Saturday, 22 April 2017

Chaos on Velocitron

Chaos on Velocitron


Chaos on Velocitron Quickswitch

There isn't a lot to link Sixshot and Quickswitch beyond them both having six modes. They aren't even the same six modes:
Sixshot: Robot, spaceship, laser gun, wolf, tank, off-road vehicle

Quickswitch: Robot, a Cybertronic jet, a laser pistol, a puma, a drill tank, a hovercraft

Even the modes that are the same look nothing like each other, especially the robot mode. So repainting one for the other is a bit like repainting Astrotrain as Springer just because they both have three modes.

At a push you could say the first three modes are the same with the wolf & "boat"/upside down gun acting as substitutes for puma & hovercraft. But it's a big push.

Sixshot has he fans but outside of the Japanese Headmasters cartoon was little used. However that's a massive fanbase compared to Quickswitch who has one Marvel UK comics appearance to his name.

I've never owned the original Quickswitch toy either: it seemed to sit on shelves forever with it's collection of modes that don't quite look like what they should be and one of the worst set of colours of any original Transformers toy.

But repaint Sixshot as Quickswitch Hasbro have and found him a home in the Chaos on Velocitron/Speed boxset. I'm guessing it's the quick bit of the name which got him there! Rumoured some way in advance he was eventually revealed at Toyfair 2017. His Official Images who him with a brand new face and helmet but the showroom photos provide a warning of what was to come when they showed him using Sixshot's helmet.

Here's how Sixshot is recoloured into Quickswitch which sheds some light as to which parts come on the same sprue as others

Parts Sixshot Quickswitch
Leader upper arms, wolf head & neck and Titanmaster lower legs White Pale Green
Leader guns, tread hinges, elbows, neck connector,little wheels, wolf jaw and Titanmaster upper legs & face plate White Red
Leader shoulder tops & hip flaps and Titanmaster Head, body & arms Green Pale Green
Leader lower arms & waist White White
Leader tank treads(painted black), beast claws, hands & lower leg fronts Black White
Leader body & chest Green Grey
Leader chest wings,upper legs, knees & feet Black Red
Leader lower legs Purple Pale Green
Leader car wheels Black Black
Leader helmet White ? Painted Red
Leader wings & wing mounts ? Painted Silver Pale Green
Leader windscreen Smoked Clear Blue

As for the toy..... I'm sorry it just looks like one of those Multi coloured knockoffs you see occasionally. It's just a nasty, garish version of Sixshot which says Quickswitch in name, colour and face only. The new helmet would have helped but wouldn't have made a huge difference.

There are some things you can do to help him though. The tops of the shoulders can be turned so the wheels are at the back and the slopes at the front: the shoulders now look much more like the original Quickswitch. Then open the chest up and fold the chest wings in. Then fold the wings down behind his back to conceal them. It's not much, but it helps.

Similarly most of the other modes can be tweaked in some way to make them different from Sixshot but I'm afraid there's no way you're getting a drill tank out of this toy!

Compared to Sixshot, Quickswitch feels like it's built better though, much tighter joints. The only one that was really a problem on mine out the box was a very loose right wrist. Unfortunately cycling through all six modes has loosened him somewhat, especially the knees.

Some photos:









In a boxset of a Leader, a Voyager, A Deluxe, a Legend and a Titanmaster the leader forms a substantial part of what you're buying, somewhere close to half. As such one I feel is substandard doesn't really do the job for me. If you're looking for a recolour to sell a set then Delta Magnus, Soundblaster & Twincast are all repaints of recent Leader toys which have their fans and haven't been done yet.

Chaos on Velocitron Laser Prime

Personally I'd have been happy to see this mould go away and never be heard from again as I didn't get on with Titans Return Optimus Prime with Diac. However rumours persisted that he would be repainted in the 1995 Generation 2 Laser Rod Optimus Prime, which I suppose makes sense given the design. Unfortunately G2 Laser Op is another toy I didn't particularly get on with, and I know I'm in a minority there so I wasn't enthused when Laser Prime was revealed at Toyfair 2017.

