Transformers Siege: Smokescreen and Bluestreak by Hasbro

While I’ve already started dipping into the Earthrise reviews, I’ve still got unfinished business with Siege. As a result, I’ll continue to pepper some of those older releases in with the Earthrise figures now and again until I get fully caught up. Last week I did this with a look at Siege Ratchet and today I’m finishing off the Siege Datsuns (Well, Cybertronian Datsuns) with Smokescreen and Bluestreak.

Unlike Prowl, who was a regular release in Siege, these guys are a bit more confusing. Smokescreen was one of the Selects figures, which meant he came in an plain ugly box and I think he was exclusive to the Hasbro Pulse Shop. Bluestreak was released as part of the 35th Anniversary Collection, which seemed to be mostly repaints. but in only slightly altered packaging. This would piss me off to no end if I kept these in their boxes, but I don’t so I care not! Let’s start out with Bluestreak!

I already did a review on this mold when it was first released as Prowl and later Barricade, so I’ll stick to pointing out the differences, and in auto mode we’re just talking about the new paint jobs. I’m a little mixed on how Bluestreak came out. His deco consists primarily of bare gray plastic with some glossy black. It’s an interesting combination, but I’m just not all that crazy about how the finish on the gray looks so much more dull. Maybe Hasbro realized that, because they did give him some spiffy silver painted wheels. The red Autobot emblem on the hood toss in a splash of color, as does the red trim that can be seen through the transparent canopy. I don’t dislike the coloring here, I just feel like it could have been better with an all around glossy finish.

Smokescreen, on the other hand, well this is what I’m talking about. Sure, he has the advantage of a snappy red, white, and blue deco, but the finish looks great. In addition to the coloring, he also has some panels with Cybertronian writing, where the 38 appears on his traditional auto mode. I also really dig the black skeletal frame on the canopy and the way it emphasizes the sculpted detail inside. There’s no doubt about it, Smokescreen is the more attractive of the two, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Where Prowl just came with a gun to mount on the hood, these guys come with that gun plus two others, which can mount where the side mirrors would go. This combo makes for a particularly dangerous looking attack mode. Moving on to the robot modes!

I liked this mode well enough when it was Prowl and I like it just as much with these guys. With the bumper chest and the door wings, this is Autobot design at in its purist form. And I dig the deco here a lot more in robot mode. The duller gray plastic looks better on a robot than it does a car and the black with the addition of the red in the upper arms, upper legs, and abs makes for a quite striking combination. Yeah, this mold still looks a bit unfinished from the back, but all in all, I think the mold looks great in these colors.

The portrait looks to me to be the same as Prowl’s and that includes the “helmet” and those pronounced wings or horns or whatever you want to call them protruding from the central ridge. The silver paint looks great and the blue eyes are sharp and prominent despite the lack of light-piping. And unlike Prowl, Bluestreak has his twin shoulder guns, which we saw mounted on his auto mode. I think these look great and it bothered me a bit that they omitted them from Prowl. I guess in the end it serves to make the figures a little more distinctive from each other.

Smokescreen gets to keep all that beautiful blue and red paint from his auto mode, but the robot mode also adds a lot of black, which presents a pretty significant break from the colorful alt mode. I’m not saying I don’t like it, only that I find it interesting that Bluestreak got a bolder color statement going to robot and Smokescreen got muted. It still makes for a fantastic deco for the mold. Naturally, I would have liked it if Hasbro could have re-sculpted the hood and gave it that squared off apron, but this will still do just fine.

Smokescreen also gets an all new head sculpt, which suits him beautifully. The blue “helmet” is more rounded out and feels more integrated with his face. His brow wings are yellow and have an interesting cracked pattern sculpted into them. The silver used for his face is bright and lovely and he’s got some additional detail sculpted into the edges where his face meets the “helmet.” And as with Bluestreak, the twin guns we saw in his auto mode form his shoulder cannons.

When I reviewed Ratchet I’m pretty sure I commented about how I’m trying to get away from buying a lot of repaints with my Transformers. I easily passed on Soundblaster and I’ve yet to pick up the cell-shaded Optimus and Megatron (although those are still tempting), and I’m going to sit out all of the Netflix repaints that have popped up at Walmart. But when we’re talking about repaints that made up original characters? Well, those are always going to be fair game. The Datsuns were a cornerstone of my Transformers memories and Prowl was among my first Autobot figures when I was a kid. So yeah, I’m pretty much going to pick these guys up whenever Hasbro does them justice like this.

Transformers Siege: Ratchet by Hasbro

With lots of Siege figures left for me to open, I’m trying to juggle these older reviews alongside the new Earthrise figures. Today I’m going back to one of my favorite characters from the G1 cartoon, Ratchet. It’s always a treat to get updates to Ratchet and Ironhide, because as a kid I was robbed of proper figures because their G1 toys were so damned weird. I was actually pleased with the CHUG versions when they came out, which just goes to show you how thirsty I was. I mean, Woof! Those haven’t aged well. Obviously Ratchet here is just a repaint/slight remold of Ironhide, which I reviewed a little while back, so some of this may feel like I’m covering old ground, but let’s take a look!

In kind of a dick move, Hasbro decided to make Ratchet a Walgreen’s Exclusive. Now, in fairness, he was pretty easy for me to find, so I probably shouldn’t complain, but I’m sure there are people out there who had problems because of the exclusivity. Bottom line, Hasbro… don’t be making important characters like my boy Ratchet an exclusive. Save that shit for Barricade. He was a cool figure, but not essential, IMHO. Anyway, despite being an exclusive, there’s no sticker or other indicator of that fact on the box. Naturally he comes packaged in robot mode, but let’s start out with his alt mode.

In vehicle mode, I expected Ratchet to be a straight-up repaint, but Hasbro actually did some reworking on his front bumper, as well as the area above and behind the tinted blue windshield, which is a welcome surprise. It’s not quite an ambulance light-bar, but it’s painted to resemble one. Maybe the Cybertronian equivalent, eh? The back panels are still kind of ugly and hollow, because they’re the bottoms of Ratchet’s feet, although if I try hard enough I can imagine that they’re supposed to be exhaust vents. Still, I’d rather it looked like he could open up to carry wounded Autobots. As for the rest of the vehicle, the white plastic looks good with the painted red panels, and the wheels are slightly more gray than white, which mixes things up a bit. The silver paint on the bumper head headlights looks good, as does the crisp Autobot insignia just under the windshield. You also get some brushed weathering near the back. It’s not an entirely different vehicle than Ironhide, but the subtle changes and the new paint job certainly sets it apart.

Hasbro also set Ratchet up with some new accessories, which can be used on Ratchet’s auto mode. He’s got a wrench-claw on an articulated arm, and a smaller gun, which can be part of the claw or mounted separately as a weapon. I dig both of these a lot, as it allows Ratchet to effect repairs while in his alt mode and laying down covering fire at the same time. I suppose the claw could also be used to grab hold of Autobots and drag them off the battlefield to safety.

