Sunday, 30 January 2011

Generations Kup

Generations Sergeant Kup

Like his case mate Scourge, Kup is another toy whose original version could be said to be "not very good". The vehicle mode is poor as I've said previously. So rather than rehash the original "Futuristic Cybertron" design which didn't work they've given Generations Kup an actual Earth mode. Kup's name has long been thought to derive from picKUP truck, and his original vehicle mode is supposedly a futuristic pickup truck so a pickup truck is what he becomes. Now while there have been Transformers Pickup's before both Trailbreaker & Hoist are modified Hiluxes with something mounted on their flatbeds, Gears & Swerve are carrying loads and Motormouth et al are small toys. This is the first proper unladen deluxe pickup and straight off the bat it doesn't disappoint because you can open & fold back the tailgate on the back of it. RESULT! The front of the vehicle is a rounded design giving it a fifties feel which suits an old timer like Kup. All the bodywork is moulded in sea green plastic.

He comes with a long grey gun that slots and pegs into the undercarriage of the vehicle to form one of two exhaust pipes but the gun has got a c-clip that allows it to be attached to the vehicle mode. If you're thinking "I can't see any bars protruding from Kup to clip it on to" then you're right. This wave of toys features an innovation in the clip & bar gimmick. Instead of having prominent protruding bars, the bars are recessed into the bodywork giving more streamlined vehicle modes. Kup has two bars on his cab roof for you to clip the gun onto. It's just made for much smaller Transformers, and I think you need to go bellow Legends to the Micromaster level here, to use it as a gunner station. I have no Micromasters to hand but this very morning Lego Admiral Ackbar arrived in the post courtesy of Andy Turnbull so here's Ackbar using Kup's gun to concentrate all fire on the Super Star Destroyer that he deluder believes Generations Scourge to be. It's worth looking closely at the end of the gun. You can use is as a Minicon post so mounting toys like Throttler or Skyblast on the end can make an interesting attachment to the weapon.

Transformation: remove the weapon from either storage or mounting. Pull the front wheels out to the sides and back, then pull the doors and the arms they're attached to out to the sides. Note that the "open" side of the fist faces down. Fold the cab roof and bonnet up and forward. Rotate the front grill down 180 degrees, then fold the bonnet under the cab roof and then the cab roof onto the back of the robot. Pull the head up and rotate forward. Fold the rear of the truck down and then rotate back a further 90 degrees bringing the floor of the flatbed with it. Bend the knees slightly and fold the sides of the back of the cab behind the back of the cab before folding the back of the cab down to form the front of the legs which you divide in two and straighten. The gun goes into the hand or clips on the panel behind his head.

The new Kup robot mode contains design elements from the original robot in the middle of the chest, complete with a clear plastic rim round the neck, but with the car wings on the outside of the chest forming shoulder pads. Sadly the arms aren't fixed in place with in these and have a tenancy to move about when you pose them. The arms have a rotating wrist, inward bending lower elbow joint, upward bending top elbow joint, a bicep joint, a shoulder that bends to the sides and turns and then isn't anchored in the shoulder but rather to a strut connecting it to the waist. The head is ball jointed and is terminally loose & floppy on mine after just one day. It's green, with a silver face plate and blue light piped eyes. No waist, but universal hips, turning thighs and bending knees & ankles. Huge feet give the toy great stability. Again, like Scourge, I've had problems getting Kup to hold his gun due to the step up inside the hand along the fingers to grip the gun properly. Trying to get him to hold Airlift (see bellow for why) was a nightmare and I gave up. The roof of the cab hangs down his back and clip weapons can be attach to the front to arm him. The strut between the roof and the robot body makes a nice set for Lego Ackbar to ride Kup's robot mode into battle!

Yeah the shoulders are annoying and the hands are a pain but other than that this is a great update to the original Kup!

Released January 2011 in the USA, Kup was packed in an original Transformers The Movie themed wave with fellow new toy Scourge. Alas due to the demise of Generations in the UK it looks very unlikely that he'll be sold here.

United Kup

Kup is due to be released in the Transformers United line in Japan during February 2011 as toy numbered UN-17.

A United Targetmaster promotion was run at the turn of the year. Powercore Minicon Airlift was recoloured to act as United Targetmaster Micron Recoil, a new version of 1987 Kup's Targetmaster Recoil.

