Sunday, 29 May 2011

Dark of the Moon Cyberverse Commander & Action Set Optimus Prime

Cyberverse Commander Optimus Prime

Cyberverse takes the two smallest sizes of Transformers, the Legends and Scouts, and renames them as Legion & Commander using them nearly exclusively as smaller versions of larger toys. The Deluxe toys become Legions, the larger toys become commanders. Over the entire line the hands are molded with 3mm c-clips to use with a new 3mm standard of weapons handle.

Cyberverse Optimus Prime comes in robot mode but as per usual we'll start with the vehicle mode. As per usual with Movie Primes, he's a long nosed truck, mainly red but with a blue cab and flame details. The truck feels elongated overall, with the cab in particular feeling too long. The flatbed at the back of the cab has a 3mm bar mounted at about the point where the trailer hitch would be: the bar is set so it runs front to back. There's another longer bar running along the back of the cab. Either can be used to attack weapons with c-clips, but the one of the flatbed is used here with the jet pack supplied with him which gives the truck cab wings and engines like a jet plane. I'm told this comes from the films but I think it looks very, very silly. On the top of the pack are a pair of 3mm holes which can be used to mount Optimus' twin guns on to give him some firepower in vehicle mode.

Transformation: Pull the nose of the truck forward. Fold the sides of the rear of the truck cab out and forward till they're flush against the sides of the front of the cab. Fold the front of the vehicle down to form the legs, rotate at the waist 180 degrees and peg in under the cab. Push the waist forward. Fold the top of the rear of the cab down revealing the head. Separate the flatbed down the middle and fold up onto the robot's back. Unfold the arms.

Prime's robot mode is nearly the same height as my RTS Windcharger but considerably less bulky: his shoulders come out as far as Windcharger's chest does. The height is achieved using an extension to the legs: I think this makes him look too tall and the robot works better with the extension retracted. The blue in robotmode is confined to the chest, with the red on the lower parts of the limbs and black/painted silver upper limb pieces. His articulation included ball jointed shoulders & hips plus bending elbows & ankles. In theory his waist turns on a ball joint, but the stability of the toy relies on the waist being pegged in properly when it faces front. Unfortunately it's a little hard at times to get the small connector into the slightly smaller hole!

His hands in this mode are 3mm c-clips allowing him to hold his weapons or hold onto 3mm bars on the other toys. I understand why the Scouts in Energon all had 5mm peg hole hands but a peg hole that size then dictates the size of the arm and thus the hand. I've liked many of the Scout class toys but always felt the Basic class used previously and slightly smaller was better. The Commanders feel more like a return to that scale. Prime's jet pack, using a different c-clip, attaches to the trailer hitch 3mm bar and looks far better in robot mode. Once again the weapons can be mounted on the backpack. With the jet pack removed you can still mount the guns on him courtesy of a 3mm hole on each side of his back, formed from the underside of the flatbed whose halves don't quite mesh together in this mode due to the trailer hitch sticking out of his bottom.

Overall: I'm not 100% keen on the aesthetic of Movie Primes. The vehicle mode looks too long and I don't like the way the flatbed halves don't mesh together. The main thing wrong with this toy is the price: It's not a £9 toy. £7 maybe. If you want an Optimus Prime try and skip this one: the action set version looks much better value for money.

Optimus Prime is a "get used to it" toy. It was sold as a preview toy in the USA with a pair of 3D glasses, is packed 3 per case of 6 in the first wave of Cyberverse Commanders, returns in the second wave, is repainted with new weapons in the third wave *and* is included as a minor repaint with a new transforming trailer piece in one of the second wave Cyberverse Action Sets.

