Transformers Siege: Smokescreen and Bluestreak by Hasbro

While I’ve already started dipping into the Earthrise reviews, I’ve still got unfinished business with Siege. As a result, I’ll continue to pepper some of those older releases in with the Earthrise figures now and again until I get fully caught up. Last week I did this with a look at Siege Ratchet and today I’m finishing off the Siege Datsuns (Well, Cybertronian Datsuns) with Smokescreen and Bluestreak.

Unlike Prowl, who was a regular release in Siege, these guys are a bit more confusing. Smokescreen was one of the Selects figures, which meant he came in an plain ugly box and I think he was exclusive to the Hasbro Pulse Shop. Bluestreak was released as part of the 35th Anniversary Collection, which seemed to be mostly repaints. but in only slightly altered packaging. This would piss me off to no end if I kept these in their boxes, but I don’t so I care not! Let’s start out with Bluestreak!

I already did a review on this mold when it was first released as Prowl and later Barricade, so I’ll stick to pointing out the differences, and in auto mode we’re just talking about the new paint jobs. I’m a little mixed on how Bluestreak came out. His deco consists primarily of bare gray plastic with some glossy black. It’s an interesting combination, but I’m just not all that crazy about how the finish on the gray looks so much more dull. Maybe Hasbro realized that, because they did give him some spiffy silver painted wheels. The red Autobot emblem on the hood toss in a splash of color, as does the red trim that can be seen through the transparent canopy. I don’t dislike the coloring here, I just feel like it could have been better with an all around glossy finish.

Smokescreen, on the other hand, well this is what I’m talking about. Sure, he has the advantage of a snappy red, white, and blue deco, but the finish looks great. In addition to the coloring, he also has some panels with Cybertronian writing, where the 38 appears on his traditional auto mode. I also really dig the black skeletal frame on the canopy and the way it emphasizes the sculpted detail inside. There’s no doubt about it, Smokescreen is the more attractive of the two, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Where Prowl just came with a gun to mount on the hood, these guys come with that gun plus two others, which can mount where the side mirrors would go. This combo makes for a particularly dangerous looking attack mode. Moving on to the robot modes!

I liked this mode well enough when it was Prowl and I like it just as much with these guys. With the bumper chest and the door wings, this is Autobot design at in its purist form. And I dig the deco here a lot more in robot mode. The duller gray plastic looks better on a robot than it does a car and the black with the addition of the red in the upper arms, upper legs, and abs makes for a quite striking combination. Yeah, this mold still looks a bit unfinished from the back, but all in all, I think the mold looks great in these colors.

The portrait looks to me to be the same as Prowl’s and that includes the “helmet” and those pronounced wings or horns or whatever you want to call them protruding from the central ridge. The silver paint looks great and the blue eyes are sharp and prominent despite the lack of light-piping. And unlike Prowl, Bluestreak has his twin shoulder guns, which we saw mounted on his auto mode. I think these look great and it bothered me a bit that they omitted them from Prowl. I guess in the end it serves to make the figures a little more distinctive from each other.

Smokescreen gets to keep all that beautiful blue and red paint from his auto mode, but the robot mode also adds a lot of black, which presents a pretty significant break from the colorful alt mode. I’m not saying I don’t like it, only that I find it interesting that Bluestreak got a bolder color statement going to robot and Smokescreen got muted. It still makes for a fantastic deco for the mold. Naturally, I would have liked it if Hasbro could have re-sculpted the hood and gave it that squared off apron, but this will still do just fine.

Smokescreen also gets an all new head sculpt, which suits him beautifully. The blue “helmet” is more rounded out and feels more integrated with his face. His brow wings are yellow and have an interesting cracked pattern sculpted into them. The silver used for his face is bright and lovely and he’s got some additional detail sculpted into the edges where his face meets the “helmet.” And as with Bluestreak, the twin guns we saw in his auto mode form his shoulder cannons.

When I reviewed Ratchet I’m pretty sure I commented about how I’m trying to get away from buying a lot of repaints with my Transformers. I easily passed on Soundblaster and I’ve yet to pick up the cell-shaded Optimus and Megatron (although those are still tempting), and I’m going to sit out all of the Netflix repaints that have popped up at Walmart. But when we’re talking about repaints that made up original characters? Well, those are always going to be fair game. The Datsuns were a cornerstone of my Transformers memories and Prowl was among my first Autobot figures when I was a kid. So yeah, I’m pretty much going to pick these guys up whenever Hasbro does them justice like this.

Transformers Siege: Ratchet by Hasbro

With lots of Siege figures left for me to open, I’m trying to juggle these older reviews alongside the new Earthrise figures. Today I’m going back to one of my favorite characters from the G1 cartoon, Ratchet. It’s always a treat to get updates to Ratchet and Ironhide, because as a kid I was robbed of proper figures because their G1 toys were so damned weird. I was actually pleased with the CHUG versions when they came out, which just goes to show you how thirsty I was. I mean, Woof! Those haven’t aged well. Obviously Ratchet here is just a repaint/slight remold of Ironhide, which I reviewed a little while back, so some of this may feel like I’m covering old ground, but let’s take a look!

In kind of a dick move, Hasbro decided to make Ratchet a Walgreen’s Exclusive. Now, in fairness, he was pretty easy for me to find, so I probably shouldn’t complain, but I’m sure there are people out there who had problems because of the exclusivity. Bottom line, Hasbro… don’t be making important characters like my boy Ratchet an exclusive. Save that shit for Barricade. He was a cool figure, but not essential, IMHO. Anyway, despite being an exclusive, there’s no sticker or other indicator of that fact on the box. Naturally he comes packaged in robot mode, but let’s start out with his alt mode.

In vehicle mode, I expected Ratchet to be a straight-up repaint, but Hasbro actually did some reworking on his front bumper, as well as the area above and behind the tinted blue windshield, which is a welcome surprise. It’s not quite an ambulance light-bar, but it’s painted to resemble one. Maybe the Cybertronian equivalent, eh? The back panels are still kind of ugly and hollow, because they’re the bottoms of Ratchet’s feet, although if I try hard enough I can imagine that they’re supposed to be exhaust vents. Still, I’d rather it looked like he could open up to carry wounded Autobots. As for the rest of the vehicle, the white plastic looks good with the painted red panels, and the wheels are slightly more gray than white, which mixes things up a bit. The silver paint on the bumper head headlights looks good, as does the crisp Autobot insignia just under the windshield. You also get some brushed weathering near the back. It’s not an entirely different vehicle than Ironhide, but the subtle changes and the new paint job certainly sets it apart.

Hasbro also set Ratchet up with some new accessories, which can be used on Ratchet’s auto mode. He’s got a wrench-claw on an articulated arm, and a smaller gun, which can be part of the claw or mounted separately as a weapon. I dig both of these a lot, as it allows Ratchet to effect repairs while in his alt mode and laying down covering fire at the same time. I suppose the claw could also be used to grab hold of Autobots and drag them off the battlefield to safety.

