Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Swerve by Hasbro

It’s Week #4 of Transformers Thursday held hostage and that means I’m serving up yet another Bayformer. This time my random grab into the bin of robots from the live action movies pulled up a Revenge of the Fallen figure. It’s Swerve! Swerve was not actually in the film. He’s one of those Expanded Universe characters and he is in fact a repaint of RotF Sideswipe with a new head. For those of you Bayformer fans that fear all of these features are just going to be a lot of hate mixed with lukewarm acceptance, today should be a treat because I actually love this figure. Let’s start with the alt mode…

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Swerve is a red Corvette Stingray and he is absolutely gorgeous. Sure, it helps a lot when your basing your toy off of a dead sexy car like this one, but Hasbro also did a fine job creating this alt mode. Swerve is a bit of a shellformer, but I don’t find the seaming on this car all that unsightly. There are not a lot of paint apps to speak of but this car doesn’t look like it’s missing anything. The exhaust and front grill are painted black and there’s a little touch of gold on the hood ornament. It works fine and looks great. The windows are tinted black so as not to let you all the ugly robot parts crunched up inside. The tires and wheels are fantastic sculpts and the headlights are clear plastic. The final touch is a neat little Autobot emblem printed on the rear license plate. Fabulous!

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Swerve can be a bit of a bitch to get cracked open, but once I got him going, I was pretty good at transforming him, even after not having seen him for a couple of years. I will note that I like to mis-transform Swerve by making a back plate out of his hood, instead of him wearing it up on the back of his shoulders. It helps differentiate him from his brother, Sideswipe and I think it looks pretty good. As far as Bayformer aesthetics go, I’ll just come out and say that I think Swerve is a gorgeous design. He’s rather unique in that he wears the back of the car as his chest, rather than the front. There’s also just enough mix of car plates and complex inner robot parts that makes him feel like he’s straddling the design elements of regular Transformers and the movies.  And the coloring here is superb. In addition to the red and black plastic, you get some sharp metallic silver paint operations and a little bit of gold too.

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I’m on record as not being a big fan of the Bayformer heads, but I dig Swerve’s. He’s still as ugly as all hell, but I can’t help but appreciate the staggering amount of detail and beautiful paintwork that went into his tiny noggin. Look at those teeny tiny intakes on the sides of his mouth. That’s brilliant!

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There are also some particularly cool things worth pointing out here. First off, I love the pistons in his hips. These are made of soft plastic and articulate with his legs. Second, the configuration of his feet allow for them to convert to wheels so he can roller skate into battle. Yes, it does make standing him up more than a bit troublesome, but I think the tradeoff is worth it. His exhaust pipes wind up angled upward behind his head and naturally I like to think of these as mortar launchers, because who wouldn’t want to be able to launch mortars from their back? And lastly, the pointed armor on his forearms swing down to form battle spikes. I absolutely adore the way this works. It’s a wonderful added weapon gimmick that adds a lot of personality to the figure.

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So there you have it. I may have been a little guarded in my appreciation for figures like Bonecrusher and Longarm, but I’m coming out in full support of Swerve. He’s a beautiful figure that proves to me that the movie aesthetics can work quite well. He also represents some very clever engineering for a Deluxe and he manages to pull off looking great in both car and robot modes. I was going to toss in some pictures of Sideswipe too, but that would be cheating on the whole random nature of this little Bayformer exercise. Who will it be next week? We’ll just have to wait and see!

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Skids and Mudflap by Hasbro

Hey TransFans, it’s Transformers Thursday again and as I threatened promised last week, TFT is getting hijacked by Bayformers! You know what that means…

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100% MORE EXPLOSIONS! No, actually it just means that I’ll be looking at figures from the three Michael Bay movies as we approach the impending release of Age of Extinction where Optimus Prime will ride Grimlock into battle while bellowing, “I came in like a wrecking ball.” I’m 41. I’m both ashamed and dismayed that I am hip enough to make that reference. Anyway, just to pour salt in everyone’s eyes let’s kick things off with everyone’s favorite racist robot twins… Skids and Mudflap… as an ice cream truck.

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Obviously the packaging is long gone, but I can still remember how hard this figure… er, these figures… were to find. At the time they were going for a fair amount of money online and I finally found one in a CVS or a Walgreens of all places when I ran in to get some cough drops and flu medicine. At the time I wasn’t really committed to buying a lot of Revenge of the Fallen figures, but this was a freaking transforming ice cream truck. How could I not buy that? I don’t care if freaking Uwe Boll made the movie, I can’t not buy a Transformers ice cream truck. Satan himself could have come up with this idea and I still would have applauded and supported it.

