Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Wreck-Gar by Hasbro

Wow, Walgreens sure has been killing it with the Hasbro exclusives lately. Star Wars, Marvel Legends, and even Transformers have all been represented. And as strange a partnership as it is, I’m happy for it because either one of the two Walgreens nearest to me seem to always have me covered. And so the moment Wreck-Gar turned up in my Twitter feed, I made a quick trip to Walgreens around the corner and happily found him on the shelf! And all this when I thought I was completely done with buying Power of the Primes Deluxes!

Wreck-Gar comes in the standard Power of the Primes packaging with some pretty cool character art up at the top of the card. And unlike some of Hasbro’s other Walgreens releases, there’s no sticker or anything to indicate he’s a retailer exclusive. The bubble gives a great look at the figure in robot mode (albeit slightly mis-transformed to fit in the package) and there’s an illustrated insert showing the toy in his alt mode. Let’s start there…

If it wasn’t apparent from the packaged shot, Wreck-Gar is very nearly a straight repaint of the Deluxe Protectobot, Groove from Combiner Wars. Indeed, when he’s in his motorcycle mode, the coloring is the only difference. I liked this motorcycle well enough when it was Groove, and I still like it now. Yes, it’s a bit boxy, but motorcycle Transformers have always been tricky designs, especially when you’re going for a more boxy G1-style robot aesthetic. Plus this guy is a combiner limb too, so that has to be factored into the design problems. Taking all that into account, I think they did a pretty nice job. And hey, he’s still not nearly as chunky as the original toy! The new deco certainly sells it as Wreck-Gar. You get a lot of orange along with some red, black, gray, brown, and silver. There aren’t any complex paint applications here, but the range of colors is pretty high for a modern Deluxe. The clear windscreen has an Autobot symbol printed on it, and the headlamps covers are clear plastic.

Features include a turning front wheel, which is not tied to the handlebars, and a flip-down kickstand. It’s worth noting that the wheel swivel on my figure is crazy tight and when you couple that with the fact that the wheel struts are soft plastic, I had to be pretty careful when turning it so as not to stress the plastic, and I doubt I’ll be doing it again. It’s not a big deal in motorcycle mode but, as we’ll soon see, that swivel can be used for tweaking the transformation, if you so choose. And speaking of which, let’s go ahead and check out his robot mode.

As expected, the robot mode is simply a repaint of Groove with a new head slapped on him, and all things considered I think it works pretty well. Sure, he’s missing his rather distinctive nipple guns, and he doesn’t have a tire on his shoulder. Plus, it would have been cool if his combiner connector was painted silver to simulate the engine, but I still like how this guy turned out.

From the back, we can see that he wears the front of the motorcycle as a backpack, and while it does stick out pretty far, I don’t think it’s all that bad. And here’s where that front wheel swivel comes in. On Groove, I like to turn the wheel sideways as it makes the backpack a little less cumbersome, but given how tight the swivel is on this figure, I think I’m going to leave it be.

And that leads me to my other real gripe with this figure. The head is so damn tiny! Obviously they sized it so it could flip back into the compartment on his back, although I would argue that it wasn’t necessary. Well, maybe to make him into a combiner limb, but that’s not something I plan to do with him, so I would have rather just had a larger head. And that’s a shame because the sculpt itself is fantastic. They recreated the front of the motorcycle and handlebars that the G1 figure had as a “helmet” really well and his tiny beard and mustache are there too. I just with his noggin were bigger.

The figure comes with two accessories: A Black Prime Armor piece, which is getting tossed into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories™ and a bladed axe kind of weapon. The weapon looked familiar and sure enough it’s the same one that came with the Wreck-Gar figure from the 2011 Reveal the Shield release.

For what is essentially a quick-and-dirty repaint, I find myself enjoying this figure a lot. Yes, even with his small head! The 2011 Wreck-Gar was a decent figure, and his asymmetrical design really sold him as a Junkion, but mine broke during transformation, which was pretty disappointing because I don’t transform these toys a lot. Either way, I think this one’s boxier physique sells it more as a G1 homage, and for that I’m willing to give it the nod as my favorite of the two. If I still had the 2011 version, I’d try to do a head swap. Maybe I still have him kicking around somewhere! On a side note, I have one more Power of the Primes Deluxe to open up and review and then I’ll start hitting some of the bigger bots I missed out on. Hopefully, that’ll give me enough Transformers to talk about until the new line starts showing up!

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Transformers “Power of the Primes” Abominus Combined!

