Thursday, 30 May 2013

Legends Rodimus

Universe Legends Rodimus

Not Hot Rod nor Rodimus Prime, just Rodimus.

He’s the odd bot out in this wave – he’s not a Minibot (The other classic characters in Wave 4 & 5 of Universe Legends had all been minibots: Bumblebee, Beachcomber & Brawn and Cosmos, Warpath and Wheelie) and there’s already a larger version of him in Classics Rodimus. Back in 2009 when he was first released I couldn’t really see the point in doing him. Some moulding money may have been saved by doing a repaint of the previous wave's Bumblebee to make Cliffjumper, Hubcap & Goldbug or even Brawn as Outback.

I suppose there may be some sort of in joke going on – for years Western fans coveted the Japanese Micromaster Hot Rodimus, now we take revenge with a Legends figure that won’t be released there – all of the Generation 1 moulds 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.

Rodimus’ robot mode looks like the G1 (and Classics) versions of the character – mainly red with a yellowy orange firebird on the chest. His wheels, inner shoulders, upper legs and feet are a combination of moulded and painted black. Gone are the dual points of his yellow spoiler pointing up his shoulders.

TF: Very similar to Wheelie in the same case: fold the chest up so it meets the windscreen on the back. Pull legs & feet together and then forward so they meet the rear of the windscreen. Bring the arms forward & in so they meet to form the sides of the car. Fold the spoiler back.

Rodimus’ vehicle mode is a little different to what we’ve come to expect – it’s a more current car design, almost Porsche/Jazz like but painted in the Rodimus colours complete with firebird on the bonnet and fire trails up the doors. There’s a mild gold wash to the top of the spoiler – I’ve only just noticed it and I’ve had the toy a day – but it could do with being much more opaque and covering all the spoiler. The windows are painted using a purpley black colour very similar to the shade used on Classics Rodimus.

Interesting update, similar to Wheelie's, giving Rodimus a more current rather than futuristic vehicle mode.

Revenge of the Fallen Legends Smokescreen

Revenge of the Fallen Legends Smokescreen is a repaint of Universe Legends Rodimus

Smokescreen is perhaps not the most obvious choice of character to use as a Hot Rod/Rodimus repaint. But then again the base mould isn't a usual Hot Rod, more of a modern, as opposed to futuristic, interpretation on the character. The most obvious connection between the Rodimus & Smokescreen is that they both have a spoiler. The original Smokescreen is a repainted and adapted version of the mould that Bluestreak and Prowl use.

I associate Smokescreen with being blue with a red stripe, but the Legends version swaps Rodimus' orange/red for a bright red, keeps the black plastic and then paints the sides of the car blue, the windows black, the headlights yellow and adds Autobot & number 38 details. The end result looks a lot like the original Smokescreen car, which is what we're after here. My only real complaint is the lack of a 38 on the bonnet.

Robot mode is less like Smokescreen. We lack any white or painted black for a start, and while both toys have the bonnet for a chest, original Smokescreen has his bonnet pointing out while the Rodimus mould has it flat against the chest. The front of the legs are painted blue - the original was red so I'd have saved my paint here. The forearms are blue while the shoulders & hands are red - I'd have reversed that too. Since none of these details is visible in vehicle mode there's no reason why they couldn't have been changed to produce a better looking toy in robot mode.

I've seen much worse Smokescreen homages. The vehicle is very good and although much is forgiveable at legends size a lot of the things that trouble me with the robot mode could easily have been fixed. So he makes an adequate Universe Legends Smokescreen, rather than a top notch one.

Smokescreen was sold in the USA in a Target Exclusive 2-pack with NEST Legends Starscream, a repaint of the original 2007 Movie Legend Starscream.

Dark of the Moon Rodimus

Rodimus returned in 2011 as a bonus item in a VS pack during Dark of the Moon. Released at Wal*Mart as an early promotional item for the film it contains the Revenge of the Fallen Legends Bumblebee, repainted in gold, and Soundwave, repainted in his G1 blue. Rodimus, meanwhile, swaps his red for bright orange and black for brown with the spoiler being painted silver, yellow windows and a flame outline on the sides & the bonnet.

Um yes. It's great to see the Rodimus mould back in circulation but the colours are a little bright and gaudy. But while looking at the toy it pushed a button in the back of my mind and I realised I'd seen a similar colour mix before: he's using Wheelie's colours! Are we in fact holding Wheelimus Prime in our hands? It would also have been nice if Rodimus could have been retooled to hold Cyberverse weapons. However none of the toys in this set can, despite there being a retooled version of the Movie Bumblebee Legends mould out there.

