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.

Advertisements

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.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Dreadwind by Hasbro

The great New Jersey Philospher Anthony Soprano once said, “‘Remember When’ is the lowest form of conversation.” That may be true, but Lord Primus help me, I do love me some G1 Transformers homages and call backs. And today’s figure is especially cool for me, because I was getting out of Transformers back when the whole Power Masters thing was getting started, so this is a brand new opportunity to finally own a version of G1 Dreadwind. And no, that Botcon repaint of Classics Jetfire doesn’t count.

We’ve seen the PotP Deluxe packaging several times now, so there’s not much new to talk about. As always, we get some absolutely kickass character art at the top of the card. Also, I shot this one from a bit more of a top-down angle so you can see how they had to maneuver poor Dreadwind’s legs to get them to fit on a standard Deluxe bubble. But before we start talking about his robot mode, let’s check out with his alt mode.

Dreadwind’s alt mode is a passable approximation of an F-16 Falcon, and yup, he’s a remold of Skydive from Combiner Wars! At first glance, the look is similar enough that I actually had to dig out Skydive to see if there was any remolding. The biggest difference is where the wings meet the body, and it looks like the tail wings are new. Also, you can see the newly sculpted circular intakes peeking out from under the wings and near the body. The Prime/Titan Master peg holes on the new wing pieces are a nice touch. But does it really work as G1 Dreadwind? Yeah, apart from the split fins on the back, where he should only have one, it’s pretty damn solid.

The deco is right on the mark too. You get a very pale gray/off-white body with aqua colored wings and cockpit, along with a darker charcoal nosecone and rear quarter. The only major departure is that the rear wings are purple instead of charcoal, but that still fits in nicely with the purple in the original Dreadwind’s color scheme. The silver paint one wings and the Decepticon insignia do a nice job mimicking the stickers on the G1 toy. The red painted intakes are a little different, but they don’t really hurt the homage at all. It’s a great looking jet and just different enough from Skydive to make me happy.

By now, y’all know I’m not a big fan of this line’s Prime Armor pieces, but this one can actually be used to drive home the whole Power Master homage, by plugging it into the top of the jet. Yeah, it’s a lot bigger than the Power Masters were, but at least they painted this armor in something close to the original Hi-Test’s colors to make it an option. Dreadwind’s gun can also be pegged into the hole on the back of the jet, or if you’re not a fan of symmetry, you can plug it into either of the sockets below the wings. It looks pretty silly on the top, so I tend to just plug it into one of the wings. Alrighty, let’s get this guy transformed and check out his other half.

In robot mode we get to see a lot more of the remolding Hasbro did here. The torso, while still built around the same old Combiner post, is completely new. A good chunk of the legs and arms are recycled, but he has brand new shoulders and really shows off those circular intakes. And that’s a good thing, because those shoulders are some of the only real design call-backs to the original G1 Dreadwind in this robot mode, at least below the neck. The biggest difference is the lack of cockpit on his chest.  With that having been said, I really like the deco on the robot mode. You get more of that pale gray and snazzy purple plastic, as well as the aqua on the shoulders and hips. There are some silver paint hits on the shoulders and chest, some red applications on the chest, and his feet and hands are painted charcoal.

The back shows off some of the things I don’t like about him, and that’s the fact that he wears all his wings on his lower legs. I don’t mind so much that it isn’t faithful to the original design, but I just don’t think it looks good. Having three wings hanging off each leg is why they had to contort him to fit in the package, and while it looks fine from the front, it looks really awkward and ungainly from the back or sides. You can fold the primary wings forward to clean up the back a bit, but at the expense of the front. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was clever the way they engineered the wings to move down there, rather than on the back like Skydive, but having all that kibble on his legs and nothing on his torso makes him look a little oddly proportioned.

Moving back up to the head, I really dig this head sculpt. It’s a great update to the original toy’s rather distinctive look. The yellow eyes look especially cool set inside the purple “helmet.” But all those exposed screwheads so prominently on display? Eh, I could have done without that.

I’ve already shown off Dreadwind’s weapon attached to his jet mode. Here he is holding it. It’s a really long peg that doesn’t fit too well in his hand, which makes it look a tad awkward, but overall not bad. Plus it’s the height of Decepticon fashion to have your shooter color coordinated to match your shoulders.

