Our second review in a row today sees a recently spotted figure from the Transformers: Robots in Disguise line, courtesy of fellow Seibertronian chuckdawg1999: Hyperchange (Three Step) Steeljaw. Find out below, in the write-up and embedded video, what they thought of the toy!
While the Hyperchange line will never be called the peak of Transformers engineering, Steeljaw is a fine figure and in my opinion the best representation of the character thus far. Transformation is limited to three steps, but due to the magic of automorph a lot happens in those three steps creating a very nice looking robot. Obviously this figure is made for smaller hands but a collector might find enjoyment as a desk toy.
Following the review that fellow Seibertron.com user gema shared with us for SDCC Hasbro Transformers Combiner Hunters Chromia, we now also have a round-up of images from their blog featuring the stealth-esque Arcee! Check out a selection and some thoughts below on the new deco of the Generations fan favourite figure, minus the massive weapon that will come with the SDCC set, but more or less reflecting her current appearance in the IDW comics.
The approach for Arcee's paint scheme is different compared to Chromia. While the latter comes with metallic paint job (on certain parts) and flame/tribal tattoo, Arcee comes in normal black and pink paint scheme.
There's another thing that I'm not sure of. Based on promo pictures, the paint on the face is not like mine which is only one-sided. I'll try and get confirmation as soon as I can. Also, the finishing on the chest is not really clean as there are smudges if you look closely.
I get the idea of her paint scheme but to be honest, it doesn't really work with this mold.
I can easily get behind Chromia's paint scheme but Arcee is whole nother story. For now, I guess I must conclude the review for the set unless, like I said, I manage to get Windblade in the near future.
THE AFTERMATH! The COMBINER WARS are over, and OPTIMUS PRIME faces the aftermath. Meanwhile on Earth, ARCEE confronts GALVATRON over the fate of two worlds.
Sticks and Stones, G
Combiner Wars is over. Sort of. There were many plotlines and threads left more or less dangling, some tidier than others, at the end of the fifth chapter of the IDW event. As both John Barber and Mairghread Scott were responsible for the arc, it's only appropriate that Barber takes the reins again in his view of the CW aftermath in his own title.
Not Pictured: The Aftermath
There are two major plots being explored in this issue, with the focus splitting between Cybertron and Earth once again. On the latter, Arcee and Galvatron have a not really amicable (but more than expected, really) confrontation, allowing all external parties to Prime, Prowl, and Scoop's swift defection to the newly forming Council of Worlds, to catch up and start progressing out of the crossover arc.
(Not) A Recap
The other point of focus, and a magnificently executed one, is Prowl. Prowl and whatever has been chewing at him in the IDWverse. Prowl and his problems with Optimus. Prowl facing his turmoil, and Optimus responding in kind, in an exchange which is just... really well done. I cannot say more than that really, as it has to be followed and read to be fully appreciated.
Good evening Clarice
The issue has all the excellence of early xRID stories, in pacing and dialogue, with the added emotional power of dragging the personal back into the wider scheme of things. Arcee, Prowl and Galvatron obviously take the spotlight, with Prowl above the others - but even Optimus is finally more of a rounded character than he has been at certain turns, and one which confirms the raised eyebrow from past CW issues.
The two plots are complemented by two separate art teams, with a welcome return from artist Andrew Griffith, whose bulky, solid Galvatron and Astrotrain (now with visible mass shifting) bring a good contrast to the edgier, sharper, stealthier Arcee - and which colourist Josh Perez makes sure to give suitable masterful (and toy appropriate) decos to them all, with some dusking, cold lighting surrounding them.
Beefy old man
The Prime/Prowl thread, on the other hand, keeps the continuity of Livio Ramondelli, in what is probably his best work so far on a prolonged sequence, and what a sequence it is. His cinematographic sensibilities, take on the angles, shots and choice of pacing to align with Barber's dialogue is the most suited to such a powerful exchange, that we couldn't have asked for better.
