Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Generations 30th Anniversary Legends Bumblebee with Blazemaster

Bumblebee with Blazemaster

OK.... Pairing Optimus Prime with Roller is an obvious choice. But new versions of 1984's Minibot Bumblebee with 1990's gold & blue Micromaster Blazemaster? Less obvious..... until you look at 1990's Action Master Bumblebee which pairs him with a blue helipack/gun. Simply change Blazemaster's major colour to blue and he becomes a partner for Bumblebee which manages to homage (so far) 3 toys....

... but you can quickly throw a fourth one in because the shape of Bumblebee's robot mode is clearly inspired by Generations War For Cybertron Bumblebee which you may remember me having trouble transforming a few years ago. Fortunately there's no issues turning this toy from it's packaged robot mode into vehicle mode: On each arm, straighten the arm, fold the hands inwards into the lower arm and fold the outside panel of the lower arm down. Straighten the legs, peg them together and fold the feet up. Fold the back, which id the roof of the car mode, up over the head. Fold the upper chest and roof of the car back then push the waist and upper legs into the roof of the car until the car windscreen clicks into place on the back of the legs. Fold the arms into place as the sides of the car.

Bumblebee's car mode looks vaguely credible as an earth vehicle but you can see the influences of the WFC version in the shape with a very high bulging top. It can roll along ok most of the time on a flat surface but there's zero clearance above the ground on it. The back looks a little odd, with the robot chest sticking out of it, but somehow it works ok. On the top of the car is a 5mm peg hole and that can be used for mounting Blazemaster's weapon mode.....

Blazemaster comes in a helicopter mode: A blue attack helicopter with a chin gun. 4 bladed rotor spins so job done there. Yes Blazemaster was more gold originally but a gold helicopter wouldn't have gone so well with a yellow robot so the more suitable blue from the actionmaster back pack becomes his primary colour and we can't really moan that much because that was already used on Blazemaster's robot mode. If you can find the right 3mm peg weapon then that can be attached to the helicopter mode because the sides of the helicopter, the robot's arms, have 3mm pegs on them. In turn the chin gun, which is in fact a 5mm peg, can be used to attach Arms Microns to Blazemaster. If you bend the chin gun down then it can be used as a handle for larger TFs to hold the helicopter mode albeit at the cost of disrupting the shape of the front of the vehicle mode.

To transform Blazemaster to robot mode, fold the chin gun and tail up then stand on the front of the helicopter. That's it. Here the original Blazemaster's colours are completely inverted with the chest and head, previously blue, becoming gold while the rest of the figure, which was gold, becomes blue. The robot just looks a bit odd with the head set back from the chest and the barrel of Blazemaster's gun mode sticking up beneath and in front of it/ The only articulation here comes from the shoulders which allow th arms to raise and, as we've already said, the arms have 3mm page holes in his hands to allow him to hold weapons.

From robot mode slide the feet up, causing the back of the robot/top of the helicopter to move down forming the weapons mode, then fold the helicopter's chin gun down to form the gun's handle. The gun itself is oddly shaped, with a humped back, so actually resembles Bumblebee's vehicle mode. The gun barrel here, unlike on Legends Optimus' gun, will allow you to plug a 3mm peg into it which is good and you can also mount 5mm weapons on Blazemaster by removing the rotor blades, which are mounted on a 5mm peg, and placing weapons pegs into the hole.

So let's get back to Bumblebee: pop the sides of the car off and fold the panels with the front wheels on back against the doors to form the lower arms and revealing the hands. Fold the feet down, then pull the legs and lower robot chest down which locks into the underside of the back of the car. Fold the top of the car down onto the robot's back.

For a small toy Bumblebee is packed with articulation: He's got ball joints on his inner shoulders, elbows & hips, bending knees & ankles, an outer shoulder joint that lets the arm raise to the sides and the shoulders can move forwards slightly round his body. You can get some really quite decent poses out of him. Like Optimus he has 5mm peg hole hands but these are fully closed. As well as holding Blazemaster as a gun he can be used as a helipack for Bumblebee. If you don't like the rotors on top of the gun mode then pull them off and they'll peg into the wheel on either side of the forearm. Logic suggests the wheels, even though they have shallow peg holes, should also take other 5mm pegs but for some reason they don't!

*VERY* good as a small Bumblebee toy, well worth getting.

For More pictures see:

Future Repaints

Easy one this, just get all the traditional versions out. Cliffjumper, Hubcap and Goldbug. There's loads of repaints of those that could be also done and that's before we get to the various versions and recolours of Animated and Prime!

Generations 30th Anniversary Legends Optimus Prime & Roller

Generations 30th Anniversary Optimus Prime & Roller

When This Image surfaced in Jan 2013 showing what appeared to be a new Optimus Prime with a Targetmaster Roller there was great excitement amongst Transformers fans. I suspect what most fans were expecting was a deluxe sized toy. However when the toy, and it's Bumblebee counterpart, were shown at toyfair were shown at Toyfair they were classed as Legends!

Now what does the name Legends say to you in Transformers terms? To me it's the 7cm/3 inch high figures, smaller versions of larger toys, available since the Cybertron range started. It's not a card game. Or, even worse, a different size of toy!

The packaging style shown at toy fair was the same size as that used for the Generations Data Discs - they couldn't possibly be that small? The main clue to the size of the toy came in this photo of Roller which show's Optimus' gun with two different sizes of peg. So that probably meant 3mm and 5mm and if you Work back from that you end up with a Prime Robot about the size of a Cyberverse/Powercore combiner.....

