Transformers Generations: Arcee (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It took me a while to get her, but Hasbro’s G1-style Arcee finally arrived at my doorstep last week, and only about 28 years late. It’s absolutely baffling that it took this long for the figure to be released, and don’t tell me it’s because of the whole, “boys don’t buy girl action figures” nonsense, because we’ve seen an Arcee figure many times over the decades, just never one this closely based on the G1 continuity.  This gal’s the real thing!

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Ah, the Generations Comic Pack. I guess we’re done seeing these for a while, at least on the pegs. I’ve still go a few of them to showcase here. There’s something so blissful about getting an action figure and comic book all in one tidy bundle and the deco of 2014’s Thrilling Thirty packages really hit my nostalgia right in the sweet spot. Granted, I wasn’t terribly keen on this comic’s story arc and it doesn’t do a great job spotlighting Arcee, but hey… free comic! I’m not going to scoff. Anyway, Arcee comes packaged in her robot mode, but as usual, I’m going to start with her alt mode.

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And that alt mode is indeed a pink, white, and black Cybertronian convertible, and I’ll be damned if it ain’t great looking. The long, stylized hood is a little reminiscent of a 70’s Chevy Corvette and I love the fin protruding up from behind the seats. The driver area is pretty nicely detailed with a sculpted steering wheel and console and a translucent blue windshield. The coloring is excellent and that big, crisp Autobot emblem on her hood is pure love. All in all this is a pretty faithful recreation of Arcee’s Sunbow alt mode design. I can’t think of anything off hand that I would have improved on. Even the seaming on it isn’t bad so long as you take the time to make everything go where it’s supposed to.

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Arcee comes with a plethora of weapons, I’ll look at those more closely in a bit, but all of the weapons can be attached to her car mode in one way or another. Her pink gone can clip under the back of the car plus there are two tabbing ports on the top near the trunk and two more on the sides. As is often the case, weaponinzing the alt mode can get a bit silly, but I must admit to being rather fond of just having the single cannon mounted above one of her rear wheels. It actually look like it’s designed to go there and not like a tacked on afterthought.

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Moving on to transformation… are you familiar with the term “shellformer?” Hmmm? Sure you are! And that term is certainly applicable here. Now, you’ve got your shelformers that involve a whole lot of plates fitting together just right like a car-bag around a bundle of robot kibble. To me, those are the worst offenders. Arcee isn’t that bad, although she does basically wear her alt mode on her back. It folds out to form the car shell and the arms and legs fold in underneath. Normally I’d be pretty critical of this sort of thing, but lets not forget that Arcee is a toy based on a totally made up animation model and one that had to retain a certain femininity in robot mode. That’s a tall order for the engineering department and a $15 toy, and so I’ll be cutting Arcee some slack here.

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Yes, that my friends is the G1 Arcee I know and love and looking at the feminine curves of her body, it’s easy to see why they had to go the shellformer root and why she wears the car on her back. Still, the way the figure is designed it really does look like Arcee wearing a backpack and I’m very much fine with that. The proportions are pretty good, although Arcee is definitely sporting some child bearing hips she still manages to have a slender waist, a curvy (almost organic looking) midriff, and a strategically placed angle in her chest plate to form them robot ta-ta’s. What’s impressive is that even with that bulky backpack, Arcee has no troubles with balance. The coloring here is more of the same, appropriately white and pink with a little blue and black trim to make things interesting.

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The head sculpt is pure G1 love. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. She has a cute little pink face, tiny painted lips, and the Princess Leia buns sculpted into her “helmet.” It’s certainly more Daniel-loving G1 Arcee than “You’re going to come home and find that I boiled your Petro-rabbit on the stove” IDW Arcee. That’s both G1 Transformers and a Glenn Close reference all rolled into one, kids… Weeee! Anyway, the head sculpt could be good or bad, depending on your personal tastes. Frankly, I never liked what IDW did with the character, so I dig it. Arcee also sports some really nice light-piping in those baby blue eyes of hers.

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I don’t always bother running down all the articulation points in my Transformers, but in the case of Arcee it’s so damn impressive that I’m going to make an exception. Her arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels at the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ankles, and have swivels in the thighs. There’s no articulation in the waist, but the neck is ball jointed. So Arcee isn’t loaded with a ton of points of articulation, but it’s what you can do with them that count. The joints have a great range of motion and they’re all firm and can hold poses really well.

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How about those weapons? Arcee comes with a formidable little assortment of killing tools. You get a pair of blue energon swords, which I suppose can double as rifles. Or is that vice-versa? You also get a medium sized gun and a smaller pistol. She can hold any of these weapons in either hand, although the guns tend to sit rather high in her grip, making them look a little awkward when she’s wielding them. Arcee also has tab ports in her forearms and thighs so she can wear her weapons like they’re holstered or wield her blades on her arms.

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Arcee is a great little figure made all the sweeter for how long we had to wait for her. Yeah, she’s a shellformer, and yeah she wears a car on her back, but she’s also happens to be a gal with plenty of charms. The sculpt and coloring are great and I was surprised at what a solid and stable figure she is to play around with. Is she enough to keep me from blowing $60 on MMC’s Azalea? Well, the jury’s still out on that one. What I will say is that for a $15 Deluxe I think Hasbro did right by us old-timer fans with this release. She looks really good hanging out with the likes of Generations Blurr and Kup, but it’s a pity she’s too undersized to hang out with her boyfriend, Springer.

