Thursday, 16 January 2014

Generations Legends Cosmos & Payload

Cosmos & Payload

1985's Cosmos hasn't had much love over the years: a 2007 classics version never got passed the design stage and A Titanium Series toy with the same design got cancelled after being prototyped, with just the very rare 2009 Legends Toy being made in homage to the original. So news of a new Legends version was welcomed.

He comes packaged in robot mode so some transformation is first necessary to see the vehicle: Fold each arm forward at the elbow and back at the shoulder to create parts of the saucer ring. Fold the lower ankle joint back and the upper ankle joint forward to form two more parts of the saucer. Rotate the saucer halves made from the lower legs in so they face each other. Fold his back panel up then rotate the waist through 180 degrees. Fold the waist forward. Fold the arm halves under the shoulders and push his hands together behind his back to form the rear of the saucer ring. Click the robot back panel into the indentation on the rear of the saucer. Fold the lower leg saucer halves back so they cover the upper legs and form the front of the saucer. Then, and be forewarned that undoing this step is difficult and I'll be ranting about it later, push the head into the robot's body to form the top of the saucer.

It's Cosmos' saucer mode, just larger, flatter, with a tail find, engines and two pipes sticking out the front that might be guns. It's good, it does the job of updating the original, but it somehow doesn't quite feel like it fits together right. It might be something I'm doing but no attempt at transforming it quite gets it right. Another obvious problem is, that unlike the other five legends, there's no obvious point to mount his companion's weapons mode.

Cosmos comes with Payload, a white robot. His articulation is limited to arms that turn at the shoulders.

Payload transforms by lying him on his front and folding his wing pack forward. Very simple, but effective. Instead of the normal three engine, one tail upright fin configuration you see on real life shuttles you get two engines and two diagonal tail fins. The two engines exactly match the size and spacing of the pipes on the front of Cosmos allowing the two space ship modes to dock together.

The name Payload has been used for various Minicons, two of which were in Space Teams, and the pilot of the GI Joe space shuttle so there's existing space naming connotations there, but this is the first time it's been used on a Transformer Space Shuttle, which is what he turns into. There's evidence that wasn't always his name as web pages initially labelled the smaller toy as Blast Master, a name previously used for one half of the Autobot Micromaster Combiner Space Shuttle.

Payload has a third, weapons mode: fold the shuttle wings back and fold a yellow peg, the only piece of plastic tooling he shares with Cosmos, down. Payload's weapon is a blaster using the shuttle's twin engines as it's double barrels. But to use it you need to put Cosmos back into robot mode and that way terror and trauma lies....

Separate the front of the saucer, pulling out to the side and then fold inward. Turn each saucer part so the edge faces down, then bend the end forward to form the feet. Fold the rear part of the saucer out and up to form the arms. Swing them down to the sides and fold the ends out to form the lower arms. Swing the waist under the body and rotate 180 degrees. Fold the back panel down.

Then try to raise the head.

And get very, Very, VERY frustrated!

I know how this is designed to work: there's a slot in the back of the head, and a gap behind the head when it's pushed down. You're meant to be able to read into the gap and lever the head up. But you can't, it's too stiff to come up with that little purchase. In the end I got a pair of long nosed pliers and, after slightly scratching the red paint work, managed to pull it up. But it's disinclined me from pushing the head down again.

By scratching the paint on the head I've revealed it to be the same white plastic as the neck, both of which are obviously from the mould sprues used for Payload. The neck piece in particular really sticks out: Surely it would have made more sense to cast it from the same green as the body? Or even make it yellow like the limbs? The edges of this one white piece sticking out looks very odd. And while there's no read plastic used maybe the head should have been made of the yellow, as per Cosmos' upper limbs, and painted red, instead of painting the white red and then adding a painted yellow face?

But apart from that moan I love the Cosmos robot. He's got the same chunky heft that Swerve has giving him a superior feel to the earlier 30th anniversary Legends. His articulation is top notch for the size: two ankle joints, ball jointed knees & hips, turning waist & hips, up & down motion at an inner shoulder joint, a ball joint outer shoulder and then a forwards & back movement under the shoulder as part of the TF and ball jointed elbows. 5mm peg hole hands complete the robot mode allowing him to hold Payload's weapon.

Make no mistake this is a top toy, especially in robot mode which produce the best Cosmos robot yet seen. It's far better than the previous 30th anniversary Legends. But the "not quite togetherness" of the saucer mode, the problems raising the head and the plastic colour of the neck take it down a notch from the shear perfection of Swerve.


The E-Hobby Pathfinder might be one way to go. Or an all white version entitled Enterprise would be nice.

