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!

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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.

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 1

Well, I hope everyone has been enjoying my Ten Favorites of 2017. There were a lot of items that came close to making the cut, but I tried to be good and stick as close to the self-imposed confines of my list as possible. And now it’s time to embark on the flip-side and look at my Ten Biggiest Disappointments of the year. I’m happy to say this list was a also difficult to assemble, but not because it was hard to whittle down, but rather it was tough to come up with ten acquisitions that really didn’t live up to my expectations. And that’s a good thing! So let’s kick off today with the first five…

Marvel Legends Astral Projection Doctor Strange: Hey, remember this turd? Generally speaking, 2017 was another fantastic year for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line, but when you put out a lot of figures, at least a few of them are inevitably going to be crap. And this Doctor Strange variant was the cream of the crap. But this isn’t so much a case of a poorly made figure, indeed it’s a great sculpt, but rather a bad idea. Not only is it just a rehash of the regular Doctor Strange figure (FROM THE SAME GODDAMN WAVE!) cast in milky translucent plastic, but it was an obligatory purchase if you wanted the head for your Dormammu Build-A-Figure. And that’s what really earns this figure a spot on my List of Shame. If you’re going to toss this in as an extra in a three-pack or something, do what you gotta do, but don’t make him mandatory to complete a BAF. That’s just mean.

Star Wars Black Series Jawa by Hasbro: Just a reminder, that a figure doesn’t have to be bad to be on this list, just disappointing. And to be fair, I could say that Star Wars Black as a whole has been disappointing this year. It’s not that the figures are terrible, and yes there have been some great ones, but in general this line seems content to be average. It doesn’t feel like the “Collector’s Line” we were promised, but rather just a new scale set up to make idiots like me buy the characters all over again. The Jawa for me was a prime example of that. There’s just nothing here that hasn’t been done as well, if not better at a smaller scale. No tailored softgoods, a plastic robe that renders half the articulation useless, and he can’t even hold his guns properly. Need more? Well, this figure is also too small to justify this price point, it was really hard for me to get one, and in the end, it just wasn’t worth all the effort. If it weren’t for me trying to fill the Early Bird stand with the Original Twelve, I wouldn’t have bothered.

DC Multiverse: “The Dark Knight Returns” Batman and Robin: I’ll admit, I kind of feel like cheating by listing Multiverse figures in with my Disappointments. Truth be told, I didn’t have high expectations from this line at the time. But I was looking forward to getting these DKR figures on my shelf, only to be flabbergasted at how sub-par they turned out. Yes, flabbergasted! My monocle popped right out of my eye, as I exclaimed, “My word, what rubbish!” It’s hard to believe this is the same company that delivered so many great DC action figures in the past. This pair should have been a slam dunk, instead, they feel more like knock-offs. So much so, that I still haven’t bothered to complete this wave to build my goddamn Doomsday. Maybe next year.

Transformers Titans Return Murk & Octone by Hasbro: Just to prove that Titans Return wasn’t entirely made up of rainbows and kittens, here’s one that made my Disappointments List. 2017 was a stellar year for Deluxe Class Transformers, but maybe no so great for the Voyager Class figures. Figures like Broadside and Blitzwing made for solid robot modes, but their alt modes ran from somewhat lacking to downright terrible. And yet it was still pretty easy to single out Octone as the worst of the bunch. I was really looking forward to getting this guy in my collection, and I’ll still admit the robot mode is fine, but neither of his alt modes worked for me at all. Also, I hate what they had to do to his name. It’s OK, Hasbro, you’re still way ahead of the game for 2017.

And I do believe I’ll break for the day and tally up how much money I spend on these less than stellar purchases, some of which I regret and some I’d probably still buy just to have them in my collection. Join me again tomorrow as I round out this List of Disappointments and wrap up this week of lists.

 

FigureFan’s Favorites 2017, Part 1

Welcome, Toyhounds, to the first part of my Favorites from 2017 and I’m not really here. In fact, I’m probably out on my patio smoking a cigar and getting caught up on my stack of comics. If you’re confused about why you’re reading some kind of canned bullshit and not an actual review, I’ll refer you back to yesterday’s post where I explain everything. If you’re up to speed, then we’re going to dive right in to my first five favorite additions to my collection from 2017. These are in no particular order, so let’s go…

DC “Designer Series” Frank Cho Wonder Woman Sixth-Scale Statue by DC Collectibles: There was never any doubt that I’d have a statue from DC Collectibles on my Favorites list this year, because I picked up some great ones. But which one to choose? I waited a long time to get a version of Adam Hughes Wonder Woman in my collection and she turned out great. Likewise both the Babs Tarr Batgirl and the Deluxe Harley Quinn Bombshell were superb releases. In the end, I went with Frank Cho’s Wonder Woman because it’s just such a wonderful representation of the character, and it is executed flawlessly. I love the costume design, the paintwork is nearly perfect, and I really dig the materials DCC is using for flesh tones on these pieces. Cho’s Wonder Woman is not only my favorite DC Statue pick up in 2017, she may very well be my favorite statue of all my collection.