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Transformers Generations: Legends Class Cosmos with Payload by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday and I was going to look at Generations Arcee today, but I’m a little pressed for time. If only I had some more Legends Class figures to look at… Oh, wait. I do! I may be all out of Combiner Wars Legends, but I still have some unfinished business with the old Generations line. Today I’m looking at Cosmos and Payload. I couldn’t find this pair anywhere back when they first came out, but I was passing through the toy aisle the other day and there they were hanging on the pegs. Maybe the fine folks at WallyWorld were trying to get them out to make way for the Combiner Wars figures. Whatever the case, I’m glad to finally have him.

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Ah, there’s the lovely Generations packaging. I’ve still got a few more of these two-packs to look at so we’ll see it again, but sadly not for much longer. I love the G1-inspired grid deco and the character art is great. And you can’t beat getting two Transformers for eleven bucks, even if one is a small and simple Minicon. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Cosmos had his first Legends Class figure. I used to think that one was pretty good, but with this new one in hand, there’s hardly any comparison. Let’s start with his alt mode.

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Yup, he’s still the little green saucer that we all knew and loved and I really dig the modern update. Cosmos has a pair of yellow engines in the back with a stylish tail fin. The front has a set of viewscreens on the central hub and a pair of guns peeking out from under the front of the disk. The coloring here is pretty simple. He’s mostly green with some yellow arrow decos orientating him to the front. Cosmos also features some great panel lining sculpted into the hull.

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Of course, flying saucer alt modes are easy, it’s getting them to turn into decent robots… that’s the tough part. Nonetheless, Hasbro nailed this robot mode beautifully. The proportions are surprisingly good and it captures the Sunbow look of the character better than I could have possibly expected out of a figure in this scale. Some of the particularly cool touches are the way the guns are placed on his knees, the way the fin and engines form a little jetpack, and the windows landing on his chest. He’s also got sculpted guns on his forearms. The green and yellow coloring is pure Cosmos as is that marveous little head sculpt.

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The articulation is quite good for such a little guy. You get ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, and hips and double hinges in the knees. Cosmos can also swivel at the waist and turn his head. Nice!

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Cosmos’ little buddy, Payload, is one of my favorite of these bundled Minicons. It’s not that there’s anything particularly great about him, but I just happen to like the sculpt and the coloring and his simple little transformation, which produces a clean little robot mode. I also like the idea of having a little space shuttle to fly around with Cosmos.

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Payload’s Targetmaster mode is also one of the better ones I’ve seen so far. It’s a double barreled gun which looks pretty good in Cosmos’ hand, although it does make him a little front heavy. It’s a lot of gun for a little guy, but I think it works even better when wielded by Deluxe Class figures. Damn, I really liked these Minicon Targetmasters. I wish they had carried over to the new line.

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In the end I’ve got nothing but respect for this little figure. Cosmos hasn’t really been done right since his initial G1 release and I think this is the first time seeing him be all he could be. It’s all thanks to some clever engineering and that extra bit of love that Hasbro seems to have invested in these recent Legends Class figures. If I had one complaint it’s that the Legends Class scale keeps him from hanging out with the Deluxe Warpath and Bumblebee, and one day I’d still like to see all the old Mini-bots have their due as Deluxe Class toys. Still, at least he’s right at home chilling with Combiner Wars Powerglide and they do indeed look great together.

Transformers Generations: Crosscut (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

Well, I hope you all had a great Christmas, Toyhounds. I don’t want to be a scrooge, but I’m glad it’s over and I’m anxious for things to start returning to normal. Since I took the day off yesterday, I decided to bump Transformers Thursday to today and we are going to be opening up a certain Autobot that Santa Primus left for me under the tree. It’s Crosscut and he’s a repaint of Skids. Ho Ho Ho!

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Is there a more beautiful sight to behold than an action figure packaged with a comic book? I think not. If this had been a thing back when I was a kid, I might have grown up with a better outlook on the world and life in general. I’m just glad I lived to see it happen. Crosscut is one of Hasbro’s “Thrilling Thirty” to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Transformers. I’ve lost track of where they are with these, but 2014 is just about gone so there can’t be too many more of these left for me to open. I’m a little apprehensive about what 2015 holds for Tranformers. I don’t see myself buying many of the Combiner Wars stuff, other than the Legends Class figures, so I’m going to be sad to see all this IDW stuff disappear from the pegs. But I digress… he comes packaged in robot mode, but let’s start with his car mode.

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If you missed my review of Skids, you should know that I really liked that figure a lot and so I was eager to pick up this remold-repaint. The car mode is an adorable and unassuming little compact that in no way suggests the kick-ass looking warrior bot that you’re going to get out of it. Still, as much as I still dig this mold, the Crosscut version is pretty bland when compared to the original Skids release. Gone is that beautiful blue plastic and in its place is this swirly gray crap that Hasbro likes to use. Cars are meant to be shiny and this bare plastic just doesn’t work that well for the alt mode. The red and white striping on Skids’ sides is replaced by a black stripe and some red scoops. There’s also a lot of new paint to be found on the grill, but I’ll deal with that after we get him transformed.

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Crosscut features the same ports on his sides, just in front of the rear wheels, so you can attach his weapons to his car mode. All in all, this isn’t a terrible looking car. If I try hard enough I can get a little G1 Camshaft vibe off of him, but based on coloring alone, I much prefer the Skids release.

