Transformers (Studio Series 86): Wreck-Gar and Junkheap by Hasbro

Sorry about missing Wednesday, but the lingering symptoms of Covid mixed with being back at work is wearing me out at night. And since I didn’t make it back for my usual midweek review, I thought I’d double up for today with a look at two more Studio Series Transformers. I’ve had Wreck-Gar kicking around and waiting to be opened for about a year, which absolutely blows my mind with how fast time is going! And since I just had Junkheap hit my doorstep last week, let’s just have a look at them both in one go!

I only have a boxed shot of Wreck-Gar, but both figures are in the fairly similar Studio Series packaging, and even share similar character art. The big difference in packaging is that Junkheap does not have the window, so your figure is exposed to the filthy peanut butter encrusted fingers of any toddler that decides to wander by and touch the toy you’re going to buy. How is that fair? That little shit can’t afford this toy? Anyway, I got mine from Amazon, so hopefully it just sat in a casepack until it was ready to ship out. Wreck-Gar is a prime example of how collecting Transformers can be frustrating to me, because it feels like I’m constantly replacing figures with improved versions. He was released in Reveal The Shield back in 2011, Power of the Primes in 2018, and in between those, I even picked up a third party version by DX9 Toys in 2017. The 2018 release is the only one I still own, and he’ll probably be going bye-bye after I’m done with this review. Let’s start with Wreck-Gar and his alt mode!

So, I’m not terribly pleased with this motorcycle mode, but I don’t really hate it either. It’s pretty damn ugly, but then he is a Junkion, so I guess I can kind of forgive that. I think my biggest problem is that it looks worse than the original G1 toy’s alt mode. It’s very possible that I don’t have all the parts lined up properly, but then this was a pretty frustrating transformation, and just wasn’t worth the end result. I do like the colors, as they match the traditional animated look of the motorcycle pretty well. The studs on the wheels are cool, as are the big spikes jutting off the sides, and the dual blasters under the windshield. There’s some nice detail on the console gauges, although the handlebars on my toy are warped. You can store his weapon by pegging it into the back of the bike, but I think it looks kind of goofy back there. Finally, you get a pair of fold out kick-stands to keep Wreck-Gar sitting upright.

If you have a f’ugly alt mode, than you pretty much have to have a great robot mode, and it’s clear here that the motorcycle was sacrificed for the robot. This figure looks fantastic, and certainly outclasses any of the previous releases that have passed through my collection, even that expensive third-party figure, which in fairness was a remold/repaint of the Gobot Leader Cy-Kill. The proportions here are excellent, and yes, I even like his Popeye-style forearms! The placement of the bike’s saddlebags on his hips is perfect for him to store extra bits or maybe some Energon Goodies. The spikes protruding from his knees and forearms provide places to put his wheels. I like to counter-balance them with one on each side, so one on the right knee, and the other on the left forearm as a shield. The bulbous gas tank from the motorcycle fills in his back, making this figure look just as solid from behind as he does from the front. And you have to love those nipple cannons, and the fact that they’re ball jointed and can be aimed independently, which is just delightfully creepy.

The head sculpt here is right on the money. I liked the Power of the Primes portrait as well, but that head was way too small for the body. Here we get a bigger and bolder noggin with all the personality of the animated design. The faked out front of the motorcycle makes for a great looking “helmet” and the facial features are sharp and well fleshed out. I’ve still never completely reconciled with the introduction of facial “hair” on my Transformers, but I have to admit, it looks great here. The red eye paint is very clean with some sharp black outlines.

Wreck-Gar comes with his pinwheel of death, which is a lot better than previous versions of this curious weapon. I really dig the way he looks with the weapon in one hand and the wheel shield on the opposing arm. Let’s move on to Junkheap…

I won’t spend a whole lot of time with Junkheap, as he is basically just a remold and repaint of Wreck-Gar. The motorcycle has additional side plates, and the piece under the windshield section has been remolded to omit the nipple cannons and just have some pipes angling out from the center. The pylons holding the front wheel are also new sculpts. The windshield area is more squared off this time and lacks the swooshes on the sides. I would have thought the added side plates would improve the look, but I think this one actually looks worse than Wreck-Gar’s alt mode. They also add a little more frustration to the transformation. The deco shares some common strokes with Wreck-Gar, mainly in the brown and orange, but it adds more gray to the mix, making him not as bright and vibrant, but it’s still a good looking deco. The transparent windscreen is also now tinted blue.