However now I have the toy in hand I'm rather impressed with it as the new deco is absolutely stunning. For some reason the black works far far better on this mould than the original Optimus Red and Blue. The stickers feel far better on this version as the toy which is a good thing as they're needed to replicate the pictures the original tanker trailer had on it's sides. They're not showing the wear that the ones on the Voyager did as soon as I opened it.

The robot mode really pops compared to the previous Voyager, helped by the sword looking so much better in clear blue. The solid light blue of the robot's face, chest and toes looked a little off in the earlier pictures but is great in hand. The pale blue of the robot's face is carried over to the head of his unnamed grey Titanmaster.

I don't think anything is really going to salvage the design of the jet mode but even that looks better in the the G2 Laser colours.

Stunning redeco, the star of the Chaos on Velocitron set deco wise. If you've not bought the Voyager Op yet then don't, this is far far better.

Chaos on Velocitron Nautica

Of the three female Transformers introduced during IDW's Dark Cybertron story, Windblade & Chromia received toys immediately. Unfortunately for Hasbro the character that really caught fans' imaginations was the one without a toy, Nautica, who went on to appear as a regular in More Than Meets The Eye from issue 28 with her alternate mode, a spaceship/hovercraft with fans to the side, revealed in issue 33. More Than Meets The Eye fans have already enjoyed new versions of several cast members so it was hoped Nautica would get her own toy quite quickly.

Rumours of a Titans Return Nautica toy turned up during 2016 and she was revealed at Toyfair 2017 to be a modified repaint of Titans Return Blurr.

Where Brainstorm is a remould of Blurr, the only part of the toy that's physically been altered for Nautica is the faceplate. Essentially she is the original Blurr toy with two extra pieces for her distinctive fans attached to the sides of the vehicles/her arms. Even bearing in mind we haven't seen that much of here vehicle mode, I'm not sure Blurr's car really captures it's shape that well.

In Robot mode the only bits that really say Nautica are the new pieces. The fans are pretty good, and the face could be worse. Yes it's missing her visor but she doesn't always have that visible. The face itself has many of her features but it somehow doesn't feel quite right, like the pieces haven't been made the right shapes and put together in the right way. Blurr's long limbed design doesn't do badly for her but nothing looks like it should do. The Autobot symbol on the chest is a nice touch, even though it's not there in the comics, but even that causes trouble because it's the wrong way round on her vehicle window!

Then there's the colour.......

It might not help that Nautica colour has changed a few times, She was purple on her first appearance, then became blue and was that colour when her vehicle mode was revealed, but has now reverted back to purple again - google Transformers Nautica to see. When fans got their first glimpse of Nautica, courtesy of a Hasbro Toyfair Tweet of Trypticon that "accidentally" revealed a bunch of other toys (They just can't help themselves can they?) there were immediately voices that said "That's the wrong colour" and even some that questioned if the toy wasn't Nautica and was actually Arcee, whose Generations design would translate quite well to being made with Blurr. But no, Nautica it was as we saw the next day under what were thought to be poor lighting conditions. Her Official Images promised something better, with a darker purple and they look better than that on the box back where the elbows and upper legs are a silver grey.

But in hand, oh dear, it's a grave disappointment. Most of the toy is a very bright purple plastic. I'm trying to think of another Transformer in that shade and am struggling! The vehicle isn't helped by the clashing yellow paint highlights. Transforming to robot mode reveals the body, elbows, hands, feet and upper legs are a very very pale pink. It just looks wrong!

The colours on the box were better, but not perfect. For a toy that's pushing it design wise, the colours needed to be perfect - compare her with Metalhawk in the Siege on Cybertron boxset. However I think this toy proves the concept of Blurr working as a female Transformer, hopefully paving the way for Arcee, it's just that the Transformer they've made here isn't really Nautica. Like many others in the Chaos on Velocitron box I don't think she really fits with the theme of the set either. Apart from Blurr's original car mode there's nothing about her that really says speed. An Intelligence/Caminus set strikes me as a better home for the character.

