Saturday, 22 December 2012

Arms Micron Capsule Wave 3: Ratchet, Wheeljack, Starscream & Dobo

Arms Micron Capsule Series Wave 3

My box of the Arms Micron Capsule series wave 3 arrived this week courtesy of who supplied both of my previous waves no problem. However the box they sent me this time contained:

4 x Wheeljack (peachy orange capsule)
3 x Starscream (purple capsule)
2 x Green Dobo (yellow capsule)
1 x Red Dobo (blue green capsule)

NO RATCHET! NOT HAPPY! So if any UK based fan is reading this who can sell me a Ratchet Micron/swap for a Starscream/Wheeljack Micron I'll be very happy & grateful.


Near perfect likeness of the character with blades protruding from the ends of the arms. Articulation: ball joints at hips and shoulders, plus the shoulders fold forwards across the chest as part of the transformation. His right shoulder has a purpley red trapezoid Autobot spark crystal (It's a bit hard to say what the exact colour is) while there's 5mm sockets on his left shoulder and outer sides of both knees.

Transformation: Fold the back of the legs down under the feet and clip the legs together. Fold the arms down straight at the sides, then fold in at the shoulders. Fold the backpack up to cover the head.

Wheeljack transforms into a Kunai, a Japanese tool which can also be used as a weapon which rather suits Wheeljack's dual role as warrior & technician. We get a 5mm peg in this mode, on the base of the weapon, and an extra socket on the back. The shoulders (crystal and one socket) end up on the base of the weapon while the sockets on the knee are on he side of the blade.

My one complaint is there is a definite front & back to the weapon mode.

Decent blade weapon and robot mode. Well worth owning.


I'm not keen on Starscream's Prime form and the Micron version is even worse looking like a Star Wars Lego Super Battle Droid figure. The robot mode features the wings folded back which just unbalances the toy and causes it to fall over backwards. The ball joints on the toy at the shoulders and hips are a bit loose compared to the other Arms Micron toys. There are no real accessible 5mm Micron pegs or sockets available in this mode, all being ruled out by the wings being closed together. Fold them out to the sides and you get a better balanced toy as well as 5mm pegs on the end of the wings, another on his back, a 5mm socket behind his left wing and a yellow hexagonal Decepticon Spark crystal behind his right wing.

Transformation: (if necessary) fold the wings forward and out to the sides. Push the hips up. Fold the arms up so the shoulders cover the head and the hands clip into the top of the wings. Fold the legs up so they clip into the bottom of the wings.

The transformation won't work if the hips haven't been pushed up first - it took me a while to crack the trick with the hips so I spent ages being frustrated that I couldn't get this toy into weapons mode. Even now I have I can't get the limbs to stay attached to the wings properly.

Starscream forms a Boomerang wing a 5mm peg at each end and in the middle. The 5mm socket and spark crystal end up on opposing sides of the wing. The weapon mode is a bit something of nothing but works better as a jetpack - try it on the Wheeljack Micron, with the backpack folded halfway forward. It would make a very good chest plate for a Power Core Commander but he's missing a 5mm hole in his chest to make this possible.

Robot's got issues and I don't like the design. Weapons mode is weak. Worst Arms Micron Capsule toy since the monochrome beasts in the first wave.... possible worst of the lot.


Onto the Decepticon animal in this wave. Dobo is an dragonfly with four ball jointed wings. Between the wings is 5mm socket - there's another under the body and a third under the end of the tail while there's a 5mm peg under the head as well as one under each of the larger front wings. The Yellow/Green Trapezoid Decepticon spark crystal is mounted on the top of the start of the tail.

All the Decepticon Arms Micron Capsule animals have two colour variants and like Dado he mixes both colours:

Colour 1: Body & Tail

Colour 2: Wings & Tail Core

The colours chosen this time are Green & Red so we get a green dragonfly with red wings and a red dragonfly with green wings which brings to mind the Beast Wars toy Jetstorm and his Beast Wars II repaint Tonbot. Very Nice!

Transformation: Fold the wings forward, locking the two larger ones together. Extend the tail.

Dobo's weapons mode is a gatling gun with six gun barrels arranged in a circle at the end of the tail. The barrel rotates nicely, but that means the 5mm socket on it moves round the toy. There's a pair of 5mm pegs under the folded back wings but it's probably best to hold the weapon by the peg underneath the rear of the weapon, the insect's body, or mount it on either the socket located just in front of the peg or the one on top of the insect's body.

You can have some fun with two of these toys, one in each mode. You can plug the weapon into the insect by sliding the peg under the insect into the socket on the top of the weapon. Or you can shorten the weapon to insect length and match the peg & socket at each end of the toys so the insect is carrying the gatling directly underneath it.

Easily the star of this set, but I'm worried about the long term durability of the wings which are very thin and have a disturbingly small connection to the ball that locks them into the body.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

TFP Cyberverse Battlesuit Bumblebee

Transformers Prime Cyberverse Bumblebee Battlesuit

Every Transformers size has to have one of Bumblebee and/or Optimus Prime in it now. It's the law. And, having committed the heinous sin of releasing an assortment without either (gasp) in the first Prime Cyberverse Vehicles assortment they make amends here with a Bumblebee set here.

Included is the Bumblebee Legion figure that's been warming the shelves for months now. He's a lighter shade of yellow and comes with a clear pale blue version of the twin blaster sold with the earlier toy and several Legion figures since. Nice to see it in a different colour but unfortunately it doesn't quite match the rest of the clear pale blue on the toy!

The main toy comes in Battle Suit mode but I want to talk about the alternate mode first.

Transformation: Remove the cannon placing it behind the toy. Pull the structure behind the shoulders out to the sides which lowers the chest and raises cannons over it's head. Fold the arms straight at the sides then bend the elbows 90 degrees. Fold the hands into the wrists swinging out another cannon on the end of each arm. Raise the platform at the rear. Split each leg in two then fold forward and back, folding the toes down, to form caterpillar tracks for the vehicle. Peg the cannon into the 5mm hole on the top of the folded down chest.

It took me a while to discover that the shoulders were the trigger for the transformation, I'd been folding down the chest and that kept making it go wrong!

I'm not really sure what to say about the vehicle mode.... it's sort of a tracked battle platform but really it's just a bit of a mess with a few guns pointing forward.... There's space for one figure standing on the platform at the front and two on the platform at the back but due to the height of the platform they really need to be Commanders rather Legions. It's a bit difficult to attach it to the other Cyberverse vehicles base modes as bits keep getting in the way.... Wheeljack's simply won't attach right but Knockout's Energon Drill and Optimus Maximus will.

Fortunately I can get more enthusiastic about the robot battle suit mode: Fold the tips of the tracks at the front up, then bring both halves of the tracks together pegging the front into the rear. Fold down the platform at the rear. Remove the cannon and put it behind the toy. Push the shoulder sides in to auto transform the top half of the toy. Fold the cannons into the arms to reveal the hands. Stand the Legion figure in the chest with his arms out bracing himself against the front of the chest.

Transformers has tried battle suits for smaller robots before: 1991's Action Master Exo Suits Circuit & Thundercracker and the motorised Rumbler & Slicer (plus an Unproduced tank exo suit. Bumblebee is proportionately much smaller compared to his exo suit, standing in the body instead of forming the core of it like the previous versions. The chest has a V shape to it being reminiscent of the larger prime toy with a 5mm and a 3mm hole one each side to resemble the headlights of the car mode. If you raise Bumblebee's arms he sits snugly in the compartment.

Articulation: a little limited if I'm honest. The shoulders swing out to the sides, and in slightly, and the elbows bend. The hips move back and forth but that's mainly for the transformation. He's got wheels built into his feet which move well enough that he can slip down the slight slope on the front of my printer if angled right.

Like the two previous Cyberverse vehicles (Wheeljack with Star Hammer & Knock Out with Energon Driller) Bumblebee's Battle Suit comes with a light up weapon. It's a clear blue block, with a black trigger on the top, a 3mm peg in the rear & each side, a 5mm peg underneath and a Minicon peg (5mm peg with a hole down the middle). The batteries are held in the back of the battlesuit and connected to the weapon by a wire. Unfortunately the effectiveness of the weapon is reduced by the LED within being green: a blue LED or clear one would have worked much better. When locked into the back of the battlesuit's missile launcher it's useless: I pressed the button through the try me packaging when I was on my way home and saw nothing, so nearly ended up back at the shop for a refund. What should happen is the light should be transmitted down the missile launcher to make the launcher light up. The launcher has a 5mm peg handle of it's own, for when the light up weapon isn't attached, and another 5mm peg hole pointing forwards that lets you mount the weapon on the back of the shoulder so the missile is pointing over the toy's shoulder.

