Thirty years ago on this day, 8th May, the very first issue of Marvel Comics' The Transformers #1 appeared in shops, with Bill Mantlo and Ralph Macchio plotting and planning the war on Cybertron, Frank Springer, Kim DeMulder and Nelson Yomtov bringing it to vivid page life, sounded out by Michael Higgins and Rick Parker (all overseen by the watchful Bob Budiansky). The cover? A gigantic Bill Sienkiewicz-drawn Optimus Prime.
That was all the way back in 1984, and that was in the US. Across the pond, Jerry Paris created a different cover for the first issue of something that was going to be a much longer and tortuous series, reaching 332 issues in total (compared to and including the 80 of the US run).
A series which eventually introduced British writer Simon Furman to the Transformers universe, after Bob Budiansky on writing and other duties since issue 5, left with issue 55. A series which was initially so badly received it was only meant to reach four issues. A series that introduced the Autobots and Decepticons to pop culture around the world, taking a handful of toylines and creating a loosely hanging narrative that would increase their sales. A series that was flanked by its TV counterpart in the animated The Transformers cartoon.
Fast forward to two years later, 1986, when the Transformers appeared on the big screen for the first time, still in their animated selves. Leaders were killed, moons were eaten, planets became robots, hearts were broken, fanboys and fangirls started complaining, and even more toys were produced. And comic adaptations, of course.
Marvel Comics resumed its robot stories in 1993, with Furman's revamping of the Transformers in Generation 2, as Hasbro sought to bring back the toyline again. Across the other side of the other pond, meanwhile, Japan was hard at work with the vaguely mecha-style stories of the Transformers, continuing the cartoon series where the US left off after Generation 1: The Headmasters, Super-God Masterforce, Victory, Zone. Which also had their comics and manga adaptations!
Skip forward again to 1996, and we reach a massive overhaul in the concept: the Transformers no longer become vehicles, but animals - in Beast Wars. Cue outrage, cue new influx of fans, cue growing fondness, cue cartoon series and even more toys, cue the two Japanese sequels, Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo. And yet we're still in the universe set by that 1984 series, both TV and comics wise.
Enter Dreamwave Productions in 2002, with a complete (well, sort of) reimagining of the Transformers universe, trying to combine elements of the Japanese manga and the well-loved Marvel and Sunbow fictions, both aesthetically and story-wise. And it included a prequel! We saw what Furman thought of what was happening on Cybertron before 'bots and 'cons disappeared into the universe, with the War Within storylines and Don Figueroa's designs and Andrew Wildman's take on them.
Dreamwave unfortunately did not end well, and stories were interrupted mid-issue in some cases. It's 2005, and IDW Publishing picks up the license from Hasbro. We have another redesign, retake and reimagining, once again at the hands of Simon Furman and his universe spanning -ations, Stormbringer and Maximum Dinobots, followed by Shane McCarthy and Guido Guidi's earth-bound, politically paced All Hail Megatron and the arrival of the first live-action Transformers full-length cinematic feature in 2007, with Michael Bay in the director's chair - and John Barber, Andrew Griffith and Alex Milne adapting it into its comic counterpart and expanding it, too.
Come 2010, another live-action film in the bag, IDW Publishing continues its Transformers storyline more or less succesfully, redesigning its characters to capture the Michael Bay and Paramount aesthetics and potentially new readers, in Mike Costa's The Transformers ongoing series. Something clearly worked, as the series brought into the franchise talent such as James Roberts, Nick Roche, Mairghread Scott, Mike Johnson, Andrew Griffith, Alex Milne, Sarah Stone, E.J. Su, Joana Lafuente, Robby Musso, Josh Burcham, John-Paul Bove, Josh Perez, Casey Coller, Priscilla Tramontano, Ken Christiansen, Chris Mowry, Brendan Cahill, Tom Long, Shawn Lee, Matt Frank, and many many many more, all under the watchful eye of editors John Barber, Carlos Guzman, Chris Ryall, and after the 2011 final (or so we thought) film in the Bay trilogy, Optimus Prime died. Again. But not really.
Two ongoing series spawned from that moment, neither involving Earth: More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise. We looked at Cybertron's past again, after Chaos Theory, after Megatron Origin, after the Spotlights, Flint Dille, one of the original cartoon series writers, Chris Metzen, and Livio Ramondelli dug deep into the past of the planet and its leaders with Autocracy and Monstrosity, as IDW Publishing ventured into digital-first and motion comics.
Now, thirty thrilling years later, here we are. A fourth live-action movie opening in June, innumerable toys based on the same and reinvented core cast, three currently (more or less) ongoing comics series with IDW publishing with the addition of Transformers: Windblade, the last issue of the original Marvel US run hitting last March under ReGeneration One and, as far as we can tell, many many more stories to come.
This was a celebration of the Transformers comics. This was the abridged, incomplete story of some the Transformers fictions. We may have left out parts, some intentionally, some less so. There is a lot more to be found in the Transformers 30th Anniversary Collection edited by Jim Sorenson.
But all of these are also just facets of the whole story - what is yours?
Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote a rather sizable article going through the history of cinematic robots and the reasons why we love them. In the article, he tries to cover everything and everyone from Sonny (I, Robot) to Johnny 5 (Short Circuit) and even our beloved Transformers.
We'll provide you a small tidbit to get the ball rolling:
But the biggest, baddest mecha-villain of all must be “Transformers’ ” Megatron, supreme leader of the Decepticons. Not only has he tried to enslave humanity in three Transformers movies, but he’s inspired eruptions of incoherent storytelling, furthered the career of Shia LaBeouf, and lined the pockets of heinous film director Michael Bay. And he’s due back on our screens June 27 in “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction.” Let’s hope he finishes the job this time, or we’ll be in for a slew of Sequel-bots.
And that's not all! The Star Tribune also created a slide show of our favorite movie robots, also by Mr. Covert, entitled "A Short History Of Movie Robots", ranging from Fritz Lang's Metropolis, all the way to Optimus Prime! Also worthy of your time, the gallery can be found here: http://www.startribune.com/entertainmen ... 26621.html
Tell you what, I'm not sure how I landed this gig. And by this gig, I mean get onto the staff of Seibertron.com. I do know, however, how we got to the point that I'd be writing this article - but it's a story for a slow news day. Because today is the day when as many members of staff will be telling us all what they though of the year gone by, and give us a glimpse into their own robotic future. Buckle up, leave the cars, and get ready to boldly step back into the past, now in Technicolor – it's about to get bumpy as we follow our courageous heroes across time and space, and into the thick of
Transformers 2013 - A Year in Review
Because it may be that we are about to enter the thrilling, teasing, thundering, titillating 30th anniversary of the Transformers, but there has been plenty of goodness showing up in the past twelve months too! And it is all worthy of some credit and reflection, don't you think? I thought so. Let's get this party-piece started!
Cyber Bishop - Our fearless admin, with more power behind the Stormtrooper mask than you'd imagine.
El Duque - You could try summing up his news posts, but you'd lose count around 4000. It's more than that.
LOST Cybertronian - Quiet, efficient, deadly; our very own ninja news maker.
Mindmaster - The youngest and newest addition to the staff, but don't hold it against him.
Mkall - Not as awesome as Spiderman riding demolition derby cars, but close enough.
Seibertron - The man himself! The Primus to our website! The Loader of Galleries!
ScottyP - Substitute podcast host, blogger, holder of views, Twitterate.
Oh, and me - Va'al
As you may remember from the times of yore, we'll be discussing the year gone by looking at it in different categories, with as much input as possible from the staff members. Which categories? Here they are:
Transformers Figure of the Year
Favorite Transformers Toyline of 2013
Favorite 2013 Generations Figure
Favorite 2013 Transformers: Prime Beast Hunters Figure
Favorite 2013 Transformers Masterpiece Figure
Favorite 2013 Takara EZ, GO!, GT
Favorite 2013 Kre-O/BotShot Set
Favorite 2013 BotCon Exclusive Figure
Favorite 2013 Non-BotCon Exclusive Figure
Favorite 2013 Transformers Moment
What you're looking forward to in 2014 for Transformers
Rumble your frenzies, lock your grims, punch your counters and flip your tables: it's time to look at 2013 through different eyes.
Transformers Figure of the Year In which the staff all mention the same figures, and Va'al has no clue what to say.
Scotty P - In a year of contradictions and transition in the brand, there was a clear push on what the biggest, baddest, coolest figure of the year would be, and that's Metroplex. Sure, it isn't perfect, the stickers aren't great and there are some shortcuts taken in the engineering, but looking back on the year nothing puts an awesome stamp out there like this. A year ago I couldn't have imagined that we were on the cusp of having the biggest Transformer ever released come out. Actually, I did think that, but I thought it'd be the Fort Max reissue that filled that role.
Mkall - And not just for the figure, which is pretty awesome on its own, because it's a playset for proper-sized figures, not just legend-class figures, or cyberverse-class or whatever the nomenclature of the puny size of figure is. There are additional implications of his release. To me it demonstrated that Hasbro is willing to take greater risks with the Transformers brand. There is, of course, no guarantee that we'll see another Titan class figure in the coming years, but Metroplex's release gives us fans and collectors hope.
Seibertron - This is a really tough one for me. I really want to say Prowl or Soundwave from Takara Tomy's Transformers Masterpiece line. The vintage 1984 G1 Soundwave toy is hands down my favorite Transformers toy of all time. Soundwave is also one of my favorite characters. Masterpiece Prowl is quite simply an absolutely beautiful toy and it is an amazing feat having captured both the look and feel of the character from the character while giving the vintage toy a ton of nods. However, both toys have some glaring flaws that always come to mind when I think of them. Soundwave's faulty cassette mode with the half assed backside seems like a major oversight to me or a cost cutting measure (i.e. "Well, it's close enough and all anyone is going to care about is the robot mode"). For Prowl, his vintage Fairlady Z is his biggest weakness. Don't get me wrong, I love the Masterpieces. They're amazing toys. I just think I'd be happier with the Masterpiece line if they were updated versions of the toys. I'm all for getting faithful versions of these characters in a throwback line but I'd much rather see these guys done with modern vehicle modes where possible.
So with all of that said, my favorite for 2013 is Metroplex hands down. It's a toy I never thought we'd get. I never thought they'd be able to top Fortress Maximus. But they did it. They gave us a massive over 2 feet tall Metroplex that is just an amazing and fun toy. Nice work Hasbro!
El Duque - This is a tough one, because some really impressive figures came out this year. My top contenders would be the Takara Tomy Masterpiece Datsun Fairladies, Prowl, Bluestreak, and Smokescreen. That mold is a work of art, but I almost feel like it's not fair to compare the Masterpiece line with mainlines. The Generations Springer mold is also at the top of my list. This guy usurped FansProject's Defender from my Classics shelf, and that's quite an accomplishment! In the end though I have to go with Generations Metroplex. I never thought we would get a mainline figure in this scale ever again, especially considering how most molds seem to be shrinking. Metroplex stole the entire show at Toy Fair 2013. Keep in mind we hadn't even heard any rumors of a Titan Scale Metroplex at the time of the show, and a lot of the time they will announce things, but only show concept designs. Not only did they announce this guy, but they immediately hauled out the prototype, and jaws dropped. Is he a perfect figure? No. Is he an awesome figure? Absolutely!
LOST Cybertronian - As the Masterpiece line continues to achieve, this is the definitive Prowl. He looks gorgeous in his licensed alt mode and his robot mode looks like the G1 toy brought successfully into the 21st century
Burn - I don't care how big you are. You transform by effectively laying down. I also just spent three hours re-arranging my Transformers room to fit you. You're large, and you may be impressive, but Metroplex, you are NOT the father Figure of the Year.
No, I have to go with LOST Cybertronian and give that particular title to Masterpiece Prowl.
Mindmaster - One would have to be pure bonkers not to consider the gloriousness that is MP Soundwave and friends the figure of the year. I’ve stood in my local Toys “R” Us just drooling over him and his GEEWUN-y goodness. I'm in love with one of his main gimmicks, that being his deployment of his cassette minions. I mean, come on, who wouldn't want little dudes popping out of your chest? It's also really neat to see the evolution from the original Generation One toy released in 1984 to the present. How amazing is today's toy engineering to completely transform (pun intended) Soundwave?
Autobot032 - I don't have Rhinox in hand, yet, so I can't say definitively, but it's a toss up between Metroplex and Masterpiece Soundwave. Both are so good, so expensive.
Cyber Bishop - Generations of course. I love G1 and am excited about how they take classic characters and keep producing them in an updated modern form while keeping their essence alive and well.
Mindmaster - Seriously, if people don’t know I’m a sucker for Classics, then they must be new here. Classics is where my collecting really kicked off. Yeah, Armada was the proverbial hook that got me addicted to Transformers back in 2003, but once my then-idiot kid brain realized the importance of the Classics and other affiliated lines, I was all over them.
El Duque - I gotta go with the Generations line. Again, I feel like I'm betraying the Masterpiece line, which I love, but to be honest I've gotten more pure enjoyment out of the Generations line. Being a kid who grew op on G1 and seeing Transformers: The Movie in the theater, it's hard to not love being able to go to a retail store and find updated representations of old favorites. Springer, Blitzwing, Sandstorm, Skids, Trailbreaker, Hoist, Orion Pax, Metroplex, and even FoC Grimlock. Pure fun, and that's what this hobby is all about for me!