As mostly a repaint, Ratchet transforms exactly the same as Ironhide. There is one nice surprise, however! The side panels don’t fall off like they do with my Ironhide EVERY SINGLE TIME I TRANSFORM HIM!!! Either way, Ratchet has a fantastic looking robot mode that’s well proportioned and just chunky enough to scratch my G1 itch. It’s not a dead-ringer for the original Sunbow character design, but it hits just enough points to make it work for me. Structurally, the only differences between him and his Autobot brother is the slight reconfiguration in the shoulders and the front bumper that rests behind his head. From behind he’s got a lot of hollow compartments, but he still manages to look rugged and sturdy. The deco doesn’t change much from his vehicle mode. It’s still mostly white with some red here and there.

The new head sculpt looks great, particularly with his rounded “helmet” and those big wings over his eyes. I like the features in his face, but I wish the face was painted silver to make it stand out a little more. There’s no light-piping in the blue eyes, but they still stand out remarkably well.

Ratchet’s weapon can be split up to give him a pistol, and you have some options if you want to attach the claw arm to him. I like pegging it into his back. It fills up that empty space a bit and it can be swiveled around to project up over his head or shoulder. What practical purpose it could serve? I have no idea. Maybe as an extra hand when he’s doing his repair work? Of course, you also have the option of just setting it aside when he’s in robot mode.

Ironhide was a great figure, so it should come as no surprise that Ratchet toes the line and also turned out fantastic. With display and storage space being what it is these days, I’m not that keen on buying a lot of repaints anymore, but with some of these old G1 guys, I have to make an exception. And with that having been said, we’re not done with this mold yet. It also got repainted into Crosshairs, and I wound up buying him too, so we will revisit the Ironhide/Ratchet mold again in the not too distant future.

Transformers Siege: Shockwave by Hasbro

One of the many lessons I took away from Toy Fair is, OMG there are so many cool new Transformers coming and I’m woefully behind in reviewing the ones that I have. So, with Earthrise figures already hitting the shelves, and some sitting in my online Pile of Loot, I thought I’d dig in and open some of the Siege figures I’m sitting on. And it’s not like I haven’t given up on trying to be current with my content years ago, riiiiight? Oh, look… it’s Shockwave. Let’s check him out.

After what seemed like an eternity of boring packages inspired by the Bay movies, Siege upped the ante with some amazing artwork. I love the gritty and realistic renderings of these bots, and the art design matches the look they were going for with the figures. I’m crowing a lot about the artwork because, to be honest, this package isn’t showing Shockwave at his best, and I was almost tempted to leave him on the shelf when I first found him. Anyway, he’s a Leader Class, but that can be a little deceptive since a lot of his parts are optional for his robot mode, and in my case, I prefer to leave them out. But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s start with his alt mode.

I don’t really understand Hasbro’s unwillingness to do a proper alien laser gun alt mode for Shockwave. I mean, they sell Nerf guns and some of those resemble real guns a lot more than Shockwave ever did. And yes, there’s a workaround to reach a fan-mode that resembles a gun, but it’s not something I’m going to touch on here. In any case, what do you do with a Transformer who’s alt mode used to be a camera, or a tape deck, or a laser gun? You turn them into a spaceship. And so, Siege presents Shockwave as Decepticon Space Cruiser, and as sarcastic as I’ve just been on the subject, I’m actually pretty keen on this design. I’d like to imagine that there’s a lot of mass shifting involved here, because the design looks like it should be massive. Hell, this would be a great stand in for the Decepticon Flagship, Nemesis as far as I’m concerned. Although that would have to be a hell of a lot of mass shifting!

As with many of Siege’s figures, the sculpting is complex and very busy. The hull surface is littered with panel lines and there is hardly a millimeter of this craft that isn’t packed with some kind of detail. It’s also blistering with guns. There are two small turrets on top and three banks of cannons slung below each of the engine pylons near the back. I dig how powerful the engines look, again suggesting that this thing is supposed to be BIG and all the wings and fins coming off the back adds to its stylish complexity. And then there’s the giant emitter on the front, which I suppose could be some kind of Deflector Dish, like on the ships in Star Trek, or it could just be a super weapon. In the end, I guess it’s whatever I want it to be.

There are a lot of clever fake-outs on the ship design as well, making it seem like certain parts are components of Shockwave’s robot mode, when in fact these parts are removed for transformation. The engine pylons, for example, look a lot like Shockwave’s lower legs and the conning tower looks like it’s meant to be Shockwave’s head. Meanwhile, both of the side cannons resemble Shockwave’s gun arm. As I mentioned above, there’s a fair amount of parts-forming here and I realize a lot of fans don’t dig that, but when considering the toy as a whole, I’m OK with it. So let’s transform Shockwave and start with his most basic robot mode.

Stripped of his bulk, Shockwave transforms into a roughly Voyager Class figure, which happily puts him in perfect scale with Siege Soundwave and Megatron. Oh, and he also happens to be absolutely spectacular! The character has had a select number of figures in recent years from the forgettable Combiner Wars release to the weird Walgreens Exclusive that I still have to review one of these days, but this one scratches all of my itches. And yet all it does is take the original character design and do it right. The familiar translucent plastic bar is present on his chest, he still has the backpack where the electronics were stored in the original figure, and you get the necessary cable running from his right gun arm to the backpack. And all of that wonderful panel lining from the Space Cruiser mode carries over to make for a hyper-detailed robot. The deep purple deco from the alt mode also dominates the robot mode with some additional gray and silver. I just love this bot in every way imaginable. Except maybe in the literal sense of having intercourse with it.

And let’s just take a moment to appreciate the head sculpt with that single piercing yellow eye that sports some outrageously fine light piping. Seriously, just about anywhere I rest this figure, that light seems to be illuminated  They packed some amazing sculpting into the area surrounding that eye, and he has his traditional flat ear-antenna. Simply wonderful! Now… about all those extra parts…

Throwing back on all of those parts, we get Shockwave in his powered up mode and for me this is a big fat NOPE. The bulk of the parts go onto his upper body with a bigger backpack, bigger shoulders and a really weird extra set of arms that end in guns. It looks like some kind of Transformers body horror to me, like he went through the Space Bridge with another Transformer and this is what got merged together and came out the other end. Also, he acquires a pair of gun shoes. GUN SHOES!!! No sir, Hasbro. Only Predaking can pull off gun shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll bet this mode is all kinds of fun for the kids and that’s great, but I won’t be displaying him like this. What else ya got, Hasbro?

Well, how about this jet sled kind of thing? This is also not really doing much for me. He looks silly on it and it doesn’t hold together well at all. I guess as a separate attack drone, maybe? But all in all, I’m happy just putting these parts aside when I display Shockwave in robot mode.

