Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Generations Power of the Primes Sludge

Generations Power of the Primes Sludge

The original Slag & Sludge always had vaguely similar lower legs, formed from the rear of their beast modes, so it comes as little surprise to find them sharing parts on their Power of the Primes versions. They share robot legs, arms, hands, combiner connectors & guns. The arms have black paint on the forearms, as per the original Sludge but this will have an effect later. The unique pieces here are the body and head: From early pictures I thought that Slugs's chest appeared to form Sludge's back but in hand it's obvious they're different pieces, but I could see that maybe this was the plan at one stage. It's somewhat of a surprise not to see the combiner connector in Sludge's chest: done in black that would have made for a decent simulation of his Diaclone pilot's compartment. Instead there's an area painted black with a 5mm peg hole in it for mounting Sludge's Prime Armour on. The wings, formed from the front of the dinosaur body, are still there but sit slightly lower than we're used to with Sludge. The head, modelled on his animation bucket like design, can turn freely on Sludge which is the only change in articulation to Slug. His only real weapon is his gun, identical to Slug's. It would be nice to have something closer his original and I'm sure Shapeways will provide. It would also be nice to have his sword. However since I've doubled up on my Dinobots so I can have them individually and as Volcanicus I have a spare set of weapons from those combined so Sludge gets Snarl's sword.

Transformation: Remove the gun and Prime armour. Raise the arms, fold the hands into the forearms and fold the wings closed across his chest. Rotate the waist 180° then transform the legs just as you did for Slug. The back of the wings, now the front of the dinosaur, tabs into Sludge's robot feet. Rotate the biceps 180° then bend the elbows and swing the shoulders back so the bottom of the feet on what is now the front legs are level with the feet on the rear legs. Raise the flap on the Dinosaur's neck, which is down the robot's back/underneath the dinosaur, and fold the neck over the robot's head closing the flap to conceal it. Rotate the mid neck joint so the head is the right way up.

Bar some slight colour differences, the back is grey instead of chromed silver and the front lower dinosaur legs are now painted black thanks to his forearms not being stored under the dinosaur, this isn't a bad go at doing a new Transformers Brontosaurus, a beast mode that's been frequently skipped when the Dinobots were re-released. Before his Film and Platinum Editions, the last time Sludge was a Brontosaur was in the Gold Boxed Classics line, when only he, Grimlock & Snarl were released. These later two also appear in G2 but Sludge is replaced by Slag, creating a further link between the two, and the only appearance of a Sludge between then and Age of Extinction is as a Dimetrodon in the Wal*Mart exclusive Dinobots line. The head's nice, complete with opening jaw. Forelegs are identical to Slug except Slug's inner leg is the outside of Sludge's resulting in the loss of two 5mm peg holes. The new back legs worry me: solid units made out of clear plastic. I'd have made them in grey plastic like the original! A pair of Titanmaster footpegs are on top of the shell, with a 5mm peg hole on each side for the gun and Prime Armour. In theory either could fit in the 5mm looking hole on the top of the back of the neck but the earlier feels a bit loose, and already has stress marks on mine, while the latter is a bit too small for a 5mm peg.

Sludge also forms a limb for the Dinobot combiner Volcanicus.

Leg Mode: Start from the dinosaur mode, fold the tail back, fold the forelegs along the sides of the dinosaur, then fold the neck back onto the back of the dinosaur. Initial pictures showed the dinosaur head upside down in this mode, putting a lot of people off, but the swivel mid neck allows it to be put the right way up. Fold up the combiner connector.

Arm Mode: Start from the dinosaur mode, transforming the rear of the dinosaur into the robot legs and tab them together. Repeat with the neck and forelegs as above.

Generally really happy with Sludge. Very good modern interpretation. The back legs worry me, but I'll be careful with them.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Generations Power of the Primes Blackwing

Generations Power of the Primes Blackwing

When Blackwing, a new version of Powermaster Darkwing was revealed at the San Diego Comicon 2017 Collector's Preview Breakfast it was clear he was an obvious retool of Combiner Wars Air Raid. But like his brother Generations Power of the Primes Dreadwind, a Skydive retool, the story when in hand isn't as simple as it first looked.....

