down his back, forming a pretty copious backpack, but that was something I expected. The deco in robot mode is more or less the same as in his alt mode. There’s more black and red showing and I still think all the colors look great. It’s hard to imagine a Deluxe sized update to Sludge turning out better than this guy.

The head sculpt is quite solid too. Sludge always had a sad and derpy look to me, and this expression here carries that pretty nicely. The paint used for the face and eyes looks great. Here you can also make out the tiny Autobot insignia printed on his chest. Much like the alt mode, I’ve got no major  complaints with the robot mode, until we get to that ugly issue of size and scaling.

Here’s a size comparison with Generations Wheeljack in robot mode and this just doesn’t work for me at all. Wheeljack looks like he could probably take Sludge in a fight and that’s not right. Oh yeah, and I forgot to turn his forearms around in this photo… my bad.

Sludge comes with two accessories, a gun and his Prime Armor piece. You should know by now that I’m not going to waste any time on the Prime Armor piece, other than to say it looks like the same one we got with Swoop and Slug. The gun is also recycled and is the exact same one that came with Slug. I wouldn’t mind so much if Hasbro had given us guns with all of the Dinobots. I mean, come on, Hasbro. If you’re saving money packing in the same gun, just go ahead and arm all of them. On the plus side, I do really dig how Sludge can hold the gun with both hands.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my feelings about Sludge are the same ones I had with Slug. He’s features a great sculpt, fantastic coloring, and has excellent robot and alt modes, but in the end he’s too small to interact with my other Transformers. Maybe I can have them fight Combiner Wars Devastator, but that’s about it. As an isolated team, I think the PotP versions of the first three Dinobots look great together, but I just can’t get past the scaling issues. Only Swoop escapes this problem, because I can get behind him being a little smaller. The saddest thing is that I think these molds are detailed enough where they could have worked as Voyager Class figures. Has anyone done up-scaled KO versions of these? Because that needs to happen. Next week, I’ll wrap up my look at these guys with Snarl!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Moonracer by Hasbro

My quest for finding new Transformers has been hard fought, but it’s finally started to produce some results. Last week I checked out the first of the Terrorcons, Rippernsapper, and today I’m having a look at Autobabe Moonracer. I’ll confess that I’ve wanting figures of Moonracer and her cohorts ever since I first saw The Search for Alpha Trion. I was also disappointed we didn’t get more of her and her companions in the cartoon. Well, here we are decades later and Hasbro has begun to turn up the love for the femmebots. We got Arcee and Chromia a few years back, and now we’re getting Moonracer and Elita-1 in Power of the Primes. Was it worth the wait… Mmmm, maybe?  Oh yeah, apologies in advance for the pictures. I didn’t realize at the time how badly her white parts were going to blend into the white background. I really should have shot her with a gray or black backing, but I didn’t have time to do a complete re-shoot.

Here she is in the package and the character art looks great… but boy is it misleading. If you look closely you can see Moonracer has a rather shapely femmebot profile that somewhat matches her animated look. You can also see that in no way does she have a crippling block of kibble welded to her back. You can, however, kind of see from the packaged figure that isn’t really the case and believe me you ain’t seen nothing yet. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with her alt mode.

Moonracer is a futuristic car and not a bad one. She’s very long and pretty thin and has a pretty sleek styling that is a bit reminscent of a Formula-1 car. There are a number of tinted blue panels on the top, making it hard for me to decide which is the canopy for the driver’s compartment, because none of them open like on the Titans Return figures. I’m guessing it’s the one near the front. Or maybe none of them are, since this is probably supposed to be a Cybertronian vehicle? In addition to those tinted blue pieces, the bulk of the car’s deco consists of teal plastic with some white plastic in the back and some lavender paint hits. I don’t think she has the personality of Arcee’s convertible mode or the sexiness of Chromia’s lightcycle mode, but it’s fine.

I like the front, especially the addition of the yellow paint apps for the headlights. She also has an Autobot insignia printed on her hood. There’s a very obvious socket in the front of the car that hints at her combiner capabilities, but I dig it as just part of the car’s weird design. I will say that she doesn’t roll all that well, as some of the undercarriage hangs pretty close to the ground.

The back is a little hollow and f’ugly and you can see her hands folded up there too. There are some peg holes at the back where you can equip her rifle as a weapon on the car. You can also add her Prime Armor piece back here to fill things out, so let’s see how that looks…

Well it fills out that hollow space a bit, but it also makes her longer, which is something she didn’t need. The only advantage is that you now have two additional ports to arm her with her gun, but I don’t think it’s really worth it. You can also attach the Prime Armor to the front of the car, but I’m not even going to go there. Let’s move on to her robot mode…

From the front, Moonracer isn’t too bad, but she’s still got some issues. For starters, you can see in her mid-section where they sculpted the hourglass shape that they wanted her to have, but behind it you can see that it’s just faked out and she’s got a rather blocky torso. The legs are fine, and they have that nice rounded organic look to them, but she has those two awkward quarter-panel shells from her alt mode just jutting out on each of her lower legs. Hey, at least they help to make her enormous feet look a little smaller. I’m also not a fan of having those windshield pieces on the bottoms of her feet. As for the deco, well the teal and white goes well together and she also has a splash of lavender and a tinted blue cockpit showing in her midsection. I think the coloring is a nice approximation of her animated look from the original cartoon.