I’m glad to be going back and hitting some reviews of the older Transformers from Siege before getting into Earthrise, because clearly there are some great figures here and I don’t want to miss out on gushing about them. Shockwave here will likely raise issues with some. He’s undoubtedly got elements of being a parts-former, but with both an alt-mode and robot mode that are as great as these, I’m perfectly OK with it. And to their credit, Hasbro tried to use those extra bits to good effect, but I’m still happy to put them in a pile behind him on the shelf so they’re on hand when I want to transform him, but otherwise out of sight and out of mind. And damn the Siege versions of the Holy Decepticon Trinity of Megatron, Soundwave and Shockwave sure look amazing together. Hopefully I’ll get some time to dig into Siege again next week to make up for lost time.

Transformers Siege: Prowl and Barricade by Hasbro

It’s been a real struggle for me to get back to three reviews a week. I mean, you can see how well it’s been working out for me. So, until I get there again, In an effort to get caught up, I’m going to be trying to bundle reviews a bit more often, especially when it’s appropriate. And when I’ve got two Transformers police cars from the same mold waiting to be opened, this seems like one of those appropriate times. Let’s check out Prowl and Barricade!

If you comb back through FFZ, you will find evidence of my undying love for Prowl. The original G1 toy was one of my first Transformers, it was my favorite Autobot mold, and whenever I played with my convertorobots, he stood prominently as Optimus Prime’s first lieutenant and all around right-hand-bot. Hell, even when I watched the Sunbow cartoon I would lament and stew over the fact that Prowl wasn’t in it more often. I’ve been patiently waiting for my boy here to get a proper toy update. After all, the Classics version has aged horribly and the Combiner Wars version was really never more than a place-holder for me. As for Barricade, well I’m not someone who’s anxious to see a lot of Bayverse Transformers shoe-horned into my regular Transformers line, but I will admit that seeing Barricade turn up in Siege has intrigued me a bit. He was one of the cool things I liked about the original film and doing him as a repaint of Prowl seemed like a no-brainer. So let’s start with the alt modes!

Obviously, Siege is focused on Cybertronian alt modes, so my hopes for a proper Datsun are quickly dashed. What we get instead is a Cybertronian interpretation of the Datsun and it looks remarkably like its Earth counterpart. The only big difference is the atrophied cabin, after all these aren’t supposed to be vehicles for meat-bags, and the translucent wheels for cruising down alien roads. There are also some exaggerated contours to give the body more of a futuristic flavor. And hey, I can get behind all of this just fine. Prowl’s white body and black trim certainly looks familiar and while the Cybertronian script on the sides is unintelligible to me, it mimics the police markings just fine. There’s even a light-bar and an off-set Autobot emblem on the front of the hood. I dig it.

 

As for Barricade, he retains a good deal of his coloring from the first film and I’ll be the first to say this deco looks great. A black-and-gray body with white doors and the same alien “police” script on them gives us a perfect Cybertronian nod to the Bayverse Decepticon. The translucent purple used for the faux canopy is gorgeous and the same plastic is used for the wheels as well. The snappy new deco is tied together with a Decepticon emblem stamped on the front of the hood. It’s a great looking car!

Each figure comes with a weapon, which can be plugged into the light-bar for those rolling highway battles. Prowl’s actually resembles his G1 gun quite a bit, while Barricade’s is a double-barreled weapon which can split into two pistols. Transforming these guys is a pretty straight-forward variation of the original toy. Sure, it’s a bit more complicated, but not too much. I was able to get these guys to robot mode and back without any instructions, so you know it can’t be that hard. So how’s about them robot modes?

Yeah, what we have is very similar to the Prowl I know and love. His proportions aren’t quite perfect, as he strikes me as having extra broad shoulders. It’s a similar style to Siege Sideswipe and it is not by any means a deal-breaker for me. Quite the contrary, I think these guys look fantastic. The jutting hood chest remains my all-time favorite Autobot design, complimented by the door wings. Conspicuously absent is any sign of shoulder-mounted guns, giving all the third-party companies out there a chance to make some money. The lower legs still form out of the hatchback, but in this case heel-spurs are added to fold out and grant stability. These guys aren’t quite as well polished when viewed from the back, but I’ve certainly seen worse.

As for the decos, they remain pretty faithful to their respective car coloring. Prowl adds some yellow paint accents on his lower chest as well as the sergeant stripes on his biceps, which is just a lovely touch. Barricade adds a new color to the mix, which is like a pale gray-lavender for his arms, upper legs, and torso. As with all Siege figures, there’s a lot of detail to the sculpts by way of panel lining, and Barricade shows these off much better because of the lighter color plastic.

If you’re looking for a G1-faithful portrait, Prowl’s head sculpt is just about perfect. I don’t think I would change a thing about it. The “helmet” is well defined and includes the red horns jutting out from the center ridge. His noble Autobot face features some snappy silver paint. I’d go so far as to rate this portrait right up there with the Masterpiece version, it really is that good!

For Barricade, I’m happy to say that Hasbro designed a brand new face because the f’ugly Bayverse bug-faces just don’t belong in this line, and I really like what they did with it. His facial features aren’t quite as sharp as Prowl’s, but he does look appropriately grim. The brown face is an interesting choice and I suppose it goes well with his darker deco. The “helmet” is similar to Prowl’s as it shares the central crest with protruding horns, in this case purple, but there’s enough differences to set it apart and make it distinctive.

Obviously the guns we saw in their alt modes can be wielded in their hands. Once again, Prowl’s pays homage to the original G1 figure’s gun and is cast in white plastic. Barricade’s can be used as a single weapon or split into two pistols.

So far Siege has failed to truly disappoint me and that track record isn’t going to be upset today. Prowl and Barricade are excellent figures, and coming from me, that’s saying something because I hold my Prowl figures to high standards. Actually, I’m usually just happy enough to get them at all, but in this case Hasbro did the design proud in both robot and vehicle modes. These guys look great, are quick and easy to transform, and they are tons of fun to play around with. Of course, we haven’t seen the last of this mold, and Siege Smokescreen will be hitting my doorstep sometime next week. I probably could have waited and reviewed all three together, but I’ll just have to come back and give him his own look when I get the time.

Transformers Siege: Titan Class Omega Supreme by Hasbro

Hasbro gets a lot of shit from collectors, some of it most definitely deserved, but I always have to give them credit for continuing to turn out these massive Titan Class Transformers. I don’t know how well they do, since Big Boxes around these parts don’t carry them, not even on endcaps at Christmas, and it’s not uncommon for some of these to turn up at deep discounted clearance at closeout stores after the holidays. Nonetheless, Omega Supreme here is the fourth Titan Class under Hasbro’s belt, and that’s if you don’t include the two big Combiners, Devastator and Predaking. Omega was a G1 toy that I never owned as a kid, so the ability to get him now in an updated version scratches a thirty-five year old itch.

Like all the Titans, Omega comes in a huge, fully enclosed box with some absolutely bitchin’ artwork on the front and some pictures of the toy on the back. This giant box was practically made to be found under a Christmas tree, and I actually considered saving him for my Christmas review this year, but in the end I knew I didn’t have the patience to wait a couple more months. Unlike previous Titans, Omega comes out of the box nearly fully assembled, so you can indeed put him back in the box for storage. That’s a big deal for me, as it means I’m more likely to keep the packaging. This time around, there’s no sticker sheet, and no batteries required, because Omega doesn’t have any electronic features. Normally, I like to start with the alt modes, but in the case of Omega here, let’s begin with his robot mode.