This set has belatedly been released in ASDA in the UK. A steal at £11.

EZ Collection Rodimus

Finally in May 2012 The Rodimus Legend figure reached Japan!

Pre-release I wrote: A Japanese version of Legends Rodimus has been shown in promotional images for Transformers Chronicles EZ Collection Volume 02. The images are monochrome but I'd hope to see something similar to the Universe Legend with a yellow painted spoiler.

The colouring on this version is vastly different to the original Legend with the red plastic becoming a more cherry red, the orangey yellow flames becoming a brighter yellow, the gold tail becoming orange, as does the black paint on the upper legs & feet, and the purpley black windows becoming pale blue.

Much, much better than the original, well worth your money.

EZ Collection Gum Rodimus

The EZ-Collection Gum wave re-releases 5 Legends previously available in EZ-Collection Wave 2: Optimus, Megatron, Starscream, Prowl & Rodimus. Where the moulds have been modified for a Transformers Generations release these modifications are present on a Japanese release for the first time so Optimus, Starscream & Prowl all get 3mm hands and peg holes but are missing the weapons released with their recoloured American versions. All 5 toys have their deco tweaked slightly to give them a metallic finish.

Gum Rodimus is very similar to the EZ-Collection Rodimus above with the cherry red becoming metallic and the orange becoming bronzey.

Top repaint, different enough to make it worth getting even if you have the previous EZ-Collection version and far superior to the western Rodimus Legend.

Future Repaints

For a start Rodimus really needs a Generations Legends style remould with 3mm c-clip hands and a hole on the bonnet for mounting the gun. I'd like to see a Western release in the EZ-Collection colours except I'd have the the spoiler painted bright yellow.

But for other repaints.... well this mould could be really milked by Hasbro if they chose to. The 2001 reissue of original Hot Rod has Clear and Black repaints so there's a good start. Classics Rodimus has been repainted in black as Shattered Glass Rodimus, in clear blue as E-Hobby Matrix of Leadership Hot Rod and in dark blue as Sideburn, based on a Hot Rod like repaint of RID Sideburn...... which got me thinking: what other toys have been repainted as Hot Rod which you could then repaint this Hot Rod as? In yellow as Armada Hotshot or metallic Blue as Cybertron Hotshot immediately sprang to mind. Meanwhile Animated Rodimus Minor has been repainted in white as Breakdown and black & red as Sideswipe (and that takes us off down a whole other stream of repaints) while Energon Rodimus gets a Police Repaint as Checkpoint and an "interesting" repaint as Thunderclash while Alternators Rodimus gets a blue with white racing stripes as Mirage. There you go: 11 potential versions right there!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Transformers Go EZ Collection Optimus Prime

See Legends Optimus Prime for previous versions of this mould.

Transformers Go EZ-Collection Optimus Prime

Like the TF GO EZ Collection Prowl & Starscream the Optimus Prime in the same line also features the modified sculpt introduced for the Transformers Generations Legends but lacks any weapon. The red plastic used here is slightly duller than usual, a more cherry red, while the blue is much brighter with a metallic sheen giving the toy a striking appearance visibly different from the other Optimus Primes.

Legends Prowl

Reveal The Shield Legends Prowl

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

TF: fold up the chest piece to become the bonnet. Fold the feet in, bring the legs together and fold the lower legs up over the upper legs to become the back of the car. Fold the arms into place as the doors and the rear wheels.

Prowl was absent from Reveal The Shield (RTS from here in) Legends Wave 1 which contained Megatron, Starscream and Gold Bumblebee where all were two per case. Thanks to Hasbro UK we never saw that case in Great Britain! However those 4 toys reshipped in Wave 2, the box that actually did reach the UK, at one per case alongside Prowl and Trailcutter which were two per case. Needless to say Asda had a lot of Trailcutters and Prowls leftover for a while!

EZ-Collection Prowl

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.

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), Generation 2 Combat Hero Tank Megatron/Archforce (a purple repaint of Tank Megatron from Universe Legends Wave 2), Skywarp (a repaint of RTS Legends Wave 1 Starscream) and Skywarp (Bluestreak/Silverstreak, a repaint of Prowl from RTS Legends Wave 2).

EZ-Collection Streak

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.

Generations Bluestreak

So Bluestreak, whose EZ-Collection version had been in high demand by western collectors, made an appearance in the GDO Legends wave in later 2012. Initially solicited as a Chinese exclusive these toys were later imported into the US by Hasbro for exclusive distribution to the Toys R Us chain.