And just like Wreck-Gar, the robot mode here is absolutely fantastic! The changes I mentioned in the motorcycle mode are reflected here on the chest and arms. It’s honestly a lot more different than I would have expected, even if all of those changes are confined to the upper body. You can still position his wheels in the same manner as Wreck-Gar, but I like to keep both of Junkheap’s wheels on his legs, because of the options you now have with those side plates on the arms.

The side plates can reside on the shoulders, or be swing down to the forearms. While both look good, I prefer to keep the right plate up on the shoulder and have the left plate on the forearm, as it can serve as either a shield or a blaster. Either way, it just adds to the options you have to customize the look of this guy and make him all the bit more different than Wreck-Gar.

As with Wreck-Gar, Hasbro did a really nice job on this head sculpt. Since the “helmet” is supposed to be a mass-shifted front of the bike, it looks more squared off here. I also dig the shock absorber horns that protrude from the sides. These are ball jointed so you can adjust them to be rather expressive. The face features some sharp details and the oversized goggles are painted red.

Junkheap comes with the exact same Death Pinwheel as Wreck-Gar. I actually wouldn’t have minded a new weapon here, but considering all the other changes, it’s fine.

While I certainly do wish the motorcycle modes were a little tighter and looked a bit better, the robot modes here are more than enough to win me over. That is how I display most of these anyway, and I don’t see myself transforming these guys a lot in the future. I think these are some absolutely great looking robots. They’re big, hefty, and fun to play with, and I think Hasbro did just enough in the remolding to make them each stand on their own. I probably wouldn’t mind seeing a third Junkion created from this mold, and I’ll confess I was even tempted to pick up a second Junkheap, just to give Wreck-Gar a pair of them to fight with. But for now, I’m thrilled to add these Junkions to my 86 Movie shelf!

Transformers (Studio Series 86): Gnaw by Hasbro

Hasbro has been turning out some excellent figures from the original Transformers animated movie through their Studio Series. I’ve covered quite a few of these, but I’ve still got some catching up to do, so today I’m going to have a look at Gnaw the Sharkticon!

It was about five years ago when we last saw Gnaw on the pegs, and that release was a tiny Legends Class, whereas now Gnaw is getting a proper Deluxe Class treatment. As always, the character art for the Studio Series packaging looks great, although I’m still not a fan of the black and red deco with the Transformers logo running up the side in sterile typeface. Also, it looks like something was gnaw-ing at the top of this box, which is fine because I’m about to shred it open. One thing I dig here is the Quintesson faction symbol next to Gnaw’s name. I’ve never noticed Hasbro using that piece of art before and It looks pretty badass! I think I’ll break tradition here and start with Gnaw’s robot mode.

In robot mode, the Sharkticons are the oompa loompas of the scrapyards. They’re short and stocky, and they don’t look too dangerous when they’re solo, but get a pack together and they just overwhelm. Hasbro did a beautiful job here updating the original toy, which has a robot mode that has not aged well. Here we see some great proportions, nice sculpted detail and beautiful colors. Hasbro borrowed the mauve and blue, dark gray and off-white from the original toy and streamlined it to resemble the animated model a lot more. Still, I would have loved to see some silver paint in place of the chrome from the original toy. At least on the teeth!

From the back, this guy is pretty damn tight, with his back dominated by a slab of black, almost like a turtle shell, and his tiny beastly arms hanging off his shoulders. All the beast mode kibble here is well placed, looking like they were style choices, rather than just some random place to tuck them. Everything about this bot mode feels polished to a fine shine. And for such a stocky guy, there’s some great articulation here, right down to the ankle tilts to keep his feet flat on the ground.

The head is a great homage to the original toy’s noggin, sporting a very distinctive “helmet” and a broad face. There’s a lot more detail here and a very displeased expression. I like to imagine that the Sharkticons are just in bad moods all the time because they’re always hungry for more Energon. I also love how well protected this guy’s head is. It’s right in the middle off a perimeter of teeth! I think the only thing I would have changed here would be to get some bright crimson paint on those eyes.

