Transformers Reveal The Shield: Special Ops Jazz by Hasbro

It seems like forever since I last looked at any Transformers. That’s primarily due to the fact that the Dark of the Moon toys didn’t hold my interest and Hasbro’s got nothing else on the pegs or shelves that I want. [Except for those Kre-O sets, and we’ll likely be looking at one of those before the end of the week. -FF] Anyway, thanks to the Ross Toy Graveyard I was able to get almost all the Reveal The Shield figures I needed to complete my Classics/Generations/Universe collection. That is all except Jazz and finally one of the online retailers I deal with regularly was able to get me a pretty decent price on him and so here we are today…

Bidding a fond farewell to the Reveal The Shield packaging, as this should be the last time we ever see it here. Truth be told, I was never all that fond of it. Its basically the Generations cardback with a less Tranformer-like orange color to the card rather than the more traditional red. Jazz comes packaged in his vehicle mode with his gun mounted beside him. Note the name, “Special Ops Jazz.” This isn’t some kind of special repaint or variant, but rather just one of those cases where Hasbro lost the rights to use the name Jazz by itself so their lawyers told them they’d be safe if they tacked on “Special Ops” before the name. The bubble also sports the ubiquitous Hub network sticker to remind you that there’s a current Transformers series running, but doesn’t mention that Hasbro continues to make it next to impossible for you to buy any toys based on it, unless you fancy paying about forty bucks for a Deluxe on the Interwebs. End bitter rant now.
Out of the package, Jazz’s car mode is indeed quite nice and very reminiscent of his original G1 Porsche mode. He is cast in that white plastic that makes me afraid that it will yellow over time, but it’ll probably last longer than my liver, so who’s worried? His color scheme includes blue and red striping up the middle and sides and his racing number four on the hood and doors. The Rub Sign is on the roof of the car and mine doesn’t work worth a damn. God, how I hate these things.
Jazz is really easy to transform and in robot mode he looks outstanding. I’m not one of those collectors that hate on the Prowl/Bluestreak/Smokescreen mold from Classics, but even I have to admit that Jazz looks tons better and doesn’t suffer from problems like the door panels falling off nearly every time in mid conversion. Yeah, I realize that G1 Jazz used a different mold as the G1 versions of those three, but the robot modes are so similar, the comparison is still valid in my book. Either way, great job on this one, Hasbro!
Jazz does have one cool little gimmick and that’s the speakers that deploy from behind his car door “wings”. I love that Hasbro included this as it really gives the toy a lot of personality and its a nice fanwank back to the original Sunbow cartoon. They’re ball jointed so you can position them in all manner of ways.
And so Jazz rounds out my collection of updated G1 Autobots quite nicely. Sure there’s still Skids and Trailbreaker and Hoist and more Minibots to make, but based on what we heard at Toy Fair this year, it looks like we’ll have to wait until 2013 for those. I was able to get Jazz for $17 shipped, which is about what I would have paid if I would have ordered him off of Hasbro’s own Toyshop, assuming he was ever actually available. Sure, its a lot more pricey than the other Reveal The Shield figures, but then I was able to find all of those on clearance at Ross. You can’t win them all.

Transformers Reveal The Shield: Optimus Prime by Hasbro

We’ve come to the end of my Reveal The Shield haul, and I saved the worst for last. Ironically, I was really looking forward to picking up this G2 inspired version of Optimus Prime. Early photos made me a little suspicious of his truck mode, but I thought his robot mode would carry the day. Plus, I still wasn’t convinced Hasbro would release a finished product that looked as bad as this Prime’s truck mode did. In the end I was wrong and what we have here is overall a pretty shitty toy. Let’s take a look…

