Saturday, 29 August 2015

Combiner Wars Ironhide


Ironhide

In early 2015 a rumour emerged that both Prowl & Ironhide would feature in Combiner Wars. When Off Road was released his comic featured a version with Ironhide's head. Meanwhile First Aid's comic showed a version of his toy with a Prowl like head which ties in with his appearance in a recent issue of the comic formerly known as RID.

In early May 2015 this version of the Optimus Maximus image escaped resolving the dilemma by revealing that Ironhide would be a red version of Off Road. While the original Ironhide was a van but he's been a pickup truck quite frequently since his G2 Gobot version and most younger fans would probably think of Ironhide as a truck due his Movie toys which, although usually black, have occasionally been red. The problem here is that Ironhide's classics toy, Universe Ironhide, is generally held to be one of the worst in the entire classics range and sorely in need of a second go to get it right. Many will see this as a wasted opportunity to achieve this but I'm not sure using the First Aid version of the toy would have quite hit the spot either, lacking the smoother lines inherited from his Diaclone Onebox Cherry Vanette ancestor. Diaclone itself does have it's own red pickup, a version of the Hilux wrecker that became Hoist. I'd also be failing in my duty if I didn't point out that it was a red Hilux pickup that Top Gear tried to destroy but failed and has been adorning their studio ever since!

If you've got Off Road, and of all the Combiner Wars toys I'm most familiar with him since he's stood on my desk since his divorce from the Stunticons, this is that toy in red with a new head. The new head concerns me: I've accidentally popped it off it's ball joint twice now transforming it something I don't remember doing with Offroad or First Aid. Apart from that there's no remoulding but the panels on the sides of the chest have been sympathetically repainted to evoke the chest covering window the original had. He comes with the same axe and hand weapon which turns into combined mode foot/gun as his predecessors: he could really have done with a gun but you'll probably have a redundant Alpha Bravo in your collection by now so steal one from him.

If you can get over this not being a van and not having a windscreen across the chest this is a pretty good Ironhide, a better toy than the Universe version by a long long way.


Trailbreaker

The same story that revealed Swindle also listed a Trailbreaker which could be have been made from this mould. Which version depended on if you want a pickup or something approximating his camper element. Botcon 2015 solved this one by revealing Trailbreaker is the Offroad mould with a new head and a retooled right arm that looses the fist for and end of arm connector like the original Trailbreaker had to attach his fists and missiles.

Now Trailbreaker is a personal favourite and having waited for ages we've now had two decent deluxe versions in 3 and a bit years!


Future repaints

I had thought that the most obvious repaint for Off Road would be Swindle and that would explain where that peg hole on the original Off Road's flatbed came into play. A Combiner Wars Swindle was found in compute listings in April 2015 but we were somewhat surprised at Botcon 2015 when Swindle was revealed to be an extensive remould of Rook. I'd also thought that if you're trying to do the original 18 Diaclone Autobots in Combiner Wars then recolouring the Swindle version of the toy as Hound is a possibility. Well I got it right that Swindle became Hound!

If you do Trailbreaker from this mould then Hoist is an obvious choice but would need something put onto Off Road's flatbed to approximate his towing gear. However I've seen it suggested that the combined mode foot can be used as towing gear.

Longer term I could see Offroad serving as Kup or possibly Hoist & Hubcap in a Machine Wars themed set. Another tow truck possibility is Towline in a Robots in Disguise set with the First Aid version of the toy repainted as X-Brawn.

First Aid MIGHT lend itself to being used as Ratchet if Combiner Wars goes for broke and tries to do all 16 Diaclone car Autobots. However the same comments I made in relation to Ironhide with the design not fitting with smoother lines of the Diaclone design apply here too. And, bar a new head, I'm not sure how to repaint First Aid to make it different enough but still Ratchet.

Combiner Wars Mirage


Mirage

Many years ago Classics Mirage was repainted as Universe Dragstrip: now the favour is returned with this blue and white repaint of the Dragstrip mould! At the start of March 2015 The Entertainer used a promotional banner on their website, a larger version of UK toyfair promo art seen in January, which showed the Autobot combiner with what appears to be the a Mirage coloured Dragstrip limb as the left arm. Interestingly the repaints of Dragstrip and Breakdown appear to have effectively swapped their colour schemes to become Mirage & Sunstreaker!

