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Wednesday, February 5th 2014 12:50am CST
Categories: Comic Book News
, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al
IDW Publishing, Va'al
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The Powerpuff Issue!
CYBERTRON FALLS! The monstrous NECROTITAN ravages the world—but is there anyone left to save it? Meanwhile, in deep space, ULTRA MAGNUS and the crew of the LOST LIGHT struggle to make sense of what they find in the depths of the scarlet sea!
Or just punch it in the face
And here we are, probably the last set-up issue before the big show takes place, as was teased for the next chapter. But before we get to the clash of titans, let's take a look at what this issue does, the new characters introduced, reveals and building up of some old fr--enemies, shall we?
Figures sold separately
Once again, John Barber and James Roberts focus on multiple plotlines at once, from the Lost Light's crew dealing with Metroplex, Ammonites and newcomers Chromia and Nautica, via Pax and Rodimus in the Dead Universe, dealing with Nova and Kup, to the chaos on Cybertron, with Starscream uniting with Prowl, Soundwave and the other 'outcasts'.
And then you have the three new additions: Chromia, Nautica and Windblade, who play a fairly big role in the issue, and one that nicely sets up what may happen later (mini-series included). They're nicely characterised, and topically enough, there are echoes of other female trios in the three's dialogue lines.
Nicely done, Roberber
I was a little disappointed in Starscream being shunned once more in favour of other key players, though I suppose ReGeneration One is dealing with his more powerful incarnations. Though what is his actual Chosen role? Megatron is mocked, undermined yet ultimately I can't help but like him on the scene, too - and Bumblebee. Plus we get a better look at Rodimus' hand, and his real thoughts, for once.
We still have the three artists working on different sections. James Raiz masterfully pens the new additions and a magnificent Metroplex; Livio Ramondelli decidedly darkens the mood for Rodimus and Orion, and dastardly Nova Prime; Atilio Rojo expertly blends a beaten Starscream, bombastic Megatron and brilliant Prowl. And Bumblebee.
Rodimus and his fetish, again
And then you have the colours, with Ramondelli taking care of his own sections, with a lighter palette this time round, it seems. And Josh Perez on Rojo and Raiz' interiors. He kills it, again, with two very different approaches on each style, but both equally brilliant.
What does the Ammonite say..?
Tom B. Long's lettering is still pretty excellent too, from the flaming title page to the sound effects. Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr offer a nice cover with this issue's Tailgate toy, Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente tower over cover A - and then there's Alex Milne and Josh Perez' mouthwatering RI cover. Look at it. Just. Look.
This issue may placate the ire of some readers who thought the whole Windblade affair was going to be blown out of proportion in the April series, beginning to reveal why and how she and the other two, Nautica and Chromia show up, and their importance to the story. We don't get to see much, but it's enough to make want to read more!
Eye'm definitely in!
There was humour, there were revelations, there was a lot of actual rooting for Megatron, after all. There were Nautica, Chromia and Windblade, Rodimus, Whirl, Ratchet - all good characterisation. There was the beginning of the Necrotitan and Metroplex fight we saw teased a while back. There is good art, and an amazing cover. It was good.
Wednesday, January 15th 2014 2:22am CST
Categories: Comic Book News
, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al
IDW Publishing, Va'al
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A HERO FALLS—AND ONE RETURNS! The struggle in the DEAD UNIVERSE heats up as ORION PAX—the ’bot who was once OPTIMUS PRIME—and RODIMUS struggle with the legacy of PRIMES! Meanwhile, the Lost Light is under attack in deep space—and SHOCKWAVE and the terrifying NECROTITAN threaten CYBERTRON!
And here we are, halfway through the BIGGEST EVENT OF THE EVER HISTORY OF EVERYTHING, according to the solicits since at least two years ago. And I feel like we've hit a bit of a lull, though not an unwelcome one in the issue itself, rather in the plot - unevitable? Maybe. Let's read on.
Eye eye, cap'n!
We're back to the three storylines, following the Lost Light crew inside Metroplex, the boxed lot in the Dead Universe and Starscream's (barely) Cybertron. While the first two actually advance a little, the latter in particular seems to not do much other than re-establish the threat of the Necrotitan and Starscream's connection to it. And a little bit on the 'outcast' faction, I suppose.
And drop in Tankor! Hi Tankor
The other two plotlines, on the other hand, do a little more, with the biggest parts played out in the Dead Universe, especially towards the end of the section. We get some interesting goings-on with the otherwise static situation of the trapped characters, and exchanges are made between Nova Prime and his (ex?) heir Orion - and other things happen.
No, Rodimus, we're not
The final page brings us a fairly big revelation about one of the other players in the story, though see below for more on this. The lull is expected, at this point in the series, and it realy could be worse, and there are still some good moments of characterisation if not plot advancement. I did like the snuck-in addition on Slug's name-change, too.
We're back to three separate art styles, with James Raiz on the Lost Light/in Metroplex' body, Livio Ramondelli in the Dead Universe and Atilio Rojo on Cybertron. And I have to say, I have no major complaints this time round (bar one)! Raiz in particular really shines in this issue, with thinner inks and some crazy panel work; Rojo's lines are a lot nicer too, and really work with the setting; Ramondelli is suited to the DU, until the last page reveal - it took me a while to figure out what was going on, and it detracted from the reveal itself.
Escher-ing in the new year
Josh Perez does is still doing some pretty amazing work, blending into both Raiz' and Rojo's style, and still keeping in tone with the er.. tone of the story being told. Some of the nuances are really cool, especially tha dark/light fade-ins. Ramondelli's colours are also good, as I've said many times before, really suit the Dead Universe - even with the proviso above.
Hardhead is quite the thinker, clearly
Gilbert Lazcano appears to be the regular letterer for now, and I really like some of his more creative moments, like the issue's title page and the Dinobots' speech. All in all, the issue looks good, but that final page really did not do it for me I'm afraid. The two covers by Phil Jimenez and Brendan Cahill are great though, especially the latter!
As I've been saying throughout, we've hit the plateau, and it was to be expected, really. Some of the characters (Getaway, Astrotrain, Dinobots, Flatline) get more of an occasion to take the spotlight, even if just for a little while, but the introduction of Tankor so suddenly does feel a bit odd, and blatantly a toy advertising device.
Yeah, sounds about right
I wasn't as bothered with the three different styles this time either, except for that final page (OH I was very annoyed for a bit), and the Escher style scenes are excellent, as are some of the bigger splashes and spreads, with the added bonus of really good, mood-setting colouring too. Next?
PS: What is going on with the Dinobots' names..? Isn't the big one Sludge? Why is he called Snarl? Just bad speech-bubbles? Halp.
Monday, January 6th 2014 5:10am CST
, Site Articles
, Site News
Posted by: Va'al
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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!
First of all, I'll introduce our heroes:
- Rarely-sleeping, opinionated, voluntary staff victim
- Face-stealer, dragon-fighter, Oz-dweller, Va'al teaser. A nice guy, really.
- Our fearless admin, with more power behind the Stormtrooper mask than you'd imagine.
- You could try summing up his news posts, but you'd lose count around 4000. It's more than that.
- Quiet, efficient, deadly; our very own ninja news maker.
- The youngest and newest addition to the staff, but don't hold it against him.
- Not as awesome as Spiderman riding demolition derby cars, but close enough.
- The man himself! The Primus to our website! The Loader of Galleries!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- This guy is the Springer that I have always wanted since I first saw the 1986 movie. Superb poseability and great looking modes in all forms. A "must have" Transformer.
Favorite Toyline of 2013
In which beasts and cars are thrown into the mix, and Cyber Bishop doesn't budge.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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..
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Cyberverse Abominus
- 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.
- (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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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.
Transformers Masterpiece MP-11 Starscream
- 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
– 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- C'mon ... he's awesome!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
eHobby Exclusive Generations Magnificus
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I have been enjoying the Regeneration one story line and how it is finishing up the original Marvel Transformer saga.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!)
- More Generations figures, hopefully a decent Galvatron or Arcee.. And Whirl.. So much awesomeness coming down the pike it is not funny.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
--Till half past one!
Monday, September 30th 2013 9:41am CDT
Categories: Cartoon News
, Comic Book News
, People News
, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al
Mairghread Scott, Va'al
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With the animated series of Prime: Beast Hunters
now behind us, and Predacons Rising
almost here, we are very happy to welcome show and comics writer Mairghread Scott for another interview with the minds and hands behind IDW!
