Transformers “Prime Wars Trilogy” Punch and Counterpunch by Hasbro

I’m supposed to be opening up another Terrorcon today, but then this fellow landed in my mailbox and I thought I’d bump him up to the front of the line. By 1987, I was 15 and I was already already getting out of buying Transformers. It was that strange time in my life where I felt I was too old to be buying toys to play with, and had yet to discover the joy of buying toys to collect them. As a result, a lot of the later and more gimmicky G1 releases passed me by. One of those was the very clever double agent known as Punch and Counterpunch. This character got a release a little while back thanks to a clever reuse of the the Classics Sideswipe-Sunstreaker mold, and now he’s getting a brand new, and all original, update thanks to this Amazon exclusive.

Exclusives often mean premium packaging, and that’s certainly the case here. Punch-Counterpunch comes in a collector friendly box with some bitchin’ artwork and a front flap that opens to reveal the figure through a window. He comes packaged in his robot mode as Punch with that weird Prime Armor Zodiac Wheel illustrated behind him on the tray. Before getting started, I should point out that this figure left the factory with a pretty serious QC issue, that being the shoulder joints assembled wrong. It doesn’t effect the figure in robot mode, but it does hinder the transformation. Thankfully, there’s a very helpful review on Amazon that explains how to do the fix. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t even require any tools. And with that behind us, let’s start with the auto mode!

Punch-Counterpunch is a snappy blue sportscar not too dissimilar from the original G1 toy only with all the curves and contours of a modern vehicle. I love the styling on this car and you get some nice sculpting in the form of hood vents as well as details to the front and back bumpers. The rear window is stickered silver, but the windshield and side windows are clear plastic, as are the headlamps. Some extra paint hits include the red wheels, silver vents just behind the front wheels, silver and black on the front grill, and red on the tail lights. The auto mode facilitates Punch-Counterpunch’s murky allegiances by forgoing any faction symbols.

There’s a peg port on the top of the car, so you can plug in his yellow gun, or you can attach the included Prime Armor. Using the Prime Armor isn’t my first choice, but I do like that they sculpted boosters on it. Moving on, let’s check out Punch!

Oh, man! Punch’s robot mode takes the squat and boxy G1 design and polishes it up to a fine shine. The proportions are great and the car kibble is neatly confined to being folded up into his lower legs or tucked off the back of his shoulders. He doesn’t have any actual feet per-say, but he stands fine and I don’t even mind the gaps that are in his legs below his knees. The sculpted detail on his chest looks great and really invokes the designs on the original toy. As for the coloring, the blue and yellow makes for a beautiful combo, and overall this update matches the deco of the original toy quite well, right down to the red hands and the silver and red paint hits on his upper legs. Gone is the original toy’s rub sign and instead, Punch proudly wears the Autobot insignia in the center of his chest.

From behind he looks pretty clean too, although here he’s displaying almost all blue, which is a little hint about his alter-ego. The two halves of the car front on his shoulders are more pronounced from this angle, but I don’t think they look bad at all. And because the backs of his legs are the fronts of Counterpunch’s legs, they look finished as well. All in all, this is a great looking robot, which is all the more impressive when you consider that he’s something of a Triple-Changer.

The head sculpt is also a very nice homage to that of the original figure’s noggin, albeit it’s a lot more stylized here. He still has the black top to his “helmet,” but the antenna are a lot more pronounced. His silver mouth plate looks great and he has a set of narrow aqua-colored eyes. The top portion of the “helmet” is hinged so that it reveals the eyes on this side of the head while obscuring the ones on the other. As a result, it does have a habit of flopping down sometimes, but it’s not a big deal.

Punch comes with a yellow pistol, which we already saw mounted on top of his car mode. It’s all yellow and matches his chest. I like the design of this thing and it has some nice sculpted detail going for it. I seem to recall the original toy having a double-barreled gun, so some of the purists out there may scoff at this design. So let’s transform Punch into Counterpunch and send him into Decepticon territory.

Changing Punch into Counterpunch is super easy. Punch’s back becomes Counterpunch’s front. Just re-position the shoulders so the front quarter-panels of the car are flared out, rotate out his fists so the blue ones are showing, and flip the “helmet” up on his head to reveal his eyes and cover Punch’s. Finally, you flip up the panel revealing his Decepticon insignia and he’s all ready to go. Just like Punch, Counterpunch is a fantastic update to the original G1 figure and there’s nothing going on here that would really suggest he’s hiding a completely different robot mode. The shoulders can get in the way of the arm articulation a bit, but they look great, especially with those red mag wheels facing front and center. I also love how they faked out his windshield on his chest while the real one is folded up into his legs.

While Punch’s deco featured a combination of blue and orange, Counterpunch is mostly blue, with just a bit of orange poking out. He’s also got some really nice purple paint on the panels of his lower legs. From behind, Counterpunch is just as clean as his counterpart. I also like to add the Prime Armor piece to his back because it’s sculpted to look like a jetpack, while also hiding a lot of the orange of Punch’s torso. It’s nice to finally have a use for one of these Prime Armor pieces, since the gimmick doesn’t do a lot for me.

Counterpunch’s head sculpt is pretty damn distinctive with a silver chin showing through his chunky armored blue face and a pair of red eyes peeping out from under his black “helmet.”

I think it would have been cool to get an extra gun for Counterpunch to use, but alas he has to make due with Punch’s yellow blaster. It seems like a bad idea, as it’s a pretty distinctive looking gun and I would think at some point one of the Decepticons would be in a battle and say, “Heeeeey, isn’t that Autobot using Counterpunch’s gun? And where the hell is Counterpunch anyway?” 

In addition to the Prime Armor piece, you also get a Prime Master named Prima. I like the silver and translucent blue deco on this little bot, but to be honest, if I’m not getting a Pretender Shell, than I really haven’t got a lot of use for these Prime Masters, other than maybe populating one of my Titan Class cities.

Despite not having a whole lot of attachment to the character, Punch-Counterpunch turned out to be a really amazing figure. The robot modes are engineered beautifully and with an equally great alt mode, it doesn’t feel like anything was sacrificed for this rather unique gimmick. Indeed, I’d dare say that I rank this figure among my top five or so recent Deluxes and that’s saying a lot! This release was an exclusive to Amazon and at $25, he was a bit more than your average Deluxe Class Transformer these days, but not so much so that it felt like I overpaid. Sure, the QC issue is inexcusable, but I’d be more critical of the shoulder problem if it weren’t so easy to fix. Currently, Punch-Counterpunch is sold out on Amazon, but they do have an option to notify interested buyers when he becomes available again.

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Transformers “Power of the Primes” Cutthroat by Hasbro

It seems like all I’ve been doing this week is working and sleeping, but the weekend is here and I’m going to ease into it by taking some time to enjoy myself and open up a brand new Transformer! It’s been a while again since my last Transformers reviews, but I had some other things I wanted to get caught up on. That’s all done and now I’m ready to continue my look at the Power of the Primes Terrorcons. I should be able to stick with Transformers on Fridays at least for the next few weeks. A while back I reviewed Rippernsapper and today I’m opening up Cutthroat!