Switching to the back and here’s where things fall apart more. There’s really no semblance at all of her femmebot form from the back. Her legs look very kibble-heavy and the backpack looks very boxy. Now, I understand that some will argue there’s no reason for femmebots to be all svelte and curvy and I ain’t trying to body-shame no bots. I am, however, going by their own character art and the character design from the cartoon, so I don’t think I’m out of order bringing these things up. And things only get worse when you view her from the side…

As a rule, I don’t have a problem with my Transformers wearing backpacks. It’s a convenient place to pack away kibble, but this? Yeah, this just isn’t acceptable to me. Poor Moonracer’s backpack is so damn big that she had to be mis-transformed in the package so the figure would fit in the bubble. When I opened her up, I was shocked at this amount of back kibble and then I realized that I still had to fold another piece into it and make it bigger. Surprisingly, she’s not too back-heavy. I’m thinking that those quarter-panels that protrude off the sides of her legs help to counterbalance her a bit.

I do like the head sculpt a lot. The “helmet” has a curved design that matches the Sunbow femmebots and also has a certain flavor from the animated movie designs. The eyes are big and blue, although they do look a little too scared to fit her character. She was kind of the wisecracker and here she just looks worried or surprised about something. Alas, the paint on my figure’s lips is pretty uneven. It looks like they just blotted it on there without much thought. In fairness, you do have to get in pretty close to see it.

And if Moonracer isn’t bulky enough for you, you can always take her Prime Armor piece and attach it to her chest. The less that I say about this gimmick the better.

Moonracer comes with a pretty cool blaster, which we already saw in her alt mode. It features a scope and she can hold it in either hand and I really don’t have much else to say about it. Before wrapping up, let’s do a little side-by-side look with another femmebot…

I couldn’t put my hands on my Chromia in time for this review, but here’s a shot of Generations Arcee with Moonracer. Obviously, Arcee isn’t perfect and she’s got a sizable backpack as well, but I just like the way they dealt with it so much better. It’s completely separate of her body, which still manages to capture the animated femmebot aesthetics. Plus even her backpack features contours and curves, making it feel more like part of the design. Granted, Arcee is a shell-former and Moonracer is a combiner, and that has to add a lot of obstacles to the design, which is all the more reason I wish she wasn’t.

After such a long wait, I want to say that Moonracer is pretty disappointing. But at the same time, I can’t say that I have buyer’s remorse. I’ve wanted a figure of this character for a long time, and I have to sympathize with the challenges that Hasbro had designing a Deluxe Class figure that could match the animated look of the character and still transform and fit their (weird and IMO unnecessary) rule that all Deluxes have to be combiners in this line. Moonracer isn’t a total dud. There are things I dig about her, but when you consider that Hasbro could have redesigned her car mode to look like anything, maybe they could have met in the middle with a better compromise between robot and alt mode. In the end, it’s cool that they made her and I’m happy to have her, but boy am I glad I didn’t wind up paying a premium for her.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Rippersnapper by Hasbro

Holy shit, it’s a new Transformers review! Before jumping in, I want to make mention of how frustrating the Power of the Primes line has been for me. Distribution is never great in my area, but I was still able to pick up maybe half of my Titans Return figures in either the local Walmarts or Targets. And what I couldn’t find local, I was able to get off of Amazon at, or at least pretty close to, MSRP.

PotP has changed all that. The big box stores here either have empty pegs or the pegs are busting with Robots in Disguise figures where PotP should be. Even those newer Bayformer Studio figures are moving in on PotP’s turf. When the Walmart finally restocked, they restocked with two cases of the first wave. Amazon has been no help either because the Deluxe Class figures have been running in the $25-35 range. So, while it’s true I have not been as impressed with PotP as I was with Titans Return, I haven’t been intentionally snubbing this line. Indeed, I was actually thrilled to finally find a couple Deluxes at regular retail, because I still love getting new Transformers. OK, enough of my bitchin’… on with the review of the Terrorcon Rippersnapper!

Just look at that bitchin’ character art! By the time the G1 Terrorcons hit in 1987, I was 15 years old and more obsessed with Star Trek than I was Transformers. I was aware they existed because I was still watching the cartoon, but I never owned any of the Terrorcon figures. As a result, I was super excited to see them coming out as part of the Power of the Primes and allowing me to finally own these characters in brand new versions. Rippersnapper is the first of these to cross my path, so let’s get rip him open and snap some pictures! I’m going to start with his robot mode…

The original Rippersnapper was one of the smaller, basic sized combiner limbs, so getting him up-scaled to a Deluxe is pretty damn cool. The robot design takes some cues from the original toy, but is obviously much better proportioned and with serviceable articulation! I don’t know that I would recognize who he’s supposed to be from the front, but being in the know, I think it’s a great update. Some of my favorite things include, the chest plate that covers his combiner port, the guns that rise up over his shoulders and the way the claws on his forearms work with the articulation in his wrists. In fact, my only quibble about this robot mode is that his right beast leg doesn’t secure the way it should. There’s a peg there to hold it in place, and it works fine on the left leg, but this one just keeps popping out.