As mostly a repaint, Ratchet transforms exactly the same as Ironhide. There is one nice surprise, however! The side panels don’t fall off like they do with my Ironhide EVERY SINGLE TIME I TRANSFORM HIM!!! Either way, Ratchet has a fantastic looking robot mode that’s well proportioned and just chunky enough to scratch my G1 itch. It’s not a dead-ringer for the original Sunbow character design, but it hits just enough points to make it work for me. Structurally, the only differences between him and his Autobot brother is the slight reconfiguration in the shoulders and the front bumper that rests behind his head. From behind he’s got a lot of hollow compartments, but he still manages to look rugged and sturdy. The deco doesn’t change much from his vehicle mode. It’s still mostly white with some red here and there.

The new head sculpt looks great, particularly with his rounded “helmet” and those big wings over his eyes. I like the features in his face, but I wish the face was painted silver to make it stand out a little more. There’s no light-piping in the blue eyes, but they still stand out remarkably well.

Ratchet’s weapon can be split up to give him a pistol, and you have some options if you want to attach the claw arm to him. I like pegging it into his back. It fills up that empty space a bit and it can be swiveled around to project up over his head or shoulder. What practical purpose it could serve? I have no idea. Maybe as an extra hand when he’s doing his repair work? Of course, you also have the option of just setting it aside when he’s in robot mode.

Ironhide was a great figure, so it should come as no surprise that Ratchet toes the line and also turned out fantastic. With display and storage space being what it is these days, I’m not that keen on buying a lot of repaints anymore, but with some of these old G1 guys, I have to make an exception. And with that having been said, we’re not done with this mold yet. It also got repainted into Crosshairs, and I wound up buying him too, so we will revisit the Ironhide/Ratchet mold again in the not too distant future.

Transformers “Earthrise:” Wheeljack by Hasbro

Work is still very crazy for me, but last week I actually hit my goal of three reviews, let’s see if I can make lightning strike twice this week, eh? Despite still having a whole bunch of unopened Siege figures, today I’m revisiting the Earthrise series with another Deluxe Class figure from that initial wave. It’s my personal favorite absent-minded Autobot scientist, and the Dinobot-Daddy himself… Wheeljack!

The box art is looking as smashing as ever! As the name suggests, the second chapter in the War For Cybertron series gets us a bunch of G1-inspired characters in their more familiar Earth modes. It feels like it’s been almost ten years since Wheeljack got a release in Hasbro’s main Transformers line, and I think he’s long overdue. As usual, the figure comes packaged in his robot mode, we’re going to start with a look at his auto mode.

Originally, Wheeljack transformed into a Lancia Stratos, and Hasbro stuck to that design pretty damn closely for this figure. It’s just as sexy as ever, with the sloping hood, futuristic horseshoe canopy, shuttered back window, and wide spoiler that sits up nice and high. This is an auto design that holds up beautifully and wouldn’t have needed a lot of tweaks to make it look like a Cybertron vehicle, had Hasbro included him in Siege. I also really dig the way they put two sockets in the back, so you can plug in some blast effect parts to look like rocket thrust. There is absolutely nothing I dislike about this mold. It locks together well, rolls smoothly, and it’s just an absolute home run.

The coloring is really great too. The base plastic is a little off-white, maybe eggshell? Either way, it’s adorned with a similar style of red and green deco that the original toy featured and the wheels are also painted red. In addition to the Autobot insignia on the roof, Wheeljack is positively littered with markings from the bold 638 stamped on his doors to the Aerobolt on his spoiler, and all sorts of other stamps and sponsor advertisements. Some of it is even in Cybertronian. The deco perfectly captures the feel of the vintage toy without being a straight copy.

There’s a peg hole on the roof so you can weaponize Wheeljack’s auto mode with his gun/missile launcher. Unlike some of the weaponized vehicle looks, I think this one works well. The weapon is small enough that it looks like it could have appeared from an opening hatch, rather than look like something that was just stuck onto it.

Transforming Wheeljack isn’t too difficult, it’s not too simple, indeed it feels just right for a Deluxe Class toy. But the engineering also holds my one gripe about this figure. The lower portion of the windshield splits into two little plates. When transforming him into robot mode, these fold into his legs just behind and under the knees. The problem is these pop off every time I transform him, and by that I mean EVERY TIME I TRANSFORM HIM! Half the time, they go flying onto the floor and it’s a mad rush to recover them before the cats do. I feel like this could have been handled better, especially since the rest of the engineering is perfectly fine. And it’s hard to argue with how great the results are.  From the canopy chest to the big split-hood feet, the robot mode preserves everything I remember and love about the original G1 design. It even manages to do some clever stuff like use the spoiler to make those angled panels behind his shoulders, where they were separate pieces on the old toy. Hell, this guy even looks great from the back, and that’s not something I can say about a lot of Transformers these days.

The head sculpt is as quirky and distinctive as ever. He’s got those big ear panels, which I can practically see lighting up as he talks. He’s got the three-pronged crown coming off the top of his domed “helmet.” And his nose disappears into the segmented mouth plate. The blue eyes are painted on, so no light-piping, but they look fine.

Wheeljack’s weapon can serve as either a handgun or a shoulder cannon. It kind of looks like the one that came with the original toy, although that toy came with two of them, one for each shoulder. I don’t recall the original figure coming with a handgun either, but that always made sense to me because he was a scientist. Sure, I would have loved to get a second weapon so I could mount one on each shoulder, but he looks fine with just one.

I was, and still am, a big fan of the Generations Wheeljack figure from around 2011. Of course, it was more stylized than this release and took a lot more liberties with the auto mode. And while that figure will always have a special place in my heart, I think this Earthrise Wheeljack trounces all over it. This version is certainly more faithful to the original toy, a lot less fiddly to transform, and has superb robot and auto modes. He definitely carries on all the love that I lavished on Hoist and I’m hoping that Earthrise continues to impress as I keep opening these toys.

Transformers “Earthrise:” Hoist by Hasbro

I still have a bunch of Transformers from Siege left to review, and I do hope to get to those eventually, but a few weeks back I got in the first wave of Earthrise Deluxe Class figures, and I thought it would be fun to be topical and current for a change. Plus, I was really excited to open one of these and that motivated me to squeeze in a second review this week. I can’t even begin to tell you what a triumph of time management this is! Anyway, this assortment consists of Wheeljack, Hoist, Cliffjumper, and Ironworks. I’m going to go for Hoist first!