Well, it took me a month, but I finally got through my look at Hasbro’s modern updates to the Terrorcons. These four Deluxe and their Voyager Class leader were all great figures on their own, but the real treat of getting them all together is combining them into Abominus and that’s what I’m going to do today! Hasbro’s modern Combiners have been pretty hit-or-miss with me. I loved Superion, Defensor, and Bruticus, and I thought Computron was solid, but I wasn’t a big fan of Menasor. Here’s hoping that Abominus turns out to be another win!

Of course, the Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes combiners are inspired by the old Scramble City design, which means that the limbs can be combined any way you like. Arm? Leg? Doesn’t matter. When it comes to the combiners that I’m familiar with (like Superion, Menasor, or Computron), I’m a real stickler on which figure becomes what based on the Sunbow cartoon series. But as I’ve noted a few times during my Terrorcon reviews that I never owned the original Terrorcon toys, nor are the characters all that meaningful to me. I was a teenager and getting out of Transformers by the time these guys were released, so I’m just doing my own thing here. And after some experimenting, I’ve found a combination that I dig the most and I’m going with that one. So I’ll apologize in advance if this isn’t the configuration most people are looking for.

Whatever configuration you choose, I have to say he’s quite spectacular. Not only do I think he’s pretty well proportioned (apart from those tiny feet!), but he holds together beautifully and can stand without toppling over like Menasor loved to do. I went with Blot and Sinnertwin as the legs because they strike me as the bulkiest and I think their leg modes compliment each other pretty well.  Meanwhile, I like the way Cutthroat’s wings look coming off the shoulder as well as Rippersnapper’s guns angled up off the other. I also used their respective Prime Armor as the hands, just to match the deco of the arms.

Hun-Gurrr makes for a fantastic torso. His pinkish slab of chest has some great detail on it, including the circular vents in the abdomen and the paint paint hits, which include silver, red, blue, and yellow all look great. I especially love the little twin Decepticon insignia that appear on the outsides of the chest, as well as the larger one on his right hip and the rub sign on his left. The contoured shoulders are quite distinctive and the foil stickers are a great touch. For a combiner made of up five really solid figures with really solid alt modes, I’m surprised Abominus turned out so well. It feels like very little (if anything) was sacrificed here to make it all work.

The head is a nice homage to the original toy, especially the helmet, which features the long side vents and extended antenna. The face is rather organic looking with a very pronounced chin and a yellow visor in place of eyes. The antenna are made of rubbery plastic and mine are a tad warped, but nothing too bad.

Alas, the stability of this guy really takes a hit when I started to pose him, which is why I really couldn’t do a lot with him for the pictures. The ratchets in his hips aren’t very subtle or strong, so the moment I put him in a wider stance, they give out and he either does a split or topples over. As a result, he’s not the most interesting toy to pose and photograph, but I’m still not too bummed out about it. He stands fine in neutral poses and that will work for when I choose to display him in combined mode. Another real plus is ho well he stays together. Even after playing around with him for quite a while, I never had any of his limbs detach or his shoulders come apart. That’s a lot more than I can say for most of the Combiner Wars Gestalts, and that goes a long way to make for a fun toy!

Abominus was a wonderful surprise, as I thought Hasbro would have been more or less done with combiners at the end of the Combiner Wars. Of all Hasrbo’s modern Combiners, I’d rank Abominus pretty high. Superion still holds the top spot for me, but I’d probably put this Terrorcon Gestalt on par with Bruticus as a close second. He looks fantastic and he holds together well enough that he’s actually fun to play around with. Sure, I’d love more stability in action poses, but when everything else is so good, I’m willing to accept compromise. I rarely display any of my combiner teams in their Gestalt modes, but here’s one where I’d be tempted to do it. And with that said, I’m going to be taking a little break from Transformers for the rest of the month as I try to get through some other things. I still have some unfinished business with Power of the Primes. Reviews of Leader Class Optimus Prime and Rodimus, as well as Predaking are all coming, but probably not until November.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Hun-Gurrr by Hasbro

It’s Friday again, Toyhounds, and I’m more than ready for the weekend. I’ve clawed my way through another hellacious work week and now it’s time to reward myself by opening up a brand new Robochangeformer. I’ve spent the last five weeks or so checking out the four Deluxe Terrorcons and that just leaves their leader, the mighty Hun-Gurrr. Let’s see if I can make it through the whole review without messing up the number of r’s at the end of his name, eh?