I don’t have much new to say about the packaging, except that I really dig the character art on the card. Cutthroat is shown in his beast mode and looking mighty fine. I’ll also toss out there how surprised and pleased I am that Hasbro can still get away with using the name Cutthroat on a children’s toy. Yeah, it has other, less violent, meanings, but it’s still a word that conjures up a pretty grisly imagine in my mind. I’d like to think this Terrorcon got his name not because he drives a hard bargain, but rather because he literally slices people’s throats with the sharpened edges of his metal wings. When I looked at Rippersnapper, I started with his robot mode, so let’s keep that trend going for the rest of the Terrorcons…

When I first glanced at pictures of Cutthroat I wrote him off as a quick-and-dirty recycling of Swoop. Getting him in hand tells a whole different story. There are certainly similarities, but so much of this guy has been completely reworked that the resemblances are fleeting. The arms and upper legs are the same, the torso has a similar shape, the combiner port is still buried in the back, and both bots wear their beast heads on their chest and their wings on behind their shoulders. But what impresses me is how much re-sculpting Hasbro did here. The wings are completely redone, as is the detail work on the torso. The lower legs are completely new as well. His profile may be similar, but Cutthroat is bulkier and decidedly less sleek.

He’s a damn clean looking robot from behind too, and you have a few different options on how you can position his wings. The deco on this figure is pretty out there, but it’s certainly faithful to the original toy. You get some dark green in the torso and lower legs, some purple in the wings, hands, and around the neck and chest, and yellow in the arms, upper legs, bird legs, and “helmet.” These are not colors that I would think to put together, but I can’t say as I hate it. Little extras like the silver and blue paint hits on the legs and silver up near the shoulders make for a nice touch.

I like the head design a lot, but it doesn’t scream Cutthroat to me. With that having been said, the yellow “helmet” looks great and the silver face and red eyes are both sharp and snappy. He’s got a bit of a grim expression, maybe a little pissed off, but he’s not quite selling me on being a vicious Terrorcon.

Cutthroat comes with two accessories, but only one of them really matters to me and that’s his gun. It’s a compact double-barreled rifle, which is a pretty good update to his original G1 weapon and he can hold it in either hand.

The other piece is his Prime Armor, which attaches to each side of the bird head on his chest and has a compartment to put a Prime Master figure in there if you like your robots with ridiculously beefy chests. I’d toss it away, but it doubles as a hand for Abominus, so I guess I’ll need it when I eventually combine these guys.

Cutthroat transforms into some kind of monster bird and once again I’m pleased by the way he sets himself apart from the Swoop mold. The beast head still folds up over the robot head and the arms still fold in at the sides, but instead of folding up onto the back, the legs just collapse to make a longer body. From the front he’s got mostly bird stuff going on, but the stubby tail in the back looks decidedly more reptilian. He has a notch on his back where you can stow his gun between his wings and it looks like it could still serve as a functional weapon for his beast mode.

The colors here are more or less the same as in his robot mode. As for articulation, you get ball joints where the legs meet the body and hinges about halfway down. The wings are hinged at the body so they can flap and hinged again about a third of the way in so they can close up or spread out. The mouth is hinged, but the neck can only look up so far, which isn’t always the best for flying poses, but it works fine for when he’s just standing around.

I mentioned in my Rippersnapper review that these will be the first versions of the Terrorcons that I’ve ever owned and so far I’m enjoying the hell out of them. Cutthroat is a great looking figure and he’s loads of fun to play around with. I love when Hasbro takes the old basic-sized G1 toys and beefs them up to Deluxes. It really fleshes out all new possibilities for these characters. Next week, I’ll tear open another of the Deluxes, because I’m anxious to get through these guys and combine them to form Abominus!

Transformers Titans Return: Dreadnaut and Overlord by Hasbro

I’ve had a grueling week at work, but what better way to end it then with a new convertorobot. Yes, it’s nice to actually have some consistent Transformers content again because I really missed these guys. And with the Dinobots finally done, I am really anxious to start opening the rest of the Power of the Primes Terrorcons, but before that I thought I’d double back and hit some unfinished business with Titans Return. Let’s check out Overlord!

As with all the Titans Return Leader Class figures, Overlord comes in a big and chunky window box and packaged in his robot mode. My figure’s box got pretty beaten up, but I got a terrific deal on him, so I’m fine with that. I was a little late picking this one up because I was quick to buy Sky Shadow and so I was probably not as anxious to double-dip on a big Leader Class mold. Of course, Overlord is no mere repaint of Sky Shadow, there’s new stuff going on here, and while this figure does invoke a bit of a “been there, done that” feeling in me, there’s plenty new here to love. And since I’ve already reviewed Sky Shadow, you can expect a fair share of comparisons here. Overlord has two alt modes, so let’s start with the tank!

The tank mode is identical to Sky Shadow’s only with a fresh coat of paint… or to be more accurate newly colored plastic. I’ll confess the red and crimson deco looks a lot sharper to me than this white, blue, teal, and purple, but then I tend to find these colors to be more iconic, so it’s a bit of a toss-up as to which one is my favorite. Throw in the translucent yellow hatch and the twin Decepticon insignia straddling the gun and there’s no doubt who this tank is supposed to be! And it’s not that these colors don’t work for me. They’re certainly bright and easy on the eyes and really make the toy pop.

Beyond the deco, this little tank features some fantastic sculpted detail. You get panel lines and hatches, vents, compartments, and some molded treads with wheels on the bottom to help it roll into action. I also love that they sculpted the rifling inside the barrel of the cannon. The turret does not rotate nor does the gun elevate, but the hatch does open to give a place for Dreadnaut to sit. Moving on to the jet mode…

And here’s where the biggest changes in the alt modes come into play. Sky Shadow’s jet mode looked all super sci-fi and stealthy, whereas Overlords is clearly inspired by an SR-71 Blackbird. And I say inspired by, because this mold eschews the sexy curves and contours of the Blackbird for a more angular design, but the cylindrical pylons with pointed tips are unmistakable. Take away those, and I’m getting a strong Cobra Night Raven feel off the body, and that’s not a bad thing. And like the tank mode, the cockpit even opens to offer Dreadnaut a place to sit.

The deco here is still mostly black like Sky Shadow with the main departure being the white and purple on the pylons. The jet features some silver and teal panels on top to simulate stickers from the original G1 toy, but there are also some foil stickers here for the striping on the pylons, deco on the dorsal fins, and a panel at the back. Oh yeah, you can also take the cannon from Overlord’s tank mode and plug it into the back of the jet, so long as your happy having a cannon-less tank rolling around. Before we move on to the robot mode, let’s check out Overlord’s base mode!

I don’t expect much from these base modes, but this one isn’t too bad. I mean, yeah it looks like what it is: A jet standing on its end with the robot legs spread and a gun protruding where his junk should be. But hey, it’s got a tower with a little platform for a Titan Master to stand on and another little control area on the pylon and plenty of pegs to stand other Titan Masters. It’s not great, I’m never going to display it like this, but if I were a kid again playing with my toys, I’m sure I could get some fun out of this. Besides, the fact that it exists doesn’t hurt either of the other modes, so I can feel free to take it or leave it.

And that brings us to Overlord’s robot mode. As with Sky Shadow, the tank transforms into the legs and the jet into the upper half, and Oh boy, this sure is the Overlord I know and love. He’s big, he’s beautiful, and he’s got that great squared-off G1 design aesthetic. His iconic shoulder cones are right where they belong and the front half of his jet attaches to his arm to drive the homage home. Of course, if you prefer your robots more symmetrical and without giant jet kibble on their arm, you can always just leave it off or plug it into his back or even his front. Also, I absolutely love the ankles on this guy. They have such a great range of motion allowing his feet to be flat on the ground no matter what stance you put him in. Damn, he’s a fun figure to play around with!

Dreadnaut makes for a great head and fits into the larger helmet, while still allowing for full rotation at the neck. The silver paint on the face is gorgeous and the red eyes are sharp. The chest features all the right details, including the weapon systems in his lower torso, which in this case don’t actually deploy but rather are just there for show.