Holy shit, I love this robot mode! Omega’s new look draws heavily from the original toy with elements from the Sunbow animation design as well. His proportions are greatly improved upon, giving him legs that are actually useful and articulated, a separate and distinct torso, and arms that are still pretty beefy, but also more in scale with the rest of his body. I’ve seen a fair bit of griping over the gap between his boxy torso and his hips, but it never bothered me much in the pictures, and it sure as hell doesn’t bother me with the figure in hand. If anything, it’s a worthy trade off to give his legs a wider range of motion for those intimidating wide stances. Familiar design call backs include the yellow panels on his lower legs, the red chest plate, yellow shoulder pylons, and the familiar pieces of track arching up from behind those shoulders. This new design even incorporates the clear panel on the upper chest from the cartoon version, albeit with the panel changed from red to yellow. Of course, Omega also sports the same lack of hands as his G1 namesake, with his right arm ending in a triple fingered claw, and his left arm terminating in a blaster. He’s definitely not your traditional Autobot, as he’s designed to blow your face off rather than shake your hand. And while Omega is not as tall as the previous Titans, Fort Max and Metroplex, he’s still plenty big and beefy, and I think appropriately sized.

From behind, Omega is extremely polished, with no hollow portions or ugly bits. The twin cylinders that form his backpack are a new design element, but I think they look great while incorporating a clever new bit of engineering for his transformation.

The head is heavily modeled after Omega’s old Sunbow design with the sculpted face positioned behind a clear plastic shield. The expression is pretty spot on and the only big difference here is that his eyes are yellow instead of blue. And speaking of eyes, there’s some brilliant light piping going on with those peepers. The “helmet” features the two tubes coming off his “ears” and meeting at the box under his chin. He even has a cannon that can raise up out of the back of his head.

For a big boy, Omega sports lots of useful articulation. His legs have strong ratchets in the hips for front, back, and lateral movement. They’re plenty noisy, but they can support his weight with no problems. There are swivels up in the thighs, the knees bend, and there’s lateral rockers in the feet for those wide stances. The arms can rotate at the shoulders as well as hinge outward, there are swivels in the biceps, and the elbows are hinged. He can pivot at the top of his pelvis, each of the fingers on his claw are hinged twice, and his head can rotate left and right. There’s no doubt about it, Omega is a really fun toy in his robot mode and he can take and hold some pretty cool action poses. I would probably have been totally happy with this guy even if he didn’t transform, but of course he does, so let’s check out his alt mode… but before that, have a look at his little buddy Countdown.

Countdown continues the trend of giving us little robots to interact with our big ones. These are similar to the old Micromasters and more recent Minicons, and we’ve seen a resurgence of these ever since the Titans Return line. Countdown has a very cool robot mode, which includes a highly detailed head sculpt and even a painted face. That’s something we don’t always get in these little fellas. His transformation is extremely simple and his alt mode is a little moon-buggy with a satellite dish on the top. OK… now on to Omega’s alt mode…

Yup, it’s the same style of rocket base as the original toy, complete with rocket, gantry, track, and patrol tank. And while there are some nips and tucks to proportions and other little details, it remains wonderfully faithful. Getting here is pretty easy, which shouldn’t be too surprising since none of the Titan Class figures have had complex transformations. In this case, both arms come out as one piece, with a connection passing through the main body. This piece then transforms into the rocket. The tank pulls out of the body from the chest, similar to good old Power Master Optimus Prime, leaving behind the legs and shell, which form the main building/gantry. I think the biggest surprise for me was the track, which I did not realize would be raised on struts. That’s pretty cool. I also love how solid it is. While there’s nothing attaching the tank or rocket, I can still pick up the base from the main building and the track will come along, all without falling apart. On the downside, the track is a lot more compact than I remember the old toy being and that makes this big tank patrolling around it look a bit silly.

As with past Titan Class figures, Omega’s alt mode is mainly designed to be in scale with the tiny Titan Masters or Power Masters. That makes him the perfect playground for Countdown. He scales well enough to hang out in the compartment of the main building, roll down the ramps in vehicle mode, or hide in the compartments that open up on either side of the base. He also scales exceptionally well with the track when in vehicle mode. There’s almost enough room for two-way traffic. Too bad my Mini-Cons are in storage, because I’d have fun loading this base up with them.

And while the base certainly isn’t designed with larger Transformers in mind, Deluxe Class vehicles, like Ironhide here, can patrol the track pretty comfortably as well.

The rocket trades length for girth (insert phallic joke here), and in doing so, I think it makes for a more impressive display. There’s nothing actually securing the rocket to the gantry, but if you put it close enough to the main building, the yellow pylons look like they’re designed to reach out and grab it. There’s also a hinged ramp on the bottom of the open compartment of the building, but it too doesn’t actually attach to the rocket in any way. Apart from sitting pretty and being able to woosh around the room with some imagination and assistance, the only real feature to the rocket is the opening compartment at the top. It’s big enough to house a small Transformer as a pilot.

The final element, the tank, is a pretty cool piece all on its own. It’s a satisfyingly hefty vehicle with tons of sculpted detail all over. The two side cannon can raise and lower, as can the main cannon. There’s also a smaller gun that can be raised out of the back of the turret for added firepower. He has sculpted faux treads, but real wheels under him to help him roll along the track or the floor.

Finally, Omega does come with some effect parts, which can be stacked together to form a blast effect for either of his arm weapons. These can also be pulled apart and pegged in various spots to look like enemy fire impacting him. I like the idea here, but I’m not real sold on the execution. I think the coloring is a little too dark and the plastic too opaque to really make it look all that great.

I almost wish that I had broken this review down into two parts, because it felt like I didn’t have enough time to gush enough about this amazing figure. It still impresses me to no end that Hasbro is willing and capable of putting out these Titan Class Transformers, and how every damn one of them has been a direct hit. No, they ain’t cheap, but even at $160, Omega feels like he’s at a pretty good price point. He isn’t the biggest of the Titan Classes, but he feels a lot more complex than the two Autobot cities. And the fact that they nixed the electronics on this release doesn’t phase me one bit. I think this guy is libel to make most any Transformers fan happy, and that’s especially the case for me because, as I said earlier, I never owned him as a kid.

Transformers Siege: Ironhide by Hasbro

Only having time for about three posts a week, and having a mile-high pile of toys to open, it sometimes takes me a while to give each line that I collect their due. Case in point, it’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve visited with Hasbro’s Transformers, so I decided to come back to them this week. I was hoping I would get time this week to review the big guy, Omega Supreme, but I’ve barely had any time with him out of the box. Not to mention the time it takes to DIY my pathetic little photo stage to take on a Titan Class Transformer. So, instead I’m grabbing one of the unopened Deluxe Class figures off the pile, and watch out, Decepticreeps, it so happens to be Ironhide!