This isn't without it's problems though. To date every version of Mirage has had it's car nose on it's chest: here the nose is on the robot's back. Given that Mirage was the obvious repaint for Dragstrip I'd have thought this feature might have built into the original design? Or, given that Mirage appears to be Dragstrip's only repaint in the main Combiner Wars line, he might have got some retooling budget to make it possible? They've done their best to disguise it by making the combiner connector down the centre of his chest blue but that in turn means his the only member of the team not to have a grey combining peg which looks odd too in the combined form!

A really good go at a Mirage repaint given the toy mould. However could have been so much better with the right remoulding or different initial deign choices.


G2 Dragstrip

Original Dragstrip has a cancelled Generation 2 repaint which would I thought would make a nice convention exclusive down the line. Turns out he's going in a G2 Menasor set which is an internet shared exclusive.

Future Repaints

Not a repaint as such, more a missing repaint. Two Stunticons are reused in Victorion, with Breakdown becoming Jumpstream and the overused Dead-End, in his eight appearance, being turned into Dust Up. Surely another outing for the underused Dragstrip would be in order instead?

There's been a few Generation 2 version planned in Combiner Wars but I'd be surprised to see a G2 Mirage on the shelves! The only other real, non Mirage, Autobot race car I can think of is RID Skid-Z though I suppose pulling double duty as Mirage & Prowl in a Machine Wars themed combiner set might also be possible!

Combiner Wars Sunstreaker


Sunstreaker

The first mention of a Combiner Wars Sunstreaker was in December 2015 when his name popped up on a set of store computer listing. At the start of March 2015 The Entertainer used a promotional banner on their website, a larger version of UK toyfair promo art seen in January, which showed the Autobot combiner with what appears to be the Dragstrip from Mirage limb as the left arm. Interestingly the repaints of Dragstrip and Breakdown appear to have effectively swapped their colour schemes to become Mirage & Sunstreaker!

It's been a while since I last had Breakdown in robot mode: inevitably combineritus has struck and he's been Menasor's left leg ever since Menasor was assembled. I'd forgotten quite how much I disliked the robot hips until I opened Sunstreaker up! He comes in robot mode and as you'd expect his colours are mainly yellow and black with the traditional dab of red paint on each shoulder. The only new piece here is the head, which isn't a bad Sunstreaker. I feel he could have done with a new chest as the one he's inherited from Breakdown isn't screaming Sunstreaker roof at me. If anything the chest details look more like lightbars suggesting Sunstreaker's Police Car repaint. On the reverse of the bonnet, now Sunstreaker's back, is a 5mm peg hole which allows you to mount the combined mode hand//foot there to act as Sunstreaker's jet pack. He comes with a silver version of Breakdown's sword: an odd choice to start with and still an odd choice here. Sunstreaker benefits from not having a defined G1 handgun here so you could use it with him without feeling it's substituting for something else but equally he's never felt like a Swordsman. My only other real complaint is that he doesn't feel quite tall enough and could benefit from longer legs.

Sunstreaker's car mode is the expected yellow not quite a Lamborghini. However they've gone a bit mad with the red paint here going right round the rear wheel arches with it. I'm convinced the red stickers on the original Sunstreaker are a mistake, and should have been yellow so this annoys me hugely here. The spoiler is also grey, a moulding necessity as it appears to have been cast on the same frame as his upper legs. A pity it wasn't on the body frame and thus could have been yellow. The combined mode weapon mounts on the back of the car, via a tab in the thumb meshing into a slot on the rear of the spoiler to form his Supercharger which is a nice effort but looks somewhat oversized here.

Sunstreakers are always welcome as there's been plenty of occasions when he's missed out when his brother Sideswipe has got a toy. This isn't the worst try I've seen either.


Generation 2 Breakdown

Having got a Breakdown, I thought it an inevitability that the Transformers Collectors Club will repaint it as G2 Breakdown like they did with the universe version. However it appears an entireG2 Menasor set will be released in 2016 as a shared internet exclusive!