How the tables have flipped
Both the sides of the issue, of course, could not carry their voice strongly enough without the work that Tom B. Long brings to the lettering, adding extra font work where characters make more of an impact, and with D.O.C.'s adorable voice. The cover roster this month sees the established Optimus Prime by Griffith and ..Perez? Burcham? (IDW! CREDITS!), the viscerally stunning Casey Coller/Joana Lafuente Prowl vs Optimus, a maniacally beautiful Galvatron (thumbnail) by Naoto Tsutshima and Lei Kagami plus the SDCC exclusive Combiner Hunter Arcee, by Sara Pitre Durocher.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
As I said, we get both a blend of what worked in older, pre Dark Cybertron xRID issues and stories, coupled with the heightened political is personal/personal is political aspects of both Combiner Wars and the general direction that IDW writers seem to be taking of recent, and no punches are held back. Or elbows. Or heads. Literally.
Oh, and these two are in it, too!
This was a stellar issue, managing to transition effortlessly from the event storyline back into Earth, the Decepticon commune and still deal with the aftermath of some of the major players from both pre- and during Combiner Wars. Transitions which worked from both the writing and the artistic perspectives, and a welcome return to the more political (and personal) side of The Transformers. You do not want to miss it.
Yes, we have seen a two-part review of the upcoming, first of its kind Hasbro Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Titan Class Devastator - but fellow Seibertronian Transformermegazord has shared the first review to our knowledge in English, appealing to those of us with limited or no skills in Chinese! Check it out embedded below, and let us know if Ben's opinions change your mind or sway it at all!
Fellow Seibertronian gema surprises us once again with an early look at a figure from their blog, focusing on the Hasbro Transformers SDCC 2015 Exclusive Combiner Hunters Chromia! A redeco of the Generations toy, itself a very heavy retool of Transformers Prime Arcee, Chromia also features a new weapon (not included in the review), and can be seen below with previous mold iterations - keep reading to find out what your fellow collector thought!
The first thing I noticed is the wicked light blue tribal tattoo/flame on the front and the side of the bike. A really nice touch but personally I would've prefered for them to extend towards the back.
The overall paint apps can be considered clean and some of them are metallic blue, something that Takara version of this figure should've had, just like their releases few years back. The translucent parts are dark red instead of clear (Hasbro Chromia) and light blue (Takara Chromia).
Being a direct repaint, there's nothing different in terms of the transformation and overall, the joints are solid and tight. In robot mode, this version of Chromia has more white and grey compared to the previous 2 variants. The placement of the colors are well-thought-of without any parts looking weird or out of place.
While we have yet no confirmation from the TFCC about the various rumoured BotCon toys that have started appearing online, fellow Seibertronian gema was able to acquire the (possible) Diaclone Black Skids, and has shared a pictorial review from their own blog!
A repaint of the Generations Skids mold, of which you can see our gallery here, the new figure comes with plenty of guns and new paint applications - find out more about it in the snippets below, and head here for the full review.
Just as the name implied, this variant of Skids comes in black paint app with red highlights nicely put on the side. This is a bit different compared to the Diaclone version where the stripes on the side are yellow rather than red.
Like I said, he is a straight repaint of Skids without any retool. Usually that does bother me but if he really is "Diaclone Skids", it make sense to retain the original head.
The paint job on the shoulder missiles is a bit disappointing as the finishing is not really clean. Maybe the official release will be better?
And just like all the variants after Skids, the thighs are assembled correctly so there's no problem to his range of movement.
FINAL BATTLE! The last of the Combiners face off… but who is in control of the ultimate combiner? And who will emerge with the key to dominating the galaxy?
Could it be Swindle?
The final chapter, more or less, of the IDW Transformers Combiner Wars Mairghread Scott/John Barber crossover arc, takes place in the third issue of the new Windblade ongoing, with Scott taking the lead on the writing once more, and dwelling a little further on what Combiners actually are, and the ever expanding universe of our favourite transforming robots.
But am in two minds..
I'll say this immediately - I am still pondering about this issue, for a number of reasons. I like Scott's writing, and the dialogue between the multiple characters (perhaps too many for one issue?) is sharp, well-paced and placed, and gives some good insights on them. The overall script, on the other hand, feels like it suffers from similar problems that affected the middle portion of the arc, and may again be due to the sheer number of sides, plots and stories it's trying to combine together under the event banner.
Think of the press!