Prime is a Deluxe Class figure, so we’re back to the carded style of package. He comes carded in his truck form, which is pretty ballsy and honest of Hasbro to show you the worst of the two modes outright. Still, it may cool the jets on some Bayformer haters to learn that the modern movies weren’t the first time Prime appeared as an extended cab. Y’all can blame G2 for that. Prime also comes packaged with his energon sword beside him, although as we’ll see it actually serves a purpose in the truck mode.
And there it is, released from the bubble and exposed in all it’s wretched glory. It’s a hideous looking truck with a bizarre patchwork look to it, particularly around the doors. The orange paint on the windows looks awful, the doors themselves angle inward awkwardly, and the arms hanging off the bottom of the doors is just plain unsightly. Let’s not forget the dubious decision to go with a orange tinted clear plastic for the front grill. Even the paint job is miss-matched with the front being black and the rest blue making the toy look like an unfinished prototype. Ugh. I can’t believe any designer at Hasbro held aloft this mess and was pleased enough to release it. I guess it’s all about the robot mode, eh?
Blah. Not so much. Don’t get me wrong, Prime’s robot mode is infinitely better than his truck mode, but that doesn’t mean it’s particularly good. If you own the G2 “Laser Rods” Prime or perhaps the more recent Robots in Disguise Scourge, you can see that Hasbro really tried to replicate that design into this Deluxe Class figure. The problem is those two toys are great, this one just isn’t. What’s really strange is the attention paid to some of the little details. The wheels on his legs do this complex little flip up and seat into his legs to get them out of the way. It isn’t at all necessary and you can opt not to do it if you so desire. But why take the time to put that kind of engineering on a toy design that’s so broken everywhere else? Just like his truck mode, Prime’s robot mode looks as if it were patched together from various other Primes.
The head sculpt here is also really weird. It’s sort of like a mix up of Prime from the Bay films with some extra animated stylization thrown in. I don’t know that I completely dislike it, but it feels really out of place on this figure.
About the only thing here that I really do like is Prime’s energon sword. In truck mode it forms the cab hitch and cleverly transforms itself into this neat little sword with a crossguard. I suppose I can give it to one of my other Deluxe Primes or some other figure. It’s a sad statement, because I think Hasbro had some good intentions with this figure, but really dropped the ball on the execution. If you can find this guy at one of the cloesout stores he just might be worth your time, particularly if you are any kind of Optimus Prime completist, but he sure isn’t worth the premium some of the Reveal The Shield toys are commanding online.

Transformers Reveal The Shield: Solar Storm Grappel by Hasbro

I’m almost through the Deluxe Class figures I picked up from this series, but rather than finish them off, I thought I’d jump over to the one big guy. He’s one of the Voyager Class toys in this series and he’s none other than Solar Storm Grappel.