Dreadwind is a really cool little figure. I will admit, I was not terribly keen on seeing Hasbro cram Combiner Wars remolds into this new line, especially not in the very first wave of Deluxes, but in hand, Dreadwind feels just fresh enough for me to give him a pass. There are some design elements that could have been tweaked, but in the end, I definitely like him. Of course, part of my goodwill towards this figure is based on the fact that he’s based on what I would consider to be a somewhat obscure character/toy, but that’s probably just because I got out of Transformers when I did. I’m sure someone out there considers Dreadwind a favorite and I hope this little homage lives up to their expectations.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Jazz by Hasbro

After some detours into the larger Voyager Class and smaller Prime Master figures, it’s finally time for me to steer back to that first wave of Deluxes from The Power of the Primes line. I already checked out the two figures that I was most excited (or curious) about, Slug and Swoop, and today I’m opening up Jazz. I don’t know, Hasbro. You did a mighty fine Jazz back around 2011 in the Reveal The Shield line, and he still holds up pretty well today. Are you sure you want to take another crack at him? The pressure is on. Let’s take a look…

Same old packaging, but once again with some absolutely bitchin’ character art. Also, have a look at the ubiquitous Prime Armor piece in the lower corner of the tray, because you won’t see it again in this review. It’s going into the Accessory Junk Drawer! It doesn’t say anywhere on the package, but like all these Deluxes, Jazz is indeed a Combiner limb. I won’t grumble about that too much because it’s hidden really well. OK, let’s start things off with the alt mode.

LIBERTIES! Yes, Hasbro has taken major ones with Jazz’s new auto mode and that leaves me a little torn. No, this isn’t really Jazz to me but the design of the car is great, and it’s executed brilliantly. I will note ahead of time that some of the seams you see in the picture show a not so tight transformation, but I’ll blame that on user error. I did have some difficulties getting his arms packed in just right. But let me go on to say that the detail in the sculpt is especially nice. Not only do you get plenty of panel lines, but you also get some cool vent panels on the sides of the engine, and even a detailed gas cap. The clear plastic windows and, tinted blue plastic looks fantastic on the headlamps. I just wish they could have spared some paint for the taillights and rear bumper.

The rest of the deco is fabulous. This is some of the brightest, and most prettiest white I’ve seen on a Transformer in a while. Just look at the comparison with the previous Jazz. I know, how can I get so worked up over white? Well, it just looks so much better than the white we usually get and when combined with the blue and red stripe down the middle, this car really pops. You also get some graphics tampo’ed on the sides, including “Autobot Jazz” which is ironically there because you might not otherwise recognize him. It’s like when they used to print the character name on the apron on those old Ben Cooper Halloween costumes. A little silver paint on those front grills would have been nice, but you do get some red trim around the apron. Yup, apart from a brighter white, there’s really no contest to me which alt mode comes out on top and screams Jazz to me. Still, I love this car, and am hoping we get a repaint into another character. More on that later.

Before moving on to the robot mode, Jazz does come with a gun that can be pegged into the top of the car on any one of three ports. I kind of dig it straight up in the center. You can also substitute any of the Prime Master Decoy Armor in their Targetmaster modes. I’ll also note that there are some foot pegs on his back, so Prime or Titan Masters can ride him into battle!

The transformation here is pretty similar to many of the Combiner limb cars we’ve seen in the last few years and the result is a pretty great looking robot mode and a little bit closer to the Jazz I know, but still not quite there. I do appreciate the front of the car forming the chest, as this configuration is to me the most iconic as well as my all time favorite look for an Autobot Warrior. I think it’s the lack of door wings that really throws me off. With that having been said, this is a remarkably well-proportioned robot mode, and you’d have to look really close to even notice that there’s a combiner port embedded in his chest. I will, however, say that the forearms look pretty cheap. The lack of paint, the car shell extending behind the fists, and the ball jointed elbows all scream Legends Class to me.

From the back, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about. This is one of the cleanest robo-backs I’ve seen in a while. There’s none of that “hollow leg syndrome” and the canopy piece for the car forms a solid slab of a back. Not bad at all.

Unfortunately, the head is a little off for me. It’s unmistakably Jazz, but it feels a tad undersized. Also the facial features below the visor are very soft. The nose and mouth tend to get lost in the reflections of the silver paint and it’s almost like there’s nothing there. But once again, those blue headlamps look great, as does the bold Autobot emblem stamped on his chest.