From the back, Rippersnapper still sports a pretty clean profile. The beast mode’s head forms a curved backpack and hood of sorts, while the tail fins function as heel spurs. The robot mode’s deco is predominantly a mix of cream and dark blue plastics with some lighter blue accents, as well as some red, silver, and yellow paint apps, giving him a much more diverse color palate than some of the Titans Return figures. All in all, I have to say that I love this robot mode. It looks great, the colors are beautiful, and really fits the G1 cartoon aesthetic that I treasure so dearly.

I don’t have any special attachment to Rippersnapper’s portrait from the good old days, but the head they went with here looks pretty similar to what I remember from the cartoon. He has a rather complex and squared-off “helmet” that frames his yellow face and large red peepers. It’s been so long since I had a new Transformer that my initial instinct was to pop the head off and then I remembered that was the last line’s gimmick. What was this line’s gimmick again?

Ooooh yeah. These stupid Prime Armor pieces.  I don’t like these at all, but I suppose Rippersnapper still looks passable with it on, even if it does bulk him out like crazy. As always, the piece on the front of the armor can be removed and you can stick one of the Prime Masters in there to give him imaginary powers. Yeah, I still don’t like this gimmick, but I do love the Pretender homage that’s included with the tiny Prime Masters, so I’ll definitely be picking up more of those when I find them.

Rippersnapper’s guns can be removed from behind his shoulders and held in his hands. These are a cool matching set of blasters, and I like them a lot better than the ones that came in the last line and had seats for the Titan Masters. Between these and his claws, Rippersnapper definitely has all the bases covered for combat. So let’s see how he looks in his Terrorcon beast mode…

The transformation here is pretty simple and it feels familiar, particularly in the way the legs expand and retract and that’s basically 90% of the transformation. The result is a… what? Some kind of land shark demon thing? Oddly enough, Rippersnapper’s alt mode has always stuck with me, despite never owning the original toy, and I think this is a pretty slick update, even if there isn’t a whole hell of a lot to it. His little legs are strong enough to support his body, but he can also rest it on his tail fin when he wants to. Also, his forearms are a lot more menacing than I remember from the original toy. He has some decent reach with those claws.

From the sides, Rippersnapper sort of looks like an adorable baby Trypticon. I think that’s mostly because of the dual cannons protruding over his shoulders and the snapping jaws. But no doubt, he’s more shark than dinosaur. The deco is more or less the same as the robot mode, and still very pleasing on the eyes. Oh yeah, and I love the faked out rub sign on the back of his shark head.

Speaking of the shark head, it features a lot of personality, especially in those beady little triangular red eyes and silver teeth. I really dig the vents sculpted into the sides of his head as well. The fact that there’s nothing to hide his robot chest being the same as his alt mode. At least all that great detail doesn’t go to waste.

Man, it feels great to open up a new Transformer again and I think Rippersnapper was a fine figure to come back to. There’s nothing exciting about the transformation engineering, but he is a super fun figure in both robot and alt mode. This kind of creativity that went into the later G1 designs is something that I missed out on back then, and it’s great to be experiencing it now with these modern updates. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find the rest of the Terrorcons before too long, because I’m anxious to get this team together. In the meantime, next week I’ll be back with a look at another figure from this assortment… and it’s a femmebot!

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Dreadwind by Hasbro

The great New Jersey Philospher Anthony Soprano once said, “‘Remember When’ is the lowest form of conversation.” That may be true, but Lord Primus help me, I do love me some G1 Transformers homages and call backs. And today’s figure is especially cool for me, because I was getting out of Transformers back when the whole Power Masters thing was getting started, so this is a brand new opportunity to finally own a version of G1 Dreadwind. And no, that Botcon repaint of Classics Jetfire doesn’t count.

We’ve seen the PotP Deluxe packaging several times now, so there’s not much new to talk about. As always, we get some absolutely kickass character art at the top of the card. Also, I shot this one from a bit more of a top-down angle so you can see how they had to maneuver poor Dreadwind’s legs to get them to fit on a standard Deluxe bubble. But before we start talking about his robot mode, let’s check out with his alt mode.

Dreadwind’s alt mode is a passable approximation of an F-16 Falcon, and yup, he’s a remold of Skydive from Combiner Wars! At first glance, the look is similar enough that I actually had to dig out Skydive to see if there was any remolding. The biggest difference is where the wings meet the body, and it looks like the tail wings are new. Also, you can see the newly sculpted circular intakes peeking out from under the wings and near the body. The Prime/Titan Master peg holes on the new wing pieces are a nice touch. But does it really work as G1 Dreadwind? Yeah, apart from the split fins on the back, where he should only have one, it’s pretty damn solid.

