Monday, November 26th 2012 3:12am CST
, Site Articles
Posted by: Blurrz
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"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?
Sunday, January 1st 2012 10:41pm CST
Categories: 3rd Party News
, Cartoon News
, Movie News
, Site Articles
, Toy News
Posted by: Blurrz
Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
We wish you a Happy New Year! With hindsight, 2011 was a very eventful year for our beloved franchise.
Hasbro was finishing up their touches on summarizing our Generations
, while Takara thought we could all get a little United
. We were then treated to a blissful BotCon in Pasadena, where we all got a little Animated
. With nearly half a year in the books, we were then treated to some eye-catching Michael Bay explosions. Dark Of The Moon
was the climax of the much disputatious movie trilogy, and with it came waves and waves of new movie figures. While Transformers: Prime
continued throughout the year on the HUB, it was only in the dwindling months in which we were pleased to welcome its toyline into our collections.
Now here I am today along with my fellow colleagues, to reflect on the occurrences of the past twelve months, and to share with you what our favorite things (mostly toys) of 2011 were. Before we get into the meat of the story, let me introduce to you who we are;
- I'm Blurrz - my taste of Transformers is as eclectic as it gets, but please don't call me a hipster!
- From the land down under comes Burn, our succinct, disgruntled and fashionably unfashionable HMW moderator.
- Counterpunch is the revered host of our Twincast/Podcast, and he's into the serious business of having fun.
- Laying the administration law down is Cyber Bishop, so make sure you're a saint (but not in the New Orleans Saints division!)
- The man with the quickest trigger finger in the galaxy, let me introduce our speedy news administrator El Duque
- He's a little bit lost, so please point our News Crew member Lost Cybertronian in the right direction!
- With a pile of loot that's always bigger than yours, say hello to staff member Mkall.
- The completionist ideal is never easy, just ask our News Crew and Twincast/Podcast member Razorclaw0000.
Now that you know a little bit about the men behind the usernames, we are going to share our thoughts on 2011 by explaining our choice in the following categories.
Transformers Figure of the Year
Favorite Transformers Toyline of 2011
Favorite 2011 Generations/Reveal The Shield/United Figure
Favorite 2011 Movie Figure
Favorite 2011 Transformers: Prime Figure
Favorite 2011 BotCon Exclusive Figure
Favorite 2011 Non-BotCon Exclusive Figure
Favorite 2011 Third Party Product
Your Favorite 2011 Transformers Moment
What you're looking forward to in 2012 for Transformers
Enjoy the read, and feel free to emulate us by responding to this topic!
Transformers Figure of the Year
Masterpiece MP-10 Optimus Prime
Only one can remain on the top of the scrap heap.
Optimus Prime has always been my favorite character, and I was a G1 kid so this was an easy choice. This is the best representation of G1 Optimus Prime to date, and I never was that big of a fan of MP-01
. I was always bothered by the weird shaped truck cab in vehicle mode. MP-10 greatly improved upon his vehicle mode, and alt modes are a big deal for me. Now to wait a few years for MP-20 Convoy Version 3.0!
Transformers Prime - Voyager Prime
Oh, just another Optimus Prime. Can't be that great right? WRONG! Taking this sucker out of the First Edition packaging was the best thing since making turtle burgers
. You'll find exceptional articulation, beautiful detailing, a fun transformation, and just a solid toy all around. While it may have the aesthetics of Prime's predecessors 'Animated
', and the 'Movieverse
', Voyager Prime takes from them and simply leaves them behind. To me, it is the best Voyager Prime of all time. Even if you're not a fan of the series, this figure is designed extremely well. It is hopefully the cornerstone for Transformers toys in 2013 and beyond.
Reveal the Shield Lugnut
Probably coming out of left field on this one, however I love the colours on the figure and the homage to the WWII bomber plane. I find that he has a lot of posability and a fairly straight forward transformation. He also came with the Punch of Kill Everything which wasn’t a necessary bonus, but one that many of us appreciate having.
Transformers Prime - Deluxe Starscream
Coming out of left field right at the close of the year, Starscream is a near perfect replica of his on-screen persona. He has a smooth and intriguing transformation, drips charisma, and has as much articulation as some high end Japanese figures, whose main selling points are articulation! My only complaint is the soft rubber, but that's a losing battle to fight.
For me, it has to be Generations Warpath. I love this toy, it's transformation is simple yet to the point. Excellent posability and size. Kup
runs a close second.
Probably one of the TF Prime voyagers, but I don't have either one of them yet. Due to this, I am abstaining from answering this question in protest of Hasbro not having these available alongside the show.