Transformers “Titans Return” Jumpstarters by Hasbro: This is only the second item on my list, and I’m already cheating by giving one slot to two figures. But that’s OK, because I couldn’t break up the Titans Return Jumpstarters by showing preferential treatment to one and ignore the other. If I wanted to really cheat, I could have taken up a lot more spots on my Favorites List just from Titans Return alone, so getting me down to just two was quite the achievement of willpower. It’s no secret that I loved this line, and there were a lot of figures that could have landed on this list, but in the end I had to go with Topspin and Twin Twist as my favorites. Not only are these great figures, not only are they superb updates to their G1 toys, but the fact that we got official Jumpstarters from Hasbro still boggles my mind. These are so good, that I ended up selling off my far more expensive third party Jumpstarters.

Ghostbusters Firehouse by Playmobil: If you had told me a few years ago that we’d be getting a Ghostbusters Firehouse playset in 2017, I’d have called you a raving lunatic and poked out one of your eyes as a lesson not to f*ck with me. And yet here it is! What’s even more baffling is the fact that it came from Playmobil. Now, I may be a little biased, because PlaymoSpace and Playmobil Pirates were my jam growing up, but even if I wasn’t already sold on the brand, I probably would have jumped at this. With their track record for going nuts on parts and accessories, and their easy to customize figure buck, Playmobil turned out to be the perfect fit in this otherwise unthinkable union. Yes, I could have just as easily listed the Ecto-1 here, but c’mon… this is the freaking Firehouse! And Playmobil did a beautiful job with it. It’s almost a pity this set didn’t come out closer to Christmas, because it would have been a perfect review for Christmas Morning!

Epic Marvel Quarter Scale Deadpool by NECA: I’ve been trying to stay away from NECA’s Quarter Scale figures. They’re amazing figures and very reasonably priced, but I really don’t have the space for them. Nonetheless, there are some releases that are no-brainers, and when they first revealed Deadpool, I knew I had to make an exception. And I’m glad I did! This figure truly lives up to the name Epic. The sculpt is phenomenal, the accessory count is over-the-top, and despite being such a big figure, he is loads of fun to play with. NECA absolutely surpassed themselves with this figure and it is some of the best work I’ve seen out of anyone all year long.

Star Wars Rogue One TIE Striker by Hasbro: I’m probably as surprised as you are to see this on the list, but this toy just impressed the hell out of me. I wasn’t expecting much, and I didn’t even buy it until it hit deep clearance. Star Wars vehicles aren’t what they used to be, but this one feels like it belongs among the best of them. Sure, I could have done without the Nerf gimmick, but apart from that this is a quality toy and a cool design from what has become one of my favorite Star Wars movies of all time.

And that’s it for my First Five Favorites of 2017. Come on back tomorrow and I’ll wrap up my list of the good stuff!

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

I’m back after a short Christmas break and trying to wrap up a couple of loose ends before the year turns over and I take a week off and run my insufferable end of the year Favorites/Disappointments lists. I hope everyone had a great Holiday. Mine was spent with family, great food, some lovely adult beverages, and some pretty cool gifts, including the little fella I’m looking at today: Power of the Primes Legends Class Windcharger. I should note that I’m a big Windcharger fan. I can still remember getting my G1 Windcharger at Sears one day while my Dad was having the car serviced. I sat in the waiting room having all kinds of adventures with this little guy and we’ve been best buds ever since.

It seemed like Hasbro forgot this guy even existed for the longest while and then decided to make up for lost time. They put out a pretty cool version of him back in 2011 as part of the Reveal The Shield series. Then we got a pretty shitty version of him back in 2015 as part of the Combiner Wars line. I’d complain about getting another one so soon, but since I missed out on the 2011 version and only have the crappy 2015 release, I’m really jonesing for a Windcharger that I can put on my shelf with pride. Let’s find out if this one is it. And we’ll start with his auto mode!

This is a fine update to the original toy’s car mode. Windcharger is a spiffy little red sports car that bears a pretty strong resemblance to a Trans Am. This version is a lot less super-deformed than the original toy, and the wheels have been scaled back a bit, although these still look pretty beefy. The windshield and sunroof panels are tinted plastic and the side windows are painted black, and the rear window is sculpted to look like a louver, just like the original toy. The rest of the coloring is achieved through the red plastic and a little silver paint on the front and rear bumpers. He also has a crisp Autobot emblem printed on his hood. Windcharger can be a little finicky when it comes to lining up all his panels just right, but he holds together pretty well and looks great.

 

Surprisingly, Windcharger follows in the tradition of Titans Return by having a driver seat for either a Titan or Prime Master figure, although it is a little more difficult to get to. You have to unpeg the back portion of the car and hinge the whole thing up to reveal the driver’s compartment and pop in the figure.

Transformation is a wee bit more complex than the original G1 Minibot, but in it’s similar in spirit. The legs still unfold from the back, the arms come out from the sides, and the head and chest are hidden in the undercarriage. The result is a robot that looks like a proper homage to his G1 namesake and captures all the little simple fun of that toy. All respects have been paid in the design, with obvious call backs being the sculpt of the chest and the split louver on the front legs. The deco retains the black and red of the car mode, but adds silver to his upper legs and the gray plastic for his chest.