Jumpstream

The Breakdown mould also returns as Victorion member Jumpstream where it receives a new head, chest plate and weapon.

Future Repaints

Most of the time a remould on a toy is to change it's appearance. However a remould to how this toy transforms would make the world of difference. I'd have the bonnet hinged at it's base, connected to the neck plate which is then connected to a hinge at the top, slightly covered by the windscreen. Result: a bonnet that will still fold back, for combined mode, but one that will also fold forward onto the chest to make Sideswipe. If you're doing Sunstreaker, you HAVE to do Sideswipe. That would then give us Red Alert as an EASY repaint and also things like G2 Sideswipe, Deep Cover and Clamp Down. Part of me thinks that Tigertrack wouldn't be worth doing but the thought of having TWO almost identical yellow Lambo that turn into different robots is quite tempting! See also red Diaclone Countach LP500S Super Tuning and Police Car Diaclone Countach LP500S Super Tuning.

Combiner Wars Prowl

Prowl

It's probably fair to say that by this stage of the game you know what you're going to get with a version of the Dead End mould. The problem with Prowl is that he and Streetwise are both Police Cars. Usually a Police Car repaint is easy: paint it white and slap some lightbars on it: How do you repaint a police car as a police car? It turns out the solution is to think clearly about how you're painting the first version. Streetwise was an off white colour, with red and blue detailing. By doing a pure white police car this time, with black detailing, you're automatically off to a good start. Then there's the head: they've got Prowl spot on. This was a head worth doing right because it's VERY important to the original character and, if Hasbro play their cards right, there's a few more reuses of it to come. The head being right also helps draw your attention away from the chest: normally a Prowl chest if the front of the car, sticking outwards. Here it's a flat panel, admittedly moulded to look like the front of the car, flat against the body and covering the combiner connector. It does the job but I'd have quite liked to see a further set of mods that allowed the car bonnet to fold forward over the head and become his chest.

Prowl functions just the same as previous versions of this toy as a limb. However his release does mean the the Dead End mould is the first Combiner Wars limb to FOUR versions meaning you can make a combiner with just Dead End limbs!

The Dead End mould will also be the first to TWO combiners with the same limbs when Smokescreen, Victorion Dustup, G2 Dead End & G2 Brakeneckare released!

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The release of Prowl with Battle Core Optimus Prime means we're also in a position to produce an all white combined robot!

I'd thought Prowl's gun would both me but it doesn't..... yet. I have researched 3P versions of the original Prowl gun with a 5mm peg though! I'm liking what we've got a lot. Probably the best of the Autobot wave.


Future Repaints

There's a massive FOUR versions of this toy coming we already know about: Victorion Dustup, G2 Dead End, G2 Brakeneck and Smokescreen!

Beyond that.... There's always Prowl & Smokescreen's Fairlady Z brother Bluestreak and I wouldn't put it past Hasbro doing all silver, Anime and blue versions of him at some point. Design wise the Dead end mould is probably the closest thing we have for making a Combiner Wars version of Jazz and is also a contender for making the potentially difficult Skids. Then, given we know G2 Superion & Menasor are coming, it's pretty likely we might see a G2 Defensor with Groove. So by the time we're done we could be well on our way to a third all Dead End limb combiner!

Combiner Wars Battle Core Optimus Prime & Optimus Maximus


Battle Core Optimus Prime & Optimus Maximus

I had said I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the Combiner Wars limb bots being repainted as 1984/5 Autobots to accompany Optimus, with Dragstrip as Mirage is an obvious one, and sure enough in December 2012 Wal*Mart's computer leaked the names of four toys that looked like they fitted this bill: Mirage, Sunstreaker, Ironhide & Prowl. At that point they were assumed to go with the existing Optimus Prime toy but in mid January this piece of toyfair promo art emerged seemingly showing a white Optimus Prime redeco. At that point rumours had been circulating for a while of a new Ultra Magnus toy for 2015 and everyone knows that a white Optimus Prime is Ultra Magnus. However at the start of March a new name appeared: Optimus Maximus and shortly after a larger version of the promo art showed up on the Entertainer's website showing the white Prime combined with the Autobot repaints.