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Besides being an ice cream truck, I also love the fact that it’s a vintage one. There’s something about Transformers with vintage alt modes that does it for me and Revenge of the Fallen actually gave us a few of them. It seems like the Go-Bots were a lot more willing to do stuff like that. Anyway, this is a great looking alt mode, complete with soft serve swirl on the top and a loudspeaker to blast the music. The two-tone white and pink colors work well for what it is and the ice cream cone tampos and lettering show that Hasbro went that extra mile for this truck. I’ll confess to be a little put out that it doesn’t have “Decepticons, suck my popsicle” anywhere, but I’m guessing that was deemed a little inappropriate for a kids toy. The deco is bright and cheery as opposed to the rusted out vehicle used in the movie, but if you look closely enough you can actually see where Hasbro included rusted spots as part of the sculpt. I should add that this is a really solid and sturdy alt mode when you consider that it pulls apart to become two robots. Let’s look at the front half first. I’m proud to say I had no idea which robot was which, but a little research tells me that the front is Skids.

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Oh, sweet Jesus. Ok, I’m going to try to be a little generous here. For a figure that’s engineered from half a Deluxe alt mode, it’s hard to come down really hard on Skids. I don’t like his arms, I think they could have been done better. I don’t get why his right arm has a real hand and the left one is just sculpted in and left unpainted. I think the whole gimp hand was part of his character design and I don’t really get it. I think only Michael Bay gets it. I dig that he wears the truck’s grill as his chest and I dig the way the old-timey fenders become his shoulders. If Hasbro ever did a proper vintage Transformer, I’d like it to use a similar design element. Everything else is pretty bad. His tiny legs can barely support his upper half and as for the head sculpt… I had forgotten how terrible the Bayformer portraits were. Let’s see if Mudflap fares any better…

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Nopenopenopenope… No! Without any recognizeable parts of the vehicle to base his robot mode on, Mudflap just looks like a goblin made out of shifting plates and linkages. He’s a perfect example of the jumbled mess that passed for a lot of Bayformer designs. Ok, so there’s something undeniably appealing to me that his shoulder slats read “Creamy Ice Cream” and he has ice cream cones tattooed on his forearms, but he’s still a freaking mess.

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So, high marks for a great alt mode, but it’s hard to find anything to love in these robots. I have to give some credit for trying something different and I can’t deny that the scale had a part in crippling the outcome. Had this set been a Voyager sized vehicle, I think it could have been a lot better. But it still would have been limited by what are two of the worst Bayformer designs. Maybe I should just relax and try to see these guys as goofy and fun and be happy that something this bizarre exists. Does the charm of a Transformer ice cream truck cancel out the horror of Devastator’s wrecking ball testacles? I don’t know. No one does. There’s no quantifiable scale to make the comparison. But I can safely say that this was at least one interesting idea that came out of an otherwise horrid movie.

Transformers Fast Action Battlers: “Power Hook” Optimus Prime by Hasbro

Last month Hasbro showed off a lot of Transformers at the NY Toy Fair and a lot of collectors came away disappointed at what was clearly a focus on toys aimed squarely at children. Imagine that? Toys… for children! What is the world coming to? All kidding aside, I totally get what collectors are looking for, but I’m glad to see that Hasbro is still trying to cultivate interest in the Transformers at a young age. I think I’m more forgiving because I’m looking mainly toward the Third-party and Masterpiece stuff for my Transformers fix these days. Anything that interests me from Hasbro is just gravy. I suppose you could debate on whether or not kids really want simpler figures with play gimmicks over nicely detailed and complex figures, but that’s another story. Of course, Hasbro has been incorporating more kid-friendly sublines into the Transformers brand for quite a few years now. Today we’re going to check out one of those figures.

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Fast Action Battlers! I believe this sub-line appeared on the pegs alongside the Revenge of the Fallen toys. They’re roughly Deluxe sized figures and, curiously enough, they came on cardbacks with no actual links to the movie. The package just reads “Transformers” and the bland cards and tri-lingual text make the presentation here look rather knock-off-ish to me. Although I like the sound of “Electric Crochet” Optimus Prime… it fills me with wonder. Anyway, there’s not much to say about the packaging here, so let’s tear this guy open and see what he’s all about. We’ll start with his alt mode.

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“Power Hook” Prime features his Bay movie alt mode, although it’s a fairly deformed version of it. It looks wider and lower to the ground than it should, sort of like it’s been smooshed down. All in all, for what this toy is, it’s not a terrible recreation of the movie semi cab. Take a look at the alt mode of Hasbro’s current $60 “Premium Edition” Age of Extinction Prime and tell me that the sculpt and coloring in this $10 toy is really that much worse. Yeah, there’s actually plenty of sculpted detail on this little truck, particularly on the wheels and near the hitch. With a few more paint operations around the windows and roof, I think it could have looked a lot better. Still, it’s obvious that Hasbro wasn’t going for realism here. Nonetheless, this alt mode locks together securely, rolls along well, and there isn’t a lot to betray it as a Transformer apart from some seams and the tiny Autobot emblem on the hood ornament.