Leakin’ Lubricants, check out that packaging! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the artwork that Hasbro is putting on these boxes, It’s gritty, hardcore, and absolutely fantastic. Poor Ironhide. He’s had such a troubled past. I might have had fun with the original figure had I gotten hold of him before seeing the Sunbow cartoon, but after that all bets were off and I rebuked that poor piece of plastic and die-cast metal for being a creepy little impostor. It wasn’t until Universe 2.0 that Hasbro would try to give us a proper G1-styled Ironhide, and that’s a figure that sure as hell hasn’t aged well. Indeed, I sold mine off the moment I saw this guy was coming. So here we go again, Siege brings us a new Deluxe Ironhide, and this line has been all about the G1 homages, so let’s rip him open and see how they did. We’ll start with the alt mode!

Siege is all about more Cybertronian-looking alt modes, and as such Ironhide is sporting a very utilitarian space truck mode. Some of these modes, like Hound’s, tend to be pretty f’ugly, but when you’re designing self-propelled alien combat vehicles, you kind of get a pass on the design department. Now, with all that having been said, I like what we got here. Ironhide is a rugged, armored vehicle, with just enough nods to his Earth van mode, that it works quite well for me. Granted, this mode looks unfinished, it doesn’t conceal a lot of the engineering, and anyone who has transformed their share of these figures is going to see what’s going on here right away,

It’s pretty obvious, to me at least, that the arms are up top behind the windshield, and that the slab on the back are going to be the feet. He transforms super quickly and the only step that’s even slightly complex is twisting the canopy piece 180-degrees to orientate it for the chest. The coloring is mostly carried by the red and gray plastics, but there’s some silver and gold in the mix too. The silver brushwork on the bumper looks great. Indeed, I do absolutely adore the way the front of this mode looks. With the high positioned canopy, the quad headlights, and those giant tubes on the bumpers, that must pack some serious firepower. It’s sort of a shame that the back of his head has to be so prominently visible through the windshield, but I guess them’s the breaks. In the end, Ironhide comes across as part Killer Moon Buggy, and part Armored Personnel Carrier. Yup, I dig it!

There are also some useful pegholes on this guy, so you can not only equip him with his rifle, but if you can use some of them weaponizer parts you may have lying around. I like to rip off Cog’s arms and pop them on top for added firepower. Let’s move on to the robot mode!

As with the alt mode, Ironhide’s robot mode takes it’s share of liberties with the G1 aesthetic. He’s not as pure an update as, let’s say, Siege Hound or Sideswipe, but the key points are there. He’s still a very beefy and boxy bot, and the windshield is right where it belongs in his upper chest. It just isn’t configured in quite the same way, laying flat instead of having the familiar angle.  Does this bot mode still work for me as Ironhide? Hell, yeah it does. It just looks like he got a little extra tweaking when he was reformatted for his Earth mode. From the back he does look rather hollow in the torso, but most of the rest of him fills out nicely. There are a few QC issues, here involving the folding panels on his legs. They don’t want to stay in the friction notches and frequently pop out out during transformation, which is apparently common for this figure. Also, they are supposed to tab into place, but they won’t stay put. Neither of these issues are huge problems, but they can be annoying.

Besides the windshield chest, there’s other stuff for me to love here. I really dig where the wheels wind up. The fronts are tucked into the sides of his torso, and the rear wheels are mostly obscured by folding plates in his lower legs. The result is a super clean robot mode, that only really offers up the kibble that it wants you to see. The coloring here is mostly the same as his alt mode, minus the gold which is now concealed. You do get that nice silver on display behind the windshield, some striping on the lower legs, and a rather reserved bit of silver weathering down near his feet.

The head sculpt is totally on point for the G1 animated look. from the circular “ears” to the prominent mohawk ridge on his “helmet.” My only complaint here is that his chest piece obscures a bit of his chin, and since he can’t look up, if you hunch him over to better see his face, he’s looking down. Ironically, the Universe 2.0 figure had a similar issue.

Ironhide comes with what I can only describe as a rocket-launcher rifle to assist him in busting Decepti-chops. This weapon is as chunky as it’s wielder and I love all the hyper-detail in the sculpt, not to mention the weathering. Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult for him to hold it properly. The stock is way too long to fit into the crook of his elbow. Still, it’s a great looking piece. He can hold it in either hand, and it can also be pegged in to make an arm cannon.

Ironhide can also sling the rifle across his back, thanks to a well-placed peghole. Plus, the weapon is hinged near the center so it can be transformed into a… um… rocket hammer? Sure, why not?

I didn’t go into this figure with a lot of excitement, because Hasbro’s initial pictures didn’t do anything for me. But now that I have him in hand, I find myself liking him quite a bit. The alt mode isn’t the best thing around, but it gets the job done and it works well for what it is. As for the robot mode, well as a G1 homage, I don’t think it holds up as well as Hound or Sideswipe, but it still looks great, and there’s no doubts about who it’s supposed to be. So far, Siege has yet to let me down, and every time I open another one of these figures, it just fuels my excitement for more. If that’s not the best compliment that I can pay to a toyline, I don’t know what is.

Transformers Siege: Refraktor by Hasbro

It’s impossible for me to explain why I was so obsessed with Reflector in the old Transformers cartoon. Maybe it was because his appearances were a bit rare. Maybe it was because he wasn’t readily available as a toy. I’m not even sure I was aware at that age that he was a mail-away figure in the US. It’s also possible that I was fascinated by his very nature of being three robots referred to as one, not to mention the first team of robots that could merge into a single alt form. I often wondered about how that worked, and what a cool alien/sci-fi concept it was. But in the end, it was probably because there were so few Decepticons in the early days, and Reflector bolstered their numbers by three. And sometimes even more than that, thanks to some animation gaffs.

And that brings us to Refraktor! A figure that is just as interesting as his predecessor. Hasbro released him as a single character with its own alt mode, but advertised on the back that you could buy two more if you wanted to make use of their camera mode. Also, I’ll point out now that I’m going to be calling him Reflector during this review, because if I try to call him Refraktor, I’m probably just going to mess it up half the time anyway. Let’s get his bullshit alt mode out of the way first!

I think this is supposed to be a spaceship, and to be fair it isn’t all that bad. It gives me a little bit of a Sweeps vibe, especially since I have three of them. The Energon Sharkticon also comes to mind, since I used to army build the hell out of those. But to be honest, it strikes me more as a seafaring gunship. Maybe even a hydrofoil, since the landing gear looks like a set of skis. In the end, I don’t hate it, and it’s kind of cool to give these guys something a little more practical to transform into. Especially in a line called Siege. And they do look kind of cool in battle formation. Let’s just move on to the robot mode!