I’m delighted to see that Hasbro hasn’t changed the package design from Siege to Earthrise. The artwork is still as gritty and wonderful as ever and the figure is packaged in his robot mode. Earthrise is the second chapter in this War For Cybertron Trilogy and as the name suggests, Hasbro has moved on to giving the robots proper Earth vehicle modes. It’s an interesting way of doing things, although with the scattershot character selection it means we’ll have some characters, like Hoist here, with only an Earth mode and no Cybertron mode, while presumably we’ll have someone like Ironhide with only a Cybertron mode. On the other hand, characters like Starscream and Optimus Prime are getting both, so who knows. Let’s start with Hoist’s alt mode…

And you can’t get much more faithful to the G1 alt mode than this! Hoist is a rugged looking tow-truck with a satisfyingly boxy 80’s aesthetic. That includes sharp angles (actually even sharper than the original toy!), flared wheel wells, and big chunky tires. I love it! The body is hunter green with black and yellow hazard stripes running down the sides, and he’s got a bold Autobot insignia crisply printed in the center of his hood. The front grill is painted silver and features translucent blue headlamps and fog lights. Some sculpted detail here includes three sections of grill and what I presume is supposed to be a coiled winch. The towing rig in Hoist’s bed, and some of the undercarriage, is cast in bright orange plastic, completing that familiar G1 deco perfectly. The windshield matches the plastic used for the headlights and the side windows are opaque black plastic. Finally, Hasbro is continuing to experiment with weathering, and that’s evident here by the silver spray around the edges of Hoist’s hood. I think it looks fine.

I’ve got to say that I’m smitten with this alt mode. It’s a fantastic update to the original toy, it feels like quality, and everything looks so incredibly clean and sharp. But that’s not to say it’s perfect. The body rides high on the wheels and you can see a little too much of the robot mode in the exposed undercarriage. The way the arms are just angled down there kind of reminds me of Siege Hound, only they’re even more prominent here. I also would have rather the light box on top of the cabin be painted silver to match the grill and the wheels. I’m also not a big fan of having the windshield translucent and the side windows painted a different color. But these are all gripes that I can set aside, because all in all it really is a great little truck.

And yes, the towing plate is articulated and can fold down to allow Hoist to tow one of his fallen comrades out of a hot spot!

Transforming this guy took me a couple times before it felt natural. It’s a little less intuitive than I expected, but it gets the job done. Like his alt mode, Hoist’s robot mode is also slavishly faithful to his old G1 design. There isn’t a lot of effort spent in smoothing out the design, although the proportions are improved and this modern version actually has a visible pelvis, rather than a pair of legs coming out of the hood. Utilizing the car bumper as a chest (like Prowl and the Datsuns) will always be my favorite Autobot design, but this one works well too, with the windshield taking on role of the chest and the hood pointing down to become the abdomen. This is undoubtedly a solid looking bot mode! The coloring remains faithful to the alt mode deco and I think the positioning of the weathering spray makes more sense in this mode. Although, I’m surprised they didn’t add some to his feet as well. If I were to nitpick the coloring here, I would just say that I wish the white parts were painted silver.

When viewed from behind, Hoist ain’t exactly pretty, but he’s not too bad either. His tow gear becomes a backpack with the two “wings” angling upward off his shoulders. He’s got a little hollow leg thing going on in his lower legs, but that’s nothing unexpected from a Deluxe these days. And then there’s those arm panels. Yes, they are totally faithful to the design of the original toy and that’s a good thing for keeping up tradition, but it’s also a bad thing for the overall workings of the toy. With the more modernized aesthetic and articulation, they feel rather out of place. And I can’t help but think that a few strategically placed hinges would have served to pack them up nicely and out of the way. Although, in fairness, I hadn’t remembered that they were included in the animated Sunbow design. Ultimately, I can go either way on them. At first I did not like them at all. But after playing around with the figure a bit, I’m finding that I don’t mind them nearly as much as I thought I would.

The head sculpt embraces the old Sunbow animated design a lot more than it does the original toy, and I’m happy with that. The “helmet” is painted black and his mouth-plate is gray. There’s no light-piping in effect here, instead the visor is simply painted blue. But it looks good and the color pops surprisingly well.

Hoist comes with a chunky orange funnel-like gun, which can be held in either hand. When it is held, however, it looks more like a natural extension of the arm, which is something that Hoist had going on in the old cartoon. Even the toy had the option to replace the hands with a missile-like weapon. I’m not sure why they went with orange, but I don’t hate it. It works well with the existing deco and I like that it preserves the option for him to have two hands if you want. You can also peg the gun into either side of his vehicle mode to give him a little more firepower.

I’ll confess that I was a little iffy on Hoist when I first got him out of the box and started playing with him. There were a few design elements that I thought could have been done better. But after just a couple transformations and a little bit of fiddling, he has more than won me over. He’s even going to stay on my desk for at least a few days because I can’t stop playing around with him. More than any other recent Transformers release, Hoist here feels like a straight up update to the original toy, and that’s not a bad thing at all. I don’t think he reaches the heights of Deluxe Perfection that we saw in a line like Titans Return, but he’s still damn good and I’m eagerly awaiting the remold into Trailbreaker!

Transformers Siege: Shockwave by Hasbro

One of the many lessons I took away from Toy Fair is, OMG there are so many cool new Transformers coming and I’m woefully behind in reviewing the ones that I have. So, with Earthrise figures already hitting the shelves, and some sitting in my online Pile of Loot, I thought I’d dig in and open some of the Siege figures I’m sitting on. And it’s not like I haven’t given up on trying to be current with my content years ago, riiiiight? Oh, look… it’s Shockwave. Let’s check him out.

After what seemed like an eternity of boring packages inspired by the Bay movies, Siege upped the ante with some amazing artwork. I love the gritty and realistic renderings of these bots, and the art design matches the look they were going for with the figures. I’m crowing a lot about the artwork because, to be honest, this package isn’t showing Shockwave at his best, and I was almost tempted to leave him on the shelf when I first found him. Anyway, he’s a Leader Class, but that can be a little deceptive since a lot of his parts are optional for his robot mode, and in my case, I prefer to leave them out. But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s start with his alt mode.

I don’t really understand Hasbro’s unwillingness to do a proper alien laser gun alt mode for Shockwave. I mean, they sell Nerf guns and some of those resemble real guns a lot more than Shockwave ever did. And yes, there’s a workaround to reach a fan-mode that resembles a gun, but it’s not something I’m going to touch on here. In any case, what do you do with a Transformer who’s alt mode used to be a camera, or a tape deck, or a laser gun? You turn them into a spaceship. And so, Siege presents Shockwave as Decepticon Space Cruiser, and as sarcastic as I’ve just been on the subject, I’m actually pretty keen on this design. I’d like to imagine that there’s a lot of mass shifting involved here, because the design looks like it should be massive. Hell, this would be a great stand in for the Decepticon Flagship, Nemesis as far as I’m concerned. Although that would have to be a hell of a lot of mass shifting!

As with many of Siege’s figures, the sculpting is complex and very busy. The hull surface is littered with panel lines and there is hardly a millimeter of this craft that isn’t packed with some kind of detail. It’s also blistering with guns. There are two small turrets on top and three banks of cannons slung below each of the engine pylons near the back. I dig how powerful the engines look, again suggesting that this thing is supposed to be BIG and all the wings and fins coming off the back adds to its stylish complexity. And then there’s the giant emitter on the front, which I suppose could be some kind of Deflector Dish, like on the ships in Star Trek, or it could just be a super weapon. In the end, I guess it’s whatever I want it to be.