The name Optimus Maximus isn't new: it was used before on a Transformers Prime battle mech for Optimus Prime. The Maximus suffix does have combining connotations though. During Energon three combiners bore it: Superion Maximus, Bruticus Maximus and Constructicon Maximus and it was also later used on the poorly named club exclusive Nexus Maximus.

However at Botcon 2015 it was revealed that the Voyager itself was called Battle Core Optimus Prime while the combined form was Optimus Maximus.

So why a different name for a white Prime instead of Ultra Magnus? The main reason would appear to be that there is another Ultra Magnus toy due out at the same time. Personally I think this is a big missed opportunity to do a white Prime cab that when transformed forms the core of a Combiner with Ultra Magnus' super mode head. Throw in a new shield for the Voyager robot to use that then became a new red chest plate for Magnus and you're on to a winner. 3P companies take note: I have money for you for these items to convert my Optimus Maximus into Ultra Magnus.

The Botcon pictures also revealed the toy had a new head: a traditional Optimus sculpt with a crest on it, not unlike Star Convoy, but put the crest together with the colours and I'm reminded of Brave Police J-Decker. And since I'm now thinking Police Trucks Energon Checkpoint, another robot with a crest, also pops into mind.

Pictures don't tell the whole story as I found out when I got the toy. I had a suspicion that the new head might be fix the problems moving the head on the original version of the toy. It wasn't something I had noticed at the review stage but yes it the original Optimus head is very stuck and I'm told likely to break if you turn it. The new head turns freely though. Functionally he seems identical to the earlier Voyager robot with only the guns, which now have painted handles over white plastic, catching my eye.

The combined mode is where the changes in the toy become noticeable and they're all functional ones. Firstly the ratchets in his hips have been retooled to give a better range of movement. Where before the lower legs pointed inward in their neutral position they now point nearly straight down. This makes posing the combined robot, even in neutral positions, an awful lot easier. See This thread on the 2005 boards for pictures including comparison with the original.

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As can be seen by the combined mode images Optimus Maximus has his own version of Blackjack, Legends Rodimus. In an earlier version of this review I said

I await to see if the connection between the two has been improved but don't hold out much hope.
Well colour me surprised but the connection is a LOT better here, to the point where I've been able to attach the Legend figure, tip the toy so the chest points down, shake it and the Legend has remained attached.

I've found myself liking Battle Core Optimus a lot more than I suspected I would, but that's mainly down to him having a load of fixes to problems the previous moulds have had. Take that away and he's a white repaint who really should have had some extra work to become Ultra Magnus.

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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus


Generations Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus

New versions of Ultra Magnus tend to fall into three camps: All white, like Battle in a Box or Classics were the most common for a while. Recently all new truck forms have been prevalent like Animated or Prime. But to me Ultra Magnus is a car transporter that turns into a large robot that isn't an Optimus Prime repaint. Yes the White Prime was part of the original toy but in the comics and cartoon that never featured. Car Transporter Magnus are rare: there's the Car Robots/Robots in Disguise version and the Titanium but really that was it till last year when Masterpiece Ultra Magnus was released. However at that point rumours were already in circulation hat there was a Generations Leader toy due in 2015 and there was much rejoicing when he was revealed at toyfair 2015.

Ultra Magnus comes almost in robot mode: out the box you need to rock his feet forward or they'll be difficulty standing him. His arms have been positioned so they'll fit into the box, both need a push up into the shoulders or you'll be left with an odd sideways joint on the upper arm that doesn't make sense. In the box with him are a missile pod that 5mm peg into shoulder and two guns which in theory he should be able to hold.

The other extra component in the box is Minimus Ambus, a tiny version of the robot that's inside the Ultra Magnus armour in the More Than Meets The Eye comic. This element has caused some controversy mainly because he's in this toy but a more traditional Magnus element isn't. He comes in car mode: to transform him into robot fold the front of the car forward to form the lower legs and expose the upper legs. Unpeg the sides of the car to form the arms. Fold the rear of the car forward and stand. As small Transformers go Minimus is tinsy tiny, waaay smaller than an old style legend. He's a comparable size to the Minicon companions that were appearing with the Generations Legends. I'd say his articulation was good for his size, with ball jointed shoulders & hips and hinged knees but that would be failing to take into account that most of the ball joints on mine appear to be made of plasticine and fall apart as soon as I look at them funny! Comparatively the hinges on his back plate are far, far too stiff.