E-Hobby Kup

E-Hobby Kup is sold in a repack with a clear blue Classics Rodimus and a repainted Wreck-Gar with a new head. Kup swaps green for blue and acquires some painted battle damage. Looks nice!


Original Transformers pickups Gears & Swerve plus Generation 2 Gobot (later Spychanger) Motormouth would all come nicely out of this toy.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Generations Scourge

Generations Scourge

Let's face it the original Scourge is a bit rubbish especially in vehicle mode where he looks like a bar of soap instead of a jet. This is a toy that needs an update. His new version is loosely based on the Boeing X-48. He's triangular shaped with down turning wings, and three engines, two built into the wing structure and one in the body plus a smaller one mounted above the centre of the body. This is recognisable as the Disintegrator ray/Rocket Booster from the original Scourge. The middle of the engine narrows to a 3mm bar suitable for clipping weapons on - the dual gun supplied with Scourge works fine here if you fold the handle up bringing down a clip in it's place. Of course this is mounted on the top of Scourge's head in robot mode and pulling up on it extends the head in vehicle mode as he did several times in the cartoon. Flip the plane over and we have 3 sets of fold down landing gear: 1 moulded wheel at the back plus two sets of three moulded wheels that fold out from the middle of the jet. Also present on the underside of the jet is one of the major innovations in this wave of toys: there's two recessed 3mm bars. Hasbro have worked out you car set the bars into the bodywork of the toys, rather than have them protruding like they have done till now.

There's two weapons supplied with the toy and while the smaller double barrelled gun can be attached in vehicle mode, the larger one can't. However both can be stored in the wings. Bend each wing down and away from the engines set in the body. Fold the top of each wing forward revealing a compartment. With the nose of the jet towards you the large gun folds up and goes in the left wing while the smaller double barrelled gun goes in the right wing with the 5mm peg folded down. You need to fold the wings down to the sides because the top part of the wing is attached to the block that holds the wings in place. I'd have moulded this block to the lower half enabling the wings to open while they're in position.

So top marks for the vehicle mode from me.

Transformation: Turn the plane over and look at the underside. Fold up the landing gear. Push on the nose to separate it from the body and then pull it forwards extending the robot's legs. Fold the middle of the top of the rear of the jet back 90 degree so the rocket engine is behind the jet. Fold the middle of the underside and the attached wings back 180 degrees locking round the folded back central engine and pegging into a pair of holes on the body of the jet. Separate the nose of the jet and rotate each half in 90 degrees so that the leading edge faces the same way as the jet's underside to form the legs. Fold the nose halves down to form the robot's feet. Slide the rear of the underside up to become the robot's chest locking a tab at the top into the neck. Pull the robot's head up. Bend the front of each each engine out to the side to become the forearms and then rotate in 90 degrees and slide each hand out using a tab under each forearm. The instructions and photos recomend folding the top of each arm out onto the side of the shoulders but I think they look better left in place. Rotate the toy 180 degrees at the waist. Fold the base of the wings back and slot the tabs into the backpack. Fold the majority of the wings outwards and fold down. Open the wings and remove the weapons.

Now at this point you'll fold out the barrel of the larger weapon and try to slide it into the fist hole and encounter some frustration because is doesn't want to go in. The gun handle is slightly too big for the hole. He can hold the smaller gun fine and Kup's gun, just not his own larger gun. It will eventually go in if you angle it just right but you may need to push it in through the larger opening bottom of the hand a few times to squeeze the plastic a bit. From there you can taker the smaller double barrelled gun and either fold the peg out and hold it in his other hand or clip it to either the top of his head or the larger gun. Mounted on top of the large gun, the combined unit forms an approximation of the weapons mode of 1987 Scourge's Targetmaster Fracas. I wish they'd gone the whole hog and made an actual Targetmaster to go with him like they did with Universe 2 Cyclonus.

Scourge's robot mode looks like a better proportioned version of the original with much chunkier arms. Basically the body and arms are blue with the legs in white. The head looks like his cartoon appearance and has a clear blue lightpipe to the eyes. Articulation isn't bad: wrists turn, elbows bend, there's a low bicep swivel just above the elbow, shoulders turn and raise up at the body, head & waist turn but some moulded detail on the sides of the waist tends to catch on the hinge connecting the wing panel, ball jointed hips with high thigh swivel just beneath them, double bending knee though in reality only the top joint is worth bothering about in this mode, and a bending ankle. He's a bit back heavy so an odd pose in the legs is necessary to get him to stand with the upper legs being angled diagonally forward somewhat. The hip joints are a little soft on mine, I've easily pulled both legs off already.