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Of course, they don’t call him “Power Hook” Prime for nothing. He has a huge firing hook missile sticking out of his grill. It came on a string, but I untied the string to see how much distance I could get when I fired it. The odd thing is there doesn’t seem to be any way to fire it while he’s in alt mode. At least there isn’t a fire button that I could find. Naturally you can just pull out the hook if you don’t want it protruding from the front of your truck.

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The whole purpose of the “Fast Action Battlers” was to have figures that could change quickly. I can certainly appreciate that because I can remember playing with my G1 Transformers as a kid. Most of those changed fairly quickly and it made them more fun when playing out scenarios. When you split the front of Prime’s truck mode open the rest of the figure practically springs into place. The only thing left to do is plug his backpack into his back and you’re ready for action.

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In robot mode, Prime is a pretty good approximation of the movie Prime, which is no small feat for such a simply engineered toy. Obviously all the detail in his chest is faked out because he transforms differently than the official movie versions. Still, there’s a ton of sculpted detail on this guy and the diminished number of paint apps isn’t as apparent as it was in his alt mode. Sure he’s got a huge backpack, but so do some of the figures in the main lines, so I won’t hold that against him.

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“Power Hook” Prime a fun figure to play with because he’s got ball joints in his shoulders and hips, and hinged knees and elbows. He also has a spring effect in his waist, where you can turn his torso and it will spring back like the punching effect on the old He-Man figures. Besides good poseability, he also sports that firing hook on his left arm and the fire button is finally revealed and you’ve got Sub Zero Prime. “GET OVER HERE!”

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Prime is the only Fast Action Battler I own. While fairly impressive for what it is, it’s not something that I would even think about buying today. I suspect I bought him just because back then I had two or three shelves of Optimus Prime figures on display and I was pretty much buying every version of him. The main reason I featured this figure today is because I’m about to ship it off to my eight year old nephew. When my brother told me that the kid doesn’t have many Transformers, I told him that I was going to punch him in the mouth next time I saw him. My brother, not my nephew! At least the kid is heavy into Marvel and DC, but we still need to get him on the Transformers bandwagon. Granted, this figure is a pretty simple example of what the line has to offer, but I want to get some genuine feedback from the kid on whether he likes it or if he would prefer something a little more complex. It’ll hopefully give me a little insight on whether Hasbro knows what they’re doing. It’s not exactly a focus group, but it should be interesting to see what he has to say.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Leader Class Optimus Prime by Hasbro

Welcome to another Transformers Thursday, where I dig my mitts into a random drawer and pull out a Transformer figure from days gone past. Actually, if you want to know a secret, lately it hasn’t been very random! Today, I was going through some of my Optimus Primseses and I realized that I had yet to give this particular toy his due here on FigureFan Zero. Love them or hate them, the Michael Bay movies are part of the Transformers Universe, and while I’m not here to debate the merits (or lack thereof) of the movies, I can’t deny that at least some good toys have come out of the franchise. There were a ton of different versions of Optimus released in various scales for each of the three movies, but I only ever picked up one of them and that’s the toy we’re looking at today. I’ve had him for a while, there’s no in-package shot, so let’s just jump right in and look at his alt mode.

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The movies saw Optimus’ alt mode revamped into a modern day extended cab. I hated it the first time I saw it. I thought the colors were all wrong, the flames were tacky, and he shouldn’t be an extended cab. You can probably only imagine how I feel about this toy. Actually… I freaking love it! It was this toy that eventually sold me on Prime’s new alt mode because it’s just so big and beautiful and majestic. It’s a beast of a vehicle mode, and I can only imagine how incredible it would look with a trailer, but then I remember he didn’t have a trailer until Dark of the Moon. Anyway, the sculpt here is excellent, right down to the little rivets! You get rubber tires and even the tiny Autobot insignia on his hood ornament. It’s a solid truck toy, that dominates the shelf and rolls along great.

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I’m still not sold on the flames, but I can’t deny that the paint and deco is beautifully reproduced here. Sure, some vac-metal silver would have looked a lot better than the matte grey plastic, but in the long run, this stuff will last longer without getting chipped and worn. I need only look at my MASK Rhino for proof of that.