Jazz comes with a neat little blaster, which we already saw on his alt mode. In robot mode he can hold in either hand. The articulation here is overall pretty good, with the one exception being the shoulders. The lateral hinge is pretty awkward to work with and the lack of a bicep swivel makes some of those action poses a little hard to achieve.

There’s a lot I like about this figure. The detail on the mold and the coloring are great in both car and robot mode. The engineering is solid, but not overly complex. And lastly, I really dig how well they hid the fact that he’s a Combiner limb. Had they gone with using this mold as a different character I would have been a lot happier to own him, but with the Reveal The Shield Jazz holding up so well, this one just feels redundant. For some reason I keep thinking this figure would have worked as an homage to the G1 Omnibot Overdrive. Either way, if you were a fan of the Combiner Wars G1 Autobots, you might actually dig this guy a lot, and I’d say he’d fit in pretty well with that lot.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Legends Class Beachcomber by Hasbro

It’s time for another Transformers Thursday fueled by the Power of the Primes! If you’ve been following along with my previous PotP reviews than you already know that this line has been a little hit and miss with me. But one thing it’s doing pretty damn well is the Legends Class figures, so let’s check out another one today. And if it isn’t an honest to Primus homage to G1 Beachcomber! “Ooooh, my. Booboobadooboo… this is gonna be paradise!” 

Everyone’s favorite Cybertronian Tree Hugger comes on your typical PotP card with some truly bitchin’ character art at the top. As far as I know, the last time Beachcomber got a figure was back in the Generations line around 2008. That one was also a Legends Class, but I only owned the repaint, Sandstorm. In fact, the last Beachcomber figure I owned was that giant futuristic dune-buggy from the Energon line. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to get this figure in hand. He comes packaged in his robot mode, but as usual, let’s start with his alt mode.

And it is indeed a good old fashioned blue and gray dune-buggy! There’s just the right amount of detail in the sculpt, which includes shock absorbers on the front and back wheels, headlamps, and some panel lines and further detailing on the running boards. You also get a little basic detail in the driver compartment, and some great looking treads on the plastic tires. The coloring is largely achieved through the blue and gray plastic, although the back engine area is painted gray and the two circular components are painted silver. There’s also a nice big Autobot emblem printed on the hood and bisected by the seam. I’ll admit that a few more paint hits would have been welcome, like some yellow on the headlamps and maybe some black for the driver cage, but I’m still pretty pleased with this little buggy.

As with most of the Legends Class vehicles lately, you can fit a Titan or Prime Master into the driver seat, in this case simply by disconnecting the bars to the driver cage and angling them back.

It’s also worth noting that the socket near the engine area can fit the weapons from the Prime Masters’ Decoy Armor. It may be a little odd to see the peace-loving Beachcomber toting around extra firepower, but somebody’s gotta save that pristine Golden Lagoon from the Decepticreeps!

Beachcomber transforms pretty much exactly like the old days. The legs fold out from his hood and the arms pull out from the sides. Compact the torso and you get your head reveal, and the results are superb! You get the same wheel placement on the shoulders and lower legs, a sticker on the chest similar to the original toy, and some blue, yellow, and orange paint on his abs to match the other sticker on the original. I also really dig the sculpted piston design in his chest. Some additional gray paint is used to pick out his fists. This guy looks absolutely amazing.

He looks damn spiffy from the back as well. Sure, you get a little of that hollow leg syndrome, but I’m willing to accept that in these Legends Class figures. I love how two of the cage bars form heel spurs, and the rest of the cage folds neatly down and close to his back. The positioning of the two silver drums on his upper back looks great as well.

The only thing this figure needs to round out the homage was a great head sculpt, and he’s got that too. The pronounced silver visor rests above a pretty human-looking face, which matches his Sunbow design spot-on. I can practically see him pursing his lips and whistling to the birds!

The articulation here is pretty much what I’ve come to expect from these Legends Class figures. That includes ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, and hips, hinges in the knees, a ball joint in the neck, and much to my surprise, this little guy actually has swivels in the thighs!