- Thank you for agreeing to do this, Mairghread - you have the honour if being our first writer! My first question, before we jump into your work, is about origins: How did you first become a fan of Transformers?
- I actually grew up on Beast Wars
, which makes me a bit odd because I never really saw Optimus turn into a truck (although I knew he did) until the Michael Bay films. But in some way, I think Beast Wars
really was the best place to start when I worked on Prime
. The idea of being outmatched and outnumbered, the shifting alliances; these are all important elements of both shows. Plus, even though our CG technology has come a long way, we still face a lot of the same challenges in terms of characters and sets.
- At last, someone else who grew up in the Beast era! I thought I was the only one, by now. How involved were you with the franchise back then? Did you collect the toys as well as watch the show, or branch out into other aspects of the Transformers like comics or other cartoons?
- Neither. Comic books and action figures were 'boy things' and as a little girl I just sort of knew (and I'm sure my friends re-enforced) that I wasn't supposed to have either. I remember I looked for Airrazor a few times, but I could never find her on the shelf. On the bright side, it meant I got to play Beast Wars
a lot with just my sister. I was an Osprey (until Jurassic Park
, then I was a 'raptor for a while). I upgraded to puma-osprey with rocket launcher wings when everyone went all Fuzor/Transmetal. I feel like my sister was an orca because she was really into whales and I was always harrassing her about how she couldn't do anything in Beast-mode then. I wasn't the best sister.
- At least you played with her, though! I have to ask - were you ever able to track down an Airrazor figure later on in life? A lot of Transformer fans have their personal 'holy grail' toy, or so I'm told; would you say that was, or still is, yours? Or did you just outgrow the toy stage, and never really bothered?
- No, although I would take one if I came across it. I tend to collect characters I've written for, so my Holy Grail is a modified Rip Claw made to look like Ser-ket. I just picked up a G1 Sludge at BotCon and would love to give him a sister to play with.
- You heard that, customisers. Be ready to be inundated by offers now! Speaking of writing characters - you're a writer for essentially two parallel stories, one told in the animated series, one in the comics. How do you juggle the different approaches, if they are different? Are there similar challenges in the two media? Do you have a preference between the two?
- Well it does help that we have two different casts in each book and that they are both tailored to their medium. The Dinobots aren't nearly as talkative as, say, Optimus, and that works much better when you have the ultra-limited space of a comic. Since the Dinos don't do well in close-up or just talking, I try to think of the comics almost as an 80ish panel haiku instead of a TV script. I'm trying to pick out the best possible moments to suggest the movement, drama and staging that make Prime what it is instead of just transcribing an episode onto the page. When it comes to which I like more, I think I'd have to say comics, if only because I get to really interact with the fans in a way I never could if I just wrote TV. Talking to people who are passionate and nerdy about what you're passionate and nerdy about...it's the best.
- Communities of fans like the one for Transformers are indeed a gathering of multiple backgrounds and views with an extremely passionate dedication to the common interest! You're obviously welcome to join us on Seibertron any time, I know you write on other fansites at the moment. Speaking of fandoms, I was wondering about something. You've always been pretty determined and vocal about the female presence among the Transformers fans, but there are only a few named women creators in your position (alongside colourists Priscilla Tramontano and Joana Lafuente) - do you think the franchise is still a bit of a boys' club, or is that a misperception? Have you ever received criticism, from fans or peer creators, which was more about you as a woman than your work?
- It's funny, I used to be really worried about the role my gender played when it came to my writing and how others saw it. So much so that once I was brought in on a non-TF show to write an episode that had a lot of female characters in it and I actually asked point-blank if they'd picked me because I'm a woman. The response was they'd seen Hurt and they picked me because I could write revenge. So 'no' I've never felt that people see my gender as anything other than another aspect of who I am.
That said, Transformers is still thought of by the public, the media and the industry at large as being a male-oriented brand. It's not surprising: the industry category for Prime
is called 'boys action,' the toys for Transformers are in the blue-colored section at toy stores and in several TF comic books there are no female characters at all. This obviously makes it harder for women to feel like we want them to be involved in our brand and I want to change that. Everyone should feel allowed to like Transformers. If seeing my name on a comic makes a woman in the store give it a try, that's great. If writing Firestar means someone's daughter will read his Beast Hunter's issue with him -- awesome! But most importantly, if some little girl out there wants an Arcee as badly as I wanted an Airazor toy, I want her to know that she's not weird, or silly, or alone and if my work does that for her, that's the best thing of all.
- That's a great goal, and I agree wholeheartedly with your mission. It's also nice to read that the industry is changing its attitude towards pre-existing ideas, even if slowly. This is a franchise that, as you said, starts by being aimed at a young male audience, even though, in fact, there is a fairly big adult reception already - showing how there is also a good female reception should be next! You mentioned Firestar, a character who for now only shows up in a couple of issues of Beast Hunters
- was that entirely your idea (with Mike Johnson), or was it suggested by IDW/Hasbro? How did she come about? And for that matter, how was Zoom introduced too?
- Bringing back Firestar was my idea. As soon as we got picked up I decided to start adding female characters until someone told me to stop (and, actually, a lot of the background characters are also female, even though it's not obvious). So far, Mike, IDW and Hasbro have all been fine with it, so I press onward. I'd love to bring back all the pre-existing TF ladies, but we'll see how many I can squeeze in before the end.
Zoom is Mike's creation and another good example of IDW and Hasbro giving us a fairly free hand. I'm sure if we tried to remake the book as the Firestar/Zoom show, they'd say something, but when it comes to adding more minor characters, we get a lot of control.
- I did notice some of the remains in Last Spark were mentioned as being female, actually, yes. You don't seem to have been told to stop bringing in characters so far! Are we to expect any other ones before the series ends? I realise we're only half-way through, and that leaves us with two story-arcs worth of potential new faces.
- Well, we just got preview images from Issue 5 and, I don't know if anyone's picked up on it, but they reveal Chromia, the blue Autobot next to Grimlock telling everyone to get under their beds (for protection in an earthquake). But don't worry, she does a lot more than that, but it's been fun to see her sneak into the sneak peek.
- Yes, I did spot Chromia, and I mentioned her (and Scrounge) in the review for issue 5
. And speaking of issue 5, we now have the announced point of contact between the animated series and the comics, and we're very close in its placement with the end of the TV series. Will the comics cross-over or spill into the upcoming Predacons Rising epilogue?
- While the two lines will merge in 7 and 8, the timeline between TV and comics means that we are following the show and not the other way around. That said, I've very excited at what Mike's cooking up, so you'll have to wait and see.
- Really not letting anything out of the bag, huh? Well, I think that moment of suspense is actually a good place to stop this time round. Mairghread, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you, thanks again for doing this! Do you have any last words for the readers on Seibertron.com?
- Only to thank them for the chance to play with characters they know and love. Hopefully, we can bring more fans to planet Cybertron. And if anyone has any more burning questions, you can reach me on Twitter at @MairghreadScott
or Tumblr at mscottwrites.tumblr.com
You heard her, readers - head over to the social media to ask your questions, or post them along with your comments in this thread! Stay tuned for another interview soon, we have some really interesting guests coming up.
Tuesday, August 6th 2013 5:40am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News
, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al
IDW Publishing, Va'al
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Me, me, m-- Rattrap?
NEW CYBERTRON! It’s a brand new day—and STARSCREAM is in charge! But running a planet isn’t as easy as it looks… if BUMBLEBEE couldn’t do it, why does the former DECEPTICON think he can?
He has a plan!
Remember how last issue was about Orion Pax and Gorlam Prime? And the one before about the factions now residing outside Iacon and Arcee, and before that it was Shockwave and D(r)eadwing? If you haven't read them yet, you're in luck, as issue 20 still does not advance the plot much!
Starscream really does take centre stage with this issue, and with him arguably being the best character to come out of Robots in Disguise, that is definitely not a bad thing. Barber has swapped his monologue by captions technique by coming out and calling the issue 'Three Monologues', allowing him to let Starscream speak, pretty much to himself, the whole time.
And to cameras!