The chest hatches do, however, open, so you can power him up with extra Titan Masters. It’s a great nod back to the old Power Master gimmick in the original toy. It’s also cool that this gimmick carries over to the Power of the Primes Power Masters and even make a little more sense in that context. A word of caution, however, I found the Titan Masters are a bitch to get out once I put them in there.

As expected, the cannon for Overlord’s tank mode serves as a hand gun for his robot mode and he can hold it in either hand.

Certainly, having Sky Shadow first meant I wasn’t as anxious to pick up Overlord, but I’m sure glad that I eventually did. This mold is tons of fun to play with, and I was actually surprised at just how many changes Hasbro made to it, at least from the waist up. I’d even go so far as to say this is one of my favorite modern updates to an older figure I’ve seen, and that’s saying a lot because Hasbro has been killing it lately. It’s no secret that Titans Return has been one of my favorite modern Transformers lines of all time and Overlord is a perfect example of why. And since this is likely to be the last Titans Return review I ever publish, I’m glad to be going out on such a high point and with such a fantastic figure!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Snarl by Hasbro

It’s been a hard fought battle, folks, but I finally got a full set of the Power of the Primes Dinobots and today I’m opening up the last one, which just happens to be Snarl. I never had his toy as a kid, and since Fansproject snubbed him when it came to their Lost Exo Realm Not-Dinobots, I don’t even have a third party version. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to pop my Snarl cherry. Eww, that sounded all kinds of wrong.

I don’t have much new to say about the packaging. It looks good, I like that they used the Dino modes as the character art for these figures. I also really dig how the bubble insert has a picture of the toy in his Dino mode right in front of the figure packaged in his robot mode. I’d say that as a character Snarl has been my least favorite of the Dinobots, but that’s not something he should be ashamed of, because somebody had to come in last even in a group of awesome Dinosaur robots! Let’s start with his alt mode…

When I was a kid this was called a Stegosaurus. Have the dinosaur scientists changed this yet? It seems like they’re always telling me the dinosaurs I grew up learning about never existed or they changed the names or some such nonsense. Pfft… Science… am I right? Anyway like all the PotP Dinobots, Snarl has a fantastic alt mode that pays respects to the original toy. And while I think he tends to be the least photogenic of these Dinos, I still think Hasbro did a great job on him. There’s plenty of sculpted detail in his body, from vents and panel lines to various other ports and mechanisms. They even remembered to put the tiny spikes at the end of his stubby tail! It kind of sucks that they decided to stamp copyright bullshit all over the outside of one of his back plates, but whaddya gonna do, eh?

The coloring is also spot on. You get some gray and red plastic making up the bulk of his body, both of which do a nice job of matching the colors on the original toy. He also features clear plastic over gold and silver to mimic that rather distinctive effect that the original Dinobot toys had. OK, I actually don’t remember Snarl showing that off too much, but I like that they included it here to make him match the other figures better. Snarl also includes some matte gold, which isn’t as snazzy as the metallic gold on the original toy, but it looks fine. The deco is rounded out by some black plastic on the side panels and rear legs, and some tampos on his back. He looks a little more patchwork in design than some of the other Dinobots, but I still dig him.

Articulation in Dino mode features basic stuff. The back legs connect to the body with ball joints and have hinges about halfway down. The front legs just rotate at the body. There’s no articulation in Snarl’s jaw, but two of his back spikes can hinge down and have footpegs to allow some Titan or Prime Masters to ride on his back. Cool!

And you just know that I have to bring up the size and how diminutive these Dinobots are, so let’s do it! Here’s a shot of Snarl’s Dino mode next to Chromedome from Titans Return in his Auto mode and I just can’t accept this. I think this mold would have worked fine as a Voyager Class and I really wish Hasbro had gone that route. But I’ve said all this a bunch of times already, so let’s move on to the robot mode…

All of the PotP Deluxe Dinobots have had solid robot modes and Snarl carries on that tradition nicely. The front half of the Dino mode becomes the legs, with the front Dino legs on the sides and the head spit and tucked behind them. I like how the spine bits run up the front of his legs. Snarl advertises his combiner port in the center of his chest, but to be honest it works with the overall look just perfectly. He also features an Autobot insignia stamped in the middle. Easily the most distinctive thing about Snarl’s robot mode is the way his tail splits and arches up behind his head and shoulders like a crescent moon. The deco is largely in keeping with the alt mode deco. I dig the gold forearms and the way the colorful tampos on his Dino back wind up front and center on his robot legs. He also has a few more tampos on either side of his chest.

From the back things aren’t too bad. I’d say the most unsightly thing here are the halves of the Dino head that hang off the backs of his legs, but as far as kibble goes, it’s not awful. I should note that I really dig the proportions on this guy, and that’s been the case for all the Deluxe PotP Dinobots.

The head sculpt is excellent, although I’ll confess to not being all that attached to Snarl’s likeness in the cartoon or comics. He has a very human-looking face, painted with brilliant silver and two neatly painted red eyes. I also dig the horns that come up off his “helmet.” They go well with the spiked crescent behind his head.

One of my gripes about these Dinobots has been their weapons. We all know by now that Grimlock didn’t come with a gun or a sword, which was criminal. As for these Deluxe figures, Hasbro basically sculpted a single gun and a single sword, and gave two of the figures guns and two of them swords. Snarl’s sword is cast in clear plastic, but otherwise it’s the same as the one that came with Swoop. I like the design, but it looks kind of puny in his hand. I’m also not a big fan of the clear plastic. I’d rather they just gave us another red one, or even better painted them both silver. Of course, Snarl also comes with a Prime Armor piece, which I’m going to totally ignore.

Shall I bring up size one more time? Why not. Here he is in robot mode with Chromedome and while his tail crescent actually does make him a bit taller overall, he still looks so undersized to me and even kind of puny. Chromedome looks like he’d have a fair chance taking down Snarl in a fight, and that shouldn’t be the case.

I can’t stress enough how much I love these figures on their own. They really are great little modern updates to the original Dinobots, keeping the iconic aesthetics but adding articulation and play value. Just having them all together on the shelf is making me so happy because I never owned a full set of the original Dinobots, and these guys look amazing together. It’s only when I display them with other Transformers that I get bummed out because of how small they are. I’m not inherently against the idea of Dinobots as a combiner team. It kind of makes sense, but I can’t help but feel sacrifices were made in favor of that gimmick and if Hasbro hadn’t gone that route, maybe we could have had these as Voyager Class figures with Grimlock as a Leader Class. Man, that would have been so cool!  Oh yeah, and in case you’re wondering, I’m not going to be reviewing the combined form of these guys. I just really don’t care enough and I don’t think the end results warrant the effort. It’s possible some day I’ll invest in a Third-Party upgrade kit, and if that’s the case I’ll look at Volcanicus as a means of reviewing the kit, but for now I’m going to leave it at that.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Sludge by Hasbro

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know how hard it has been to find me some Power of the Primes toys. Indeed, the poor distribution in my area and the scalper prices I’ve been seeing online played a big part in me justifying a roll back to three reviews a week and killing off Transformers Thursday. Thankfully I managed to bust that log jam and pick up the remaining Dinobots as well as the rest of the Terrorcons. And while I’m not about to bring back Transformers Thursday, I’d say it’s a safe bet that you’ll be seeing Transformers reviews dominating Fridays for the next month or so. So, hooray for more Transformers reviews! I’m really excited to get to the Terrorcons, but I feel like I should take care of unfinished business with the Dinobots first, so today I’m opening up Sludge.