Large amounts of the toy are the same: everything from the waist downwards is constituting the grey used on the waist, tail wings and lower leg halves, the harder cyan plastic used for the hips, upper legs & inner leg strut, the rubbery cyan plastic used for the tail find and blue plastic used for the knees. Elsewhere on the toy the blue plastic recurs on the lower arms, unchanged unlike his brother, while the rubbery cyan gets painted grey on the jet nose. Everything else is not found on Air Raid despite parts looking quite similar in jet mode. What's interesting is Blackwing seems to share a sprue with Dreadwind which wasn't present on either Skydive or Air Raid: this is moulded in the same blue plastic as the lower arms & knees and consists of the lower part of the combiner connector, marked with an upside down trapezium, and the fingers, thumbs & hinge of the Prime Armour. The top of the combiner connector is new, in a contrasting grey, but it's obscured from the front by a blue fold down panel which, with the rest of the new blue body, does a good job of impersonating the original Darkwing body from the front. The head is a spot on replica of the original, moulded in grey with a lovely painted purple visor. The wings on his back look the same as Air Raid's but aren't: although the same general shape they're missing all the detail of the original's wings. The appear to be purple but a small tab sticking out the bottom reveals them to be moulded in blue plastic, so probably on the same sprue as the body & chest panel. The base of the wings, in grey like most of the robot's black is a new piece. The wings can no longer fold back like they could on Air Raid which is a shame because if the could he'd have looked more like Darkwing in robot mode. Instead they now rotate at their base for reasons that will become apparent. Blackwing comes with two small guns that vaguely resemble the original's but aren't anywhere near big enough.

The robot mode isn't a bad go: if you said "Make Darkwing from an Combiner Wars Aerialbot" this is about what you'd imagine it would look like in robot mode.

Transformation: almost the same as Air-Raid, but the head needs to be reversed first. Where the jet nose was previously pointing up on the robot's back and needed folding up & forward, it now points down and is just folded up on a hinge that looks far too thin! Two nabs on the back of the nose notch into the body to secure it.

The jet mode is very very similar to Air Raid's. In fact looking at it you wonder what the point is with the parts that have been changed and remoulded! He now has a Titanmasater foot peg on either side of the body and the 5mm hole on the top of the jet is still there which, like Dreadwind, allows the Prime Armour to be mounted like a G2 Decepticon jet voice box. Gone are the 5mm holes under each wing so to mount the guns in this mode you'll need to use the 5mm holes on the side of each arm, inherited from the original Air Raid forearms.

The point of the new parts becomes clear now: they're needed for the combined Dreadwing jet mode, a signature feature of the original Dreadwind and Darkwing toys. The nose & top of the jet, anything that was on the back of the robot, all folds back at what was the robot's waist bringing the robot head with it, attached to the back of the jet by a thin strut and not to the combiner connector. The wings then rotate 180° at their base: they're attached by ball joints but seem to pop off really easily on my copy. I notice the grey plastic the socket pieces are made of looks a flatter, less glossy, grey than the rest of the toy and feels a bit rubbery. A strut with a 5mm peg on it folds out the robot's back into the space previously occupied by the head on the top of the combiner connector. Fold the back of the jet back down into place, with the nose folded onto it's back, like in robot mode, and the robot head folded back into the base of the nose. Take the Dreadwind jet, with it's wings moved so they're alongside the rear of the jet, and plug the post on the front of Dreading into the hole on the back of Blackwing.

Yup, that's it, one 5mm post securing the two halves of the combined Dreadwing jet together. The connection is poor, as both halves turn in relation to the other and it easily falls apart. The wings from Blackwing have tabs sticking up from them in this more which looks like they should lock into something but I have no idea what! The don't slip under Dreadwind's wings and there's no tab holes there for them to fit into! It looks sort of like the original Dreadwing, albeit with Blackwing's head obviously on display. It's a very odd thing, they've gone to a lot of effort to make it possible to combine the jets and then just given up at the last minute. Whereas the changes to Dreadwind are minimal, though the wings would have been better kept behind the shoulders in robot mode, Blackwing's changes destabilise the mould a bit by having wings that pop off and don't fold away in robot, arm or leg mode. I can see why they did what they did but that combined mode needed to connect together much more solidly to work and if it didn't do that then they were almost better off not bothering: both Dreadwind and Blackwing would have been better toys with just the robot mode changes.

Arm Mode: From robot mode, tab the legs together and fold the head bck into the nose. The shoulders need to be folded up onto the top of the body, with the arms pointing out to the sides and then bent at the elbow so the lower arms are along the side of the body allowing the unused tabs on the wings to attach to slots in the forearms.

Leg mode: From plane mode fold the jet nose and back, not just the nose, back onto the tail fins. Fold the nose and first portion of the back forward so the tabs on the underside of the air intakes tab onto the slots on the rear of the body. The wings can be then swung in and then folded straight up the back similar to how they were on the previous Air Raid leg mode. The wing base ball joints do tend to pop out when you do this though!

Blackwing is one per case of 8 in Power of the Primes deluxe wave 2: he is due to return in Wave 4.

Future Repaints

If there is any justice in the world then Dreadwind and Blackwing should be repainted into Buster & Hydra.