The missile launcher isn't the only weapon this toy has though: remember the arms became cannons in battle station mode? Well in battle suit mode you can still rotate the hands back into the wrists so the cannons project from the forearms. I like this feature a lot, it appeals to me somehow :-) You can raise the platform at the rear of the toy in this mode too to allow Cyberverse Commanders to ride on it's back.

The toy is covered in 5mm and 3mm ports allowing you to tool it up with all sorts of weapons from your Cyberverse and Minicon Arsenals:

5mm Holes: There are two on the side of each foot, on the front tread part, one on each side of the chest, one through the hand, one under each of the forearms cannons and one on the back of each shoulder. 12 in total. (I think they did miss a trick here: an extra 5mm hole in the front of each of the arm & shoulder cannons might have been nice to plug Arms Microns into)

3mm holes: one on the side of each heel, one one each side of the chest, two on the top of each forearm, one on the top of each forearm cannon and one on the back of each post sticking up from the shoulders. Again 12 in total

Considerable room for you to expand and tool up the toy. Plus there's also a number of bars for the 3mm clip system to use too.

This toy isn't perfect by a long way: the vehicle mode isn't good, it connects badly to other Cyberverse toys and some of the plastic, notably that used for the front of the lower legs, floor & back of the lower body, feels very cheap. But against that the robot mode has got quite a bit of personality and I can't stop playing with it. I'm not sure he'll tick the boxes for every older Transformers fan but he's a good fun toy.

Beast Hunters Breakdown & Decepticon Battle Armour

Having not been reused in Transformers Prime I wasn't surprised to see the Battlesuit turn up again. Unveiled at the 2012 New York Comicon this time it's in the hands of a green repaint of the Decepticon Breakdown. The toy has been broadly recoloured in shades of green but there's been a substantial amount of remoulding too: gone is all the clear blue pieces and the harder yellow pieces used for the chest and the forearms. They are replaced by new pieces moulded in bone grey plastic with the chest piece shaped like a skull. The hands become closing claws with a pair of 5mm ports and a 3mm on top of the hand and the arms. The electronics are gone as is the blaster replaced with a new quad missile launching weapon.

Somehow this new version isn't doing it for me like the original did.

Future Repaints

Several repaints quickly suggest themselves for this toy: in Red as Cliffjumper (even though Transformers Prime Cliffjumper has usually been a different mould to Bumblebee it'd be nice to follow the tradition and give them an excuse to repaint the Bumblebee Legion figure in red. The Legion's already been done in black as Quickblade Bumblebee so a black and clear yellow Mech Suit makes sense as does one in blue with a similarly recoloured legion to match the Hotshot repaint of Deluxe Bumblebee.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Legends Starscream

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 new RTS Legends figure 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.

Cyberverse Evolutions Starscream

The RTS Legend Starscream doesn't appear in the Cyberverse Evolutions set but I feel it should have done. The set includes retooled transparent versions of Movie Legends Starscream and Revenge of the Fallen Legends Bumblebee along with another Legends version of the same characters. Bumblebee is represented by the G1 inspired Universe Legends Bumblebee but Starscream uses Legends of Cybertron Starscream. I just feel that the G1 RTS version would have been a better choice and thematically matched the Bumblebee a bit better.

EZ Collection Thundercracker

Takara's EZ Collection has long been a home for Legends figures in Japan. However since the Dark of the Moon Legends are now rebranded as Cyberverse basics and sold in conjunction with the Cyberverse Commanders & Action Sets, Takara needed to do something different.

The first EZ Collection wave released alongside Dark of the Moon uses the western Reveal The Shield Legends as it's base and adds in new repaints of the Revenge of the Fallen Legends Optimus Prime & Megatron. Of the RTS toys Optimus Prime & Trailbreaker (Trailcutter) are essentially the same as their RTS versions albeit swapping the rub signs for faction symbols. Megatron too is broadly similar to his RTS version but there's one major difference: the EZ Collections lacks the orange safety tip on the cannon/gun barrel that RTS Megatron has, making the Japanese version more desirable. Prowl is missing, replaced by the similar looking Universe Legends Jazz, which hadn't been previously released in Japan. The Bumblebee in the set is different from the Goldbugesque RTS version and is very similar to the original Universe Legends Bumblebee, which also hadn't been released in Japan before, although the mould was repainted as Henkei Cliffjumper which in a three pack with minor repaints of Universe Legends Beachcomber and Brawn.

But what of RTS Starscream?

Starscream finds himself repaint as Thundercracker, swapping grey plastic for blue with a painted silver chest & faction symbol tampographs. It's an obvious repaint of course but it seems a little odd to be getting a hench jet before the main bot is done. Massive bonus points for painting the faction symbols so the points on the chin are facing front and thus are the right way up in robot mode. It so annoys me the number versions of the G1 Decepticon Jets that don't have their faction symbols the right way up in robot mode.

It is of course the first repaint of the Starscream toy and has appeared in Japan without any hint of a Western release. When the first ones appeared on eBay they were £9.50 compared with the £7 the seller was asking for the rest. I bought one then, and Megatron was the same price. They were then relisted at £10.50. Then £12.57. Then £18.55..... The last two that sold went for £21.44 & £24.50 with them now being listed for a massive £27.56 as at August 5th 2011! Madness, utter utter Madness. I wish I'd bought a few more when they were sub tenner. I'm looking at Wave 1 Case that BBTS have for $160 (These toys are sold blindboxed in cases of 24 with each toy appearing three times) and wondering if it's worth buying one....

Thundercracker? Looks fab and stands better than Starscream. But this is a £3-£4 toy, it's not a tenner toy even at import prices and it's certainly not worth paying the best part of £30 for! On release I predicted a western version in early 2012 and the howl of fanboys who overspent on the Japanese toy. And guess what ? ;-)

EZ Collection Starscream

A second EZ Collection wave has been announced and is available to pre-order at BBTS for $75, half the price of the Wave 1 case. All we have to go on at the moment is a grey scale photo showing the eight toys involved. The missing RTS Prowl shows up twice in the set of eight so I'm guessing one is Prowl while the other is a repaint, almost certainly either Bluestreak or Smokescreen. The Legends versions of Generation 2 Megatron, Hound and Rodimus weren't released in Japan when Henkei was running and including them here completes the release of the Universe Legends toy molds in Japan. Another version of RTS Optimus Prime is present in this case and I'm guessing this is probably a repaint as Ultra Magnus or possibly Scourge/Nemesis Prime.

The case photo also shows TWO of the Starscream mould. I'm guessing that one of them would be a Japanese version Starscream and the other probably Skywarp or Sunstorm. I can't really see Thundercracker being carried over to a second case as some people are hoping but his initial appearance instead of Starscream was a big surprise anyway so I won't be so shocked if Takara bowls us a googly and does something odd here too!

EZ Starscream is very similar to the RTS version: loose the rub sign and replace it with two purple Decepticon symbols which, like Thundercracker, have the point on the chin facing towards the nose so they're the right way up in robot mode. However there is a minor change to the paint scheme: the head is now black right the way round which means there's a black section on the nose of the jet which doesn't look so good.

Buy depending on if you like faction symbols over rubsigns. But there's a cheaper western version (see bellow) and a better version that have rendered this obsolete now unless you're buying the full case.

EZ Collection Skywarp

Completing the set of original 1984 Decepticon jets in the EZ Collection is Skywarp. You know the drill: black repaint, avoiding the problem with the head that Starscream had. Purple hands, feet and leg trim. Silver chest and faction symbols (again the right way up in robot mode) Job done on first attempt.

This did big money on release. Big big money. And it still commands a premium due to being the only EZ-Collection/Legends version of Skywarp who has yet to have a western release. It's also the only version of the 1984 jets not to have had a modified release.

Generations Legends Starscream

Sold through the Dollar General chain in the USA on a Generations Cardback this legend is effectively a western re-release of the EZ Collection Generation 2 Starscream listed above.

It was released alongside Optimus Prime (using the EZ Collection Volume 1 repaint), Tank Megatron (from Universe Legends Wave 2) and Bumblebee (a new repaint of the toy from Universe Legends Wave 4). Very few people took any notice of this assortment on release.... and then a while later something *VERY* interesting happened......

Generations Legions Thundercracker

From the EZ Collection Thundercracker review above I give you this quote:
I predict a western version in early 2012 and the howl of fanboys who overspent on the Japanese toy.
It didn't quite happen like that but ...

On the 11th March 2012 at Cybertron Con Transformers Generations Asia Exclusive Legends wave was announced. This wave recoloured four older legends figures, two in original colour schemes and the other two the same as previously available Japanese EZ Collection figures. To spice things up a bit all four figures were remoulded with 3mm clip hands, 3mm peg holes on their vehicle modes and new 3mm peg handled weapons resembling what their original Generation One forms had.