The deco is right on the mark too. You get a very pale gray/off-white body with aqua colored wings and cockpit, along with a darker charcoal nosecone and rear quarter. The only major departure is that the rear wings are purple instead of charcoal, but that still fits in nicely with the purple in the original Dreadwind’s color scheme. The silver paint one wings and the Decepticon insignia do a nice job mimicking the stickers on the G1 toy. The red painted intakes are a little different, but they don’t really hurt the homage at all. It’s a great looking jet and just different enough from Skydive to make me happy.

By now, y’all know I’m not a big fan of this line’s Prime Armor pieces, but this one can actually be used to drive home the whole Power Master homage, by plugging it into the top of the jet. Yeah, it’s a lot bigger than the Power Masters were, but at least they painted this armor in something close to the original Hi-Test’s colors to make it an option. Dreadwind’s gun can also be pegged into the hole on the back of the jet, or if you’re not a fan of symmetry, you can plug it into either of the sockets below the wings. It looks pretty silly on the top, so I tend to just plug it into one of the wings. Alrighty, let’s get this guy transformed and check out his other half.

In robot mode we get to see a lot more of the remolding Hasbro did here. The torso, while still built around the same old Combiner post, is completely new. A good chunk of the legs and arms are recycled, but he has brand new shoulders and really shows off those circular intakes. And that’s a good thing, because those shoulders are some of the only real design call-backs to the original G1 Dreadwind in this robot mode, at least below the neck. The biggest difference is the lack of cockpit on his chest.  With that having been said, I really like the deco on the robot mode. You get more of that pale gray and snazzy purple plastic, as well as the aqua on the shoulders and hips. There are some silver paint hits on the shoulders and chest, some red applications on the chest, and his feet and hands are painted charcoal.

The back shows off some of the things I don’t like about him, and that’s the fact that he wears all his wings on his lower legs. I don’t mind so much that it isn’t faithful to the original design, but I just don’t think it looks good. Having three wings hanging off each leg is why they had to contort him to fit in the package, and while it looks fine from the front, it looks really awkward and ungainly from the back or sides. You can fold the primary wings forward to clean up the back a bit, but at the expense of the front. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was clever the way they engineered the wings to move down there, rather than on the back like Skydive, but having all that kibble on his legs and nothing on his torso makes him look a little oddly proportioned.

Moving back up to the head, I really dig this head sculpt. It’s a great update to the original toy’s rather distinctive look. The yellow eyes look especially cool set inside the purple “helmet.” But all those exposed screwheads so prominently on display? Eh, I could have done without that.

I’ve already shown off Dreadwind’s weapon attached to his jet mode. Here he is holding it. It’s a really long peg that doesn’t fit too well in his hand, which makes it look a tad awkward, but overall not bad. Plus it’s the height of Decepticon fashion to have your shooter color coordinated to match your shoulders.

Dreadwind is a really cool little figure. I will admit, I was not terribly keen on seeing Hasbro cram Combiner Wars remolds into this new line, especially not in the very first wave of Deluxes, but in hand, Dreadwind feels just fresh enough for me to give him a pass. There are some design elements that could have been tweaked, but in the end, I definitely like him. Of course, part of my goodwill towards this figure is based on the fact that he’s based on what I would consider to be a somewhat obscure character/toy, but that’s probably just because I got out of Transformers when I did. I’m sure someone out there considers Dreadwind a favorite and I hope this little homage lives up to their expectations.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Jazz by Hasbro

After some detours into the larger Voyager Class and smaller Prime Master figures, it’s finally time for me to steer back to that first wave of Deluxes from The Power of the Primes line. I already checked out the two figures that I was most excited (or curious) about, Slug and Swoop, and today I’m opening up Jazz. I don’t know, Hasbro. You did a mighty fine Jazz back around 2011 in the Reveal The Shield line, and he still holds up pretty well today. Are you sure you want to take another crack at him? The pressure is on. Let’s take a look…

Same old packaging, but once again with some absolutely bitchin’ character art. Also, have a look at the ubiquitous Prime Armor piece in the lower corner of the tray, because you won’t see it again in this review. It’s going into the Accessory Junk Drawer! It doesn’t say anywhere on the package, but like all these Deluxes, Jazz is indeed a Combiner limb. I won’t grumble about that too much because it’s hidden really well. OK, let’s start things off with the alt mode.

LIBERTIES! Yes, Hasbro has taken major ones with Jazz’s new auto mode and that leaves me a little torn. No, this isn’t really Jazz to me but the design of the car is great, and it’s executed brilliantly. I will note ahead of time that some of the seams you see in the picture show a not so tight transformation, but I’ll blame that on user error. I did have some difficulties getting his arms packed in just right. But let me go on to say that the detail in the sculpt is especially nice. Not only do you get plenty of panel lines, but you also get some cool vent panels on the sides of the engine, and even a detailed gas cap. The clear plastic windows and, tinted blue plastic looks fantastic on the headlamps. I just wish they could have spared some paint for the taillights and rear bumper.