One of the things that struck me most about Reflector in the old G1 days was that he was one of the few Decepticons that didn’t advertise his alt mode with a lot of kibble. It was genuinely tough to figure out what the hell he turned into. It also made him look like a generic rank-and-file Decepticon warrior, which was pretty appealing too. I think Hasbro did a wonderful job with this update. It continues the Siege aesthetic of infusing the sculpt with loads of detail. That’s especially the case here in the arms and behind the clear chest panel. The coloring is pretty damn great too. Purple is always a good choice for Decepticons and it mixes well with the bare grey plastic. You also get some snazzy silver paint hits on the leg panels, feet, and the frame of his chest panel. A little splash of red on the forearms and knees, and a Decepticon emblem on the left shoulder rounds out the deco quite nicely.

From behind, Reflector doesn’t look nearly as polished. There are plenty of hollow compartments and some exposed screw-heads. But at least there isn’t a lot of kibble. Even the skids from his alt mode fold neatly into his leg compartments. There is a way to help spruce up his back view, but I’ll come back to that in a bit.

The head sculpt is extremely faithful to what I remember from the Sunbow animated version. He has the same rounded “helmet,” narrow eyes and broad mouth. The silver paint on the face looks especially good, as does the red used for the eyes, which are pretty much flawless. No question, Hasbro has been killing it with their portraits in this line, and Reflector here is no different.

The one real difference between the three robots in the cartoon was the aperture being present in one and not the other two. Here that’s easily achieved by pulling it off. Yeah, it leaves a peg hole there, but I’m OK with that. I’m sure some Third-Party company will release a bag of plugs to cover these up and charge $20 for them. No, seriously, nobody do that. I will probably be the one dumb enough to buy them.

Reflector relies heavily on two rather large pieces for his alt modes. The large cannon simply turns into a gun for his robot mode, while the other can be used as a shield. I dig both of these accessories a lot. The gun is big and beefy and has a rather distinctive low-slung armor plate. The shield is rounded and has a notch out of the top that reminds me of a riot shield. The shield piece can also be pegged onto the back, but it isn’t meant to be, which means it can fall out pretty easily. I think this is the biggest shame about the figure design, as it looks really good on the back, gets it out of the way when not being used as a shield, and it would have been really easy for Hasbro to have seen this opportunity and make it work. When I display these guys in robot mode, I will likely have two with the guns and shields and one with just the gun. Of course all of these pieces can also be combined together for the camera mode, so let’s check that out.

The camera mode is achieved by transforming each of the figures into the same folded up block and then sticking them together so that the middle one faces front. Next the three shields combine together to form the lens and the three guns combine to form the tripod, which then attaches to the camera using one of the aperture pieces. It’s very clever and overall it looks pretty good, but it’s not nearly as detailed a camera as the old G1 toy. And I’m totally OK with that, because the sacrifices were made to allow each of the bots that form it to look identical. Maybe Hasbro could have tossed in a few extra pieces to tack on and make it more convincing as a camera, but I’m totally fine with it the way it is. Also, it’s roughly the right size to give to one of the Titans like Metroplex or Fort Maximus, but really too big for any of the smaller bots.

Never in a million years did I ever think Hasbro would revisit these guys. Hell, even the first time the early pictures of him, I didn’t think the camera mode was going to be ab option. As a result, I can’t  tell you how many times I almost pulled the trigger on one of the many third-party Reflectors on the market. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t, because Hasbro’s Deluxe Class treatment scratches that itch perfectly, and for a lot less money. These guys were a bit hard to find at first, because most everyone was looking to grab three of them, but I was eventually able to get all three online for a couple of bucks under retail, and that ain’t too shabby. They’re a great little team, and I think they look fantastic when displayed with the Siege Decepticons.

Transformers Siege: Soundwave by Hasbro

I probably should be looking at something other than a Transformer this week, since I’m getting way behind on NECA and Star Wars stuff, but I got caught up purchasing all the Transformers: Siege releases last week and because I’m digging this line so much, I was really jonesing to open another. Soundwave remains one of my favorite characters, and is always a good choice, so let’s go with him.

The Decepticons are really owning the Voyager Class in this line, with Megatron, Soundwave, and Starscream up against lonely Optimus Prime. Then again, the Autobots are all but monopolizing the Deluxes, and I guess that works for me. I almost always judge a new Transformers line by how well they do the Decepticon High Command. They did a nice job with Megatron, so needless to say, I am hoping for good things out of Soundwave. Let’s start with his alt mode. For several lines now (Titans Return being the exception), Soundwave has had this weird thing going on, where Hasbro tries to salvage his tape-cassette gimmick while not having him actually turn into a tape deck. I kind of get that. Deploying mini Decepticon warriors is a huge part of what makes him so unique and before the whole retro-80’s craze, a lot of kids probably couldn’t identify with a cassette player as a toy. And so this time around, Hasbro gave Soundwave the alt mode of a Cybertronian space cruiser.

And as far as bullshit, made-up alt modes go, I honestly don’t think this one is all that bad. And yes, I realize I’m in the minority here, because I’ve seen plenty of shade thrown at this toy for this very reason. Truth be told, I kind of dig this chunky design. It kind of reminds me of some of the old Wing Commander designs, and that ain’t a bad thing. It also actually takes some engineering to get between robot mode and this alt mode. Indeed, the only thing about this mode that I don’t like is the giant tape door on the back.

The coloring and finish are both great. You get a pretty typical Soundwave-y deco with a lot of deep blue and gray. The weathering is nicely done and I think it contributes well to making this look like a well-used spaceship. Additional paint hits like the red trim on the weapon pods and the silver, yellow, and red panels add to the visual appeal. And that’s really all I have to say about this thing. I’m surprised at how much I dig it, but I’m really here for the robot mode, so let’s jump right into that.

In his bot mode, Soundwave emits waves of pure G1 goodness. I absolutely adore this figure. I mean, nothing is ever going to live up to the Masterpiece version, but for a retail release, this is just so damn good. All the tape deck features are here, for no reason at all, like the buttons on his pelvis and the giant tape door in his chest. He even has his battery shoulder cannon. Does any of this make sense? Nope. Do I care. Also, nope. But besides being very traditional looking, Soundwave is also distinctively Siege. Hasbro has taken the basic G1 Soundwave design and dipped it into the hyper-detailed look of Siege, with a crazy number of panel lines and other little details pressed into the sculpt, coupled with the weathered paintwork and the scratches all over the tape door. He looks fantastic.

Soundwave looks pretty damn good from the back as well. His legs are filled out, and with the exception of the backpack, there’s nothing terribly out of place here. And while that backpack isn’t really a traditional Soundwave feature, I think it looks great. Plus, if you fold open the backpack you can see that Hasbro still sculpted in a reference to the belt clip that was on the original toy. Pretty cool! There’s some kibble under the forearms, but it’s not too obtrusive, and you can even fold them out as retractable blasters.

The rest of the deco matches what we saw in the spaceship mode, so there aren’t really any surprises there. Nice touches include the colored panels just below his knees, and the thin red stripes around his wrists. The pelvic buttons are painted silver, and his tape door features a gold border. I’ve already mentioned the abrasions painted onto the tape door, and while I wasn’t sure how I would feel about those when I got the figure in hand, I can’t deny they’re well done, as is the weathering on the lower legs. Granted, if you’re looking for clean bots, these figures aren’t for you, but I have really grown to love the battle-worn flavor of this line.

