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.

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