Favorite Transformers Toyline of 2011
Hasbro capped off Generations and Reveal The Shield this year, while venturing off into new territory under Dark Of The Moon and Transformers Prime. Takara did much of the same, mirroring with United, and other lines such as Masterpiece and Kabaya.
/Reveal The Shield
Yes they’re two seperate toylines, but we all know that it was a guise to get us more figures for the Classicverse line. With long-awaited characters like Blurr
and even some surprises like Skullgrin
, this line is a G1er’s wet dream.
This line is the best in my opinion for a few reasons. It provided us with a wide selection of classic characters. In more than a few instances, they are better than their Japanese counterparts (I'm looking at you Wheeljack
is debatable too). What's really great about the line is its ability to put characters that really define "obscurity" back on the shelves (Thunderwing, Skullgrin
, Straxus, Black Shadow
). It's astounding that these toys exist at all.
Generations was the line to make you proud to be a collector this year. The wide range of established characters as well as the obscure characters made this line a collectors dream. The first time I saw the prototype for Warpath, I nearly wet myself.
Despite the line's unfortunate distribution issues it's still my favorite line of 2011. Wreck-Gar
, Special Ops Jazz
, Lugnut all great figures. The rub signs are a little cheesy, but being a G1 kid they were a great nostalgia kick.
It gave us superb reimaginings of Generation One figures such as Kup
, Tracks, Wheeljack, and Warpath.
I just can't resist the shiny. With some fantastic molds decked out in bright shiny paint, and Power Core Combiner mini-cons being converted to Targetmasters, this line is just the best that was offered this year for me. Figures like Jazz, Tracks, Blurr and Frenzy/Rumble feel like musts for anyone buying into the Classics-verse.
Power Core Combiners
Get your pitchforks and torches ready folks. Power Core Combiners ended in a good way, showing us exactly what the line could have been if we got passed the non-starter first Wave in a timely fashion. Heavytread makes a better Guzzle than DOTM Guzzle, while Skyhammer has one of the most distinctive jet modes in years. Finally, the sublime Undertow gives us a double homage to Waverider and Octopunch, and kicks rightful ass on his own. The final, controversial five pack, SpasticOverrun, does a great Stunticon vibe without tarnishing the names of the originals.
Kabaya Transformers Gum Box
As far as favorite Toyline for the year goes, there's no real one that stood out for me. I could easily pick figures from each line. But, like last year, the fun continued. So again, if I have to choose one, then Kabaya, I choose you!
Favorite 2011 Generations/Reveal The Shield/United Figure
Neo-G1's been a hit since 2006 and it's been continuing strong ever since. The staff looks at their favorite from either Hasbro's Generations and Reveal The Shield or Takara's United.
Holy Moly. No figure released in this line, this year better personifies its character. Not only is the shiny paint a step up over the domestic release, but it's so in-tune with who Tracks is as a narcissistic jerk that I love it all the more. Seeing the OG logo on the hood was just a bonus.
Not the United version, whose strange blues diminish the elegance of the toy, the Generations version is an excellent update to an overlooked, but still iconic, figure. Doing away with the ridiculous flying space boat mode, Gen Scourge adopts a sleek orbital bomber configuration, managing to fit a complicated robot into a very compact alt-mode. In-wing weapon storage caps off an already great figure.
Always been a fan of Wheeljack, and he was due for the Classic universe makeover. My Energon Downshift
can finally go back into my Energon collection. Love the mold, and look forward to TFCC Runamuck and Runabout repaints!
It was long overdue on this figure and Habro has certainly knocked it out of the park on this figure. The lines are sharp, the figure maintains the stocky-ness of the ogiginal character, and hasbro gave us a shoulder weapon that doubled as a wrench! That's something that I never expected to see.
While it might be the obvious choice for someone named Blurrz, it's more to it than that. While the mold is fantastic, and the Hasbro colors are solid, United just takes it to a whole different level. Many may complain about the very pale teals of United Blurr, as well as his shinyness, but it's a great homage to the Generation One toy
that was plastered in teal and baby blue.
Tank alt modes for Transformers seem to be a dime a dozen now a days. However Warpath was a G1 update that was needed in the worst way. The Universe legends figure was great but the deluxe just blows it away. He was my favorite mini bot in the G1 days and his Generations figures doesn't dissapoint.
One figure stood out in this line for me. I love tank Transformers and Warpath has always been a rather unique character. This modern day update for him takes a G1 minibot and turns him into a well articulated figure.
Favorite 2011 Movie Figure
Human Alliance Roadbuster
While explosions and explosions and more explosions showed up on the silverscreen for Transformers Dark Of The Moon, a multitude of quality toys showed up into the hands of our staff members.