Thundercracker is almost exactly the same colours as used on the EZ-Collection version of the toy above. His jet mode has a 3mm hole through each wing which allows you to plus the newly moulded Null Rays into. These weapons which look like the longer version of the missiles & launchers found with the original 1984 jets have a 3mm peg handle and a 3mm peg on the rear. They are the only GDO Legion weapons NOT to have a 3mm socket in them. The robot mode already has Null rays, formed from the top of the jet, so in they either have to held like hand weapons or pegged into the wings, stored on the rear or projecting forward as shoulder cannons

Fab remould, but you almost feel like they needed a remould to loose the plane back on the arms so the Null rays could be plugged in there.

For a toy that's only been out a short time Thundercracker has already racked up an interesting release history: It was originally released on an English language Generation card to Hasbro's Asian markets as part of the GDO Legends wave where it was 2 per case alongside 3 of Motorbreath (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 1 Optimus Prime), 2 of Hoist (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 2 Trailcutter) and only 1 of Bluestreak (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 2 Prowl). It was then re-released through Toys R Us as an exclusive with the card now sporting additional Chinese text (possibly as a sticker). Thundercracker then was released in the Ultimate Giftset alongside Legends Motorbreath, Street Rally Jazz (repaint of RTS Deluxe Jazz) and Combat Hero Optimus Prime (repaint of RTS Deluxe Optimus Prime.

EZ Collection Gum Starscream

I nearly skipped the EZ-Collection Gum wave: When the promotional images of the toys first appeared only the Megatron tank in metallic purple appealed to me. The what look liked chromed Starscream actively put me off and I really didn't need another Prowl, Optimus & Rodimus. Then in hand images of the toys emerged which completely changed everything. For a start the Megatron was fab. And, contrary to the publicity images which showed the original versions of the moulds, Optimus, Starscream & Prowl used the modified Asia Exclusive/GDO Legends moulds with 3mm clip hands. A pass transformed into a must have in seconds!

When I opened the case up Starscream wasn't chromed as I thought, Instead he's moulded in a silvery plastic. I'm pretty sure it's not paint as there don't appear to be any of the tell tale signs of silver missing in recesses. The exceptions are the upper legs, shoulders and vehicle back which are a grey plastic. Blue & red paint operations become metallic. It's a nice attractive looking toy and as a bonus can hold & and use 3mm bar weapons. The only downside is that it doesn't come with the new weapons produced for the Generations Legends.

Generations Legend Starscream Variant

So back to the Dollar General Generations Legends... The toys had been in circulation, and largely ignored bar a small interest in the Bumblebee variation, when this post appeared on the 2005 boards on 23rd August 2012. Now Transformers has had it's fair share of variants over the years but this is the first time I can remember a toy being this extensively changed mid run. Both Optimus and Starscream, while keeping the same deco, now use the tooling used for Generations GDO Legion Motorbreath and Thundercracker. So Starscream gains holes in his wings, 3mm hands and grey null rays.

Instant must have purchase!

Future Repaints

Starscream's got a rich repaint history so I expect we'll be seeing this toy again repainted as Sunstorm & Acid Storm or remoulded as Thrust, Dirge, Ramjet & G2 Ramjet. Plus there's two Japanese Starscream colour schemes that could be done: Black & Clear. I have friends that even as we speak are praying for an Action Masters Thundercracker version!

I wouldn't be surprised either to see another version of Skywarp with the modified hands and the extra guns either!

I would love to see a remould to enable the the new weapons to be mounted on the arms.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Legends G2 Megatron

Universe Legends Megatron

At some point soon I'm going to write a review extolling the virtues of the Generation 2 Combat Hero Megatron toy. Well here it is shrunk down a bit. And it's *still* good. The gun barrel is in place on his right shoulder and they've gone one better than all the versions of the Combat Hero Mould by painting him green (Hasbro: I want a green camo Combat Hero Megatron. Please make it happen) albeit a more realistic dark green than the original G2 Megatron tank and with a dark purple camouflage scheme. The faction symbol on the front of the toy is a normal Decepticon one, not the Generation 2 version. The arms are fixed from the shoulder down - no elbow but are ball jointed and shrug up a bit at the shoulders, ball jointed hips and bending knees. The head can turn but the gun barrel moves with it. He stands OK with his legs together, but if you examine the bottom of them the default stance is with the legs slightly apart.

Transformation: Fold the arms back so the hands point backwards. (Nice bit this coming up) Turn the head to his right taking the gun barrel with it. Swing the gun barrel so it's pointing straight up. Fold the lower legs back to cover the upper legs. Fold the chest up, then fold the arms onto the top of the tank to form the sides of the turret. Very Combat Hero Megatron in the transformation apart from the cleverness with the head & gun.

In vehicle mode it's a fixed turret tank. Looks good, near exact downsized copy of the original. The only extra thing you could ask would be a revolving turret and neither of the two earlier, and larger, versions had that!

So overall great in both modes and the ideal size to be used with Universe Spychanger Prime - just slightly bigger. Get this toy.

Megatron was sold as part of Universe Legends Wave 2, the first universe Legends Wave that was new toys and not just repaints of older Legends of Cybertron toys. He was sold with

EZ-Collection Megatron

It safe to say that the biggest shock when the colour picture of Transformers Chronicle EZ Collection Series 2 was unveiled was the colours used for the Japanese version of Universe Legends Megatron. The original Universe toy uses a darker version of the colours on the Large G2 Megatron Tank, later reused with only minor changes as Megastorm, and I suspect either the colours of the previous Legends toy or the G2 version were expected to be on this toy. Not so, what we got is a purple toy, closer to Combat Hero Megatron/Archforce. The camouflage print from Universe Legends Megatron is there in the same pattern but now in black and a Generation 2 Decepticon symbol adorns his chest.

I love the Archforce toy & colours (though would love to see a green version) and Legends Megatron was probably my toy of 2008. This is just superb and the star of the set for me.

This toy was released blindboxed in EZ-Collection volume 2 in a case with Generation 2 Optimus Prime & Starscream (RTS Legends Wave 1), Prowl (RTS Legends Wave 2), Hound (Universe Legends Wave 2), Rodimus (Universe Legends Wave 5), Skywarp (a repaint of RTS Legends Wave 1 Starscream) and Skywarp (Bluestreak/Silverstreak, a repaint of Prowl from RTS Legends Wave 2).

Generations Legend Megatron

In spring 2012 an assortment of Legends started showing up in Dollar General stores in the states: Optimus Prime (from EZ Collection 1), Starscream (from EZ Collection 2), a new deco of Bumblebee (similar to the Cyberverse Evoloutions Bumblebee) and Tank Megatron who appears to be identical to the Universe Legends version from the pictures I've seen.

Megatron & Bumblebee remained the same when Optimus Prime & Starscream were revised into versions using the GDO Generations Legions versions with 3mm C-Clip hands and new weapons.

EZ-Collection Gum Megatron

I nearly skipped the EZ-Collection Gum wave: When the promotional images of the toys first appeared only the Megatron tank in metallic purple appealed to me. The what look liked chromed Starscream actively put me off and I really didn't need another Prowl, Optimus & Rodimus. Then in hand images of the toys emerged which completely changed everything. For a start the Megatron was fab. And, contrary to the publicity images which showed the original versions of the moulds, Optimus, Starscream & Prowl used the modified Asia Exclusive/GDO Legends moulds with 3mm clip hands. A pass transformed into a must have in seconds!

And in my hands Megatron is once again the star of the show: a gorgeous metallic purple with a metallic grey for the legs. Well worth having even if you do already have the previous version in purple.

This toy was packed in the apparently blindboxed EZ Collection Gum wave in cases of six. However each toy is numbered on the top of their boxes: Optimus is 1, Rodimus is 2, Prowl is 3, Megatron is 4 and Starscream is 5. In both the case pictured at the link above and in the one I received there were two of the Optimus Prime figure and one each of the others.

Future repaints

The most obvious repaint for this toy is one using the bright green, blue camouflage and G2 symbol of the original G2 Megatron tank. Change the camouflage to brown and you get Beast Wars II Megastorm.

For a more insane version how about the unreleased G2 Combat Hero repaint? 2 packed with a revised Optimus Prime Legend in the colours for the abandoned G2 repaint that recently showed up on Combat Hero Optimus in the Ultimate Giftset would make for a nice set!

Legends Optimus Prime & Motorbreath

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. In fact it's a bit of a surprise that it's taken this long to do one with the original Optimus Prime being ignored through four waves of original mould Universe Legends.

The toy comes moulded in red plastic, with black wheels. He has a painted blue head & lower legs and painted silver fuel cylinders, exhaust pipes, upper legs, visor, grill, lower chest and bumper. The windows are a pale blue. On the robot's left lower arm is an Autobot rub sign, making a return to the RTS toys and a debut on the Legends size with this initial wave. Proportionately to it's height this Legends version is wider than the original. His articulation is good: ball jointed hips, elbows and shoulders which also bend back at the body. However bending the arm exposes 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 apart 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.