Autobot032 - I can't answer one over the other. It's a 50/50 on Generations and Beast Hunters. I'm quite partial to Primeverse. I even went to the trouble of Reprolabeling my Smokescreen. (I'm that in love with the toys/show.) Generations has been pretty solid, all the way through. Thrilling 30 is lumped in with Generations and Masterpiece, so I just let my current answer speak for that as well.
Mkall - Under normal circumstances, I'd give this to Generations. However with the first half of this year's Generations line being used to finish off the Fall of Cybertron line, which resulted in some pretty cheap-feeling figures, I give this to the Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters, because when it comes to number of figures per line acquired, I have more Predacons from that line than acquired Generations figures. Besides, there's something pretty cool about having this many dragon-based figures standing side-by-side.
Va'al - I was going to say Generations, because of the gems from the Fall of Cybertron line such as Starscream and Grimlock, the new Legends figures and toys I've only heard good thing about like Sandstorm and Springer (I don't buy that many toys, so a lot of my sources are other people's comments). But I've recently come to find myself really warming up to the beasties from the Beast Hunters line. Grimwing, Predaking, Ripclaw, the awkward Dreadwing (Shockwave, who's not a beast, but is still beautiful, and the little Air Vehicon) - they're actually really really good, and I enjoyed them so much I even did some customising. So yeah, Beast Hunters.
ScottyP - There's never been a better year to be a Masterpiece collector, except maybe 2012 for some folks! The year started with Red Alert, continued with Soundwave and tons of cassettes, then kept going strong with Black Convoy, Tigertrack, Prowl, Acid Storm, and Bluestreak. The quality and value of these figures is unparalleled. The future of Masterpiece is bright, but this has definitely been a banner year for this line.
LOST Cybertronian - I think Masterpiece will continue to dominate this category as long as Takara keeps pumping out all of this awesomeness. Both Hasbro and Takara released Soundwave. While Takara kept his minions separate, Hasbro 1-uped them by releasing them all in one affordable package. Hasbro added to our MP Seeker collection with Acid Storm. We can't forget about Black Convoy and Tigertrack. Then there was the 1-2-3 punch of the Datsun trio. It was a huge year for Masterpiece.
Burn - Have to go with Masterpiece. Takara Tomy have really ramped up and taken this more seriously. The engineering has improved and we now have a definite direction of where the line is going.
Favorite 2013 Generations Figure In which staff cheat, favourites and best are distinguished and Burn begins to ramble..
ScottyP - Hey, we're picking favorites and not necessarily the best in this part, right? Truth be told I'm a complete sucker for Grimlock. I got over the tail, and now this is one of my favorite molds. A Space T-Rex with light up eyes and mouth, that transforms into the best Grimlock robot mode we've seen outside of the Masterpiece figure. I've put the Takara version here due to the amazing detail and color that really makes their version pop.
Autobot032 - As of right now? (Which could change at any minute) It's looking to be Metroplex. He's massive, he still transforms, he interacts with the little figures and he's just an imposing sight to behold. Though, there are some real gems in the Generation line, so it's kinda hard to pick just one.
LOST Cybertronian - Metroplex takes gold in this category. It had the whole package. A faithful update to the original toy. Able to achieve all three modes. Not to mention being huge and with electronics to boot.
Mindmaster - Springer's been the one character that every Classics collector's been asking for since the advent of Classics Astrotrain. When Hasbro didn't deliver, Fansproject took it upon themselves to make a decent Springer, but it had a couple issues. Finally, Hasbro unveiled and released their own Springer this year. Springer, as well as his retool Sandstorm, are truly marvels of toy engineering, showing that when their mind is set, Hasbro can make one kickass toy. And kicked ass, their Springer has.
Mkall - Even though I said that Metroplex was the Figure of the year, he's not my favourite. That title goes to voyager-class Springer. This figure is pretty much perfect in every mode. There is nothing I can say to diminish this figure in any way. Even his Sandstorm repaint/remold is pretty good.
Cyber Bishop - Possibly one of my favorite Transformer figures of all time, can't say anything bad about him at all. Great looking robot mode and two superb alt forms.
El Duque - I'm going to cheat a little here. Since Generations Metroplex was my 2013 figure of the year, he should by default be my Generations 2013 Favorite, but like I said I'm going to cheat! My 2013 Generations favorite of the year is the Springer/Sandstorm mold. It's just a great mold, and one of the best remolds of all time. As I said before this Springer replaced FansProject's Defender on my Classics shelf, that's saying something. And the Sandstorm remold is brilliant.
Va'al - As I said above, it's going to have to be Fall of Cybertron Starscream. I was going to say Grimlock, but the chest issue leaves a gaping hole in the enjoyment of the whole package. Starcream, on the other hand, is absolutely stunning, with a simple but still good transformation, lovely aesthetics, still fits in with the comics and has excellent light (and chest) piping!
Burn - When Va'al first shot the e-mail around to all the Seibertron.com staff regarding this Year in Review feature, I was one of the first to put my hand up. "How hard could it be?" I thought.
Then I thought some more and it occurred to me that thanks to my awesome memory, I couldn't remember what was released this year! Turned out I wasn't the only one having that problem. A list was tracked down and I started going through it and that's when I realised something.
I really hadn't paid much attention to Transformers this year.
(to be continued..)
Favorite 2013 Transformers: Prime Beast Hunters Figure In which we unleash the kraken Predacons, and deal with it right now. And Burn ends his ramble. Logical.
Mindmaster - Out of the entire Beast Hunters line, there’s just no contest when compared to Shockwave. Without that dreadful-looking armor, the figure itself is a great representation of his show model. If Generations wasn't my priority right now, I'd definitely set some aside to pick up Shockwave, or maybe even his SDCC exclusive deco.
Seibertron - Gotta love that you can take the silly Beast Hunters armor off and have him stand side-by-side with the Transformers Prime figures pre-Beast Hunters.
Cyber Bishop - Ok so he is not a gun and his alt form may not be the best but his bot mode is awesome and screams shockwave more than any recent figure released under that name.
Autobot032 - Oooh. This is a tough one. There were a lot of good ones, honestly. I'm going to go with Ultra Magnus. I know it's a redeco of the Prime mold, but seriously, it's like this mold was MADE for Magnus. First Edition was made for Optimus. They shouldn't share a mold. Though, I must admit, the beast molds definitely are eye catching. And well worth the money spent.
El Duque - I'll go with Voyager Ultra Magnus. The Robots in Disguise Voyager/Powerizer Optimus Prime really felt kind of useless with the superior First Edition Voyager version on my shelf, but Beast Hunters Ultra Magnus breathed new life into the mold. In my eyes it gave Ultra Magnus the unique mold he deserved in comparison to Optimus Prime, plus you get a get jet pack and the Forge of Solus Prime to boot.
Va'al - I've fallen really fond of the Predacons, but Shockwave is also really really good, and one of the most impressive official iterations of the character. I still have to fall onto the beasts, though. Voyager Predaking is an interesting take with excellently original engineering, though really lacks in paint and the wings only really work in dragon mode - so Grimwing it is. I was going to hold out for Darksteel, but I doubt we'll ever see him in the EU. This mold is gorgeous, even with its simple transformation.
LOST Cybertronian - Grimwing is my favourite in this category. A completely new character that looks imposing in both robot and alt modes. He definitely gives the Autobots a run for their money.
ScottyP - Again, favorite, not best. A massive dragon based on a super cool character from the Beast Hunters TV show. No other version of Predaking really brings the presence of the character out like this toy. Imposing on a shelf, and a great companion piece for the large Beast Hunters Prime that came out.
Mkall - Can Abominus be counted as a single figure? Since I'm answering this, I will say "yes." Abominus, and likewise the five cyberverse-class figures that comprise him are all downright fun to play with. All of the other Predacon figures (of which are the only Beast Hunters figures I collected) have flaws that prevent me from enjoying them as much.
Burn - (Previously, in Burn's responses: "I really hadn't paid much attention to Transformers this year".) Blasphemy I know, but I've had lots going on in other parts of my life, so much so my TF collecting went into auto-mode. I picked up Prime figures when I could (I was importing the Takara Tomy versions but stopped), while lines like Generations, Masterpiece, and of course my regular love interest, Kabaya, all became pre-ordered (actually that's not entirely true, I dropped the ball a little on Kabaya)
So if that's the case, what the heck am I doing here? Because Va'al asked. And while I may give him a lot of crap, I just went through our Facebook conversations for the year and he's listened to a LOT of moaning ranging from work, women, comics, and Transformers. So I owe him I guess.
Aaaaw, ain't that nice of Burn?
Favorite 2013 Transformers Masterpiece Figure In which table-flippers and chrazzimatic boxes go head to head, and Mindmaster is the odd one out.
Seibertron - It's a gorgeous toy. Just wish it had a modern Fairlady Z alt mode. Sorry Soundwave ... his bell bottom legs and the half assed backside of his alt mode bug me.
LOST Cybertronian - Being my favourite Transformer of the year, Prowl also takes number one as my favourite Masterpiece of the year. You can check out my reasoning above.
ScottyP - There is no better example of the direction and intention of the current Masterpiece line than Prowl. Perfect scale with the other Autobots, a super realistic licensed alt mode, and an amazingly clever transformation that ends up in a nearly flawless representation of the character. If this is the future, then I like the future. A lot. Would like to note that Smokescreen has not come out as I write this, and he may unseat Prowl as my "favorite" of the year.
El Duque - Again, I'm going to cheat a little! Rather than pick one figure, I'm going to pick a mold that has three figures, which is obviously the Datsun Fairlady (Prowl, Bluestreak, Smokescreen). It's a beautiful mold that delivers exactly what I wanted in both modes. A close runner up would be Soundwave and crew, but I feel the Fairlday was more of an engineering feat. Soundwave didn't have to conform to any licensee specifications, that and his boxy alt mode make him seem a little less impressive that the Fairladies.
Cyber Bishop - Besides MP Grimlock this guy is absolutely perfect in every way and the fact that for $120 you can get Soundwave and all his minions (MP Prowl is a close second though).
Va'al - Alas, I've only just been able to get my hands on a Masterpiece Optimus Prime, and I'm not planning on any other figures from the line at all. Soundwave does look fun though, especially with all the minions included!
Autobot032 - Well, for me, there were only two: Soundwave and Red Alert. Soundwave is impressive, no doubt. So is the Lamborghini mold. (Both are just...excellent.) But I'd have to say the most impressive? Absolutely? Would have to be Laserbeak/Buzzsaw. Just a fantastic design. Such an intelligent design.
Mindmaster - The area under the jurisdiction of Hasbro Asia saw a reissue of the coveted MP11 Starscream this year. I know what everyone's thinking: "Hey, wait a minute! Is M&M dumb? MP11 Starscream was released in 2012!" It still counts, people.
Easily the best Starscream ever. He doesn't require the removal of his null rays, intricate but not frustratingly complicated transformation, coronation gear, and the best part: fixes all the issues of MP03, such as his stability and the risk of breaking the joints in his wings. It'll be the crown jewel of my collection, once I get the monies for it.
Favorite 2013 Transformers Takara EZ, GO!, Super GT Figure In which we look at repainted beasties, (il)logical homages and El Duque's marriage gets in trouble
Mindmaster – I admit, Bakudora really surprised me. A clear homage to Victory Deathsaurus, Bakudora's deco really fits the mold much better than Ripclaw's ever did. And the headsculpt... boy, I sure hope to God that if there is a Generations Star Saber in the works, then Hasbro would at least have the decency to use a slightly redecoed Bakudora as a Generations Deathsaurus.
ScottyP - This was a hard one to come up with. As much as I've loved Takara's Masterpiece stuff this year, their "mainline" offerings have been a massive disappointment to me outside of Generations. The Predacon redecos/remolds they've done are an exception to this, and Bakudora truly embodies that. I don't see this toy as an homage but as a different take on the "character" that Hasbro released. The blue deco is fantastic looking and the paint details really pop. Plus, this mold is cool as hell. Dat tail.
Seibertron - I've got to go with Bakudora. It's not any where near the top of any of my lists, but there's just something really striking about this figure. The head and the color scheme really make it stand out to me.
Mkall - I liked Transformers GO! line, but I only love it enough to get the Predacons from that series. Of those, I am thoroughly impressed with Dragotron, the demonic red repainting of the Supreme-class Predaking. His colouring is intense and he, unlike his voyager-self, is just a blast to play with. I have him lording over my Predacon faction, and there's nowhere else I'd rather place him.
LOST Cybertronian - Transformers Go! Budora uses an awesome base figure in Grimwing and takes it to the next level. Giving him a new beast and robot head and an excellent paint job, there is just no better looking figure in the Go! Toyline.
Va'al - The only one I picked up was Go! Shockwave, as he turned out being cheaper than buying the regular one as they're both imports here in the UK. So he's definitely my favourite out of the one I have! The -dora creatures look really well done, too, though
El Duque - Picking Super GT Star Saber here. The entire line was a fun reuse of the Alternity Convoy mold with an awesome racing theme. Though, my wife did question why there were Race Queens on my shelf.
Favorite 2013 Transformers KreO/Botshot Set In which we don't have much to say, but we all think they're adorable.
Transformers Bot Shots Jump Shot Optimus Prime.
ScottyP - I don't have much to say here. The Jump Shot gimmick is fun, and this is a miniature Galaxy Convoy. What's not to like about that?