He’s pretty solid from the back too. His upper back is just a big slab of car hood, and the windshield pieces fold up to help cover up his hollow leg syndrome. OK, so it doesn’t help all that much, but it does make his lower legs a little more solid. Apart from the car door armor that he sports on his forearms, there isn’t a whole lot of kibble here, and that’s impressive. Indeed, the only nitpick I have here is his legs look a little squat compared to his upper body. It would have been really cool if they could have found a way for his legs to unfold just a little bit more, or maybe just give him feet. He just needs a tiny bit more leg to make him look properly proportional.

I’ve heard some grumblings from collectors over Windcharger’s face, but I really can’t find a lot of fault in it. OK, so his pursed lips kind of make him look like the Disappointed Dachshund, but otherwise I think it looks fine. I like that they retained his diamond shaped eyes and boxy head frame that he had in the Sunbow Cartoon, and let’s face it, at least he has a face. That’s more than the original toy could say. The silver paint is spiffy too.

Windcharger’s articulation makes him pretty fun and poseable. He’s got ball joints in his shoulders, elbows, and hips, hinges in the knees, and his head can swivel. I will throw out there that I really wish Hasbro would start giving the Legend Class figures some guns. At ten bucks a pop, I don’t think tossing a generic pistol in there would really break the bank.

I’m pleased to say that Power of the Primes Windcharger is just a couple of longer legs away from being perfect in my book. And even with what he lacks in perfect proportionality, he makes up for everywhere else. He’s a great homage to the original toy with some great call backs to the classic animated design. I also think he’s the best updated Windcharger we’ve every had. Yeah, the Reveal The Shield version is a great figure, but the robot mode strays too far from the G1 design to make the homage really work for me. This is the little bot I fell in love with all those years ago at a Sears Auto Department and it’s good to have him again and be able to retire the Combiner Wars version. I’ll be back tomorrow with not only the last DC Friday of the year, but the last review of the year, period!

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

I had originally planned on doubling up Slash with Swoop on the last Transformers Thursday, but I’m so crazy busy this month, I decided to save him for some quick content today. Indeed, juggling content and work is going to be pretty nuts for the rest of the month. So, let me cut right to the chase and check out Power of the Primes’ tiniest Dinobot of them all… Slash!

Yes, as if intentionally sticking a thumb in my eye over my gripes about the size of the Deluxe Dinobots, Hasbro shows me just how small small can get. A Legends Class Dinobot… what will they think of next? Slash comes packaged in her robot mode (Yup, she’s a she!), but I’m going to start with her tiny little alt mode.

And she’s an adorable little robotic raptor. Is this a great looking alt mode? Nah, not really. There’s all sorts of robot mode shenanigans on display here from the robot legs forming a less-than-convincing chest to the robot hands literally holding the raptor feet. Is it a terrible alt mode? Nah, not really. It’s a newly designed Dinobot in a Legends Class and I’ve got to respect what they tried to do here, even if I would maintain that this size class is no place for a Dinobot to be in, unless you’re making the alt mode a Compsognathus. And I suppose you can just call this a Compy if you want. Or at least I can, because I’m not one of them dinosaur scientists.

On the plus side, I love that Hasbro kept the familiar Dinobot deco here from the translucent yellow plastic on the back plate and upper head to the gray, red, and black that matches Slug’s color palate so well. She’s even got those translucent yellow discs at the tops of her dino legs, like Slag does. Slash also features some decent articulation here, which includes a hinged jaw.

Transformation is pretty simple, especially since you can see just about everything that’s going on in the alt mode, but with that having been said, Slash’s robot mode is pretty fantastic. I will, however, admit that there’s nothing to the design that really stresses she’s a femme-bot to me. I suppose the face sculpt is a little softer, and maybe those tabs on her chest can double as… nevermind! I don’t want to go down that road. Point is, I dig this mode a lot. It also manages to hold onto the whole Dinobot aesthetic, while bringing a new character to the table. And other than the raptor arms pointing up behind her robot arms, there’s not a lot in the way of dino-kibble to complain about.

The size works perfectly too, so long as we’re talking about the pocket universe, solely inhabited by the PotP Dinobots, that I had to invent to make the scale work for these bots. As a result Slash looks great besides Slug and Swoop, although I’d still argue that I would have rather she been a Deluxe to level out the robot mode. But then we’d be talking about a whole new figure, so let me just backpedal and say, she’s fine.

