Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Generations Power of the Primes Moonracer

Generations Power of the Primes Moonracer

Like many UK fans the source of my Transformers fiction pre Beast Wars comes mainly from the comic so I had no idea who Moonracer was. I thought I vaguely recognised her when the toy was revealed but I was probably confusing her with one of the many repaints of Energon Arcee like Superlink Paradon Medic or Botcon Chromia, both of whom have a similar colour scheme to Moonracer's mint green and white. Research revealed that she appeared in one episode of the cartoon's second season, The Search for Alpha Trion, which wasn't broadcast in the UK or released on video, and was part of a group of Female Autobots. The later point will become relevant later.

Robot: She feels very Arcee, different colour, new head even though there's never been a Combiner Wars Arcee, though if TFCC were still going I'd lay money on that being done as an exclusive. The robot mode feels very tall & thin but she's the same height as her wavemate Snarl so I guess that's her thinness emphasising her height. Beyond her almost generic female Transformer body the dominating feature is her backpack formed from large parts of her car mode folded up: it's HUGE, about twice the size of her Prime armour which is the same mould as Jazz's but in mint green with white thumbs and a clear blue gun/cover. The Prime armour attaches to her chest with slots in the chest's sides fitting the tabs on the Prime armour thumbs. In addition to the Prime armour she comes with a black gun with a 5mm peg handle and 5mm peg rear.

Articulation: ball jointed neck, shoulders, elbow, and hips. The ball joint on the neck on mine is very loose on both the copies I hve. The neck also folds forward & back at it's base. There's a turning waist joint, actually two waist joints as we'll see from the transformation. Double bending knee and a very odd ankle joint which has a bar at the side of the foot & leg which swings up at the top where it joins the leg, but no further back than a 90° angle with the leg. Where the bar meets the foot the foot can pivot sideways giving her the equivalent of an ankle rocker joint.

Slightly worryingly the ball joints on the shoulders are made of clear plastic as is the entire chest, which folds forward as part of the Transformation. Clear parts that move and take stress have a habit of breaking

Can't say the robot is thrilling me, sorry!

Transformation: bring the feet together then rotate the feet forward and up so the slot near the toes fits over the tab sticking out the side of the leg. Rotate the waist joint 180° and fold the clear par of the backpack down over the legs, locking the feet into it. Rotate the upper waist joint 180°, lift the chest up, fold the head back into it, and fold the chest back down. Bend the elbows 90°, rotate the arms at the shoulders so the lower arms point up. Fold the white sides of the backpack up, making sure tabs on them fit slots on the shoulder and that tabs on the robot's lower arm panel meet slots in the rear of the white back panel. Fold the hands in.

Car mode is long and thin, which is vaguely what you'd expect from the robot. Unfortunately it looks little like her Cybertronian vehicle mode which she had in the cartoon which may be a black mark for some people. It's also the first Combiner Wars deluxe to be moulded as a a Cybertronian vehicle rather than an Earth based one although several, notably the Technobots, were adapted from Earth vehicles. There's a single Prime Master footpeg on the top of the vehicle, enabling them to use the car as a giant skateboard! A 5mm hole is on either side of the vehicle at the back and they're the best place to mount the gun and the Prime armour: She's got a 5mm hole at the front of the car, but that points down slightly allowing insufficient clearance for either item at the front of the vehicle. The hole at the rear also doesn't point directly back, it's slightly pointing up meaning the gun looks at an odd angle and the Prime armour needs it's peg hinge bent. As a further complication the hole at the back has a cut in it severely reducing the clutch between it and anything placed in it.

So neither of the stand alone modes has set my world on fire. Nothing disastrous in either of them, just nothing wildly interesting. The limb modes however, and their transformation in particular is a different story:

Arm mode: bring the feet together then rotate the feet forward and up so the slot near the toes fits over the tab sticking out the side of the leg. Rotate the upper waist joint 180°, lift the chest up, fold the head back into it, and fold the chest back down. Bend the elbows 90° then rotate the arms at the shoulders so the lower arms point forward. Fold the white sides of the backpack up, making sure that tabs on the robot's lower arm panel meet slots in the top of the white back panels. Fold the hands in. Fold the combiner connector out. Transform her Prime Armour into hand mode and place into the hole in her robot mode feet/front of the car.

Does what you'd expect though th part of the robot's backpack that covers the legs in car mode either needs to hang off the arm or be folded up and gets in the way in either case.