Transformers Kre-O Microchanger combiner Abominus
LOST Cybertronian - There wasn't very many of the larger sets released this year. I am going to have to go with Microchanger combiner Abominus. Abominus in cute cuddly Kreon form? Nuff said.
Kreon Microchanger Rodimus Prime
Seibertron - C'mon ... he's awesome!
El Duque - This one is tough, because... well I stopped collecting both. I think they're both great lines, they just weren't for me. With so much great product coming out, I had to get a little more selective about my collecting. That being said, I am familiar with all the product since I've posted news on most of it. I think the Kre-O Microchanger combiners are really neat little sets. I can't tell you how many times these have tempted me when I see them at retail. Must... resist..!
Favorite 2013 BotCon Exclusive Figure In which we clearly disagree. Well, Seibertron and Mkall do, at least.
Mindmaster - To be honest, I was initially against the choice of Hunt for the Decepticons Terradive as Machine Wars Starscream. But the more I looked at him, the more I just couldn’t handle how awesome it looked. The deco is really slick, the paint on the head really helped separate the details quite nicely, and the green on him really helped the figure pop even more. I really wish I had the money to afford him when he was available.
Autobot032 - I kinda liked the Starscream figure. It was a good mold choice to work with, plus the colors just stood out on it. Still too pricey for my tastes.
Seibertron - There were a ton of missed opportunities with this set. Including Obsidian and Strika in this set was a mistake. They're nice figures, but they would have been better as souvenir add-ons instead of as part of the main set. Featuring Obsidian on the box set takes away from the Machine Wars aspect. If I had to pick a figure, Machine Wars Starscream would probably be the one I'd choose. To be honest though, none of them really stand out to me. Even Sunstorm was a let down after having waited so long for an official figure and then to get one with the wrong colors. Sunstorm needs white, not black!
LOST Cybertronian - The Rainmakers set gave us our very first official Sunstorm using the classics seeker mold. This despite the fact that Sunstorm technically wasn't a Rainmaker. I have been waiting years for Hasbro or Takara to bring Sunstorm with that mold. Mission accomplished.
El Duque - Taking the Rainmaker three-pack on this one. I wasn't all that impressed with the box set or the over all theme, but I am a Seeker junkie. We finally got an official Sunstorm, and to be perfectly honest I buy whatever Seeker molds they produce. I don't really know why, but I will.
ScottyP - As someone that grew up with G2 toys, I've really loved some of the updated G2 stuff that's come out of Fun Publications. Electro is a particular favorite, because you just can't mess around with G2 Electro toys these days without them turning into a pile of gold clumps. The headsculpt is fantastic as well, and even though it's a G2 character it still manages to not look out of place with the rest of this year's Botcon set.
Mkall - Earlier in this year, I was very vocal in my dislike in how this year's Botcon series was handled. I then regressed and purchased the who set, including exclusives. I'm mercurial, I'm allowed to change, that said, most of them still don't interest me all that much. HOWEVER I must express my enjoyment of the Strika and Obsidian figures. Not only do they employ previous molds that I enjoy, but they both have new, accurate heads and proper paint applications that homage the Beast Machines series from which the original characters hail from. They are the peak of that year, which didn't provide much competition.
Favorite 2013 Non BotCon Exclusive Figure In which we encounter snakes and planes but no Samuel L Jackson, and Metroplex shows up, again.
El Duque - This is a redeco/remold fans have been wanting for years and they finally delivered. I think most of us were already using Energon Omega Supreme for our Classics collections anyway, so finally having him in the proper colors is nice. The new head and claw arm are really make the figure feel like a Classics Omega Supreme.
LOST Cybertronian - They took the already great Energon Omega Supreme and gave him his traditional claw and a head that I know is suppose to represent War for Cybertron but also carries over for the G1 fans.
Mkall - Looking back through my year of purchases, it surprises me that there weren't that many non-Botcon exclusive figures that appealed to me. It seemed that this year was all about pimping Bruticus and Metroplex. Thus I believe that my favourite exclusive would be the BBTS/Amazon G2 Bruticus. I bought it because G2 Bruticus was the first and only combiner I was able to fully assemble as a kid, and though Onslaught's arm didn't last too long due to the constant playtimes I had with it, getting this allowed me to relive my nostalgia. Yes there are the naysayers against these figures and I agree with many of their qualms. For once, though nostalgia trumps logic.
ScottyP - That's a 2013 release, really! Came out in January in Japan and in March domestically through Fun Publications and other e-tailers. This set has it all. G1 goodness, awesome extra stickers, an amazing looking box, a fun pack in comic, and oh my, some of the best cassette decos we've ever seen. Solarbot alone is almost worth the price of admission for this set. At the time I write this it's beginning to go clearance at stores that still have it (it not selling out already is a blight on this fandom, c'mon guys), so if you haven't given this a look, get at it!
Seibertron - I really enjoy seeing obscure references. Getting a 2nd version of Magnificus helps build this character's legitimacy in my mind. He's no longer just a one-time repaint that e-Hobby brought back from Takara's Micro Change line. The comic that accompanies him helps build his legitimacy as well and is a big part of why this set was so awesome to me. I also like that Magnificus has the secondary head which itself is a nod to the vintage Perceptor's head.
Mindmaster - You people didn’t think I’d get out of this without at least listing one version of Generations Metroplex, did you? Yeah, even though I said I liked the GEEWUN-ified Beast Hunters Shockwave (which is still in-stock at Hasbro Toy Shop, oddly) more, I really felt that SDCC pulled off a really cool homage by using the deco of the original toy. 10/10 would do stuff I would later regret doing to get my grubby hands on this particular version of Metroplex.
Favorite 2013 Transformers Moment In which we get mushy, soppy, and fanboyish. Burn talks to strangers. Mindmaster and myself say almost the same thing, and and we talk about comics, cartoons and conventions.
ScottyP - I'd never been to a small Transformers convention before, and Charticon 2013 was everything I could have expected and more. Cool panels, competent accommodations, fun events, fantastic (if unofficial) exclusives, and a massive dealer room to boot. Seriously, this dealer room was as big as Botcon's and I didn't have to travel across country to get to it. Plus, no other convention this year featured the following people in the same place at the same time: Counterpunch, Razorclaw0000, Jon 3.0, alexison, Superquad7, GetRightRobot, Arkvander, Daimchoc, bsutton, Flywheels, Gatchaman, the Lostreasures crew, and Aaron Archer, plus the 50 other people I forgot to list. Truly a memorable time and it's likely going to replace my Botcon trip in 2015. No offense to Funpub, this is just closer, cheaper, and fills the same void. No worries Pete and Brian, I'll pick up a non-attending set at the very least.
Seibertron - Recording the Seibertron.com Twincast/Podcast with about 2 dozen fellow Seibertronians at BotCon 2013. Now that was a fun night! Looking forward to doing it again at BotCon 2014.
El Duque - Toy Fair 2013 for sure. Ryan/Seibertron and I flew into what was being referred to as "Snowmageddon". The weather was so bad I feared my flight would be cancelled, but luckily we both made it. The first night was insane, New York City was on lock down so we pretty much had run of the city. The following day's Hasbro Media Day was intense. As I mentioned before, this where they revealed Generations Metroplex in all his Titan scale glory. Not to mention we got our first looks at Generations Springer, Blitzwing, the IDW Deluxes, and Beast Hunters Shockwave. It was an incredible event that I was lucky enough to make part in.
LOST Cybertronian - Since I am not caught up on the comics, Transformers Prime came to an end and I didn't attend BotCon, my favourite Transformers moment was attending the Greg Berger panel at TF Expo 2013 in Wichita, KS. What's better than having a professional and dedicated Transformers convention in your own city? Grimlock was my favourite character as a kid and there is nothing like listening to Greg tell stories about his time as Grimlock. He is a genuinely nice guy.
Autobot032 - The return of Transformers Prime to the air waves. It was hard to be patient during that pretty long hiatus. It was driving me nuts wanting to know how it would all end. Also saddened that it would, in fact, end. (Still very unhappy about that. Nothing you can do, though.) Sadly, the season was their weakest one yet and let me down pretty much all the way through.
Cyber Bishop - I have been enjoying the Regeneration one story line and how it is finishing up the original Marvel Transformer saga.
Mkall - I work shift work away from home. I'm gone for 4 weeks straight, and I'm back for 2. My absolute favourite Transformers-related moment is making the monthly pilgrimage to my local comic book shop, picking up the bushel of comics waiting for me, trundling home, and curling up on my couch to read them. I do miss Dreamwave's stories, but IDW isn't afraid to do things that we're not used to seeing in other Transformers mediums. I look forward to the gritty storylines of RID and MTMTE makes me chuckle every time. Keep going IDW, you're doing fine.
Va'al - Not only joining the Seibertron.com staff, but also swiftly getting promoted to comics person. Being able to read everything that IDW is offering, discussing things in detail, making sure the community on the site is active in the comics, art and creative side of things - and being recognised and complimented by the likes of Andrew Griffith, Alex Milne, James Roberts, JP Bove and Jim Sorenson for my work with reviews and interviews, at Auto Assembly and online! It feels good, I can tell you that (Bonus moment: being asked by Roberts to proofread the prose stories for More Than Meets the Eye Volume 5).
Mindmaster - Going to also have to say joining the Seibertron staff. It's nice to work with others who are just as devoted to this awesome hobby as myself. It also gives me something to do, other than browse Imgur or play some Halo/Assassin's Creed. Also, I get to see stuff ahead of time before others do. Handy, since I can get impatient when there's something I'm dying to see.
Burn - Receiving an incredibly large box at work containing an incredibly large Fortress Maximus re-issue. I mean really, how many of us have wanted this guy for decades and were over-joyed to finally receive him? The guy in Freight wanted to steal him off me. I told him no. Should have seen his reaction when Metroplex turned up!
What you're looking forward to in 2014 for Transformers In which Mkall mentions unmentionables, we all admit to actually being intrigued by Age of Extinction, and where our journey ends.
El Duque - BotCon 2014 has the potential to be great, it's the 30th Anniversary and a movie year. It's always fun to hang out with great people who share the same interests, which is really what makes BotCon fun.
Seibertron - BotCon 2014... Transformers 30th Anniversary, BotCon's 20th Anniversary, Seibertron.com's 14th Anniversary, getting to see all of our Seibertronian friends, and of course... hopefully a sneak peak at Transformers 4 Age of Extinction. What's not to love about that week?
ScottyP - I'm just going to make a list without much explanation: Botcon 2014; The conclusion of Dark Cybertron and then "Season 2" of the amazing MTMTE comic; Generations toys; Tentatively, Age of Extinction - movies always bring a few new awesome people into, or back into, this hobby; Although we've heard nothing about any of it, the potential for some more cool G1 reissues to tag along to the 30th has to be realized to some extent, and that's got me excited; The continuing wacky misadventures of the Twincast/Podcast.
Va'al - Counterintuitively, I'm looking forward to the end of ReGeneration One, just to see how they conclude what they started so long ago! That, and Dark Cybertron, and this new Windblade mini. A completely new artist, working with a good writer on a new, quasi-fan-made character - that has me intrigued. I'm also curious about what Auto Assembly will bring, and the rumoured Generations toys (Jhiaxus please?). And yes, go on, Age of Extinction, maybe, a little.
Burn - Obviously we have a movie coming up, I look forward to it, I don't expect much of it, I'm sure many of you will give me a headache when I wake up each morning and have to deal with the flame wars that will inevitably erupt each day. But what I'm looking forward to the most, is one particular figure. Masterpiece Wheeljack. We've seen the silhouette, and if he comes remotely close to some of the digital colourings we've seen, he's going to be one hell of a figure. It's also a reason why I just spent three hours re-organising my Transformers room so I can fit all the Masterpieces in as well! Oh and new episodes of Rescue Bots. Shut up, I like it.
So bring on 2014, hopefully my life will settle down enough for me to get back to enjoying TF's more than I didn't this year!
LOST Cybertronian - I am honestly look forward to Age of Extinction. I enjoy the movies for what they are and they give us some really great toys. I am also looking forward to attending TF Expo 2014.
Autobot032 - Age Of Extinction, for sure. I definitely want to see what Generations/Thrilling 30/Masterpiece has in store for us. If it's even half as good as we're all thinking it'll be, then this will be THE year for Transformers. They want to make good on the anniversary (and I can't blame them), so I think this year they might just pull out all the stops. I'm looking forward to being wowed. (C'mon Hasbro, don't fail me now!)
Cyber Bishop - More Generations figures, hopefully a decent Galvatron or Arcee.. And Whirl.. So much awesomeness coming down the pike it is not funny.
Mindmaster - Too easy. More Generations figures (specifically that smexy Armada Starscream), BotCon 2014 and what will be shown there, and Masterpiece Star Saber. Oh, and I’m hoping that the mystery of the “Grimlock testshot with a Beast Wars Megatron head” will be solved like Dreadwing was.
Mkall - There was a leaked list put out a couple months back, highlighting all the upcoming Transformers figures and products that will be released, most likely through to the middle of the year, if not further. On that list was a healthy assortment of awesome-sounding Generations figures. What I'm most looking forward to is seeing these images for the first time. Nothing quite matches the energy of the fandom when seeing a figure for the first time.
There's also the movie, which I'll see because however it ends up, it'll be entertaining. Other than that, I can look forward to taking the line off, because I don't collect movie figures. This'll allow me to actually save some money, but who am I kidding? It'll all go to figures of an... how shall I put it... unofficial nature.