It feels a little better than the usual floating voices, and there are ways of showing a 'silent audience' like Metalhawk's body which almost justify it. But Screamer-fest aside, very little happens in the issue, except for the introduction of upcoming toy Scoop and potential upcoming toy Rattrap.
Who also has a distinct.. er.. voice
The characterisation and hints at future developments aren't bad, and I enjoyed it more than other issues along the same lines. But the story really did not do much, at all. Rattrap is a peculiar choice, in terms of personality, especially when placed next to Starscream, and Scoop felt almost unnecessary.
Visually, though, it works really well. From Metalhawk's body and the other ..incapacitated characters throughout the issue to the newcomers Rattrap and Scoop, and the play between blacked-out Iacon and the city once power is restored - it's all really good looking. And Griffith shows off his skills on page 6, with some excellent panel work.
Boy, does Starscream love that pose
The lighting differences mentioned above really pop out thanks to Priscilla Tramontano's colouring work. The story progresses from complete darkness in the heart of night to the first lights of dawn, via artificial lighting coming back in operation - and yes, you can feel it in the tones and shades.
J.J. Abrams directed this scene
Shawn Lee's lettering work gets a few particularly creative moments too, which is very nice to see. The three artists working on this issue have done a stellar job to make a fairly static story particularly aesthetically pleasing, and if anything, pick the issue up for the look of it.
Abandoning the caption monologue was a good strategy, though I'm not sure how I feel about still having the monologues anyway. On the plus side, they fit the character of Starscream perfectly. The art on the issue, also Starscream-centric, is stunning, and if Starscream Starscream, then Starscream Starscream Starscream. So Starscream. Starscream?
Starscream-fest aside, though, it does little to the plot other than introduce two-three characters and hint at some stuff, and it then tries to make up for it with the final page reveal - which is nice, but the gimmick is getting a bit tiresome. Still, as I said, I enjoyed it more than previous similar issues, and Starscream really does shine in this.
Tuesday, July 2nd 2013 4:46am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News
, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al
IDW Publishing, Va'al
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Maybe Univerze Like Wazzzpinator?
THE DEATH OF A WORLD! Gorlam Prime—the entrance to the so-called DEAD UNIVERSE—holds many secrets… and now ORION PAX—the ’bot who was once OPTIMUS PRIME—pries its secrets loose. But will it be too late for CYBERTRON?
Guest starring: Waspinator!
We're back to looking at Orion Pax' quest after Jhiaxus and Bludgeon, as started in Syndromica
. And we actually get a little more agency from the gruesome truesome, not not to mention a good look at what their plans are actually about. Sort of. But the issue features a small but good cast of old faces, bringing everything together so far.
The gang's all here
In the light of recent BotCon Beast Wars toy announcements, the presence of Waspinator is an interesting addition, and Barber manages quite successfully to give him his own idiosyncratic speech pattern without badly damaging the intelligibility or pace of the dialogue - not a small feat!
I felt like we finally get a connection with the 'Prelude' Spotlights and Annuals, too, linking the Metrotitan plot (and the first appearance of Waspinator and Bludgeon in the series) to the main storylines - though not taking it back to Cybertron, yet.
Because it is Waspinator after all
The use of Waspinator is a good one, as he's not just tragicomic relief, Orion Pax seems to have a vague idea of what is going on, there's a fairly nice battle scene, and we get to find out what might happen next. But the ending really bugs me. Not saying what it is, but I found it disappointing.
The artwork for this issue, deviating from the so far established Ramondelli-Orion Pax combo, is done by Dheeraj Verma, who also worked on the Fall of Cybertron comic. And I have to say, despite a lot of people being quite vocal against it, I really enjoyed it. Yes some characters look different, but that's the whole point of having different artists!
Look at Bludgeon, look at him!
The artwork really shines, though, thanks to the colouring work of Joana Lafuente. The whole issue has a great feel about it, keeping the familiar smokey tones and hues we've come to associate to the Orion Pax issues so far in Ramondelli's own colours - just clearer this time, and working perfectly with the linework.
And that scenic shot..!
The lettering by Chris Mowry is good as usual, and some of the soundwords are really excellently executed. One character in particular has a really good speechbubble, but I will not spoil it here. All in all, I really liked the artwork: it's new, it's different, it works. We'll see if Verma comes back later in the series, but I hope so, personally.
Overall, the story holds together pretty well, as we get back to Orion Pax' personal mission chasing Jhiaxus/Bludgeon, and catching up with Wheelie, Garnak and Hardhead (and others). The addition of Waspinator is a nice touch, and the artwork is great, with some gorgeous backgrounds and colours.
Revelation: Megatron is a petty child
My problem with this issue? The ending. Again, I'm not going to spoil it for anyone, but I felt that the conclusion was disappointing after an otherwise enjoyable read, finally moving away from the usual status quo conflict. Do pick it up though, as it ties up nicely some loose ends, and it just looks beautiful - and it sets up the next step really well.
Wednesday, May 8th 2013 6:29pm CDT
, Site Articles
Posted by: Blurrz
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The Seibertron.com member spotlights continue as my latest interview subject is a veteran site member from the Netherlands. Check out my interview with member alldarker
, as we discuss everything from his devoted Generation One toy collection, to the new Generations Blitzwing
, transitioning to IDW's Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye and even ending up at Seibertron.com's browser game, Heavy Metal War!
Q - Hi alldarker, good to have you here! For those who don't know you all too well, mind giving us some of your history with a little Transformers Spotlight: alldarker?
Hey Blurrz, thanks for having me! Back in 1984, my family moved to England for a couple of years, so I went to school in England, right when Transformers hit. I was only 9, but I remember my first experience with Transformers well: a friend brought Grimlock to school and showed him off. I wanted to hold him myself, of course, so I bragged that I could transform him without instructions. It went pretty well, until I got to his chest. My friend eventually had to show me how his chest moved upwards. Man, Grimlock just looked so cool. Of course, for my next birthday I also asked my parents for a Transformer. I was actually allowed to pick one out myself, and I chose Thundercracker (although even my parents liked the look of Dinobots more). I still sort of regret that choice: I should have gone for Grimlock or Sludge... Although I did get Slag for Christmas a little later.
I have to admit, in those years I ended up being into M.A.S.K. more than into Transformers, so I never had many TF's back then, and the ones I did get were pretty lackluster (Groove, Skydive, Flywheels), so I sort of lost touch. I also did not follow any of the fiction back then, so the concept of 'Cybertronian modes' really put me off when Hasbro moved to original designs instead of the Diaclone-based real world vehicle alt modes. When I went to university, I only kept my M.A.S.K. collection, and my few Transformers all went to charity.
It was Beast Wars that got me back. Optimus Primal just looked so cool and poseable, and his gimmicks were incredible! I bought him and Polar Claw as my first two BW Transformers, and soon wanted more. This was of course way before the Internet was a thing, so with my free student travel-card I traveled all over the Netherlands (we had moved back in 1988) to find Beast Wars TFs. The Transmetals were even nicer than the first year toys, so I often went toy-hunting instead of studying...
This was actually around the time that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find consecutive lines of Transformers in Dutch shops: computer games and consoles were definitely starting to take over and Transformers were shelf-warming: you could often find first season Beast Wars figures on the pegs years after they'd been introduced, while new series were being ordered less and less. As a student I needed to graduate and it was becoming expensive to find new Transformers, so I once again stopped collecting.
The RiD Car Brothers amazed me when I first saw them: not only were they vehicles again, but they were highly poseable! I had to get them, at inflated prices, from an import store. They were however probably the only TF's I bought in the period between 20000 and 2007: it was a period in which I focused mostly on getting my degree and on finishing up my M.A.S.K. collection (both of which feats of which I am still proud).
Once again though, my interest was rekindled in 2007 by the TF movie. This time I had a job, so it was a lot easier to buy them, and toy stores were once again stocking up on Transformers for the first time in years. Although I did enjoy some of the movie molds, I realized that they weren't the Transformers of my youth (why wasn't Ironhide red!!!), and I started to browse the internet for the G1 Transformers that I'd always wanted but never had. One thing led to another and soon I'd started a pretty nice G1 collection, all the while finding new Transformers to want, including the Japanese-only G1 TF's which I had never realized were also seriously nice (and buying them whenever I had the chance and available resources). Since 2007, I've also finally gotten around to the fiction (cartoons and comics), which has really enriched my understanding of both characters and toys, and made me appreciate the whole Cybertronian aspect of TF's.