Bluestreak isn's a straight import of the EZ-Collection version: The grey bodywork gets a darker grey stripe over the centre of the bonnet and the roof. In robot mode the entire body is painted dark grey, not just the lower chest, but the hands have been left silver grey the same as the bodywork.

Like all the other Generations Legends Bluestreak features some mould modifications to allow the toy to use 3mm Cyberverse weapons. He gains a 3mm hole in each door and a 3mm hole in the hand. He comes with a superb miniaturised version of the rifle the original toy had. Unfortunately the gun has pieces projecting from the top and the bottom which prevent it from being mounted on the car doors in vehicle mode. If the holes were repositioned upwards so they're in the windows this would allow the toy to attach the gun in vehicle mode and provide mounting points for it to use Cyberverse 3mm peg weapons as shoulder cannons in robot mode.

That one caveat aside Bluestreak is a very nice upgrade to the EZ-Collection version. The ability to hold weapons is always welcome in toys so I appreciate the C-Clip hands and additional gun.

Bluestreak shipped at 1 per case alongside 3 of Motorbreath (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 1 Optimus Prime), 2 each of Thundercracker (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 1 Starscream) & Hoist (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 2 Trailcutter)

EZ Collection Gum Prowl


Take the RTS Prowl.

Colour with a slight metallic sheen to the plastic and paint. Nice, but not as striking as the other toys in the Gum collection.

Add on the modifications for the GDO Legend Bluestreak - 3mm holes in the doors, 3mm c-clip hands. Woo, a gun holding enabled Legends Prowl - result.

One slight problem is that the holes on the doors lie within the area covered by the door graphics so there's a hole in the tail of the P on his left door and covering most of the E on his right. I can live with that if it lets me attach weapons to him. But the other problem is he doesn't come with the gun that Generations Legends Bluestreak has! Will someone please KO the Generations weapons?

Very decent, worth having.

Transformers GO EZ-Collection Prowl

I now have FOUR Legends Prowls.

The Transformers Go version that arrived today is a bit odd. In car mode it looks like the original EZ-Collection version, but with silver grey windows rather than pale metallic blue. However when you transform is it you find Prowl has the 3mm C-Clip hands of the Generations Bluestreak modification.

What's happened here is the holes in the doors have been filled in. You can see marks where the holes would be but otherwise it's a flat surface once again with the wording on the doors over the holes.

I'm not keen on having lost the peg holes here: if he had a gun (and he doesn't - will someone *PLEASE* KO the Generations Legend Bluestreak gun?) you'd have nowhere to attach it in vehicle mode. And somehow the silver/grey windows don't work nearly as well as the blue ones did.

I await a future Generations version with door holes, original paint scheme and a gun for the perfect Legends Prowl.

Future Repaints

Smokescreen is the obvious choice here.

Transformers GO EZ-Collection Megatron

See Legends G2 Megatron for previous versions of this toy!

Transformers GO EZ-Collection Megatron

When the Transformers Go EZ_Collection was first solicited many of the toys, Megatron included, were similar to the previously released Japanese versions. In Megatron's case the purple EZ-Collection Megatron. However what we got was somewhat different.....

It's surprising we haven't had a grey Megatron tank before. Yes we nearly got one in G2 but this is the first time one's made it to the shelves. The use of grey for the tank body is similar enough to the silver of the original Megatron albeit overlaid with the now very familiar camouflage pattern for the tank. If anything the now grey tank mode reminds me of the Wal*Mart exclusive Armorhide repaint of Brawl that came out in 2003. (see also Flak and Wreckage for more grey tanks).

Transforming to robot mode reveals Megatron's waist and upper legs are now cast in a lighter grey than used before, a much better colour than the white used on the unreleased G2 version. The only slight oddity here are the hands on the toy: purple where perhaps a dark grey to match the body would have been better. It's the only purple on the toy, save for the tampo Decepticon symbol on the tank front/robot chest, so it can't be a case of needing to use the same colour paint as somewhere else.

Apart from that one minor niggle he's a top top version of the toy.

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. There's a further version of the Combat Hero toy in blue as Reverse Convoy/Rebirth Megatron.

We've sort of had the the unreleased G2 Combat Hero repaint as the Transformers GO EZ Collection version but how about one with more "G2 accurate" white body parts which could be 2 packed with a revised Optimus Prime Legend in the colours for the abandoned G2 repaint that were recently showed used on Combat Hero Optimus in the Ultimate Giftset?

Currently my legends are sitting on my Monitor stand next to my Arms Micron Capsule Special edition toys and Legends Megatron stands next to his Arms Micron counterpart cast in wonderful clear purple. TakaraTomy I have money here for you for a clear purple Legends Megatron! Oh OK then and a clear green one too!