This toy really marks for me what a movie toy needs to do. It's big enough to show off all the detail in the design and engineered well enough with tabs and slots to connect together that I actually enjoy handling it. The only flaw I'd mention isn't even something this toy did wrong, it's that all the HA Wreckers aren't in Guns-a-blazing mode.
I don’t collect movie figures, but if I did, I suspect that Human Alliance Roadbuster would take this category. He looks to be in a league all his own in the line, with weapons out the wazoo and poseability too! From what I hear, his Transformation isn’t too bad either.
I only have a couple so I will have to say Roadbuster.
Leader Sentinel Prime
A complex figure that had me scratching my head several times during the initial transformation, but a great payoff when it's all said and done. Great alt mode, and weapons, big fan of the sword and shield.
This is simple for me. Helicopter TFs i've found are more often miss than hit. Skyhammer not only hits, he blows the target away. Great design in both robot and alt mode. Highly poseable and Hasbro added a great feature with the rotator blades folding back behind him rather than becoming some useless weapon. Had they folded a second time to completely wrap around his body he would have been perfect.
Ultimate Optimus Prime
I know this is not the most popular choice but he is a very underrated figure that needs some love. Not only do you get Optimus Prime with trailer, it transforms into this imposing battle armor with a BFG. Since I grew up in the G1 era, I don't mind his overall brickness.
A cooler repaint to the excellent Sandstorm, Half Track edges out with his "moon buggy" deco. Super posable, with a buttery smooth transformation and cool gimmicks, this figure wins for the sheer fact he can nonchalantly hold his shotgun over his shoulder, ready to slag anything that moves.
Favorite 2011 Transformers: Prime Figure
While the show has been going steady for over a year, the toyline only showed it's face in North America in November. While the selection is rather limited, here are our favorites.
Disregarding the very superior Voyager Prime figure, Arcee is also quite fun. It seems that as time progresses, the designs for Transformers get slimmer, and the plastic that's being used isn't getting any better. With Arcee's design, I just didn't think her figure would be pulled off well. But alas, I was wrong. Some say the pink and white just doesn't mesh well with the Prime aesthetics. Well you can't spell homage without OMG. Whether it's gaudy, tacky, or lipstick on a pig, it's still signalling back to the 80's, and there's nothing better than that.
So far all I have is BB and Arcee and I really dig Arcee
I really love the Arcee figure, it's probably one of the better bikerbots produced IMO. Extremely posable and matching up to her cartoon image perfectly. The only sad thing is that the human figure of Jack cannot ride her.
Counterpunch: I'll eventually buy the Voyager Starscream for my display, but this toy is so good that I picked one up just to display/take pictures of with my other non-TF toys. There's more character in this design than in the entire Dark of the Moon Line.
How many opportunities do you get to own an official zombie version of a Transformer? Nuff said.
Muscle car alt mode with Boss Hog style bull horns! Plus he's not a Bumblebee repaint. Shame he didn't last longer on the show. Bring on the zombie version! Also didn't hurt that his character was voice by the Rock.
Favorite 2011 BotCon Exclusive Figure
Shattered Glass Thundercracker
BotCon got Animated this year in Pasadena, California. Early June saw the release of the figures that likely put the nail in your Animated collection coffin, as well as a handful of SG/G2 releases.
This figure is the definition of niche, which makes him al the cooler in my eyes. He’s either an add on to a three-years-past Botcon set, OR he’s a near-ringer to Action Master Thundercracker. His colours are *ahem* eye-catching, and the logo was done so that one doesn’t even need reprolabels to re-cast the figure. I love him!
Barring the long in the tooth Shattered Glass concept, G2 Thundercracker is fan-wank incarnate. Stuffing six eye-searing colors into one familiar package, Fun Pub managed to transcend awful, and wrap all the way around to amazing. While the mold is as tired as the SG concept, the execution still brings a smile to my eye.
This catagory was the hardest one for me to decide. This is the first year that I bought into botcon toys because I love Transformers Animated. The Stunticon Job boxset was a pure genius idea, so my favorite figure is their unofficial member Toxitron. He is an obscure character and an awesome repaint of the Optimus Prime mold and I love the Bizarro type personality he was given in the Stunticon Job comic.
Can't get enough of this mold, or Tranformers Animated for that matter. Such a great figure in both modes and the new head mold was just icing on the cake. This guy really looks wild.