Alldarker's Star Saber
Q - You've amassed quite the large Transformers collection. Out of all the figures you own, which one is your favorite, and why?
A large collection... Well, when I look at other people's collections, some of which run into thousands, the size of my collection seems pretty average. I use Shmax.com to catalogue my collection, and it says I have about 350 figures: 300 of which are G1.
My favorite figure is one of the first ones I ever bought online: G1 Scorponok
. He's got everything that makes any toy look good: he's big, he's got the Headmaster gimmick, he's got a 'secret' compartment, he's a base, he's a triplechanger. I'm sure I would have loved having this toy when I was a kid, but even as an adult I can marvel at his qualities. Funnily enough, it was only after I had received Scorponok that I even found out about the moving scorpion legs feature it has. And due to getting into the fiction at a relatively late stage, I only really found out about his important role in the G1 comics after I had gotten him. That knowledge added to his coolness: Scorponok is not only a great figure, but he's also a very interesting character, a Decepticon leader who redeems himself and is not just purely evil.
Scorponok was also the figure which made me appreciate the blockier 1987 Transformers a lot more: in fact the Headmasters (both big and small) have become my favorite subgroup. Ironic perhaps, considering it was those blocky, unrealistic, primary colored Transformers which turned me off Transformers back in 1987!
Q - I guess it is safe to ask, have you ordered Encore 23 Fortress Maximus? How much does it mean to you, for you to finally own this plastic beast? And despite how big Fort Max is, is there a holy grail of Transformers figures out there for you?
When word got out that an actual reissue of Fortress Maximus would be happening, like many others I was ecstatic. I'd never expected to ever own him; I'd never even tried to find one because the vintage ones available were always either too expensive, incomplete, broken or yellowed (and often all four of those at the same time). I'll be honest, I do actually already own the Maximus mold in the form of Brave Maximus, which made an aching desire for Fortress Maximus a bit less painful. Although Fortress Maximus has the extra accessories, Brave Max definitely wins out on the color scheme. However, I'm also slightly ashamed to say that my Brave Max is still tied up on the cardboard and factory fresh in my storage unit. That fate would definitely not happen to Encore Fortress Max, though...
So yeah, once pre-orders for Encore Fortress Maximus went up, I ordered him on day one of availability, back in October of last year. After those 5 months of waiting, I finally received him two weeks ago, and I'll tell you, I was looking forward to Fortress Maximus's arrival day like I used to look forward to my birthday when I was a kid!!! Finally being able to take him out of the box, seeing that beast up close, holding him and almost literally wrestling with him to transform him was just such a pleasure. I even enjoyed stickering him up: I find it makes you really get to know a Transformer and its details. And there's quite a lot to admire on a Transformer as big as he is! So Fortress Maximus is the first real hands on experience for me with his form. And he is just glorious.
Alldarker's Fortress Maximus!
Fortress Maximus was never really a 'holy grail of Transformers' though. I never expected to own him, but like I said, I also never really had the ambition to own him either, until he became readily available as a reissue. However, there are still a couple of Transformers which I'd really, REALLY love to own one day. They are actually all Japanese Transformers, which makes just finding them available in a good condition difficult, let alone for a price I'd be willing to pay. First of these is Dinoking
. While I realize that even the sum of his parts still makes a puny combined Transformer, considering the money he goes for, I just love the dino-shells and the color schemes. Luckily, I do have Monstructor which is all sorts of fun in his own way (except that darn GPS), but having Dinoking alongside him... Oh yes, one day, I hope. And secondly, I'd love to acquire his boss, Deszaras (Deathsaurus)
. All that chrome, the Breastmasters... When I was young I would have found him completely ridiculous, but nowadays he's definitely a Transformer I'd be willing to lay down some cold hard cash for. Of course, if Takara would also consider reissuing those two... They'd certainly get my fond blessing and my money!
Q- You have quite the passion for Generation One toys, a passion that many fans here on this site can relate to. Most fans of the G1 series have translated their passion by making their collections more focused on the Classics figures. What made you stick with the G1 toyline? What role does the Classics/Universe/Generations and Masterpiece toylines play in your collection?
Yeah, Generation One has become my main collecting focus, but I do still very much appreciate the Classics/Universe/Generations/Henkei/United (and I hope I can be forgiven for using CHUG from here on!) toys that have been heavily inspired by G1, and also the Masterpieces.
When the CHUG toys first came out they just looked amazing. Finally Hasbro and Takara were giving a real tribute to the Generation One toys, and acknowledging both children AND the generations that had grown up in the '80's and '90's as customers.
I personally was especially interested in the Classic Seekers, which in my eyes were just a huge improvement on the Generation One jets (molds which to this day I just do not really enjoy). I managed to get Starscream, Ramjet and the Skywarp/Ultra Magnus set, before the whole Botcon Games of Deception fiasco disillusioned me into ever getting a complete set of Classics Seekers. So I sold them all off (including the Skywarp / UM set!) and invested in the six Henkei Seekers. Even so, I never really became a completionist with the Classics line, so I only ever picked out the molds that really caught my eye or looked like strong improvements on their vintage counterparts, like Tracks, Jazz, Blurr and Kup. But, to be honest there were many 'CHUG's I never bothered to find, often because I was happy enough with the G1 version. Actually, this is where I have to again complain about Hasbro's total and utter lack of decent distribution in the Netherlands and Europe. I know in the US Hasbro distribution is also pretty poor, but here in the Netherlands, we only ever saw some distribution of the first Classics and Universe waves. It meant that I needed to import stuff at double the cost one would pay in the US, and that sort of forces you to be pretty picky in the molds you want. On the other hand, importing the Takara versions from Japan usually wasn't that much more expensive than importing from the US, while (especially in the first years) the Takara versions often looked better (even with the chrome overdoses!).
I only got into the Masterpieces pretty late in the game. For a long time, the only Masterpiece I owned was the original Takara MP-07 Thundercracker, an incredible grown-up version of my own very first G1 Transformer. However, I never really fell for the first MP Optimus Prime or for Megatron, and in hindsight, I guess I made a wise choice in not getting them. I also never got any version of Grimlock; in fact the first time I was tempted by another Masterpiece was when the pre-orders for Rodimus Prime went up. I had a pre-order in, but cancelled it even before the first reports came out of its poor quality and fragile nature. Once again I felt I made the right choice in not investing in the MP line. Then, when first MP-10 was shown, and relatively soon afterwards MP-11 to MP-16, I was just amazed. They all looked like they'd just stepped out of their G1 box-art. And I just knew I needed them!
To be fair, I can actually totally understand the people who feel that CHUG and even more so Masterpieces have over-classed their vintage ancestors. Many G1 toys were bricks... But I guess they look better to me through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia. Without it, I'm sure I too would not find G1 Transformers very interesting any more. I guess I could compare it to the way I feel about Masters of the Universe. Some people grew up with them and still love Masters of the Universe toys. However, I never had any MotU toys as a kid, I never really enjoyed the cartoons and so personally, I just do not see the attraction.
But even though I had only a few Transformers when I was a kid, I do remember peering at the booklets showing all the toys, imagining how they'd al transform, how they'd look together, how they'd feel... And that still makes me love the original vintage Generation One toys to this day, as flawed as some most certainly are! I guess that's also the real attraction of the Masterpieces for me: they are like 3D images of the original box-art. They are the way the G1 'bricks' could only ever look in your wildest imagination. I guess Masterpieces are just a tribute to the man-child in each of us: with technology compensating the loss of our childish imagination that used to be able to make those G1 'bricks' come alive. The same goes for the Classics/Universe/Generations/Henkei/United/etc. toys: I like them because they are such creative re-imaginations of their G1 counterparts.
Q - Great insight! Lets say there is a fan in the Netherlands, who got into Transformers in the 80's and 90's, but never really had interest in collecting toys until now. As a savvy collecting veteran, what would you suggest to them to help start them off?
Generally speaking, collecting Transformers in the Netherlands is always going to be a pricy hobby, due to having to import a lot of stuff, especially newer Transformers. Although we used to have brick and mortar Toys 'R' Us stores here, they have all gone, so there's not even access to the TRU exclusives, including the Masterpieces, which do incidentally shown up in the UK. In other toy stores, you'd be lucky to find one or two TFPrime Transformers, some Activators and Bot Shots... It's pathetic.