BONUS FEATURE: Goat of the Year 2013
Linkin Park Soundwave
ScottyP - This is exactly the opposite of the SG Soundwave vs Blaster release I talked about above. The box is amazing and the molds are G1 fun happy times, but everything else stinks. The price is too high, it has no place on a shelf, it has literally two of the same toy, and it's just damn ugly. This is not how to do a high priced exclusive.
And so, with 2014 upon us, our favourite giant space transforming robots turning 30, Michael Bay exploding his way into cinemas this summer, Seibertron.com turning 14, we leave our heroes to return to their daily lives in their various time zones. We looked at 2013 with both affection and disdain, contempt and satisfaction, fear and loathing... but eventually took the best out of it all with us, in our minds and on our shelves.
But what did you, our community of fellow Seibertronians, think? What was your 2013 in Transformers? Do you have other suggestions? Do you disagree with the staff picks? Let us know your own take on the categories, or create your own. And don't forget to check out the latest podcast episode, which has even more views on 2013!
For now, that's all from Autobot032, Burn, Cyber Bishop, El Duque, LOST Cybertronian, Mindmaster, Mkall, Seibertron, ScottyP and myself, the brokeback Brit with girly arms, Va'al.
It was roughly 10 years ago that a series called Transformers Armada was released. Join Seibertron.com staff members Blurrz, Counterpunch and Razorclaw0000, as they journey back a decade. They celebrate Armada in all of its fashion, as the trio critique the successful toy line, domestically as well as internationally, and show their passion (or disdain) for each figure.
The calm before…
Blurrz: It’s hard for me to imagine that it was a decade ago when a cartoon captivated me like none other. While some find that this series was a grotesque shame on the Transformers brand, it shares a special place in my toy collecting heart for eternity. Transformers Armada entered into my life at the exact time - any younger and I’d really have no funds to tackle a competent collection, any older and I’d be trapped in the stigma of adolescent youth. I ask myself time and time again, if Armada had switched places with Energon or Robots In Disguise, wouldn’t I be as attached to it as with Armada? The answer is simply no, there’s this feel to Armada that I personally can’t fixate with in contrast to any other series.
Counterpunch: Oddly enough, I didn't much like Armada at first glance. I was buying RiD toys at the time. I jumped back into the hobby after several years of absence. RiD was where I expected the toys to be. Armada was...not exactly what I expected. I bought the toys way before I even watched the show. There were enough interesting molds going into wave two that my curiosity was piqued.
Razorclaw0000: I was working in a deli in the basement of my local Boscov's Department Store during my Junior year of college. I was just starting back into collecting, and had maybe a half-dozen figures, when I stumbled across Armada Starscream. There was something about the look, maybe the Anime-esque look, maybe the distinctive plane mode, and maybe the little Minicon that pushed all the right buttons.
Blurrz: When Armada hit, it was a bit of a frenzy and a rumble. I had to get the figures when they came out. When a new character came up open the screen, I just had to pick him up. That’s really no longer possible, as evidenced by Transformers Animated, whose character cast was too large to be put into a toyline, and Transformers Prime, in which their toys had a comparable delay time to any Blizzard product. There were relatively no store exclusives, and if there were, they wouldn’t be a show character. Despite how many antagonize the toys, one cannot question Armada’s unwavering availability and unlimited playability.
Counterpunch: Jetfire, Starscream, and Megatron were awesome enough that I began to wonder what the other figures were like. I ended up liking the line/concept/show before I even realized it. I began finding reasons to buy new and different figures. Even toys that were problems at the time, like Hot Shot and Sideswipe I found ways to justify purchasing, even if it was out of curiosity. I'm glad I did though, the figures were large and detailed. Though I couldn't put my finger on the issue at the time, in retrospect, what I really liked about these toys was how they reminded me of the late G1 figures that I grew up with.
Razorclaw0000: Blurrz brought up a great point. I vividly remember the releases of figures coinciding very closely with their on-screen appearances. It was so close, that I remember driving 20+ miles to pick up Side Swipe just to have him in time for that episode, that night. What a surprise that was...
Blurrz: The small guys were the stars of the cartoon show, and equally, the stars of the Armada toyline. Each bulk (bigger figure) came with a mini-con, and more importantly as we discuss, there was the release of the individual mini-con teams. 10 different teams, composed of 3, were released domestically alongside their variants.
For the Autobots and Decepticons in the Armadaverse, it was paramount that they control the three most powerful weapons, the Star Saber, the Skyboom Shield, and the Requiem Blaster. In toy form, that was the Air Defense Team, the Race Team and the Space Team, respectively, all capable of being wielded by any bulk with 5 mm peg hands. The Star Saber is combined from the parts of Jetstorm, Runway, and Sonar, all planes in some form or the other. While in fiction the Star Saber would be comparable to the Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, the planes don’t flush well together in toy form. Still they are aesthetically pleasing with their whites, bold blues and translucent plastic. They were repainted into their evil variants, the Air Assault team. However grey plastic replaced clear plastic, leaving much to be desired.
The impenetrable Skyboom Shield was composed of Mirage, Downshift and Dirt Boss. Speedsters and a SUV, the cars were colored with whites, yellows and greys, and featured pleasant articulation. Structurally the team makes a rather large shield, and is imposing on the likes of Jetfire, Megatron and Hoist, while laughable in the hands of Hot Shot or Side Swipe. They were repainted in imposing red and black colors, however their predecessor has much better character.
Lastly we have the Requiem Blaster, or in team names, the Space Team. Payload, Sky Blast and Astroscope all have individual colors, and aren’t exactly a trio of mini-con’s you’d normally expect to combine. The colors are not exactly the problem either, as the combined gun form is oddly flimsy, especially if your Astroscope is loose. All in all, out of the power weapon mini-con teams in Armada, the original Star Saber – the Air Defense team is my favorite and the superior!
Counterpunch: The Land Military Team was the first set of Mini-cons I purchased. Bonecrusher, Knock-out, and Wreckage were all various forms of military style missile trucks. In many ways, they were the easiest for collectors to come to terms with as legitimate transformers. They look like the Micromasters of yesteryear and somehow avoid the goofiness other Mini-cons gained when attached to larger figures. You could almost view them as Targetmasters but they were actually decent figures in their own right both in robot mode and vehicle mode. I'd even recommend them today for someone looking at a place to start with Mini-cons. Honorable mentions go out to their uniform color scheme cousins in the Night Attack team, who in addition to having cool colors, have an awesome sinister name.
Then there's the unfortunate but somewhat necessary Street Action team. Ever wanted a bicycle Transformer, a skateboard Transformer? how about a moped Transformer? Me neither, but Highwire, Grindor, and Sureshock were core characters to the show. Now, Grindor is great. The others? Not so much... That being said, their ability to combine into Perceptor (in name only) was AWESOME. Perceptor, despite his limited articulation is legit. He's a cool concept and character I would not mind seeing a return of.
The Sea team is almost a continuation of the Street Speed team's advances in engineering. Waterlog, Oceanglide, and Stormcloud are all great little Transformers with solid transformations, great amounts of detail for Mini-cons, and useful joints. Their variety of colors across all releases will inevitably make it so that there is some version out there you like. Additionally, because of their missile launchers, they make for decent Targetmaster style figures just like the Land Military team did.
I keep talking about these pseudo Targetmasters but the Emergency team was the real deal. These were the guys everyone was waiting for, legitimate three-mode Mini-cons. Prowl, Firebot, and Makeshift were also interesting in that they were some of the few Mini-cons to make purposeful use of clear plastic. Even among those who hated Armada and Mini-cons, this team was almost universally loved for its versatility and ability to mix in with almost any line.
Razorclaw0000: The Air Military team is another Targetmaster homage, with each member transforming into some type of weapon, all the emphasis here is decidedly more melee. Thunderwing transforms from robot to SR-71 style stealth jet, to a three pronged claw weapon. Terradive is the second member of the team, transforming from robot, to "flying wing" stealth bomber, to a "ninja star" or shield. Interestingly Terradive's port is actually on a swivel, allowing him to spin freely when powerlinked to a bulk. Finally, Gunbarrel rounds out the team, transforming from robot to cargo plane to six barreled gattling gun.
The Street Speed team has the dubious distinction of being the most articulated Mini-con teams produced, as well as toying with several copyright and trademark violations. Backtrack is almost completely a Cadillac XLR in a rather unrealistic shade of green. Oval continues the trend of mimicking real vehicles by transforming into a Saleen S7 in a muddy orange color. Finally, Spiral takes a stab at ripping off the Germans, with a deep blue Mercedes C-Class alternate mode. While the articulation was impressive for the time, all three figures can suffer from loose, floppy joints, and may have difficulty not falling apart completely. This is a team that is either loved or hated.
Next, the Destruction Team makes up for limited articulation by packing in some interesting play features, particularly with Cyclonus. Each figure featured a center roller which would activate some action feature when rolling along, and there was a small gear and clip mechanism which allowed them to dock to the underside of Cyclonus. Spinning the rotors would trigger the gear and cause the action to occur. Dualor is the most straightforward, transforming into a dual-barrelled reciprocating tank. His gimmick works well and he's impressively bulky for a Mini-con. Next, Drill Bit transforms into a giant, well, drill. There are some small issues to his design, however, as the body of the drill is blocked by his legs, which transform into the wheels and bed of the vehicle. The drill does spin quite well. Lastly, Buzzsaw does not actually transform into a saw. Instead, the vehicle is technically a "Bucket Wheel Excavator", and his rotating bucket/blade works extremely well.
Finally, the Adventure Team uses the same gimmicks as the Destruction Team, but unfortunately suffers from having gimmicks that don't make as much sense docked to Cyclonus. Dune Runner starts off the set as a dune buggy with roof mounted machine gun. This feature works well both in rolling and attached to Cyclonus, in theory, but minor tolerance issues prevent the gun from turning smoothly. Iceberg is the next figure in the team, transforming into a snow plow tank with opening and closing plow jaws. Again, minor tolerance issues prevent this gimmick from triggering on Cyclonus, but the vehicle mode is a lot of fun. Finally, Ransack is a green jeep with a real working winch. Unfortunately, the winch aspect doesn't work very well at all with Cyclonus, as a few short turns will have the length of string fully retracted.
Out of all the Mini-con three packs, the Sea Team is probably still my favorite, particularly with Waterlog's elegant transformation and real knees.
Blurrz: With hindsight, the Armada super-con figures, or in modern terms - Deluxe class figures - aren’t exactly a breakthrough in Transformers toy technology. They aren’t going to hold much against the modern figures, such as the Classics or the Generations, but they have their own uniqueness to them. What they lacked in articulation due to their gimmick-based interactions with their mini-con partners, they made up in playability and overall ‘fun’.
Tackling the Autobot super-cons, we have the first wave release, Hot Shot. Hindered by the axle-bazooka system, Hot Shot still offers movement in the important areas, however he won’t be moving his head anytime soon. Being in the year 2012, we expect our Transformers to offer both great alternate modes, as well as robot modes. Hot Shot isn’t exactly endearing to that philosophy, but his mini-con partner Jolt interacts well with Hot Shot’s vehicle mode. Not the best figure on the Armada market and not one you’ll have a struggle with when trying to obtain it on the secondary market. Much like a handful of figures at the end of the Armada toyline, Hot Shot was repainted as Powerlink Hot Shot, homaging Generation Hot Rod. While this repaint doesn’t exactly increase the mold’s stock, it’s certainly a nice change for those who were tired of seeing yellow (get out of here Cheetor)
Armada Blurr also fits in to the same category as Hot Shot, as in he has a great vehicle mode, but his robot mode is still a few years behind. The Lamborghini-Ferrari-something can grow wings thanks to Red Bull and Blurr’s mini-con partner, Incinerator. In robot mode, the majority of his car bits are a massive backpack, and Blurr has limited arm movement and no knee joints. The colors are aesthetically pleasing, but alas, hindered by the mold’s interaction with Incinerator.
Next up to bat is what some claim to be the worst Transformer of all time. It’s funny that this figure also fits into the same category as Blurr and Hot Shot. Despite the lack of suitors for Armada Side Swipe (Not Sideswipe, please don't mix the two!), the young Autobot warrior features a rather sleek vehicle mode, and up to its release date in 2002, offered one of the most realistic alternate modes the Transformers fanbase had ever seen. Side Swipe even featured a fun and interactive powerlinking gimmick with his mini-con partner, Nightstick. However folding the car’s pieces and parts into robot mode yields a nightmare. Side Swipe has the chunkiest limbs, kibble, and clumsy articulation. The figure has a tendency to just not stay still. It surprises me that this figure has as many repaints as it does, and its character was even homaged in this year’s BotCon set. Well….. there are cults for worse things I suppose.
Smokescreen isn't a very popular toy, and I can’t wonder why. Yes, he does not exactly have the best articulation, and he’s a bit chunky, but isn't that what should be expected for the tough guy of the group? His gimmick is a large crane on his shoulder; it’s the saving grace and also the downfall of Smokescreen. Its size will likely topple the figure in robot mode unless you position it properly, but its interaction with the mini-con Liftor turns the crane into a massive sniper rifle! Smokescreen even has a working winch, which fits with the rescue vehicle theme. While Smokescreen is full of fun, his min-con Liftor is also worth a shot, the little guy is sturdy and is solid in both modes.