Beachcomber fits right at home among some of the more amazing Legends Class G1-homages we’ve been getting in the Titans Return and now the Power of the Primes runs. Everything about these little fellas make me smile, but Beachcomber scratches that special itch, because this really is the first decent official version of him we’ve had in ten years, and even that one wasn’t all that amazing. Part of me would still have liked to see these guys get the Deluxe treatment, but then there’s something so appropriate about the old Minibots getting to keep their smaller and simpler stature. Either way, there’s no doubt in my mind that Windcharger and Beachcomber rank in as my two favorites of the PotP lines so far.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Prime Masters (Wave 1) by Hasbro

If you’ve been reading my Power of the Primes reviews, you may have noticed that I’ve been peppering them with a general lack of interest in the whole Prime Armor and Prime Master gimmick. But don’t take that as a personal attack on the Prime Masters themselves, because I actually love these little guys and plan on buying every goddamn one of them. Why?

Well just look at them! They’re like a cross between Pretenders and Targetmasters. These little buggers replace the individual packaged Titan Masters assortments from the last line. I only picked up a few of those, and I don’t think I ever reviewed any of them, because they didn’t interest me a lot and I didn’t think they made for interesting reviews. Oh, I loved the Headmaster gimmick in Titans Return, but I was never big on buying different heads to swap out with the ones that came with the figures. But these? These are some tiny bots that I can really get behind. Each package features three components: The Prime Master figure, the Decoy Armor, and a weapon that attaches to the armor. The result is that there’s a lot of playability packed into these five dollar packets. Let’s start with Vector Prime…

Vector Prime’s Decoy Armor is based on G1 Metalhawk. I should at this point declare that I was already out of Transformers by the time The Pretenders hit the market, and while I’ve admired them and learned a lot about them since, I’m not all that familiar with Metalhawk. I want to say that’s because he didn’t get a US release, but I’m treading on unfamiliar territory there. Anywho, just check out the awesome paint and sculpting that went into this Pretender Shell! Keep in mind these aren’t all that much bigger than the Titan/Prime Masters. The blue plastic is quite brilliant and looks great with the silver, red, and yellow paint apps. I also dig how the helmet has an open face so you can make out the Prime Master’s face inside it. Have there ever been toy suits of armor for figures as small as these? I doubt it. The legs are static, but the arms can rotate.

From the back, we can see his weapon attached on a hinge for storage. It can be removed and Vector Prime can hold it while he’s in his Decoy Armor. Granted, it’s really big for him, but that’s because it also doubles as part of a the Decoy Armor’s Targetmaster gimmick. But before we get to that, let’s open up the armor and have a look at Vector Prime. Damn, these tiny guys are complicated!

The armor hinges open at the feet to reveal the little fella inside. The Prime Masters are basically the same as the Titan Masters in scale and articulation. You still get ball joints in the head and shoulders, and hinges at the hips and knees, but with the legs fused together. Vector Prime’s black and blue plastic matches that of his Decoy Armor, and you actually get a little silver paint on his teeny little face. These Prime Masters transform exactly like the Titan Masters, only instead of changing into heads, they change into little box-like chips that can be inserted into the Prime Armor that comes with the larger figures. Now you can transform the Decoy Armor into a gun and place Vector Prime in it. And since he didn’t come with any weapons, I’m going to use Grimlock to showcase the Targetmaster Gimmicks today.

“ME GRIMLOCK SAY HASBRO MARKETING GENIUS. NOT GIVE WEAPONS IN PACKAGE. MAKE YOU BUY TINY BOTS FOR WEAPONS!”

I think Grimlock may have a point. He might have been light on weapons as an incentive to pick up these packs. But even if that’s so, damn I love this! The Decoy Armors’ weapon modes are a tad large for Deluxes, but they’re very well suited for Voyagers or Leaders. Vector Prime’s armor makes a pretty good looking single-barrel gun, and you can stick him on top in his chip mode, or keep him in the armor. Brilliant! Moving on to Micronus…

Micronus’ Decoy Armor is based off of G1 Cloudburst, and here’s one that I actually remember. The shell is a little less rounded than the original release, but the resemblance is certainly there. Again, it’s a really nice sculpt for such a little toy and the coloring consists of some bright red plastic, black plastic, and some white and blue paint apps. Like Vector Prime, Micronus can be seen peeking out through the face hole in the armor and his gun hangs off the back for storage or can be equipped in either of the Pretender Shell’s hands.

Open up the Armor and out comes Micronus. His deco shares that of the Decoy Armor’s red and black plastic, and his little face is painted blue. How about the Targetmaster mode?

Micronus’ Armor changes into a double-barreled gun, which looks pretty damn good in Grimlock’s hand. And if you’d rather have Micronus plugged into Grimlock’s Prime Armor… go for it. Moving on to the final figure of the trio… Liege Maximo.