There are a lot of clever fake-outs on the ship design as well, making it seem like certain parts are components of Shockwave’s robot mode, when in fact these parts are removed for transformation. The engine pylons, for example, look a lot like Shockwave’s lower legs and the conning tower looks like it’s meant to be Shockwave’s head. Meanwhile, both of the side cannons resemble Shockwave’s gun arm. As I mentioned above, there’s a fair amount of parts-forming here and I realize a lot of fans don’t dig that, but when considering the toy as a whole, I’m OK with it. So let’s transform Shockwave and start with his most basic robot mode.

Stripped of his bulk, Shockwave transforms into a roughly Voyager Class figure, which happily puts him in perfect scale with Siege Soundwave and Megatron. Oh, and he also happens to be absolutely spectacular! The character has had a select number of figures in recent years from the forgettable Combiner Wars release to the weird Walgreens Exclusive that I still have to review one of these days, but this one scratches all of my itches. And yet all it does is take the original character design and do it right. The familiar translucent plastic bar is present on his chest, he still has the backpack where the electronics were stored in the original figure, and you get the necessary cable running from his right gun arm to the backpack. And all of that wonderful panel lining from the Space Cruiser mode carries over to make for a hyper-detailed robot. The deep purple deco from the alt mode also dominates the robot mode with some additional gray and silver. I just love this bot in every way imaginable. Except maybe in the literal sense of having intercourse with it.

And let’s just take a moment to appreciate the head sculpt with that single piercing yellow eye that sports some outrageously fine light piping. Seriously, just about anywhere I rest this figure, that light seems to be illuminated  They packed some amazing sculpting into the area surrounding that eye, and he has his traditional flat ear-antenna. Simply wonderful! Now… about all those extra parts…

Throwing back on all of those parts, we get Shockwave in his powered up mode and for me this is a big fat NOPE. The bulk of the parts go onto his upper body with a bigger backpack, bigger shoulders and a really weird extra set of arms that end in guns. It looks like some kind of Transformers body horror to me, like he went through the Space Bridge with another Transformer and this is what got merged together and came out the other end. Also, he acquires a pair of gun shoes. GUN SHOES!!! No sir, Hasbro. Only Predaking can pull off gun shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll bet this mode is all kinds of fun for the kids and that’s great, but I won’t be displaying him like this. What else ya got, Hasbro?

Well, how about this jet sled kind of thing? This is also not really doing much for me. He looks silly on it and it doesn’t hold together well at all. I guess as a separate attack drone, maybe? But all in all, I’m happy just putting these parts aside when I display Shockwave in robot mode.

I’m glad to be going back and hitting some reviews of the older Transformers from Siege before getting into Earthrise, because clearly there are some great figures here and I don’t want to miss out on gushing about them. Shockwave here will likely raise issues with some. He’s undoubtedly got elements of being a parts-former, but with both an alt-mode and robot mode that are as great as these, I’m perfectly OK with it. And to their credit, Hasbro tried to use those extra bits to good effect, but I’m still happy to put them in a pile behind him on the shelf so they’re on hand when I want to transform him, but otherwise out of sight and out of mind. And damn the Siege versions of the Holy Decepticon Trinity of Megatron, Soundwave and Shockwave sure look amazing together. Hopefully I’ll get some time to dig into Siege again next week to make up for lost time.

ReAction Transformers (Wave One) by Super7

I’ve been sick as a dog for the last two days and I didn’t think I was going to be able to get any midweek content in, but thanks to just the right cocktail of Nyquil, cough drops, and Jameson, I’ve managed to prop myself up at my computer and tap something out that’s quick and painless. A little thing called Toy Fair happened over the weekend and boy there were a lot of surprises and tons of cool stuff shown. One of those things was Super7’s new Wave of ReAction Transformers. These are kind of like the old Action Masters, in that they don’t transform, with a smidgen of Heroes of Cybertron. They’re roughly 3 3/4-inch scale, they’re based on the Sunbow cartoon designs, and like most ReAction figures they feature a nostalgic five points of articulation. The moment I saw these on the cards, I knew I was going all in. Unfortunately, I only have one set and I’m not opening them, so we’ll just have to settle for checking them out in package. And that’s fine, because I think these shine the most when carded. The initial assortment consists of Megatron, Starscream, and Soundwave from the Decpticons, and Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Bumblebee from the Autobots. Let’s start with the Autobots!

Oh yeah! These cards are absolutely gorgeous! We get all new character art, unique for each card, showing the character against a Cybertronian backdrop. The bubble is orientated to the left and the borders feature the familiar grid pattern that transitions from black to red, just like it did on the original figure packages. The top of the card has the iconic original Transformers logo in red for the Autobots and purple for the Decepticons, and you get the Kenner-style ReAction logo on the bottom right hand side. Even the character’s name above the figure is printed in the yellow and black box similar to how they originally called out the character’s name and function. The figures are secured in a tray so they don’t rattle around in the bubble like some ReAction figures do, and if they have a weapon it’s placed to the figure’s right.

On the flipside, you get a classic “Collect Them All” style spread showing all the figures in the wave. I’ll note that this card-back is taken from Soundwave and not Optimus Prime, as it has the Transformers logo in purple and says “Evil Decepticons.” I really dig that they even did some customization on the back, but I’m only going to show the reverse side for one. And yeah, I would have loved a reprint of the old tech spec card on the bottom instead of the multi-lingual warnings, but I guess you have to pay the lawyers, right?

Prime looks pretty good, although this is the one figure in this wave where the proportions are a little off. He seems a tad big-headed and his upper body makes his legs look a little scrawny. It’s not too bad, but worth pointing out, especially since the rest don’t really have this problem. The simple sculpt reflects the animated style of the cartoon, but there are still some great touches of detail like the markings on his forearms and the vents in his lower legs. The head sculpt looks great too. The coloring is just about perfect, with bright red and blue plastic and a flat gray for what would have been silver on the toy. There’s even some yellow paint hits on the pelvis and the chest windshield is painted blue. Finally, you get an Autobot symbol stamped on his left shoulder. I think this one is the weakest of the bunch for me, which is ironic because it’s freaking Optimus Prime. I still dig him, but I think he needed some tweaks. Prime comes with his iconic buster-rifle, which he can hold in his right hand.

Jazz is up next and I think he turned out great. I especially love his character art, where he’s offering a reassuring smirk, giving me the thumbs up, and just oozing personality and character. I can practically hear Scatman Crothers voice when I look at it. The figure is also excellent, although I would have liked a wider stance for just about all of these figures. The head sculpt on the figure is superb. Here you get a white and black deco with a couple of shades of gray and some blue and red hits, and of course a beautiful Autobot insignia on the chest-hood. Jazz comes with his gun, which looks to be accurate to the original toy’s weapon, and it looks like he can hold it either hand.