Next up is another underrated figure, Armada Hoist. Smokescreen’s character in Armada kicked the can, but he was then resurrected as Hoist. Hoist is a construction vehicle with a giant crane-claw, and his mini-con Refute is one of the tallest in the scale. Despite Hoist’s massive crane-claw, he has the best articulation of all of the deluxe figures, as he can actually bend his legs 90 degrees!
Rounding up the batch is Armada Optimus Prime. He’s got quite the hype as being a great figure, and yet I think it’s more because the bigger Optimus Prime had a lot of follies to it. To me, he’s not that great, but I get my panties in a bunch when it comes to scale and Armada figures. Optimus Prime, also known as Bendy Prime features good, all around articulation, and a fighter/gun mini-con partner in Over-Run. (No, not this Over-Run!) I’d recommend this figure, but you probably already have it, and if you don’t, there’s the Nemesis version which Razor will allude to. Out of the figures we have here, the best Armada Autobot Super-con would have to be Hoist. He’s all around dynamic and you’ll always love that sound when you hear his gear-joints bend! The mold is also worth it in his Cybertron Longrack remold or the rather lucrative BotCon Dinobot version.
Counterpunch: It seems that the Decepticon Supercons (deluxe figures) are up to me. These toys all feature an interesting if largely unnoticed design point: They are all asymetrical. It's not that obvious and it's not that big a deal but it's there. The idea was to show the Cons as being edgier in this manner. It kind of worked and if you examine the toys you'll pick up on the little cues that show it off.
The first wave of figures gave us Demolisher and Cyclonus. Now neither of these guys are going to go down in the annals of TF history as being marvels of engineering but they are interesting never the less.
Demolisher is perhaps the best Decepticon Supercon. His transformation is clean, he locks together, and while he doesn't have modern articulation, he still has a great number of useful joints. His...head doesn't rotate, so there's that. -_- To make up for it, Demolisher has perhaps the best integration of Mini-con to Bulk out of the entire line. His Mini-con Blackout is useful no matter what mode Demolisher is in and there is even a third mode to compliment all this. Demolisher even has a nifty and fully functioning gimmick to shoot Blackout across a table in vehicle mode.
To make this $10 marvel (yes, deluxes used to be huge and 30% less expensive) even better, he has several Macross-style bot configurations where his arms can fold up into artillery formations. It's a nice touch that really makes use of his missile firing gimmick.
Cyclonus is less awesome but perhaps equally interesting. He has the same articulation range as Demolisher and even as good a Mini-con integration but that's where the similarities end. Cyclonus seems to have been the starting point for an abandoned Mini-con gimmick that would pair geared Minicons up with Bulks who could implement those mechanics. (You can see on Hoist where this might have been implemented had it continued) So there are a whole host of Mini-cons who work only with Cyclonus. (Spoiler: They don't work well with him)
In vehicle mode, Cyclonus is kind of awesome. The helicopter is well done, the blades spin properly, and kids can hold it in a gun-style way for pretending he flies. All and all, a nice figure. His robot mode...not so much. His missile firing gimmick is hampered by the need for a Mini-con and he has what are in all honesty, stupid guns in his knees. Despite his joints, he is virtually impossible to pose in any meaningful way and his head looks like he's hiding in a turtle shell. So...yea. When people point at Armada with an accusatory finger, it's because of figures like this. You should still track one down though. He has a little gun that goes back and forth when his blades rotate and that...is very cool.
Thrust typifies all that was wrong with Armada. He has another, though this time criminally bad, abandoned mechanic. He has no real hands. He has a fake transformation. But...his vehicle mode is rather nice and his Mini-con is quite good actually. Thrust is even somewhat posable in robot mode if you can maneuver around his giant hanging cockpit.
I went there.
What happened with this figure is that he was essentially ruined by his gimmick. Though it is unobtrusive, all the engineering went towards its integration so several important things like...hands were factored out. Thrust is a loss and I would never recommend him to someone. But he's not a complete loss despite what I just said. The figure is very well detailed and the transformation is good if not a bit cheat-y. If you are completing an Armada cast, you could do worse than paying the $8 it would take to get this guy and have him standing majestically behind Galvatron with betrayal in his squid-eyes.
On the other hand, we have Wheeljack, who still holds up to today's standards in many ways. Wheeljack has simple and straightforward articulation and a simple but mechanically interesting transformation. He's large, detailed, and honestly quite well done. His Mini-con Wind Sheer is even pretty decent as Mini-cons go in design and shape.
Wheeljack turns into a slick black (or gray depending on your hemisphere) car. He has a M.A.S.K. style gimmick when you apply his Mini-con and God knows why we never got a red redeco of him. Some people might be turned away by his insignia, which shows off his faction change but I suspect more will be endeared by it. I only wish he had a larger and more pronounced Decepticon symbol.
For those who really like this figure, I suggest you track down the Japanese or Korean versions. The black and blue deco is easily nicer and more show accurate than the gray and yellow North American version.
Out of all these guys, I would recommend Demolisher. He's everything an Armada figure should be and I feel that he holds up very well after all these years, even if he has to turn his entire torso to look to the left. (but he can! He has a waist joint...)
Razorclaw0000: Lastly, we have Unicron's Agents from both the cartoon and comics. Sideways is one of the two Mini-Con Headmasters in the line, but actually features two different heads. A futuristic, if chunky, motorcycle, Sideways transformed into an oddly articulated "ninja", but lacks traditional fist holes, knees, a waist, and features some odd arm articulation. Despite that, Sideways has a special place in my heart. His Minicons, Rook and Crosswise also exhibit the ability to merge into a single, surprisingly articulated, robot rider for Sideways' bike mode. This, combined with the campy Headmaster gimmick, grant Sideways a pass, from being a forgettable mess, to maintaining a place, to this day, on my shelves. An odd variant exists, with the factions swapped between both Mini-cons.
Next, Nemesis Prime is a sinister redeco of the Super-con Optimus Prime mold, which Blurrz has so elegantly described. Hot off their successes with RID Scourge, Hasbro and Takara wished to cement the idea of a "Black Prime" as more than just hyper-exclusive repaints in Japan. A monstrous beast in the show, Nemesis Prime sported a strange dark gray, teal, and dusty brown color scheme, punctuated by intense red highlights. In a twist of a pun, his Minicon is slyly named "Run Over", a corruption of Super-con Prime's Over Run. Because of Nemesis Prime's show nature, and a rare case ratio, this figure still commands a comparatively high price on secondary market, easily outpacing other Super-cons by two to three times. Micron Legend Scourge at first glance appears to be similar to Nemesis Prime, but virtually every color has been replaced. The main body is different. The reds are different. The details are different. Scourge is virtually impossible to track down at this point, and frankly the domestic version is heading there as well.
The Super-con line was filled out by four Beast Wars redecos, featuring dead Minicon ports molded in key places. All four sport decos significantly different from their Beast Wars personas, with darker tones. Cheetor is paired with Cliffjumper, a redeco of Ransack. Rhinox is also paired with another Adventure Team redeco, Armorhide, from the Iceberg mold. Terrorsaur completes the Adventure Team pairings, joining Ironhide, a redeco of Dune Runner. Lastly, Airazor gets her partner Nightscream from the Street Speed Team, a redeco of Oval. While absent from the cartoon, these characters feature prominently in the defunct Dreamwave Armada and Energon comics, making them a must for any fan of those series.
Out of all the Super-cons, my favorite is probably Nemesis Prime, because he was from a time when the idea was still relatively fresh, and I have a soft spot for figures that have puns in their name. Run Over is a great little guy.
Blurrz: Max-cons, or in today’s terms – Voyager Class – were bold, big, and sometimes were just annoying all together. If you were max-con or bigger, it was likely that you’d have light and sounds.p RED ALERT RED ALERT RED ALERT WEEWOOWEEWOO
Armada Scavenger, a character who homages the Decepticon G1 Scavenger, was first acknowledged as a Decepticon in the cartoon, but then switched sides to the Autobots. Everyone wants to be Counterpunch, eh? Just because Scavenger is bigger, doesn’t mean he deviates from the Armada super-con formula. At the heart of the figure, there is just a giant brick. It makes for a great truck, as Scavenger has a solid alternate mode – his mini-con Rollbar, if in robot mode, fits right into the canopy of Scavenger acting as the truck driver. You also have rolling treads and a moving scooper. This doesn’t exactly yield the brightest robot mode, as Scavenger doesn’t exactly have what we’d call ‘legs’. Still, as an Armada figure, it went big on the gimmick factor and is still a fun figure to toy around with.
Next up we have Red Alert, taking the form of a rescue vehicle. The mode is rather bland until you perch the mini-con Longarm on to the back of Red Alert, and thus begins the electronics: RED ALERT RED ALERT WEE WOO WEE WOO. Transformed, Red Alert offers a bunch of fancy gadgets and moderate articulation. He has interchangeable hand weapons, a chest disc-launcher, a giant shoulder gun/handheld gun, and RED ALERT RED ALERT WEE WOO WEE WOO. The mold’s repaint is Powerlinx Red Alert, exchanging the medic red and white with vibrant blue and orange. Still, the same old RED ALERT WEE WOO WEE WOO. Out of these two, I’d have to give it to Mr. Wee Woo for actually having legs and the best……. or annoying electronics in the line.
Counterpunch: I can't believe I didn't get to write on Red Alert...
More Decepticons for me. Seekers. Starscream, other Starscream, and Skywarp. Yes, yes...the package for Thundercracker says Thundercracker but by the show it was Super Mode Starscream.
These guys are the same so I'm not going to split the discussion up too much. This mold is very G1-esq to me. It's big, bulky, and has limited or fake articulation. The legs have a full range of front to back movement but no side to side movement. All versions of this guy will be standing at attention. Likewise, his arms have several points of articulation, none of which help to show that Starscream is a master swordsman in Armada.
This mold is a brick, but that's ok.
Jet mode is interesting. It's large and well detailed. It's perhaps one of the best Cybertronian jet designs we've seen. Mini-con integration on this figure is well done with two distinct ways to actively engage it's workings.
The primary gimmick on this figure is the flip out Null Ray cannons. As far as gimmicks go, this one is quite screen accurate but also one of the drawbacks the mold suffers from. Where as on-screen, Starscream has a flat back, the toy is forced to have a large backpack to accommodate the cannons. Were there a simple hinge back there to fold the whole thing down further, the toy would have been near perfect.
Now, this Starscream is a swordsman. His blade is quite interestingly stored in his left wing. Removing the wing arms him and gives that asymmetrical look once again that was discussed before. Now, the show plays off the whole sword thing much better than the toy but the gimmick is quite clever and truly unique. I wish his articulation gave him a bit more use of the blade or that the handle was placed differently but this is a very fun alteration to Starscream's usual character portrayal.
Let's talk interesting toy history here. The US and Japanese versions have two distinct differences. The US versions have a slanted nosecone. It's pointed down in the way that some supersonic jets have an angled nosecone. This was ultimately a safety thing. The angle allows the nosecone to collapse if your kid brother charges at you with Starscream pointed straight out as to avoid impaling you. The Japanese (and Korean) versions are straight and more accurate to the show.
The other significant difference is in the paint details and masking. The US versions of Starscream and Thundercracker do a really ugly version of masking on the symbols to just plop purple on there. The Japanese versions are painted, detailed, and lined. The difference is staggering. Further, the US version of Starscream is gray and the Japanese version is white(ish). YMMV depending on what you're willing to pay. Oddly enough, Skywarp, who got a US release and a very limited Japanese release in US packaging has the properly done and painted symbols.
Out of the the three US versions of this, go for Skywarp. He has the best paint decos, a unique, different, and quality Mini-con, and an interesting head sculpt that makes him anyone you might want him to be. If we're talking the best version overall in my opinion, I would say that the Japanese Super Mode (Thundercracker) Starscream is the best. The colors and deco just shine and the toy looks brilliant.
Razorclaw0000: Did someone order a brick? Featuring almost G1 levels of articulation, Overload was the last original mold Voyager for the toyline. With only shoulder, hip, and head swivels, Overload still managed to be thoroughly impressive with his shoulder mounted missile batteries and giant fists ready to pummel any Decepticon into scrap. The toy’s articulation was scrapped to allow him to become a pair of giant shoulder mounted cannons for Superbase Prime. His third mode is a large launchpad/trailer, which can carry Jetfire and be towed behind Prime’s trailer, creating a massive convoy of Autobot might. Overload was also one of the first modern toys to include the iconic transformation noise we’ve all come to know, love, and subsequently despise as it’s included in dozens of figures over the years. Finally, Overload featured a unique interaction with his Mini-con, Rollout. Instead of having a typical transformation, with Rollout activating some feature, Rollout became the head and chest of Overload, unveiling a proportionate head and slotting into a giant cavity in the main body.
As with the Super-Cons, the Gigacon range also feature a Beast Wars remold and redeco, in the form of “Predacon”, a repaint and slight retool of the Transmetal Megatron mold, with added Powerlinx hard points. The figure features arguably the best deco of that mold, in rich greens, browns, and grays, with a dash of orange for visual pop. Predacon is also notable for coming with two Mini-cons, Side Burn and Skid-Z, which round out a full team of Street Speed redecos with Air Razor’s Nightscream partner.
Out of all the Max-Cons, the Starscream mold still has a soft spot for me, as it’s the figure I originally discovered in that dark Boscov’s basement and set me on the path to the raving lunatic completionist I am today.