Cyberverse Action Set Optimus Prime

Now when you think Optimus Prime, you think truck: a cab towing a trailer. Yet in recent years trailer less Prime cabs have become more and more common. Combat Hero Optimus Prime doesn't have one but he has got a massive cannon on his flatbed. It's not until 2002's Armada Supercon that the floodgates really open following which Energon 2-Pack, Universe Spychanger, Masterpiece, Robotmasters, both Classics Voyager & deluxe and Reveal the Shield deluxe come with no trailer. In addition no version of Movie or Animated Optimus has ever had a trailer till now. So when it was announced that in Dark of the Moon Prime would have a trailer many people were pleased.

The Cyberverse Action Set takes the Cyberverse Commander Optimus Prime as it's base. Prime looses the jetpack and the pair of guns for this release, and has his deco simplified with no flames and bright plastic colours. But essentially it's the same commander toy so your decision on whether to buy the Commander or not hinges on how much you like the accessories and whether you want to help clear the shelves of a substantially overpacked toy.

The new trailer is mainly silver with pale blue edges and front. A wheel array is under the rear but only one of the two wheel pairs turn. Connection is via a c-clip under the front of the trailer, but the C-clip is fixed in place, unlike those seen on many modern weapons, so the trailer is fixed in it's orientation to the cab. Fixing this would have been simple but I can see that may have made things more difficult later. On the front of the trailer is a 3mm bar for added on weapons. There's a long clip and a bar on the rear of the trailer which will let him just about tow Bumblebee's APC. On the roof is a 5mm peg hole for Mechtech and other weapons and a 5mm peg. Sadly the peg isn't a Minicon port, that would have been nice. Most of the roof of the trailer will pull away (eventually) allowing you to see that there's a missile launcher and missile on the underside which can then be pegged into the 5mm peg hole which has remained in the remaining roof pieces.

The Trailers two alternate modes are far better defined than Bumblebee's APC's base modes were. Transformation starts with removing the roof/missile launcher and un-hitching the trailer. Separate the middle of the trailer and fold down to the sides. Unpeg the grey arms and swing the sides of the trailer out to the sides. Fold the panel the arms are connected down under the trailer so they point down. Fold the side panels of the truck out to the sides and back do they point away and forward from the front of the trailer and their fronts slot into the front of the trailed. Fold the wheels out from under the back of the trailer to form a ramp leading down from the now raised platform. Peg the missile launcher into the 5mm peg hole.

The Base mode you get is a ramp (yeah!) with a V shaped section of Wall sticking out behind it. You'll need to swing the cannon out to the sides to get some higher vehicles onto the platform and only shorter ones will fit due to the space at the rear of the platform being taken up by the support for the missile launcher. The platform deck has 4 3mm halls for Cyberverse weapons.

The second alternate mode for the trailer is a power up for the Cyberverse Commander Prime. Fold the ramp so it points down at an angle of 90 degrees from the ramp. Unhook the trailer sides. Remove the missile launcher and fold it's support back. Raise the front of the trailer up. Stand on the wheel assembly. Clip the trailer hitch on Prime's back into the c-clip on the transformer trailer. Slide each foot into the clips on the wheel base. Fold the arms forward and rotate the black pieces so the 5mm holes are on top. Slide Prime's hands over the handles then turn the trailer sides down so that the Autobot Symbol faces the right way up.

Prime's Assault Vehicle Mode isn't a proper robot formed from a combined cab and trailer like Ultra Magnus or Powermaster Optimus Prime, more like a person in a mech suit like the Power Loader in Aliens. Both sets of arms move well together which is better than on some similar toys I've seen where as soon as the figure is holding on it immobilises both sets of arms. The right arm ends in a claw while the left has a double barrelled cannon. There's a 5mm peg hole on the top of each and another peg hole on each "foot". There's a 3mm bar on each shoulder and another one on the top of the 3 barrelled launcher above the robot's head.