The reverse transformation deserves a mention: be very careful with the wings! Folding them back can easily pop them out of the hinge they're mounted on. Unfortunately that hinge is itself hinged and you'll spend a frustrating period of time trying to reattach them. Advice: turn the rest of the toy into plane mode and go from there.

Barring the frustrations with the gun and what happened when the wings came off this is a great toy, superb update thrashing the original out of sight.

Scourge was released in the United States January 2011 in a Movie themed Generations wave alongside Kup. At time of writing there is no known plans to release the toy in the UK.

United Scourge

United Scourge is due to be released in March number UN-21. I expect it'll be colour tweaked somewhere along the line.

A United Targetmaster promotion was run at the turn of the year. Powercore Minicon Chainclaw was recoloured to act as United Targetmaster Micron Fracas, a new version of 1987 Scourge's Targetmaster Fracas.

E-Hobby Scourge

Scourge is also due to be released in a E-Hobby 3-pack containing Henkei Galvatron and Cyclonus. All three are now cast in clear plastic with Scourge being entirely in clear blue.

I want one!


How about a purple version? Or a black stealth jet version, which might actually work well as the name Scourge is also used for several black repaints of Optimus Prime. In fact why not use that as a springboard and repaint this in red & blue with a new head *as* Optimus Prime, who we know has had a flying mode at some point.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Reveal The Shield Windcharger

Reveal the Shield Windcharger

The original Windcharger was a Mini Autobot in 1984 so it makes sense for his new Reveal the Shield version to be a scout class toy rather than the deluxe size used for most of the Classics/Universe/Generations/Reveal The Shield toys. However when pre-orders for Windcharger went up on the Internet they were asking up to $18.99, over twice the RRP for a scout class toy. Why? Well unfortunately the case he's in is retail poison:

2 x HFTD Backfire (repaint of ROTF Knock Out, previously found in HFTD Waves 1 & 2)
1 x HFTD Firetrap (repaint of ROTF Scattorshot, previously found in HFTD Wave 3)
2 x HFTD Sunspot (repaint of ROTF Skystalker, previously found in HFTD Wave 3)
1 x HFTD Insecticon (original toy mould, previously found in HFTD Waves 2 & 3)
2 x HFTD Breacher (original toy mould, previously found in HFTD Waves 2 & 3)
2 x RTS Chopsaw (repaint of HFTD Brimstone and not that different)
2 x RTS Windcharger (original toy mould)

(Key: ROTF = Revenge of the Fallen, HFTD = Hunt For The Decepticons & RTS = Reveal The Shield)

So to get two Windchargers toy shops have to buy ten toys that are either repaints or have been in several previous cases or, in several cases, both !

At the time this case was put up for order it was expected that this case would be the only RTS Scout case due to the third Transformers movie and it's glut of related toys looming on the horizon. However we now know there's at least one (containing Rumble, Downshift (a repaint of Hubcap) and Bodyblock (a repaint of HFTD Breacher)) and probably two (because there has to be an RTS Frenzy repaint) more cases to come.

Windcharger comes packed in robot mode and I'm going to break with tradition to talk about that first because I have some points I wish to make about turning it into car mode ! The robot mode use the red of the car shell along with a light shade of grey for most of the body along with some darker grey for the feet forearms and head. Lots of the toy is very similar to the original, but the one major change involves the chest. The font of the car is now folded down over the head similar to Jazz and Prowl. Articulation is good with ball jointed elbows, shoulders & hips, bending knees, ball jointed upper ankle and bending lower ankle. On the outside of each forearm is a 3mm bar allowing any weapon with a clip to be attached. The hands can be folded into the wrists and a gun folded out to point forward. I think these are meant to represent the electromagnets lauded to in his tech specs. Early information on this figure made it seem as these would be working magnets but they aren't, so I'm assuming this is people getting their wires crossed between what they represent and what they are.