Certainly not as fortunate as Razorclaw0000 last year (yes, I'm jelly) when he got a seat in the customization class for the Classics G2 Sideswipe. So getting the Animated version in G2 Sideswipe colors was the next best thing, sort of. Well it's still not as cool. *Shakes fist at Razorclaw0000*. The Rodimus mold is one of my favorites from the Animated toyline, and the Breakdown head sculpt adds to the figure's flair. Racing stripes are a nice addition, and nothing like colorless clear plastic =3.
This is the true calling for this mold. The white is crisp and actually...you know, white. (Hasbro, take notice) The details are sharp and the clear blue plastic on these really makes the deco. Well worth picking up a set of three (and a KP Auto Trooper so that you have a little Atari to go with them).
Favorite 2011 Non-BotCon Exclusive Figure
e-Hobby United Autobot Set
BotCon's not the only one that gets all the fun. We had exclusives from conventions all around the world, as well as exclusives overseas from North America abroad, and exclusives from select online retailers.
I'm cheating but they came in a three-pack so I'm listing all three. I was mainly buying this set to get Scapheap, but upon having them in hand I realized how much more G1 accurate Kup was, and the weird greenish blue translucent Hot Rod ain't bad either. I almost passed up on the set since I initially only wanted Scrapheap, but other two were a pleasant surprise.
The thing is, they just got Kup right. He's the original toy color, which is really fun and the way in which the damage is detailed onto him is really befitting for Kup. I use this as my original Kup in my Classics display and United Kup as my Targetmaster Kup.
Hasbro found a way for me to like the fat face Takara developed for 2010 Unicron
, in a remarkable way. Perfectly capturing Unicron's Movie appearance, Amazonacron stays second only to the near unobtainable Shining Unicron
as my favorite treatment of that mold. The light blues and rich oranges pop.
e-Hobby United Decepticon Set
Speaking of the '86 Movie, the E-Hobby Decepticon set, still comparatively unpopular, captures the scant few seconds during the movie when Unicron reformats the broken husks of Decepticons into his new heralds. Crystal purple so delicious it's almost lickable, the set captures, to me, exactly what an exclusive should be: balls-deep crazy.
Million Publishing United Stepper
I know I don't own this figure (I will) but I have two versions of the mold. This repaint is the next logical step of the Reveal The Shield Jazz mold. The pictures that we have been treated to are just sublime and the paint job does the character justice. Plus, he comes with a Targetmaster.
Dark WFC Prime and Megatron
This set is completely underappreciated. Not only do you get two solid figures from the Generations line, you get some of their best colourings to date! Prime in Black is always pleasing, and this time he even has Decepticon Symbols! Megatron on the other hand steals the show. I can’t stop looking at the awesomeness that is his paint job. My only question is when are we going to see a Good Guy Megs repaint?
Takara Exclusive United Micron Haywire
Out of all the exclusives, this is simply my favorite. The Power Core Combiners mini-cons were really sloppy in my opinion, so when Takara decided to go out and turn them into Targetmasters for a handful of their United figures, I was ecstatic. He has a bit of a problem staying in Blurr's hand, but the additional firepower is much appreciated. Certainly a must for any hardcore Blurr fans! (Just me, right?)
Favorite 2011 Third Party Product
Established third parties FanssProject, Perfect Effect and others continued their winning ways, while MakeToys and TFCToys made their most explosive products to date.
Three Insecticons...all of which are great fun, but in my opinion, Stormbomb aka Bombshell is the best. His insect mode lacks the issues that the other two have (Thundershred having odd tolerances and Backfiery's wings being immobile for the most part). The weapons grant the figure a lot of versatility in how the figure is posed and displayed..
SFX Scouting Force X
I was tempted to be a dick and say the Night Ops version, but the regular is a great homage from Perfect Effect to the cartoon versions of Spectro, Spyglass, and Viewfinder. Now, however, they're tired of being the little guys come loaded with weapons and ready to take down the likes of Omega Supreme. A crazy amount of accessories, which all neatly and perfectly combine into a somewhat absurd purple camera, this set is tons of fun with tons of character.
These little guys are the perfect example of what 3rd parties should be doing for the fandom. Let Hasbro work with the bread and butter of the hobby and let 3rd parties only make the figures that the general public wouldn't care for. These guys take a really poorly thought-out and portrayed character(s) from G1 and allow them to stand as equals on collectors' shelves. They are similar enough to be recognizable, and yet portrayed with a new bad-ass role.
TFC Toys Hercules Figures
G1 Devastator/Constructicons is my favorite combiner hands down, and to finally have a properly updated version of these guys is a dream come true. Sure they've hit some snags along the way concerning QC, but they've been quick to address them and take steps to correct. I cannot wait to complete this guy. In fact I'm so pumped I'm getting two sets!