Blurrz: Space shuttle Transformers are few and far between and yet for their lack of numbers, Armada Jetfire certainly makes up for it. Jetfire epitomizes the ‘White Knight’ character, as he gallants in with his wings, engines and massive blaster. His mini-con Comettor is specific as it acts as Jetfire’s landing gear in alternate mode. Combined with his shield and Comettor, Jetfire can roll out on the ground, as well as fly without it. Jetfire also has droppable missiles, but they are rather bland. Amidst transformation, you’ll find that Jetfire’s blaster/rifle has been blessed or cursed with electronics, a countdown sound, the G1-Autobot blaster sound, and if a mini-con is attached, a blaster sound. Now fully transformed, Jetfire has a bunch of nice hawk-like aesthetics, and is full of character. My personal favorite with Jetfire is his ability to yield all of the power weapons (Blaster, Saber, & Shield) at the same time, with two of the weapons in his hands and the last of the trio perched on his wings. Jetfire also has the ability to bolster the power of Optimus Prime by combining with him, but we’ll leave the question of ‘who wears the pants in the relationship’ for later on. Jetfire was repainted under the Powerlinx Banner into a combination of blue and grey, homaging Jetfire’s pre-Transformers origin (Macross/Robotech). Overall you can’t really go wrong with a Jetfire figure, whether it’s in Armada, Energon or Cybertron.
Counterpunch: I'm lucky in that I get to talk about my favorite Armada figure, Megatron.
Imagine Megatron taken to a samurai extreme. He'd be a ruthless killer, willing to do anything or step on anyone to get to his ends, and all of this would be bent around a form of honor that somehow, only he and his rival understand. That's Armada Megatron. Now, the cartoon version is a bit hammy but the comic version...now there is a villain.
I dream of a TF comic where Armada Megatron goes around to different multiverses killing off the Megatron in that world Highlander style. I digress.
Megatron actually has a good range of movement in his top half. He even has bicep swivels that most people don't know about due to how tight the joint is. His lower half is another thing entirely. He is essentially immobile below the waist. Now he can combine with Tidal Wave but...honestly, that's a mess.
His tank mode is perhaps the best H-tank this side of Generations Warpath. The transformation is clean and there's not really any kibble in either mode. He can hold, store, or capture Mini-cons in virtually any part of his alt mode. Additionally, there are two different ways to fire missiles out of this mode, both of which work well.
Robot mode has several gimmicks but coolest of all his his hidden shiv in his hand. Even if this Megatron is close to losing a fight, there's always a chance you'll get shanked. Megatron has perhaps the most useful Mini-con ports for attaching extra Mini-cons and not looking ridiculous. Spots on his arms and legs as well as his back allow him to hold 4-5 of the little guys and look perfectly balanced.
In looking at this mold, I would recommend Megatron over Galvatron. Megatron's color scheme is classic and well balanced. You can always pay a little bit extra and get the Japanese version for the improved faction symbols too. Galvatron in his US colors is a nice figure but it is still a white and lavender color palette and many people will not have a place for that outside of an Armada shelf. Of note, the Japanese version of Galvatron has a more accurate color scheme but that one is actually white and pink-ish purple. He's considerably more difficult to come by when compared to the US version of Galvatron.
Razorclaw0000:Tidal Wave rounds out the Giga-Cons, and has the dubious distinction of having even less meaningful articulation than Overload! However, don’t let this brickish brute fool you; Tidal Wave is an imposing addition to anyone’s collection. Comprised of three naval vessels – an aircraft carrier, a hovercraft, and a submarine-ish thing, Tidal Wave combines in a similar fashion to Beast Wars Neo Magamatron. Each vessel lacks an individual robot mode, but instead combines to create either a giant warship, or the robot mode of Tidal Wave. One of the tallest figures in the line, with the exception of Unicron, Tidal Wave can raise his arms, and that’s it. The legs are articulated, but only laterally, so if you’d like to have Tidal Wave doing the splits, you are set.
Tidal Wave also features the ability to combine with the Megatron mold, creating a set of overpowered arm gauntlets and a booster pack to compliment Megatron’s already absurd cannon mode. Paired with the smallest Mini-con, Ramjet, Tidal Wave is large enough to accommodate a fully functional elevator on the deck of the aircraft carrier to deploy Ramjet.
Tidal Wave also features a second, also dubious, distinction. He is the most different in deco from the Armada and Micron Legend releases. While the Armada version looks like a crayon factory accident, with olive green, gray, neon red, purple, gold, and dark gray, the Micron Legend deco simplifies to a lush purple, softer orange, and grays, unifying the decos between the three vessels, and building a beautiful palette of destruction.
If you like big, chunky, feature filled figures, Tidal Wave has should be on your purchase list. A word of caution, however… all the Armada and Micron Legend versions of this figure feature a design defect in the “armpits” that will fire the missiles accidentally and constantly. This flaw is fixed in the sublime Energon deco.
Garry Chalk Optimus Prime
Blurrz: By itself, the Optimus Prime figure is about the size of an Ultra figure, and I’m sort of lethargic and depraved to say anything good about it. The only thing that this version of Prime has on the deluxe version is his size and how it fits in with the rest of the scale for Armada. Out of all of the Armada figures, Optimus was hit the hardest when it comes to gimmicks, as they force him to not do anything else. Prime is one of the most static modern-day large Transformers. However when he takes the 1+ Mushroom, which Counterpunch is about to talk about, he gets a little better.
Counterpunch: Optimus has several versions of powered modes and in a way they became the symbol for any kind of Prime combiner mode. First off, Prime has the ability to combine with his trailer. What's really cool about this is the way in which you can have the trailer auto-transform for the merge. There is an infra-red light signal that cues the trailer to mechanically reconfigure for this mode. Prime then forms the upper half. Once combined, there's only limited arm movement and a head turn. It's more about stature and the fact that you can have the trailer reconfigure itself rather than making a bigger more posable prime. There's also a light gimmick that extends into his gun if positioned properly.
On top of this, you can attach Overload as a massive gun battery atop his shoulders. The instructions basically have you cram in on there but there is a series of latches that make it surprisingly secure. I have a hard time imagining who Prime needs this kind of firepower to go up against. Overload as a gun system looks like some kind of mass-murder machine...
Additionally or apart from Overload, Prime can combine with Jetfire who replaces the trailer and becomes a set of winged legs, presumably for flight mode. Don't be fooled, there is no added posability here but he does look damn cool with all of these units combined into one Supreme Optimus.
Razorclaw0000:Sparkplug is Prime’s Minicon, homaging both the G1 human by name, and very clearly Bumblebee by appearance, complete with the iconic horns on his tiny head. Transforming into a highly generalized Lamborghini, this mold remains one of my favorites today, with its clean lines and surprisingly complex transformation.
Blurrz: To this day, I still think of Unicron as a Transformers piece that is unrivaled. He’s menacing, loading with articulation, gimmicks and is a Transformers figure that everyone needs to own in one form or the other (Energon/2010/Amazon Exclusive). I remember getting Unicron for Christmas back in ’03, and it was a thrill to receive. I still remember the agony of having to hack him open from the jumble of twist-ties he was trapped in. He’s also got a really well engineered mini-con named Dead End, in which his mass appearance in the cartoon resulted in an increase in popularity and a penchant for Dead End to be army built.
Counterpunch: Actually during the time of writing this article, we're in the middle of packing for yet another move. I have my four Unicrons out, ready for packing and my wife comments on them, "I remember when you got that and how impressive it was. I never thought we'd see a Transformer that big again...and you have four of him now." She was right though, Unicron was a big deal when he came out. It's almost a "you had to be there" thing at this point. Funny thing for me is, I'm not sure we'll ever see a Transformer this big again considering how things are going.
Razorclaw0000: This guy was it for me. He cemented my love for the character and the awful chaos he represents. With the creation of this figure and the accompanying fiction across both the Unicron trilogy and the Universe 2003 line, my quest to collect all things Unicronian began. Years later that awful quest morphed into the disease of completionism, but Unicron was the dark seed that set me off.
The Legend of Micron
Blurrz: While Takara had their own toy line in with Beast Wars II and Neo, it was never until Armada, or in Japan – Micron Legend - that every Takara figure started to have their own differences in contrast to Hasbro figures. With two piles to pick from, Transformers collectors started to change their collecting habits. Takara’s Micron Legend focused more on show accuracy, and with that I have to say my favorite variant would have to be Blurr, or in Takara terms, Silverbolt. Silverbolt’s deco gives a new feel to the figure, as his yellow-stained windows are now red. Even his micron Incinerator, now called, Turbot, features a new deco. It’s just these little things that made Micron Legend deserve a second glance from me, and now I’m proud to own a majority of the Micron Legend figures.
Counterpunch: I've spoke a bit about this in my post but for me the most interesting difference between the Hasbro and Takara releases is Tidal Wave. It's a complete change in colors and really manages to give the big guy a color scheme that screams "death bringer". As a dark horse candidate, I'd mention Jetfire who's ML color swaps are simple but brilliant.
Razorclaw0000: As CP alluded to, Jetfire destroys his domestic counterpart by replacing the “heat scorched” white with the most crisp and pure white ever seen on a toy. The figure gleams in gorgeous brilliance. I’m also a fan of the “crystal” standard/deluxe Optimus Prime mold.
The I In Team
Blurrz: Blind packs, new decos, exclusives and the sort. Micron Legend went full force with their mini-con friends, and to this day I’m still trying to track down every mini-con that has been released by Takara. My counterparts are jerks. way ahead of me in that race, but I still have a fair share of little guys. Out of all of the Micron Legend variants, I have to say that my favorite would have to be X-Dimension Glide, whos blend of black, white, orange and chrome come together in a beautiful combination. Glide is a part of the X-Dimension Air Military team, and his teammates are gems as well! No don’t mind me as I start to cry myself to sleep as Counterpunch and Razorclaw0000 brag about their favorite micron.
Counterpunch: I will be forever grateful as a fan of Microns to JRFitzpatrick for setting me up with my Linkage Microns. I remember them when they came out but did not understand their relevance until later. The fiction tied into these guys and their simple but balanced color choices really work for me.
Honorable mentions go to Atlas and Rod who are wonderful vibrant redecos of Sparkplug.
Razorclaw0000: The AquaRaiderteam, a DVD repaint of the Sea Team, is stunning in rich dark bluish grays that compliment Nemesis Prime exceedingly well. Also, the X-DimensionDestructionteam gets a nod for the luxurious metallic orange and teal paints that would fit in with any modern United figure. Finally, the MicronBoosterEmergency Team repaint, in all of its “Minty Fresh” glory delight me, with emerald transparent plastics.
Blurrz: When Armada was done, I was taken aback by the fact that it was finished. I went on a Transformers hiatus and skipped Energon -> Cybertron -> Classics, and didn’t get back to the hobby until the 2007 Movie. The fact that there weren’t any mini-cons anymore was a big disappoint on my end. As long as I continue collecting Transformers, Armada/Micron Legend will be my favorite line, and I’ll cherish every little bit. The fact that lines like Power Core Combiners and Takara’s Arm Microns continue to carry the Armada banner thrills me beyond words. Armada begets a lot of distaste, but as I hope we’ve alluded to – there’s diamonds in the rough.
Counterpunch: I didn't like Armada at first but it was the line that got me to try and have everything in hand before making a solid judgement on a figure. I would come to love the large and simple designs as they were a straight call back to the G1 figures I grew up with. It's really the mark of my collection in a way because while I started back with RiD, it was Armada that got me to complete my first line. I still have one piece to grab though. Eventually I will find a Micron Legends Black Convoy to replace my US version. I may be holding out on finding him though so that I still have something fun to hunt for at Botcon. lol, I'm stupid. I know.
Razorclaw0000: I am a Mini-con and Micron collector, through and through, dedicated enough to even collect the minor variants between Armada and Micron Legend. With a count somewhere in the 500 area, I’m swimming in Microns, Scrooge McDuck style.
(Thanks to tfu.info and the lens of Counterpunch for additional images)
So, we leave the floor to you, the members of Seibertron.com. How does Transformers Armada resonate with you?
Andy Hunsaker at Craveonline.com has posted an energetic and informative interview with James Roberts of MTMTE and many other iterations of the Transformers comic universes.
The scribe talks to CraveOnline in-depth about how he's made Transformers more new-reader friendly than ever, and his big plans for the future. I could fill you in on his opinion and thoughts of the new parallel story arcs in More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise..... Or, perhaps this excerpted quote will suffice: Roberts refers to TF:MTMTE as "an unholy hybrid of Dark Star, Justice League International, Doctor Who and Arrested Development. Heck, you can throw in Magnolia and X-Files in there too. And Community, for that matter. Essentially, MTMTE is what happens when a superhero team book collides with a space opera sitcom."
This conversation covers topics from Last Stand of the Wreckers up the next issue of More Than Meets the Eye. With some good inside info and some nice artwork taken from multiple issues, this is an interview worth checking out. Click here to view it click the picture of Mr. Roberts below!
I would like to start this review by addressing the artwork. Nick Roche and Josh Burcham have a wonderful and dynamic style. It brings glimmers of the gritty style from LSOTW which is, personally, a good thing. I'm sure people will be divided on some of the character designs which seem to mesh several iterations together. A more animated styled Rodimus and War for Cybertron Bumblebee look better together than I would have envisioned. With that being said:
I have recently had the privilege of reading IDW's More Than Meets the Eye issue 1, and I have to say WOW. The plot continues from the stand alone issue: The Death of Optimus Prime. The story so far: the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons is over, and after the matrix is used to purge its polluted core, the planet Cybertron reverts to a primordial state and sends a message to thousands of non-affiliated transformers: “come home”. The planet is once again teeming with life and chaos. As the newly appointed leader of the Autobots, Bumblebee must manage a populace that not only despise the Great War, but its warriors, Autobot and Decepticon alike. The planet is now inhabited by former enemies and civil unrest over an "illegal occupation of Cybertron" by the Autobots, and the political scene is set.