As the leader of the Terrorcon Combiner team, Hun-Gurrr is a Voyager Class and comes in a pretty standard Voyager Class window box.  He’s packaged in his robot mode, and you get some fantastic artwork of his double-headed beast mode on the front with epic sparks behind him and green flame shooting out of one of his mouths. It’s all very metal. The package is collector friendly, but be sure to have some snippers handy to cut all those plastic ties that are holding him into the tray. Let’s jump right in and check out his robot mode…

Hun-Gurrr’s robot mode takes the basic elements of the G1 toy and adds plenty of polish to make for a more stylized and all around better looking bot. The shoulders are a bit less pronounced and the legs are less blocky and a lot more interesting too. But the biggest improvement for me is the chest. The beast mode’s tail forms the middle of the torso, and I think it’s very reminiscent of the way some Decepticon jets wear their cockpit on their chests. Very cool! And while I do indeed like this robot mode well enough, I can’t help admit that the proportions are off. His arms and upper body look incredibly bulky when compared to his rather diminutive legs. It looks like a lot of weight for those chopsticks to handle, and his feet seem even smaller still! Now, it’s not a deal-breaker for me by any means, but I think the disconnect between his upper and lower half keeps him from being a top-shelf design.

From the back, Hun-Gurrr looks pretty good. He does have a boxy, but manageable, backpack, which is made up from the collapsed chest piece of his torso mode. He’s got some hollow leg syndrome going on, but I love how the lower jaws of the beast mode heads form heel spurs to keep him stable. And so while those feet are kind of puny, they do a fine job of keeping this bot upright. One more thing that I’m not all that fond of here is the way the beast feet hang off the backs of his forearms without really locking into place. It’s not uncommon for these to be flapping in the breeze while I’m posing this guy. A couple of clips would have worked wonders there. As for the deco, well it’s mostly faithful to the original toy with a muted combination of off-white and dark gray with some pinkish accents. We also get some metallic blue paint hits on the shoulders and foil stickers on the sides of his lower legs, that really make things pop. Finally, Hun-Gurrr features a foil Decepticon insignia sticker on each shoulder, with the left one being a rub sign.

Hun-Gurrr’s head sculpt is a decent nod back to the original toy’s portrait. The only thing painted here is his silver visor, the rest is left as bare pink plastic. The face has sunken cheeks and is rather angular with a pronounced chin and nose. The facial features are a little soft, and it’s not one of my favorite head sculpts in this assortment, but I still like it well enough.

Sadly, Hun-Gurrr doesn’t come with a rifle, but he does come with two Prime Armor pieces (also serving as Abominus’ feet), which can attach to his arms to form double blasters. I do like these pieces, but they add to his already bulky upper body. They also have a slot to plug in the Terrorcon Enigma and one other Prime Master, if you’re into that kind of thing. All in all, these work well as weapons, but I would have preferred a rifle. Let’s move on to the beast mode!

Hun-Gurrr’s alt mode is a four-legged wingless dragon thing and… hey… we’ve seen this before. Yup, this is extremely similar to Sinnertwin’s alt mode and I always thought it was weird having two such similar cyber-beasties on the same team. Still, between the larger size, vastly different deco, and skewed proportions, I think the two are distinctive enough from each other to make it work. Sinnertwin kept a fair balance between body and heads, whereas Hun-Gurrr’s necks and heads really dominate.

That’s not to say I’m totally in love with this alt mode. When you know what you’re looking at, it should be pretty obvious that it’s more or less the robot mode standing on his hands with his legs up in the air. The biggest issue I have is that the design doesn’t do anything to hide the robot mode’s pelvic area. Plus, the tiny, atrophied front legs just look weird to me. Still, the beast heads are a lot more fun on this mode than what we got on Sinnertwin and knowing that this design is in effect a triple changer with a torso mode, I’m willing to forgive a lot.

Hun-Gurrr rounds out the Terrorcon package pretty nicely. To me, he isn’t the high point of this team, but considering how much I’ve loved these figures, that’s not something to be ashamed of. He’s still a very good figure and a whole lot of fun. And that seems to be a running theme with Hasbro these days. The Deluxe Class figures have been mostly excellent while the Voyager Class figures have ranged from solid to underwhelming. Of course, I still have one more thing left to look at before I’m finished with the Terrorcons, so come on back sometime tomorrow and I’ll combine them to form… ABOMINUS!!!