And here’s the in-packaged shot, showing off some pretty rad character art. I like the fact that they’ve been using the Dino Modes for the card art, even though the figure comes packaged in his robot mode. It also makes me happy that the Copyright Gods allowed Sludge to keep his name, unlike poor Slag… I mean, Slug. I’ve yet to see these guys in the wild and for the longest time they were selling for around $35 at my usual online sources, but just last week Amazon dropped them to regular retail and I jumped on them. Let’s start with Sludge’s alt mode…

So, I don’t even know what’s going on in the world of dinosaur taxonomy these days, but back when I was a kid this was called a Brontosaurus and since we all know dinosaurs are an invention of The Illuminati anyway, I’m sticking with that name. And he’s a pretty great looking little dinosaur. Hasbro went nuts with the sculpting on these Dinos, giving them all sorts of panel lines and and little vents. Sludge also has some open panels on his back plates that allows you to see into his inner workings, which is kind of neat. He also has some peg holes on the sides, just in case you want to weaponize him. Hasbro even slapped some stickers on him to recreate the circuitry behind the vents on his back.

I really dig the way Hasbro managed to recapture the deco of the original toys by using clear plastic over gold for part of the head. The tail and back legs are also clear with what looks to be silver painted in from the inside to create a similar effect, along with some gold circling the joint. The gray and red plastic looks pretty close to the original toy too. Throw in some black and gold paint, and you’ve got a deco that does the old G1 release proud.

The articulation is serviceable. The front legs are ball jointed where they meet the body, have hinges in the knees and swivels halfway between. The back legs only rotate at the body and there’s no tail articulation at all. The jaw will open a bit, and there’s a swivel at the neck, which is there for transformation purposes, but it can be used to make Sludge tilt his head from side to side. So far so good, but then we get to size…

All in all, if I were looking at this alt mode in a vacuum, I’d have very little nitpicks, but I keep coming back to how ridiculously small these guys are, even for Deluxe Classes. I’ve been a Transformers collector almost all my life and I’m willing to overlook a lot of scale issues, but it’s hard for me to overlook this one. Just check him out next to Generations Wheeljack. As Grimlock might say, “Dino not same size as car! Why Dino same size as car?” Actually, Sludge looks a little smaller than Wheeljack’s auto mode. In a perfect world, I think modern Dinobots should be Leader Class, but I would have happily accepted Voyager Class. These guys are supposed to be big and imposing, but here he just looks puny and pathetic. Oh well. Let’s transform him and check out his robot mode.

There’s nothing too complicated going on with the transformation here and the resulting bot is pretty damn good. The dino hind legs are a little kibbly on his lower legs, but I do like how the two halves of the tail fold to the back and serve as additional heel spurs. I think the biggest departure here from the Sludge design I’m used to seeing is the way the wings are lower down on his torso and not up over his shoulders. It’s not a big deal to me, and you can actually just swing those all the way back if you want to give him a cleaner look from the front. It’s worth noting that Sludge’s combiner port lands on his back, giving him a clean and distinctive torso design.

He’s not quite as tidy in the back, but there’s nothing here that’s too terrible. The dino neck and head hang down his back, forming a pretty copious backpack, but that was something I expected. The deco in robot mode is more or less the same as in his alt mode. There’s more black and red showing and I still think all the colors look great. It’s hard to imagine a Deluxe sized update to Sludge turning out better than this guy.

The head sculpt is quite solid too. Sludge always had a sad and derpy look to me, and this expression here carries that pretty nicely. The paint used for the face and eyes looks great. Here you can also make out the tiny Autobot insignia printed on his chest. Much like the alt mode, I’ve got no major  complaints with the robot mode, until we get to that ugly issue of size and scaling.

Here’s a size comparison with Generations Wheeljack in robot mode and this just doesn’t work for me at all. Wheeljack looks like he could probably take Sludge in a fight and that’s not right. Oh yeah, and I forgot to turn his forearms around in this photo… my bad.

Sludge comes with two accessories, a gun and his Prime Armor piece. You should know by now that I’m not going to waste any time on the Prime Armor piece, other than to say it looks like the same one we got with Swoop and Slug. The gun is also recycled and is the exact same one that came with Slug. I wouldn’t mind so much if Hasbro had given us guns with all of the Dinobots. I mean, come on, Hasbro. If you’re saving money packing in the same gun, just go ahead and arm all of them. On the plus side, I do really dig how Sludge can hold the gun with both hands.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my feelings about Sludge are the same ones I had with Slug. He’s features a great sculpt, fantastic coloring, and has excellent robot and alt modes, but in the end he’s too small to interact with my other Transformers. Maybe I can have them fight Combiner Wars Devastator, but that’s about it. As an isolated team, I think the PotP versions of the first three Dinobots look great together, but I just can’t get past the scaling issues. Only Swoop escapes this problem, because I can get behind him being a little smaller. The saddest thing is that I think these molds are detailed enough where they could have worked as Voyager Class figures. Has anyone done up-scaled KO versions of these? Because that needs to happen. Next week, I’ll wrap up my look at these guys with Snarl!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Moonracer by Hasbro

My quest for finding new Transformers has been hard fought, but it’s finally started to produce some results. Last week I checked out the first of the Terrorcons, Rippernsapper, and today I’m having a look at Autobabe Moonracer. I’ll confess that I’ve wanting figures of Moonracer and her cohorts ever since I first saw The Search for Alpha Trion. I was also disappointed we didn’t get more of her and her companions in the cartoon. Well, here we are decades later and Hasbro has begun to turn up the love for the femmebots. We got Arcee and Chromia a few years back, and now we’re getting Moonracer and Elita-1 in Power of the Primes. Was it worth the wait… Mmmm, maybe?  Oh yeah, apologies in advance for the pictures. I didn’t realize at the time how badly her white parts were going to blend into the white background. I really should have shot her with a gray or black backing, but I didn’t have time to do a complete re-shoot.

Here she is in the package and the character art looks great… but boy is it misleading. If you look closely you can see Moonracer has a rather shapely femmebot profile that somewhat matches her animated look. You can also see that in no way does she have a crippling block of kibble welded to her back. You can, however, kind of see from the packaged figure that isn’t really the case and believe me you ain’t seen nothing yet. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with her alt mode.

Moonracer is a futuristic car and not a bad one. She’s very long and pretty thin and has a pretty sleek styling that is a bit reminscent of a Formula-1 car. There are a number of tinted blue panels on the top, making it hard for me to decide which is the canopy for the driver’s compartment, because none of them open like on the Titans Return figures. I’m guessing it’s the one near the front. Or maybe none of them are, since this is probably supposed to be a Cybertronian vehicle? In addition to those tinted blue pieces, the bulk of the car’s deco consists of teal plastic with some white plastic in the back and some lavender paint hits. I don’t think she has the personality of Arcee’s convertible mode or the sexiness of Chromia’s lightcycle mode, but it’s fine.

I like the front, especially the addition of the yellow paint apps for the headlights. She also has an Autobot insignia printed on her hood. There’s a very obvious socket in the front of the car that hints at her combiner capabilities, but I dig it as just part of the car’s weird design. I will say that she doesn’t roll all that well, as some of the undercarriage hangs pretty close to the ground.