The Sharkticon comes with two weapons for his robot mode. The first is a rather large blaster rifle, which is almost as long as he is tall. The second is a spiked flail, which forms his tail in his beast mode. And speaking of which, let’s check out that beast mode!

I really like what we got here, even if it feels like the emphasis was on the robot mode over this one. The transformation is pretty simple, and yet rather clever at the same time, and everything locks together to make a solid little eating machine. The legs are set pretty far back, but they do a nice job balancing him upright. The hip joints have a habit of dropping him every now and then, but for the most part he stays standing, even without using his tail as a support.

The face is spot on perfect to me, with it’s metallic green bug yes and it’s giant maw of teeth. The jaw is hinged so he can bite, although there isn’t a whole lot of room inside that mouth. On that note, the robot head is unfortunately right inside, albeit facing down. You don’t really see his face, and I suppose the back of the head just works as some kind of weird bulbous tongue. Still, I would have liked to have seen it fold up inside the body, rather than be hanging out there. My only other nitpick is the arms. They swivel at the shoulders and have hinges in the elbows, which isn’t bad, but the shoulders should have been ball jointed.

As mentioned, the flail weapon becomes the tail, and you can also plug the rifle into the Sharkticon’s side to give him some extra firepower.

And here’s a couple comparison shots of the new Gnaw with the previous release. I seem to recall liking the Legends Gnaw when it came out, and to be honest I still do. As a Legends Class toy, it’s a lot simpler, but I think it did a fine job for what it is. And I think it displays really well with the new release, as some sort of less developed version of the Quintessons’ attack dogs.

Also, in keeping with the past Studio Series releases, the package does include a little display backdrop. I really love these, but if I’m being honest with myself, I probably won’t keep them. It would just take up way too much space to display each figure on one of these, and I don’t really want a whole tote full of them taking up more space in the closets.

The 86 movie Transformers figures hit the shelves at a time where I was still watching the cartoon and still taking note of the toys, but I wasn’t really playing with or buying them anymore. As a result, I never owned the original, and I’m happy to see this guy get such an gnawesome treatment. I grabbed up three of them to match the number of the Legends Class version I have, and I think that’ll probably be enough, although if I can find them at a good deal, I won’t say no to a couple more.

Transformers (Studio Series 86): Dinobot Slug by Hasbro

Seems like it’s been a little while since I last visited with Hasbro’s eternal line of convertobotformers, and boy do I have a huge backlog! I’ve got a lot of goodies to choose from, so many so that I’m going to have to do a Backlog Week where I can dig way back into the stack of overlooked bots. But after a quick scan of my shelf, and my attention was immediately drawn to the second Dinobot in the Studio Series line… Let’s check out Slag!

Yeah, yeah. For reasons, he’s now called Dinobot Slug, but I’ll be referring him to Slag for the remainder of this piece. You’ll note that the box also credits the inclusion of Daniel Whitwicky, but I’ll save him for the end. The box has some decent character art and the Transformers movie logo, but man am I tired of this overall box layout. The black background with the red generic lettered Transformers running up the side is so boring and lacks any semblance of creativity. Never in a million years would I have guessed that Hasbro would stick with this crap for so long. But I throw out the box anyway, so who cares! Let’s start with the dino mode!

CHONKS!!! When it comes to Dinobots, big and beefy wins the day… and Slag meets both of those criteria. Slag’s alt form is a Triceratops, or at least that’s what it was called when I was a kid. The scientists have been working overtime deleting my childhood dinosaur names, who knows what’s what these days. Whatever the case, I think Hasbro did a nice job on the alt mode here, although it does have a bit of a patchwork quality about it. That’s mainly from the mix of gray, black, red, gold, and white plastics. He’s got some solid proportions and a tank-like quality about him, despite the hollow hind legs. He’s based on the movie’s animated appearance, but there’s still a lot of great sculpted detail in his metallic hide. You get panel lines, pipes, hatches, vents, and all sorts of technological gizmos on display. I especially dig how his gun is used to fill out his tail.