However, although Hasbro has very little presence in the shops here, there are still good opportunities for new Dutch collectors. On our Dutch version of Craigslists (Marktplaats.nl) people do often offer interesting stuff from all era's of Transformers, sometimes for exorbitant prices, but sometime for very reasonable prices as well. Furthermore, twice yearly there are huge collectors fairs in Utrecht, which always include a whole hall dedicated to professional sellers of all sorts of good quality toys from past and present. Furthermore, the Dutch collectors community isn't huge and there are frequent get-togethers (like the B.O.T.S. Convention
on June 9th in Aalsmeer), which also offer excellent opportunities for getting to know other fans and buying stuff. And of course there's eBay, which offers everything, although at a price. In the past, Dutch people have always been hesitant to get credit cards: even many shops and supermarkets do not accept credit cards here, but as far as I'm concerned, having a CC makes it a lot easier to acquire Transformers by way of the internet. And one more tip: despite some wonderful US-based internet retailers with access to almost every new Transformer that gets released from both the US and Japan, for us Europeans it's always going to be cheaper to import Japanese Transformers directly from Japan and Hong Kong, and US Transformers from the US!
Q- There are two figures that are showing up worldwide this month, and they are representations of characters that many fans have clamored for ever since the beginning of Classics in 2006. They are Blitzwing and Springer; what do you think of the two? Will you end up obtaining them?
That's an interesting question, to which I haven't got a definite answer. A couple of years ago would definitely have said yes. But nowadays, I am not so sure.
Firstly, G1 Blitzwing
has always been a favorite toy of mine: he's probably the best G1 Triplechanger from that era, with both alt modes being recognizable real-life vehicles. However, I'm just not too keen on how the new version of Blitzwing looks. With what the Masterpieces have already shown us, I would have been hoping for some better defined alt modes, each one hiding away more of the other modes than what we have now. I've also read his reviews quite keenly, and it seems that Generations Blitzwing's quality control is a bit off. I guess that I might get him if he made to a brick & mortar store, but I'd don't think I'd take the trouble to import him through the internet.
The new Generations Springer definitely looks excellent from what I've seen, with both alt modes and the robot mode all very convincing. He really IS Springer, and I guess more so than FP Defender, which I did buy, and who looks good enough, but which does have some weird design issues. Again, the choice is influenced by how easy it will be to find him: I'd rather not pay over double US retail to get him to the Netherlands! But he's definitely tempting me the most out of these two.
I guess this question ties in with myself becoming less influenced by hypes that will take over in Transformers fandom. I've fallen victim to Transformers-hypes in the past, including buying early samples of the TFTM toys and several third party Transformers, just to be able to see what people were raving about. And as always, some hypes are justified, while some really just aren't.
I've found I've become a happier collector in relying more on my personal preferences and choices of molds to get, instead of depending on the hype of the month: I check out more reviews and judge new Transformers based on personal preferences, and based on that I decide which Transformers really appeal to me. I'm especially glad that I'm no longer a completionist when it comes to lines or series: not for G1, not for Masterpieces and not for Classics. It definitely makes collecting less stressful!
Q- That's certainly a hardy collecting mentality! One last set of toy related questions before we move on to other aspects of the fandom. There has been a craze going on recently, and I suppose it all started with the BotCon '11 set - that being G2 inspired repaints. Do you enjoy the effort put in from Hasbro and Takara, or are these just 'easy' repaints? Does G2 deserve the spotlight or is it better left in the dark?
Although I really couldn't appreciate the colorschemes back when it 'happened', G2 did have quite a strong presence in Europe. Even now, original G2 toys are easy to and cheap to find. As time went by, I've learned to like the gaudy colors: and despite the colors, some very fun toys were introduced back in those days.
So I have to admit I do actually really enjoy the new G2 repaints. And although I've never been to Botcon (but would certainly like to someday), I did get that 2011 Botcon set through eBay, and I feel it is actually a pretty good set (although many of the repaints aren't technically G2). I even picked up the Botcon Rapido/Cindersaur set due to liking both the original Rapido toy and the way they repainted the Universe Bluestreak mold into Timelines Rapido.
So yeah, in an age where repaints are pretty essential for making Takara and Hasbro's new molds economically viable, I certainly do approve of G2.
Alldarker's G2 Clench
Q - Do you have a favorite Transformers cartoon series? Specifically a favorite episode?
I'm ashamed to admit I've yet to watch either Animated or TFPrime, let alone the Armada, Energon and Cybertron cartoons (although I've understood they're best left unseen)
, so there's still some catching up to do. I've actually only ever watched the G1 cartoons and the Beast Wars cartoons in full, and I'm still working through Headmasters, so my answer to this question is based on a relatively limited back catalog.
The G1 cartoon holds a special place even despite all its flaws. Contrary to some, I always enjoyed the 'toy of the week' episodes, especially in season 2, which feature some of my favorite toys and characters. However, I recently started re-watching The Transformers, and I have to admit they are pretty exhausting to watch.
I guess the choice for favorite cartoon is still pretty easy though: Beast Wars is my absolute favorite Transformers series, and is still very easy to watch as an adult, with an excellent start in the first season, building up to a couple of very intense story arcs and featuring humor, excitement, tragedy, redemption and even romance. I guess my favorite episode is, perhaps slightly cliche'd: 'Code of Hero
'. A painful but touching episode, especially for what is originally a children's cartoon.
Q - IDW has unleashed two highly acclaimed ongoing Transformers series, The Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye and The Transformers: Robots In Disguise. Which series do you prefer, and do you have a favorite issue so far?
I've been reading practically all the IDW releases since they started with 'Infiltration', and I'm keeping up by faithfully buying up the TPS as they are released. Last week I received volume three for both MTMTE and RID, so while I'm not exactly up to date, I'm never that far behind on what's happening (and I have to admit I do read spoilers on the various sites that review the comics month by month)
. However, reading the TPS makes it hard for me to point out a favorite issue: sometimes I'm just so engrossed in the story that I don't notice the issue change!
Now, I think most people will agree that not all of the IDW titles have been of the same constant quality. Quite a few titles have starting out strong, only to fizzle out in relatively lacklustre conclusions. However, as far as I'm concerned both MTMTE and RID have been on surprisingly long good streaks. When they first came forth from 'Ongoing' I was especially pleased with MTMTE. Right from the start this looked like a series that was really going somewhere, with a format that lends itself well to telling both short one-off stories and longer arcs, which to me seems beneficial to it longevity. Furthermore, it is using several characters that traditionally never got much attention before. I actually feel quite strongly about the relationship between toys and characters: strangely enough it can help me appreciate a toy even better if I get a feeling for the character it is portraying. I've also always found it interesting to see the way toys were formed into characters, and characters into toys, each influencing the other. So seeing quite a few underused Transformers get some 'prime' time (pun intended)
is one of the things that keeps me very much invested in MTMTE. Apart from that, the way it is written is extremely entertaining: it is exciting, funny, cruel, gut-wrenching and at times it provides some good back story.
The Transformers: Robots In Disguise started off a bit more messy, I thought. It used characters that have always been more prominent in Transformers fiction, but especially in the first few issues it seemed that characters were behaving out of character. All in all, it took a bit more getting used to the story that was being told. However, Robots In Disguise definitely revealed a bigger, more intricate and exciting story as it went onward, and I'm actually pretty interested in how things will move on. Perhaps it's not the fastest moving story, but compared to how quickly and unconvincingly some earlier IDW titles wrapped up, this title is able to hold my attention.
Of the two, I guess MTMTE does have my preference, although I'm hoping both keep going strong and both are already riding high in my personal list of top IDW titles!
Q - Heavy Metal War. It is Seibertron.com's browser game and you are one of the top players. Tell us how awesome it is to have the top character, and how fulfilling it is to among many other things, to be able to kick Burn's butt
Ah yes, I'd definitely hoped this question was coming! HMW: my greatest glory! February 11th 2006 was the fateful day I actually signed up with Seibertron.com... And it was primarily to give Heavy Metal Wars a shot!