Liege Maximo is the lone Decepticon of the bunch and his Decoy Armor is also the most familiar to me as Skullgrin. Wait, he’s a Prime, but he’s a Decepticon? I gotta be honest, I don’t understand all the hows and whys of this whole Prime Master thing. I just know that Pretenders make me happy and this little Skullgrin doubly so. The blend of gray and neon mauve plastic is outrageously beautiful, with some white paint added to pick out his belt and skull. The sculpting on this guy is also fantastic.

A peek at the back reveals Maximo has a rather unconventional weapon stored there. Pop it off and put it in the Armor’s hand and it becomes… I dunno, a big slashing claw? Sure, why not!

Pop open the Decoy Armor and you can see that Liege Maximo shares the Pretender Shell’s amazing deco. I think he’s my favorite of the bunch because the sculpt on him just looks so crisp and the face paint is especially well done.

I’ll be honest, Maximo’s weapon mode doesn’t do a lot for me. It kind of just looks like a rake or something. Grimlock is not terribly impressed either, but the silver paint is sure nice. Besides, you didn’t come with jack-squat, Grimlock. Beggers can’t be choosers, so take the hot-pink claw thingie and like it!

Holy shit, these are some fun little toys! I know that the Titan Masters came with little vehicles, but in the end they were just Headmasters without proper bodies and were kind of lost on me. But here, Hasbro went in an entirely new direction and it pays off for me big time. When you consider that a big part of the Prime Master gimmick consists of big ugly armor pieces and pretend powers written down on the backs of cards, I really dig that Hasbro packed so much more playability into these little guys. The Pretender Shells are an impossible homage… Something I never thought Hasbro would ever revisit again in a million years, and yet here they are alive and well and swinging on the pegs down at my local Target. And if tiny action figures in armor isn’t enough, incorporating the Targetmaster gimmick into it as well just goes above and beyond. Keep making these little buggers, Hasbro, and I promise I will buy them all!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Grimlock by Hasbro

With this being my first week of regular content since the New Year, what better way to kick off 2018’s Transformers Thursdays with a look at the very highly anticipated new Voyager Class Grimlock? I actually got this guy in right around the turn of the year and I’ve been chomping at the bit to open him up ever since. I’m also just a wee bit nervous, because not everything I’ve been hearing about Grimmy has been good. Will PotP Grimlock be Bozo or King? I guess I’m about to find out!

This is the first boxed figure that I’m reviewing from PotP and as you can see it’s not much different from Combiner Wars or Titans Return. The character art is great, but I’m really ready for Hasbro to change up the packaging deco for the next Transformers line. I was never a big fan of this layout. It just feels bland and boring and generic, and it’s getting more than a little stale for me. But who cares about the box? I’m just going to trash it anyway. The figure comes packaged in his robot mode and as we’re about to see, that was a good choice on Hasbro’s part. Let’s jump right in to Grimlock’s alt mode.

Oh, boy. So, I knew I was going to be in for a rough ride here, but I’ll say straightaway that the T-Rex mode is at least instantly familiar. Unfortunately, It’s also a veritable symphony of good and bad execution, and the emphasis is leaning toward the bad. I’m tempted to say that I’d be fine with the main body if the legs didn’t seem to jut out so far to the point where they’re really awkward looking. Then again, I think a lot of that has to do with how wide the body is. He looks like he’s wearing a pair of big gold diapers, and they’re starting to sag. Let’s just say that the proportions on this T-Rex are a mess. I think he looks passable when viewed at a three-quarter turn, but looking at him dead on, or from above, or from either side makes me want to ball up my fists and scream, WHYYYY? And the answer I keep coming back to is simple: Because they made him a Combiner. That tail is chunky because that’s where the Combiner’s leg ports are. Those legs are so horribly misshapen because that’s where the Combiner’s shoulder ports are. I didn’t ask for Dinobot Combiners, but I’m not earnestly against the idea. But in this case, a lot was sacrificed in favor of a Dinobot Combiner gimmick, and I can’t say I’m very happy about it.