The head has a nice satiny gold finish, which is repeated for the back ridges and tail, and the blue eyes are quite striking. He’s got white plastic horns protruding from the top of his head and a smaller upturned horn jutting up from his nose. The crest that frames his head is also left bare white plastic, which I’ll confess looks a little cheap, but I suppose it does match the coloring in the cartoon appearance. There’s no articulation in the neck, but the jaw does open, so that’s cool!

So, the dino mode gets my seal of approval, however, I will say that the engineering on this toy is a lot more complex than what I was expecting. As a rule, I always thought the original Dinobot toy transformations didn’t need to be messed with too much to make modern updates. The Studio Series Grimlock more or less holds that to be true. But Hasbro did some crazy stuff here, especially with Slag’s torso. I found it to be a bit frustrating to get him into dino mode the first time, and even after a few more tries it feels a bit more fiddly than it needed to be. Some might argue that a Leader Class should have complex engineering to justify the price, but here it was just a pain to get everything to lock together correctly, especially when compared to Studio Series Grimlock.

And speaking of which, here are the two Studio Series Dinobots together in their alt modes. With that said… on to the robot mode! In terms of scale and styling, I think they look amazing together! And just in case you want to see how much bigger Slug got than when we last saw him…

My opinion on the Power of the Primes Dinobots remains mostly unchanged. These were great looking figures, but woefully undersized. The PotP Dinos were especially small for Deluxe Class toys, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Leader Class is the only way to go for Dinobots! Now let’s check out Slag’s robot mode!

Well, there sure is a lot to love here, but I also have a few nitpicks so let me get them out of the way first. The dino mode’s hind legs would be expected to land on the outside of the robot legs, but here, they fold in to fill in the leg cavities and give Slag a cleaner look. I sure can respect that, but… I think that by taking the legs off the outside and concealing them, it makes his legs look a little scrawny compared to his upper body bulk. Is it a deal-breaker for me? Nah. It is however, my only real gripe with this robot mode. Indeed, I’m impressed by how polished the back looks, with the “wings” and the tail tucked in. It’s just a great looking figure all around.

The portrait is nicely done as well, with a sharp sculpt. It’s worth mentioning here that I love the red plastic used for the head and chest. It’s so bright and vibrant. It also contrasts beautifully with those big blue eyes. The chest piece is obviously faked out, as it’s not really the lower jaw of the dino head, but I think that was the right way to go here and it looks great.

Like Grimlock, Slag comes with a gun but no sword. Yeah, that sucks. The gun is a decent sculpt, but I wish it was cast in black plastic instead of the white. And while on the subject, I really would have loved to get an homage to the missile launcher that came with the original figure. Where did all the plastic they saved from not including a sword or missile launcher go?

It went to this piece of crap… Daniel Witwicky in his Exo-Suit. This is extremely similar to the Wheelie figure that came with Studio Series Grimlock. And while I wasn’t terribly impressed with that Wheelie, I find this inclusion to be a total misfire. There’s articulation at the shoulders and hips, but he’s stuck in a squatting position, as the figure is mainly intended to just sit on top Slag’s dino mode. I think what I hate most about this figure is that they couldn’t even give him a head sculpt or a sticker showing a face inside the open helmet, but nope… we just got a blank, featureless dome.

It continues to baffle me that Takara didn’t continue on with the Masterpiece Dinobots, especially with how many different releases they got out of Grimlock. But with a team of MP Dinos being only a pipe dream, Hasbro’s Leader Class offerings are the next best thing to me. Slag puts us at two Dinobots down and I really hope Hasbro keeps this train rolling. Indeed, I’m a little disappointed we haven’t seen a teaser of the next one yet. I’m rooting for Sludge, because if they do cut this run short, I want to make sure we at least get the original three. And since I can’t imagine what lame mini figure they would include with Sludge, how about you just make good on the missing swords instead, eh Hasbro?

Transformers (Studio Series 86) Kup by Hasbro

With so many great toys hitting the shelves these days, it’s really hard for me to decide on what to squeeze into my paltry three reviews (or less) a week. I really wish I had the time and energy to go back to the early days of FFZ and churn out five reviews a week, but honestly I don’t even know how I ever managed that. For now, I’m especially thrilled with Hasbro’s original Transformers movie nostalgia trip, so let’s dig into another one of the Studio Series figures with everyone’s favorite crotchety old Autobot, Kup!