The ranks of the surviving Autobots has been tremulously split by the decision to stake out into the galaxy in search of The Knights of Cybertron. The brash revolutionary Rodimus, has convinced 208 Autobots that their time as warriors is over. That their sacrifice has been made and that it is time to seek out glory that has been lost. Promises of Cyberutopia and the ancient Knights of Cybertron are enough to convince many former Autobot warriors to join the crew of The Lost Light.
Included in this exodus are familiar faces, like Ratchet, the Autobots Chief Medical Officer. Finding no fit time to inform Bumblebee of his decision to leave, it is during the autopsy of a "Burning-Monk" protestor that Ratchet confides in Bumblebee the truth of his aging. Bearing witness to a being who transformed himself for weeks, constantly, until it killed itself, Ratchet admits he, like so many warriors, are aged, and tired. Being war torn for countless cycles, Ratchet has decided to join the Lost Light in hopes of not only repairing lost Cybertronians, but in hopes of finding his replacement - a new medic to take up his title.
One by one, Autobots board the Lost Light. Bumblebee and Prowl find themselves bitterly watching the launch. The crew includes Ultra Magnus, Drift, Chromedome Brainstorm and many more Cybertronian patriots. This ill fated ship, The Lost Light, takes on their first three injured 'bots even before launch, when Chromedome, Ratchet and Rewind stumble across an encounter between Whirl and Cyclonus! Unbeknownst to them, the brawl between ancient enemies erupted from a case of mistaken identity. Cyclonus, who appears to embrace the peace between the two factions, detects a very familiar energy signature, belonging to Scourge. As he pauses from his flight, he discovers something very strange. Twisted in the style that Roche and Roberts established in Last Stand of the Wreckers, Whirl, the exiled Wrecker, is found talking sweetly and openly to the spark fragment of one of the Sweeps. In a demented desecration, Cyclonus finds himself invading Whirls private world. Enraged, the former Wrecker pursues Cyclonus, all the while ignoring his pleads for peace. Shortly after Cyclonus attempts to defends himself, he his slammed to the ground, offline, with his aggressor ready to finish him off. This is where Ratchet and the others discover the brutally one sided conflict and attempt to step in. Whirl has lost his connection to reality. He is mad and aims to confront those who intervene, when up from the ground, comes an explosion. Poor little Tailgate had fallen through unstable ground trying to reach the Lost Light before take off. The fall disabled him from moving, so he decided that an energon explosion might help his chances of rescue.
In a behavior I would not have expected, Prowl and Bumblebee have plotted some sort of interference for the crew of the adventure ship. An explosion immediately after take-off hurtles the doomed ship through space and time, tearing the ship open. Many Autobots are hurled into space. A nearby remote planet is chosen to set down onto to make repairs and to begin retrieving the lost crew members. Rodimus is only in the very beginnings of his great quest and he faces the hardships of leadership and loss once again.
At the end of the book, is a series of cryptic, and static filled messages. Warning of future shortcomings and wrong decisions made by the leader and crew of the Lost Light. With no indication that the message was received, it may not have mattered at all.
This series is set to run parallel with fast approaching, Robots in Disguise. MTMTE will continue to follow Rodimus and the crew of the Lost Light. While RID will transcribe the on-goings of Cybertron and the civil unrest and intrigue that besets the remaining Autobots and their new leader, Bumblebee. Both series are years in the making as they continue the story of Generation One by bringing us to the end of the war. The return to Cybertron. And it is not the golden paradise one might have imagined. Rather, it is an unstable place with a new government and a mass of inhabitants that know very little of the struggle. The stage is set for political blowout in a post war world full of former enemies and new threats!
In conclusion: awesome. I have come to expect nothing less. This series my not be for everyone, however, I found it appropriately politically charged. Given the election and the US troop draw down, the book seems to emulate much of our current society. It also had several references for you G1 fans.
With the Dark Of The Moon toy line in full swing and many new Transformers collectors asking questions such as "Which movie characters should I buy?", I think it’s fitting that I take a look back at the toy line that started it all.
In May 2007, the first toys to accompany Michael Bay’s first live-action film were released. The movie aesthetic was not to the liking of veteran fans, but that certainly did not dismay the new wave of collectors from causing the great Transformers drought that year. While many of the characters featured in the 2007 film have superior figures from the Revenge of the Fallen or Dark Of The Moon lines, much credit is not given to many of the hidden gems released in 2007 and 2008. Yet despite the popularity of the 2007 Movie toy line, many new movie collectors have seemed to link "ROTF Leader Optimus Prime > 2007 Leader Prime" with "ROTF> 2007", and the latter, I assure you is not something I’ll agree with it.
It’s more than just 2007 being Skidsless and Mudflapless, it’s the fact that the 2007 toy line was able to take that CGI on screen and turn that into plastic form. It set the foundation for ROTF and DOTM to build on. The revenue produced from the toy line is one of the reasons why we’ve had 3 toy lines per annum for the past few years. But no, to me, the 2007 toy line is more than just a revenue or precursor success, there are actually some fine figures in the line that many collectors have overlooked and should have in their collection. Let’s begin, shall we?
The femme fatale was a shoe-in to be in the 2007 film, but was replaced by Ironhide in early production. Thank goodness, I had enough problem getting the fembot in the drought and it would not have helped if she was an on-screen character! Out of all the movie-verse bikes, this is the best figure. Scale, a category that I don’t care about, can be thrown out of the window. Many complained about her inability to stand straight, but she is no ROTF Sideswipe, and unlike the bike fembots of the ROTF line, at least she has feet. She has the body dimensions that is categorical of females of any sentient species, and that is also a part that the ROTF fembots lack. Think the face lacks feminity? Well the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree when looking at her ROTF brethren.
All the power to those who have the ROTF bike sisters in their collection, because I understand those who wish to have what’s on the silver screen transplanted on to their shelves for ‘movie-accuracy’. But this is the superior Arcee. Already have a movie-verse Arcee? Call it another name then! There’s enough fembot names to go around; Lancer, Greenlight, Flareup, and Flamewar are examples. Whether it’s pink (original, battle damaged), black (Takara retail exclusive), or generation one themed (Wonderfest ’08 convention exclusive), I think this is a mold that every movie fan can appreciate.
Well this guy totally isn’t in here because his biography is freaking hilarious, as he is the first movie-verse Transformer to be portrayed as emo(tional). No, his figure is rather enjoyable. The mold might not be very high in regards to collectors following the popular trends, but I’m not one to conform. Dropkick has a tad bit of kibble in the backpack area, and suffers from the dreaded ‘chicken legs’. It is more of the little things that make Dropkick one of my favorites of the 2007 line. In vehicle mode, the flatbed cover can be removed to reveal the back of the truck, which has ample space for you to fit in a scout figure. (Hardtop sniping while riding on Dropkick is legit). While having a Decepticon logo on your vehicle is hardly a robot in disguise, Dropkick seems to have put some thought into it. Ingenious to have the symbol tattooed on the top of your hood and roof – Mr. Antisocial went to Decepticon school and realized that there aren’t too many Autobots that can fly in the Bayverse.
The robot mode is an aspect that I like from my Transformers, a sturdy, well-engineered figure that isn’t going to fall down after being placed. There’s just a lot to Dropkick in robot mode that I like, parts that fold in and out, weaponry, and just that feel that you’re holding a Transformer, not an action figure. His main weapon is rather clumsy, but that is more or less forgotten by the two double-barrel guns he has under his forearms. A quality figure that is a great addition to your Decepticon ranks, or Autobot ranks with his 2007 repaint, Salvage, who is also a piece that I’d highly suggest. The figure was also released in the ROTF toy line under the name of Blowpipe (Really Hasbro?), for those into blue Transformers. But who’d buy that Tupac for a near identical version of Sideways?
Why not Bumblebee, you ask? Toy wise, there are much better Movie Bumblebees released after the 2007 toy line, and discussion about the other two movie lines are for another day. And If I get my way, editorial discussion on Bumblebee will be avoided entirely. But despite there being other Bumblebee figures out there, the 2007 Camaro Concept figure is actually a masterpiece in its own right. It also happens to be the only Movie Deluxe Cliffjumper we have up to now. For those wondering what’s up with the teal on Cliffjumper, Salvage, and Black Arcee, that would be the Allspark Battles sub-line of the 2007 line. Cool name. Terrible execution, as many repaints were slaughtered with copious, unadulterated, and ridiculous amounts of teal. (Check out Target Exclusives - All Spark-Enhanced Bumblebee, Brawl, Barricade and Jazz for good laughs). Luckily for Cliffjumper, his vehicle mode was left untouched from the teal, and what we get is a beautiful Red Camaro Concept. What I generally like from vehicle modes of Transformers I collect, especially the movie-verse, is for them to be spot on. And at the time, the Camaro Concept had one of the best looking vehicle modes, losing out to that sleek Corvette Stingray when ROTF rolled in.
Robot mode has alot of articulation for a movie figure, and while it may feel like a caveman compared to the future incarnations of Bee, it is still a stand up figure. The Gun/Blade that Cliffjumper wields almost makes Mechtech look like it’s ancestor. The gaudy teal of the Allspark Battles looks far from tacky on Cliffjumper, instead highlighting some of his aesthetics and adding a bit more flare to his colour scheme. The only beef (New York cut, Medium Rare please) I have with the figure is his shoulder pads, which have fallen off as many times as I’ve said eh. Bottom line, it's the movie-verse. There are explosions, big guns, and Decepticons flying everywhere as plot-armor Autobots blow them into pieces. And this is Cliffjumper. The bot who has got enough weaponry to make explosions and blow up plot-armor Decepticons to bits. Get him!
The vehicle modes of Autobots seem to be losing their flair in recent years. It`s a lost art for many under Optimus Prime`s command, as their vehicle mode’s function appears only to look sleek, stylish and appeal to the newer wave of Transformers fans. For Movie Longarm, it’s different. Yes, he’s in this line because he’s the tow truck that Mikaela drove in the movie. But it’s his design, his working tow, and robot mode of the figure that makes this a brute, blue-collar working Autobot. Yeah, he’s a bit chunky, and he probably walks slow, but who said all walking robots of destruction need to be agile?
If Transformers played Hockey or Football, Longarm would be the grinder or hard hitter of the team. His face looks like he’s wearing a helmet, and the way his chest is stylized makes it look like he’s wearing armor. In a Transformers universe catering to Michael Bay’s explosions, Longarm’s got the gun to rule all guns. Eye light piping is magical, and the transparent back lights on the tow are well placed. Many Classics-verse fans delving into the movie-verse toys for good ‘homages’ would have likely picked up Longarm’s ROTF repaint, Hoist. But from a personal standpoint, a two-pack with G1 deco Mixmaster is not worth the trouble as Longarm is the better use of the mold.
What I like the best of Evac, and his mold predecessor Blackout, are that they are great representations of their respective movie-verse forces. Blackout the Decepticon, who like most Decepticons, looks mysterious, has a dark color scheme, and takes the form of a militaristic vehicle. Evac the Autobot, who like most Autobots, has a chivalrous, flamboyant bright color scheme, has a nonchalant Autobot symbol screaming "come at me bro", and has the face of something that would protect mankind, not destroy it. This is more about Evac being a gem, mainly because Blackout is a popular character that everyone likely owns already in the original, Premium, or Grindor versions. Plus there’s always that little little, completely unlikely smidgen of hope that Hasbro will make a Leader Class Pave Low Heli.
Don’t get me wrong. 2007 Evac is no DOTM Skyhammer(because Skyhammer is very good), and it’s also no ROTF Evac (because that mold is avoid avoid avoid) but this is still one mean Helicopter. The Allspark Battles teal is very heavy on the Voyager class figure, but that is contrasted by the figure’s vibrant orange. What was once Scorponok included with Blackout, is a lifeboat for Evac. And unlike Scorponok, the lifeboat can be wielded by Evac as a blaster. Evac shows that despite whatever mold you start off with, a vibrant paint job and different head sculpt can turn your evil helicopter full of death into a lifesaving, search and rescue vehicle. Movie-collectors, help your Autobots out, they are especially low in air force.
Stockade gave me a lot of trouble because he was competing with 2007 Landmine for a spot in this editorial. Both figures have great alternate modes, and both figures have robot modes that are somewhat ruined by the gaudy teal. Luckily for Stockade, I feel that his ROTF repaint Gears is inferior to the original, and unluckily for Landmine, try ROTF Armorhide instead. I have said many times that vehicle modes of figures in the movie-verse need to be spot on. Stockade is phenomenal. Painted grill, painted wheels, clear windows everywhere, headlights, backlights, an actual sunroof, and painted door handles. Girl, it looks real. His Decepticon symbol is painted in normal purple, and not silver like the majority of movie-verse Transformers.
Robot mode does not offer as much as the vehicle mode in terms of looks. Stockade has the foot soldier demeanour. Short, stocky and built. He’s got this extending arm gimmick, like Barricade and Bonecrusher, but it’s pretty lame. The teal is a bit too much for a Decepticon transforming from a Black SUV, but blame it on the dark, got you off the mark, blame it on the a a a a a allspark. The photo below makes him look like kibble city, don’t worry, it’s not that bad.