Optimus Prime shipped in Reveal The Shield (RTS from here in) Legends Wave 1 with Megatron, Starscream and Gold Bumblebee where all were two per case. They reshipped in Wave 2, the box that actually reached the UK, at one per case alongside Trailcutter and Prowl which were two per case. Needless to say Asda had a lot of Trailcutters and Prowls leftover for a while!

EZ-Collection Optimus Prime

The first Japanese release of the Optimus Prime legend came in the EZ-Collection volume 1. Essentially the same toy as the RTS version it looses the rubsign replacing it with a small Autobot symbol on his left shoulder/side of the cab.

This toy was released blindboxed in EZ-Collection volume 1 in a case with a repainted gun Megatron (from the same RTS Wave as Optimus Prime), Jazz (from Universe Legends Wave 2), Bumblebee (from Universe Legends Wave 4), Trailbreaker (Trailcutter from RTS Legends Wave 2), Thundercracker (a repaint of Starscream from RTS Legends Wave 2) and Movie Optimus Prime & Megatron (both from Revenge of the fallen) .

EZ-Collection Generation 2 Optimus Prime

I was a bit surprised to see another Optimus Prime Show up in EZ-Collection volume 2, expecting a white Ultra Magnus or black Scourge/Nemesis Prime instead. But back he comes, this time as a G2 version. We loose the blue paint off the front of the legs, replacing it with black legs, get a nearly black painted head, a slightly brighter shade of red plastic and a small G2 Autobot symbol on his left shoulder.

Not hugely different then. Didn't set my world on fire. An odd choice considering that Generation 2 Optimus Prime wasn't released in Japan. One of the alternate colours/characters mentioned above would have been much better for my liking.

This toy was released blindboxed in EZ-Collection volume 2 in a case with Starscream (RTS Legends Wave 1), Prowl (RTS Legends Wave 2), Hound, (Universe Legends Wave 2), Rodimus (Universe Legends Wave 5) Generation 2 Megatron/Archforce (a purple repaint of Tank Megatron from Universe Legends Wave 2), Skywarp (a repaint of RTS Legends Wave 1 Starscream) and Streak (Bluestreak/Silverstreak, a repaint of Prowl from RTS Legends Wave 2).

Generations Legend Optimus Prime

Sold through the Dollar General chain in the USA on a Generations Cardback this legend is effectively a western re-release of the EZ Collection Generation 1 Optimus Prime listed above.

It was released alongside Starscream (using the EZ Collection Volume 2 repaint), Tank Megatron (from Universe Legends Wave 2) and Bumblebee (a new repaint of the toy from Universe Legends Wave 4). Very few people took any notice of this assortment on release.... and then a while later something *VERY* interesting happened......

Generations Legion Motorbreath

Motorbreath? Was Hasbro unable to use the names Motormouth or Motormaster when looking to name this toy?

Although a black repaint of Optimus Prime is usually Scourge/Nemesis Prime there is a history of Optimus Primes becoming the Stunticon leader Motormaster..... and not always with the correct name! In 2007, Legends of Cybertron Optimus Prime was repainted in the Motormaster colours as Legends Menasor, using the name of the Stunticons combined form Menasor. Then in 2011 the Botcon exclusive set of Animated toys made Motormaster from Animated Voyager Optimus Prime.

The toy is moulded in black plastic now with off white used for the lower robot legs/flat bed. The windows and petrol tanks are now purple. Silver is used for the exhaust pipes and robot mode visor but there's an odd discrepancy between the robot and vehicle modes: the vehicle mode grill and bumper is painted silver but the robot mode grill and waist aren't with the silver now moving to the torso at the sides of the grill.

But changing the colours isn't the only thing that's been done to this toy: he's had a remould to enable him to use 3mm handled weapons. Starting with the introduction of Cyberverse for Dark of the Moon, just after the RTS Legends were released, and continuing into the Transformers Prime Cyberverse line Legends toys were given the ability to use a standardised weapons size. With the "Asia Exclusive"/ GDO (stands for Global Developmental Organisation) Legends wave Hasbro took the opportunity to retool the four moulds repainted in this wave (the others were Trailbreaker as Hoist - the only other colour scheme 100% new to this size in this wave - Starscream as Thundercracker and Prowl as Bluestreak - both of which has previously been done in TakaraTomy's EZ-Collection) In vehicle mode the toy gain a 3mm hole on the top of the cab, on the back of the panel that folds back to reveal the head, while in robot mode the hands are retooled into 3mm peg hole fists. Now the hands on this toy had always looked like they were open a little too much anyway so this retool is actually an improvement for the robot mode. They've also given the toy a sword to hold, very similar in shape to the one held by the original Motormaster/Menasor. Moulded in black plastic it seems to be or a slightly more flexible rubbery material that the rest of the toy so I don't think it comes on the same sprue as the rest of the toys parts. It has a 3mm peg hilt for him to hold in robot mode and a 3mm peg hole/peg combination in opposition to each other through the base of the sword, allowing the sword to be mounted lengthways on the vehicle's roof or stored on the back of the robot mode. But of course you've already got a stack of 3mm peg Cyberverse weapons so you can go raiding your parts box for extra goodies for Motorbreath to use.

Top top upgrade for the toy.

For a toy that's only been out a short time Motorbreath has already racked up an interesting release history: Originally released on an English language Generation card to Hasbro's Asian markets it has now been released through Toys R Us as an exclusive with the card now sporting additional Chinese text (possibly as a sticker). Motorbreath then was released in the Ultimate Giftset alongside Legends Thundercracker, Street Rally Jazz (repaint of RTS Deluxe Jazz) and Combat Hero Optimus Prime (repaint of RTS Deluxe Optimus Prime.

Motorbreath appeared at 3 per case in the Generations Legends case alongside 2 each of Thundercracker (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 1 Starscream) & Hoist (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 2 Trailcutter) and only 1 of Bluestreak (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 2 Prowl)

EZ-Collection Gum Optimus Prime

I nearly skipped the EZ-Collection Gum wave: When the promotional images of the toys first appeared only the Megatron tank in metallic purple appealed to me. The what look liked chromed Starscream actively put me off and I really didn't need another Prowl, Optimus & Rodimus. Then in hand images of the toys emerged which completely changed everything. For a start the Megatron was fab. And, contrary to the publicity images which showed the original versions of the moulds, Optimus, Starscream & Prowl used the modified Asia Exclusive/GDO Legends moulds with 3mm clip hands. A pass transformed into a must have in seconds!

Unfortunately Optimus' deco turns out to be quite disappointing in the plastic. The red used isn't as mettalic as I was expecting and what's worse is there are two distinct shades of it used culminating in an odd effect between the sets of parts which is slightly off putting. But what I hadn't twigged from any of the photos I'd seen was that this Optimus was the G2 version of the toy again: his arm once more sports the G2 logo and his legs are black but this time the head is blue.

Slightly disappointing. Buy only if you need an Op with the G2 logo and the 3mm hands.

Optimus Prime was packed in the apparently blindboxed EZ Collection Gum wave in cases of six. However each toy is numbered: Optimus is 1, Rodimus is 2, Prowl is 3, Megatron is 4 and Starscream is 5. In both the case pictured at the link above and in the one I received there were two of the Optimus Prime figure and one each of the others.

Generations Legend Optimus Prime Variant

So back to the Dollar General Generations Legends... The toys had been in circulation, and largely ignored bar a small interest in the Bumblebee variation, when this post appeared on the 2005 boards on 23rd August 2012. Now Transformers has had it's fair share of variants over the years but this is the first time I can remember a toy being changed mid run. Both Optimus and Starscream, while keeping the same deco, now use the tooling used for Generations GDO Legion Motorbreath and Thundercracker. So the best deco of Optimus' Generation 1 form now gains 3mm C-Clip hands and a red version of the Menasor Sword. Generation 1 Optimus isn't known as a sword wielder so I've got him a black gun from my Cyberverse parts box. Meanwhile the sword has gone to Motormouth who's using it to do a Scourge impersonation while Optimus also holds Motormouth's black version.

Best version of the Legends Optimus toy out there so far. It'll only be topped if Hasbro redo it with a 3mm version of the Optimus Blaster.

Future Repaints

There's two obvious repaints of this toy which I'm surprised haven't been done yet: all in black as RID Scourge and in white as Ultra Magnus spring to mind. In fact add some joints at the knees and a trailer and you could be on as the centre of a Powermaster Optimus Prime or combined mode Ultra Magnus. For a more insane version how about the colours used for Combat Hero Optimus using the colours for the abandoned G2 repaint? 2 packed with a Universe Legends Wave 2 Tank Megatron repainted as the unreleased G2 Combat Hero repaint would make a great set!