I’ve ignored the Studio Series releases for so long, because they were all based on the Bayformers, but now they’re featuring the old G1 bots and I couldn’t be happier. What makes a Studio Series figure? Hell if I know. There is a little extra effort put into the packaging in the form of a cardboard stand and backdrop, but otherwise, I guess it’s just a sub-series that allows Hasbro to mine characters that don’t fit into the whole Siege-Earthrise-Kingdom narrative. Whatever that is. In the end, I don’t care what they call them, as long as they keep them coming! We’ve had three versions of Kup in modern Transformers lines, including one as part of Generations and the more recent release in Titans Return. Let’s see how the latest one fares, and we’ll start with the alt mode!

In the movie, Kup was a Cybertronian truck and this is a damn fine translation of that design to plastic form. I was never sure whether this was supposed to be a pickup-style truck with a bed for payload, or if it was supposed to hook up to a trailer of some sort, but either way I really dig what we got here. The sculpt features a decent amount of panel lines, and I especially like the canopy that doesn’t show off the interior of the cab, because it’s a Cybertronian vehicle. The design has the front wheels exposed, and the back wheels concealed underneath. Also, both of Kup’s accessories can attach to his vehicle mode giving him some extra firepower, and what looks like it could be a gas tank.

Kup’s truck mode gets by without a whole lot in the way of paint applications and instead making use of gray-blue and off-white plastic for a color scheme that closely matches what he had in the movie. You do, however, get Autobot insignia stamped on the hood and again on the sides. All in all, this is a cool and compact, rugged little space truck. It holds together fairly well, although sometimes I have problems keeping some of the seams closed up all the way. Let’s get him transformed and check out his robot mode!

Transforming Kup is slightly more complex than I had anticipated. The first time it felt a little fiddly, but after a few times, it really isn’t that bad, and it does a few pretty clever things. The result is a great looking robot that certainly captures a lot more of the animated design than the original toy ever did. The 86 animated designs introduced a lot of curves, particularly found int he rounded arms and legs, and that’s exactly what’s on display here. The coloring carries over from the alt mode, with just a little bit of rusty orange paint accents in the forearms and his “belt buckle.” Ironically, the front wheels which were on display in his alt mode are now hidden inside his torso, while the concealed back wheels are now seen in his lower legs. When viewed from the back, he does have some ugly empty compartments in his forearms and lower torso, but all in all, nothing too bad.

I might as well mention now that he’s built to be pulled apart, probably to recreate the underwater squid attack from the movie, where he got an arm and leg ripped off and Hot Rod had to put him back together. This is a cool gimmick, I guess, but his arms tend to pull out when I’m posing him. I fear that the connections may get even more loose over time.

The head sculpt is pretty good, but I’m not sure it’s the slam dunk that we’ve been getting on the other figures. I think the facial sculpt is just a little soft and they kind of flubbed the crest on his “helmet.” But man, I’m really nit-picking, because it sure ain’t bad. It’s just that so many of the other head sculpts have been pitch perfect, I think there’s a little room for criticism here.

As we’ve already seen, Kup comes with a pair of accessories, which include his gun and his energon goodie dispenser. The gun is pretty non-descript but the goodie dispenser was a cool surprise. I honestly wasn’t expecting that!

And before wrapping up, here’s a quick comparison of the recent Titans Return Sergeant Kup & Flintlock with this new Studio Series model. And I’m happy to say that I can comfortably find room for both of these figures in my collection. The Titans Return version is certainly more beholding to the original toy, especially in the deco, while the Studio Series goes for an animated accurate version. And it’s still cool to me to have a Kup with the Headmaster gimmick. Ultimately, I like SS86 Kup’s robot mode a lot better, but I’m still rather fond of Sergeant Kup’s vehicle mode with the driver compartment for Flintlock.

And that’s Transformers for ya! A few of years ago I was perfectly happy with my Kup figure and now he’s being overshadowed by a new one. This is an excellent figure all around and I’ve been having a blast playing with him at my desk during my down time. The next Studio Series figure I check out will probably be Blurr, and my Hot Rod just shipped out, so I’m excited for him to arrive!