And fine she is! The raptor mode may lean toward the f’ugly side, but this is still a fun figure to jam in my pocket and take along for adventures on my desk at work. I’ll confess that when I had her in hand at the store, I actually waffled a bit over whether I needed a Legends Class Dinobot in my life, but I’m glad my lack of discipline and willpower sided in favor of picking her up. She is most definitely a fun little toy and she will display wonderfully with the team. And just maybe she’s softened my heart a little... JUST A LITTLE… to the idea of smaller scale Dinobots.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Swoop by Hasbro

In case you missed it, Power of the Primes is hitting the shelves and last time on Transformers Thursday, I got really long winded over a very little Deluxe Dinobot named Slug. This time, I promise to control myself and not get as carried away. I’ve also decided that I’m not going to spend any time on the actual Prime Master gimmick, because it doesn’t do anything for me and I don’t have any Prime Masters anyway. Oh, I’ll get some eventually, but I just don’t plan on doing a lot with them and the Prime Armor. And with that preamble out of the way, let’s get this party started…

SWOOP!!! If you were expecting a big re-branding for PotP, then behold the visage of your disappointment. It’s more or less the same packaging we saw for the last couple lines. Nice character art, though. I’ll also throw in how odd it is that Hasbro has lost so many copyrighted names over the years, yet somehow managed to hold on to one as common as Swoop. Sure, they call him Dinobot Swoop, but couldn’t they have just called Slug, Dinobot Slag? I’ve also just realized how both fun and ridiculous it must be to be an actual toy lawyer. Anyway, this guy comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’re going straight for the Pteranodon.

Much like his comrade, Slug, Swoop’s alt mode is an excellent update to the original toy, with just a few minor quibbles here and there to keep him from achieving a state of Cyber-Pteranodon nirvana. My favorite thing here is the complexity of the sculpt. We saw it last time with Slug, and there’s plenty more here where that came from. The gray plastic body and wings are practically littered with detail including panel lines, vents, wires, and all kinds of the cool little things that make up a RoboDino. The body features a rather squared off back which speaks to the robotic design, while the wings are a bit more organic in their shape. There’s some black paint on the panels on top of his back, and he also has some nice red paint work on the sides. Swoop also has some little pegs on his back and wings so you can load him up with Titan Masters or Prime Masters. Fun!

The head clearly succeeds in its G1 Swoopiness. It features a red pointed crest and a long beak, which consists of a translucent shell over gold plastic. The eyes are painted red, as is the lower jaw, and he has a crisp Autobot emblem stuck right on the top of the base of the beak. Those old Dinobots had such a signature look to them and this guy delivers it in spades.

From behind you can see his two little red and silver bird feet trailing out the back, and if you turn him over, you’ll see some robot shenanigans, including his arms and hands tucked in the sides. This mode pegs together fairly well, with the one exception unfortunately being the head itself. The hinged part of the dino head that covers Swoop’s robot face will sometimes stay put, but it does like to drop down quite a bit as well. There’s really nothing holding in place but a wee bit of friction and a lot of prayers. Getting it to stay in place can be frustrating. Also, Swoop doesn’t come with anything to resemble his G1 missile launchers, and that’s a shame. Yet another reason one of those third parties should step up and do a weapons pack for these dinos.

I really dig that Swoop’s alt mode is designed so that it can be displayed in flight, or standing up. Articulation in the wings include hinges that allow them to flap in and out at the base, and points that allow them to fold in and out a little further along the wings. The beak can open as well.

Size is still a bit of an issue here, although not as much as it was with Slug. I don’t know much about the actual scale of Pteranodons, but in my mind they don’t need to be huge. Either way, I think he scales perfectly with Slug, and honestly, I think he scales OK with Legends Class Bumblebee. Swoop always was the runt of the Dinobot litter anyway.

Transforming Swoop is pretty simple and doesn’t hold a lot of surprises. The legs unpack from the back and body, the arms come out from the sides, and his beak splits to reveal his face. It’s all familiar, and it results in one fabulous looking robot mode. The proportions are great, I love the way the birdy feet are integrated into his lower legs, the wings fold up so that they aren’t in the way. He also looks very polished from the back. There’s still more sculpted detail on the undercarriage of his wings, and oh, that’s where they’re hiding his combiner port!

You’ve probably noticed that Hasbro went with the Diaclone blue over the Dinobot red for Swoop’s chest. It’s a weird choice, but not something I’m going to get all worked up about. Otherwise the robot mode deco features more of the same gray and black from his alt mode. You get some stickers on his chest, and some really pretty emerald green paint on his wrists.

The head sculpt is perfect. What else is there to say? The silver paint looks fabulous and he still retains his red crest from his alt mode.

In addition to the Prime Armor piece, Swoop also comes with a sword. It’s read, it has that distinctive elongated diamond-shaped blade that I tend to associate with the Dinobots edged weaponry. For the life of me I can’t remember whether the G1 toy came with a gun, but I’m almost positive he didn’t. Just those two missile launchers. I’m guessing that plastic went into the Prime Armor.

As much as I loved just almost everything about Slug (apart from his size), I think I dig Swoop here even more. His size isn’t quite as big an issue because of the nature of his alt mode and he always was the smallest of the Dinobot crew. The omission of his missile launchers, on the other hand, does irk me a bit, but like I said, maybe someone will step up and remedy that. In the meantime, Swoop and Slug look fantastic together and I’m getting really excited about completing this team. Next week, I’ll have a look at the newcomer to the Dinobots… Legends Class Slash!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Slug by Hasbro

Let’s all take a moment to bow our heads and mourn the passing of Titans Return. I think it was one of the best modern Transformers lines Hasbro has ever done. Bold statement? Yes. But that’s how I feel. Oh, I’ve still got more reviews coming from that line, but as far as Hasbro is concerned, it’s done and its replacement, Power of the Primes, has arrived. I thought I should at least check some of these new figures out while they’re still fresh, and where else better to start than with the Dinobots, Slug and Swoop!