The last of the Autobots is Bumblebee, and this is probably my favorite of the three. I was surprised too! But for some reason as a kid I was obsessed with having a figure that actually looked like Bumblebee in the cartoon and this is about as close as I’ll likely ever come. His character art is pretty solid, but it’s the figure really shines for me. It reflects all those impossible changes in the cartoon where his car kibble is softened over to the point where you can barely make out the hood details in his feet, his upper arms are black instead of yellow with those segmented round tubes for elbows, and his chest is flattened and boxed out instead of curved. I absolutely love it! The head is probably too big, but I’m OK with that and I like how they emphasized his devil horns. The coloring here is mostly black and yellow but with some blue added for the windows and the red Autobot insignia on his chest. Unfortunately, the paint on this one is the weakest of the bunch. The paint lines on the black are a little rough in some areas, but it’s not terribly apparent when the figure is in hand. Bumblebee comes with his little pistol and I’m glad they included that! I should also note here that Bumblebee is scaled to be smaller than the other figures in the wave and that’s pretty cool too! Moving on to the Decepticons!

Megatron’s card art is epic, as he stands with his fusion cannon aimed and ready to fire. The figure is no slouch either. Maybe a little too much upper body bulk compared to his legs, but it’s all good. The head sculpt is just about perfect, and little touches in the figure’s detail include the triggers on the tops of the shoulders, the little triangles on his chest, and the vents on his abdomen. The pale white plastic they used is a great fit for his cartoon color and you get some darker gray on the legs, black for the cannon, pelvis and fists, red in the elbows, and some red,  yellow, and blue paint hits for the panel under his chest. Megatron doesn’t come with an accessory, but that’s because he has his mounted arm cannon. I think this guy turned out all kinds of great.

Up next is Soundwave, and oh boy is he perfect! The card art shows him holding his rather distinctive gun and about to eject one of his Cassette Warriors and it looks so damn great. The figure features a sharp sculpt and you get some cool details from the tape deck buttons on his pelvis to the vents on his lower legs. The coloring here is spot on from the blue and gray body to the yellow and red applications, it’s all right on the money. You even get the razor thin red stripes around his forearms. I like that they used the same blue for his tape door as the Autobots’ windows, it adds a nice uniformity to the line’s color palate. Soundwave comes with his battery gun, and they went all out with the paint on this one, giving it the red accents and painting the beam emitter silver. I’d say this is my favorite of the Decpticons, but there’s some pretty stiff competition here because Starscream is coming up next.

 

And he serves up some tough competition. Starscream’s card art oozes arrogance as he stands with hands on hips and offering a defiant smirk. The figure’s bubble is extra wide to accommodate the wingspan, and I’ll mention here again how much I dig the subtle size differences in some fo these figures. This sculpt is up there with the best of them, and it’s good they did such a fine job because I presume we’ll be seeing it at least two more times. Five more if they want to give us The Rainmakers, and hell yeah I’d buy them too. The head sculpt is possibly the best of the bunch. They captured Starscream perfectly, and I’ll be interested to see if the other Seekers get original portraits or if they just keep using this one. Like Megatron, the pale gray plastic they use here looks great, as does the blue and red coloring. He’s got red and white striping on his wings, as well as Decepticon insignia, and the yellow on the cockpit really makes the figure pop. Starscream comes with Megatron on his gun form.

The idea of Transformers that don’t transform may seem pretty daft to a lot of people, and I get that. But ever since I was a kid I wanted a proper line of figures based on the classic Sunbow designs, and these scratch that itch wonderfully. Indeed, if these were swinging on the pegs when I was a kid I would have gone crazy over them. Granted, I can’t vouch for how much fun they are but every time I glance over at them carded and standing on my shelf, I can’t help but smile. Better articulation would have been optimal, but I think this format gives us the best chance of getting a lot of figures. I will likely buy a couple doubles to open at some point down the road, but right now I’m just so excited about what else is coming for this series. The stuff Super7 showed off at Toy Fair looks great, and I hope this line goes on forever.

Transformers Siege: Prowl and Barricade by Hasbro

It’s been a real struggle for me to get back to three reviews a week. I mean, you can see how well it’s been working out for me. So, until I get there again, In an effort to get caught up, I’m going to be trying to bundle reviews a bit more often, especially when it’s appropriate. And when I’ve got two Transformers police cars from the same mold waiting to be opened, this seems like one of those appropriate times. Let’s check out Prowl and Barricade!

If you comb back through FFZ, you will find evidence of my undying love for Prowl. The original G1 toy was one of my first Transformers, it was my favorite Autobot mold, and whenever I played with my convertorobots, he stood prominently as Optimus Prime’s first lieutenant and all around right-hand-bot. Hell, even when I watched the Sunbow cartoon I would lament and stew over the fact that Prowl wasn’t in it more often. I’ve been patiently waiting for my boy here to get a proper toy update. After all, the Classics version has aged horribly and the Combiner Wars version was really never more than a place-holder for me. As for Barricade, well I’m not someone who’s anxious to see a lot of Bayverse Transformers shoe-horned into my regular Transformers line, but I will admit that seeing Barricade turn up in Siege has intrigued me a bit. He was one of the cool things I liked about the original film and doing him as a repaint of Prowl seemed like a no-brainer. So let’s start with the alt modes!

Obviously, Siege is focused on Cybertronian alt modes, so my hopes for a proper Datsun are quickly dashed. What we get instead is a Cybertronian interpretation of the Datsun and it looks remarkably like its Earth counterpart. The only big difference is the atrophied cabin, after all these aren’t supposed to be vehicles for meat-bags, and the translucent wheels for cruising down alien roads. There are also some exaggerated contours to give the body more of a futuristic flavor. And hey, I can get behind all of this just fine. Prowl’s white body and black trim certainly looks familiar and while the Cybertronian script on the sides is unintelligible to me, it mimics the police markings just fine. There’s even a light-bar and an off-set Autobot emblem on the front of the hood. I dig it.

 

As for Barricade, he retains a good deal of his coloring from the first film and I’ll be the first to say this deco looks great. A black-and-gray body with white doors and the same alien “police” script on them gives us a perfect Cybertronian nod to the Bayverse Decepticon. The translucent purple used for the faux canopy is gorgeous and the same plastic is used for the wheels as well. The snappy new deco is tied together with a Decepticon emblem stamped on the front of the hood. It’s a great looking car!

Each figure comes with a weapon, which can be plugged into the light-bar for those rolling highway battles. Prowl’s actually resembles his G1 gun quite a bit, while Barricade’s is a double-barreled weapon which can split into two pistols. Transforming these guys is a pretty straight-forward variation of the original toy. Sure, it’s a bit more complicated, but not too much. I was able to get these guys to robot mode and back without any instructions, so you know it can’t be that hard. So how’s about them robot modes?