Wouldn't surprise me to see the sword again serving as the sword that came with The Japanese version of the original Megatron when RTS Legends Megatron gets retooled. Or indeed in red/pink/purple (preferably clear) with an all black version of this toy as RID Scourge.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Dark Matter Calibur: AMW-01 Gabu, AMW-02 Baru & AMW-03 Dai

Dark Matter Calibur: AMW-01 Gabu, AMW-02 Baru & AMW-03 Dai

The Dark Matter Calibur is a Super Combo Weapon formed by combining the first three toys released in the Arms Micron Series: AMW-01 Gabu, AMW-02 Baru & AMW-03 Dai. These are the first new Arms Micron kits to be released independently of a larger toy.

The idea of combining weapons is central to the Arms Microns concept with any Micron being capable of combining with any other Micron using a system of 5mm pegs and sockets. These three Microns are the first to be released that are designed to form a specific combined weapon like the Star Sabre, Sky Boom Shield or Requiem Blaster from Armada. On top of that Arms Micron has a concept concerning matching colours of spark crystals on the toy and which shapes they are dictating which sort of combined weapon it is: A Super Combo Weapon requires one of each crystal shape (Trapezium, Hexagon & Circle) all in the same colour.

AMW-01 Gabu

Gabu is a pale grey........ thing. TF Wiki reckons he's a Horseshoe Crab, I think he looks more like a Stingray. Your mileage may vary. There's a Yellow Trapezium Decepticon Spark Crystal on top of the toy. Five 5mm plugs project up from the top of the toy, and one more from each side of the tail while there's a 5mm socket on the underside which would allow him to be mounted on a larger toy where he'd make a pretty good shield. This mode has no real articulation to it.

Transformation: My box of Arms Micron instructions went AWOL in the recent move round so I'm relying on the pictures of these three toys that you can find on Alfe's Toy Blog here. Fold the "wings" out so they are in a straight line at 90 degrees to the body. Fold the tail under the body. Fold the spark crystal under the body.

I *think* the weapons mode is meant to be a crossbow but the way the package shows it being held by the tail just look odd. Fortunately there's a 5mm peg, and an opposing socket on the other side of the toy, about half way along the toy which make for a much better holding position. The wings do look quite far back for the toy being a crossbow.

From here if you fold the spark crystal back onto the top of the body, then fold the tail back under the toy and then bring the blades together you get what looks like a pretty decent sword/spear mode. It's be even better if the toy's tail ended in a 5mm peg for you to hold it by!

There's a reason why Gabu works so good as a sword though: he forms the tip and half the blade length of the combined form of Dark Matter Calibur: From creature mode fold the "wings" right the way forward bringing them together to form a blade. Fold the tail in to form the side of the blade. As a hand weapon by itself it's useless for most Transformers because there's just 5mm holes on the bottom of it... but out old friend Armada Hoist loves having it mounted on the 5mm peg inside his left claw.

A couple of slightly iffy main modes let Gabu down, but there's fun to be had there and it's an essential part of the combined weapon.

AMW-02 Baru

Baru is a Falcon, cast in a darker shade of grey to Gabu. Unlike his companions his creature mode is articulated, with wings that fold back in two places and a bending neck & head. At the base of his tail is a yellow Hexagonal spark crystal. He's supported underneath by two moulded feet. He's got no visible 5mm Minicon sockets but there's a number of 5mm posts inside the wing structure which get in the way when posing the wings.

Transformation: fold the legs up out to the sides and into the body. Fold the neck back and the head forward, again folding them flush into the body. Fold the wings back behind the body flush against the rear of the toy.

Baru's weapon mode is a cleaver, a knife more commonly associated with oriental cookery but would also make an effective weapon. There's a 5mm peg at each corner, with one of the pegs being longer and an obvious handle for a larger figure to hold. Baru has no 5mm sockets in this mode either making him the first Minicon you cannot mount on a Minicon post!

Transformation to combined mode: none. The cleaver forms the lower section of the sword blade as it is.

Good robotic bird, decent blade weapon. Not a lot wrong with it apart from the pegs getting in the way of posing the bird wings.

AMW-03 Dai

Dai is a dark grey Crocodile/Alligator. There's some fab sculpting here with a pair of cannons moulded into each shoulder and a wonderful one eyed cycloptic face. The tail had the only meaningful articulation on the toy with two bending joints on it. On the top of the tail's is a round Yellow Circle Decepticon spark crystal. To either side of the spark is a 5mm peg while underneath it is a 5mm socket with a further two 5mm sockets being found under his nose. There's also a fold down 5mm handle under the body of the creature, used for it's weapon mode, which you can use to get a larger Transformer to hold the crocodile.

Transformation: Fold the head back so the top of the head lies along the creature's back. Fold both pairs of legs out to the sides and up over the head. Fold down the gun's handle.

Transformers fans like sword and other hand weapons. But what we really like on our toys is guns. BIG GUNS. And Dai turns into a pretty hefty Grenade launcher. The front of the weapon has four large launch tubes, two to each side, plus four smaller barrels on top. There's a 5mm peg to act a a handle at the front, two 5mm pegs at the side of and a 5mm hole under the spark crystal in the stock at the rear which should allow it to be mounted on most toys plus a pair of 5mm sockets either side of the body of the weapon for expanding it sideways. I'd like a 5mm hole at the front but the way the toy transforms seems to preclude that - but Arms Micron Capsule Megatron has no excuse still!

From gun mode you can transform Dai to form the hilt of the combined mode sword: fold the stock of the weapon/tail of the crocodile down 90 degrees. Fold each leg pair from the beast mode 90 degrees out to the sides.

Decent beast, decent weapon. The combined mode form is also nice for plugging other Microns into as a base for weapons. Win.

Dark Matter Calibur

To form the Dark Matter Calibur Super Combo Weapon, take slot the cleaver formed from Baru into the base of the sword tip formed from Gabu, with Baru's handle going into the recessed hole in Gabu and the other peg on Baru's base going into the hole on the bottom edge of Gabu. The two 5mm posts on what was the top edge of Baru then slot into the two holes on the top of Dai.

The very first combined Minicon weapon, the Starsaber, was a sword so it's kind of nice the first Arms Micron weapon designed to combine is also a sword. Unfortunately that name is already taken by another Super Combo Weapon: The Starsaber is formed from OP, B2 & RA but is only sort of a sword and more a mess....

For a Micron weapon to qualify as a Super Combo Weapon it must have three of the same colour spark crystal and all three crystal shapes must be represented. Each shape represents one of the three types of number on the Arms Micron Weapon tech specs:

Hexagon - Attack Points (AP)
Trapezoid - Hit Points (HP)
Circle - Speed Points (SP)

This somehow then is used in a game on the Takara Website.

Back to Dark Matter Calibur. I complained about the stability of the Armada Starsaber but this weapon, thank to using larger 5mm pegs and sockets to attach to each other, is as solid as anything. (HASBRO: Redo the Armada Starsaber with 5mm pegs and sockets). It's a bit of a big weapon for a deluxe figure so for most of the time my Generation 2 Combat Hero Megatron has been holding it.

Top combined mode. Solid and looks like what it should do.

And if that wasn't enough here's two fan made variants on a gun mode using the same pieces.

Possible Repaints

Well for a start a nice jet black version would nice..... as would a translucent black version similar to the Shadow Arms Microns. But other than that it's break out the clear plastic in every colour under the sun: There was a fab clear Blue CD version of the original Starsaber and a nice clear yellow version for Energon. There really should have been a clear red version and a clear purple version. After that.... Just clear, clear green, clear whatever. I have cash for you Takara Tomy and a multitude of Decepticons needing sword.

Email Philip

Phil's TF Review Page

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Arms Micron Jida

Arms Micron Jida

Jida is the Micron supplied with Terrorcon Cliffjumper, the evil version of Cliffjumper. It's a completely new toy, not a repaint of CL which came with the original Arms Micron Cliffjumper toy. It's "character mode", a beast like all the other Decepticons, is a big cat, cast in grey plastic. Decepticons & Big Cats automatically make me think Ravage and I can see a lot here in his beast mode to remind me o0f the earlier Decepticon including 5mm holes on the shoulders which should take the original Ravage's cannons. All 4 legs move at the hip, there's two joints in the neck and one at the base of the tail. Two more 5mm ports are found on the top of the toy and another two on the bottom of the rear legs. A fold up 5mm post is on the back of the neck plus the entire tail is one long 5mm post.

Jida's official weapons mode is formed by folding all four legs back, folding the tail under the body and then folding the head & neck down under the toy before flipping the handle out so it can be used as a serrated blade weapon.

But that's not the end of the story...

Firstly you can turn the blade weapon into a gun: fold the back legs down and fold the tail outs as a gun barrel. Now from here you can plug extra weapons into the end of the tail if the extra weapon has a hole for the tail to fit in. If you want to attach an extra weapon by a post then fold the tail down so there's a 5mm socket pointing out the back of the toy.