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Transforming Crosscut into robot mode isn’t too bad, it’s getting him back into car mode that I find a little daunting. Nonetheless, the robot mode on this guy is just a thing of beauty. I love the proportions, particularly since the transformation is so well engineered that it almost looks like the toy uses mass shifting to get such a long and lean bot mode out of such a compact little car. You also have some very classic Autobot design elements at work here, what with the front of the car forming the chest, the wheels on the shoulders, and the door wings angling up from the back. Of course, the mold is still not without some issues. The car kibble on the sides of the legs is rather ungainly and the figure does have a habit of falling backwards if you don’t get his stance just right. This is one Transformer that is sorely in need of some heel spurs.

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Like Skids, Crosscut is bristling with weaponry. You get those awesome rocket packs on his shoulders and a pair of shoulder cannon reminiscent of the old G1 Datsuns. He also has dual cannon slung under each of his forearms and these can be angled up for firing, but I prefer them positioned under his arms. It’s odd that his bio should call out that this guy isn’t known for his accomplishments in battle, seeing as how he looks like a walking death machine.

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So what’s new? Well, Crosscut does feature a brand new head sculpt, complete with mouth plate and a cool “helmet.” Other than that, the new deco features the same gray plastic we saw in car mode with some snazzy metallic gold paint on his feet, hands, helmet, and shoulders. The gray plastic works for me much better in robot mode than in car mode. The front grill and bumper is now black with some more metallic red and yellow headlamps, which goes a long way to differentiate him from Skids. Honestly, the only issue I have with his deco in bot mode is that the head sculpt uses the bare gray plastic for his face and part of his helmet. I really wish these parts had been painted, especially the mouth plate.

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Crosscut’s articulation looks good on paper, but like Skids, he doesn’t feature a lot of mobility in the shoulders. The jointing is there, but the sculpt does its best to interfere. Conversely, his leg articulation is great, but it’s hard to make use of it without Crosscut toppling backwards. The end result is a figure that looks really good standing on the shelf, and can be really frustrating when trying to get great poses out of him.

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Crosscut comes with black versions of Skids two weapons. One is a rifle, the other looks like a beefy pistol with a drum magazine and they can be combined into one big gun. Taken together, this is one of my favorite Transformers weapons in recent memory, so I don’t mind getting another, but it’s also very character specific for Skids, so it feels rather out of place getting it again for another character.

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All in all, Crosscut is a nice second run at a mold that is admittedly problematic, but one that I love nonetheless. The aesthetics here just scream classic Autobot sexiness to me and I can’t get over how much I dig those rocket packs in the shoulders. The deco works better for me in robot mode than it does in car mode, but I don’t think either are necessarily better than what we got with Skids. I don’t know that Crosscut is a “must-have” figure, especially for collectors that already own the mold, but he is the only one in this wave that I sought out to buy and that’s just because I dig Skids so much.

Transformers Generations: Rhinox by Hasbro

Hey, it’s the first Transformers Thursday of 2014! As promised last time, I’m going to start mixing it up on TFT with both modern and older stuff and today we’re continuing with the modern. Rhinox was one of the last Transformers to ship in 2013 and he was a nice surprise because he’s a Beast Wars Voyager! Holy crap! As a fan and collector I’ve always had an undying love for the Beast Wars TV series, but that love never carried over to the toys. Oh, I had quite the collection of Beast Wars figures, but they never really captured the magic of what came before and what has come since. I ended up unloading that collection (except for Megatron) during one of the Great Toy Purges and I can’t say as I regret it. Needless to say, I was excited to get a modern Rhinox in hopes that he could help me find some affection for a Beast Wars figure.

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The package consists of a familiar window-style box similar to what we got for the other Generations Voyagers. This one still keeps some of the G1 inspired grid pattern, but also embraces the white granite look of the Generations comic packs. The box retains the “Thrilling 30” moniker, but it’s labeled as a 2014 figure and brandishes the Maximal insignia in several places. The wrap-around character artwork is absolutely killer and Rhinox himself is packaged beside it in his robot mode. I really can’t wait to get this guy out and transform him, so let’s start out with his beast mode.

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Yup, Rhinox is a rhino, and a mighty fine looking one at that. Sure, there’s seaming situated all around him, but the plates all lock together quite well, minimizing any unsightly gaps that advertise him as a shell-former. The sculpt here is quite good and consists of leathery looking skin and a very convincing rhino head. There is some obvious, green robot kibble visible on the backs of his legs, but apart from that you’d need to pick this guy up and look underneath to see that anything really funky was going on. The rhino covering is mostly made up of hard plastic, although softer stuff is used for his hinder, ears, and horn. There isn’t a lot of paintwork on this aspect of Rhinox, but he doesn’t really need it. Overall, it’s a pretty good rhino disguise.

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If you’re looking for a super-articulated rhino, however, you will be disappointed. Rhinox’s beast mode sports very limited articulation. His legs can move forward and backward a bit, but it isn’t really a natural movement and the more you move them the more you risk knocking the plates out of whack. He can, however, open his mouth and bite things. Honestly, I’m not terribly upset about the limited articulation in beast mode because this guy is going to spend very little time as a rhino.  I’m mostly happy that he locks together so well and stands well and he does indeed capture Rhinox’s hilariously grumpy animal visage.