The rest of the deco is fabulous. This is some of the brightest, and most prettiest white I’ve seen on a Transformer in a while. Just look at the comparison with the previous Jazz. I know, how can I get so worked up over white? Well, it just looks so much better than the white we usually get and when combined with the blue and red stripe down the middle, this car really pops. You also get some graphics tampo’ed on the sides, including “Autobot Jazz” which is ironically there because you might not otherwise recognize him. It’s like when they used to print the character name on the apron on those old Ben Cooper Halloween costumes. A little silver paint on those front grills would have been nice, but you do get some red trim around the apron. Yup, apart from a brighter white, there’s really no contest to me which alt mode comes out on top and screams Jazz to me. Still, I love this car, and am hoping we get a repaint into another character. More on that later.

Before moving on to the robot mode, Jazz does come with a gun that can be pegged into the top of the car on any one of three ports. I kind of dig it straight up in the center. You can also substitute any of the Prime Master Decoy Armor in their Targetmaster modes. I’ll also note that there are some foot pegs on his back, so Prime or Titan Masters can ride him into battle!

The transformation here is pretty similar to many of the Combiner limb cars we’ve seen in the last few years and the result is a pretty great looking robot mode and a little bit closer to the Jazz I know, but still not quite there. I do appreciate the front of the car forming the chest, as this configuration is to me the most iconic as well as my all time favorite look for an Autobot Warrior. I think it’s the lack of door wings that really throws me off. With that having been said, this is a remarkably well-proportioned robot mode, and you’d have to look really close to even notice that there’s a combiner port embedded in his chest. I will, however, say that the forearms look pretty cheap. The lack of paint, the car shell extending behind the fists, and the ball jointed elbows all scream Legends Class to me.

From the back, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about. This is one of the cleanest robo-backs I’ve seen in a while. There’s none of that “hollow leg syndrome” and the canopy piece for the car forms a solid slab of a back. Not bad at all.

Unfortunately, the head is a little off for me. It’s unmistakably Jazz, but it feels a tad undersized. Also the facial features below the visor are very soft. The nose and mouth tend to get lost in the reflections of the silver paint and it’s almost like there’s nothing there. But once again, those blue headlamps look great, as does the bold Autobot emblem stamped on his chest.

Jazz comes with a neat little blaster, which we already saw on his alt mode. In robot mode he can hold in either hand. The articulation here is overall pretty good, with the one exception being the shoulders. The lateral hinge is pretty awkward to work with and the lack of a bicep swivel makes some of those action poses a little hard to achieve.

There’s a lot I like about this figure. The detail on the mold and the coloring are great in both car and robot mode. The engineering is solid, but not overly complex. And lastly, I really dig how well they hid the fact that he’s a Combiner limb. Had they gone with using this mold as a different character I would have been a lot happier to own him, but with the Reveal The Shield Jazz holding up so well, this one just feels redundant. For some reason I keep thinking this figure would have worked as an homage to the G1 Omnibot Overdrive. Either way, if you were a fan of the Combiner Wars G1 Autobots, you might actually dig this guy a lot, and I’d say he’d fit in pretty well with that lot.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Legends Class Beachcomber by Hasbro

It’s time for another Transformers Thursday fueled by the Power of the Primes! If you’ve been following along with my previous PotP reviews than you already know that this line has been a little hit and miss with me. But one thing it’s doing pretty damn well is the Legends Class figures, so let’s check out another one today. And if it isn’t an honest to Primus homage to G1 Beachcomber! “Ooooh, my. Booboobadooboo… this is gonna be paradise!” 

Everyone’s favorite Cybertronian Tree Hugger comes on your typical PotP card with some truly bitchin’ character art at the top. As far as I know, the last time Beachcomber got a figure was back in the Generations line around 2008. That one was also a Legends Class, but I only owned the repaint, Sandstorm. In fact, the last Beachcomber figure I owned was that giant futuristic dune-buggy from the Energon line. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to get this figure in hand. He comes packaged in his robot mode, but as usual, let’s start with his alt mode.

And it is indeed a good old fashioned blue and gray dune-buggy! There’s just the right amount of detail in the sculpt, which includes shock absorbers on the front and back wheels, headlamps, and some panel lines and further detailing on the running boards. You also get a little basic detail in the driver compartment, and some great looking treads on the plastic tires. The coloring is largely achieved through the blue and gray plastic, although the back engine area is painted gray and the two circular components are painted silver. There’s also a nice big Autobot emblem printed on the hood and bisected by the seam. I’ll admit that a few more paint hits would have been welcome, like some yellow on the headlamps and maybe some black for the driver cage, but I’m still pretty pleased with this little buggy.

As with most of the Legends Class vehicles lately, you can fit a Titan or Prime Master into the driver seat, in this case simply by disconnecting the bars to the driver cage and angling them back.