Back to the larger toy: to transform to robot mode start by removing all the weapons. Lower the chest plate and then splitting the vehicle cab in two revealing where Minimus Ambus sits in Magnus' robot mode. Unfortunately the space is needed in truck mode for other things so he can't drive it and will need removing. Fold Magnus' head down into this space, close the cab halves and fold the roof panel down. Put the robot into a sitting position, it's not needed now but will make things a lot easier later. Fold the body back at the waist. Fold the cab up 90 degrees so it's sitting where the head was with the cab's front pair of wheels facing you. Rotate the Cab 180 degrees so the top of the cab faces you and he wheels face away, now on the same side as the rear pairs of cab wheels. Open the doors on the back of the leg and fold down behind the ankles. Pull the sides of the lower leg out slightly and rotate down 90 degrees, inserting the tab just bellow the knee into the side pane. Bring the legs together and fold the chest panel down into the rear of the trailer. Tab the red leg door panels into place as the sides of the toy. Pull both arms right the way through the shoulders, just like you would on the original Magnus toy. Fold the forearm armour forwards so it covers the hands. Hmm, can't really see why this doesn't just slide. Swing the shoulders up so the arms are above the toy and tab them together to form the top deck of the car transporter. Fold the arms back and tab them into the sides of the leg. Pull the cab forwards. Attach the missile launchers to the peg holes at the front of the transporter and

While not a complex transformation it's annoying as there's lots of issues with clearance that make certain points, notably folding the chest panel into place on the car deck, rather difficult.

Magnus' vehicle mode is a reinvention of his classic car transporter design in broadly the same colours as the original toy. The trailer is hauled by a 6 wheeled white cab but unlike nearly every other Transformers Truck I can think of the cab is actually attached to the trailer at the hitch point. The cab pivots at the hitch just over 90 degrees to each side. It's a flat fronted cab - hurrah, I really don't like Prime and Magnus with long nosed cabs - but the top is more rounded than the traditional design. The front and lower deck sides of the trailer are red with a white platform in between. The top of the front and all of the rear is clue with the upper deck being made of the white plastic of the arms. The upper deck is tabbed in at the rear but you can tease the tabs out allowing the upper deck to be lowered halfway, at the elbows, or all the way, from what was the shoulder joints. The ramp at the rear of the trailer folds down, again it's tabbed in so will need teasing out, but the rear doesn't quite touch the floor due to moulded detail on the underside so you can't easily roll cars up it onto the trailer. In fact loading cars onto the trailer is where the trouble really sets in for this mode....

Ultra Magnus is a car transporter, so you expect him to be able to transport cars. In the years since the original Ultra Magnus was released Autobot cars have somewhat grown in size. Ultra Magnus hasn't, in fact his trailer is a little bit shorter than the original. As a consequence you can only fit one deluxe car on each deck. You can fit two Generations Legends onto the deck but they don't look wide enough. You feel the toy does need to be larger to accommodate thedeluxe cars.

To transform back to robot mode start by removing the missile pods and weapons. Pop the top deck out of the rear of the toy and fold forward. Fold the sides of the toy back, and pull the robot chest up from the back of the toy. Fold the sides of the back of the transporter forward and down to become the legs sides and tab into place. Fold the trailer doors up to form the front of the legs and tab into place. Fold the feet out from under the truck/back of the legs and pull forward. Fold the sides of the truck up to become the rear of the legs and tab into place. Swing the legs down under the waist. Separate the top deck in two down the middle to form the amrs and fold the shoulderss out to the sides. Push the cab back so all the flatbed is under the front of the trailer. Rotate the cab on it's axis so the wheels at the front point up away from the wheels on the back. Fold the cab down onto the front of the trailer and then fold the cab and front of the trailer so they sit on the robot's waist. Open the front halves of the cab and fold the head out. Seat Minimus Ambus in the cab, close the cab halves and fold up the robot chest. Push the arms up into the shoulders. Fold the forearm armour back exposing the hands. Peg the missile launchers into the shoulders and put the guns into his hands.