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Of course, I didn’t buy this ticket for the Rhino Show. The rhino is just the warm-up band. No, I got this guy for loveable Rhinox in robot mode and let me tell you this is a glorious treatment of the character. The transformation felt a tad intimidating at first, but after going through it only once, it seemed really easy when I was done. In fact, it’s all rather obvious. Everything unfolds from Rhino mode in a logical manner, but even going back into Rhino mode is rather intuitive. Shell-formers have a habit of being frustrating, but Rhinox avoids falling into that trap. And it’s hard to argue with the resulting figure.

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Rhinox is a fantastic representation of his animated counterpart. The proportions are great and the sculpt is gloriously complex, particularly in the chest and shoulder area where the mechanical hinges and gears mesh beautifully with the smooth rhino parts to create that amazing bio-mechanical aesthetic. I love the way the rhino mouth unfolds to form not only his chest plaste, but the plate over his pelvis as well. The subtle shift that positions the two plates that flank the chest piece is really cool too. The shoulders give the figure a properly hulking appearance and also allow for a wide range of movement in the arms. And the head? Hasbro really nailed Rhinox’s head sculpt. There’s a bit of mold flashing over my figure’s left eye, but I can probably clean that up with a razor.

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The rhino head and rhino butt lock together on Rhinox’s back very similar to the way the nosecone and tail lock together on TFC’s Uranos jets. Maybe a coincidence, or maybe someone at Hasbro is paying attention? Either way it’s cool and effective. The only gripe I have about Rhinox is he his a tad back heavy and the hip joints are rather loose. It is possible to get him standing fully erect, but it helps to lean him forward a bit. Have I mentioned the paintwork? The gold and green look amazing and contrast beautifully with the drab grey rhino parts.

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Naturally, Rhinox comes with his spinning hand cannons. The pieces clip together and serve to fill out his belly cavity when he’s in rhino mode and in robot mode he can wield them in each hand. There’s even a button on each one to make them spin. The sculpting on these guns is great, but the fronts are cast in the same grey rhino skin plastic, which is rather a bummer. Some silver would have made them look amazing. I’m guessing Hasbro ran out of budget for additional paint operations, which is understandable considering how amazing a figure this is.

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After some dubious modern efforts at Classics-style Dinobot and Cheetor, I’m happy to say that Hasbro’s third time was the charm. This figure does for Rhinox exactly what many of the best Classics/Generations figures have done for G1 characters. The rhino mode may not be the most exciting thing around, but it looks good and it gets the job done. Rhinox’s bot mode on the other hand is as sexy as a giant robot-rhino can possibly be. The sculpt, the proportions, the coloring (mostly)… everything about this figure just gels beautifully for me. He was a wonderful surprise for the Generations line and a great first addition to my Transformer collection for 2014. The fact that I got him at half price with free shipping on Hasbrotoyshop was just the icing on the energon cake. Now I really need to find me a Waspinator.

Transformers Generations: Rewind and Sunder by Hasbro

I hope everyone had a great holiday. Today I’m giving the gift of a quick and dirty Feature because I am back at work today cleaning up the aftermath and then I’ll be sinking into a hot bath with a bottle of Jameson for the remainder of the night. Hopefully I won’t pass out and drown. Today is indeed Transformers Thursday and while TFT was originally designed to look at past releases, for the time being I’ll be mixing some current Transformers into the mix and today is one of those instances. Let’s check out a couple of Blasters’ tape disc minions.

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While I liked Generations Blaster a lot, I wasn’t too keen on the Steeljaw disc that came with him, so I had no intention of buying any of the discs. Low and behold, someone gave me a set of these for Christmas and I was surprised at how happy I was to receive them. It was one of those situations where I would never have bought these for myself, so this was a convenient way for me involuntarily to give them a try. I don’t have a lot to say about the packaging, other than they come on a Generations-style card, packed in their robot modes alongside a couple of disc cases.

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The discs come with two translucent plastic cases with nice gold Autobot emblems stamped on their lids. It’s a cool nod back to the tape cases included with some of the recent releases of Soundwave’s cassettes. I’m still not entirely sold on these chunky discs as a credible medium for advanced robots to store data. Why couldn’t Hasbro have printed similar circuitry patterns on rectangular cassette-shaped devices and just called them Memory Chips? Am I over anaylzing the concept? Probably. Both discs feature an auto-transform gimmick where if you drop them just right they will spring into their robot forms. It works pretty well, so long as you drop them hard enough and the fall strikes the trigger button on the bottom of the disc.

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Sunder is the bird, which is obviously a repaint of Soundwave’s Laserbeak disc. Unless there’s a huge gap in my G1 Transformers memory, I’m pretty sure he’s a brand new character. I certainly don’t remember the old Blaster having a bird cassette. But I get it, it’s another way for Hasbro to get a little more money out of the mold and that’s cool. Sunder actually looks pretty good, although his wings are super chunky. He’s nowhere near as cool a design as the vintage Laserbeak and Buzzsaw, but he’s not terrible either.  As far as robot animals that auto-transform from big fat discs go, he’s certainly better than Steeljaw.

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Next up we have Rewind and I have mixed feelings about him. On the one hand, he’s a pretty primitive figure since the only articulation he has is rotation in the shoulders. He also doesn’t completely auto-transform, as you have to put his arms down and fold his feet out. On the other hand, considering he’s supposd to be a humanoid robot that changes into a disc, I’m trying to give him some slack. Truth be told, for what he is, I think he looks pretty impressive. The sculpt is good and I like the paint deco, you jsut can’t do a whole lot with him. He’ll display just fine next to Blaster, but he’s not a very exciting toy.