The back is a little hollow and f’ugly and you can see her hands folded up there too. There are some peg holes at the back where you can equip her rifle as a weapon on the car. You can also add her Prime Armor piece back here to fill things out, so let’s see how that looks…

Well it fills out that hollow space a bit, but it also makes her longer, which is something she didn’t need. The only advantage is that you now have two additional ports to arm her with her gun, but I don’t think it’s really worth it. You can also attach the Prime Armor to the front of the car, but I’m not even going to go there. Let’s move on to her robot mode…

From the front, Moonracer isn’t too bad, but she’s still got some issues. For starters, you can see in her mid-section where they sculpted the hourglass shape that they wanted her to have, but behind it you can see that it’s just faked out and she’s got a rather blocky torso. The legs are fine, and they have that nice rounded organic look to them, but she has those two awkward quarter-panel shells from her alt mode just jutting out on each of her lower legs. Hey, at least they help to make her enormous feet look a little smaller. I’m also not a fan of having those windshield pieces on the bottoms of her feet. As for the deco, well the teal and white goes well together and she also has a splash of lavender and a tinted blue cockpit showing in her midsection. I think the coloring is a nice approximation of her animated look from the original cartoon.

Switching to the back and here’s where things fall apart more. There’s really no semblance at all of her femmebot form from the back. Her legs look very kibble-heavy and the backpack looks very boxy. Now, I understand that some will argue there’s no reason for femmebots to be all svelte and curvy and I ain’t trying to body-shame no bots. I am, however, going by their own character art and the character design from the cartoon, so I don’t think I’m out of order bringing these things up. And things only get worse when you view her from the side…

As a rule, I don’t have a problem with my Transformers wearing backpacks. It’s a convenient place to pack away kibble, but this? Yeah, this just isn’t acceptable to me. Poor Moonracer’s backpack is so damn big that she had to be mis-transformed in the package so the figure would fit in the bubble. When I opened her up, I was shocked at this amount of back kibble and then I realized that I still had to fold another piece into it and make it bigger. Surprisingly, she’s not too back-heavy. I’m thinking that those quarter-panels that protrude off the sides of her legs help to counterbalance her a bit.

I do like the head sculpt a lot. The “helmet” has a curved design that matches the Sunbow femmebots and also has a certain flavor from the animated movie designs. The eyes are big and blue, although they do look a little too scared to fit her character. She was kind of the wisecracker and here she just looks worried or surprised about something. Alas, the paint on my figure’s lips is pretty uneven. It looks like they just blotted it on there without much thought. In fairness, you do have to get in pretty close to see it.

And if Moonracer isn’t bulky enough for you, you can always take her Prime Armor piece and attach it to her chest. The less that I say about this gimmick the better.

Moonracer comes with a pretty cool blaster, which we already saw in her alt mode. It features a scope and she can hold it in either hand and I really don’t have much else to say about it. Before wrapping up, let’s do a little side-by-side look with another femmebot…

I couldn’t put my hands on my Chromia in time for this review, but here’s a shot of Generations Arcee with Moonracer. Obviously, Arcee isn’t perfect and she’s got a sizable backpack as well, but I just like the way they dealt with it so much better. It’s completely separate of her body, which still manages to capture the animated femmebot aesthetics. Plus even her backpack features contours and curves, making it feel more like part of the design. Granted, Arcee is a shell-former and Moonracer is a combiner, and that has to add a lot of obstacles to the design, which is all the more reason I wish she wasn’t.

After such a long wait, I want to say that Moonracer is pretty disappointing. But at the same time, I can’t say that I have buyer’s remorse. I’ve wanted a figure of this character for a long time, and I have to sympathize with the challenges that Hasbro had designing a Deluxe Class figure that could match the animated look of the character and still transform and fit their (weird and IMO unnecessary) rule that all Deluxes have to be combiners in this line. Moonracer isn’t a total dud. There are things I dig about her, but when you consider that Hasbro could have redesigned her car mode to look like anything, maybe they could have met in the middle with a better compromise between robot and alt mode. In the end, it’s cool that they made her and I’m happy to have her, but boy am I glad I didn’t wind up paying a premium for her.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Rippersnapper by Hasbro

Holy shit, it’s a new Transformers review! Before jumping in, I want to make mention of how frustrating the Power of the Primes line has been for me. Distribution is never great in my area, but I was still able to pick up maybe half of my Titans Return figures in either the local Walmarts or Targets. And what I couldn’t find local, I was able to get off of Amazon at, or at least pretty close to, MSRP.

PotP has changed all that. The big box stores here either have empty pegs or the pegs are busting with Robots in Disguise figures where PotP should be. Even those newer Bayformer Studio figures are moving in on PotP’s turf. When the Walmart finally restocked, they restocked with two cases of the first wave. Amazon has been no help either because the Deluxe Class figures have been running in the $25-35 range. So, while it’s true I have not been as impressed with PotP as I was with Titans Return, I haven’t been intentionally snubbing this line. Indeed, I was actually thrilled to finally find a couple Deluxes at regular retail, because I still love getting new Transformers. OK, enough of my bitchin’… on with the review of the Terrorcon Rippersnapper!

Just look at that bitchin’ character art! By the time the G1 Terrorcons hit in 1987, I was 15 years old and more obsessed with Star Trek than I was Transformers. I was aware they existed because I was still watching the cartoon, but I never owned any of the Terrorcon figures. As a result, I was super excited to see them coming out as part of the Power of the Primes and allowing me to finally own these characters in brand new versions. Rippersnapper is the first of these to cross my path, so let’s get rip him open and snap some pictures! I’m going to start with his robot mode…

The original Rippersnapper was one of the smaller, basic sized combiner limbs, so getting him up-scaled to a Deluxe is pretty damn cool. The robot design takes some cues from the original toy, but is obviously much better proportioned and with serviceable articulation! I don’t know that I would recognize who he’s supposed to be from the front, but being in the know, I think it’s a great update. Some of my favorite things include, the chest plate that covers his combiner port, the guns that rise up over his shoulders and the way the claws on his forearms work with the articulation in his wrists. In fact, my only quibble about this robot mode is that his right beast leg doesn’t secure the way it should. There’s a peg there to hold it in place, and it works fine on the left leg, but this one just keeps popping out.

From the back, Rippersnapper still sports a pretty clean profile. The beast mode’s head forms a curved backpack and hood of sorts, while the tail fins function as heel spurs. The robot mode’s deco is predominantly a mix of cream and dark blue plastics with some lighter blue accents, as well as some red, silver, and yellow paint apps, giving him a much more diverse color palate than some of the Titans Return figures. All in all, I have to say that I love this robot mode. It looks great, the colors are beautiful, and really fits the G1 cartoon aesthetic that I treasure so dearly.

I don’t have any special attachment to Rippersnapper’s portrait from the good old days, but the head they went with here looks pretty similar to what I remember from the cartoon. He has a rather complex and squared-off “helmet” that frames his yellow face and large red peepers. It’s been so long since I had a new Transformer that my initial instinct was to pop the head off and then I remembered that was the last line’s gimmick. What was this line’s gimmick again?

Ooooh yeah. These stupid Prime Armor pieces.  I don’t like these at all, but I suppose Rippersnapper still looks passable with it on, even if it does bulk him out like crazy. As always, the piece on the front of the armor can be removed and you can stick one of the Prime Masters in there to give him imaginary powers. Yeah, I still don’t like this gimmick, but I do love the Pretender homage that’s included with the tiny Prime Masters, so I’ll definitely be picking up more of those when I find them.

Rippersnapper’s guns can be removed from behind his shoulders and held in his hands. These are a cool matching set of blasters, and I like them a lot better than the ones that came in the last line and had seats for the Titan Masters. Between these and his claws, Rippersnapper definitely has all the bases covered for combat. So let’s see how he looks in his Terrorcon beast mode…

The transformation here is pretty simple and it feels familiar, particularly in the way the legs expand and retract and that’s basically 90% of the transformation. The result is a… what? Some kind of land shark demon thing? Oddly enough, Rippersnapper’s alt mode has always stuck with me, despite never owning the original toy, and I think this is a pretty slick update, even if there isn’t a whole hell of a lot to it. His little legs are strong enough to support his body, but he can also rest it on his tail fin when he wants to. Also, his forearms are a lot more menacing than I remember from the original toy. He has some decent reach with those claws.