What does emerge from it all, though, is Good Stuff: Starscream is a questionable, but also capable ruler after all, in his own way; Optimus is a good leader, but there is something uncomfortable about his influence; Prowl is still being used, by his own self and others, but may find peace eventually; the Camiens and their dynamics are shifting, slowly but surely, and we might see further friction - just to name a few repercussions on the IDWverse.
Additionally, this ending (and the ending of the book itself, which is fabulous) leaves some extremely tantalising openings for what's to come in Windblade and The Transformers, for sure, and it does enough to show a more ominous side to characters who we'd think we'd be able to place on a political chessboard by now. And for that, it leads in nicely in what I hope the ongoings will develop - it's unfortunate that it feels attached to a wider story that could've done much more.
The art took a surprise turn, and one that also still leaves mixed feelings, as the expected Sarah Stone saw instead two new artists take her place: Marcelo Ferreira and Corin Howell. The former, working on just over half of the issue, takes a ragged edge to the art we've seen by them previously, and together with Yamaishi's colours and the inks by Brian Shearer and John Wycough, does an impressive inside job of the workings of many minds as one in a very good sequence in the book - though with some unexplained moments in character palettes.
Not Very Optimist Maximus
Howell, on the other hand, begins to show the Animated-esque work she will bring to the Windblade series, with some excellent body language, facial expressivity and interactions between the diplomatic sides of aggressive negotiations in the new, wider world(s) of the Spacebridge network far far beyond Cybertron, and her line and inks work well with Thomas Teyowisonte Deer's smooth colour skills.
In yo FACE
I have nothing to add on Tom B. Long's fantastic lettering work, nor on the selection of covers: Optimus Maximus, from Marcelo Matere's packaging art, is shown again in the retailer incentive, while Prowl takes Enigmatic centre stage with Casey Coller and Joana Lafuente, and we finally get to see the second half of Livio Ramondelli's ensemble combiner poster on cover B (thumbnail). The one thing that does not work as much, art-wise, is the sudden arrival of the very different styles that, taken on their account I have no qualms with at all (crosshatching and expressions, put me down for those any time) - but in a series dominated by sudden art shifts, feel a little jarring as a shift into the final issue.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
As the conclusion of the Combiner Wars event, which has done some interesting, if wavering, things to the Transformers universe as we currently know it in IDW - this issue was not up to any expectation I had. It did some things very well, such as show the inner workings of gestalt technology, establishing Starscream's role, and some added very intriguing ramifications for the two series to continue - especially with Windblade, as we have seen practically nothing of Earth these past months. But.
Me too, buddy
I think I'm pleased that we will see a little more of what happened here, and what is starting to happen, in the Combiner Hunters one-shot and 'arcs' in the coming months, but much like the middle chapter in this particular event, there was an uncomfortable feeling of rushed, unfinished, rough script, which did not allow the two artists to shine as much as they could. I am, however, hopeful about both ongoings from this point onwards.
Courtesy of usual suspect Genetic, from TFND.net, we have a series of in-hand images of the upcoming Hasbro Platinum Edition reissue of the G1 Trypticon figure, which has been confirmed to have all the features of the original intact, too! Check out a selection below, and head here for more.
Also included below is a round-up of videos courtesy of YouTube user Yu Ting An, showing off the different modes (base, city and beast), some of the features and all the electronic tidbits - give them a look, and see whether this reissue is for you!
We've seen in-hand images of Takara Tomy's redeco of Animated Lockdown into their Adventure line, but thanks to fellow Seibertronian chuckdawg1999, we now also have a video review of the sort of movieverse repaint of the figure that started it all for the bounty hunter.
Last summer a lot of fans online tossed the idea around of the Animated Lockdown mold being done up in the AOE colors. Well Takara must have had the same thought, because this version of the bounty hunter is really close to those gritty movie colors. All of the issues with the first release of the mold are still here, but that doesn't take away from just how cool this figure is. If you've never experienced the mold that spawned the phrase, "Lockdowned the legs" give this bot a look.
Thanks to fellow Seibertronian |Lommi|, we have an update on the video review we posted a couple of days ago for Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Devastator: the Zhen Yan Reviews guys are back on YouKu with the second part (still in Mandarin, of course), showing off the Contructicon gestalt itself! Check it out embedded below, or follow the link if it does not load on your device.