Leg mode: This proved interesting! I thought it was move the arms forward, fold the combiner connector out and stick a foot in the 5mm peg hole on the front of the car, but that produces a leg that's far too long. Useful paired with itself or a longer leg made from her repaint Novastar maybe. I haven't experimented to see if any of the other hidden socket limbs, Rook I'm looking at you, match her in length!

The actual transformation to leg mode is much more complex than any other Combiner Wars style combiner: Fold the front section of the car, containing the front wheels, forward 180° under the car so that the tabs on it's underside recess into the holes on the robot's legs:it's a bit fiddly and you'll need to use both knee joints. Raise the part of the robot's backpack that covers the upper legs in car mode and fold out a mint green piece with a 5mm socket in it from the front. Fold the backpack flap back into place, locking the 5mm socket between the robot's knees. Fold the white car sides containing the arches for the rear wheels out to the sides, unlocking the robot arms which you then swing up 90°. Fold the car sides back in with the tab on the upper arm panel fitting in a slot on the top of the car sides. Fold out the combiner connector out and push a foot into th hole at the bottom of the leg.

OK when you get there but the lock between the robot's knees and the piece holding the 5mm hole isn't good, it feels like it's more reliant on the stiffness of the hinge to the piece than the connections between the piece and the knees.

Then we have the thorny issue of who to combine her with. To reiterate, in The Search for Alpha Trion Moonracer was part of a group of six Female Autobots with Firestar, Chromia, Greenlight & Lancer which was led by Elita One. Power of the Primes has toys of Elita-1 and Firestar, renamed Novastar but no other members of the group. Since Chromia has been done in Generations and has gone on to have a reasonably independent fictional existence you'd expect Greenlight & Lancer to be filling the roles of the two remaining limbs for the combiner? No. Unless they show up as exclusives, Hasbro has shown no signs of doing them. I suppose, given that they're Cybertronian vehicles, they might show up in the next toyline War For Cybertron. There aren't spare female Autobots in Power of the Primes, or Combiner Wars for that matter, to complete an all female combiner like Victorion or Megatronia. Of course it needn't be an all female combiner: mixed sex combiners were established twenty years ago in Beast Wars II with Scylla forming part of God Neptune. There aren't even enough spare Autobots in the main line with just Jazz being not definitively assigned to a team, although his packaging artwork does picture him as part of Elita Infinite alongside a grey/black Jazz repaint. The remaining unassigned deluxes in the line, Dreadwind & Blackwing, are both Decepticons which seem to gravitate more naturally to being used with Starscream and I don't have Elita-1 down as having the cross faction combining powers that Galvatronus and maybe Grand Scourge seem to have. The exclusive Wreck-Gar seems the best bet to complete the team but then it doesn't quite have the coherency that a robot formed from the all female group in the cartoon would seem to have. The solution I've reluctantly gone for is to buy doubles of Moonracer & Novastar to act as stand ins for Greenlight & Lancer temporary limbs for Elita 1nfinite until better alternatives emerge.

So yeah. OK but not thrilling robot and vehicle but the some very interesting transformations.

Moonracer is sold at 1 per case in Power of the Primes Wave 2 alongside 2 each of Snarl, Sludge & Rippersnapper and one of Blackwing. Blackwing and Rippersnapper return in Wave4, the wave which introduces Moonracer's repaint Novastar, but wave 2 is the only place to get Moonracer making her statistically the hardest to find Power of the Primes deluxe. Why not continue her into Wave 3, alongside the remaining Terrorcons, instead of bringing the unwanted Jazz back again?

Generations Power of the Primes Novastar

The Female Autobots group member Firestar is renamed Novastar for Power of the Primes, presumably not to infringe any trademark Marvel has on the name through the super heroine seen in Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.

To make the new toy everything green becomes red. The white piece in her body becomes grey. The white of her upper legs, hands and Prime Armour thumbs turns orange. The rest of the white turns red. The gun and head are replaced with new ones to further distinguish her from Moonracer.

Future Repaints

Greenlight and Lancer. Let me finish my Female Autobots combiner.

Wouldn't be 100% surprised to see this back as either Arcee or Chromia either.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Generations Power of the Primes Rippersnapper

Generations Power of the Primes Rippersnapper

Rippersnapper was the Shark monster Terrorcon. For some reason I never cottoned on he was meant to be a shark when I was younger, the significance of the fin on the back of his gun evading me. The arms and legs, not noted features on a shark, distracted me and I think I thought he was a T-Rex or similar, something reinforced by the reuses of his Cyberverse Legion version. But an odd shark monster with arms and legs he is!