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Yes! There are even electronics! I was surprised to find that they still work, as most of my electronic Transformers have drained the batteries long ago and I can never be bothered to replace them. There’s a button on the roof, which when depressed lights up the windshields and sounds Optimus’ air horn. I approve! This is a fun and great looking vehicle and one of the few Transformers that I am tempted to always display in his alt mode just because I love it that much. Can the robot mode possibly stack up? Well that depends…

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Transforming Prime is rather fidgety, but you would expect that for a Leader Class toy. I used to have a big problem with it, but these days I can switch him back and forth relatively quickly without consulting any instructions, so it’s not too bad. There’s a lot of clever things at work here, like the way the feet auto-morph, the way the back wheels pack onto the legs with additional hinges so you can still pose him, and the way all the rest of the crap packs away on his back to form a backpack. And then there’s the electronic head reveal. Unclip the thing on the bottom of his torso and his chest auto-morphs, his head pops up, the windshields light up, and it plays some cool sounds. It just has that great gee-whiz quality that brings out the kid in me.

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So, earlier I said his robot mode demands some qualification. If you’re looking for a great match to the move version of Prime, this isn’t really it. On the other hand, I find it to be an awesome amalgam of G1 and Bayformer characteristics. You can see how they tried to base it on the movie version, but the boxy torso and the bulky arms and legs, give him more of a shoebox G1 design. What some may call this toy’s failing, I celebrate as an amazingly original look that does away with much of that “bionical” feel in favor of something more substantial and familiar. Yes, the deco still shows too many flames for my taste, and yes, vac-metal in place of the grey would have made this guy look even more amazing. But still, I just adore the way this figure looks on my shelf.

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Even the head sculpt on this guy strikes me as a more generic Prime than a really good approximation of the movie portrait, and that works for me too. I will say that the absence of any light piping for the eyes seems rather conspicuous. In a Transformer this size, I tend to take that feature for granted, and I think it would have looked great.

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That’s not to say he doesn’t have some issues. A lot of stuff wants to come unclipped when you handle him. His hinged shoulders will sometimes open up, the backpack sometimes unpacks, and despite his heavy ratchet joints, his ankles still aren’t always up to the task of holding his great bulk. I’m not entirely sold on the way the knees hover too far out, and you can see in a couple of pictures where his right knee just kept wanting to flop down. You have to flip the knees back into place almost every time you reposition his legs. And while the back wheel assemblies are hinged to allow the knees to bend, you have to fiddle with them separately to make that happen. All gripes aside, though, I still love this guy!

Prime doesn’t have a traditional rifle, but he does have one that folds out and attaches to his right hand. It will deploy automatically as you push the sliding lever on the bottom of his forearm. The gun will fire a missile, but I have no idea what happened to mine. It’s probably become feline contraband behind the sofa in what I like to call The Cat’s Lair.

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Hasbro released a new Leader Class version of Prime for Dark of the Moon and as many will point out it looks a lot more like the movie version of Prime than this one does. But then that’s why I never bought it. The truth is, I love this toy as a stand-alone piece, and I would have been a lot happier if Optimus Prime in the movies, and all the Transformers for that matter, looked more like this clunkier beauty than how they turned out. Hasbro certainly never intended it this way, and I’m sure they did the best they could, but I’m glad they weren’t able to nail the likeness, because this figure is awesome and as far as I’m concerned what we got here is so much better than what could have been.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Bludgeon by Hasbro

It’s been a while since I last looked at any Transformers, but that’s because the new ones still haven’t shown up in my area yet. Nonetheless, I’ve still got a few sitting on my shelves that I never did get around featuring here and one in particular goes all the way back to the Revenge of the Fallen line. I only just picked up Bludgeon a few months ago. He’s an homage to the old G1 Pretender character and while I’ve never been a fan of the Pretenders, I’m glad I finally got around to buying this guy because he’s a very interesting and in some ways innovative figure.

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Here’s a blast from the past… it’s the old ROTF style packaging. I never much cared for it, mainly because the Egyptian style hieroglyphics on the back don’t really scream Transformers to me. Yeah, it’s a tie-in to the dopey movie, but I’d much rather have my grid-pattern back. I do, however, enjoy the fact that the appropriate faction symbol is shown rising out of the Transformers logo. The package also shows off the NEST emblem, which means this figure was released at the tail end of the ROTF line, along with a number of releases of characters that were never actually in the movie. Bludgeon is one of those figures, although he really belongs as part of the Classics/Universe/Generations collection. I’m guessing he wound up here just because there was nowhere else to really put him.

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Bludgeon is packaged in his tank mode, so let’s start off with that. He’s an older and more realistically styled tank then we’ve gotten out of Transformers in a little while. I really love the sculpted detail on this toy, as there’s barely any part of it that doesn’t have some detailing. You get sculpted rivets, hatches, vents, and even tools. And holy crap, Bludgeon also has real rubber treads, which is pretty rare in Transformers tanks and always a big plus in my book. The turret rotates 360 degrees and features two non-firing missile pods and a machine gun by the top hatch that also rotates 360 degrees.

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The bulk of the tank is a comprised of a very appropriate olive green plastic with some white parts showing, mainly on the weapons. There are some unfortunate neon orange sections peeking out here and there, but not quite enough to ruin the overall military motif. Lastly, there’s a Decepticon emblem stamped toward the front of the apron.