FansProject's CA-02 Flameblast
I'm a big fan of space shuttle Transformers, so when you take FansProject's brilliant Explorer figure, and repaint into the colors of an actual space shuttle, I'm game. Dual pistols and a sword are also why I'm drawn to this being my favorite third party figure of the year.
i-Gear MP Coneheads
I couldn't pick just one conehead as my favorite because they look better in a group. Igear took the MP seeker mold and improved on it with great quality. They gave us MP figures that Hastak may or may not ever get to. They really help fill in the MP seeker ranks.
This is what PG could have been if imagined and executed correctly by Hasbro, not that joke of a PG fig they released with the movie like.
Your Favorite 2011 Transformers Moment
Dark of the Moon
We of Seibertron.com are proud to have brought you the latest Transformers news in the past year. Here are our standouts.
Say what you will about Michael Bay, but he really solidified the Transformers Movie brand with Dark of the Moon. Epic in many ways, and two and half hours of non-stop fun, the movie did a great job of reminding us to not take the franchise so seriously, and lighten up. Also, Alan Tudyk stole ever single scene he was in.
I don't give a gawddamn what anyone else has to say on the matter. It was a fun movie to watch and I got to do so with ten or so of my closest TF buddies. Those opportunities don't come along every day.
I really enjoyed DOTM.. It was a great summer popcorn action flick that had giant transforming robots blowing each other to hell.. What more could you ask for?
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron VGA Trailer
This may seem like a minor event is a year with so much other big Transformers news, but this did it for me. Something about seeing Optimus Prime carrying an injured Bumblebee, Bruticus combine, and Grimlock's transformation with The Humbling River playing in the background sent chills down my spine.
After that tease we got with Darkness Rising last year, the cartoon went full steam ahead this year. While the episodes were hit and miss sometimes, this season sets up what will turn out to be a worthy series.
Victoria Toy Fair 2011
Meeting great people, meeting the masterminds behind the third party scene, and being able to cover all of that for this wonderful site. Certainly a great event hosted by Cherry Bomb Toys, and a taste of even greater times to be had in the upcoming years
Botcon 2011 Hall of Fame: Erector
Right from the outset I knew that the campaign to get Erector into the Hall of Fame would fail. Call it intuition, logical thinking, psychic ability, whatever; I knew that the campaign to get him in would not work. What I did not expect was the extent Hasbro would go to to at least make it fail with flare. I still want to see the Erector concept art they came up with during the video they showed. Finally I laughed a lot when Aaron Archer came out on stage and basically said “We all had our fun, but this isn’t going to happen again.” To me that showed how seriously Hasbro holds the TF brand – they’re willing to have a bunch of fun with it, but they know when to say that’s enough.
This one is strictly personal, but for me, it was getting my own home and finally being able to unpack my boxes and boxes of TF's and get them on display.
What you're looking forward to in 2012 for Transformers
More Transformers Prime Toys
We want more! We want more!
It’s going to rock, plain and simple. I don’t know if the Prime characters were designed with toys in mind, or if Hasbro had to get creative in coming up with the likenesses, but each figure is an uncannily accurate version of the show, and there’s human figures (whether you like them or not). There is very little I can find in any of the figures previewed that makes me not want them more! 2012 may be the end of the world, but at least I’ll die a happy collector!*
I'm very excited for the rest of the First Edition figures to make their way to retail in the US. (Damn you Canada!) With three figures in my hand, and a few exclusives already sealed away, I'm giddy at what more we will get. Bulkhead and Prime look to be standup figures, and some of the prototypes we've seen at SDCC have me excited for a full size line.
The only thing interest me currently is getting Prime figures into Australian stores.
Seeing the new Prime toys and whatever generations surprises they pop out @ Toyfair and Botcon
Finishing TFCToys Hercules
It'll be a long time coming, but when that bad-boy is all together, shelf space will be cleared. Autobots will cower in fear. Devastation will have come
: This has been a long and costly endeavour, but I think the end result will be worth it. To finally have a proper six figure Devastator figure on my Classics shelf is something I've dreamed about since the first Classics figures debuted.
Mastermind Creations Sixshot
Seeing this prototype in person blew my mind. I never grasped the thought of it being of such size, but it's a freaking behemoth. I simply can't wait to get this when it's released! A leader class figure, with a multitude of weapons and a plethora of different modes, it's just simply amazing.
G1 Uppers Menasor Combiner
I love combiners and I love the Botcon Stunticon Job boxset. They are two great tastes that taste great together and I have high hopes that these guys can turn the Animated Stunticons into the lovely Menasor they deserve to be.
There you have it. Once again, Happy 2012!
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