..... which is roughly what you get. Optimus is the same height, to the top of his head, as Transformers Prime Cyberverse Commanders Ironhide and Dreadwing/Skyquake.

To transform into vehicle mode start by parting the chest down the middle, folding the head down and closing the chest round it. Rotate at the mid torso swivel so the chest windows are the same side of the body as the grill and pin the grill into the chest. Bend the arms at the elbows, fold the shoulders back and fold the arms into the sides of the cab. Clip the legs together and fold back at the waist under the toy.

What you get isn't the worst Prime cab by a long way but there's three major concerns here. One is the feet stick up at the back of the flatbed and in a toy this size they could easily have been hinger backwards. Then there's the odd wedge shape at the back of the cab which just look odd. I could see this working ok at the front and stretching back the length of the cab but the back ???? Finally there's a big lump of blue plastic, the back of his head, visible in the roof of the cab. Uncovered it's a bit distracting but since the back the head is a 5mm peg hole it lets you mount Optimus' gun or any number of extra weapons on the cab.

This Optimus Prime toy is just a cab, there's no trailer, so the 4cm long Roller toy included with it automatically looses the launcher play feature that made the original so good. But he makes up for it in other ways. Roller's change shape a bit: whereas before he was an open top vehicle he's now more of a small 6-wheeled armoured vehicle, moulded mainly in blue plastic. On the top of the vehicle is a 5mm peg hole which, like the earlier version, allows Roller to carry Optimus' gun around with him.

Although there's no trailer as such Roller can sort of be towed by Optimus: there's a pair of bars on the front of Roller that clip into a pair of slots on Optimus' trailer. I think Hasbro missed a trick here: spacing the holes and bars a little further out would have mirrored the combination on the Cyberverse Optimus Prime with Trailer Launcher and let this new Optimus tow that trailer.

What Roller does have that he has never possessed before is a robot mode: stand him on the rear of his vehicle mode exposing the robot parts moulded into the underside and fold his arms up.

Yes it's simple but there's fun to be had here. Roller's got 3mm holes in his hands so he too can hold Prime's gun which handily has a 3mm post too allowing both robots use the weapon. Roller also has a 3mm port in the middle oh his chest so if you've got any Cyberverse weapons with a rear post they can be stuck into his chest - he looks really good using Cyberverse Beast Hunters Bumblebee's bow.

But Roller also has a third mode: He's a Targetmaster. Turn the vehicle mode over and pull the rear of the vehicle down folding out a 5mm peg for Prime to use.

Roller become a double barrelled gun, a familiar Targetmaster form and one Prime's used previously with his Generation 2 Laser version. I've got a few issues with this as a gun: the rear, formed from the top of the vehicle, has sections linking at odd angles so the back of the gun slopes downwards in relation to the barrels. The barrels themselves are *just* over 5mm wide so they won't tightly hold a 5mm peg which is a bit of a shame. The 3mm peg hole on the robot mode Chest is now on top of the gun so you can add extra weapons that way.

But there is a non documented method for expanding the dual cannon: the rear of Optimus' gun has a weird concave sided bar. This slips between the barrels of the Roller Targetmaster to form a larger combined weapon. I can't tell if this is coincidence or not but the height of this bar is exactly 5mm so it will slide into 5mm peg holes, like hands or Minicon weapons. Sadly the hole in the front, which looks like it should be a 5mm peg hole, isn't. There's rifling inside the barrel that stops you pushing a 5mm peg into it which is a shame especially as Legend Bumblebee's Blazemaster will take 3mm pegs in his barrel. Attempts thus far at removing the riffling have failed. A couple of 5mm pegs/holes in the side of the weapon would also add to it's playability. It's good but it's so nearly great and with a little more thought it could have been.

Roller has also got an unofficial ground mounted cannon mode: from gun mode, fold the arms down to form supports for the gun. A nice little extra.

Transform by pulling the arms out the side of the cab, then pulling the grill forward. Turn the top of the cab round so it faces the rear. Fold the waist down under the toy. Fold the grill onto the robot back and slot in place. Open the chest, fold the head up and close the chest.

The robot toy mode ticks the basic Optimus Prime boxes very easily: blue legs & hands, red arms & body, cab windows as the chest and blue head with silver faceplate. The most obvious problems are the shoulders: the raised lump at the back of the cab is now on the shoulders and is inexplicably hinged. Now while I have found pictures of an IDW comics Prime (whom I'm told this toy is modelled on) with sloped shoulders on the comics version they slope outwards. The shoulders may also be distracting you from a feature that's missing: No exhaust pipes on the shoulders! The hands are open sided 5mm holes and, to be honest, look too big for this size of toy. But they are necessary: Roller's gun mode needs a 5mm peg, a 3mm peg would break or shear under the weight.

Articulation is good: ball joints at knees, hips, shoulders and elbows plus a turning head. In fact the shoulder articulation reveals the only possible reason for hinging those slopes on the top - it allows access to the open top of the ball joint socket allowing the arm to fold right the way out to the sides. About the only thing really missing is a swivel joint as the waist.

Some early in-hand photos showed him with a sloping lower chest but these were just mistransformed: a straight chest is normal.

A pretty decent attempt at doing a smaller scale Optimus Prime. Yes there's a few minor issues but it's a good toy. Can't wait to have a Metroplex to go with him!

Optimus Prime & Roller are a Wave 1 Generations 30th Anniversary Legends toy packed along with Bumblebee & Blazemaster which became available in the US in late April 2013 and in the UK in August 2013.

For More pictures see:

Future Repaints

Roll out the Ultra Magnus, Scourge/Nemesis Prime, Thunderclash and Motormaster Variants