Transform: on the face of it it's obvious. The devil is, however, in the detail. Fold the chest back to become the front of the car, noting how it secures the shoulders in place with a tab on each side of the chest fitting into a slot through the turning joint on the shoulder. Fold each hand out to the side and them turn the lower arm so that the car bodywork panels on the upper and lower arm form a continuous unit. Slide the lower half of the leg out to the side: I'd turn the toy over so the rear of the leg is facing you then insert a blade or screwdriver between the dark grey of the leg structure and the red of the car panelling and use that to push the car panelling out to the side - mine makes a little click when it locks solid. It took me ages to work out how to do that bit! Fold the foot back t the first ankle joint and then forwards at the ball ankle joint so the heel spur is alongside the inside of the lower leg. Raise the back of the body/roof of the car, fold the waist down then bend the knees, tucking the feet under the roof and bringing the legs together so they peg together and the slatted rear windscreen meshes. Fold up the rear of the car and fold down the roof, screaming in frustration when you realize that the red trapezoid panels on the top of the feet haven't gone into the matching holes in the roof. Push the arms in to form the side of the car and lock together.

What you get out of the end isn't a bad go at Windcharger's car mode. The vehicle mode is stretched, but then the original was a super deformed version. We loose the roof windows, gain an air intake on the bonnet and have the wheels reduced to more normal proportions. The roof just looks wrong without the feet lined up perfectly and I can't line them up perfectly. In my opinion the roof should have been left as a solid piece with the feet underneath. His Reveal The Shield rubsign is on the front of the car and it has a square border, in common with the Legends but unlike the dlx toys which have die cut rubsigns.

Decent update but boy is the transformation of the legs and feet annoying me!


Minibot Windcharger was repainted as Tailgate, Black Windcharger, Rook and numerous Mexican variants, while Alternators Windcharger was repainted as Decepticharge all of which would make good repaints for this toy.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Reveal The Shield Legends

Reveal The Shield Legends Optimus Prime

While not the first Legends Optimus Prime - Cybertron, Movie and Animated versions have been done so far in this size - The new Legends Optimus Prime is the first modelled after the 1984 Version. Proportionately this Legends version is wider with ball jointed hips, elbows and shoulders which also bend back at the body. However bending the arm eposes that under each one is a wheel which looks odd. It'd be nice if we had knees like on some other Legends but... He stands with his legs aprat meaning that the feet are slightly sloped from one side to the other.

Transformation: Fold the head down and rotate the upper chest 10 degrees. Peg the legs together and fold the waist forward 90 degrees. Bend each arm 90 degrees, fold the shoulders back and swing the arms in to form the sides of the cab. Push the shoulders together and make sure the arms have locked into place.

Well I've seen worse Prime cabs on larger toys - Robot Masters Convoy and Classics Deluxe Optimus Prime spring to mind. Not a bad go but you feel some knees could have been easily done.

Repaints: Ultra Magnus and Scourge spring to mind.

Reveal The Shield Legends Megatron

There's already been a decent Legends Megatron - the Universe 2 interpretation of the Generation 2 Tank - as well as Cybertron and Movie versions, but this is the first attempt at one modeled on the original 1984 Megatron.

Robot mode is Megatron and done pretty well. The mixture between the silver paint of the arms and the upper body, the moulded silver grey of the upper legs and the grey paint of the fusion cannon and legs fronts is a little jarring, as is the bright orange cap on the front of the fusion cannon. The articulation is great with ball jointed knees, hips and shoulders.

Transformation: fold his left arm up so it sticks straight out of his shoulder. Pull the waist first down and then to the side under his left arm before pushing it up into the arm. Fold his right arm under the upper body and then fold the fusion cannon up to become the gun barrel. Fold both lower legs up at the knees so that the shell of the lower legs covers the upper legs.

Megatron's gun mode looks like his g1/Microchange version, albeit minus the silencer, scope & stock and with the addition of an orange cap on the barrel. If I could paint that's be gone. The handle, formed from the legs is a bit big but there's some holes and tabs set in it which allow Masterpiece Starscream. to hold him.

Not a bad attempt givem the limits of the size.

Reveal The Shield Legends Gold Bumblebee

The only real repaint amongst the RTS Legends, Gold Bumblebee uses the Universe Legends Bumblebee mould repainting the yellow with a bronzey gold and painting a dark blue over most of the black and the yellow of the head. Inspired by Throttlebot Goldug this repaint doesn't quite work: the gold paint used on United Bumblebee is much better than the nearly brown plastic used here.