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It’s worth noting that the box lists Bludgeon as having an “advanced” transformation, and he does at that. The first couple times transforming him was a real pain in the ass. He’s got some very innovative movements, particularly in his legs and pelvis. Once I figured out what was going on, I found getting him from tank to robot mode pretty easy, but getting him back into tank mode is still a fidgety affair for me. His transformation also involves revealing his two weapons: A katana sword and a tanto. The katana is stored in his main cannon and just pulls right out. You can do it either during or after transformation. As for the tanto… I’ll get to that in a few ticks.

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In robot mode, Bludgeon’s design will likely strike people as brilliant or garbage. The homage to the G1 character design is certainly obvious. He’s patterned after a samurai warrior with a skull mask, which is pretty creepy. The high points of the figure include the way the rubber treads disconnect and hang down off his hips and shoulders. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before in a Transformer and it’s pretty cool. I’ll also go on record and say that, unlike the tank mode, the neon orange in the deco works fine for me in the robot mode. Another strong point is the articulation. You get plenty of hinges and swivels to work with. On the downside, the tank plates on his hips really get in the way of decent poses, and those ankles really scream out for some lateral rockers.

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The tank turret lands on his back and you can position the barrel straight up, or tilt it diagonally to the side and treat it like a scabbard for his katana. The turret also opens up to reveal a small scabbard inside holding the tanto. While I really enjoy the engineering at work here, it seems like a lot of effort to go through just to store a little weapon. It’s also not really necessary since he has slots on his left hip armor to carry both edged weapons.

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Seeing as how I’m not a fan of the Pretenders and I don’t have a Samurai fetish, I’m definitely not the TransFan that Bludgeon is aimed at. That having been said, I dig him in a quirky way and it’s impossible for me not to respect the effort and imagination that went into this figure. He’s certainly one of the coolest and most distinctive releases to come out of this Expanded Universe RotF line, except for maybe Mindwipe, for whom I will have an eternal soft spot in my heart. Now, if you happen to be one of those weirdos that think the Pretenders was just awesome, then you’ll probably go absolutely nuts over this figure. It’s an unexpected homage and a love letter to fans of the waning days of Generation 1. Sure, he isn’t an actual Pretender, but the homage to the character is one hundred percent solid all the same.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Mindwipe by Hasbro

Generally speaking, I don’t have a problem finding Transformers at retail. In fact, it’s probably one of the few toylines I collect that I can actually say that about. Of course, every once and a while there’s an exception. Most recently, it was Highbrow from the Hunt for the Decepticons line, but back when Revenge of the Fallen was out, that one elusive figure was Mindwipe. I’d only seen him once at retail and that was at some Kmart where they were charging like $29.99 for him and so I passed. But just this past week I was finally able to pick him up.

Been a while since I’ve seen this… a Revenge of the Fallen box. Actually this is part of the NEST subline, but the box remains pretty much the same. If I cared about preserving the packaging, I would really hate all these jaggy edges. Mindwipe comes packaged in his stealth fighter jet mode with just two twisty ties standing in the way of his freedom.

As a stealth fighter, Mindwipe is pretty sweet. His overall configuration bears a slight resemblance to Cybertron Soundwave, but don’t hold that against him. As alt modes go, the stealth fighter mode is a nice compromise, since Mindwipe was a robotic vampire bat in the original G1 continuity. The jet mode looks outstanding, although you really need to flanagal it right to make it mesh together perfectly. The jet is mostly green with a few purple paint apps, a red translucent cockpit and some unfortunate silver tattoos on the wings, which I would have rather Hasbro left out.

If you’re into play features, Mindwipe’s jet mode is pretty barren. There isn’t so much as a firing missile launcher to be found. That doesn’t bother me at all, when the toy looks this good, but I realize it may put off some people. Although, there is one cool little feature. If you happen to own the ROTF Scout Class Skystalker figure he can dock with Mindwipe when he’s in his drone jet mode. You just peg him right onto the top. It’s rather nifty to have two such awesome figures interact like this, and it’s also a nice little nod to the Robots in Disguise Dreadwind and Smokejumper figures, or if you prefer, Beast Wars Neo Starscream and BB.

And then there’s Mindwipe’s robot mode, which is like Hasbro mixed the plastic with pure, concentrated awesome. Mindwipe’s transformation isn’t overly complex and yet it is surprisingly satisfying. His mech alive gimmick includes a simple auto-transformation of his wing tips as you move them into place. Overall, his proportions and design are drop dead sexy and his head sculpt is easily my favorite in the entire line. I particularly like how he has two creepy beady eyes peering out from behind the translucent visor. There are also a fair number of tweaks you can do to personalize his robot mode, with regard to the position of the wings on his shoulders and his back. I think the only downside of Mindwipe is that he makes me a little sad inside that this wasn’t more akin to the mold used for Starscream, because it’s superior in every possible way. Seriously, whoever designed this figure was possibly under the influence of divine inspiration.