Generations Legends Swerve & Flanker

Generations Legends Swerve & Flanker

If you looked the name Swerve up in the dictionary then, until recently it would have one word beside it: Repaint. If you were going to do a red Autobot repaint of an Transformer you'd call it Swerve. It didn't matter which Transformer: Minibot Swerve is a repaint of Gears, Universe Swerve of Armada Blurr *, Alternator Swerve of Alternator Tracks, Movie Scout Swerve of Energon Clocker, ROTF Swerve of ROTF Sideswipe, ROTF Legends Swerve of ROTF Legends Sideswipe, GDO Generations Swerve of Generations Kup and Arms Micron Swerve of Arms Micron Breakdown. The only exception is the exclusive Swerve which could be obtained from Chevrolet dealers in 2008 & 2009 and even then there's a sense that they wanted a generic name for the toy. His fictional appearances are minimal: one G1 cartoon episode and no entry in the original Marvel Transformers Universe series.

And then IDW's More Than Meets The Eye happened, where the fast talking Swerve serves as the barman on The Lost Light (* oddly Blurr does the same job in Robots in Disguise. I point you at the above list: Universe Swerve is a repaint of Armada Blurr)

And suddenly everyone loved Swerve.

The Legends size in the Generations line has had a rough ride: Starting out as pairs of data discs they solidly warmed the shelves for ages. It then became two waves of Basic/Commander(ish) sized leading characters paired with a Minicon sized toy. With the Swerve wave it becomes smaller Transformers characters with a Minicon but the main character has had a bit of beefing up compared to the previous wave: Swerve is chunkier than Optimus Prime or any of the previous larger Legends characters.....

.... I struggle with the use of the Legends name here, and I don't think I'm the only one: Legends is the tinsy tiny now called Legion size of Transformers.

Swerve comes in robot mode. To transform to vehicle, fold his bonnet up off his back. Straighten the arms. Pull the waist forward, pulling the centre of the chest out on a slant by a hinge at neck level. Puch the arms up and in, locking the tabs on the inner wrists into the centre chest piece (I missed this out the first few times I transformed him and wondered why he was as floppy as anything!). Straighten the legs, and then bend the lower legs back at the knee so they cover the back of the upper legs as per the original Gears transformation.

Essentially this is Swerve's G1 pick up truck vehicle mode, but longer, removing the super deformed Choro Q element that Swerve inherited from Gears' original Micro Change version. Unfortunately he does inherit the "front of my lower legs are on my vheicle mode's flatbed" which has annoyed me for years. It's less pronounced than it was but I like an empty flatbed on my pickup and of all the Transformers only Generations Kup really does that properly. Swerve gains a 5mm peg hole on his cab roof and that's used for mounting his weapon on which is formed from his companion, Flanker.

The original Flanker is a Micromaster combiner jet which forms part of Sixwing. It's not 100% obvious but I suspect this new version is maybe meant to be Eagle Eye, another member of the Micromaster Air Patrol like Blazemaster who came with Bumblebee - early information labelled this toy as Sky-High who originally was a third member of this team. He's a dark blue robot with a white head & chest and red face & chest plate. The only articulation on his is his arms raise. In a change to the previous minicon sized robots he's lost the 3mm hands so can't hold anything, bot that there's anything in this pack to hold!

Flanker's vehicle mode is a small jet: fold the wings forward from behind his shoulders, lie him flat and fold the nose cone out from behind the feet. You can fold a red plast peg down from under the nose - the only body part he shares with Swerve's tooling - that lets you mount the plane mode on Swerve.

Flanker's third mode is a gun: from robot mode fold the chest & leg fronts forward and up revealing a gun barrel that locks into place covering the head then fold the red peg down so it can be mounted on the top of Swerve's car mode.

To transform Swerve back to car mode fold the flatbed back to form the lower legs and separate them. Pull the sides of the car out and back to form the arms. Push the centre of the undercarriage back to form the middle of the chest. Stand, and fold the bonnet down and back onto his back.

The robot mode is the mos gloriously perfect representation of a character I've seen in a Transformers toy for a long, long time. It's just spot on, even his happy smiling face just looks great. He puts the earlier figures in this line to shame really. He's got 5mm hands for his weapons, and the bulkier form I mentioned earlier makes these look more appropriate to the toy. He bends at the knees, has ball jointed hips, outer shoulders & elbows plus a raising inner shoulder joint that's part of the TF.

Just perfect.

All he needs is a tray of drinks and a My First Blaster weapon! (And I'm certain that some third party firm will oblige us with one of these.

Buy this toy. If we see anything better in 2014 I'll be very surprised.

So far Swerve and Cosmos have only been released in Hong Kong. There's no sign of them reaching, or being offered for order, in the western markets yet.


Gears is coming. He's been seen listed under two parts numbers in the Hasbro computer and with two different companion names:


As to whether he'll get released .....