Chaos on Velocitron Fastclash

The Clones weren't toys I was aware of when I was younger. They were like many Transformers absent from the UK range. So the probable first point I became aware of the was in late 1989, by which time I was at sixth form college, when the Transformers Universe Profile for Cloudraker appeared in Transformers #57, which also introduced me to Slugfest & Overkill another pair of UK absentees. Fastlane's Profile followed in Transformers #69, an issues that stands out in my memory because neither of my local comic shops got a copy, followed by Pounce's Profile in Transformers #78, a comic I can remember getting on an early University comic shop trip. That left just Wingspan, mentioned in Pounce's profile, without a Universe entry.

I didn't encounter the toys for another couple of years until a friend managed to obtain some Grey Imports of the Chinese Transformers and got me, amongst others, Pounce & Wingspan. I loved the concept: two identical robots turn into different vehicles. Alas we were unable to get Fastlane & Cloudraker who to this day I have never owned. I love the robot designs too, almost textbook Hasbro Transformers, with the Autobots in particular looking like Pretender without the shells in both modes with Cloudraker almost being a dead ringer for the similarly named Cloudburst.

Rumours of Titans Return Clone toys spread during 2016 and both Fastlane and Pounce were revealed at Toyfair 2017 as part of the Chaos on Velocitron (Speed) and Siege on Cybertron (Strength) boxsets respectively with Cloudraker and Wingspan expected to follow in boxsets for Intelligence and Fireblast, the other two areas measured on Titans Return tech spec cards. I'll be honest: I don't think splitting the Clone pairs up is a terribly good idea. Part of their appeal is getting two identical robots together and not knowing which turns into what. Needing to buy not one but two $100 boxsets to complete the pair of Clones is also very annoying, especially when, at the present moment in tie, the contents of the boxes carrying the second clone in each pair have yet to be confirmed!

As it is Fastclash, whose name is changed for presumably trademark reasons, is the only toy which really fits the theme of a Speed/Velocitron boxset. Velocitron was introduced during the Cybertron toyline as a planet featuring Transformers involved in an endless series of races on different tracks, so associating that planet with a speed theme in a series of boxsets which link a section of the tech spec with a known Transformers planet is a good idea. The problem comes from the toys chosen for the boxset. Rodimus.... well Hot Rod has always been associated with being fast but he's just a Titanmaster. Quickswitch has presumably made it in for the speed of transformation implied by the name which is implied by the name, but just isn't there in reality. Neither of his ground vehicles feels particularly fast and neither does Laser Prime's tanker truck. Nautica is either a sub or a spaceship, albeit one based on a car, and doesn't feel that fast especially on ground. That just leaves Fastclash who comes in his traditional form of something resembling a racing car/dragster. You could see this competing in one of the Velocitron races!

The vehicle mode looks very, very similar to the original Fastlane, the only obvious compromise is now having his front wheels mounted on the sides of his legs which to my eye only improves the design. A second change helps him fit in with the rest of the toys in the Titans Return toyline. The middle section of the vehicle rear, what is the centre of the robot's chest, now can be lifted up via a hinge at the rear to form a seat for a Titanmaster to sit in so the bodyless Rodimus does actually have a ride! By comparison Fastclash is a little longer than the average Legends car when I measured him against Brawn and Bumblebee. There's some fun to be had with the car mode courtesy of the 5mm peg the spoiler at the rear is mounted on. Removing the spoiler allows you to mount various Arms Microns Minions on it. It's a solid post so it will need to be a Minicon with a 5mm hole and not one of those with the earlier Armada style socket. And because the post is 5mm the hole car can effectively be held as a gun by larger Transformers.

Transformation: Fold the front bumper up to form the feet. Separate the front of the vehicle to form the legs. Fold the wheels at the rear down under the vehicle, which brings the tops of the rear down to form the arms. Fold out the hands. Rotate the spoiler so it points down and the connected head reveals it's face.