Proportions aside, assuming I’m able to overlook them, there’s some great stuff going on with this sculpt. There’s plenty of panel lines, vents, circuitry, and other doodads that really makes the detail come alive. I’d also argue that the head is spot on perfect, as are the tiny little arms, which are ball jointed into his body. It’s true that he’s really damn f’ugly from the top top down, but I’m surprised at how little that bothers me. The deco is also brilliant. Like the other PotP Dinobots, I really dig the mix of gray, red, and black plastic, along with those gold sections under clear plastic. Add in some foil stickers, and you get a deco that perfectly invokes the G1 Dinobot aesthetic, and matches Slug and Swoop pretty well. He scales fairly well with them too.

I do have some problems getting the seam running down his dino chest to close up all the way. Some silver paint for the arms and teeth would have been cool, but all in all, there’s some stuff to love on this T-Rex and just about all of it is from the chest and arms up. But I don’t think it balances out with the awkward, clunky proportions. Let’s move on to his robot mode.

And here is where the figure starts to shine a bit. The big barrel-shaped gold chest covered in clear plastic works for me, although I would have liked a little something between it and his pelvis. I think it’s called abs and Grimmy here just doesn’t have any. Regardless, I think the arms are great. They look powerful, I love the high shoulders, and while the diminished claws didn’t help him much in T-Rex mode, they look OK here on his wrists. It’s below the waist where things get a little dodgy. The legs could have used a bit more bulk to them. They look fine on their own, and I like the way the colorful foil stickers invoke that G1 spirit, but his lower half is a touch too scrawny for that powerful upper body. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a deal-breaker for me, but there’s room for improvement. Maybe he would have benefited from some actual feet.

The back of the figure advertises how the transformation doesn’t stray too far from the old G1 engineering. The T-Rex neck and head still flops down the center of the back, the chest opens up into “wings” and the tail, instead of folding up the sides of the legs, go to the back to serve as heel spurs. About the only thing out of place here is that giant hip plate, which is obvious Combiner kibble.

The head sculpt is simple, but wonderfully slavish to the G1 design. Here’s one thing that I wouldn’t have changed at all.

And just as things were getting better, Hasbro punches me right in the balls with the decision to not include any weapons. Nope, no weapons. No sword, no gun, nothing. It’s an omission so ridiculous, that I can scarcely believe it. You do get a couple of Combiner parts in there, and a power chip called the Dinobot Enigma. But if you want your Grimlock armed, you’re just going to have to steal the sword and gun from his fellow Dinobots.

The Combiner Parts double as Prime Armor and can attach to him at various points. The most useful place seems to be on his arms, as it gives him some claw-like thingies. They look OK and they’re probably fun for the kiddies. The Dinobot Enigma is basically like a Prime Master that doesn’t transform. Or maybe like a Dinobot Matrix? Either way it fits into any of the Prime Armor pieces you have. You can probably tell that I’m not at all vested in the Prime Armor power gimmick, although I do applaud that it’s a feature that actually requires kids to use their imaginations. And don’t you worry… I’ll be looking at some of them Prime Masters coming up real soon. Hey, before wrapping up, let’s take a quick look at him with the last Voyager Grimlock, from the Generations Fall of Cybertron line…

When it comes to the robot mode, I’ll take FOC Grimlock over this one in a heartbeat, but in fairness they are two pretty different looks. I like the deco on PotP Grimmy a little better, as it really does a splendid job matching the G1 aesthetic. But with that having been said, the proportions and overall sexiness of FOC Grimlock still impresses me. Not to mention he comes with a sword and a shield, which he’s probably going to have to learn how to share.

The T-Rex modes tell a very different story. I had really good memories of FOC Grimlock’s T-Rex mode, but dear god, it has not aged well. While PotP Grimlock looks bloated and ill-proportioned, the FOC version looks like a hollowed out husk of a T-Rex. As many problems as I have with this new Grimlock’s alt mode, I have to say it looks like a goddamn work of art beside the older FOC figure.

In the end, Grimlock here is disappointing, although the pretty decent robot mode helps keep him from being a total disaster. There’s a hint of greatness in his alt mode, at least in the top half, but when you get down to the legs, the whole thing just falls apart for me. It’s a real shame, because the original G1 Grimlock toy looked pretty damn great in both robot and T-Rex mode, so modernizing it should really just be a matter of adding articulation and cleaning up some of the proportions. And yet here we are with a modern update that looks worse because of the Combiner gimmick. Now, obviously, I won’t pass judgement on the Dinobots as a Combiner Team until I have all the figures to combine, but as things stand now, I’m not very happy with this trade off. Am I being too hard on this new Grimlock? I dunno. You tell me.