I've played ever since that day, even after the giant server crash which deleted all progress, which reset everyone's scores and which ended the HMW careers of many old timers with maxed out scores. It was the reset that gave one of the biggest boost to my current position in the game. It reset the tables, allowing a fresh start for everyone. Then, in about 2010, I got an iPhone, which made regular deployments a whole lot easier. And in the last two years, even more regular players than myself have unfortunately dropped out of the game, real life catching up on them, but effectively removing a lot of top competition from the game. Becoming the numrber one player was for a very long time a seemingly unreachable goal, so it was incredibly fulfilling to finally make it after 7 years.
I'll be honest, HMW is not the most exciting game around, but at least it's cheaper than Farmville, and unfortunately at least as addictive. There was a time when you could say: well, the game itself pretty much sucks, but the fun half of the game is in slagging off other competitors on the HMW forum. Nowadays, again unfortunately, the HMW forums have become a lot less active, which really is a shame, because topics could get pretty heated. Due to its rather addictive nature, HMW players are still relatively active, but I think many would LOVE an upgrade of the game. There have of course been several ill-fated attempts at creating the legendary, multi-feature 'HMW version 2.0', but the instigators have usually ended up like Spinal Tap drummers: MIA. A real upgrade would however have benefits all around: the game would become more exciting, hopefully also for less OCD players than I've always been, it would be a unique selling point for Seibertron.com and the HMW forums would liven up again. Right now, coming into the game is hardly worth it for competitive newcomers: catching up to the highest levels is practically impossible.
For me, the greatest joy in the game is currently most absolutely kicking Burn's ass around the room. It's not often you can have such fulfilling virtual interaction with a mod. In all honesty, Burn is enormously active in the HMW, both as a player and as a mod, and he is currently my biggest competitor, so it's no surprise he and I keep running into each others bots. I haven't kept score, but I'm guessing that we're probably each getting 50% of the wins in our matches... I'm also very glad he's doing a great (and probably thankless)
job in doing what he can to keep the HMW alive, both the game and the HMW forum. But yeah... HMW 2.0 would be real nice!
Alldarker's Brave Maximus!
Q - Sadly our time has come to an end. I would like to say that this was certainly a very enjoyable interview! Any parting shots?
Thanks for having me! Nah, no parting shots, I think my answers are already tl;dr!!!
Previous Interviews - Counterpunch / El Duque / Razorclaw0000 / Va'al
Check out alldarker's flickr!
Sunday, March 31st 2013 5:59pm CDT
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Posted by: Blurrz
Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Hi Seibertronians! I think that once a month is an opportune interval to take a break from the flurry of Transformers news and shine more light on the awesome members of our community. When I initially planned to interview this Autobot, he was only a normal, hard-working maintenance 'bot. However our reigning Magnus has promoted this 'bot to the rank of Prime, so please give a warm welcome to my newest interview experiment
subject and coincidentally, newest staff member, Va'al
Blurrz: HiVa'al! Iwilltrytoslowdownmyspeechsoyoucancomprehendme. Before we dive into deep and thought provoking Transformers talk, let us give our fellow Transformers fans a little information on Spotlight: Va'al. Where are you from? Who is your favorite Transformers character? And lastly, why 'Va'al'?
Va'al: Hi! Well, this is nice. I've never really been interviewed before -- is this going to be my 15 minutes of fame, and then back to obscurity? You know, fame over, finished. Where I'm from is an easy question, it's the answer that's a bit trickier: I'm half-Tuscan, on my dad's side, half-Yorkshire, on my mum's - that's half-Italian half-English, for non-Europeans! But there's Turkish, French, Dutch and Irish blood in me. Grew up in Italy, and moved to the UK in 2008. My screen name is actually a blend of my second name and my first (Alex), and I'm quite proud of it. It gets annoying when websites don't allow apostrophes though. I have to stick an 'h' in there instead. As for my favourite Transformers character... this one's a pickle, I've been trying to figure it out. I always thought it'd be Soundwave, and my collection seems to prove that. But reading the recent More Than Meets the Eye comics series, I discovered Vos. A linguist, a sadist, a Decepticon. After my own spark. Literally. As an afterthought, though, I think The Fallen, deserves an honourable mention. He's a part of the background mythology of the other characters, and he's modelled on various mythemes from different cultures, something I'm particularly interested in. Plus, he's on fire, baby.
What got you into Transformers? Do you remember your first toy?
I wrote about this in my collection thread, but I'm still trying to locate things in time really. As I was born in 1989, in Italy, I didn't catch a lot of original stuff. First series I remember watching, and following, was Beast Wars; it stopped airing after the last episode of season 1. I was extremely disappointed. I'm sure it was on TV after that, but I never found it again (I finally caught up three years ago).
The thing that really got me back into the toys (I had a few as a kid, especially Beast Wars, though, were the three recent Michael Bay films. When the Revenge of the Fallen toyline came out in the UK, I fell in love with Sideways and Sideswipe, and it just kept going from there.
My first toy, on the other hand, was a present my dad got me during one of his business trips: G2 Sideswipe, known to me as 'Freccia' ('Arrow'). I loved it, but have no idea where it went. I think my fondest memory of a Transformer toy was Beast Wars Optimus Primal, which my mum bought me on a surprise trip to the toy shop for one of my birthdays. He's still alive and kicking, although missing all his missiles bar one, and only has half a sword left.
That's an interesting point you bring up, as I believe a fair number of us Transformers fans were brought back into the hobby from the Transformers Movies! For those who have yet to dive into your collection thread, what is your favorite Transformers line that you have collected? And why so?
For a while, the only line I was collecting were the movie-related ones: Revenge of the Fallen, Hunt for the Decepticons, Reveal the Shield, Dark of the Moon. Then some Generation started appearing across the UK. I can't remember which one I picked up first, but some of them were absolutely stunning! So different from the movie lines!
Then Power Core Combiners showed up. That was a troubled relationship, to say the least. I bought the Crankcase and Destrons 5-pack on a whim. Played around with him, then decided to give him to my brother for Christmas. As I was wrapping the figures, I had a strange feeling of regret. I put them to one side, and got him something else. The following day I found Bombshock and the Combaticons on sale. I bought a couple more after that, didn't like them that much, sold them again. Then missed them, horribly, a couple of months later. You know where this is going...
I've said this before, PCCs are not only desirable, they are adorable.
Well, as long as you have your kidneys! It is interesting to get the perspective of fans who aren't exactly in the heartland of the Transformers fandom. Do you feel like the Hasbros in Europe are providing enough content for the fans who want to keep up with their fellow fans in North America or Asia? If there is one thing you could change about the way the company works in Europe, whether that be distribution, toy content or something else, what would that be?
I've spoken to several other European fans, from Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands and, of course, the UK. And no, I don't think there is a particularly good service. Entire waves not arriving, surplus of earlier waves at the cost of later ones, store exclusives, even distribution within the same country! And the prices are pretty ridiculous too.
If I were to change something, just magically change it, I'm not considering any real-life application here, it would probably be distribution. I'd like to ensure that the different branches across Europe have similar stock at similar times, rather than the current situation: if I go visit my girlfriend in Manchester (north of England), I will find a lot more selection than here in Norwich (south-east). As soon as I go back to Italy to visit family, they're still a series or two behind, even.
However, I only realised all of this once I joined Seibertron.com. Had I not been wanting to keep up to date with the franchise, I never would have known, and possibly never cared, either.
I'll have a go at what you said though: do you really think that the "core" of the fandom is in the US or Asia? For the toys, maybe, but in terms of comics... Simon Furman, Andrew Wildman, John-Paul Bove, Nick Roche, Livio Ramondelli (although he now lives in L.A.), Guido Guidi, James Roberts. All from Europe, and at the core of the current, and in my opinion, extremely successful, three series!
Good insight! I think it would be incorrect for fans in general to underestimate the European contributions to the Transformers brand! Let us get one more toy-related question in before we head into more comic-heavy discussion. What is your Transformers toy holy grail?
Ah. Er... Hm. I'm not actually sure I have one, as of now. I'm getting to a point where I feel like quitting collecting the toys for a bit, to save some extra money while I'm still getting some for my studies. And that thought tends to push out most of the others!
I really like the mythology currently being explored by both the animated series Transformers: Prime and the comics series, and the focus on the different origin stories of Cybertron and its inahbitants. It's not really a grail, more of a "I'd like to see a figure of...": Nova Prime and The Fallen, and possibly the Decepticon Justice Division.