Transformers (Studio Series 86): Scourge by Hasbro

About five years ago I reviewed Scourge from the Titans Return line, comparing him to the previous Scourge figure from Generations. It’s funny to look back on that one, as I pointed out that while I had nothing but good things to say about Generations Scourge, Titans Return Scourge completely blew him away as an update. And that’s one of the problems with collecting Transformers. Because here I am to say that Studio Series Scourge is so damn good, that he will now be replacing my Titans Return version. Dammit!

Hasbro has been pushing the Studio Series as something of a premium line, and it shows with the packaging. Sure, it’s still a window box with the figure on a plastic tray, but inside the box is a pretty cool tri-fold backdrop and a cardboard pedistal for him to stand on. I’m not sure I’ll be using these for display, but I will at least be saving them while I think about it. Either way, it’s a nice option to have! This is my first dip into this sub-line because previously they have been all about the Bayverse Transformers, and I have no interest in them. But now they’re focusing on the 86 Movie and all bets are off! Scourge comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’re starting with his alt mode.

Scourge’s alt mode is a flying space boat pulled straight from the movie and for the most part it looks great! He’s mostly smooth with organic curves and just the right amount of panel lining to straddle that line between sufficient detail and an animated style. I had no qualms with Titans Return Scourge’s alt-mode, but it was really a different take on this design, while this one is shooting more for accuracy. Things do turn a bit ugly when this space-boat is viewed from behind. Unfortunately, Scourge’s backside looks unfinished and you can see the bottoms of his filthy feet, but I suppose there was only so much they could do with this price point. As for coloring, Scourge gets by mostly with just the two-tone plastic and a big Decepticon emblem stamped on the top. There is a tiny red paint hit on the front point of the middle engine cannon, but he didn’t really need any more coloring in this mode to make him look complete.

If you’re a fan of Scourge being able to pop his head out while still in vehicle mode, this toy has you covered. You just flip down the panel that’s covering his face and there he is! I’ll confess, this isn’t a big selling point for me, but different strokes for different space-boats!

Scourge does have ports on the sides if you want to mount his rifle and further weaponize him while in his alt mode. Again, it doesn’t do much for me, but it’s always nice to have options. Also, you get an effect part that can plug into his cannon or rifle, creating a purple energy blast.

Transforming this guy isn’t exactly a chore, but it isn’t terribly fun either. There’s no grace or clever engineering at work, as a crunched down version of the bot mode is pretty much hiding under the panels that make up the alt-modes hull. But I’m not going to complain about how we get there, when this robot mode is as spectacular as it is! Scourge cuts quite a presence on the shelf with his organic curves, bold chest, and majestic wings. He’s perfectly proportioned and they even included his fingernail polish, which Titans Return Scourge was sadly missing. Like his alt-mode, the robot mode is a little unsightly when viewed from behind. It would have been cool if those two hanging panels could have been locked together to form some kind of backpack, but it’s nothing that comes close to ruining the figure for me.

The wings and panels do make Scourge more than a little back-heavy, but he does have hinged heel spurs, which can be angled to give him a little extra support. And that’s a good thing, because this figure is loads of fun to play with and pose.

The head sculpt is also a huge improvement over little Fracas that served as the head for the Titans Return Scourge. Not that that one was in any way bad, but this one just takes it to the next level. I suppose the larger scale helped, as did not having the head be a tiny robot. It’s funny, but at first I was never a fan of giving Transformers “facial hair” but it’s become so iconic for Scourge that I wouldn’t have it any other way. His mustache and beard have a nice purple coat of paint and his eyes are painted red with a bold black border.

As we’ve already seen, Scourge comes with a rifle, which he can only hold in his right hand. It’s kind of weird to see a relaxed hand on a Transformers figure, but I kind of dig it. It adds some possibilities for poses and gesturing.

And so Studio Series Scourge is a bittersweet addition to my collection. I’m not really ready to start retiring most of my Titans Return figures, but putting them side-by-side it’s incredible to me how much difference five years can make. Sure, this one is a higher price point, bigger size, and isn’t confined to the Headmaster gimmick, but it’s undeniably a huge improvement on all fronts. I’ll likely be keeping most of the Titans Return figures as their own thing, but if Scourge is any indication, it looks like many of them will be getting superior replacements soon.