It’s also worth noting that the socket near the engine area can fit the weapons from the Prime Masters’ Decoy Armor. It may be a little odd to see the peace-loving Beachcomber toting around extra firepower, but somebody’s gotta save that pristine Golden Lagoon from the Decepticreeps!

Beachcomber transforms pretty much exactly like the old days. The legs fold out from his hood and the arms pull out from the sides. Compact the torso and you get your head reveal, and the results are superb! You get the same wheel placement on the shoulders and lower legs, a sticker on the chest similar to the original toy, and some blue, yellow, and orange paint on his abs to match the other sticker on the original. I also really dig the sculpted piston design in his chest. Some additional gray paint is used to pick out his fists. This guy looks absolutely amazing.

He looks damn spiffy from the back as well. Sure, you get a little of that hollow leg syndrome, but I’m willing to accept that in these Legends Class figures. I love how two of the cage bars form heel spurs, and the rest of the cage folds neatly down and close to his back. The positioning of the two silver drums on his upper back looks great as well.

The only thing this figure needs to round out the homage was a great head sculpt, and he’s got that too. The pronounced silver visor rests above a pretty human-looking face, which matches his Sunbow design spot-on. I can practically see him pursing his lips and whistling to the birds!

The articulation here is pretty much what I’ve come to expect from these Legends Class figures. That includes ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, and hips, hinges in the knees, a ball joint in the neck, and much to my surprise, this little guy actually has swivels in the thighs!

Beachcomber fits right at home among some of the more amazing Legends Class G1-homages we’ve been getting in the Titans Return and now the Power of the Primes runs. Everything about these little fellas make me smile, but Beachcomber scratches that special itch, because this really is the first decent official version of him we’ve had in ten years, and even that one wasn’t all that amazing. Part of me would still have liked to see these guys get the Deluxe treatment, but then there’s something so appropriate about the old Minibots getting to keep their smaller and simpler stature. Either way, there’s no doubt in my mind that Windcharger and Beachcomber rank in as my two favorites of the PotP lines so far.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Prime Masters (Wave 1) by Hasbro

If you’ve been reading my Power of the Primes reviews, you may have noticed that I’ve been peppering them with a general lack of interest in the whole Prime Armor and Prime Master gimmick. But don’t take that as a personal attack on the Prime Masters themselves, because I actually love these little guys and plan on buying every goddamn one of them. Why?

Well just look at them! They’re like a cross between Pretenders and Targetmasters. These little buggers replace the individual packaged Titan Masters assortments from the last line. I only picked up a few of those, and I don’t think I ever reviewed any of them, because they didn’t interest me a lot and I didn’t think they made for interesting reviews. Oh, I loved the Headmaster gimmick in Titans Return, but I was never big on buying different heads to swap out with the ones that came with the figures. But these? These are some tiny bots that I can really get behind. Each package features three components: The Prime Master figure, the Decoy Armor, and a weapon that attaches to the armor. The result is that there’s a lot of playability packed into these five dollar packets. Let’s start with Vector Prime…

Vector Prime’s Decoy Armor is based on G1 Metalhawk. I should at this point declare that I was already out of Transformers by the time The Pretenders hit the market, and while I’ve admired them and learned a lot about them since, I’m not all that familiar with Metalhawk. I want to say that’s because he didn’t get a US release, but I’m treading on unfamiliar territory there. Anywho, just check out the awesome paint and sculpting that went into this Pretender Shell! Keep in mind these aren’t all that much bigger than the Titan/Prime Masters. The blue plastic is quite brilliant and looks great with the silver, red, and yellow paint apps. I also dig how the helmet has an open face so you can make out the Prime Master’s face inside it. Have there ever been toy suits of armor for figures as small as these? I doubt it. The legs are static, but the arms can rotate.

From the back, we can see his weapon attached on a hinge for storage. It can be removed and Vector Prime can hold it while he’s in his Decoy Armor. Granted, it’s really big for him, but that’s because it also doubles as part of a the Decoy Armor’s Targetmaster gimmick. But before we get to that, let’s open up the armor and have a look at Vector Prime. Damn, these tiny guys are complicated!

The armor hinges open at the feet to reveal the little fella inside. The Prime Masters are basically the same as the Titan Masters in scale and articulation. You still get ball joints in the head and shoulders, and hinges at the hips and knees, but with the legs fused together. Vector Prime’s black and blue plastic matches that of his Decoy Armor, and you actually get a little silver paint on his teeny little face. These Prime Masters transform exactly like the Titan Masters, only instead of changing into heads, they change into little box-like chips that can be inserted into the Prime Armor that comes with the larger figures. Now you can transform the Decoy Armor into a gun and place Vector Prime in it. And since he didn’t come with any weapons, I’m going to use Grimlock to showcase the Targetmaster Gimmicks today.

“ME GRIMLOCK SAY HASBRO MARKETING GENIUS. NOT GIVE WEAPONS IN PACKAGE. MAKE YOU BUY TINY BOTS FOR WEAPONS!”