Whaaa? Yeah, just like Turbo Tracks, Hasbro seems to have mislaid the copyright to the name Grapple. Fair enough, but where the hell they came up with Solar Storm Grappel is beyond me. Again, it’s just a name on a box so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. It’s enough to know that he’s a repaint/remold of Generation Inferno, just like the G1 Grapple toy was a repaint/remold of G1 Inferno.  I’m not terribly keen on the decision to go with making Inferno/Grapple as Voyager toys because I think they turned out a little too big to fit in comfortably with the other Classics, although as Deluxes I think they would have been too small. Too bad there wasn’t something inbetween. As with all the Voyagers in this line, the figure comes boxed in his robot mode, but I’m going to start with his vehicle mode.
As expected, Grappel is a yellow boom crane with some hazard stripes painted on the sides. He looks really good as Hasbro did a great job designing this vehicle form to work well as both crane and fire truck. The crane is fully articulated and even extends. There are still a few slight issues with locking all the panels together. I realize this could just be my own sucky transforming skills, but truth is I can rarely ever get either toy to completely line up and lock together perfectly. It’s not a big deal, but still worth mentioning. With the exception of the boom crane replacing Inferno’s water cannon, none of the other changes to the mold are evident in Grappel’s vehicle mode. Lots of crazy detail and the use of clear plastic really makes this vehicle stand out on the shelf!
Transforming Grappel is identical to changing Inferno. It’s fairly simple for a larger toy, but there are some clever things at work here. The way the side panels for the cabin all fold away neatly behind his shoulders is particularly nifty. There is definitely some very clever engineering at work here.
In robot mode we can now see some of the tinkering Hasbro did with the Inferno mold. Grappel’s forearms are rounded instead of squared off and he obviously has a brand new head sculpt, which is faithful to the original G1 character. These changes are all great, but it’s the crane hanging off the side of his arm that bugs me about Grappel. There’s so many other things Hasbro could have done to make this right without having to effect the mold hardly at all. Most easily, have it removable so you can peg it onto his back or something. Either way, this is a really lazy design that we’ve seen with crane Transformers in the past. The crane is intended to come protrude down his arm like a weapon. I find it a little less cumbersome to fold it back so it’s pointing away from his hand. Either way, it’s a giant albatross on what is otherwise a great looking figure.
I’m still really digging on this toy, warts and all. He’s a solid homage to the G1 character and a logical reuse of the Inferno mold. I still think the large size makes these guys feel a little out of place amongst the other Classics, particularly when displayed with a figure like Classics Optimus Prime, but maybe I just need to get used to it. If it weren’t for the crane arm, I could love Grappel a lot more, but as things stand Inferno remains my favorite of the pair.

Transformers Reveal The Shield: Turbo Tracks by Hasbro

The second installment of this week’s Reveal The Shield Quartet is everyone’s favorite posh and pretentious Autobot, Tracks. Forget fighting Decepticons, Tracks was happy enough making friends with good-hearted inner-city Hispanic gang members and helping them bust out stolen car rings. Tracks was also every bit as protective of his paint job as Sunstreaker and he talked like Thurston Howell the Third. Oddly enough I wasn’t jonesing to own this figure, probably because he was given another fairly good upgrade in the now defunct Alternators line. Alas, I sold off my Alternators collection quite a while ago, so it is nice to have a solid update to Tracks in my collection once again.

Once again, there’s the RTS packaging. You’ll note he’s called Turbo Tracks on the package. It’s another instance of Hasbro losing the copyright to a name and doing a slight alteration in order to allow them to still pay homage to the character without getting their butts’ sued off. Why not just go with Autobot Tracks? Who knows. In the end, it’s just a name printed on the packaging.
Originally a blue Chevy Corvette, Hasbro went the generic sportscar route for the RTS version of Tracks and it honestly works very well. Not only did it allow them to avoid those pesky licensing fees, but don’t forget this mold was designed to double as Wheeljack so the car had to work for both figures… and shockingly enough, it really does. The blue paintjob is pretty close to the original and while the hood decals are quite a bit different, they still invoke a familiar sentiment. Just like the original, Turbo Tracks still retains the ability to convert into a flying car by unfolding the wings from under the doors. It was delightfully cheesy back then and it still is.
Transforming Tracks is pretty similar to what I remember from the old days. There’s no terribly clever tricks or anything here, which is in no way a bad thing. Hasbro could have easily over complicated this guy’s transformation to accomodate for the Wheeljack variant, but I’m happy to report that wasn’t the case.
In robot mode, Tracks is easily one of the best homages to a G1 figure. Everything about the original toy’s design is lovingly recreated here and given an updated kick in the pants. The way the wheels position on his shoulders and his wings angle up above them, this is definitely a Classics style figure that doesn’t stray far from home. Tracks has also got a great head sculpt and includes the distinctive red and white color combo that’s always made him stand out in the Autobot ranks. He has two missile launchers that clip onto his backpack and a handgun.
Like Wreck-Gar, Turbo Tracks is another amazing figure in the RTS lineup that made it doubly criminal that this wave was so hard to find. I’m certainly not complaining about getting him for seven bucks, but I would have been just as happy paying a premium for him and eventually I probably would have. I’m sure I said this when I featured Wheeljack, but I’ll say it again: The fact that this mold was designed to work so well for two pretty distinctly different Autobots makes it all the more impressive.