It’s a figure of your favourite character before he gets ripped in half by Megatron. Not as grimm as the mold’s fate. Don’t get me wrong, the Human Alliance Jazz with Lennox figure is fantastic and if you haven’t already, get it. *Gets back the scale that I threw out the window in regards to Arcee.* I just don’t think Jazz was that large in the movie (not going to actually check), so the Deluxe size is where it’s at. The reason this dude is on this list is not because Jazz is unpopular, but I feel that this variant is obscure. For this version to come out only for it to be snubbed a handful of times with Premium, ROTF Smokescreen and DOTM, is just not right.
Not much to see in vehicle mode, as it’s nearly the same. Robot mode on the other hand is pretty cool. You’ve got detailed battle damage on his head and legs. It’s like energon is gushing out of those areas. Really slick paint apps, and it’s a shame that future "Battle-Damaged" figures ended up failing in comparison to FB Jazz. The best part of the toy, is the weapon. The trans-crapper sword that all the other versions have is a joke to this ‘Crescent Cannon’. Heck, buy this toy just for the weapon, and then put it on Premium Jazz. That’s what all the cool kids are doing.
It’s rather odd for me to put a Leader Class figure on a ‘Hidden Treasures’ list, but Leader Brawl seems to be forgotten under the pile of other Leaders released in ROTF and DOTM. For those new collectors out there, Brawl is a figure that you really can’t miss. The 2007 Leader Graduating Class includes Optimus, who was done better in ROTF, and Megatron, who’s probably the worst Leader figure of all three movie-lines. If you want this character in your collection, it’s Leader or bust. The Deluxe class was a travesty and pales in comparison to this behemoth. Sure the figure is not at the Masterpiece level, since there’s no working treads, but it has a lot of articulation for a Transformer with a tank mode.
When Transformed, it’s not all there either. The figure’s not as crisp as 2007 Leader Prime, but it’s still not as chunky as 2007 Leader Megatron. There’s a lot going on in the weaponry department, and what’s underrated about the figure is that it takes the CGI to heart. Sure, kibble is there, but it’s not like it wasn’t there in the movie either. This beauty is a steal right now on the secondary market, and is certainly worth it in either his original colors, or his ‘Deep Desert’ version if you dig them Tusken Raiders or Jawas.
Who? Incinerator’s rather obscure and completely forgotten in some cases by the ongoing movie fanbase. He’s got a full-time membership to the 'no hands club' along with Voyager Starscream, but don’t let that mere flaw deter the credibility of this Decepticon. If I can recall correctly, he is the first big Osprey helicopter since Beast Machines. The vehicle mode just feels compact, solid and it almost seems like he can fly! (He won’t. No matter how much Energon you drink, he actually won’t!)
The teal is awful on this figure, but I can't complain, I'm a Blurr fan after all! The fin hands are actually pretty cool if you think that he's wielding them. Robot mode is stocky, and I really dig how his chest is formed. He's got clown feet, but he won't fall over because of the back stand that he is. The figure just look so funky, and yet one look at the spinning blades of death reminds you that this is a ruthless killing machine made out of a mountain of metal. The Takara domestic black version of this figure contrasts the Hasbro's grey, and both are great additions to your Decepticon arsenal.
With that, you have my bias opinion on the 2007 line figures that did not get as much limelight compared to other toys of more popular characters. Some honorary mentions here, and I’ll start off with Rescue Ratchet, as he has the best colors of all the Voyager Hummer repaints. Try to complete your movie-verse seekers in the Voyager Class size with 2007 G1 Starscream, 2007 Thundercracker, and ROTF Skywarp. The DOTM Deluxe idea is just way too small for movie seekers.
Agree to disagree with me? Who are your favorites of the 2007 line, and do you feel any figures have been overlooked by the popular eye? Leave your opinions by commenting below!
2Fast 2Blurrious is an editorial series written by Seibertron.com staff member Blurrz, and is not responsible for the amount of money you will spend on Transformers in the next few hours. Nor is it responsible for your partner's shopping spree with your card because it's his/her turn after you spent an absurd amount of money on 'kid's toys'.
The Premiere of Transformers Dark of the Moon in Moscow has ended and thanks to Paramount we have loads of material of the event to share with you!
Firstly we'll start off with a video, a video of the Premiere and the Linking Park concert.
We'll be bringing you more of this event, so stay tuned.
Good day Transformers fans! How’s everything going? I happen to be Seibertron.com staff member Blurrz, and I'm with my fellow colleague robofreak. Funny story short, we are the Gunpla (Gundam kit) enthusiasts on the staff, and therefore that makes us qualified to help you out with Takara Tomy's upcoming Dual Model Kit series. For those who don’t know, Takara is going to release kits for Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. The buyer will receive a package with a robot skeleton, and will have multiple sprues and instructions to put their robot masterpieces together. The duo of Autobots are set for release in Japan on June 25th.
Since these are expensive products and this is the first time many of you here will be exposed to building kits, we thought it would be a good idea to answer some of the likely questions many of you will ask. Hopefully all of you will know what you’ll be getting into with your purchase, or perhaps our words of wisdom will lean you into the direction of these kits not being for you. So without further ado, shall we?
Q: Will I need paint for the Model Kits?
Blurrz: Straight up answer, no. These sets are a bit different from your regular kits. Some of the pieces are pre-painted (i.e. Optimus Prime’s flames). Maybe you’ll need paint to highlight some features of Optimus Prime or Bumblebee, but if you don’t paint or customize Transformers, then no need to start now.
Robofreak: You don’t need paint, but if you want to add some extra flare, then paint away! From what I’ve seen, the kits do come pre-painted, but where’s the fun in that? If you’re up for the challenge I’d recommend hitting the hobby shop and buying some paints, primer, and masking tape. I’m a Tamiya paint fan myself because of how easy it is to fix mistakes if they occur. I could go on for a while about different paints and mixing, but I think that would be an article in itself. If you need to know more about paint then feel free to stop by Transtopia and some other art sites to learn about paint. You can even PM me. I love these kind of questions.
Q: Do I need glue to assemble them?
Blurrz: No. It’s nice to have handy, but it’s not necessary. For example, if Bumblebee’s armor on his arm keeps coming loose, etc.
Robofreak: As Blurrz said, you don’t really need it, but I would heavily recommend it. It will help reduce the risk of losing parts.
Q: What tools should I have on hand while building the kits?
Blurrz: (Nail)clipper and file. Since the snap-on parts are off sprues, you’re going to need force to pull them off. And since you might be left off with some plastic residue after pulling your parts off sprues, a file is good to even out the figure’s surface. For those wishing to have more of a nicer look on their kits, I suggest a Gundam marker, to help bring out the features.
Robofreak: If I catch anyone using their hands to twist these pieces out, I will smack you. Now that that’s over with, a nail clipper and file will work fine for removing the parts and sanding off the sprue nubs. However, I would like to encourage anyone taking these kits on, to go to the hobby shop and buy a set of nippers. They are specially designed with a flat edge to reduce the amount of sprue sticking out of the cut piece. I would also recommend some jewellers files that you can get at any hardware store. They’re thin and you won’t risk sanding more than you want as much with them.
Q: How good will the instructions be?
Blurrz: Well I’m glad someone wants to use instructions! If you don’t, you’re going to be lost. Gunpla instructions are a lot different from let’s say ‘Lego’. They tell you where each piece goes exactly and sometimes gives you the sequence in which pieces need to be placed. Keep your eyes on those instructions at all times! One silly mistake and you might be spending half an hour trying to pry off a piece that shouldn’t be there.
Robotfreak: Robofreak: Instructions are great, but I’m going to doubt that the instructions for these kits will be as refined as the Gunpla instructions. I’m basing this off how vague most of the TF instructions have been as of late. One thing that I will encourage is to lay all the parts out on a desk or something so that you can see exactly where everything goes. Basically make an expanded view of what goes where. Here’s a picture of a Gundam Astray Red Frame I built a couple years ago and the first thing I did was trim all the parts and lay them out exactly where they should go on the mech. It helped me get familiar enough with the parts to where I didn’t need the instructions to identify the many little pieces. As you can see in the picture, everything is layed out and not a jumbled mess of parts.
Q: Will there be stickers with these kits?
Blurrz: We haven’t seen anything yet, but I’m guessing we’ll get a little sticker pad. Maybe for the eyes, license plates and GMC/Chevy logos. Not good with applying stickers? Trust me, it’s better than trying to paint eyes…
Robofreak: You want to talk about painting eyes Blurrz? Take on an anime figure and that will make a robot eye look easy. So far, nothing on the Prime and Bumblebee kits shows stickers, but I’m going to guess that we might see a couple. If there are any, I think the only one that would be worth anything would be the license plate.
Q: Any other tips in regards to building these kits?
Blurrz: Make sure everything flushes well. If some piece is sticking out, it’s because you didn’t file down the plastic, or didn’t push the piece in far enough. These pieces are engineered to stick together, so it’s all up to the builder!
Robofreak: Test fit! Test fit! Test fit! I cannot stress that enough. Always doublecheck the instructions and make sure you know what’s going where. For those feeling slightly brave, the parts do use pegs. If it’s anything like a Gunpla kit, you’ll be able to cut the pegs at a slight angle on the tip which will allow you to fit the parts properly. However, this method will require that you use glue afterwards to ensure everything stays where you want it.
Q: How tall are Optimus Prime and Bumblebee?
Blurrz: They’re going to be huge! Okay, you’ve got a better answer, right robofreak?
Robofreak: I may have an answer, but I could be wrong. From what I’ve seen of the kits and have gathered on pics, they appear to be 1/35 scale. (Shout hooray all you military modelers) That should put Prime at about 10-11 inches and Bumblebee should be about 6-7 inches. We’ll know more once we see the official release.
Q: How much time will it take to build these?
Blurrz: For a first time kit maker, I wouldn’t even put a time limit in hours, but I’d give a good afternoon or evenings work. Bumblebee should be smooth sailing, while Optimus Prime might be a bit tricky as he has more than a handful of sprues to deal with.
Robofreak: Time is relative to how much effort you’re going to put into it. If you want something you can fiddle with think it cool, then probably an afternoon. If you want to take it the extra mile and do all the painting, weathering, and awesome detail work (maybe even do a diorama?) then the project can take a lot longer. I’ve been known to spend weeks on a single kit so your results may vary depending on what you want out of the project.
Q: Do these transform? If not, how come?
Blurrz: Does yellow snow taste like lemons?
Robofreak: You have 2 options. It can either transform or it can look good. If you want something that transforms, the kit may not be for you. Generally, transforming kits can be a pain to deal with and sometimes don’t look as good as you want. If you want something that looks great, then go for the kit and have an awesome display piece.
Q: Why are these so expensive compared to regular Transformers toys?
Blurrz: That’s a really good question, and I can’t say because they are imports. These are a little bit more expensive than their Gundam brethren that are the same size. But still, for what we’re getting here, pre-painted plastic, and sprues with multiple colors on them, I just have to admit that we’re getting a steal with these kits.
Robofreak: Considering the amount of money, I’ve dropped on model kits over the years, I think these are rather cheap. Especially after dropping $150 on a anime resin figure that requires a whole lot more than just snap assembly.
Q: Is Dual Model Kit better than Robot Replicas? Trans-Scanning Series?
Blurrz: These are a 100 times better than Robot Replicas because these figures have articulation. Bumblebee and Optimus Prime are different sizes, and not the same! I could see comparisons with the 2007 Trans-scanning series, but even then, those were pretty awful. Both BB and Optimus Prime were the same size, and their alternate modes were garbage. I have to give credit to these Model Kits, because despite having no alternate mode/transformation, they are going all out in how the robot mode looks and feels.
Robofreak: I don’t own any of the Robot Replicas or Trans-Scanning figures if that answers the question. The difference between these kits and the Trans-Scanning is that the focus went into the robot mode instead of worrying about it transforming. For that, I’m much more interested in them and will be buying them.
Q: Will the Dual Model Kit series survive? Who do you think will be in the next installment?
Blurrz: To see Transformers finally take that extra step into Gunpla territory is very impressive. Perhaps the Kabaya Candy toys were a little test in the water for Takara. I honestly think that if you’re a Transformers fan, and you enjoy building Lego, you’ll have a lot of fun with these. Sure, they’re nothing compared to a Deluxe Class Bumblebee and ROTF Leader Prime, but they are far from being gimmicky and useless compared to their previous non-transformable predecessors. In terms of future kits, I think Takara Tomy will go with the opposite side of the spectrum, perhaps countering with Megatron and Starscream. Or perhaps they’ll follow up with more of the Autobot cast, in Ratchet and Ironhide. All I know is that I’ll have something different to fix, rather than just the odd broken spark of a fembot on Cybertron.
Robofreak: It’s going to depend on sales. If the kits don’t sell, then we won’t see the line expand. Sadly, economics plays a huge role in this. All I can say is that if you like the way they look, then buy them. The sales will really help determine what Takara does with the line.
Robofreak's Astray Gold Frame
So there you have it toy collecting Bots and Fembots. We hope our insight was informative and helpful, and that you enjoy the Dual Model Kit series! If you have any more questions along your path to build these kits, reply to the topic, or shoot a PM to me or Robofreak.
Blurrz's Exia - Terminate all unnecessary Autobots!