Mindwipe’s articulation includes a ball jointed head, shoulders that feature double hinges as well as rotating arms, and double hinges again in his elbows. His legs have universal movement at the hips as well as hinged joints in the knees and ankles. He also has retracting energon daggers positioned under each of his forearms.

Even if you aren’t a fan, or don’t even remember much about the original Mindwipe, this figure has all the chops it needs to stand on his own as a marvelous Transformer in any line. He also does a good job of straddling the design elements of the movieverse and something a bit more akin to the Classics scene, which means he should be able to find a home in just about any Transfan’s collection.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Grindor by Hasbro

It’s been a fun little ride this week looking at some of the whirlybird bots in my collection. There were a few more I wanted to get to, but I’m ready to move on to other things, as the toys are piling up. So, I thought we’d look at just one more tonight with Revenge of the Fallen’sGrindor. Grindor is a repaint of the Voyager Class Blackout figure that was released in the first movie lineup. I didn’t buy a lot of toys from the first movie, so I missed out on Blackout and wound up settling for his grey cousin, who bewilderingly showed up in the second movie just long enough to pick up Sam’s car and deliver it to Megatron. Yeah.


As a helicopter, Grindor is ok. The right side panel on mine doesn’t peg in like it’s supposed to, which is a constant irritant. There’s also the Scorponok cage, but more on that in a minute. He doesn’t feature a lot of exciting colors or paint apps, but his grey and black motif are pretty good for a military vehicle. There’s a black button on the back of the tail boom that spins the rotors when pumped. Grindor carries a flip down cage under his tail boom that can hold the little Scorponok figure. Theoretically, you can press a button to deploy him, but the catch is weak and Scorponok usually just deploys whenever he damn well feels like it. There’s not much to say about Scorponok. He’s a little PVC figure with a spring loaded tail. If you’re looking for realism, then next to Tomahawk, Grindor is certainly the most realistic helicopter, but you could argue that also makes him a tad boring.

It says a lot about Grindor’s transformation that you can literally just take the entire top and back of the helicopter off and still have the robot figure intact. In fact, he’s a lot better without all the alt mode chopper kibble. Of course, I find removing a quarter of the alt mode an unacceptable prospect in good Transformer design. It also doesn’t help that some of his bits fall off when I transform him.

At his core, Grindor’s robot mode is pretty good and bears a decent resemblance to Blackout’s movie design, albeit a bit chunkier and simpler. I like the way the nose of the chopper splits apart to reveal the head and chest, while keeping his sensor globe and cannon in useable positions. His shoulders also get some missiles and the chevrons on his shoulder armor look nice. Ah, but unfortunately, he still has a quarter of a helicopter hanging off his back and while some Transformers can pull that off, Grindor’s backpack is just too bulky and obtrusive and the tail drags on the ground behind him.

Grindor’s articulation is pretty good. His head turns, his shoulders have universal movement plus swivels and his elbows and wrists are hinged. His legs have universal movement in the hips and hinged knees. Keep in mind, though, if you leave all the chopper kibble on his back, you won’t get much use out of his leg joints. Blah!

Despite all his flaws, I really don’t hate Grindor. He’s an ok looking figure and I’m probably giving him a bit of a pass because he is a helicopter, afterall. Still, if you’re one of those collectors that tend to be down on the movie figures, Grindor here isn’t going to win you over.

And that wraps it up for Transformers Helicopter Week. I thought I would get a third entry in tonight, looking at Revenge of the Fallen’sBlazemaster, but then I didn’t want to end the week on a down note by looking at such a shitty figure, so maybe I’ll save him for a future Shitty Transformers Week when I’m feeling in a particularly black mood. Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow with business as usual, meaning I’ll try to slip something else in over the weekend before I get back to looking at more Transformers.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Scattorshot by Hasbro

Even when it seems like the Revenge of the Fallen toys should be winding down, I keep getting surprised with new Scout Class figures on the pegs. This last time through the toy aisle it was Scattorshot, an Autobot anti-aircraft truck that seems to be more or less an homage to the Cybertron Basic Class figure of the same name. Yeah, the Cybertron figure was a halftrack, whereas this Scattorshot is a regular truck with AA guns mounted on it, but I think the similarities hold true beyond just the name. Pretty much all the Scout Class figures in the ROTF line have been outstanding, so I was anxious to get this guy home and rip him open.

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Like all the Revenge of the Fallen Scouts, Scattorshot is packaged in his robot form, but we’ll start off by looking at his alternate truck form, because that just feels right to me.