Transformers Reveal The Shield: Wreck Gar by Hasbro

Holy crap, I hit the mother lode today at Ross. I went in looking for some goddamn pet food bowls and came out with a couple of bags full of Transformers that I had all but given up on ever getting. I’ve lamented enough here on FigureFan about how criminal the distribution on these Reveal The Shield figures was, but karma’s come round to help a brutha out as I was able to pick up almost all the remaining figures today at a nice deep discount off their regular MSRP, much less the scalper prices they sell for online. So we might as well go ahead and call it Reveal The Shield Weekend, because it’ll take me the next four days or so to check these guys out. Today, we’ll kick things off with everyone’s favorite Junkion: Wreck-Gar.

There’s the packaging for the RTS Deluxe Assortment, we last saw back when I looked at Perceptor. They had him too at Ross, and sure I could have made a couple of bucks turning him on Ebay, but I always do the right thing and I left him for another collector, even though chances are a scalper will get him. Anyway, the packaging isn’t all that different from the Hunt for the Decepticons, but it does point out the Rub Sign gimmick and gave us a little teaser into what the Generations packaging deco was going to be all about. The back has the pictures of the toy in both modes and a little bio blurb. Wreck-Gar comes packaged in his motorcycle mode, so we’ll start there.
In the world of Transformers, motorcycles aren’t exactly the easiest concept to work with. Sure, there have been some decent ones, but a whole lot of really shitty motorcycle Transformers have popped up on the pegs over the years. Traditionally speaking you either have to make strong sacrifices to the bike mode or the robot mode. Wreck-Gar here makes mostly sacrifices the bike mode and I’m very glad for that. That’s not to say it’s terrible, but the proportioning on it seems a little out of whack. It’s pretty obvious that you’re looking at Wreck-Gar’s hands and pelvis right there in the middle of the bike. On the flipside, it’s a pretty solid motorcycle that stands well on it’s own thanks to a flip down kick stand. The coloring is definitely faithful to the G1 homage and the Rub Sign is right up front near the handle bars, but it feels like some of the grey could have used a little extra help with paint more paint apps. Even the license plate is left completely blank. Oh… and yes, if you have two Wreck-Gars, one can ride the other.
Transforming Wreck-Gar goes easier from bike to robot. Going the other way is mainly a matter of remembering to do some funky fiddling with his pelvic and hip joints in order to get everything to pack back in where it should be.
So, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Wreck Gar’s robot mode when I saw Hasbro’s initial photos. In hand, I’m a lot happier about the final product. Thrilled, even. I think my biggest issue was the way the design puts both wheels on his left side. I thought they would have balanced the figure out better if they were staggered left and right. I also thought the design should have allowed one of the wheels to detach and become a shield. Nonetheless, what we got is actually really cool, and the figure’s anti-symmetry really contributes to the idea that he’s made out of junk.
Everything else here is great stuff. The head sculpt is spot on stupendous. He looks absolutely demented. The head definitely strikes me as one of the better, if not the best, movie based homages Hasbro has done. I  really enjoy the way the flame decos appear on his chest as do the small guns pay homage to the nipple guns on the original G1 design. The mismatched legs again drive home his intentionally junky appearance, and while I was afraid his lower legs would be too bulky and ungainly, Wreck Gar’s overall proportions are actually pretty solid and he is wonderfully poseable. The battle axe is a real nice touch as well.
Ultimately, I think I was trying to convince myself to not like this figure a lot because I had missed out on it and wasn’t going to pay a premium for him online. In hand, I think he really is fantastic, even with the slightly dodgy motorcycle mode. The design is a perfect blending of old and new, and another great update to a G1 toy that always ranked rather high in my book. He’s absolutely worth picking up if you find him at one of the Toy Graveyards out there, and he’s probably even worth picking up at a bit of a premium. So, get him if you find him, and always remember, you can dare to be stupid.