(Although I am patiently waiting for Maketoys to deliver their stand-in for The Fallen... and it's PCC compatible! Double win!)
There's a Transformers fan who has yet to read IDW Transformers comics. What issue or series do you hook them with, and why?
How did you guess I'm into the comics? The easy thing would be to start with the "official" jumping-on point of the two most recent series, Robots in Disguise and More Than Meets the Eye. Maybe even The Death of Optimus Prime, to get some pointers about how previous stuff ended and the series begin. And a lot of fans seem to prefer either one or the other, whilst still reading both (and they do call to each other, every now and then). The problem with recent IDW stuff? It's all connected. The writers are quite explicitly trying to patch up some continuity troubles from the previous series, and most of the Spotlight comics are set back then too. So if you haven't read any of the IDW stuff, I'd cheat, and suggest the IDW Omnibus reprint of Dreamwave's The War Within, published as Transformers: War Within. Simon Furman, Don Figueroa and Andrew Wildman shaped a really good prequel to pretty much the whole story we all know. Shame it was never finished (although I do have the first three issues of the third part of the story, plus the scripts and summary of the ending). It does introduce The Fallen, though.
Good ole' Dreamwave! So lets move along to the current side of Transformers comics, mostly looking at Robots In Disguise and More Than Meets The Eye. I'm rather sure if we started discussion on the series itself we'd end up writing a novel, so sadly I guess instead off looking at each series at a whole, I guess I'll just rephrase this question, first focusing on RID, what was your favorite issue in RID so far, and why?
These may contain spoilers, if reader's haven't caught up with the series yet!
As much as issue 14 contains a gigantic turn of events, I still think that issues 12 and 13 work, on a different level. The build-up is insane: Prowl is recovering from being blown up, disappears and reappears beefed up; Wheeljack is trying to keep everything under control, unsuccessfully (and he quotes Ghostbusters); Megatron returns, gets almost blown to pieces by the Autobots, then is taken in for recovery by Wheeljack and Jetfire; Starscream gives a heck of a speech, only to find out that no one cares, especially not the Decepticons; Arcee reveals herself to Blurr and his bar clientele (including a Sky-Bite/Jazz spoken word-music double act). And that's just issue 12!
Special mention goes to the Annual, especially for the flashback sequences drawn and coloured by Guidi. Wow.
(As an aside, and I know not everyone will agree, but I really enjoy how Griffith is trying to give characters their toy counterpart look, where possible.)
RID's sister comic, More Than Meets The Eye. Favorite issue so far, and why?
For this one, there are three big contenders: issue 6, with the introduction of the Decepticon Justice Division; issue 12, exploring the various relationships between the characters on the Lost Light; issue 13, because it's stupidly fun. Oh wait, 7, too. But Shadowplay is amazing as well. Blast.
Ok, focusing on just one issue. I'd say 12. It expands on Tailgate, Cyclonus, Whirl, and especially Chromedome and Rewind. It was really moving, and I'm not embarassed to say it, the way in which Chromedome talks about Rewind's past and how he found him. Really good character development. And useful to the plot, in the light of issue 14, which I've only just read.
But Shadowplay - That's a story by itself. That is something that needs reading. Takes up from where Chaos Theory left, and wow, does it have a kick and a half.
(Again, special mention to the Annual, for its further look at the mythology behind Cybertronian culture.)
They are certainly a series that fans can get into! This is probably not talked about much, despite him being such a dynamic character - with Megatron's resurrection/reappearance in our two Ongoings, what role do you see Orion Pax/Optimus Prime playing in the near future? Is he a character that belongs back with the rest of the cast, or should he remain an outcast? In a related note, any comments on the art of Ramondelli?
Ah, yes. I was initially disappointed with his return so early in the series, but I do like that he's doing his own thing at the moment! He's chasing Jhiaxus and Bludgeon, dangerous characters, who are chasing Shockwave's plans. That's three of the sharpest, most dangerous Decepticon minds he's after. I think he has his hands full as it is, to be honest. Having said that, his stories do appear in the same series as Megatron, but with Overlord back again in MTMTE, the Decepticon leader also might have his hands full.
Ramondelli's work is something very different from the rest of the artistic cast. His cover art is superb, Autocracy was executed brilliantly, and I enjoyed every moment of it, and I'm really looking forward to the Monstrosity TPB. Chaos, on the other hand, was a bit confusing at times. He does shine on spreads and splash pages though, and he's excellent at talking with fans. And he does all his work on paper (then scans it and colours it)!
We touched on this prior, so let us say you get a cushy job at Hasbro R&D, you are assigned character selection for 2014 Generations Waves 3 and 4. We already know you love the DJD, so they're Wave 3. Who is in Wave 4?
So we have Tarn, Vos, Helex, Tesarus and Kaon (with The Pet!) as wave 3, with Vos and Kaon as Deluxe, and the other three as Voyagers. I think we need some love for Rung, Swerve, Tailgate and Rewind. But throw in Metalhawk and Jhiaxus, too, from Robots in Disguise. And I suppose Prowl, at this point, is a must.
But for some real fanservice, you want Overlord. Deluxe size tank, Deluxe size jet, Voyager(ish, probably a little bigger) robot mode.
Do it Hasbro!
Time for word association, I give you a phrase, name or a word and you respond with one word of your choice!
-2009-2011 Ongoing Series
-Power Core Combiners
-Hasbro Masterpiece Soundwave w/ 5 Cassettes
Looks like this wraps things up. Thanks for sitting in on this one Va'al. Any last words for the community?
It was fun! Thanks for the opportunity.
Last words: Read the comics - love Power Core Combiners.
Previous Interviews - Counterpunch / El Duque / Razorclaw0000
Monday, November 26th 2012 3:12am CST
, Site Articles
Posted by: Blurrz
Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
"Just a normal interview," they said. "Everything will be alright," they said. Well as this innocent Autobot reporter found out, his assigned interview subject happened to live in a no-so-alright star system controlled by Unicron. It also turned out that my interviewee was not-so-normal either. Among the list of his many credentials is some sort of secret 'Agent of Unicron', so I was not entirely sure if we were going to play Casino Royale
, or there was going to be some Skyfall
. Luckily I found my subject in his natural habitat, and coincidentally, he happens to Twincast/Podcast and Seibertron.com staff member, Razorclaw0000!
Every Transformers fan has a different origin. When and how did it begin for you?
In my Universe, the Vok also created something greater from the sparks of Air Razor and Tigatron, but here, the Vok meant business. Instead of that sniveling Tigerhawk trying to stop Megatron from interfering with time, I just disposed of him. Tigerhawk is not me and I am not he. However, the Vok are not kind to their creations, and cast me adrift. Then, millennia later the Dark God Unicron found me and bestowed the mantle of General upon me. To feed the Chaos Bringer's thirst, I oversaw the Cauldron - a great Arena which put the ancient gladiatorial games at Kaon to shame. At that time, I also began amassing a vast collection of Microns and Minicons to please Unicron.
Alternatively, I've always been fond of Transformers, since I was very small. I was just a few years too late to catch G1 at its pinnacle, and ended up seeing reruns in syndication. My first few toys were Minibots, Perceptor, Blitzwing, Groundshaker, and Iguanus. We were not a financially stable family though, and toys that weren't from a dollar store were a sparse luxury, so I ended up with many anonymous robots from various low cost Chinese lines.
I stayed a fan for a long time, and saw some of Beast Wars as a teenager. Rampage was a fantastic character and the toy always excited me. It was a few years later, in my senior year of high school when I finally had a small job and a bit of money that I stumbled on a Rampage in a Boscov's Department Store, covered in dust, and had to buy it. I was hooked, but money was still tight. I ended up finding some good deals on clearance in Kay-Bee, a Scarem and Sonar, and a Transmetals Scavenger, which were my only toys for a few years.
By 2002, I had a fairly stable job, ironically at a Boscov's, while I was putting myself through undergrad. One day, I happened to stroll over to the toy area, and saw Armada Starscream. The design was interesting. There's a presence to that figure, with the stocky lower legs, smirk, and sword that mean business. I ended up buying it, but I felt slightly disappointed by the slightly less complex transformation. Within months, I ended up buying nearly every domestic Armada figure, skipping some repaints. I was hooked. There were some stinkers, like Scavenger, and some real winners, like Jetfire and Tidalwave that looked great, even if articulation was weak. I also started backfilling with clearance RID figures, and even a few Beast Machines figures hiding out here and there.