Just adding a trailer to Prime would be enough to please some people, but to get a base and an OK power up out of it as well is a good effort. I don't feet either mode is quite perfect: the base isn't as good as Bumblebee's APC Base and there are better power ups to robot out there. But still for the size it's a nice toy and there's a feeling that the more Cyberverse pieces you have that you can connect together, the better.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Dark of the Moon Cyberverse Action Set Bumblebee

I have not gone out of my way to own Movie Legends Bumblebee's but have ended up with two different moulds in two packs which I've bought for other toys. Movie 1 Legends Bumblebee with Battle Damage came with the superb Scorponok while ROTF NEST Bumblebee came with Shadow Striker aka EVIL Universe Wheelie. Truth be told I've not exactly bought this set for the Cyberverse Legion Bumblebee either. A new mold, Bumblebee's third movie legends version, it looks like the Camero used in the film.

Transformation is easy: the doors and front wheels pull out to form arms, the bonnet folds forward to become the chest, the legs unfold and the feet fold down.

As you mignt be able to tell from that, his articulation has had a major upgrade from the ROTF model with bending ankles & knees, ball jointed hips & outer shoulders plus inner shoulders that swing back. His left hand has a c-clip shape moulded into it for him told hold Cyberverse weapons. He's presently stood in front of me touting Ironhide's combined blaster. Bumblebee comes with a V shaped jetpack that clips round his back. Sadly he can't wear it in car mode.

But it's not the figure you want me to talk about is it?

Bumblebee comes with what's labelled as an Mobile Battle Bunker. Once you transform it into vehicle mode, it's a green APC towing a grey trailer. There's space on the trailer and the roof for a Cyberverse vehicle: Ironhide's sitting on the back of mine with Barricade riding on the roof. On the front of the vehicle is a 3mm bar and matching clip: you could connect two of these nose to nose, have him towed by Optimus Prime's trailer or mount weapons on the front. Littered over the vehicle are a number of 3mm peg holes, three on each side and two on the top, for Cyberverse weapons to be plugged into. I've got Prime's Blasters plugged into my roof holes and still have room for Barricade. The instructions show Bumblebee's jet pack attached to the top of the vehicle but I can't find any way to properly attach it so have stored it under the trailer where it fits nicely. He comes with one weapon you can peg in to the holes: a missile. When not in use the missile is also stored under the trailer. If you get the balance right Bumblebee can just about hold it. The missile fits into a launcher formed by folding the upper car deck up & forward then swinging the car plates down 180 degrees. The launcher then sits over the front of the vehicle, and a 3mm bar is exposed on it's stem.

By folding out the missile launcher, then folding the ramp onto the back of the APC and facing the cannon backwards a mobile armoured missile platform can be formed.

For his official base mode one remove any added and stored weapons from the APC mode. Turn the vehicle onto it's roof, then turn the trailer so the top faces up. Fold the trailer down to form a ramp. Split the cab of the APC in two down the middle and fold to the sides. Raise the towers out of the APC cab halves.

Basically it's a ramp. We like ramps. And as a bonus it's a ramp with a launcher! At the top of the ramp is a platform and at the back of the platform is a little black lever that when pressed raises the platform catapulting any vehicle on it down the ramp. The towers each have a 5mm peg hole in the top of them allowing additional larger Mechtech weapons to be mounted there. The 3mm bar and c-clip connector have ended up on either side of the base mode allowing it to be attached to any of the other Cyberverse bases. However due to the way the back of the base is made from the opened out APC cab it should be possible to connect a pair of these bases back to back to form a larger structure. If I've one complaint about the base mode then it concerns the towers: They're obviously 6 barrelled Gattling Guns and my inclination is to fold either them forward or swing the cab halves forward so they point in that direction.

Base Mode 2 is formed by taking Base Mode 1 and folding the missile launcher out from underneath it, up the back of the base and pointing it forward over the ramp. Bumblebee or another Cyberverse figure can then stand behind the base and hold the missile launcher using the 3mm bar handles at the rear of the launcher.

This set is top stuff, especially when you get a few other Cyberverse sets to link it up to. Because the set includes a Legends/Legion size toy, the accompanying base is larger and more substantial than the bases that come with the Commander figures in the wave 2 Action Sets. If you're going to own the Cyberverse bases you need at least one of these to form part of it.