I think Grimlock may have a point. He might have been light on weapons as an incentive to pick up these packs. But even if that’s so, damn I love this! The Decoy Armors’ weapon modes are a tad large for Deluxes, but they’re very well suited for Voyagers or Leaders. Vector Prime’s armor makes a pretty good looking single-barrel gun, and you can stick him on top in his chip mode, or keep him in the armor. Brilliant! Moving on to Micronus…

Micronus’ Decoy Armor is based off of G1 Cloudburst, and here’s one that I actually remember. The shell is a little less rounded than the original release, but the resemblance is certainly there. Again, it’s a really nice sculpt for such a little toy and the coloring consists of some bright red plastic, black plastic, and some white and blue paint apps. Like Vector Prime, Micronus can be seen peeking out through the face hole in the armor and his gun hangs off the back for storage or can be equipped in either of the Pretender Shell’s hands.

Open up the Armor and out comes Micronus. His deco shares that of the Decoy Armor’s red and black plastic, and his little face is painted blue. How about the Targetmaster mode?

Micronus’ Armor changes into a double-barreled gun, which looks pretty damn good in Grimlock’s hand. And if you’d rather have Micronus plugged into Grimlock’s Prime Armor… go for it. Moving on to the final figure of the trio… Liege Maximo.

Liege Maximo is the lone Decepticon of the bunch and his Decoy Armor is also the most familiar to me as Skullgrin. Wait, he’s a Prime, but he’s a Decepticon? I gotta be honest, I don’t understand all the hows and whys of this whole Prime Master thing. I just know that Pretenders make me happy and this little Skullgrin doubly so. The blend of gray and neon mauve plastic is outrageously beautiful, with some white paint added to pick out his belt and skull. The sculpting on this guy is also fantastic.

A peek at the back reveals Maximo has a rather unconventional weapon stored there. Pop it off and put it in the Armor’s hand and it becomes… I dunno, a big slashing claw? Sure, why not!

Pop open the Decoy Armor and you can see that Liege Maximo shares the Pretender Shell’s amazing deco. I think he’s my favorite of the bunch because the sculpt on him just looks so crisp and the face paint is especially well done.

I’ll be honest, Maximo’s weapon mode doesn’t do a lot for me. It kind of just looks like a rake or something. Grimlock is not terribly impressed either, but the silver paint is sure nice. Besides, you didn’t come with jack-squat, Grimlock. Beggers can’t be choosers, so take the hot-pink claw thingie and like it!

Holy shit, these are some fun little toys! I know that the Titan Masters came with little vehicles, but in the end they were just Headmasters without proper bodies and were kind of lost on me. But here, Hasbro went in an entirely new direction and it pays off for me big time. When you consider that a big part of the Prime Master gimmick consists of big ugly armor pieces and pretend powers written down on the backs of cards, I really dig that Hasbro packed so much more playability into these little guys. The Pretender Shells are an impossible homage… Something I never thought Hasbro would ever revisit again in a million years, and yet here they are alive and well and swinging on the pegs down at my local Target. And if tiny action figures in armor isn’t enough, incorporating the Targetmaster gimmick into it as well just goes above and beyond. Keep making these little buggers, Hasbro, and I promise I will buy them all!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Grimlock by Hasbro

With this being my first week of regular content since the New Year, what better way to kick off 2018’s Transformers Thursdays with a look at the very highly anticipated new Voyager Class Grimlock? I actually got this guy in right around the turn of the year and I’ve been chomping at the bit to open him up ever since. I’m also just a wee bit nervous, because not everything I’ve been hearing about Grimmy has been good. Will PotP Grimlock be Bozo or King? I guess I’m about to find out!

This is the first boxed figure that I’m reviewing from PotP and as you can see it’s not much different from Combiner Wars or Titans Return. The character art is great, but I’m really ready for Hasbro to change up the packaging deco for the next Transformers line. I was never a big fan of this layout. It just feels bland and boring and generic, and it’s getting more than a little stale for me. But who cares about the box? I’m just going to trash it anyway. The figure comes packaged in his robot mode and as we’re about to see, that was a good choice on Hasbro’s part. Let’s jump right in to Grimlock’s alt mode.

Oh, boy. So, I knew I was going to be in for a rough ride here, but I’ll say straightaway that the T-Rex mode is at least instantly familiar. Unfortunately, It’s also a veritable symphony of good and bad execution, and the emphasis is leaning toward the bad. I’m tempted to say that I’d be fine with the main body if the legs didn’t seem to jut out so far to the point where they’re really awkward looking. Then again, I think a lot of that has to do with how wide the body is. He looks like he’s wearing a pair of big gold diapers, and they’re starting to sag. Let’s just say that the proportions on this T-Rex are a mess. I think he looks passable when viewed at a three-quarter turn, but looking at him dead on, or from above, or from either side makes me want to ball up my fists and scream, WHYYYY? And the answer I keep coming back to is simple: Because they made him a Combiner. That tail is chunky because that’s where the Combiner’s leg ports are. Those legs are so horribly misshapen because that’s where the Combiner’s shoulder ports are. I didn’t ask for Dinobot Combiners, but I’m not earnestly against the idea. But in this case, a lot was sacrificed in favor of a Dinobot Combiner gimmick, and I can’t say I’m very happy about it.