In 2003, I ordered my first Japanese figure: the reissue God Ginrai with God Bomber, on clearance at HLJ, along with a color set of Micromaster Six Wing. My fiancee (and currently my wife) was relatively annoyed but didn't complain too much. For years, I ended up picking up most of the domestic products, through Energon, Alternators, and Cybertron, along with a few pieces here and there from older or foreign lines, like a Sonokong Big Convoy. Right as Classics began to hit store shelves, we bought a house, and I took a large pause for nearly a year.
When the 2007 movie came up, on Memorial Day weekend, I found the movie prequel book "Ghost of Yesterday" and Protoform Prime and Starscream, and decided to pick them up. I was excited by the fiction, and intrigued by the molds. My collecting desires rekindled and I was on a mad dash to grab the Classics I'd missed.
Unicron's glory reigns supreme in Razorclaw0000's collection!
Sounds like Unicron will have Bards singing your tale! So let's get more into the little guys. What does collecting mini-cons mean to you?
When I was growing up, and we were poor, I did end up with a handful of Minibots, namely Powerglide, Brawn, Outback, Huffer, and two poor Seasprays that never managed to keep all the propellers. I think there's something about Minicons and Microns that pulls me back to those points, and there's some gleeful irony in the stupid prices a few of them are worth. I'm also borderline OCD, so the "gotta catch 'em all" aspect tickles my fancy. Finally, I think a few of them are so outright gorgeous and unique, like the DVD Sonic Attack team (girly planes!), Micron Booster Green Emergency team (minty fresh team!) , the Platinum team, and the US Giant Planet Team. They're fun to fiddle with, and don't take up much space, unlike other parts of my collection...
A mere glimpse into his collection - Razorclaw0000's work in progress Mini-con shelf!
Like myself, you are an avid video game enthusiast. How are you feeling about Fall Of Cybertron the game, itself?
I think it looks good. I got chills when I heard the original trailer, featuring "The Humbling River" by Puscifer. I'm a huge Maynard James Keenan fan, so that was a nice treat. The visuals look great, and I'm intrigued by some of the characters, like the Combaticons. However, I was somewhat unimpressed with WFC. I'm a big fan of real cover shooters, like Mass Effect and Gears of War, with nice clean snap in cover mechanics. Standing behind a pillar isn't quite the same, and I'm a bit spoiled. I'm sure I'll pick it up, though, just to support High Moon and the property.
Leaning more towards the Fall Of Cybertron toyline. How does it fit within your collection? Do you feel that WFC/FOC has done justice on the Pre-Earth Transformers? Do you think FOC toyline is a step backwards or forwards for the Transformers toy franchise?
I built up a shelf last year with Welcome to 2010 Primus, the War for Cybertron Generations Deluxes, BotCon Alpha Trion, and Universe 2.0 Blaster with Renderform's DJ Rockblast head. I'm pretty happy with it, and I have no problems adding a *few* more figures to it, particularly Shockwave, Starscream, and Bruticus. I'm not crazy that the mainline Bruticus has the inferior, pseudo-G2 color scheme, because I'd rather keep the SDCC MISB. The big thing that irritates me, though, is that large Soundwave with the annoying disk gimmick we saw at BotCon. I like the concept, but the execution is poor, and I can't help but think of all those development dollars that could have gone to more Neo-G1 figures, or Prime figures, or anything. Too much, too late?
As we all know you have a nose for completion in regards to collecting toys. What made you lean towards this way of collecting? What was the most arguably painful and frustrating purchase you had to go through because of this mentality?
Completionism is a special kind of hell that only a dedicated few can put themselves through. It takes an understanding spouse, a dash of luck, and a whole heap of obsessive-compulsion. There's a special kind of yearning that enforces the "Gotta Catch 'Em All" feeling of toys, and makes you ignore the common sense that tells you one Backstop was enough, and you don't need two others in even worse decos.
Some of the hardest things to find in my collection are obscure non-Micron figures and items from the Micron Trilogy (the Japanese equivalent of the Unicron Trilogy here). I've been working for a long time on finding the last Force Chip (Cyber-key) that was not paired with a larger figure during Galaxy Force. If you know anyone looking to part with "Ignition Prize", send 'em my way! The Superlink Energon Weapons are also a bear to track down. Many of the hardest items are difficult to search for, and were often overlooked by sites like Seibertron when they were first released. Even getting photos is extremely difficult...
One of my happiest moments was tracking down the three rarest US Minicons, though. At the start of Cybertron, Wal-Mart released the Wave One deluxes in special tiny boxes, paired with a palette-flipped set of the Armada Road Destruction Team, along with "Tiny Tin" storage boxes. Each Minicon in the team was paired with two different deluxes. I've managed to complete a full set of the six deluxes, sealed, along with a loose set of the Minicons for display. Yes, that does mean I own the team three times...
Razorclaw0000's specials. Prototype Razorclaw and BotCon 2010 Customizing Class G2 Sideswipe
Mini-cons certainly perpetuate happiness among certain members of the Seibertron.com staff! So among your massive collection, which one is your holy grail?
Shining Unicron is certainly the top of the "grail" list. Dragoyell is another Lucky Draw that tickles my fancy. For non-Micron Trilogy, I'd certainly love a Black Fire Convoy or the gorgeous Lucky Draw Micron Legends Megatron.
However, if we're looking for 'attainable' grails, it would probably be the Space Galaxy Team. They're still one of the most elusive sets of Microns ever produced that weren't Lucky Draws, and command absurd dollars in the after market, if they even show up at all.
If we step down from that, I'll be very happy when I wrap up the last three DVD Microns, Impulsor, Quench, and Freeboot, that I need.
I don't want to die! Plot shield please?
What is your opinion of Shattered Glass? Are you a devoted fan or strongly opposing it? What do you think of the upcoming e-hobby/TFCC crossover?
I'm not a fan at this point. It was clever at the beginning, especially since I'm a big fan of Star Trek, where the idea really blossomed from. However, I think it's been taken a bit too far by now, and is stunting the creativity of the club. To be fair, though, it's a nice avenue to get repaints we may not otherwise, like Road Rage. I'd just like to see some other property developed by the club already. Wings was promising, but seems to have petered out. I didn't join the Shattered Glass Collector's Club.
On the topic of the club, which figure is your favorite of the upcoming 2012 Subscription service, and why?
I'm the odd man out, and I'm really digging Circuit. I enjoy that mold immensely; it's one of my favorites out of the amazing NEST Global Alliance/Hunt for the Decepticons/Reveal the Shield era. I'm also really enjoying the trend of giving us Action Masters. I love Double Punch, Slicer, Kick Off, and Thundercracker, and I'm really looking forward to more homages to that era.
Whelp, looks like Unicron calls. Thanks for stopping by Razorclaw0000!
Razorclaw0000 left this here.. What is this? I don't even..
Saturday, October 13th 2012 4:26pm CDT
Categories: Cartoon News
, Site Articles
, Toy News
Posted by: Blurrz
Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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
, 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
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
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!
The Land Military Team was the first set of Mini-cons I purchased. Bonecrusher
, 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
, 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
, 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.
As for me, my recommendations on these would be the Japanese TRU exclusives for the Land Military team
, the Universe 2003 versions of the Street Action team
, the Powerlinx version of the Sea team
, and the Micron Booster 2
versions of the Emergency team. I think I just like the color selection of those, not so much for any particular matching with larger figures.
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.
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)
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.
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
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
. 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.
Late line Decepticons included Thrust
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...)
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
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.
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
, 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.
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.
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
, 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
). 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
who are wonderful vibrant redecos of Sparkplug.
The Aqua Raider team
, a DVD repaint of the Sea Team, is stunning in rich dark bluish grays that compliment Nemesis Prime exceedingly well. Also, the X-Dimension Destruction team
gets a nod for the luxurious metallic orange and teal paints that would fit in with any modern United figure. Finally, the Micron Booster Emergency
Team repaint, in all of its “Minty Fresh” glory delight me, with emerald transparent plastics.
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.
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.
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?
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