Behold, the Power of the Primes packaging! The presentation is nearly identical to Titans Return and to Combiner Wars before that, which suggests just how much Hasbro is trying to tie these lines together.  This deco has never been my favorite, but then I don’t save the packaging, so it’s not a big sticking point for me. I do, however, really dig the character art on the card, and in case you haven’t guessed, Slug is the new name for Slag. We’ve had some modern Dinobots over the years, and plenty of Grimlocks, but never has Hasbro given us a full on team of G1-inspired Dinobots until now. We’ll see them all released in Power of the Prime, and like it or not, they will be a Combiner Team.

With that said, it’s time for full disclosure: I was thrilled when these Dinobots were first revealed, but a lot of that exaltation burned off when I found out that they were going to be a Combiner Team of Deluxes with Grimlock as the torso/Voyager Class. Now, I’m not inherently against making the Dinobots into Combiners. I respect Hasbro for trying new things. But by making them combiners, they were locked into these size classes, and that’s the root of my disappointment. In my opinion, proper Dinobots should have been Voyager Class figures with Grimlock as a Leader Class. Obviously, I knew this going in, but it’s still going to color my reviews. OK, let’s start with Slug’s dinosaur mode.

Well, this is pretty damn good! Just one look and there’s no doubt who this cybernetic Triceratops is supposed to be. Aesthetically, Hasbro did an admirable job giving us a proper update to G1 Slag. Hell, I’d even go so far as to say that this is one of the best sculpts we’ve seen in a Deluxe Class figure in a while. Just look at how much detail they packed into this little guy. There are panel lines, little hatches and vents, segmented joints in the legs, and the pattern in his collar looks fantastic. I also really dig the sculpted circuitry that can be seen through the translucent plastic discs in the hind legs and in the tail. You even get some pegs to put some Titan Masters or Prime Masters on his back.

The deco is also pretty spot on to what I would want in a modern Slag. Much of Slug’s coloring is derived from his rich gray plastic, but you also get some black and gold paint, as well as the previously mentioned yellow-tinted clear plastic. A little red can be glimpsed from his undercarriage and his horns are red as well. There are even a couple stickers near the base of his tail. The only thing I would have added would be some silver paint to his collar, but I guess you have to leave something for Takara to do in order to tempt the importers.

The articulation here is very basic, but not too bad. The front legs are ball jointed at the top and have ratcheting hinges in the middles. The back legs rotate at the tops and have hinges in the middles as well, but these middle hinges can only work backwards. His mouth can also open thanks to a hinge in the lower jaw that is also part of the transformation. In truth, there’s not a whole lot to work with here, but at the same time, it doesn’t really feel like he’s missing a lot, except for maybe a swivel in the neck.

Slug comes with two accessories: His gun and his Prime Armor. I’ll get to the Prime Armor at the end, because it involves this line’s running gimmick, and is not something I’m going to focus on in any reviews after this one. I mention the rifle now, because you can plug it into his back if you want your Triceratops to have some added firepower. Before moving on to his robot mode, let’s do some size comparisons…

Aaaaand, Yikes! Not only is Slug a Deluxe Class figure, but in his Dino mode, he’s a damn small Deluxe Class figure. He’s barely bigger than Legends Class Bumblebee and Deluxe Class Hot Rod practically dwarfs him. And here’s where the disappointment sets in. Now scale has always been a funny thing when it comes to Transformers, but The Dinobots are supposed to be giants and this scaling just doesn’t work at all for me.

Transforming Slug into his robot mode is pretty easy and mostly involves just folding the back half into the legs. It’s not that dis-similar to the G1 toy, assuming I remember that correctly and the result is that this damn fine little Dino turns into a damn fine little robot. Like the Dino mode, Slug’s robot mode hits almost all the right points that I’m looking for in my updated Slag. The rear Dino legs land on the lower legs, the lower jaw becomes the chestplate, and the top part of the Dino head frames the robot head. It all looks great, and the deco matches almost perfectly. His proportions are fine, although I think he could have used some more bulk. It’s almost like something is missing.

Oh yeah, it’s his wings, and this is my only real sticking point with the robot mode design. The Dino mode’s back actually looks like it’s sculpted with a fake hinge, which is kind of like a big tease. I think if this part did hinge open and press in closer to the back, it would have made this robot mode perfect, instead of just really close to perfect. Maybe that was too much engineering for a Deluxe Class, but considering how relatively simple everything else is, I don’t think that’s really the case. Oh well.

The head sculpt is fantastic and the red painted eyes look especially nice. They’re so bright and vibrant it actually looks better than a lot of the light piping effects I’ve seen int he past. You can actually turn Slug’s head, which is something I wasn’t counting on, but I’ve only been able to get it to turn a bit and I really need to get your fingernail in there to do it.