Yeah, what we have is very similar to the Prowl I know and love. His proportions aren’t quite perfect, as he strikes me as having extra broad shoulders. It’s a similar style to Siege Sideswipe and it is not by any means a deal-breaker for me. Quite the contrary, I think these guys look fantastic. The jutting hood chest remains my all-time favorite Autobot design, complimented by the door wings. Conspicuously absent is any sign of shoulder-mounted guns, giving all the third-party companies out there a chance to make some money. The lower legs still form out of the hatchback, but in this case heel-spurs are added to fold out and grant stability. These guys aren’t quite as well polished when viewed from the back, but I’ve certainly seen worse.

As for the decos, they remain pretty faithful to their respective car coloring. Prowl adds some yellow paint accents on his lower chest as well as the sergeant stripes on his biceps, which is just a lovely touch. Barricade adds a new color to the mix, which is like a pale gray-lavender for his arms, upper legs, and torso. As with all Siege figures, there’s a lot of detail to the sculpts by way of panel lining, and Barricade shows these off much better because of the lighter color plastic.

If you’re looking for a G1-faithful portrait, Prowl’s head sculpt is just about perfect. I don’t think I would change a thing about it. The “helmet” is well defined and includes the red horns jutting out from the center ridge. His noble Autobot face features some snappy silver paint. I’d go so far as to rate this portrait right up there with the Masterpiece version, it really is that good!

For Barricade, I’m happy to say that Hasbro designed a brand new face because the f’ugly Bayverse bug-faces just don’t belong in this line, and I really like what they did with it. His facial features aren’t quite as sharp as Prowl’s, but he does look appropriately grim. The brown face is an interesting choice and I suppose it goes well with his darker deco. The “helmet” is similar to Prowl’s as it shares the central crest with protruding horns, in this case purple, but there’s enough differences to set it apart and make it distinctive.

Obviously the guns we saw in their alt modes can be wielded in their hands. Once again, Prowl’s pays homage to the original G1 figure’s gun and is cast in white plastic. Barricade’s can be used as a single weapon or split into two pistols.

So far Siege has failed to truly disappoint me and that track record isn’t going to be upset today. Prowl and Barricade are excellent figures, and coming from me, that’s saying something because I hold my Prowl figures to high standards. Actually, I’m usually just happy enough to get them at all, but in this case Hasbro did the design proud in both robot and vehicle modes. These guys look great, are quick and easy to transform, and they are tons of fun to play around with. Of course, we haven’t seen the last of this mold, and Siege Smokescreen will be hitting my doorstep sometime next week. I probably could have waited and reviewed all three together, but I’ll just have to come back and give him his own look when I get the time.

Transformers Siege: Titan Class Omega Supreme by Hasbro

Hasbro gets a lot of shit from collectors, some of it most definitely deserved, but I always have to give them credit for continuing to turn out these massive Titan Class Transformers. I don’t know how well they do, since Big Boxes around these parts don’t carry them, not even on endcaps at Christmas, and it’s not uncommon for some of these to turn up at deep discounted clearance at closeout stores after the holidays. Nonetheless, Omega Supreme here is the fourth Titan Class under Hasbro’s belt, and that’s if you don’t include the two big Combiners, Devastator and Predaking. Omega was a G1 toy that I never owned as a kid, so the ability to get him now in an updated version scratches a thirty-five year old itch.

Like all the Titans, Omega comes in a huge, fully enclosed box with some absolutely bitchin’ artwork on the front and some pictures of the toy on the back. This giant box was practically made to be found under a Christmas tree, and I actually considered saving him for my Christmas review this year, but in the end I knew I didn’t have the patience to wait a couple more months. Unlike previous Titans, Omega comes out of the box nearly fully assembled, so you can indeed put him back in the box for storage. That’s a big deal for me, as it means I’m more likely to keep the packaging. This time around, there’s no sticker sheet, and no batteries required, because Omega doesn’t have any electronic features. Normally, I like to start with the alt modes, but in the case of Omega here, let’s begin with his robot mode.

Holy shit, I love this robot mode! Omega’s new look draws heavily from the original toy with elements from the Sunbow animation design as well. His proportions are greatly improved upon, giving him legs that are actually useful and articulated, a separate and distinct torso, and arms that are still pretty beefy, but also more in scale with the rest of his body. I’ve seen a fair bit of griping over the gap between his boxy torso and his hips, but it never bothered me much in the pictures, and it sure as hell doesn’t bother me with the figure in hand. If anything, it’s a worthy trade off to give his legs a wider range of motion for those intimidating wide stances. Familiar design call backs include the yellow panels on his lower legs, the red chest plate, yellow shoulder pylons, and the familiar pieces of track arching up from behind those shoulders. This new design even incorporates the clear panel on the upper chest from the cartoon version, albeit with the panel changed from red to yellow. Of course, Omega also sports the same lack of hands as his G1 namesake, with his right arm ending in a triple fingered claw, and his left arm terminating in a blaster. He’s definitely not your traditional Autobot, as he’s designed to blow your face off rather than shake your hand. And while Omega is not as tall as the previous Titans, Fort Max and Metroplex, he’s still plenty big and beefy, and I think appropriately sized.

From behind, Omega is extremely polished, with no hollow portions or ugly bits. The twin cylinders that form his backpack are a new design element, but I think they look great while incorporating a clever new bit of engineering for his transformation.

The head is heavily modeled after Omega’s old Sunbow design with the sculpted face positioned behind a clear plastic shield. The expression is pretty spot on and the only big difference here is that his eyes are yellow instead of blue. And speaking of eyes, there’s some brilliant light piping going on with those peepers. The “helmet” features the two tubes coming off his “ears” and meeting at the box under his chin. He even has a cannon that can raise up out of the back of his head.

For a big boy, Omega sports lots of useful articulation. His legs have strong ratchets in the hips for front, back, and lateral movement. They’re plenty noisy, but they can support his weight with no problems. There are swivels up in the thighs, the knees bend, and there’s lateral rockers in the feet for those wide stances. The arms can rotate at the shoulders as well as hinge outward, there are swivels in the biceps, and the elbows are hinged. He can pivot at the top of his pelvis, each of the fingers on his claw are hinged twice, and his head can rotate left and right. There’s no doubt about it, Omega is a really fun toy in his robot mode and he can take and hold some pretty cool action poses. I would probably have been totally happy with this guy even if he didn’t transform, but of course he does, so let’s check out his alt mode… but before that, have a look at his little buddy Countdown.

Countdown continues the trend of giving us little robots to interact with our big ones. These are similar to the old Micromasters and more recent Minicons, and we’ve seen a resurgence of these ever since the Titans Return line. Countdown has a very cool robot mode, which includes a highly detailed head sculpt and even a painted face. That’s something we don’t always get in these little fellas. His transformation is extremely simple and his alt mode is a little moon-buggy with a satellite dish on the top. OK… now on to Omega’s alt mode…

Yup, it’s the same style of rocket base as the original toy, complete with rocket, gantry, track, and patrol tank. And while there are some nips and tucks to proportions and other little details, it remains wonderfully faithful. Getting here is pretty easy, which shouldn’t be too surprising since none of the Titan Class figures have had complex transformations. In this case, both arms come out as one piece, with a connection passing through the main body. This piece then transforms into the rocket. The tank pulls out of the body from the chest, similar to good old Power Master Optimus Prime, leaving behind the legs and shell, which form the main building/gantry. I think the biggest surprise for me was the track, which I did not realize would be raised on struts. That’s pretty cool. I also love how solid it is. While there’s nothing attaching the tank or rocket, I can still pick up the base from the main building and the track will come along, all without falling apart. On the downside, the track is a lot more compact than I remember the old toy being and that makes this big tank patrolling around it look a bit silly.