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Sinnertwin by Hasbro

Happy Friday, Toyhounds! It’s been a bitch of a week, but I’m cooling down with a couple of adult beverages, easing into the weekend, and rewarding myself for a job well done by opening up the last of the Power of the Primes Deluxe Terrorcons! If you’ve been around for my looks at Blot, Rippersnapper, and Cutthroat, then you know that I am absolutely smitten with these foul and evil little cyber-beasties. And so without further delay, let’s check out Sinnertwin!

Here’s a quick look at him in his package, and once again I’ll say that I’m not a fan of this overall design, but I do love the character art on these cards. I’m anxious to see the packaging for the new line and hope we get something a little more inspired and exciting. Anywho… The Terrorcons are all packaged in their robot modes, but you get a picture of the beast mode on the bubble insert to give you a good idea of what else you’re getting. Give me a second to get him free and we’ll start with his robot mode!

And what a nice, clean robot mode it is! Sure you get his beast legs on the side of his robot legs and his beast heads hanging down his back, but what’s here is pretty tidy and there really isn’t a lot of kibble to complain about. I like Sinnertwin’s big boxy chest, and while his arms do look a little diminutive compared to the rest of his body, I’d like to have the shoulders bulked up a bit, it’s nothing so bad that it ruins the figure for me. His combiner connector is pretty obvious and there’s a curiously large hole in his chest to accommodate the Prime Armor piece.

The coloring makes a strong statement with mostly yellow and blue, spruced up with some red and silver paint hits. There’s even a little purple on the panels of his chest. He’s rather bright and cheerfully colored for a Decepticon, which is probably why there’s a Decepticon insignia on both his chest and his left shoulder. The extra paint on his legs really goes a long way toward a more premium feel, and they even painted some silver in on the outsides of his upper arms and shoulders. All in all, I find his deco pretty pleasing and more than a little reminiscent of Titans Return Wolfwire. And I guess that’s not a bad thing.

Sinnertwin features a rather robust head with a well-defined blue “helmet” and a rather stern looking face. The silver paint on the face looks great, but on close inspection the yellow paint on my figure’s eyes could have been a lot cleaner. I didn’t even really notice it until I got in close, but it’s the first time I’ve seen anything close to sloppy face paint on one of my Transformers in a long while.

In addition to his Prime Armor piece, Sinnertwin comes with a pretty simple gun, which he can hold in either hand or can be mounted on his shoulders if you want to really mix things up.

Sinnertwin’s transformation won’t win any awards for ingenuity, so feel free to just toss out the instructions. You simply tuck away the robot head, fold out the beast heads, fold the legs back into the body and deploy the beast legs. With just a few more tweaks, you’re all done. In keeping with the Terrocon pedigree, Sinner’s alt mode is a weird two-headed wingless dragon kind of thing. And here’s where this figure starts to fall a little flat for me. There’s nothing overtly wrong with his alt mode, but it doesn’t really impress or excite me either. I mean, he’s OK and all, but he’s no Twinferno. The dragon colors remain true to the robot mode and it’s nice to see that all that paint on the robot mode’s legs is still on display in this mode. I will say that I dig his adorable little split tail!

The beast heads can move independently of each other and the jaws can open and close, but I’m not a big fan of the hollow necks, especially when I position one of the heads up high and it’s really obvious. I do like that they added some silver paint to the top row of teeth. It’s a shame that paint for the bottom choppers wasn’t in the budget. At least the purple horns and red eyes are a nice touch.

Sinnertwin also has a port on his back so you can plug in his gun, because everyone knows that two-headed dragons are even more bad ass when you strap a laser gun to their back. You can also plug it into the holes at the top of either of his front legs. And here’s a real surprise… I think the Prime Armor piece works beautifully on this guy in his beast mode. It bulks him out nicely and adds some spikes. You can also still put his cannon up there, so long as you’re happy with it over one of his shoulders.

The last thing I wanted to do was end this run of Deluxes on a down note, but there you have it. Sinnertwin is a perfectly fine figure, but he lacks that certain something special that I found in each of his three Terrorcon brothers. To me he’s the French Cruller in my mix of donuts. Not bad, but still my least favorite in the batch. I guess somebody has to, and you’re it, Sinnertwin. But to be fair, this was an exceptionally great assortment of figures, so really Sinnertwin doesn’t have too much to be ashamed about. And with all four Deluxe Terrorcons open, I just have their leader Hun Gurrr left! Will it be next Friday? Maybe. It just depends if I want to bump him for some more Halloween-y content or not.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Blot by Hasbro

Last week I diverted away from the Power of the Primes Terrorcons to have a look at Punch-Counterpunch, so let’s swerve back on course this week by opening up my third of the Deluxe Terrorcons… and it’s Blot!