From the sides, Rippersnapper sort of looks like an adorable baby Trypticon. I think that’s mostly because of the dual cannons protruding over his shoulders and the snapping jaws. But no doubt, he’s more shark than dinosaur. The deco is more or less the same as the robot mode, and still very pleasing on the eyes. Oh yeah, and I love the faked out rub sign on the back of his shark head.

Speaking of the shark head, it features a lot of personality, especially in those beady little triangular red eyes and silver teeth. I really dig the vents sculpted into the sides of his head as well. The fact that there’s nothing to hide his robot chest being the same as his alt mode. At least all that great detail doesn’t go to waste.

Man, it feels great to open up a new Transformer again and I think Rippersnapper was a fine figure to come back to. There’s nothing exciting about the transformation engineering, but he is a super fun figure in both robot and alt mode. This kind of creativity that went into the later G1 designs is something that I missed out on back then, and it’s great to be experiencing it now with these modern updates. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find the rest of the Terrorcons before too long, because I’m anxious to get this team together. In the meantime, next week I’ll be back with a look at another figure from this assortment… and it’s a femmebot!

Transformers Universe: Optimus Primal by Hasbro

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I was Tote Diving a bit last week, looking for stuff that I didn’t need to free up some space. It was largely unsuccessful, because most of the stuff went back into the tote, but I did find a few items that are going to be leaving my collection. One of them is Optimus Primal from the Transformers Universe line, and since I never reviewed him here, I thought I’d remedy that before he goes off to another home. Besides, there hasn’t been a lot of Transformers content around here lately, so I’ll take every chance I can get. So, let’s dial the Wayback Machine to 2003…

And here’s a really old picture of him in his box. Universe was a strange line, populated entirely by repaints of existing molds, sometimes introduced as new characters. The fiction for the line suggested that these were characters being pulled together from all ends of a Transformers Multiverse. In some cases it brought back toys that had been off the shelf for a while, like Primal here or the Machine Wars version of Starscream as King Atlas. It was a cool idea, and if Hasbro had stuck with using the older toys, it could have been something special. Unfortunately, it tended to favor repaints of a lot of recent releases, and as a result, I don’t think this line really reached its potential. Let’s start with Primal’s gorilla mode!

When it comes to Beast Wars, I was a big fan of the show but only dabbled in the toys. This is actually the first time I’ve owned this particular mold and I was pretty surprised by how much I liked the gorilla mode. Sure, it’s got lots of seams and exposed hinges, and stuff like that, but it’s still a decent looking and most of all fun toy. The sculpted fur is pretty well done and the face has a lot of personality, making Primal look like he’s about to put a Predacon’s head through the nearest wall.

This is a complete recolor of the original toy, so even the plastic used for his gorilla body is different. Here it’s more of a chocolate brown, where as I believe the original was darker brown. You also get some green in the upper arms and upper legs. The gray and white parts from the original toy have been replaced, and I think all in all this deco looks quite good. There are some areas of exposed yellow plastic, but they’re not very prominent, at least not in the gorilla mode.

There’s a lot more paint on the head and face this time around. What was orginally just a gray face, blue eyes, and white teeth has been jazzed up with some white and silver paint that starts around the eyes and runs up the top of his head and down the back. The red around the eyes is unevenly applied, I presume intentionally. He’s got yellow eyes, a tan mouth and nose, and white teeth. I like the paintwork here a lot, and I’d argue that it looks a lot cooler than the original, but given my druthers, I would have been just as happy if they offered this level of paint detail but kept the original deco.

Because the beast mode uses the robot arms as the beast arms and robot legs as the beast legs, you get the same level of articulation. Although in beast mode, Primal is mainly intended to be hunched over in a normal gorilla fashion. He does have a gimmick which allows him to pound his chest by working the rather enormous lever on his back. This action causes the arms to move in an alternating fashion. Fun, but probably not worth having to look at the ugly lever. Another cool gimmick is the ability to deploy a pair of shoulder mounted missile launchers with the press of a button located just above his ass. What can I say? There’s just something about a gorilla with hidden missile launchers that tickles me. Let’s move on to his robot mode…

Because the beast mode and robot mode share the same limbs, transforming this guy is pretty simple and from memory, it’s pretty accurate to the transforming animation on the show. I really dig the robot mode here, which is pretty well proportioned and just looks like a powerful bot. The deco remains largely the same, although you do get some more yellow in the legs. I like the hydraulic arms that come out of the legs and attach to the feet, and the way the gorilla mode’s upper arms fold out into shoulder armor is pretty rad as well. The blending of robot with organic curves and sculpted fur certainly makes for a rather distinctive look that only Beast Wars could pull off. About the only thing here I’m not overly fond of is the rather ugly chest piece. It’s cool how the gorilla head flips inward, but they really needed a plate or something to cover that shit up.

The head sculpt is not at all show accurate, but I do like it. It’s basically just a big-eyed Optimus Prime with a red “helmet” instead of a blue one. He has a rather exaggerated crest in the middle and his usual pair of ear headphones with antenna sticking up. The paint they used for the blue eyes looks great and manages to capture an illuminated look in the right light. The silver used for the mouth-plate is also quite striking. Of course, if you prefer your heroic Maximal leader to look like a goddamn monster… just flip the head around…

…and you get the Mutant Face. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a very cool looking sculpt, but this gimmick went nowhere in the toyline and I’m kind of surprised Hasbro left it on for this toy. Maybe it was just more bother to take it off. Funny, but as ugly as it is, it almost has a Bayformer quality about it. Let’s move on and check out some of Primal’s armaments.

You can still activate the shoulder launchers in robot mode and this is still my favorite thing about this figure. Those babies must really come in handy in a fight. Want more missiles?

You got it! Primal’s left hand splits open to reveal two more missile-spitters. The only downside here is that you have to load them up after you deploy them, so if you want Primal to be a fast draw with these weapons, you’ll have to rely on your imagination. Still, plenty cool though! And hey, missiles are all well and good, but sometimes you want a weapon with a little personality. Something that really personifies a heroic Maximal Leader…

…like a goddamn skull mace hidden in your right arm. Holy Primus, what were these people thinking? This has got to be one of the most bizarre weapons I’ve seen on a Transformer. It’s certainly rather uncharacteristic for the Primal I know. How about some swords?

Primal also comes with these curved swords, which I guess are a little more nobler than bashing someone’s head in with a skull at the end of a rope. Here’s where I point out that the missiles, swords, and the handle for the flail are all cast in a rather obnoxious yellow plastic. It wouldn’t be my first choice, but Hasbro used a lot of crazy colors in this line, making some of these repaints a little over the top.

Optimus Primal is an excellent toy and this Universe repaint is pretty solid, but he’s one of those figures that just doesn’t fit in my collection any more. Over the years, I’ve parted ways with all my favorite Beast Wars figures, like Inferno and Megatron. Even the Generations versions of the Beast Wars characters didn’t hang out in my collection that long. And so too, it’s time for Primal to move on to a new home. It’s the circle of collecting life and his sacrifice will make room for more Transformers. Assuming I actually find any of the newer Power of the Primes figures around here, because they sure are going for some crazy prices on Amazon right now.