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In the end there’s nothing here that convinces me that I should have run out and bought these little figures, but they are much better than I expected them to be. Most people are afraid to get me toys for Christmas because they have no idea what I have, so it’s kind of a cool novelty to actually get these guys as a gift. I think Blaster would have been better served if he got bundled with one of these two figures instead of Steeljaw. Then again, maybe Hasbro thought nobody would pay for Steeljaw in a separate pack.

Transformers Generations: Thundercracker (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

I don’t have a lot of patience for repaints these days, but when it comes to the Seeker Trinity, I will always open my wallet. That’s why it irks me when Hasbro releases a new Seeker mold and takes so long to release all three. We all remember what it was like when Classics/Universe 2.0 Skywarp was only released in a Target Exclusive 2-pack with Ultra Magnus, right? And even then it took forever to get Generations Thundercracker. Well, this time around Fall of Cybertron Thundercracker is following pretty closely on the original Starscream release. And thank Primus for that. He was my first Decepticon figure way back in 1984, so I’m always excited to get a new version of him.

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I believe this is the sixth IDW Comic Pack that I’ve featured here so I’ll try to refrain myself from gushing over how much I love the presentation. You get Thundercracker carded in his robot mode in front of a reprint Spotlight comic and a G1-inspired grid-deco on the card. This is wonderful stuff, as always and opening it gives me a head rush from one of the greatest smells ever. Someone really needs to make cologne that blends the odors of new toy and comic book. And speaking of comics… the one included here is pretty good. It’s tied in with Autocracy, a book that I have still not read, so I’m coming at it as a one-shot. Thundercracker tries to hunt down Metroplex, but with his own secret agenda. Ironically, one of the coolest things about this comic for me was that it featured cameos by the old Deluxe Insecticons, like Venom and Chop Shop. Hasbro… Do these guys in IDW Comic Packs… Please!

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Kicking things off with Thundercracker’s alt mode, it shares all the same highs and lows of the Starscream jet, but overall I find it to be a pretty cool design. Yeah, it’s a little chunky, but it does harken back a little bit to the old Cybertronian Tetra-Jet design. I think the biggest flaw is the fact that you can see through the top of it where the head folds in. On the other hand, everything locks together quite well, making it a fun and sturdy little toy.

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I seem to recall my biggest issues with Starscream was the general lack of sculpted detail, particularly there aren’t too many panel lines, and the coloring was a little drab. Thundercracker doesn’t have any additional sculpting, but his deco goes a long way to help me to overlook that. The blue and grey plastic used here just pops a lot better than the drab grey used on Screamer. Cracker also has some more prominent paint apps, like the striping on his wings and the beautiful little purple apps on his vents. Even his Decepticon wing insignia are outlined in silver to make them stand out better than Starscream’s.

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Thundercracker comes with repaints of the exact same chaingun style weapons as Starscream. Part of me thinks they could have tried something new, but then I also think these guys should have uniform weapons, so I’m Ok with it. However, the weapons are the only part of Cracker where the paint doesn’t outshine Starscream. Hasbro didn’t even bother to paint he barrels.

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The transformation here is extremely simple, which isn’t always a bad thing. I would have really appreciated this transformation as a kid, because you could go from playing with him as a jet or robot pretty quickly. As a repaint, there are no surprises in the robot mode. I still dig this bot form quite a bit, although it has its issues. The feet are rather awkward and make it difficult for him to stand, especially in wide stances and the torso still has that hollow look to it if you aren’t viewing him from dead on. It’s also worth noting that we didn’t get a head re-sculpt, but considering Starscream didn’t have his trademark douchebag smirk, I kind of assumed Hasbro would be using the stock head for all three. Once again, I’m Ok with it, because it is a very nice head and the light piping is pretty spectacular when you hit it just right. Obviously, the deco on Thundercracker still shines in his robot mode, making him a lot more attractive and interesting to look at than Screamer.

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You have a few different options on how Thundercracker can wield his weapons. Each one has two pegs and they can either be pegged into his forearms or he can hold them like guns. They’re large and sometimes awkward, but if I plug them into his forearms just right, I like having them slung under his arms so he can just sweep the room with firepower. Sweet!

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In the end Thundercracker is one of those figures that shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s a straight repaint, but a very good one at that. The paintwork here really brings out the strengths of the mold and makes up for some of the lack of detail in the sculpt. I can liken it to the differences between the original Classics release of Starscream and the original Generations release of Thundercracker. It was an instance of the exact same mold taken to two extremes by different paint jobs. It’s not just an issue of the deco either. Cracker is just an example of better and more detailed coloring and for me that would make this the one to own if you only want to own this mold once. On the other hand, I can’t imagine just having one of the Seekers. Even now, I’m trying to resist paying top dollar for the Takara Skywarp, in hopes that he’ll be coming to the States via Hasbro at some point in time.

Transformers Generations: Hoist (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

If Hasbro’s initial four figure wave of IDW inspired Transformers wasn’t enough, they quickly followed suit with two additional figures: Hoist and Thundercracker. I believe these were part of a revision wave, but since I seldom by Transformers by the case, son’t quote me on that. Today we’re going to check out Hoist, because like his buddy Trailcutter, he’s a character that is long overdue for getting the updated Classics style treatment. I’ve got a long day of work today, so I’ll try to be brief…

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The figure comes carded in the same glorious Comic Pack style as the previous four figures. Hoist in packaged in his robot mode against the backdrop of a reprint comic spotlighting the character. I can never get enough of this package and the comic is such a fantastic bonus. If Hasbro would just toss in a tray of Lunchables and a juicebox, I’d be all set for my afternoon. I blame my partial dyslexia on the fact that I’m never sure whether I’m 41 or 14.