The robot mode looks almost exactly like the original Fastlane, but at Legends size. The only real thing that's missing here are the guns which the original had, which is a bit of a shame. There's even a sticker on the chest mimicking the second rub sign the Clones had showing their vehicle mode. I suppose it looks a bit like a car.... I haven't got any real attachment to these, the Chinese Clones all had a foil faction sticker instead of a second rubsign as you can see on Pounce & Wingspan's galleries at Transformers at the Moon and the same is true of the Autobot Clones as you can see at Fred's Variants Chinese Transformers Page

I've long said that what Transformers fans really want from their updated toys is the original but with more articulation and Fastclash certainly succeeds on that score: whereas the original had just rotating shoulders & neck, the new one has a rotating neck, ball jointed shoulders & elbows, the later of which negates the need for a bicep joint, ball jointed hips, thigh swivels, bending knees and ankles that bend as part of the transformation.

Criticisms: not sure about the painted white faces, which seems to have been done to match their appearance in Rebirth. The other bit of painting that annoys me is the hands. That'll wear round the peg holes with use. Why not just mould them in the slightly softer off white plastic used for the legs?

Fastclash is also the only all new toy in the box, the closest any others comes is Rodimus, and even he shares his head, arms and legs with Ptero. But I suspect he won't be unique for long because Fastclash is also interesting for those of us that like to guess what a mould will be reused for. Siege of Cybertron Pounce already seem to use a very similar chest and waist. Then there's some very interesting and unused joints in the waist that enable the groin to split in two and each leg fold out to the sides. I'm guessing that they will be used for Fastlane. Turning the toy over we see unused holes on the back of the waist, mounting points for Cloudraker's wings perhaps, and a pair of holes opposite each other in the sides of the wide indent running along his spine which look like where Cloudraker's jet nose might mount.

A lack of weapons and the paint on hands & face aside, this is a decent update to Fastlane. I look forward to seeing his brother and their opposition soon.

Chaos on Velocitron Rodimus Prime

I'm not sure I quite see the point of the Titanmaster in this set.

He's named Rodimus Prime so I'm guessing he's meant to be used to upgrade your Titans Return Hot Rod to Rodimus Prime. Fair enough, but Hot Rod's Head and Rodimus Prime's Head are virtually identical. The most major differences between the two on the toys here is the crest is segmented in two on Hot Rod while Rodimus Prime's is one single crest slatted and that Rodimus Prime has some purple paint on him. If there was a real, discernible difference, like between Bumblebee's toy and comic/cartoon heads or between Bumblebee & Goldbug's heads I could understand it. But the difference here is slight.

Deluxe Hot Rod's Titanmaster Firedrive is a plain grey colour in robot mode. In robot mode the Rodimus Prime Titanmaster is coloured to look much more like Hot Rod, in a similar way to how Titanmaster Brawn, Blaster's Titanmaster Twincast Galvatron's Titanmaster Nucleon look like larger characters. Lower legs are painted black, upper legs are moulded orange and arms & head are moulded red. All these parts are inherited from Ptero, with all the detailing intact.

The chest, and the plate for the face are both new and are die-cast, a first for a Titanmaster. I don't think the die cast pieces really work here: for a start they're giving the Titanmaster robot a heavy backpack which will inevitably unbalance the figure. The paintwork is fine from the front but the back of the face, exposed when he lifts his arms, is unpainted. The edge between the two sides is very obvious when looking at the front of the robot. The design of the chest isn't really screaming Hot Rod or Rodimus Prime at me but the colours are doing their very best to make up for it. The Die Cast is obviously a big thing, not many Transformers have it now, I was expecting a big flash near the picture of the Titanmaster saying something like "Featuring Die Cast Parts!!!!" or similar, but the callouts on the top & front are very restrained and there's nothing on the back.

I suppose Rodimus Prime can serve as Fastclash's driver in the Chaos on Velocitron set, that intention would seem to be followed up in Beige on Cybertron where Pounce is likewise packaged with a Decepticon Titanmaster, Thunderwing, who is a repaint of Rodimus Prime with a new head. Yes it adds something to the set but I can't help feeling that it's place would have been better filled by weapons for Fastclash or an all plastic Titanmaster with it's accessory.

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