In robot mode Ultra Magnus looks pretty much as you'd expect: all the distinguishing features from the original are there. There are some noticeable differences though: the chest, while similar to the original, has his More Than Meets The Eye stylised design which seems to involve a face on the chest. A similar motif is present on several of the Autobot Pretenders, perhaps serving here as a hint that Magnus contained another robot inside. His missile launchers on his shoulders, which were previously functional firing a single missile, are now just for decoration with two missiles moulded in place. Finally the upper legs are whit where previously they were the red of the body. This has caused some comment by fans online as his More Than Meets The Eye appearances, on which this toy is based, generally colours them red while most fictional appearances have depicted them as white.

What this Ultra Magnus has really got going for it over the original is articulation. Like the original the arms rotate at the shoulders, have a bicep swivel and bend at the elbow. In addition the fingers open on the hands and the arms fold to the side at shoulders, which is facilitated by the shoulder side panels also being able to swing up. The head turns to the side, which was a real surprise to me given how the transformation works by having it attached to a strut thatcomes out the back of the head. There's no waist joint, which i would have liked, but from the waist downwards this new version really wins over the original: universal hip joints, thigh swivels, knees and bending ankles. He will take a kneeling pose just fine :-)

Apart from the waist the most obvious missing point of articulation is the wrist. The fingers are a major problem here: the guns/hands don't work well together. Hands of the articulated fingers variety never work well for me, I much prefer 5mm peg holes in fists. Unlike some other toys with articulated hands, Cybertron Optimus Prime or Generations Titan Metroplex for example, there's no way to steady the weapon by pegging it into the palm. Even worse the handle is a bad fit into the hand. It might sit better in the hand if the trigger was a little shorter. However there does appear to be a sweet spot where they sit in the hands just fine: the lip on the underside of the handle is just tucked under the fingers. The lower end of the rear of the handle is resting against the palm. The bottom of the trigger is resting on the index finger. The grip is secure enough that I can pick Magnus up, shake him from side to side and the guns stay in place.

However I *can* see why the hands have fingers and no wrist swivels and that all ties in with the weapons' alternate mode. The back of the larger gun is a 5mm peg which plugs into the barrel of the other gun. The missile launchers the peg into the sides of the other gun to form a hammer, similar to those seen on Magnus toys since the Animated Version. The hand then needs to open to hold the hammer's shaft. The hand itself can't grasp the shaft so the hammer is supported by a pair of rings fitting either side of a odd slot cut in the underside of Magnus' forearm armour. This reliance on the slot/rings for a support make it clear that the hammer wouldn't really work with a wrist swivel. Maybe a swivel bellow the elbow would have been useful?

Speaking of the forearm armour.... Why the silly joint in the transformation using a piece of plastic pivoted at both ends? Wrap the armour right the way round the arm and have it slide! The only reason I can see for doing it like it easy is to be different from the original.

So it would appear that the reason for the hands that can't hold the guns and the lack of wrist swivel is the hammer. Is it's existence a worth exchange for their loss? I'm not sure. Maybe the hammer could have been constructed differently with 5mm pegs going into holes on either side of the hand. But then the hammer wouldn't have existed as a separate entity without the hand....

A few miscellaneous weapons observations: If you don't want Magnus to hold his weapons then there's peg holes at the top and bottom of his lower leg to store them in. If you're still having problems with Magnus holding the gun then put the gun that forms the top of the hammer in his hand as you would in Hammer mode and peg the other gun into one of the holes meant for the missile launchers.And if you're missing the missile launchers in hammer mode then the 5mm sockets in his shoulders will also accommodate the launchers from the original Magnus launchers.

This toy has a lot of faults, most of them minor but they do stack up. Then there's a whole load of things about it which are very VERY annoying! The robot it fab ... but could have been better if it could hold it's weapons easier. The car transporter works by itself, but a car transporter is meant to work with other toys and this one doesn't really. The cab doesn't detach and form a robot.

But it is such a nice toy. It's fun to play with a transform.

I love it.

But it could be better....