Proportions aside, assuming I’m able to overlook them, there’s some great stuff going on with this sculpt. There’s plenty of panel lines, vents, circuitry, and other doodads that really makes the detail come alive. I’d also argue that the head is spot on perfect, as are the tiny little arms, which are ball jointed into his body. It’s true that he’s really damn f’ugly from the top top down, but I’m surprised at how little that bothers me. The deco is also brilliant. Like the other PotP Dinobots, I really dig the mix of gray, red, and black plastic, along with those gold sections under clear plastic. Add in some foil stickers, and you get a deco that perfectly invokes the G1 Dinobot aesthetic, and matches Slug and Swoop pretty well. He scales fairly well with them too.

I do have some problems getting the seam running down his dino chest to close up all the way. Some silver paint for the arms and teeth would have been cool, but all in all, there’s some stuff to love on this T-Rex and just about all of it is from the chest and arms up. But I don’t think it balances out with the awkward, clunky proportions. Let’s move on to his robot mode.

And here is where the figure starts to shine a bit. The big barrel-shaped gold chest covered in clear plastic works for me, although I would have liked a little something between it and his pelvis. I think it’s called abs and Grimmy here just doesn’t have any. Regardless, I think the arms are great. They look powerful, I love the high shoulders, and while the diminished claws didn’t help him much in T-Rex mode, they look OK here on his wrists. It’s below the waist where things get a little dodgy. The legs could have used a bit more bulk to them. They look fine on their own, and I like the way the colorful foil stickers invoke that G1 spirit, but his lower half is a touch too scrawny for that powerful upper body. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a deal-breaker for me, but there’s room for improvement. Maybe he would have benefited from some actual feet.

The back of the figure advertises how the transformation doesn’t stray too far from the old G1 engineering. The T-Rex neck and head still flops down the center of the back, the chest opens up into “wings” and the tail, instead of folding up the sides of the legs, go to the back to serve as heel spurs. About the only thing out of place here is that giant hip plate, which is obvious Combiner kibble.

The head sculpt is simple, but wonderfully slavish to the G1 design. Here’s one thing that I wouldn’t have changed at all.

And just as things were getting better, Hasbro punches me right in the balls with the decision to not include any weapons. Nope, no weapons. No sword, no gun, nothing. It’s an omission so ridiculous, that I can scarcely believe it. You do get a couple of Combiner parts in there, and a power chip called the Dinobot Enigma. But if you want your Grimlock armed, you’re just going to have to steal the sword and gun from his fellow Dinobots.

The Combiner Parts double as Prime Armor and can attach to him at various points. The most useful place seems to be on his arms, as it gives him some claw-like thingies. They look OK and they’re probably fun for the kiddies. The Dinobot Enigma is basically like a Prime Master that doesn’t transform. Or maybe like a Dinobot Matrix? Either way it fits into any of the Prime Armor pieces you have. You can probably tell that I’m not at all vested in the Prime Armor power gimmick, although I do applaud that it’s a feature that actually requires kids to use their imaginations. And don’t you worry… I’ll be looking at some of them Prime Masters coming up real soon. Hey, before wrapping up, let’s take a quick look at him with the last Voyager Grimlock, from the Generations Fall of Cybertron line…

When it comes to the robot mode, I’ll take FOC Grimlock over this one in a heartbeat, but in fairness they are two pretty different looks. I like the deco on PotP Grimmy a little better, as it really does a splendid job matching the G1 aesthetic. But with that having been said, the proportions and overall sexiness of FOC Grimlock still impresses me. Not to mention he comes with a sword and a shield, which he’s probably going to have to learn how to share.

The T-Rex modes tell a very different story. I had really good memories of FOC Grimlock’s T-Rex mode, but dear god, it has not aged well. While PotP Grimlock looks bloated and ill-proportioned, the FOC version looks like a hollowed out husk of a T-Rex. As many problems as I have with this new Grimlock’s alt mode, I have to say it looks like a goddamn work of art beside the older FOC figure.

In the end, Grimlock here is disappointing, although the pretty decent robot mode helps keep him from being a total disaster. There’s a hint of greatness in his alt mode, at least in the top half, but when you get down to the legs, the whole thing just falls apart for me. It’s a real shame, because the original G1 Grimlock toy looked pretty damn great in both robot and T-Rex mode, so modernizing it should really just be a matter of adding articulation and cleaning up some of the proportions. And yet here we are with a modern update that looks worse because of the Combiner gimmick. Now, obviously, I won’t pass judgement on the Dinobots as a Combiner Team until I have all the figures to combine, but as things stand now, I’m not very happy with this trade off. Am I being too hard on this new Grimlock? I dunno. You tell me.