Man, Hasbro came up with some great names for the Terrorcons. Even in a team with characters named Cutthroat and Rippersnapper, Blot is still a stand out moniker. He comes packaged in his robot mode with some great character art at the top of his card in his beast mode. You get the Generations emblem in the upper right corner and the brand name running up the side which, even after a few lines of this package style, will never stop looking weird to me. I’ve been starting off all the Terrorcon reviews in their robot modes, so let’s get Blot out of that bubble and check him out…

Blot is built off of the same engineering as Rippersnapper, and just like Cutthroat and Sludge, he borrows some parts but the majority of the figure has been reworked to make Blot his own bot. With that having been said, I really dig Blot’s overall profile. He’s got a big, beefy chest, powerful forearms equipped with slashing blades, and some beast legs folded up on his lower legs that adds to his bulk without being too kibble-y. The back of the package refers to him as a foot-soldier and that’s exactly what his robot design conveys to me. To me, this is a no-nonsense Decepticon trooper through and through.

Even from the back he looks great. The beast kibble is worn as a backpack, and it adds to his upper body bulk without detracting from the aesthetic at all. His lower legs are filled out, and everything else back here is nice and clean. I’m such a fan of Hasbro taking those basic G1 scramble city limb robots and fleshing them out in Deluxe Class figures and Blot here is another fine example of why. I didn’t think they’d ever top the Aerialbot limbs’ Deluxe makeovers, but these Terrorcons are giving them a run for their money.

Blot’s deco is absolutely superb. The blue is so dark that it almost might as well be black. Add the purple and you’ve got the makings for perfect Decepticon colors. The additional silver, yellow, and metallic blue paintwork gives the figure a great premium finish that we’ve been seeing in a lot of these Deluxe Class figures recently. As much as I loved the Deluxe figures in Titans Return, the early releases suffered from a severe lack of paint apps, whereas Hasbro has been killing it with the paint on a lot of these Power of the Primes figures and it is much appreciated.

And that brings us to the head sculpt, and I’m happy to say that Blot is characteristically sporting a flat slab of head. The squared off “helmet” looks like it’s made to take a beating. The face is painted silver and he has a red visor across the top. Every bit of his face makes him look like an unpleasant fellow. I get the feeling that the phrase, “Oh crap, Blot showed up!” is a line often spoken at Decepticon gatherings.

In addition to his Prime Armor piece, Blot comes with his weapon. Back in the day, this was referred to as a slime gun and oh boy am I sticking with that! I’d like to think this thing just burps out nasty splotches of acidic, sticky slime onto his foes, which sends them staggering off and screaming, “OH PRIMUS, IT BURNS!!! GET IT OFF ME!!!!”

Oh yeah, you can also mount it on him on either the left or right side as a shoulder cannon. It’s nice to have options, plus this gives Blot the ability to use the gun for long range attacks while slashing up close enemies with his claws.

With some shared engineering and parts, Blot’s transformation is a little like Rippersnapper’s, but there’s enough new here to make him feel unique and the end result is this wonderful little ball of WTF. It’s like a cross between a slobbering fantasy beast and something out of MechWarrior and I love it to pieces. I especially dig how folding in the robot hands rolls out the third claw for his beast hands. The boxy head is nestled between two silver and yellow armor plates and there are little nozels, which I presume are designed to deliver some kind of hot death to Autobot fools.

There’s a protrubance behind his head that allows you to plug in his slime gun. I just wish he came with two so I could double it up and get a little symmetry going. The deco here is pretty much the same as his robot mode, which is a good thing. One irritating thing… both Blot and Rippersnapper have rub signs in their beast mode, but they omitted it from Cutthroat’s. Go all in, or don’t do it at all, Hasbro!

Three Terrorcons down and three direct hits! I absolutely love what Hasbro is doing with these guys. I’ll admit, Power of the Primes has been pretty hit-and-miss with me, but so far the Terrorcons have been making up for a whole lot of stumbles. This is easily my favorite sub-group since the Titans Return Aerialbots. And with just one more Deluxe and one Voyager Class left, I’m getting pretty excited about finally combining them to form Abominus!

Transformers “Prime Wars Trilogy” Punch and Counterpunch by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Cutthroat by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transformers Titans Return: Dreadnaut and Overlord by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Snarl by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Sludge by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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