As already mentioned, Slug comes with a rifle, which e can hold in either hand. Alas, he does not come with a sword, which is a real bummer. I’ve been trying to swear off Third Party Transformers and kits lately, but if someone out there cares to make a weapons pack for these Dinobots, I’d probably pull the trigger on that.

Unfortunately, size is an issue in robot mode as well as in Dino mode. It’s not quite as egregious here, but still an issue nonetheless. At least he’s bigger than a Legends Class now, but as you can see, he’s roughly the same size as Deluxe Class Hot Rod. If he were a little bulkier, I might have been a bit more forgiving, but he still seems really puny for a Dinobot. OK, our last stop is going to be a quick look at the Power Armor, because it’s the key to unlocking the entire gimmick behind Power of the Primes

And as gimmicks go, it kinda sucks. This giant plastic albatross plugs into the chest and yes, it is as unwieldy in person as it looks in this picture, if not more so. The idea is that you take the clear plastic cover off and plug one of the Prime Masters into it. That’s supposed to give him enhanced powers based on whichever Power Master he bonds with. The powers are outlined on a card that comes with the figure. Unfortunately, this is more of a pretend kind of thing, whereas the Titan Master gimmick was a practical part of the design. Yes, these are toys for kids, and that’s great, but I’m not getting anything out of it. It’s worth noting that the Power Armor will double as Combiner parts as well. The other bummer is that unlike the Titans Returns figures, which each came with a Titan Master, here the Prime Masters are sold separately. I haven’t picked up any of those yet, but in a fine example of Transformers Body Horror, the Titan Masters are also compatible with the Power Armor.

And holy shit! It’s like, hey “Hot Rod, let me borrow Firedrive, so I can get some of his powers. Also, I’m going to use your face to deflect laser blasts aimed at my chest! Sound good?” Oh wait. This is supposed to be Slug talking. “Me, Slug use your face as shield!” OK, this isn’t really the intended use, because Prime Masters turn into chips and not heads, but I’ll still happily choose to ignore this gimmick. On the plus side, it doesn’t really effect the toy itself if you just choose not to use it. Also, the Prime Masters come in G1-style Pretender Shells, and that makes this nonsense all worthwhile!

Wow, that seemed like a really long write-up for a Deluxe Class Transformer, but I had a lot to say. And in the end, Slug turns out to be quite the mixed bag for me. Taken on his own, he’s a great figure and a superb homage to G1 Slag re-imagined as a Deluxe Class release. And that’s what makes the downside all the more of a bummer, because his size really is a deal-breaker for me. No, I’m not sorry I bought him, because it’s going to be cool to have a cohesive G1-style team of Dinobots, but they just don’t interact all that well with the other figures. It’s a case of Hasbro coming sooooo close, but not quite. Next Thursday, I’m going to double down and check out not only Swoop, but we’ll also see that the Power of the Primes Dinobots can get even smaller with Legends Class Slash!

Transformers Titans Return: Revolver and Six Shot by Hasbro

Hasbro has been rolling out their new Power of the Primes line at retailers this past week, and yes I have already picked up the first wave. But, I’m not ready to give up on Titans Returns just yet. Maybe next week I’ll start busting into some of those Deluxes. For now, I’m checking out Six Shot, a Leader Class figure that I would have probably skipped if I didn’t come across him at half price. I know, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but let’s see if this big bastard can surprise me.

Six Shot and I do not have a history together. His original toy was released pretty late in the game, when I was around 15 and just not into toys anymore. Yeah, it sounds crazy, but it would take me another 15 years and a healthy amount of disposable income, to come back around to buying toys again. But even if I wasn’t taking a toy-buying sabbatical back in 1987, I don’t know that I would have been interested. I’m just not all that into the law of diminishing returns that tends to apply to Transformers with more than two alt modes. And so with that context being laid out, let’s open this beast up. As a Leader Class, Six Shot comes in a nice big window box and packaged in his robot mode, and in this rare occasion I’m going to start there before working my way through his various alt modes.

And yes, I know I’m in store for some pretty iffy alt modes, but let’s first take this time to enjoy how great this robot mode looks, because I think it’s going to make up for a lot of those sins. I can feel the G1 styling coming off this guy in waves and I love it. He’s big and his design hails from a time when robots weren’t ashamed of their boxy bodies. It doesn’t look like Hasbro tried to reinvent him or ultra-modernize him. They just rebuilt him with better articulation, improved proportions, and better sculpted detail. For fans of the original, all the points are still there. He’s got wheels and treads mounted to his arms and beautiful wings rising up from behind his back, not to mention chest wings! There’s a decent amount of sculpted detail to the body, including some panel lining and details intended for his many alt modes. There’s also a delightful generic nature to his robot mode that doesn’t give away much about what he’s going to turn into. Wings? Wheels? Treads? Holy shit… is that the undercarriage of a wolf head hanging off his ass? We’re in for quite a ride!