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Of all the comics bundled with these packs, this one has been my favorite. “The Waiting Game” takes place during More Than Meets the Eye and features Hoist, Sunstreaker, Swerve, and Perceptor in a downed shuttle getting attacked by what they believe to be Tarn. It’s written by James Roberts, but it has all the great snarky dialogue and humor of Nick Roche’s usual masterpieces. The art is great and it has some decent action. It also has the distinction of allowing Hoist to describe himself to us in his own words: “I’m just an ordinary person. I’m normal” and then he goes on to point out that he’s the only one on The Lost Light who’s personality isn’t defined by a “crippling psychological disorder.” Great stuff.

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Kicking it off with Hoist’s alt mode, he pays homage to his G1 namesake by taking on the guise of a green tow truck with hazard stripes on the doors. Naturally the original Hoist toy was a modified version of Trailbreaker, so it’s only logical that Hasbro would follow suit and build this modern Hoist off of the Trailcutter figure. The similarities in vehicle mode are very easy to see as well as why they engineered Hoist with the removable cap, as it facilitated the ability to work the mold into both characters. Yes, this is a straight repaint with a tow arm swapped out for the cap. The tow arm pegs into the back of the cab and likes to fall apart at the hinge if you look at it funny. Unfortunately, Trailcutter’s forcefield generator is still conspicuously present, which is rather lazy on Hasbro’s part, plus Hoist suffers from the same smallish size when compared to his Classics Autobot brothers.

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Hoist transforms just like Trailcutter, which at this point should be obvious because they’re basically the same toy. If you liked Trailcutter’s robot mode, you’ll find the same stuff to love here. The only big difference beside the deco is the new head sculpt, which is perfect for the character, and the fact that you can transform the tow arm into a fairly decent gun, which I like a lot better than Trailcutter’s cap-shield-gun-thingy. There’s not a whole lot else to say about this guy that hasn’t already been said in the other feature. Size is still the major sticking issue here with me. The G1 toys were pretty bulky and these guys look a little too diminutive when compared to their Classics Autobot brothers.

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Ever since Classics Sunstreaker and Sideswipe, Hasbro has shown us a remarkable ability to take a single Transformer mold and re-sculpt it into two remarkably unique figures. Alas, The mold used for Hoist and Trailcutter isn’t one of those instances. Instead, this pair is basically a case of repaints with some parts swapped out. That may be disappointing to some, I’ll concede having the forcefield emitter remain on Hoist strikes me as rather lazy, but that doesn’t mean Hoist is a bad figure. I still enjoy this mold a lot and it’s good to finally have the character represented on my Classics shelf.

Transformers Generations: Blaster by Hasbro

In case you haven’t noticed, I never featured Fall of Cybertron Soundwave here. The truth is that I just wasn’t tempted to buy the figure. He’s basically a larger version of the Deluxe War for Cybertron design, which puts him out of scale with my WFC/FOC collection. If Hasbro had managed to nail the disc gimmick, I would have certainly picked him up as a stand-alone figure, but I just didn’t think that was the case. Now, Blaster on the other hand… I had to get him! There hasn’t been a Blaster figure since the repaint/remold of that terrible, terrible Cybertron Soundwave figure we looked at a couple of Transformers Thursdays ago, so it seemed like the Generations release was worth my time. Let’s see if I was right…

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Blaster comes packaged in his robot mode in the same style of Generations window box that we got with the Triple-Changers. I still dig this presentation a lot, but not enough to try to kid myself about having enough space to keep it and store it. So, yeah… it’s about to get shredded and tossed. I’m starting with Blaster’s robot mode. The back points out that he is from The Fall of Cybertron. Funny, I don’t remember him in the game, but it’s been a while since I played it. I think I’m overdue to bust it out and play it again. Anyway, let’s kick it off with his alt mode.

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According to the box, the official name for Blaster’s alt mode is a “Communication Truck.” Well, we ll knew he wasn’t going to be a boom box and even if this mode is a bit of a stretch, at least they tried to keep it within his function. Yes, it’s obviously the same alt mode as Generations Soundwave, but hey… if this is what a Cybertronian Communication Truck looks like, it stands to reason that each side would have one. It’s also a bigger and slightly tweaked version of the War For Cybertron Soundwave’s alt mode. I know, I already established that, but just in case you forgot.

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It’s Ok for what it is, which is basically a big box rolling along on wheels. Hasbro did their best to add what style they could to it. The Autobot emblems sculpted into the wheels is a nice extra touch to separate him from Soundwave and I like the way the gun plugs into the top and there’s a little chair behind it for a gunner’s station. Why have that on a Cybertron vehicle mode? I don’t know, I already spend way too much time over analyzing this shit. A little something like an dish or antenna would have helped establish this as a “Communications” vehicle, because as it is it just looks like a chunky APC.

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The deco is kind of thoughtless, or rather made to work with the robot mode as upposed to the vehicle mode. You just get red plastic in the front, black on the sides, grey in the back and some yellow and blue accents. As far as color schemes go, it’s rather haphazard. Probably what bothers me the most about Blaster’s alt mode is how obvious it is that the front piece is his chest and doesn’t look anything like the front of a truck. It looks like there should be some kind of cab piece on top of that. I think Soundwave’s door worked a lot better as a windshield, but, hey, I didn’t buy this guy for the alt mode. Let’s transform him and check out his bot mode.