As with past Titan Class figures, Omega’s alt mode is mainly designed to be in scale with the tiny Titan Masters or Power Masters. That makes him the perfect playground for Countdown. He scales well enough to hang out in the compartment of the main building, roll down the ramps in vehicle mode, or hide in the compartments that open up on either side of the base. He also scales exceptionally well with the track when in vehicle mode. There’s almost enough room for two-way traffic. Too bad my Mini-Cons are in storage, because I’d have fun loading this base up with them.

And while the base certainly isn’t designed with larger Transformers in mind, Deluxe Class vehicles, like Ironhide here, can patrol the track pretty comfortably as well.

The rocket trades length for girth (insert phallic joke here), and in doing so, I think it makes for a more impressive display. There’s nothing actually securing the rocket to the gantry, but if you put it close enough to the main building, the yellow pylons look like they’re designed to reach out and grab it. There’s also a hinged ramp on the bottom of the open compartment of the building, but it too doesn’t actually attach to the rocket in any way. Apart from sitting pretty and being able to woosh around the room with some imagination and assistance, the only real feature to the rocket is the opening compartment at the top. It’s big enough to house a small Transformer as a pilot.

The final element, the tank, is a pretty cool piece all on its own. It’s a satisfyingly hefty vehicle with tons of sculpted detail all over. The two side cannon can raise and lower, as can the main cannon. There’s also a smaller gun that can be raised out of the back of the turret for added firepower. He has sculpted faux treads, but real wheels under him to help him roll along the track or the floor.

Finally, Omega does come with some effect parts, which can be stacked together to form a blast effect for either of his arm weapons. These can also be pulled apart and pegged in various spots to look like enemy fire impacting him. I like the idea here, but I’m not real sold on the execution. I think the coloring is a little too dark and the plastic too opaque to really make it look all that great.

I almost wish that I had broken this review down into two parts, because it felt like I didn’t have enough time to gush enough about this amazing figure. It still impresses me to no end that Hasbro is willing and capable of putting out these Titan Class Transformers, and how every damn one of them has been a direct hit. No, they ain’t cheap, but even at $160, Omega feels like he’s at a pretty good price point. He isn’t the biggest of the Titan Classes, but he feels a lot more complex than the two Autobot cities. And the fact that they nixed the electronics on this release doesn’t phase me one bit. I think this guy is libel to make most any Transformers fan happy, and that’s especially the case for me because, as I said earlier, I never owned him as a kid.

Transformers Siege: Ironhide by Hasbro

Only having time for about three posts a week, and having a mile-high pile of toys to open, it sometimes takes me a while to give each line that I collect their due. Case in point, it’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve visited with Hasbro’s Transformers, so I decided to come back to them this week. I was hoping I would get time this week to review the big guy, Omega Supreme, but I’ve barely had any time with him out of the box. Not to mention the time it takes to DIY my pathetic little photo stage to take on a Titan Class Transformer. So, instead I’m grabbing one of the unopened Deluxe Class figures off the pile, and watch out, Decepticreeps, it so happens to be Ironhide!

Leakin’ Lubricants, check out that packaging! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the artwork that Hasbro is putting on these boxes, It’s gritty, hardcore, and absolutely fantastic. Poor Ironhide. He’s had such a troubled past. I might have had fun with the original figure had I gotten hold of him before seeing the Sunbow cartoon, but after that all bets were off and I rebuked that poor piece of plastic and die-cast metal for being a creepy little impostor. It wasn’t until Universe 2.0 that Hasbro would try to give us a proper G1-styled Ironhide, and that’s a figure that sure as hell hasn’t aged well. Indeed, I sold mine off the moment I saw this guy was coming. So here we go again, Siege brings us a new Deluxe Ironhide, and this line has been all about the G1 homages, so let’s rip him open and see how they did. We’ll start with the alt mode!

Siege is all about more Cybertronian-looking alt modes, and as such Ironhide is sporting a very utilitarian space truck mode. Some of these modes, like Hound’s, tend to be pretty f’ugly, but when you’re designing self-propelled alien combat vehicles, you kind of get a pass on the design department. Now, with all that having been said, I like what we got here. Ironhide is a rugged, armored vehicle, with just enough nods to his Earth van mode, that it works quite well for me. Granted, this mode looks unfinished, it doesn’t conceal a lot of the engineering, and anyone who has transformed their share of these figures is going to see what’s going on here right away,

It’s pretty obvious, to me at least, that the arms are up top behind the windshield, and that the slab on the back are going to be the feet. He transforms super quickly and the only step that’s even slightly complex is twisting the canopy piece 180-degrees to orientate it for the chest. The coloring is mostly carried by the red and gray plastics, but there’s some silver and gold in the mix too. The silver brushwork on the bumper looks great. Indeed, I do absolutely adore the way the front of this mode looks. With the high positioned canopy, the quad headlights, and those giant tubes on the bumpers, that must pack some serious firepower. It’s sort of a shame that the back of his head has to be so prominently visible through the windshield, but I guess them’s the breaks. In the end, Ironhide comes across as part Killer Moon Buggy, and part Armored Personnel Carrier. Yup, I dig it!

There are also some useful pegholes on this guy, so you can not only equip him with his rifle, but if you can use some of them weaponizer parts you may have lying around. I like to rip off Cog’s arms and pop them on top for added firepower. Let’s move on to the robot mode!

As with the alt mode, Ironhide’s robot mode takes it’s share of liberties with the G1 aesthetic. He’s not as pure an update as, let’s say, Siege Hound or Sideswipe, but the key points are there. He’s still a very beefy and boxy bot, and the windshield is right where it belongs in his upper chest. It just isn’t configured in quite the same way, laying flat instead of having the familiar angle.  Does this bot mode still work for me as Ironhide? Hell, yeah it does. It just looks like he got a little extra tweaking when he was reformatted for his Earth mode. From the back he does look rather hollow in the torso, but most of the rest of him fills out nicely. There are a few QC issues, here involving the folding panels on his legs. They don’t want to stay in the friction notches and frequently pop out out during transformation, which is apparently common for this figure. Also, they are supposed to tab into place, but they won’t stay put. Neither of these issues are huge problems, but they can be annoying.

Besides the windshield chest, there’s other stuff for me to love here. I really dig where the wheels wind up. The fronts are tucked into the sides of his torso, and the rear wheels are mostly obscured by folding plates in his lower legs. The result is a super clean robot mode, that only really offers up the kibble that it wants you to see. The coloring here is mostly the same as his alt mode, minus the gold which is now concealed. You do get that nice silver on display behind the windshield, some striping on the lower legs, and a rather reserved bit of silver weathering down near his feet.