From beast mode fold the from legs back then the legs and sides of the body out to the sides. Fold the tail under the body. What you get is a shield that a robot can hold or be pegged to the chest of a Power Core combiner.

Finally from shield mode you can fold all the limbs, head and tail out to the sides to form a sort of "tiger skin rug" mode! Very silly but....

Like the cat mode. The weapons mode isn't as obvious as some of the others but there's lots of fun trying alternate versions and uses of it out.

AMW-06 Jida

AMW-06's packaging shows this red repaint of Jida being used by Knockout, also red. But I suspect the real reason it was repainted in this colour is to match the original version of Prime Cliffjumper which it does quite nicely.

Hellflame Jida

The Hellflame Arms Micron promotion produced four Arms Microns in clear red plastic: the others were Gul (from Starscream), Noji (from Vehicon) and Zamu (from Breakdown). Jida was given away with a purchase of 3000 yen's worth of Transformers at Joshin and Bic Camera stores.

Two problems with this toy: a) the clear red is very similar to the solid red of AMW Jida and b) really, when you think about it, Jida should have been part of the previous Shadow Micron series cast in translucent smoked black plastic.....


.... because, let's face it, the one version of this toy we really want is a black one as Ravage. The Shadow Micron series was a great opportunity to do it but I'll settle for a solid black version. Takara/Tomy: make it happen!

And while we're on the subject how about a yellow Cheetor version and a white Tigatron version?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Capsule Arms Micron Series 2: Megatron, Arcee, Bulkhead & Dado

Capsule Arms Micron Series 2: Megatron, Arcee, Bulkhead & Dado

The first series of Arms Micron Capsule toys (Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Zad & Gob) was a little lacklustre. How does series 2 do by comparison?


Mainly grey, with purple detailing, Megatron looks a lot like larger versions of Megatron in Transformers Prime. There's a smoked round faction crystal on his right arm while the left, and both hips, have 5mm sockets with a 5mm Minicon post, complete with hollow core, sticking out of his back. The shoulders & hips are ball jointed plus the shoulders also swing back and his knees also bend about 45 degrees. For a small toy that's a lot of articulation. It's worth noting that Megatron is the first Decepticon Arms Micron to have a robot mode: the rest, both pack in toys and the capsule wave 1 toys, have all been animals.

Transformation: straighten the legs and peg together at the ankles. Fold the feet up onto the front of the lower leg. Straighten the arms to it's sides and fold them up over the front of the chest.

It's somehow right that Megatron's should form a gun and indeed I already have at least two third party Targetmaster versions. His weapons mode is a grey dual barrelled gun, so very Targetmaster like in it's appearance. In fact two of him might make for good replacement shoulder cannons for Powermaster Optimus Prime: must try that later. He's got a 5mm socket on each side of the toy plus another on the top. Unfortunately, and I think this is a huge mistake, the insides of the gun barrels on the front of the gun mode are flat panels, not 5mm sockets, so you can't plug anything else like the Arcee sword or Arms Micron Baro into the front of it like you can with Arms Micron B2. HUGE FAIL. The only reason I can see for this is perhaps the knees wouldn't hold the weight of an extra weapon but in which case I'd gladly loose the knees for that feature.

Very good, superior to the capsule Prime gun. But just 2 5mm bore holes shy of absolute greatness


My first thought looking at Arcee was how fragile she looked with long thin legs and how odd her bent oval arms looked. Ball joints at hips & shoulder are the limits of the articulation with a 5mm peg hole in her chest, a 5mm post on her back and a hexagonal pink Autobot crystal on her bottom. Like her larger form she's blue, though if one toy in this set was going to have a colour variant maybe it should have been her to make her pink like the 1986 movie and most previous toy versions of her.

Transformation: Fold the sides of the legs down under the feet and peg together to form the sword blade. Fold her head forward onto her chest folding the handle up to where the head was. Fold each arm up alongside the handle to stabilise the weapon.

Arcee's weapons mode is a sword, very slight and thin. It does what it's meant to but isn't anything special.


Bulkhead's robot mode is full of character: dark olive green, squat with a massive body and small head, arms & legs. The limbs are attacked by ball joints with his faction spark crystal forming the front of his waist and 5mm sockets on either side of the leg and under the arms.

Transformation: Fold both arms down to the sides. Fold Bulkhead's back up so it's level & forming a flat surface with the top of the body. Fold the waist back and up 180 degrees, putting the heels into the recesses on the back of the toy. Fold one arm so it points back, then up onto the top of the toy so the shoulder covers the head and the peg on the wrist fits into the hole on the back of the toy.

So what's Bulkhead's weapons mode? A fist. A giant fist. As Transformers go it's one of the more insane alternate modes. He attached to larger toys either by being attached to a peg hole on the side of their wrist or their 5mm peg hole hand holding the 5mm bar that runs under the hand. The thumb, formed from one of the arms, is posable and the fingers bend round to form a 5mm bore that can be used to hold extra Arms Microns or any other weapon with a 5mm post.

The big question when we first saw this toy, forming a right hand, was can it form either fist. And the answer is YES! That then naturally puts it into the "I need two of these" Minicon category just so you can have one on each hand of the transformer in question that's wielding it. So naturally there was just one in the box of 10 of these I ordered from HLJ (far too many Megatrons)

He's not quite perfect: the arm folded over the head doesn't completely cover it up and there's no way to fold both robot arms/hand thumbs over the head and lock them in place on the back of the toy at the same time, though the robot arm shoulders do have an opposing tab & pain to lock them together. And, purely because I wanted to mount Bulkhead on my old Armada Hoist, he could have done with a 5mm socket between the 5mm hand held bars to allow him to lock onto a projecting Minicon post. (I cobbled a fix together using a Zoids Blox piece)

But having said that Bulkhead is one of the most insanely awesome Transformers I've seen in a long time.


The previous box of Arms Micron Capsule toys had two Decepticon animal toys, each available in two colour variants. There's just one here but its has two colour variants, each the inverse of the other.

Dado is a Turtle, either with a grey shell & orange feet or an orange shell with grey feet. There's an old style Minicon post behind his head, inaccessible in this mode due to the shell, a pair of 5mm sockets towards the rear of the shell and 5mm posts sticking out to each side. Under the toy you find a 5mm socket under the head, a recessed 5mm Minicon peg under the middle of the toy and another 5mm socket towards the rear. The find move to the sides and the head bends down but that's the limit of the articulation.

The peg holes on the back of the toy are very interesting: they have exactly the same width between them as the holes & pegs found on Gob, the cobra Micron in Arms Micron Capsule wave 1. If you lock Gob onto these sockets and Zad onto the post on the slightly bent down head, they form a combined mode that's either a sword or an animal... but it's not clear which!

Transformation: Fold the head under the toy. Fold the front flippers forwards and the rear flippers back.

Dado becomes a shield, with his yellow hexagonal Decepticon spark crystal mounted in the middle. Perhaps not the most spectacular weapons mode but a useful piece of extra kit for the right Transformer.

So what was in my box of 10 Arms Micron Capsule series ?

1 x Bulkhead (orange capsule)
2 x Arcee (pink capsule)
3 x Megatron (purple Capsule)
3 x Dado (grey shell & orange feet) (yellow capsule)
1 x Dado (orange shell & grey feet) (purple capsule)

I was a bit dismayed when I saw all those purple capsules thinking I had four of the same toy but fortunately two toys share near identically coloured capsules. However there are 5 toys (counting the Dado variants as different toys) in this case: why not pack them at 2 per case for every case?

Friday, 17 August 2012

Arms Micron Balo

Phil's Arms Micron Balo Review

The first thing that occurred to me when I saw Balo's Character mode, like all the Decepticons an animal, was "It's a four legged spider!" It was only later that I saw the little tinsy tiny head with horns on and discovered that he's meant to be a bull/buffalo. Arms Micron has taken a different approach to Animal Minicons that Classics did: Classics went for realistic animal modes whereas Arms Micron has used the mechanical style more familiar to fans of Generation 1 Transformers. Meaningful articulation is minimal: the head & tail both raise. While all 4 legs are jointed twice at the hips none of them are useful in posing the toy as an animal. On the right side of his body is a clear brown hexagonal crystal under which his Decepticon symbol would go. He comes as an unassembled sheet of parts: 12 of which are grey (4 legs, 4 hips, tail, body, head and horns) plus the clear crystal. Be careful when assembling him: both his head and tail need to go on a specific way round. I got the head the wrong way up and had to pull it off to assemble it properly and as a result the neck clip on mine is stressed.

Transformation (official weapons mode): fold the tail forward onto the body. Fold the horns forward. Fold legs and hip up so the stretch straight out to the sides.

Balo's official weapons mode is sort of a Shuriken and sort of a shield. As well as a 5mm handle on the back there's a traditional 5mm Minicon peg with a bore down the middle of it so you can attach other Minicons onto the front of it. And really it does absolutely nothing for me. Sorry. Fortunately Balo has a second weapons mode.