Transformers Titans Return: Caliburst and Slugslinger by Hasbro

Woah, what’s this? A Transformers review? And the very week after I do away with Thursday content? Yeah, it just kind of worked out that way. While hunting the aisles for the new Power of the Primes figures and coming up empty, I actually stumbled upon Slugslinger, the [second to the] last Titans Return figure that I needed and I was pretty damn happy about it. Lets’ take a look!

And here’s the Titans Return Deluxe packaging once more for old time’s sake. Yeah, it hasn’t changed much for Power of the Primes, but not having to show the Titan Master head attaching to the body does give them a little more to work with when it comes to the character art. As usual, you get the Generations logo in the upper right corner and the Titan Master’s name takes priority over the main robot. I always thought that was a little weird. I really don’t have anything else to say about the packaging, so let me get him out and transformed and we’ll start with his vehicle mode.

Of course, Slugslinger is based on his G1 namesake, along with his Targetmaster, Caliburst, who has now been re-made into a Titan Master. Hasbro was really experimenting with some cool and original ideas at this point in the G1 timeline and Slugslinger’s distinctive twin-nose and cockpit configuration is a fine example of that. Everything about this jet is a wonderful recreation of the original G1 toy, just a little sleeker and more detailed. And if this jet mode looks more than a little familiar, that’s because the legs that form the engines are recycled from Misfire and Triggerhappy and hence the transformation is very similar as well. Keep in mind, I’m not complaining. If you’re going to borrow from other Deluxes, you might as well borrow from two of the best. I also dig the uniformity it gives these three and they look great flying in formation together.

The deco stays pretty close to the blue and gray plastics used for the original toy. The blue here is a little bit darker, but it looks great I’m not going to split hairs. You get tinted blue canopies over the cockpits and some tampos for detail on the tops of the engines and on the wings, including some crisp Decepticon insignia. If you’re not a fan of symmetry, the weapons can be attached under each wing, although I really wish they had made it so you could attach their combined mode to the top of the jet, like you could with Caliburst and the original toy. The sculpt is pretty solid, with lots of panel lines and other little details, and you get some tiny foot pegs in case you want to have some Titan Masters riding on his back.

As I mentioned earlier, Caliburst was G1 Slugslinger’s Targetmaster, but here he’s a Titan Master and he turns into Slugslinger’s noggin. He stands a league above most other Titan Masters as Hasbro actually spared some paint for his tiny face. He’s cast in the same blue and light gray plastic as Sluggo and he ranks pretty high among my favorite little head robots. So which of the two cockpits does he ride in? Neither, because those two are fake outs and there’s a third cockpit centered behind them. That’s the one that opens up to give Caliburst a place to sit. If you can’t tell, I really dig this alt mode, but let’s see how he fares in robot mode.

Hell, yeah! The robot mode not only looks fantastic, but also has just as many wonderful nods back to the G1 toy as the jet mode does. Most notable are the very distinctive four circular devices on each side of his chest. These give off a cool battlemech vibe to me and between those and the dual nosecones rising up behind his head, there’s no mistaking who this is supposed to be. The blue and gray plastic that makes up his deco looks just as good here as it did in his jet mode, and the tampos on his lower legs and shoulders do a fine job of recreating the look of the stickers on the original toy. This is the way to do it, Hasbro… tampos! Never stickers! I hope you learned your lesson with the Voyagers Class figures from this line.

The head sculpt is where this guy varies most from the old toy, as it’s more stylized here, particularly the eyes. The original toy had a visor, but here you get two very narrow and angled peepers that go well with his mischievous grin. The “helmet” is smoother and less detailed than the original Sluggo’s head, and it’s possible that older fans will take issue there, but I think it works fine.

From the back, Slugslinger still looks pretty good, so long as you’re like me and enjoy your robots having jets hanging off their backs. That’s not sarcasm… I really do enjoy jets on my robots’ backs! The dual cockpit assembly folds down a bit in the transformation so that they still creep up over his shoulders, but not too high. I think the wings would have looked better flipped forward, but what’s here is faithful to the G1 toy and who am I to argue with that? Slugsy does suffer from some hollow leg syndrome, but I’m not going to hold that against him.

Slugslinger wields two very distinct looking weapons. One is a blue double-barreled gun with squared off barrels, while the other is a gray, single barrel blaster. I think both are excellent looking weapons, and offer up a bit of variety to the usual guns from this line, which are often just two halves of a combined gun.

Of course, they can still be combined into one beefy gun, and I think I like this option the best. Instead of two halves going together, the gray one mounts on top of the blue one. I think G1 Caliburst would be proud.

I don’t know if it’s because he released pretty late in the line, but Slugslinger was a tough little bot for me to track down. He’s been available at some online stores for a while, but going for way above retail at my usual haunts. I was getting ready to pay premium for him, so imagine my delight when I happened to run into him on the pegs at Target, especially since this line has been gone from stores for a little bit now. He’s yet another variation on an absolutely fantastic base figure and when grouped up with Misfire and Triggerhappy. I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it once more, the Deluxe Class figures in this line were absolutely fantastic. Some of the best Transformers Hasbro has put out in years, and I’m still sad to have seen it end.

I’d say that’ll finally do me for Titans Return, but I still have a certain Leader Class figure to track down.

Transformers Titans Return: Trypticon by Hasbro

Today’s Transformers Thursday review is brought to you by the motto, “Better late than never.” I’ve had Hasbro’s latest beast of a figure since around Christmas time when Amazon had him as a very appealing Deal of the Day. He’s been out of the box and on my shelf since then, but reviewing these Titan Class figures takes a lot out of me, so I really had to build up to it. Also, I’m fresh out of other Transformers to look at right now, so it was either Trypticon or nothing. I also want to preface this review with the disclaimer I have up on my past two Titan Class figures. My staging area is not big enough to handle these guys, so I have to make do with a sheet for a backdrop and a lighting rig that is not at all ideal. Also, unlike the previous Titans, I’m doing this one all in one part. There were a few pictures I would have liked to retry, but time didn’t allow it. In other words… sorry for the picture quality on some of these. With that all being said, let’s check this guy out!

Like Metroplex and Fort Max before him, Trypticon comes in fully enclosed box with some really nice artwork on the front and plenty of pictures of him on the back. It’s collector friendly, but you have to be willing to risk pulling him apart again if you want to put him back in the box. For me, taking him out of the box was a one way trip. In addition to the big guy himself, you also get the Deluxe Class Full-Tilt figure and his Titan Master, Necro. Also included in the box is a character card, a folded instruction sheet, and a massive sheet of foil stickers. I put most of those stickers on, but there are a few that I didn’t bother with, and a few others that I’m just too scared to attempt. I may finish stickering him up someday, but for now I’m happy with what I’ve got. Let’s start out with a quick look at Necro and Full-Tilt!

Full-Tilt’s alt mode is a pretty cool looking purple car. I’m assuming this is supposed to be a Cybertronian vehicle, because there are no windshields and it looks like a futuristic armored car. There’s a decent amount of sculpted detail here, mostly in the form of panel lines, some bolts, an engine on the back, and he’s got four rugged looking wheels. What’s missing? There’s absolutely no paint showing on this mode at all, which makes it feel rather unfinished to me. Trypticon is expensive, Hasbro, splash some paint on there, would ya, please? Full-Tilt comes with a black double barreled gun and it can be pegged right into the top of the vehicle.

Necro is Full-Tilt’s Titan Master and he too escaped the factory without any paint, which is a shame. He’s cast mostly in purple, but his head is cast in black plastic. You get the usual points of articulation, with ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The legs are fused together, but they have hinges at the hips and knees. Full-Tilt’s auto mode does open up and has a compartment for Necro to sit in, but since he’s nearly all purple, he kind of blends in with the rest of the purple plastic.