The coloring is really tight too and a damn near perfect homage to the original toy. You get that distinctive green plastic for the torso and upper shoulder pylons, the white for his arms, the purple for his lower legs, and the rest all filled in with black. The wings on his back are painted with that gorgeous silver that Hasbro has been using lately, and also includes some green and purple paint hits. There are some foil stickers too, and unlike some of the other stickered figures in Titans Return, these aren’t placed in areas that are likely to cause problems down the road. Sure, all stickers eventually peel, but these look like they have a chance to go the distance.

Six Shot’s Titan Master is called Revolver, which is a perfect name for him. He’s a pretty typical little HeadBot and mimics Six Shots green and white color scheme. There’s no other paintwork on him and he features the typical robo-noggin articulation with a swivel in the neck, ball joints in the shoulders, and hinges in the hips and knees of the fused legs. Also like the bigger Bots in this series, Revolver’s head mode sits inside a larger helmet to help him scale out for the larger robots, but still make him workable on the Deluxe Class figures. As for his head mode, it’s all white with red eyes and a big mouth plate, and as cold and featureless as ever.

Six Shot comes with twin rifles, which can fit into each of his hands. It’s worth mentioning that these are a really tight fit. His articulation allows for some fun action poses, but since he lacks ankle articulation, or really ankles of any kind, he can look a little clunky in some of those poses. Yes, the chest wings do get in the way of his shoulder articulation, but you can hinge them out to move them out of the way. Likewise, his pelvic flaps are also hinged so as not to impede that hip articulation.

You can also combine his guns together for when you want to make a stronger statement. Dual wielding Six Shot is definitely a more iconic image for me, but I kind of dig the way this combined gun looks. OK, so we lingered long enough on what an awesome looking robot Six Shot is. Let’s move on to those alt modes.

First up is the truck and it’s not too bad. It has a clearly defined purple cab with silver windshields, a very boxy front and two angled pieces that look like a snow plow or maybe some kind of ramming scoop. It’s kind of weird how the drivers sit in the open cabin area, but at least I can tell what they were going for here and I don’t hate it. It hints at some Earth truck designs, but it works best as just a squat Cybertronian transport. It rolls pretty well on four wheels and there are a few different places you can put the guns.

When viewed from behind, it can get a little confusing as to which is the front and which is the back, because there’s a little driver cabin facing the back as well. Honestly, it looks just as good driving this way as it does the other. Indeed, if you point the guns to the back, you can practically make a new mode out of this. A big part of that is because the back of this truck mode is pretty close to the front of the tank mode, so let’s check that one out next.

I don’t know that the word tank really describes this thing. It’s more of a general attack vehicle. Like the truck, it’s not too bad. It would have been cool if they could have had the top pieces open up to reveal rocket packs or something. This vehicle kind of reminds me of a cross between some of the Transformers: Cybertron designs and Transformers: Animated Blitzwing’s tank mode.

The driver’s cabin can open and Revolver can sit inside. There are also some pegs scattered around so you can load it up with other Titan Masters before sending it into battle. In all fairness, I can’t say this thing is all that much worse than Broadside’s jet mode, and he was just a Triple-Changer not a Six-Changer. I’m going to give this one a pass too. The truck and tank modes take care of the land-based vehicles, next we take to the seas with the submarine mode.

Yes, this is the submarine mode.. I’m stating that clearly up front because there’s absolutely no reason that any sane person would come to that conclusion without being told first. This mode can also be termed a goddamn abstract leap of faith. Now, I’m willing to cut Hasbro a little slack on this, because it’s really just G1 Six Shot’s pistol mode turned upside down, but you can’t go around making robots turn into guns in this day and age. That would be crazy and irresponsible. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t Hasbro sell Nerf guns that look a lot more like real guns than this stupid thing. Guns that actually shoot projectiles and are called guns? Stop trying to apply logic to the situation. There’s definitely a double standard going on. Let’s just accept that and move on. Anyway, this mode is crap, but I’d probably be a lot cooler about it if it weren’t so blatantly obvious that the front is just the truck mode with guns stuck on the front, and if there were some way to reconfigure the clearly visible wheels on the back into some kind of propellers by just having them point to the rear. Next up, we take to the skies with the Space Cruiser mode.

The space cruiser mode is really solid, and definitely my favorite of all of them. This mode alone justifies Six Shot as a Transformer to me. I dig how the front portion looks like it could be a carrier deck for receiving fighters. There’s a tiny cockpit in the center, but the actual cockpit is behind that where Revolver can sit inside the translucent panel. Or, you can keep him as the head and just fold the helmet inside to get it off the back of the ship. There’s a single fold down landing gear to help this thing stand, and the guns tab into the ends of the wings to give it some added firepower. OK, that leaves us just one mode left, and I saved the best for last.

Just kidding, it’s the Winged Wolf mode! This mode is not only crap, but it makes me really angry, and I’ll tell you why. The other modes may have been so-so, but they more or less incorporated generic components into them to make them work. It’s almost like they’re just ancillary fan modes that the designers were able to come up with in order to make Six Shot a Six-Changer. In this case, they literally sculpted and added a wolf head just for this goddamn terrible mode, so there’s no excuses. What I’m trying to say is: THIS IS ARGUABLY THE MOST INTENTIONAL MODE SIX-SHOT HAS AND IT LOOKS AWFUL! Not only does it look bad from all angles, but from the side it just looks like the robot mode bending backward with a dick gun and a wolf head coming out of his chest. Yes, this mode triggers me. Sorry, but I can’t help it.