Reveal The Shield Legends Starscream

Starscream's had legends toys of his Cybertron, Movie and Animated versions. There's even been a previous Legends 1984 Starscream using the Legends of Cybertron Thundercracker mould. This version adapts his 1984 Generation 1 form to the Legends size.

The resemblance between the legend and the original one is pretty good and the new on beats the original's articulation with a head that turns slightly, hips that swing to the sides and ball jointed knees & shoulders. Unfortunately one of the knee joints on mine is a little faulty so I can't bend the knee into the precise position needed for the toy to stand properly. I will keep my eyes peeled for a replacement that does.

Transformation: inventive. Fold the nosecone up from behind the head, then fold the head back and down so it's between the robot's legs. Fold each arm up so it points straight up and turn so the inner side of the arm faces forward. Fold the guns on the arms forward to become the back of the jet. Fold the wings on the back of the legs down. Fold the legs up alongside the body so the wings on the legs become the tailfins. Plug the tab on each leg into the slot on each wing.

Starscream's vehicle mode is a surprisingly accurate representation of the F-16 jet, albeit one with a thick undercarriage. Landing gear is provided by the knees & feet raising the bulk of the plane up.

Apart from the knees on mine this is a great little Legend. Nice reworking of the Transformation sequence. I expect we'll be seeing it again as Thundercracker, Skywarp, Sun Storm & Acid Storm, remoulded as Thrust, Dirge, Ramjet & G2 Ramjet. Plus there's two Japanese Starscream colour schemes that could be done: Black & Clear.

Reveal The Shield Legends Prowl

Prowl's only previous Legend was of his Animated Version. Looking at the Reveal The Shield legend, it's obvious that it's meant to be the 1984 Generation 1 Prowl. What's less obvious is if it's a retool of Universe Legends Jazz. At first glance they look *VERY* similar, with the straight back door wings and the Transformation even down to the shape of the chest and the positioning of the screws. But looking closely almost every part is different. The only pieces that MIGHT be unaltered are the wheels and the inner shoulder joints linking the body and the arms which end in the shoulder's ball joint. In the end I have to conclude that, like Bumblebee and Cliffjumper, while having many differences Universe 2 Jazz & RTS Prowl are essentially the same toy. The rear wheels move location on this design ending up on the arms and we get more articulated heels but that's it as regards functional changes.

Repaints: Bluestreak and Smokescreen are the obvious choices.

Reveal The Shield Legends Trailcutter

Poor Trailbreaker. He's not had much love over the years. His one reappearance thus far was as a Universe Spychanger recolour with the legs and head of the robot in totally the wrong colour and the wrong name attached. However he's back now with a modified copyright conflict avoiding name as a Reveal The Shield legend.

Trailcuttter is very like the 1984 version but with proportionately larger legs and modified arms made from the roof of the vehicle. He has ball jointed hips and shoulders.

Transformation: fold the head down and the upper body up. Fold the arms up and fold them back behind the body. Peg the feet together and fold them back then fold the legs back into the arms.

What we get is a slightly elongated version of the original Trailbreaker vehicle, unfortunately missing the trademarked stripes.

Yeah, not bad at all. It strikes me that a Legends toy with a similar design would make a good Ratchet/Ironhide. Better than the Universe versions in fact! I'm not sure if you could rework the design for Trailbreaker's remould Hoist that well - you'd need new arms for a start....

Monday, 10 January 2011

Classics, Henkei & United Megatron

Classics Megatron

Megatron returns as a handgun. OK it's a hand gun with safety orange tips and some of the shape is a bit odd but..... Much later edit: Megatron's gun mode is modelled on the Nerf N-Strike Maverick toy gun. The scope, barrel support and hand grip are all black with purple detailing, the body of the gun is a grey white, and the chamber at the front is picked out in clear green - this looks like a revolver chamber mounted too far forward. The barrel support underneath vaguely resembles a grenade launcher without the necessary opening at the top end. The trigger moves and clicks but doesn't do anything. A large Decepticon logo is on either side of the scope.

It looks a plausible if futuristic gun bar the colours. It is however built for a hand a little smaller than my huge mits !