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Oh yeah… that’s where it’s at! I love it!!! The arms and legs may be totally unorthodox for Blaster, but the “tape door” on the chest and the G1 head sculpt still make this figure work as a beautiful homage to the Blaster I know and love. While the torso is quite boxy, I rather think it’s supposed to be, and the rest of the figure’s proportions work rather well. I especially like the way the bumper mimics the buttons on the front of the old G1 boombox mode. Well played, Hasbro. Blaster’s gun is also a nice homage to the G1 figure’s weapon. It’s shorter and looks more like a carbine than a sniper rifle, but it fits the update beautifully.

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And then there’s the disc gimmick and here’s where things fall apart. The idea is simple enough, instead of tapes we get these chunky discs. I’m cool with updating the tapes to discs. The discs fit into Blaster’s chest compartment (in either robot or vehicle mode). When you eject them, they are supposed to hit the ground and auto transform. The problems start with the disc door. There’s one button to spring it open, but then you need to push a rod in his back to push the disc out and my disc usually gets stuck on the edges leading me to apply a lot of force to finally shoot him out. Other times I just need to pry him out. You can hold several discs in Blaster’s chest, but then the rod in the back has to be pulled further and further out and it looks rather silly. Ah, but if that were the only issue.

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Blaster comes with Steeljaw, which I understand to be the weakest of the disc designs, and perhaps you can see why. He’s pretty f’ugly and nothing really locks into anything. Hey, for a figure that auto-transforms from a disc into some kind of big cat, I’m trying to be a little forgiving. The original Steeljaw was a lion, but Hasbro streamlined him to use the same mold as Ravage. It’s not a big deal and I’ll concede that this couldn’t have been an easy figure to design and engineer. The thing is he really doesn’t auto transform, I still have to tweak the back legs and fold out the tail, so why bother with the auto feature at all? I’m sure this figure could have looked better without it. Plus, if I have to tweak him into his alt mode anyway, at least make it so I can peg his back into place or something. He’s the only disc I have, and while I’m not terribly impressed by him, I will still likely pick up some of the others.

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Questionable disc gimmick aside, I really do love Blaster. Hasbro did a great job tweaking him from the Soundwave mold, and he’s easily the best homage to the G1 character we’ve had since… well, since G1. So, yeah, the update is long overdue. While the size issue is still there, Blaster always was rather tall, so I can get away with displaying him with my WfC/FoC Autobots or even my Classics. Heck, he even scales pretty well against G1 Soundwave, which certainly wasn’t the case with G1 Blaster. The truth is I like this figure enough that I may wind up picking up the Soundwave too, just to have as a stand-alone figure, or to display alongside Blaster.

Transformers Generations: Orion Pax (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

Hey, folks, it’s time for a look at another one of Hasbro’s “Thrilling Thirty!” to celebrate Transformers’ 30th Anniversary, and oh my God, it’s Orion Pax. YES!!! I have wanted a genuine Orion Pax figure ever since he first appeared in the episode of the original Transformers cartoon, “War Dawn.” The e-hobby repaint of Kup was a pretty cool figure and that would have done the job back in the day, but it hardly fits into my modern TF collection. The fact that I had to settle for an IDW version as opposed to a Sunbow version doesn’t really faze me, so long as the character is finally represented on my shelf. And here he is!

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This being my final feature of Hasbro’s initial wave of IDW Comic Packs, we’ve already seen the packaging several times. Pax comes carded in robot form with a reprint comic on a G1 style card.  Suffice it to say, I find the presentation here perfect in every way. The comic is pretty good too. It stands on its own quite well, so if you’re like me and haven’t gotten around to reading Autocracy, it won’t count against you. There’s plenty of good action, familiar faces, and decent lines. Let’s start out with Pax’s alt mode.

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While in alt mode in the comic, Pax spends most panels pulling along a trailer of Decepticon prisoners. Better get busy making that trailer, third-parties! That having been said, Hasbro did a fine job reproducing the vehicle mode here, sans trailer. Pax is a Cybertronian truck, a bit more like a pick-up truck than a semi cab, but he still looks pretty good. The deco is a mix of red and blue, traditional Optimus colors, with some silver and yellow accents. I think it’s one of the better quality decos in recent Generations releases. True there aren’t a lot of paint apps, but I genuinely don’t get the feeling of any of the paint cuts that I have from some other modern figures. The clear windshield shows an Autobot symbol as well as some of the detailing in the inner workings of the cab.

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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Pax’s alt mode is a bit small. Yup, that’s a common complaint against most modern Deluxe figures. He would work Ok as a sporty little pick-up truck, but he doesn’t look big enough to be pulling a trailer with two Decepticons in it. Prime comes with two weapons, a blaster and an energon axe and both accessories can peg into the sides of the vehicle to give him some firepower in alt mode. The blaster looks pretty good and even the axe can double as some kind of cannon if you use your imagination.

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Transforming Pax is easy and pretty clever. I like the way the side panels of his alt mode fold up and pack away on his legs. His wheels stow neatly behind him and his shoulders shift forward and lock into place securely. The resulting robot mode is excellent and there are no fake outs, so the windshield in his truck mode is really his chest in robot mode. The only distraction for me is the plate that sticks up behind his head, but I’m really just looking for things to pick on at this point. The truth is he’s a very clean looking robot with great poseability.