While I’m not overly impressed with Full-Tilt’s car mode, I really dig his robot mode. It’s still woefully lacking a lot of paint, you just get some silver on his chest grills, red for his visor, and a little silver on his “helmet.” But he’s a good, solid and clean design and kind of fun to play around with. He also displays really well with the other Deluxe Class figures on my shelf. So, yeah I dig him, but I can’t dwell on him much longer, because I’ve got a lot more to look at. So, let’s move on to Trypticon’s space cruiser mode!

I have to be honest, I did not expect to like this nearly as much as I do. This is a bruiser of a ship and it’s bulky, ugly, no-nonsense design is exactly what I expect out of a Decepticon space cruiser. Forget the dainty curves of The Nemesis, Starship Trypticon looks like a warship that can take a beating, and it’s stacked with firepower and carrier capabilities too. There are just a few things I don’t care for about the design. First off, what’s the deal with those stubby wings? Who are you kidding Trypticon? Those can’t possibly serve any purpose! Also, the instructions show them angled up a bit, but the wings on mine are a little floppy and will only lay flat. Secondly, the gigantic translucent dome looks like a cockpit and that kind of throws off the whole scale of it. Indeed, it’s kind of hard for me to not see it as a cockpit, making this look more like a fighter-sized ship. At least until I start stacking it with Titan Masters. Oh, and how about the fact that the nose of the ship actually looks like Trypticon’s head. Wait, did I list that with the things I didn’t like? Forget that. It’s awesome!

Space Cruiser Trypticon is absolutely loaded with sculpted detail. There are vents, panel lines, cables, hatches, and Titan Master foot pegs littered all over this thing. He’s also got two massive cannons on his back, which can elevate, another cannon in the middle of his back, where you can also mount Full-Tilt if you want, and finally he has a set of two smaller guns right up front at the nose. He also has three massive reactors exposed on either of his broadsides. It’s probably a good idea put some armor up over those, but then I’d like to think they just piss out so much radiation that it’s better out then in. It’s also probably the bubbling molten hell where all the Titan Masters he eats go to be converted into fuel. But we’ll get to snacking on Titan Masters later on.

The sides of the space cruiser can be used to launch Deluxe Class Decepticon spacecraft, complete with ramps that can extend to make an elongated runway. Both Triggerhappy and Misfire fit really great in these areas. Here’s where you can also get a nice sense of the scale of this space cruiser mode. I particularly love the little doorway that leads into the ship. It’s just the right size for the Titan Masters to pass through. These two carrier sections really make the star cruiser mode a lot of fun to play with.

And just when you think you’ve seen it all the front of the ship can open up to transport Full-Tilt in his car mode. And since the front of the ship looks like Trypticon’s head, when Full-Tilt launches, it looks like he’s barfing him out. Simply awesome. Yup, I absolutely love this mode and it’s various little design elements. It’s fun to mess around with, but a little too big and heavy to be whooshing it around the room. All in all, I’d say this ranks better than most of the third modes on the Voyager Triplechangers in this line. Let’s move on to his city mode!

The city mode is not a whole lot different from the space cruiser mode, and I kind of dig that. It’s like Trypticon can just fly to another planet, transform while he’s landing and BOOM! There’s a Decepticon City in your neighborhood now, bitches! DEAL WITH IT! All he really has to do is unfold his legs into pylons, drop three ramps, raise the cannons into towers, and tweak a few other things. But despite it’s simplicity I think it’s definitely on par with the Fort Max/Metroplex cities, and probably even a wee bit better. High-Tilt can now launch from the top and roll all the way down the ramp and into battle. You can also park Deluxe Decepticons on the side platforms or continue to use them as aircraft strips. Honestly, while I really liked the interaction between the space cruiser mode and the Deluxes, this is a CITY mode, and to really show it off, I’ve just got to bust out the Mini-Cons!

These Titan Class cities are just about the only occasion I get to use my giant bag of Mini-Cons any more. There are still plenty of sweet spots to pile them on, but Trypticon doesn’t really have the same amount of useful surface space as Metro or Fort Max. He’s still plenty of fun, though and while the Titan Masters are tinier, I think the Mini-Cons also do a nice job conveying the intended scale of this thing. Of course, you still have the option of converting the twin towers into cannons by angling them forward, and there are plenty of covered areas under him where you can park more cars.  So, while I’ll give the space cruiser mode a bit of an edge as my favorite of the two, I like this one quite a bit. But now that we’ve been through both the alt modes, as fun as they are, the real attraction here is Trypticon’s T-Rex mode, so let’s get him transformed and check him out.

Oh, mama! As much as I dig the two alt modes, here’s what I bought my tickets for, and I am not disappointed. While Trypticon’s T-Rex mode is not as tall as Metro or Fort Max, he’s still a powerhouse of a figure and an absolutely spot-on update to the original toy. I know I made this comment when dealing with the space cruiser mode, but nearly every bit of his surface area is covered with some kind of sculpted detail. There’s so much going on with this guy that it’s easy to get lost in all the minutia, and I think the hyper-detail in the sculpt helps to accentuate just how big he’s supposed to be.  The deco is an instantly familiar combination of gray, teal, and purple that matches my memories of my old childhood friend, and he’s got all the points that I consider to be iconic, like the translucent orange discs on his hips, and the “teeth” on the insides of his feet that served the walking gimmick in the original toy. I’m also suitably impressed by the articulation in his not-so-little arms. They’re actually quite useful for picking up Autobot fools.

As awesome as the body is, the head is a damn work of art, with powerful jaws, light piping in the eyes which I did not want to cover up with stickers, and those massive shoulder cannons. Once again, all the detail in the sculpt blows me away. I really should have posted this review yesterday on Valentine’s Day, because I’m in love with this big guy. Trypticon’s noggin also holds a few fun play gimmicks.

For starters, if you plug Necro’s head mode into the little compartment on the top of Trypticon’s head, the translucent orange panel between his eyes flips up to reveal a hidden laser cannon. Sweet!

Next up, if you open his jaws up all the way he’s got a double barreled cannon hidden in his mouth. He also has a throat which lets him swallow Titan Masters, sending him to that hellish gut I mentioned earlier where they can be melted away into fuel. But not to worry, Hasbro knows those things cost $5 a pack, so you can open his chest and retrieve them from his stomach compartment easy-peasy. Above we see poor Fracas emerging in the fetal position muttering, “I’ve seen things!” I really love the hazard striping stickers that go around these chambers, even though they were a bitch to put on straight.

With three of these Titan Class figures on my shelves, you’d think the impact of their coolness factor would have waned a bit, but that is definitely not the case with Trypticon. Indeed, in a lot of ways he’s even more impressive than Fort Max, because he’s all new sculpting, and he’s everything I could have wanted in a modern Trypticon update. Every now and then I stare at him on the shelf and still can’t quite believe Hasbro is turning out toys this amazing. Hasbro gets a lot of shit from collectors, and sure some of it is deserved, but it’s hard for me to not acknowledge them as my favorite toy company when they’re turning out works of art like this guy, not through Kickstarters or Comic Shop Exclusives, but right on the shelf at your local big box. Will we get a Scorponok in this scale? That would be cool. But even if they retire the Titan Class line after this third release, nothing can take away the fact that they delivered this trio of amazing giants. I think I can speak for most of us when I say, Good on you, Hasbro! Unless you got a Trypticon with shitty hips. Then you’re probably pissed.