I have no complaints about the head sculpt. The detail here is really nice, especially the recessed vents on the lower half of his “helmet.” It’s all very sharp for a head this small. Some people are apt to complain about the choice to go with the toy accurate yellow visor. Me? I prefer the yellow visor, but it wouldn’t have been a deal-breaker if they had gone with red. Either way, just look at that glorious light-piping. The visor catches the light easily and really brings the portrait to life.

Not only does Soundwave’s tape door spring open at the push of a button, but they also sculpted a finger on his right hand especially to push the button. Wonderful! He doesn’t come with any tapes, but Hasbro has since released Laserbeak and Ravage as Micromasters, which are compatible. I was hoping to squeeze them into today’s review, but I went a little long, so I’ll hopefully be able to circle back to them next week if time permits.

He does, however come with two weapons. Well, three if you count the removable shoulder cannon. The first handgun is his other battery rifle, which is a pitch-perfect match for the original G1 weapon. The beam emitter even retracts into the battery portion, and as we saw, it’s used for the spaceship mode.

The other weapon is a simple folding gun. It can be used to turn both of Soundwave’s battery weapons into one long gun. Otherwise, it’s nothing special and doesn’t really feel like it belongs to him, so I’ll likely be giving it away to another lucky bot.

I passed on the Titan Returns Leader Class Soundwave, because it was just way too similar to Blaster, so this is the first regular retail release of Soundwave in a while that I can say I really love. I get it, some people are not going to like this alt mode, but I was surprised at how little it bothered me. And once I get those Micromaster tapes opened up next week, Soundwave will really feel complete!

Transformers Siege: Cog by Hasbro

I’m still working out getting back on a regular posting schedule, but for now I’m just carving out what time I have to work on reviews and tossing them up when they’re ready. Things will likely be sporadic for a while, but taking the time to do this blog every couple of days is one of the few things keeping me going these days, even if it’s just a little piece of a review each time. Today, I’m checking out one last figure from Siege’s first wave of Deluxes, so I can eventually start digging into the second wave. And Cog here is definitely the odd man out in the assortment.

As an homage to Fortress Maximus’ parts-forming companion figure, Hasbro really took the idea of Cog and ran with it. He’s not your traditional transformer, he’s a Weaponizer! And that means he can be broken down into various add on pieces for other Transformers. In theory it’s a pretty cool idea, even if I can’t noodle out how that would work from Cog’s point of view, as a sentient robot. And yes, in addition to being weapon and armor parts, he also has some more traditional alt modes, but before we get to that, let’s go against convention and start with his robot mode.

G1 Cog was an extremely basic figure, even for a vintage Transformer. This new version takes his general design and injects it with a ton of detail, more coloring, and obviously better articulation. The result is a fantastic looking figure that represents such an extreme makeover with really just the general silhouette as the only thing connecting the two together. This Cog still has the towers on each side of his head, capped off with little wheels. The extended gun shoulders are more defined, and he has the addition of integral arm guns protruding from his wrists. One of the things I dig the most about Cog is how puzzling his alt mode kibble can be. He’s obviously got wheels and some treads, but good luck guessing what he turns into. And we’ll see why in a bit.

From behind, Cog’s aesthetics do break down quite a bit. He looks pretty hollow and unfinished, but the view from the front more than makes up for it. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I love his ankle rockers. This dude can take some pretty wide stances and still keep his big robot feets planted firmly on the ground. I love it. The coloring here is also fantastic. The deco takes the blue and gray from the original figure and cranks it all the way up. You get some nice deep blue with black and bright red accents, and that gorgeous silver paint that has been turning up on Transformers from time to time. He also sports a crisp Autobot emblem on his right shoulder pylon. All in all, this deco does a great job matching with the coloring on the recent Titan Class Fortress Maximus.

The head sculpt garners a lot of love as well. He’s got a sharply defined “helmet” and a pretty dominant mouth plate with a recessed silver visor. From a practical perspective, those towers are a mixed bag. They look cool and probably do a good job of keeping Cog from getting his head knocked off, but the hit he takes to his peripheral vision has got to be a bitch.

Cog comes with a set of twin guns, which are molded in black plastic, feature great designs, and sport some nice detail. My only complaint here is that the peg hole on my figure’s right hand seems to be a little too big and the gun fits in there very loosely. OK, let’s move on to his alt modes.

Cog’s first alt mode is this… well, whatever it’s supposed to be. A Cybertronian rolling death machine? Sure, why not. This is also one of the simplest transformations I’ve seen in a Deluxe Class figure in a long time. You just fold the head back, fold the arms back, and lay him down on his back. That’s it, you’re done! Now, with everything else going on with this figure, I’m not going to come down too hard on this alt mode. It’s OK and I’m often willing to give Cybertron modes a lot of leeway. Of course, many collectors will want something more like G1 Cog’s dual alt modes, and that’s possible here as well…

Here we have two little attack vehicles, and I actually dig these more than his official single alt mode. While they look like they’re just the bigger vehicle pulled apart, there’s actually a little more to it than that. Not much, but a little. Otherwise, they’re perfectly serviceable Cybertronian vehicles packing some decent firepower. And from a size standpoint, they’re each not that much smaller than your average Deluxe Class alt mode. Not bad at all!

The all blue half-track is my least favorite of the two. It’s not bad, but it’s not very stable because the back half doesn’t lock together. You do get a few options on where to put the guns, and there’s extra peg holes for more weapons if you really want to load him up.

This one is my favorite of the two. I think the deco is just a lot more interesting and it’s a much more stable vehicle. Also, those guns on the top look like they can do some pretty good damage. But we’re still not done yet! Let’s see how Cog’s Weaponizer element works, and I’ll bring in Sideswipe to help demonstrate…

Oh boy! Like the Buffalo, we use all the parts of the Weaponizer and this is the “official” pairing between Cog and Sideswipe. I’m not keen on a lot of it. The shoulder armor piece and the larger feet just look ungainly and stupid, in my opinion. I do, however dig those shoulder cannons.

Yeah, just giving Sideswipe the shoulder cannons and the twin guns is definitely cool. I dig this look a lot. There are a whole lot of other things you can do with the parts, a lot of which are pretty goofy looking. Let’s get freaky…

As an adult collector, I can’t really get behind too many of these, but if I were a kid, I would have been all over this shit. It’s just fun taking parts and mixing them up and seeing what you can come up with and the play value here is really through the roof. Especially if you start tossing in the little Battle Masters, the effect parts, and a child’s imagination. After all, when I was a kid playing with stuff like this, I was more concerned with having fun, than building things that made sense or looked aesthetically pleasing.

I will say, some of the stuff works great on Optimus Prime as well.