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And, yes, once again like a lot of Deluxes these days, he’s small. Now, Pax’s small size in robot mode does not bother me. Sure, he’s about the same size as the other Autobots in the comic, as Wheeljack just got him a new body. Nonetheless, to me Orion Pax should be slighter than he was as Prime and so his smaller stature in robot mode doesn’t concern me as much as his compact auto mode. On the other hand, I guess it’s hard to have it both ways, so I’ll let it slide.

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I’ve already mentioned his weapons. I absolutely love his rifle, because it finally gives us a G1-style Prime gun that can work with WFC Prime or even Classic Prime. The energon axe is pretty sweet too.

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Size quibbles aside, Orion Pax is an awesome figure and probably second only to Trailcutter as my favorite in this initial crop of IDW releases. It’s been a solid wave and I’m anxiously waiting for my Thundercracker and Hoist to turn up. I’m also really pleased to see the reveals of the next wave of four, which will include Skids, Waspinator, Goldfire, and Dreadwing. Yes, indeed, there’s some great stuff coming down the pike for us Transformers fans and lately Hasbro has been showing me that it doesn’t all have to come from third parties!

Transformers Generations: Bumblebee (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

You know it’s been a busy couple of weeks here at FigureFan Central when I let a bunch of Transformers comic packs sit around unopened. Yes, I’ve had a lot of stuff rolling in and I’m trying to get to everything in a reasonable amount of time. Well, I’m starting to catch up a bit so let’s tear open another one of these today… hey, look it’s Bumblebee!

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Wow, this is an impressive piece of packaging. Bumblebee is carded in robot mode and between him and his weapons, he fills out the bubble admirably. You also get the comic book behind him with the exclusive Hasbro cover. This is award winning packaging. When I see it on the pegs, I want to buy it, even though I already have own it. I’m extra pleased to get the comic, because I wasn’t following this run when it was out. Bumblebee isn’t really in More Than Meets The Eye much, and I’ve only started reading Robots In Disguise where he’s been reformatted into a different body back on Cybertron. The comic is decent enough. It’s been tough for me to adopt the idea of Bumblebee as Autobot leader, and this issue addresses some of that a bit. On the other hand, it features two of my favorite Transformers, Thundercracker and Prowl, so I found it to be a good read even though it didn’t send me scrambling to Comixology to download more. Let’s start with Bumblebee’s alt mode.

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Drawing from the comic design, which makes some nods to the Bayformer design, Bumblebee is for all intents and purposes a concept Chevy Camero. The design certainly has some cool features, like the split spoiler in the back and the flared hood, which makes it look like a powerful machine. Little touches include the dual tailpipes, detailed headlights, and the rather nicely sculpted wheels. The clear windows and windshield are always a plus in my book, even if the rear window is painted on. I’ll also point out that Bumblebee is a nicely sized vehicle for a Deluxe. While he doesn’t dwarf any of the TF: Prime Deluxes, if you put him next to a figure like Cliffjumper or Bumblebee, he is noticeably bigger.

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While size has improved, I’m still not completely satisfied with the deco, or to be more accurate, the plastic. There’s something about the yellow plastic used here that doesn’t do it for me. It’s similar to the stuff used for Prime Bumblebee, but in this case it’s lighter and looks a little worse. It doesn’t feel cheap, but it kind of looks like it. More paint apps would have probably helped, and while this vehicle makes out a little better than Prime Bumblebee in that department, it still feels like it could have used a little more something in the deco.

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Bumblebee’s weapons can peg into the ports located on each side near his spoiler giving him some firepower while in his alt mode. I approve, but then I’m a pretty big fan of cars loaded out to deal damage. Your mileage may vary.

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Transforming Bumblebee to robot mode is easy. Getting him back into vehicle mode is a pain in the ass because of some subtle shifting that occurs with his rear window. Nonetheless, once in robot mode Bumblebee has his ups and his downs. Hasbro certainly did a nice job converting the comic design into a working Transformer. Yes, Bee uses some trickery. The chest, which is obviously supposed to be the hood is faked out, but I’m willing to cut them some slack for having to reverse engineer this guy. I like the proportions a lot. He’s a pretty clean looking robot. The head sculpt is very cool and very G1 inspired.

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My biggest issue here is the shoulders, in that I wish they were stationary. When you move Bee’s arms, the whole shoulder assembly moves with them and it’s kind of awkward. The way the doors become wings is a nice homage to the Bayformer design and to some extent classic Autobot design as well, but if the shoulders were fixed, this figure would have turned out a lot better for me. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with and posing most of the recent Transformers releases, but Bee here just isn’t one of them. On a brighter note, a lot of the deco issues I have with Bee’s alt mode are toned down in his robot mode. He has more black showing and grey thighs. It helps to break up the shabby looking yellow plastic a bit and make him a lot more interesting.

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Bumblebee’s weapons can be wielded in either of his hands, or you can clip them together to make one really cool looking cannon. Peg ports on the forearms would have been a nice option, but that’s OK, because I’d still probably prefer to display him with the big cannon.

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I’ve been up and down on this figure. When I saw the first official pictures of him, I thought I was going to love him. When I had the package in hand, I waffled a bit. Now that I’ve had him out and played with him a bit, I’m happy to say I’m a fan. The shoulders aren’t technical issues; they’re intentionally designed that way, so my attitude toward them is just a personal preference and not a flaw in the figure’s design. The plastic is what it is. Like I said, it doesn’t feel cheap, it just looks kind of cheap. But again, maybe that’s just me.