The head sculpt is totally on point for the G1 animated look. from the circular “ears” to the prominent mohawk ridge on his “helmet.” My only complaint here is that his chest piece obscures a bit of his chin, and since he can’t look up, if you hunch him over to better see his face, he’s looking down. Ironically, the Universe 2.0 figure had a similar issue.

Ironhide comes with what I can only describe as a rocket-launcher rifle to assist him in busting Decepti-chops. This weapon is as chunky as it’s wielder and I love all the hyper-detail in the sculpt, not to mention the weathering. Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult for him to hold it properly. The stock is way too long to fit into the crook of his elbow. Still, it’s a great looking piece. He can hold it in either hand, and it can also be pegged in to make an arm cannon.

Ironhide can also sling the rifle across his back, thanks to a well-placed peghole. Plus, the weapon is hinged near the center so it can be transformed into a… um… rocket hammer? Sure, why not?

I didn’t go into this figure with a lot of excitement, because Hasbro’s initial pictures didn’t do anything for me. But now that I have him in hand, I find myself liking him quite a bit. The alt mode isn’t the best thing around, but it gets the job done and it works well for what it is. As for the robot mode, well as a G1 homage, I don’t think it holds up as well as Hound or Sideswipe, but it still looks great, and there’s no doubts about who it’s supposed to be. So far, Siege has yet to let me down, and every time I open another one of these figures, it just fuels my excitement for more. If that’s not the best compliment that I can pay to a toyline, I don’t know what is.

Transformers Siege: Refraktor by Hasbro

It’s impossible for me to explain why I was so obsessed with Reflector in the old Transformers cartoon. Maybe it was because his appearances were a bit rare. Maybe it was because he wasn’t readily available as a toy. I’m not even sure I was aware at that age that he was a mail-away figure in the US. It’s also possible that I was fascinated by his very nature of being three robots referred to as one, not to mention the first team of robots that could merge into a single alt form. I often wondered about how that worked, and what a cool alien/sci-fi concept it was. But in the end, it was probably because there were so few Decepticons in the early days, and Reflector bolstered their numbers by three. And sometimes even more than that, thanks to some animation gaffs.

And that brings us to Refraktor! A figure that is just as interesting as his predecessor. Hasbro released him as a single character with its own alt mode, but advertised on the back that you could buy two more if you wanted to make use of their camera mode. Also, I’ll point out now that I’m going to be calling him Reflector during this review, because if I try to call him Refraktor, I’m probably just going to mess it up half the time anyway. Let’s get his bullshit alt mode out of the way first!

I think this is supposed to be a spaceship, and to be fair it isn’t all that bad. It gives me a little bit of a Sweeps vibe, especially since I have three of them. The Energon Sharkticon also comes to mind, since I used to army build the hell out of those. But to be honest, it strikes me more as a seafaring gunship. Maybe even a hydrofoil, since the landing gear looks like a set of skis. In the end, I don’t hate it, and it’s kind of cool to give these guys something a little more practical to transform into. Especially in a line called Siege. And they do look kind of cool in battle formation. Let’s just move on to the robot mode!

One of the things that struck me most about Reflector in the old G1 days was that he was one of the few Decepticons that didn’t advertise his alt mode with a lot of kibble. It was genuinely tough to figure out what the hell he turned into. It also made him look like a generic rank-and-file Decepticon warrior, which was pretty appealing too. I think Hasbro did a wonderful job with this update. It continues the Siege aesthetic of infusing the sculpt with loads of detail. That’s especially the case here in the arms and behind the clear chest panel. The coloring is pretty damn great too. Purple is always a good choice for Decepticons and it mixes well with the bare grey plastic. You also get some snazzy silver paint hits on the leg panels, feet, and the frame of his chest panel. A little splash of red on the forearms and knees, and a Decepticon emblem on the left shoulder rounds out the deco quite nicely.

From behind, Reflector doesn’t look nearly as polished. There are plenty of hollow compartments and some exposed screw-heads. But at least there isn’t a lot of kibble. Even the skids from his alt mode fold neatly into his leg compartments. There is a way to help spruce up his back view, but I’ll come back to that in a bit.

The head sculpt is extremely faithful to what I remember from the Sunbow animated version. He has the same rounded “helmet,” narrow eyes and broad mouth. The silver paint on the face looks especially good, as does the red used for the eyes, which are pretty much flawless. No question, Hasbro has been killing it with their portraits in this line, and Reflector here is no different.

The one real difference between the three robots in the cartoon was the aperture being present in one and not the other two. Here that’s easily achieved by pulling it off. Yeah, it leaves a peg hole there, but I’m OK with that. I’m sure some Third-Party company will release a bag of plugs to cover these up and charge $20 for them. No, seriously, nobody do that. I will probably be the one dumb enough to buy them.

Reflector relies heavily on two rather large pieces for his alt modes. The large cannon simply turns into a gun for his robot mode, while the other can be used as a shield. I dig both of these accessories a lot. The gun is big and beefy and has a rather distinctive low-slung armor plate. The shield is rounded and has a notch out of the top that reminds me of a riot shield. The shield piece can also be pegged onto the back, but it isn’t meant to be, which means it can fall out pretty easily. I think this is the biggest shame about the figure design, as it looks really good on the back, gets it out of the way when not being used as a shield, and it would have been really easy for Hasbro to have seen this opportunity and make it work. When I display these guys in robot mode, I will likely have two with the guns and shields and one with just the gun. Of course all of these pieces can also be combined together for the camera mode, so let’s check that out.

The camera mode is achieved by transforming each of the figures into the same folded up block and then sticking them together so that the middle one faces front. Next the three shields combine together to form the lens and the three guns combine to form the tripod, which then attaches to the camera using one of the aperture pieces. It’s very clever and overall it looks pretty good, but it’s not nearly as detailed a camera as the old G1 toy. And I’m totally OK with that, because the sacrifices were made to allow each of the bots that form it to look identical. Maybe Hasbro could have tossed in a few extra pieces to tack on and make it more convincing as a camera, but I’m totally fine with it the way it is. Also, it’s roughly the right size to give to one of the Titans like Metroplex or Fort Maximus, but really too big for any of the smaller bots.

Never in a million years did I ever think Hasbro would revisit these guys. Hell, even the first time the early pictures of him, I didn’t think the camera mode was going to be ab option. As a result, I can’t  tell you how many times I almost pulled the trigger on one of the many third-party Reflectors on the market. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t, because Hasbro’s Deluxe Class treatment scratches that itch perfectly, and for a lot less money. These guys were a bit hard to find at first, because most everyone was looking to grab three of them, but I was eventually able to get all three online for a couple of bucks under retail, and that ain’t too shabby. They’re a great little team, and I think they look fantastic when displayed with the Siege Decepticons.