When I find myself saying that this is my least favorite Deluxe in the first wave, that’s really a testament to how great this assortment is. Because Cog is a pretty damn fine figure. He’s got a great looking robot mode, some fairly decent alt modes, and a Weaponizer mode that may not really be my cup of tea, but introduces an undeniably clever new play pattern to the world of Transformers. With all that going on, I’m surprised this guy turned out so good. And after spending some time with him, I’m officially excited to get my hands on Sixgun from the second wave. Plus, it feels great to finally have a Cog to go with my Fortress Maximus.

Transformers Siege: Megatron by Hasbro

I’m hanging on by a thread this week and I really didn’t think I was going to make it here today. But talking toys is like a soothing balm for all that ails me and so here I am, not at my best, but here nonetheless! Because the show must go on! Anywho… It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been back to look at the Transformers Siege line, and that just won’t do! So let’s go ahead and wrap up this week by opening Voyager Class Megatron! I think this is going to be an interesting ride!

I’ve said my piece about this packaging when I looked at Optimus Prime, so I won’t go on about it all again now. Suffice it to say, I dig it a lot. It’s evolved quite nicely since this style was introduced way back when for The Last Knight figures. Megatron comes in a collector friendly window box with some absolutely bitchin’ character art on the angled side panel, so what’s not to like? The imperious leader of the Decepticons comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’re going to start with his alt mode!

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that the alt mode is a futuristic tank. Let me go off the rails for a moment and say that while the G1 version of Megatron’s robot mode will likely always be my favorite, I’ve never been a fan of the gun mode. Even as a kid, I thought it made for a crummy toy, and as for the cartoon, it always seemed a little emasculating for the mighty Decepticon leader to shrink down and be wielded by his subordinates like a common implement. The idea of Megs turning into a tank just works better on so many levels. So naturally, one of my favorite things Hasbro has ever done was find a way to make the G1 Megs robot mode work with a tank mode. And that’s probably why the Combiner Wars Leader Class Megatron (along with the help of DX9) remains my favorite version of the character to this day. Of course, I was happy to see them trying it again, this time at the more versatile Voyager Class size. OK, enough of that, on to the tank!

The Transformers designers sure love their H-type tank designs and this alt mode continues to prove that. As a result this tank looks like a bit like a cousin of Hardhead’s alt mode. This mobile gun platform is propelled by four sets of treaded pylons with wheels concealed beneath them to help it roll into the heat of battle. The body of the tank itself is pretty small, taking up slightly less volume than the copula, which is bisected by the massive cannon barrel. The gun itself cannot elevate, but the copula is capable of rotating left and right, adding a little bit of play and display value.

But make no mistake, this is not a sexy tank. It’s not even a photogenic tank. It is an ugly machine of war and that fits Megatron just fine. The surfaces are littered with seams and joints and hinges. There are some panel lines and sculpted hatches, vents, and compartments, but to me it all gets lost in a sort of jumbled mess, and surprisingly I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. As for the deco, it’s mostly comprised of gray and black plastic, with a little red, silver and yellow here and there. The cannon itself is easily the best aspect of this mode. It’s intricately detailed with silver and red paint hits to make it stand out. And surprisingly, the business end of the gun itself is not formed by Megs’ familiar fusion blaster, which makes for a nice surprise and a more distinctive design. Instead, it’s a combination of the fusion cannon in the back and a weird sword-gun weapon in the front, which is detached for transformation. All in all, this mode isn’t going to win any awards for aesthetics or ingenuity of design, but it works as a purely functional killing machine. And that’s a totally appropriate alt mode for Megatron. So how about that robot mode?

Well, there’s no doubt about it, this is G1 Megatron! Hasbro clearly designed this figure with the robot mode as a priority and then worked backwards. Sure, there are some bits of telltale kibble, and I’ll get to that in a bit, but so much of the homage is preserved that I’m fine overlooking the compromises that had to be made. Indeed, there are actually two pieces on the tops of his shoulders designed to fold back solely to mimic the hammer kibble from the original toy’s Walther PPK alt mode. Particular attention has been spent in designing the torso to resemble the Sunbow animation model and I absolutely love it. It’s basically the original toy torso, only boxier, beefier, and better proportioned. A few nitpicks? I wish the forearms filled in and the wrists would pivot, but those are some pretty small quibbles.

From the back, he looks nothing like Megatron, and that’s all because of his tank treads. Two of them fold up onto his back to form a fairly neat and tidy, albeit large, backpack. The lower legs, which aren’t too dissimilar from the G1 design when viewed from the front, really break down when viewed from the back, and those heel spurs don’t help either. So, yeah, the nearly pitch perfect homage does fall apart when the figure isn’t viewed from the front. And none of that really bothers me. What does bother me a lot is the choice to leave so much of the figure as just bare gray plastic. I thought it looked terrible when I first saw it, and while it’s growing on me a little, I still think it’s the deco, or lack thereof, is the figure’s biggest drawback. I can’t help but think how good this guy would have looked with the same sumptuous silver paint that Hasbro gave Combiner Wars Megatron. I also think that there’s a criminal lack of paint on his lower torso. It just looks terribly unfinished.

While the homage breaks down from the back, and the coloring is a sticking point with me, the portrait wins back plenty of points. I have to say, old bucket head never looked better. The “helmet” is perfect, the scowl on his face and red down-turned narrow eyes make him look tougher than a week-old Energon Cube. The face is painted silver, making it look superb in contrast to all that dull gray plastic. Megsy has a smattering of silver paint weathering splashed across his chest and arms, and a Decepticon logo printed on his chest.

Also winning back a lot of points is the nearly perfect fusion cannon. So many modern Megatron figures can’t seem to get this right, and yet I consider it crucial to any G1 homage. It was one of those “close, but no cigar” failings of the Combiner Wars Megatron that had to be fixed by a third-party company, and even that wasn’t a perfect fix. This one looks great and it’s positioned on the outer arm, to allow for really good poses and aiming. Hell, you can even peg it onto either arm, but we all know that the right arm is where it belongs, eh?

Megatron also comes with the previously mentioned combination rifle-sword weapon, which forms the front half of the tank mode’s main cannon. This piece can be discarded after transformation, or it can be retained as a weapon. I honestly didn’t think I’d have any use for it, as it’s not really something that I would expect Megatron to carry around. It is, however, surprisingly fun and versatile. I doubt I’ll display Megatron with it in robot mode, but it may wind up going to one of my other Decepticons.

In the end, this review has been quite the roller-coaster of opinion. I want to love this figure more than I do, and when I really dig deep, I realize that the only real sticking point for me is the coloring. I don’t mind the slab of tank kibble on his back, and I love just about everything else about the way the robot mode looks. This figure just feels like a great design with a piss-poor paint job. If Hasbro or Takara released this figure with a premium paint job like Combiner Wars Megsy had, I’d happily fork over the money to buy him again. As it is, the previous Leader Class Megatron with DX9 enhancements will remain my favorite. Nonetheless, I can’t deny this Megatron has everything else going for him, and the Siege versions of Megatron and Optimus Prime are easily the best pairing of these two mortal foes that we’ve had in a long time, if not ever.