Transformers Reveal The Shield: Lugnut by Hasbro

Hasbro’s Reveal The Shield Transformers have been turning up at Ross stores lately, so I’ve been making more frequent trips there hoping to find Grappel, or possibly even some of the carded Deluxe figures. Last time I found Deep Dive, but I took a pass on him because I already own Seaspray and while I love him, I decided that I don’t need two versions of that mold. Yes, folks, I’m a recovering completest! This last visit I still struck out on Grappel, but I did find Lugnut and decided that he was worth checking out for the price.


I don’t know that I ever saw too many Reveal the Shield boxed figure at retail, but then again I never saw any of the carded figures either. Lugnut comes packaged in his robot form and the box’s design is pretty close to the ones used for the Hunt for the Decepticons toys, complete with the one jagged edge. It’s a nice presentation and includes the figure’s bio on the side panel and shots of Lugnut in both modes on the back. The biggest drawback here is that Lugnut was a total bitch to get out of off of his tray, and that’s even with me not caring how bad I mangled it. I’m going to start out with Lugnut’s aircraft mode, because that’s how I roll…
Lugnut’s alt mode is a fictional heavy bomber with a bit of a vintage twang to him. If you haven’t guessed yet he’s also a direct homage to his namesake from Transformers Animated. Remember when Hasbro re-sculpted Animated Lockdown for the Revenge of the Fallen line? Well, this is the same thing. This design reminds me a lot of what Hasbro did with Hunt for the Decepticons Highbrow and in fact the two figures compliment each other really well in their aircraft modes, although in this case Lugnut comes across as looking a bit more realistic and less like something out of a Capcom game.
Lugnut is mostly military green, and the nose art is a really nice touch, as are the hazard stripes around the engines, which are a direct reference to the Animated Lugnut’s deco. As the name of the line suggests, Lugnut features a vintage-style rub sign on his wing, which reveals his Decepticon logo when rubbed. Lugnut’s registry numbers “LU-6 NU-7” even spell out his name. Cool.
Transforming Lugnut is fairly easy, although there are some spring-loaded elements that just tend to get in the way if you aren’t doing all the steps in the right order. In principal, he transforms very similar to Animated Lugnut, with a little more complexity, and the resulting robot mode is fairly close in overall profile to that earlier figure, particularly with the way the nose of the bomber splits open to form his chest. He also has the same basic proportions as Animated Lugnut, with a bulky upper body, long arms, and shorter, diminished legs.
On the downside, this Lugnut doesn’t handle his back kibble quite as well as his Animated counterpart. The original Lugnut had the option of removing a large piece of his aircraft tail for use as a big weapon. That’s not an option here and so this Lugnut has an awful lot of crap hanging off his back.
I’m impressed by how the wings transform into his arms and appear to get bulkier. His three-fingered claws are a lot better fleshed out that Animated Lugnut and there’s even some articulation in those fingers, which is cool. The huge cartoony bombs from Animated Lugnut are replaced by engines on this more realistic counterpart and he wears them on his shoulders, rather than on his hands. They make for an extra imposing robot form. Yeah, he’s got the proportions of a gorilla, but I think it works in his favor.
Lugnut also share’s his animated counterparts cyclops head and even has a bit of articulation in the mouth.
Lugnut was one of the few Reveal The Shield figures I found at retail when they were first released and I passed on him each time. Finding him for half price at Ross, though, was a different story, and all in all I’m glad I picked him up because I overall I do like him, and I absolutely adore his bomber mode. I have a feeling that Lugnut has one of those robot modes that a lot of people aren’t going to dig so much. It’s not clean, it’s not well proportioned, but it does have a lot of character.