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The sculpt here is solid, but nothing outrageously special. He’s basically a pick up truck with two anti-aircraft guns mounted on the roof and a plow projecting off the front bumper. Overall, the truck form is solid, rolls nicely, and the roof cannons are articulated so that they can swivel and raise. The color scheme is pretty simple. He’s mostly very dark blue with black windows, gold cannons and armor on the sides and the plow is silver. There are also two silver Autobot insignias on his sides. The only thing really missing is the NEST logo, which I thought it a bit odd that they were missing since he is a military vehicle.

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Scattorshot’s transformation is rather straightforward and yet still manages to be unique. I like the way the back of the truck forms his shoulders and the split plow forms his knees. He can also arm both of his cannons as hand-held weapons. In bot form, Scattorshot trades most of his dark blue color from the truck for a lighter gray with some gold and black trim. I’m not terribly fond of this light gray plastic because it just looks kind of dull and doesn’t really show the sculpted details off all that well. Still, all in all, he’s a cool enough little robot.

Scattorshot’s articulation includes a ball jointed head, shoulders and upper legs. His elbows are both hinged and have ball joints and his knees and ankles are hinged.

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I’m pretty sure Scattorshot is the last of the new molds I need for the Revenge of the Fallen Scouts. There are still a few repaints that I may yet pick up before I’m finally done with this line, and I’ve yet to find the Voyager Mindwipe figure. Still, as cool as these little Scouts are, I’m really jonesing for the stuff we saw at Toy Fair to start hitting the shelves. The movie has both come and gone in theaters and on DVD and its time to retire the figures for something new.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Breakdown and Skystalker by Hasbro

It doesn’t often happen that I come across Transformers on the pegs that I didn’t even know existed. With all the time I spend on the Interweb, I usually get the heads up on these things long before they’re ever released. Nonetheless, today I stumbled upon two brand new (at least to me) Scout Class Decepticons from the Revenge of the Fallen line. So far this assortment of smaller figures has really impressed me and Skystalker and, to a lesser extent, Breakdown keep that trend rolling right along.


Packaging is the same old stuff, with the figures packed in their robot forms. The presentation still looks good, but I’m getting a little tired of the bios on the back. Why does every character have to be paired with some kind of personal vendetta against another? Bah! Let’s start with Skystalker.


I can’t tell whether Skystalker is supposed to be a stealth bomber or just some little stealth tech drone. The little red eye on the front of his cockpit makes me think he’s supposed to be an unmanned device. Either way I absolutely love his aircraft mode. The design is fresh and original and we haven’t seen anything quite like it in the Transformers line yet. There’s an impressive amount of tooling on a figure this size, right down to the panel lines and rivets. The white ID numbers stenciled on the sides look great and I love the Decepticon logos with the wings. Apart from a folding front landing gear, Skystalker’s jet mode doesn’t do a whole lot, but it sure does look awesome.


It took me a bit to get this guy into his jet mode the first time, but once I knew what I was doing, transforming him is a breeze. In robot mode, Skystalker looks pretty creepy. He’s got huge feet, but the rest of him is pretty lean and lanky. His head is certainly reminiscent of G1 Shockwave and I really like how his eye in jet form is also his eye in robot form. Nice continuity there. I also have to point out all the nice details sculpted on the inside of his wings. Its just a fine example of Hasbro going the extra mile on these toys. Fantastic.

About the only thing I’m not crazy about with this figure is the way his wings hang off his arms. They’re on balljoints so they can be folded neatly to the back, but since they’re attached to his shoulders and not his back, every time you move his arms, you pretty much have to reposition his wings to keep them out of the way. Its not a huge deal for me, since I just display these guys, but I’m thinking it might interfere with the play value a bit.


Skystalker also has a pair of hooks or axes or some kind of hand weapons concealed in his wings. You can pop them out and put one in each of his hands. Doing so also creates some cool cut-out patterns on his wings while he’s in robot form. Generally speaking, i’m not a big fan of my Transformers having swords and axes and shit like that, but then again, weapons are always a nice bonus, so who am I to complain?

The articulation on this figure is excellent. He’s got balljoints in his neck, shoulders, elbows and upper legs. His knees are hinged and for some strange reason his feet are spring loaded and fold up as soon as you pick him up. Weird.

Next up is Breakdown.


Straight away, this guy gets extra points in my book for being a Decepticon car and an homage to a G1 Stunticon. Unfortunately, he needs that extra cred. His car mode is pretty simple, which I probably wouldn’t mind so much if I wasn’t looking at him at the same time as Skystalker. The difference in detail on these two figures is huge and the car design seems a little over stylized or even super deformed. Also, Breakdown’s colors, or lack thereof, aren’t helping him too much either. His white motif is pretty boring and the red patch on his hood looks like it was thrown in as an afterthought. I’m sure this figure will be repainted into something much more interesting, but that doesn’t mean that Breakdown here couldn’t have gotten a better treatment with the brush.


