I was proper excited about the second edition of Takara's Transformers Chronicle EZ Collection. The first had given us a Megatron without a nasty orange tip and a surprise Thundercracker repaint of RTS Legends Starscream, both of which are now doing seriously silly money on eBay. So when Collection 2 was announced with a black & white image that showed multiples of a couple of toy moulds we knew we'd be in for a treat. Then the colour images showed up and any remaining preorders went in seconds. Then BBTS realised they'd mispriced their pre orders and relisted them at the "proper" price. Then when the sets actually came out HLJ sold out before they'd managed to fulfil all their preorders which left some of us scrambling around for a set.
Anyhow they're in hand now. My Mastercase of 24 contained two cases of 12 stacked on top of each other. Each case is black, with grey Generation 2 Autobot & Decepticion symbols on them. My son Jonathan (aged 5) took one look at them and said "Transformers!"
Here's how the 2 cases are laid out:
Optimus Prime is a repaint of RTS Legends Optimus Prime, who had already been released in Japan as part of Transformers Chronicle EZ Collection Series 1. I was a bit surprised to see another Optimus Prime in this set, 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, giving him black legs, get a nearly black painted head, a slightly brighter shade of red and a small G2 Autobot symbol on his left shoulder.
Not hugely different then. Didn't set my world on fire.
RTS Legends Prowl was the one "new" RTS Mould not used in Transformers Chronicle EZ Collection Series 1, I presume because Jazz was included and, as I intimate in the review they share, both toys are very similar. Jazz, being a more popular character in Japan, won it and Prowl turns up here.
Save for swapping the rubsign for a painted Autobot logo RTS Prowl & EZ-Collection Prowl are identical.
It was a bit of a surprise when the use of the RTS Legends Starscream mould in Transformers Chronicle EZ Collection Series 1 turned out to be Thundercracker and not Starscream himself. Not that we're objecting, for western fans Thundercracker was the star of the show in the previous case. Starscream does turn up here and at first glance he's all but identical to the RTS Legends Starscream I already have. Yes the rubsign is gone, replaced by purple Decepticon symbols on each wing with the bottom pointing forward: the correct way round if you ask me because it means they're the right way up in robot mode. But a close look at the toy shows that the whole head is now painted black: on the RTS version and EZ Collection Thudercracker the sides were left the colour of the majority of the rest of the toy. This means the head's location sticks out somewhat in jet mode.
Another which is too similar to the original toy for me to get excited about this time out.
Universe Legends Hound was one of the first new mould Legends created for the Universe series but was never released in Japan at the time. His case mate Jazz was in Transformers Chronicle EZ Collection Series 1 and he turns up here. Looking at a picture you'd dismiss Hound out of hand but put him side by side with his predecessor and actually both colours have plastic have changed. Previously he used a mid green for the robot head, body & lower legs, all of which form the Jeep mode's body, and a darker green for the robot arms, upper legs, feet & wheel. EZ Collection Hound's vehicle body parts become a much darker green while the previously dark green part become a dark grey, almost black.
Big improvement, and makes the original western version look plasticy by comparison.
All of the Generation 1 mould in the last two waves of Universe Legends were reused in the two Henkei Minibot sets released in 2009. Bumblebee was repainted as Cliffjumper (Cliff) in the C-18 Minibot Attack Team with Beachcomber & Brawn (Gong) while Warpath, Wheelie & Cosmos (Adams) were released as the C-19 Minibot Spy Team. The one G1 mould not used in Japan from these two waves was Rodimus. He was reused twice in the west, as the Target Dark of the Moon Smokescreen and Wal*Mart Dark of the Moon Rodimus. The colouring on this version is vastly different with the red plastic becoming a more cherry red, the orangey yellow flames becoming a brighter yellow and the black & gold paint applications becoming a much more uniform orange.
Much better than the original, well worth your money.
The second use of the RTS Legends Starscream mould in this case the inevitable Skywarp repaint. Swap Starscream's grey for black, blue paint plus the red wing edging for purple & make the previously red chest & faction symbols silver.
Job done. You can't go wrong with a black repaint and this one's a classic. A quick glimpse at eBay shows he's currently doing EZ-Collection 1 Megatron & Thundercracker prices!
The Prowl mould has two repaints: Bluestreak and Smokescreen and it was kind of inevitable one of them would get used as a repaint for the RTS Legends Prowl mould. Bluestreak won. Because he's Japanese he uses the Streak name and thus avoids all the Bluestreak/Silverstreak naming problems.
From the Prowl colours black - be it plastic or painted - remains the same. White becomes a silvery grey *except* on the upper legs where it's now painted cherry red as are the horns on the head. Gone is the lightbar, but there's a square of grey plastic now occupying where it once sat.
He's slightly darker than what you might expect for Bluestreak but still a very good representation of the character.
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. Not so, what we got is a purple toy, closer to Combat Hero Megatron/Archforce. The camouflage print from Universe Legends Megatron is preserved, 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.
Top Set. Prime, Prowl & Starscream didn't do much for me but Prime's slightly different enough to make you want it. Hound is surprisingly better, Rodimus more obviously so. The three new coloured versions are superb. Well worth getting a set, especially if you can source one for around the £40 including shipping I paid for mine.