Transformers Reveal The Shield: Perceptor by Hasbro

It’s no secret that the Reveal The Shield wave of Transformers was just a tad hard to find. They never showed up in my area at all and this area is usually a prime Transformers hunting ground. While some reports say that these figures will start showing up at discount chains like Ross and Marshalls, there are at least three releases in this wave that I consider absolute must own figures. I’ve started to face the inevitable and began hunting them down online, which isn’t hard. Finding them for decent prices? Now that’s hard. I lucked out with Perceptor this month, getting a good deal for him on Ebay, so he’ll be our first belated look at this phantom wave of Transformers.

The packaging is a simple card that looks like a hybrid of the old Revenge of the Fallen and the newer Generations cards. The character art is nice and the bubble displays the figure in his alt mode very nicely, but I have never been a fan of the overall orange deco of these cards. I do, however, like the huge Autobot emblem that makes up the backdrop for the bubble and the Reveal The Shield logo is kind of cool looking. Naturally, the ubiquitous sticker schilling Hasbro’s Hub network is present on the bubble, but this time it looks like its consigned to a designated spot, rather than just littering the bubble like spam. The back panel shows off Perceptor’s Bio Blurb and his Tech Spechs. Not much else to say here, let’s tear it open and look at the figure.


As most TF fans should know by now, Hasbro cast off Perceptor’s original microscope mode and redesigned him as a Research Vehicle. I’ll concede that it’s a bit of a stretch for the character, but I can certainly understand why they wanted to give him something of a more dynamic alt mode. He’s basically a red SUV half-track, with sculpted treads on the back and regular wheels up front and kids are apt to find that more fun to play with than a microscope. There’s a lightbar mounted on top of the cab, which can be deployed as a missile launcher for a cool little attack mode. The non-firing chromed missile is a really nice touch too. There isn’t a lot else about this mode that’s really noteworthy. The sculpt is very simple and the coloring isn’t terribly dynamic, as there are virtually no paint apps at aside from the windows and the license plate. I would have liked a traditional Autobot emblem on the hood, but at the same time I’m glad the ugly Reveal The Shield sticker isn’t visible on the truck mode. There are also some issues with robot kibble hanging off the bottom. Luckily, it’s in robot mode where this figure really shines.

Transforming Perceptor is pretty straight forward, although his legs are unusually complex and pretty clever the way everything folds up. It’s remarkable how Hasbro managed to get so close to G1 Perceptor’s robot mode with a completely new alt mode. Although the fact that he’s a bit of a shell former probably helped a lot. There’s an awful lot to like about this guy for fans of the original figure, and a few little quibbles that hold him back from greatness. On the plus side, I’m thrilled Hasbro chose to go with the chromed parts and leave the dials on his arms. It really seals the homage. The head sculpt is also an excellent likeness to the original animated character, and while the missile launcher isn’t exactly like the microscope cannon on the G1 figure, it’s pretty good. The coloring is also remarkably close to the original Perceptor toy, and I can’t say enough how much I love those chromed parts.

On the downside, Perceptor’s backpack has a serious issue staying in place. Technically it pegs into place, but it doesn’t stay there very well. What’s more it won’t stay in place at all when you try to move his arms, and that leads to another little issue. Perceptor’s shoulders don’t really peg in at all, so they’re flipping around a lot when you try to fiddle about with him. Neither of these are critical hurdles to me enjoying the figure, but a little extra engineering could have gone a long way.

Considering that Perceptor often sells for around $20, I was pretty lucky to grab him for $13 plus shipping. It still amounted to $20 when all was said and done, but that’s about what you could expect to pay if you ordered a single Deluxe Transformer from Hasbro Toyshop, so I’m not about to complain. I had really high hopes for this figure, and while it stumbles in the design department a bit, the end result is still pretty fantastic. He looks fabulous standing amidst my Autobot ranks, and I love the fact that since he’s a Deluxe he fits in with all the other Autobots, rather than towering above them. Stability issues aside, this is yet another idea of how to do a great update to a classic character.