Overall, Breakdown is easy to transform and has a pretty good robot mode. The fact that his chest is made up from the back end of the car is at least something different and I really like his head sculpt. I’m not crazy about how far his hood hangs off his back, but at least its out of the way as is most of his car kibble. He’s a lot more colorful in robot form, as most of his hidden robot parts are blue, but I’m still not sure about the color scheme. The whole red, white and blue motif makes him look like he should have been a Red Alert figure, rather than an evil Stunticon homage.

Breakdown’s articulation includes balljoints in the neck, shoulders and upper legs, and hinged elbows, knees and ankles. He’s a fun little figure with nice balance and poseability, but with some of the incredible Scout Class figures we’ve been getting lately, he defintely comes up a little short.

And that’s about all I have to say about these guys. The Scout Class figures have come a long way since the launch of the Revenge of the Fallen toys. These guys were $7 a piece, and I think they were both worth it. Yeah, Breakdown could have been better, and I’m sure this sculpt will be put to better use with more interesting colors down the line, but either way I’m glad to have both of these new Decepticons in my collection.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Lockdown by Hasbro

Today I’m taking a look at Lockdown. I’m guessing a lot of you Transfans recognize him from the Animated line. Now, I never collected the Animated toys beyond two or three figures, but I always admired Lockdown’s car design when I saw him on the pegs. I’ve always had a thing for Decepticon cars and this one… well, this is one badass loking ride. Maybe the guys over the Transformers brand really dug him too because, somewhere along the line, Hasbro decided to give this figure a rebirth as part of the Revenge of the Fallen toys, and while its a strange idea to take a figure from another line and reinvent him, the result is a really awesome figure.

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Lockdown comes on the standard ROTF deluxe card. This may be the last wave of figures we see mounted on these cards, although the new ones shown at Toy Fair aren’t all that different. Why there’s a NEST sticker on the bubble, I don’t know as that should just be reserved for Autobots. Also, I usually don’t bother commenting on the little bio blurbs on the back, but in the case of Lockdown, I thought there were two interesting tidbits. First off, despite his Decepticon allegiance  he’s also a bounty hunter. Secondly, the bio lists Ratchet as being Lockdown’s main target. Ratchet? Who the fuck would put a bounty out on Ratchet? Did he give someone a bad lube job? Wow that sounds dirty. And how hard could Ratchet possibly be to capture? Strange stuff, indeed!

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I don’t know why I love Decepticon cars so much, but I have ever since the Stunticons were first introduced way back when. Lockdown’s car form is amazingly unique and distinctively Decepticon. He’s like one part vintage Corvette and two parts Road Warrior. The spoiler and elongated hood, and exposed engine give him a sleek muscular sportscar look, while the front scoop and copious helping of spikes make him something Mad Max would be happy to drive. The car’s body is brown with green two-tone accents. The windows and windshield are clear (always a plus in my book) with a red-orange tint and there’s a little gold trim on the ground effects and quad exhaust pipes. I really dig the spikes coming out of the wheels. The only thing I don’t care about on this car mode is some of the robot kibble scrapes bottom a bit when you roll it along. Maybe I just don’t have him locked down properly… HA!

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Lockdown is really easy to transform, once you figure out how to unlock his solid car mode. Once you do, wow, what a great robot form! His left arm is a claw and the engine attaches to his forearm as a gun. His right arm ends with a hook, which is cool, but both his hand and hook are soft rubber, which is kind of disappointing. His head is fantastic. He looks grim and almost zombie like and his head features double ball joints to give him an unprecedented amount of articulation for a figure this size. And speaking of size, Lockdown is probably the tallest deluxe class figure I’ve seen. Just as a point of comparison, the recently released Brawn figure barely comes up to Lockdown’s shoulders! And that’s with his chicken legs fully compressed.

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As great a figure as Lockdown is, I really don’t think he fits in the Revenge of the Fallen line. Besides being over-sized for a deluxe, he doesn’t quite have the same aesthetics of the ROTF figures. He almost looks like a cross between the Classics and movie lines and on that point, there’s something about him that makes me think of the G1 Junkions. It’s probably the non-symmetrical shoulders and the spiked tires he wears on his hips. Either way, it works for me!

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So, yeah… this was an interesting experiment on Hasbro’s part. I’m curious to see if they try this with some other Animated figures. Maybe dropping Ratchet’s name is a hint that the Animated Ratchet design could get some kind of similar retooling? As a stand alone figure, he’s really great and I highly recommend him, especially if you’re like me and skipped the Animated line as this gives you an opportunity to incorporate one of Animated’s coolest figures into your collection. In fact, even those collectors who are passing on the movie toys entirely may want to give this Con a second look.