Transformation (unofficial weapons mode): From official weapons mode fold the legs inwards so they come together covering up the Minicon peg.

Yup it's not in the instructions but the moulding on the outside of the legs makes it pretty clear that Balo aught to be used as a drill. He's a similar size and shape to Throttler, Power Core Combiners Sledge's Minicon. Where Throttler has a minicon socket on his rear, Balo has a 5mm plug in the middle for him to be held by, and if that doesn't suit the robot you want to use him with then you can always fold the tail out as a handle under the weapon.

Balo's a good Micron to be using as the end point in a combined weapon and it's almost like he and Megatron's Minicon Gora and combining them together is a match made in heaven. Another decent match is Balo, opened up in shield mode with Throttler mounted on him and Balo's legs closed round him.

Balo was originally Sold with Arms Micron toy AM-06 Skywarp and bears the M-06 marking on his frame.

Shadow Micron Balo

The first repaint version of Balo was moulded in clear dark plastic. This toy was a give-away at ToysRUs Japan if you spent 3000yen on Transformers Prime toys. There were 3 other translucent Shadow Arms Micron repaints that day: C.L., R.A. & Gora.

You know what Balo's creature mode looks like moulded in these colours? It's the Transformers version of The Shadows from Babylon 5!

AMW-05 Balo

In July 2012 Balo was released individually in the Arms Mciron series recoloured in a sandy brown.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Arms Micron CL

Phil's Arms Micron CL Review

Arms Micron CL

CL is the Micron supplied with the Japanese Takara/Tomy version of Cliffjumper. Like all the Autobot Microns his character mode is a robot with joints at the knees, hips & shoulders. He's got 9 pieces on his red frame: the body & backpack with two arms, two upper legs and two lower legs plus the hexagonal clear orange panel that goes on his back hidden under his backpack. The limited number of pieces means this is probably a good Arms Micron to build first.... The frame is labelled M-03 which matches Cliffjumper's numbering as AM-03. He comes with a sticker sheet which I've not bothered to apply because my stickering ability is very poor now.

The chest of CL has a 5mm peg sticking out of it with a bore hole down the middle meaning it can be used as a traditional Minicon peg: most of the 5mm pegs on these toys are solid posts. He's got 5mm holes on each shin and, worryingly, a 5mm bore right the way through his crotch. Maybe I should be calling it "she" instead of "he".... Yes I have just posed it in an incredibly rude position with a Minicon with a 5mm post for a head. No, I'm not telling you which one.

Transformation: Fold the backpack up over his head. Straighten the arms and legs. Fold the hips back one click from straight. Fold the lower legs back over the top of the upper legs and hands.

CL now forms a tri barrelled launcher in weapons mode, similar to the wrist mounted Tri Cannons on Cliffjumper's box art but in hand held Targetmaster like form. The three barrels are the same size & length and it's almost a shame that the panel on them doesn't turn. Each barrel ends in a 5mm peg hole giving you the opportunity to combine extra Minicons with him. One tiny criticism here: I'd have space the barrels just slightly wider and less sloped so the space between them formed a fourth 5mm mounting point at the centre.... It's not my OCD, honest, I just think Balo would look better mounted between the tubes in drill mode. There's a further two 5mm ports on top of the back of the toy and another underneath, just behind the handle.

I love the weapons mode which works great as a hand held or shoulder mounted cannon. Robot is decent enough for the size. It's only real problem is it comes with Cliffjumper and that means it costs a fair bit to import.

Shadow Micron Ciel

The first repaint version of CL was moulded in clear dark plastic. This toy was a give-away at ToysRUs Japan if you spent 3000yen on Transformers Prime toys. There were 3 other translucent Shadow Arms Micron repaints that day: R.A., Gora & Balo.

AMW04 Ciel 2

Fortunately four months after his initial release with Cliffjumper, Ciel (the spelling of the kit's name varies depending where you look) got an individual re-release as part of the Arms Micron Weapons series. The frame for the toy was released in a little plastic bag by itself bringing home the resemblance to the old Zoids Customise Parts series. Ciel is here recoloured in dark green and even though his box shows him now pared with Bulkhead I think that the choice of colour together with the shape of the weapon make me think that this a homage to the weapon that Rhinox used during Beast Wars.

Possible Repaints

I'd like to have all the gun and weapons Microns re-released in grey/black, more neutral colours that could be used with a wider range of toys. I'd love to have two of these in a suitable colour to use as shoulder cannons for Powermaster Optimus Prime.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Transformers Prime Cyberverse Wheeljack & Starhammer

I think it's fair to say that the Dark of the Moon Cyberverse Action Sets were something of a mixed bag both in terms of toy quality & distribution. Here in the UK we only got the first wave. But Hasbro likes the idea of larger Cyberverse items for the figures to interact with so here we go again.

The Cyberverse vehicles were offered in the Argos catalogue in the UK for £19.99. The catalogue came out the end off January and stock was first available in store nearly four months later on May 14th! And that's the first anyone in the world saw them at retail! In way of apology Argos reduced the price on all it's Transformers toys by 25%-33% the following day bringing this down to a very reasonable £13.32, cheaper than the RRP for the action sets. Seeing as the Action Set boxes were about half the size you're getting a very reasonable deal. They've been sighted in UK TRUs as well and the case assortment is 2 x Wheeljack with Starhammer and 1 x Knockout with Energon Drill which says that there's a better chance of walking into Argos and getting passed a Wheeljack than a Knockout. I can testify to this: I've visited three Argos so far, they all had one toy and they were all Wheeljacks. Slightly worryingly when I went to several well known US Etailers to check the case assortment I was unable to find the Cyberverse vehicles listed.....

Inside the box comes the Legion sized Wheeljack figure, his two swords and two missiles. The Wheeljack looks decent enough, albeit with a much larger painted window on his chest than the larger deluxe toy. He's got ball jointed shoulders & knees, bending hips and ankles that bend as part of the transformation. Two types of plastic are used: white for most of the toy and dark grey for the upper legs, shoulders, wheels & waist/backbone piece. On his back are two 3mm peg holes which allow you to plug his swords into for storage - tip them the right way and the handles sticking over the shoulders look like the wings on the original Wheeljack toy. In fact this Wheeljack wouldn't look out of place alongside your Legends & EZ-Collection figures as a stand in Generation One Wheeljack.

The swords themselves are moulded in clear aquamarine coloured plastic, also found on the Starhammer vehicle, curved with a 3mm peg handle which Wheeljack can hold in each hand, yes Prime Cyberverse Legions have 3mm peg grips on both hands, unlike the Dark of the Moon Legions which only had one. There's two smaller pegs on the swords handles: one pointing outwards towards the cutting edge of the blade and the other pointing to the side. The swords are unique with the side handles pointing in opposite directions. If you get two identical swords then the toy's been packed wrong!

Transformation: Remove the swords. Fold the feet back under the lower legs. Pull the shoulders down. Fold the back panel up over the head. Peg the feet together and fold the waist back under the body putting the top of the lower legs along the underside of the chest. Fold the arms back to form the sides of the car.

Pretty decent car mode, screaming Wheeljack at you. The back peg holes are now on top of the car allowing you to mount the swords or any other Cyberverse weapons. The twin guns that come with Optimus Prime make decent dual cannons for him.

Onto the Starhammer.

Compare to the previous Action sets this is a hefty piece of kit, getting near to the sort of size of the Ark set. We have a central core body connected to an upright wing on each side, a little like a TIE Fighter in Star Wars. There's a 3mm Cyberverse post hole and a 5mm Mechtech size post hole towards the front of each wing plus a 3mm Cyberverse post on the outer edge & top of the missile launchers found to the rear of each wing.

The main core of the ship has a seat for a figure on the top of the vehicle. In front of that is the default position for the electronic light up weapon on the toy, which I'll come to in a moment. This is set in a 3mm wide slot which allows it to move backwards & forwards, setting into a large aquamarine cannon mounted on top of the cockpit hatch. This weapon is also mounted using a 3mm peg and can be removed to use as a hand weapon for a Cyberverse figure. There's a further 3mm Cyberverse peg port on the front of the toy. The Cockpit hatch, with a clear aquamarine oval window in the front, opens to allow you to sit a Cyberverse figure in it. Wheeljack is a perfect fit as you'd expect (but modern Hasbro Star Wars Pilots have sometimes been a bit dodgy at fitting in their own vehicles!) I've been experimenting with the Wave 1 Prime Legions and Bumblebee, Ratchet & Vehicon all fit fine and Arcee needs her backpack manoeuvring but Cliffjumper's hips don't allow his legs to bend enough to fit. Mounted in the underside of the ship are 3 red wheels that allow the vehicle to role along on a flat surface.