To Transform him you start by folding the sides of the front of the gun down below the trigger. Most of the robot is now visible, it's worth taking a moment to note what is where. Bend the scope back beyond the safety catch bringing with it the piece it's attached to (an arm) Fold the front of the gun up over the top of the gun - another arm. Fold the piece that this is attached to up over the trigger mechanism with the arm pointing to the rear. Rotate 180 degrees so the arm points forward and lock into the piece over the trigger. Fold the other arm up onto the shoulder. Pull both legs from the trigger. Fold the trigger onto his robot back, turn the gun sides through 90 degrees so the little catch is facing forward and lock into his back. Fold the gun halves down onto his back to form a back pack glider jet thing (use your imagination) Straighten the legs, slide the shields up and extend the feet. Lift both arms to point up, fold the scope back, fold the hands out and rotate down so they're by his side. Open the chest cavity and fold out his head.

The resulting robot screams G1 Megs like no Transformer has since G1 Megs. He's got the gun handle style legs, a cannon on his left arm and a very Megatron head - with green lightpipe that works a lot better than Prime's did. The black is now on the legs hands, and waist, the purple on the legs fronts, lower arms and chest. The upper body is white grey. His jetpack thing is transparent green. Some might not like the jetpack but I do - it evokes the feel that Megatron may at one time have had wings, which is appropriate for Megatron the leader of a mainly flying race. He still feels small for a Voyager - like Prime - but less so, there's more bulk and he's a good inch or 2 taller.

His articulation consists of knees, a swivel above the knee, universal joints at the hips, limited universal joints at the shoulders and a bicep immediately beneath plus an elbow and his neck.

So.... standard size peg holes on the hands, but here's where the fun starts. For both fists to be facing upwards the cannon on his right arm needs to be under the arm. This is a bit of a departure - it would look more ok if the very prominent Decepticon symbol on the cannon wasn't upside down. I quite like under arm cannons - look at a pic of a HEAT Viper's weapon. One advantage is that it does mean both fists are free. I do look at it and wonder if there might have been a different solution in making the scope/cannon removable ? Now the arm can be turned so the cannon is the right way up - on top of the arm with the logo looking right - and this works, indeed the elbow has a small amount of end backwards so he can just about bend the arm like this. The fist is now the wrong way up though. picky, picky, picky. So maybe loose the logo and make the fist rotate ?

For a more opaque back pack pull out the back pack and fold it the other way up before attaching. Works this way round as well aesthetically.

Overall better than Prime, possibly due to us being less familiar with attempts at redoing G1 Megs.

Henkei Megatron

Henkei Megatron comes packaged in robot mode.

When you transform him to gun mode you get a mainly silver gun. The white has gone silver or a similar grey. The purple on the handgrips is black. The safety peach is a dark grey. The clear green is now colourless clear plastic. The con symbol on the side of the scope is a more metallic purple. The clear plastic in the scope is now red. There's a whole load of new red markings on the gun. Although BW Dragon Megatron was red this isn't a colour I automatically associate with Megatron.

TFing back to robot mode and you gain chrome on the chest - apart from the con symbol which is purple - and the knee pads. Since the knee pads lock into other bits during TF and the chest has something close round it this possibly isn't the greatest idea in the world. More red markings in bot mode, and the lightpipe eyes are fuelled by the same clear red plastic as the scope.

Overall: In theory this should be a better toy, closer the G1 colours etc. In practice, given a choice between the two, I think this toy looks better in the purple and white of the Classics version, but that's in turn marred by the safety peach.

Megatron was Transformers Henkei toy D-01.

United Megatron

A trend is emerging in Transformers of bringing back certain toys and instead of completely repainting them as a new character just tweaking the deco slightly. Universe Starscream is one of the earliest I can think of but there's been a few recently.

In Gun Mode United Megatron is very similar to the Henkei version, but with much less of the red markings. The moulded Decepticon symbol is now unpainted, which will prove useful later while he gains a purple Decepticon symbol on the body of the gun just above each trigger.

Transforming to robot mode you find he's again quite similar to Henkei Megatron. Gone is the garishly chromed chest which is painted silver like most of the rest of the body, loosing the extreme contrast between the chrome chest and pale grey plastic of the Henkei version. The red is drastically reduced in robot mode, with the sides of the lower torso, the front panels on the forearms and inset panels on the legs being the only place where it's found now. The head is still lightpiped in clear red plastic which is also found at either end of the cannon/sight. The non-painted Decepticon symbol on the cannon makes it look much better when left under the arm but oddly the whole toy makes the cannon work better on top of the arm than it has done on the previous versions.