In the end, Six Shot does not change my feelings toward Six-Changers, but I don’t want to end this review on a sour note. There is undeniably a lot to love about this figure. In fact, I think Six Shot is arguably one of the most faithful G1 updates that Hasbro has ever done, and that alone is worthy of celebration. The robot mode looks great, has fun articulation, and while his alt modes are understandably a mixed bag, they follow those of the original toy almost perfectly. I have to imagine that anyone who has fond memories of Six Shot as a kid is going to absolutely adore this figure… even his goofy and f’ugly Winged Wolf mode! Granted, that’s not me, and I still think I would have ended up skipping this bot at full price, but at the $25 that Amazon was blowing him out for, I can’t say that I’m sorry to have picked him up. If nothing else, he’s another big bruiser to add to my Decepticon shelf, and he looks mighty fine towering over the Deluxe Class figures.

Transformers Titans Return: Gatorface and Krok by Hasbro

I honestly never buy stuff just for the sake of reviewing it here. A couple of decades ago, I was guilty of doing that with my old website when there was a KayBee Toys Outlet a couple towns over and it lead to boxes and boxes of figures and toys I really had little interest in. I just bought them because they were there and they were cheap and I could write about them. So, why bring that up now? Because I pretty much just bought Krok for the sake of having something new for Transformers Thursday. I’m not proud of myself right now.

Here’s the packaging and yes, this is a straight repaint of a figure that I wasn’t terribly impressed with when I reviewed him over a year ago. I found Krok while hitting up a Walgreens looking for Marvel Legends figures and coffee creamer. There were no new Legends, so rather than come home empty handed I grabbed Krok and a bottle of Dunkin Donuts Extra-Extra. Neither the brand nor the flavor of creamer is relevant here, but I think I’m going to need to pad out my word count on this one. OK, let’s take a look…

Gator mode! Everything I loved about the sculpt last time still holds true. And to my surprise, this one pegs together a lot better than my Skullsmasher does. I still love the G1 mecha-animal aesthetic, and this guy captures it beautifully. And imagine this, I think I even like the deco on this sucker better than Skullsmasher’s. No, I’m not digging those Mountain Dew claws, but the rest of the colors are black and purple and as Decepticon as you can get. I also really love the translucent yellow-green plate on the head and hatch in the body. The whole thing is very reminiscent of those lovely Insecticons. If only the claws were painted silver, this would have been a home-run, homage be damned!

For a bit, I thought Krok’s mouth didn’t open like Skullsmasher’s does, but it was just really stuck. I eventually got those jaws apart and to my delight the teeth and tongue are all cast in transparent yellow-green plastic, which I think looks really cool. Are you taking notes? opaque Mello Yello plastic is bad. Translucent Mello Yello plastic is good. I can’t rationalize it for you, I can only tell you how it is.

The unfortunately named Gatorface is exactly what I’ve come to expect from these little Titan Masters. For some reason, I actually don’t mind the obnoxious coloring here, but it is really hard to make out any of the sculpted detail in his head. Just like Grax, he can sit in the hatch and pilot the giant robot gator. Well, so far, I’m not too upset that I bought Krok. Let’s get him transformed and see how the other mode is…

Krok’s robot mode is still a decent mold, but the deco introduces a whole hell of a lot more Mello Yello plastic, and that’s a shame. If we got some silver instead, this would have been a repaint that I could get behind. I know, I’m missing the point of the homage to the G1 Action Master Krok, but whatever. I do, however, love what they did with his abs. The red down the middle and the silver on the sides really brings out the sculpting in there. It’s something I didn’t really notice in the Skullsmasher release. Beyond the coloring, my figure is also spoiled by the loosey-goosey hips. They were a little annoying on Skullsmasher, but here they’re just intolerable. Shooting pictures of this guy was an exercise in frustration, not only because the yellow-green plastic was befuddling my shitty camera’s sensor, but because the figure kept doing the splits.

And this head! Even with a better deco, this sculpt isn’t winning me over. I can’t figure out what’s going on with the mouth plate. It looks like he’s constantly surprised. The pink on his head crest, eyes, and in his chest panels is kind of a weird addition too. Nice Decepticon logo, though. I wish Skullsmasher had that on his chest.

You get the exact same weapons that came with Skullsmasher. Well, obviously, since one is his tail.

Krok is a veritable roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. The deco here is aimed very squarely at all those Action Master fans out there, and I’m not really one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I would actually love a modern day sub-line of 6-inch scale Sunbow designed G1 Transformers that focused on accessories and super articulation at the expense of transformation. But this fellow is too obscure even for my tastes. Toss in the fact that I’m going to have to treat his hips with some nail polish, and I’m pretty much regretting having picked him up. I think I’ll just leave him in gator mode and set him in the back of my display shelf.