One of the main features of the vehicle toys is that they have a light up weapon aboard, termed an Energon Charger in the instructions. The one on this toy is moulded in clear aquamarine plastic and is attached to the main body of the toy by wires sealed in clear plastic that descend into toy through a hatch that can be raised to reveal a compartment for some weapons storage. Sadly the swords don't fit inside. The Energon Charger is activated by a button with an Autobot symbol on it causing the Energon Charger to glow with a green LED within. Why green? Apparently Blue LEDs cost more to produce - I can remember years ago owning a Star Wars POTF2 Obi Wan Kenobi toy with a green light up light sabre which was just wrong. So why didn't they use a clear LED? I've got freebie key rings with clear LEDs in (I use them to test lightpipes). A clear LED would make the Energon Charger glow the colour it's moulded in and any attached toy glow that colour instead of the green they'll glow if you use this weapon. Because yes, you can attack this to other clear toys to light them up. The front of the Energon Charger is a 5mm hollow tube with a 3mm bore down the middle. This allows you to plug Cyberverse weapons in, but with varying results depending on the weapon & colour. The tube also fits the odd ports on Cyberverse Optimus' back and also Minicon ports allowing you to light up the Powercore Minicons. The Energon Charger has 3mm handles on the top & bottom, plus two more 5mm hollow tubes on either side allowing it to be held as a weapon by either Cyberverse or larger figures or mounted on the Starhammer vehicle.

The Starhammer vehicle itself transforms: slide the seat on the top of the toy backwards. This pushes the base of the wings out to the sides, slanting them, and moving the missile launchers forward. Handle bars then fold back from the top of the missile launchers.

The resulting battle station mode is wide that the vehicle, with the bottom edge of the wings now being revealed to have the Cyberverse base connectors on them which have risen up to about the right level for them to be attached to other toys. There's an expanded deck section between the body and each of the wings allowing a figure to stand and hold on to the handlebars at the back of the cannons. They're mounted at the right height for Commander Optimus Prime to use but smaller toys, such as Legion Bumblebee can also use it is they're standing on some of the mechanism that moves the missile launchers forward. The missile launchers, moulded in a darker grey to the rest of the toy each take a clear yellow missile which is fired using a trigger on the top. The rear of each launcher has a slot which fits round the Energon Charger allowing it light the missile up.

The vehicle is made up of several different grades of grey plastic:

The cockpit hatch, wings & seat are made from the lightest grey plastic
A slightly darker grey makes up the majority of the vehicle body
An even darker grey forms the extending panels out the side of the body and the storage hatch
The darkest grey forms the missile launchers.

All the mechanical pieces that move the wings & weapons around plus the handlebars, missile triggers and wheels are an orangey red plastic while the ends of the missile launchers, main weapon, light up weapon & cockpit canopy windows.

That should give you an idea of what bits you could colour differently if Hasbro ever produce a new version of the toy.

Don't buy this toy expecting a collectors product: this is a good fun toy with play features and compatibility with other toys. It's fun. A fab toy to play with.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Beast Wars 10th Anniversary, Cybertron & United Optimus Primal

Beast Wars 10th Anniversary Optimus Primal

So why did Phil not buy this toy, and the Beast Wars 10th Anniversary Megatron, when they first came out? Well partially because the original Beast Wars Ultra Toys were so good, partially because I'd recently bought the superb Robotmasters versions but mostly because I just didn't like them, Optimus Primal especially.

The Ape isn't that bad but there's far too much grey here whereas the original Primal beast mode is all black..... and a pure beast, this one has robotic parts everywhere including the robot's chest stuck behind it head! It's almost a Transmetal 2 style Optimus Primal mixing up both organic & robot parts. No my biggest problem with the toy is the Ape's accessory: a huge flying surfboard thing for it to ride on (the board has 5mm pegs, there's 5mm peg holes in his feet) OPTIMUS PRIMAL DOES NOT RIDE A JET PROPELLED SURF BOARD THING! Transmetal Optimus Primal does but this isn't Transmetal Optimus Primal, this is the original version and he doesn't. There's a lot of plastic in that weapon and that affects the size of the rest of the toy bringing it down to a deluxe figure when Megatron's beast mode is getting on towards the older Mega sized toys.

This is what colours of plastic have been used to make up his beast mode:

Black: hands, outer forearms, face, back, crotch, outer upper legs, lower leg, foot.

Grey: hand guards, inner forearms, outer upper arms, chest, back of the head.

White: inner upper limbs, shoulder & hip ball joints and much of the internal construction.

Red: toes, plus joints on surf board.

Silver: surf board.

There's no grey on the original toy. Loose that for black and it would look much better straight out the box. The red toes are *slightly* odd too, I'd make them black as well. I also think the cream on the chest & the face somehow doesn't quite work. Checking the original Ultra Ape both are grey paint applications over black plastic. I refer you to my thoughts above....

Articulation isn't bad: ball joints at shoulders. elbows, wrists, hips & knees with bending ankles & toes and an independently ball jointed big toe. The angle of the struts with the hip's ball joints on is a little odd, diagonally down instead of out to the sides, and means that sometime the limb moves oddly when you turn it at this joint.

TRANSFORMATION: Pull the face and the chest forward, fold the face back onto the back of the chest. Split the crotch down the centre & fold to the sides. Fold the top of the back down. Fold the back of the head/robot chest back, causing the beast arms to spring together at the shoulders and the beast legs to separate at the hips. Bring the beast arms together to form the robot legs, folding out the hand guards to become the front of the feet. Stand. Fold the beast's chest onto the robot's bottom (yes I do see what the beast head is now kissing!) Fold the beast legs to the sides of the body to become the robot's arms. Open the flap on the robot's chest. Fold the beast's back backwards between the shoulder blades to form the robot's back, fold the beast's crotch halves over the sides of the robot. Fold the chest forward over the robot's head & close the flap. Fold the big toes inwards to form the robot's thumbs.

The Robot mode is basically a decent Primal likeness. The most obviously wrong bits are the feet, big square flaps completely unlike the slender white feet linked to the legs by a sliding red bar that you get on the original. The head, moulded in grey plastic, opts for cartoon accuracy and depicts Primal with a mouth. There's a lot of the grey plastic visible, it could have done with some blue paint round the back too. But it isn't the worst Primal head ever by a long way. The arms exhibit one of my pet peeves for transformers: if the arms bend then the top of the moulded hand points out to the side. But Primal doesn't hole his weapons in his fingers like most Transformers do, if you want him to use a weapon then he had a 5mm peg hole in each palm. With the arm bent t the elbow the peg hole faces up so he's holding the weapon the right way up even if it's not held in his hand. Beast leg articulation becomes robot arm articulation and vice verse, but we also get a ball jointed neck added into the mix. The same comment I made about the odd angle of the beast's hips also applies here. Sadly he lacks the fold out shoulder pads of the original Ultra Optimus Primal which alters the look and the shape of the toy quite a bit.

Primal lacks the swords, missile launchers and skull headed morning star of the original. Instead the surf board transforms - via a Jungle Cyber planet key - into a huge missile launcher which is so big he can't hold it properly especially as the posts for the beast to stand on are awkwardly placed for the robot to hold.

Both Primal and Megatron lack the DVDs & combining robot parts that came with the six other toys in the Beast Wars 10th Anniversary toy. Instead they're packaged with miniature spaceships, Optimus Prime coming with a small version of the Axalon, the Maximal spaceship.

Now I have it in my hands Primal isn't a bad figure. There's little there that's really wrong that changing the colour of some of the plastic and loosing the oversized accessory wouldn't cure. It's better than the other swap arms for legs Primal, the Beast Machines deluse and is easily the best of the three Beast Wars remakes (this, and Universe Cheetor and Dinobot) that I've reviewed so far.

Optimus Primal was sold in the USA in 2006. It was not sold in the UK or Japan, but an almost identical version, minus the spaceship was released in Japan in 2012 as Transformers United UN-31 Optimus Primal, not Beast Convoy as the Japanese version of the toy was originally known. The only obvious difference between the 10th Anniversary and United toys is the presence of a small Maximal sticker on the inside of the back plate.

Cybertron Jungle Planet Optimus Prime

The presence of the Cyber Planet keys on both the Optimus Primal & Megatron 10th anniversary toys shows that they were developed with an eye on the Cybertron toy range. Sure enough each toy shows up in that toy line as a repainted version.

Here's the colour swaps made to Optimus Primal:

Black (hands, outer forearms, face, crotch, lower leg, foot) stay black

Black (back, outer upper legs) becomes brown

Grey becomes brown

White becomes creamy yellow

Red becomes creamy yellow

Silver becomes black.

A good comparison between the two versions of the toy can be found in this blog entry.

I'm not sure they went quite far enough here, I'd have made all the black parts brown. The remaining ones stick out like a sore thumb and makes me wonder if there wasn't some sort of miscommunication between Hasbro & the factory here as we speculate may have happened with other toys.