For my money a far better version than the Henkei one.

Megatron is Transformers United toy UN-09, the only boxed toy released in the large first wave available at the end of December 2010. As yet no western Generations/Reveal The Shield version has been announced.

More pictures of United Megaton can be found at this Blog, which shows him with Henkei Megatron and in these reviews at the 2005 Boards where he's shown with Classics Megatron and again with Henkei Megatron. This last review includes a good picture of how Megatron should be transformed inside the gun mode!

Future Repaints

There's a few good, and a couple of slightly mad options that Hasbro could use here.

Break the lilac purple out with clear Orange Plastic, remould the head, chest & possibly the sight and call it Galvatron ! Paint it a nice bright green, which will please the safety laws, as a homage to Generation 2 Megatron - they've already done a Silver Tank Megatron so this will make a nice companion piece. An all black version of this toy, like Animated Shadow Blade Megatron would be good too.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

NEST Lockdown & HFTD Axor

Revenge of the Fallen NEST Lockdown

DISCLAIMER: I'm working here from Lockdown's repaint Axor. The toy has some remoulding between Lockdown & Axor so there may be some subtle differences here that I don't get.

Lockdown is the first animated character to make the jump to another toyline, although Lugnut is due to follow as part of Reveal The Shield in 2011.
Lockdown is a a green and black muscle car, not dissimilar to Cybertron Downshift. The car is long and low, with a spoiler, and is covered in grey spikes including one projecting from the hub of each wheel. The engine is mounted through the bonnet. The windows and front headlights are moulded in clear orange.

Transformation: reach under the car and fold the hook out to the side. Pull each door panel out. Fold the rear of the car up. Fold the front of the car down and out the back of the car. Look at the underside. Fold the arms up to the shoulders, and pull the roof of the car forward over his head to form his chest locking the shoulders into place. Fold the car panels on the back of the shoulders down to form armour. Fold the hook up shortening the piston in the forearm, and fold the left hand out of the other arm. Remove the engine block, separate the legs, pull the front of car halves forward to form the feet and fold up. Plug the engine block into his left forearm to form a gun.

Lockdown's robot mode is very tall for a deluxe toy, I'm pretty sure I have Megas and Voyagers shorter than he is! To the top of the heads he's exactly the same height as Classics/Henkei/United Voyager Megatron. Most of the revealed limbs are in a similar black to the car body, but there is some silver grey visible on the upper arms, joints and inside the upper legs - a nice detail here is that the detailed silver panel within the upper leg turns as you turn the leg at the thigh swivel. The articulation isn't the worst I've seen but is a little odd in places: The ankles bend, there's a sideways joint in the leg halfway up followed by a backwards then a forwards bending knee, then the aforementioned thigh swivel and hips that turn and bend out to the sides. The wrists bend in, the elbows (at the other end of a long forearm) and shoulders are ball jointed, while the neck turns at it's base and, courtesy of a couple of ball joints, bends twice in the middle. The hand and hook are a disappointment, both are made of rubber (Thanks for checking Ken) and as such are quite bendy which feels odd on a Transformers toy. TFWiki tells me the cannon formed from the engine can be replaced with Deluxe Ratchet's missile launcher. Nice touch.

Overall: I'm sure Animated fans are delighted to see him back again but Lockdown didn't rock my world. Sorry.

Released in the US & the UK at the start of 2010, he was Japanese Movie toy RD-26, which looks like it was released there *before* his Animated counterpart.

Hunt for the Decepticons Axor

Axor started life as Action Master Axer with the name reused in Robots in Disguise. He's not the only Action Master to get an update in 2010, Hasbro released a new Banzaitron.

From car mode Axor looks like a straight repaint with the body becoming grey and all the spikes blue. Transforming to robot mode reveals the black of the robot limbs is now blue too while the silver/grey become beige. The rubber parts are now blue too, with the hook remoulded into a hand. He gains a new head with red lightpiped eyes.

Doesn't do it for me at all. I only bought it because it was cheap in the Sainsbury's pre Christmas toy sale. Released in 2010 along with Rescue Ratchet he was sold in the UK & US but I can't any record of a Japanese release.