Ultra Magnus was released May 2015 and was solid packed at 2 per case. At the time of writing he has not been seen on sale in the UK


Transformers Legends Ultra Magnus with Alpha Trion

Photos that have surfaced of Transformers Legends Ultra Magnus show it differs from the western version in a number of ways:
* The Upper legs are red, not white, like the original toy.

* The guns are white, not black, like the original toy.

* the front of the flatbed is blue, not red.

* the hubcaps are painted silver.

* Minimus Ambus has been repainted purple to become cartoon character Alpha Trion.

This is one of those Japanese toys where it's not clear which version is better, it's just different!

LG14 Ultra Magnus is due for release in September 2015.


Future Repaints

There are two obvious repaints for this toy. The first is as Diaclone Powered Convoy, Magnus' Diaclone Predecessor, whose colour scheme was reused as Movie Preview Ultra Magnus. The Diaclone toy has an additional accessory in the form of the Super Buggy which make an ideal red repaint for Minimus Ambus.

Interestingly while Superbuggy is red, and that's how people picture it, it wouldn't be red on a normal Transformers Ultra Magnus, it's be blue! On the Diaclone version it's the same colour as Magnus' forearms, shoulders, chest armour and head. when you look at the Diaclone toy it also becomes obvious that the Diaclone version has FOUR colours of plastic as opposed to Magnus' three! Two of them are the same on the Transformers version:

Parts Diaclone Transformers
Trailer Base/Robot Body Silver Red
Trailer Upper Deck & Doors, Robot Waist Black White
Trailer Supports/Robot Feet & Chest Plate Dark Blue Pale Blue
Forearms, Head & Shoulders Red Pale Blue

The other colour scheme which has been used on an Ultra Magnus repaint is Matrix Glow Ultra Magnus which would involve casting the toy in yellow.

For a substantial remoulding two other toys suggest themselves: The first is Power Master Optimus Prime who has never had a proper update. Generations Magnus' cab ends up in the right place but the whole trailer would need retooling. I'm not sure how this toy would go down wit a non transforming cab though. The other option is a perennial truck repaint request, 1992's Euro exclusive Thunderclash, which has recently appeared in More Than Meets The Eye and received a homage in Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Combiner Wars Quickslinger (Slingshot)

See the Firefly review for more on the previous version of this toy.

Quickslinger

Even when Slingshot was left out of the original configuration of Combiner Wars Superion in favour of the the helicopter Alpha Bravo not all hope was lost: looking carefully at Firefly's jet mode it strongly resembles the missing original Aerialbot both looking like Harrier Jump Jets.

On 9th January 2015 Takara teased their Superion with 5 jets. On the 22nd January Unite Warriors Superion was revealed containing a white repaint of Firefly as Slingshot. I promptly pre ordered a set with HLJ, despite already having the other four toys, but later the same day a TRU computer listing for Slingshot & Wildrider was found. On the 23rd of March a Diamond website listing for Quickslinger & Brake-Neck, assumed to be the same toys under a different name, was located. The next day Hasbro teased them on their Facebook page before officially revealing them the day after. At midday EST on the 30th April an embargo was listed and many websites revealed galleries and availability information for Quickslinger and Brake-Neck. By then however certain online retailers who source their stock in the far east had already received their stock and dispatched them. My set from Kapow toys arrived May 2nd!

If you've got Firefly you know exactly what you're getting: this is the original toy with all the red, bar the chest, and all the grey turned white. The legs, shoulder joints, and combiner connector are now black. The head is a new mould much close to the original Slingshot.

Save for some black paint covering the panels on the outside of the fist this is pretty much dead on what you want and completes my Superion.


Future Repaints

The obvious repaint for most Aerialbots is as their G2 counterparts. G2 Fireflight however looks very much like his original version, with the exception of some detail on the wings and a silver robot chest which is already hinted at here.

Quickslinger could be redone as the gold G2 Slingshot, though hopefully in a more resilient non GPS prone version!

Both are strong candidates for a Decepticon repaint, possibly as part of a larger sized Combiner Wars version of Sixwing. I find it incredible that 30 years after the first combiner was released we still haven't had a full sized Decepticon Air vehicle combiner, forms more aligned to the original forms of the 1984 Decepticons.