The original Rippersnapper was always short and squat in robot mode, with very small arms, so it almost feels odd to see the same design stretched out to the proportions of a Combiner Wars/Power of the Primes deluxe: he almost feels too tall and thin now! The arms especially feel quite long & spindly, but as we'll see they're pulling double duty as the beast mode arms too and to facilitate this he has Wolverine style claws on the back of his hands. The hands are worth drawing attention to because they turn! I can't remember the last time I saw a rotating wrist on a deluxe and nowadays they're increasingly rare on Voyagers and Leaders! In addition to the wrists he has ball joints at elbow, shoulder, neck & hips, his waist turns and his knees bend.

Rippersnapper come with two long thin symmetrical guns, attached to his back out the package. I think they're meat to be each barrel of his old Shark's fin gun but they just lack the character the older weapon did. They can be rotated down out the way, or left pointing up over the shoulders, or removed to act as hand guns. However before you remove them it's worth noting that there's probably a right way round to be mounting them on the back and it's not how they're mounted out the package. The reasoning for this won't become clear till beast mode though!

He also come with Prime armour, which is moulded the same as that found with the Dinobots, and both the armour and it's cover/gun are in the same blue as his arms. I've got two Rippersnappers but one of them has a cover/gun that doesn't quite hold in place. It's the only Power of the Primes toy I've had this problem with. The Prime armour itself attaches to the chest via a 5mm peg hole, concealed under a flap on his combiner connector.

Transformation: Remove the Prime Armour and, if you've moved them, attach the guns to his back. Turn the head 180°. Fold the beast head forward over the robot head, concealing it, and tab into place. Rotate the waist 180°. Open the back of the lower legs and fold the upper legs down into them before closing again. Tab the robot lower legs and tail halves together, folding the tail out. Unpeg the beast legs, a shallow peg on the body recessed into the inner side of the knee, and pose. Rotate the wrists so the claws are on top of the hands.

The beast mode is the original toy's shark monster but upscaled and with added articulation. Arms retain what movement they had in robot mode, legs have ball jointed hips and bending knees. The mouth opens, revealing his face if you've forgotten to rotate the head during transformation. The fin is now moulded into his back giving the gun barrels the freedom to fold forward or back. Now I think that when folded forwards, pointing out beside his head, the little Primemaster peg on each gun should be on top, allowing a Prime or Titan Master to stand on the gun and for the sight to be on top of the barrel. Another pair of footpegs is provided just behind the fin plus a pair of tabs on his lower back for attaching his Prime Armour in this mode.

The Dinobots were good updates of their originals but on the strength of these two mode alone Rippersnapper is the stand out deluxe in Power Of The Primes so far. He's just so fun.

But Rippersnapper also functions as a combiner limb, primarily for Abominus.

Leg Mode: take the beast mode and fold the tail forwards under the body. Fold each knee forward and peg onto the rear of the body. Bend each arm then rotate 180° at the elbow so the arm points back and then tab onto the body. Fold the beast head back, fold the combiner connector out rotating the robot head into the body. Fold the beast head onto the beast's back.

Solid functional leg. No complaints here.

Arm Mode: Take the robot mode and tab the legs together. Fold each beast leg knee forward bringing the feet in. Bend each arm then rotate 180° at the elbow so the arm points back and then tab onto the body. Fold the beast head back, fold the combiner connector out rotating the robot head into the body. Fold the beast head back onto the robot's back's back.

Decent arm mode too. All the beast parts lock easily enough, no loosely hanging kibble.

Win Win all round. Best POTP deluxe.

Rippersnapper is sold in Power of the Primes deluxe wave 2, with 2 of Sludge, 2 of Snarl and 1 each of Moonracer and Blackwing.

Generations Power of the Primes Blot

Since Blot & Rippersnapper are both bipedal monsters, it's not a surprise to find them sharing parts but it isn't a huge amount. The Prime Armour, waist, hips, upper legs and Combiner Connector are the same on both toys albeit cast in pale purple for Blot.

Future Repaints

The Terrorcons have led something of an interesting life as recolours of their Beast Hunters versions: Rippersnapper & Blot appear in Predacons Rising as Clear Rippersnapper & Clear Blight, in Transformers Go as the purple Jurara and red Burara and in Transformers: The Last Knight as the black Glug & Gorge.

Ripprsnapper has also been used as Cyberverse Cindersaur, though a repaint as that is unlikely thanks to the forthcoming Legends. However Rippersnapper has also been a Cyberverse version of Grimlock no less than four times now for Age of Extinction, the Generation One Legions, another Age of Extinction Legion and a Toys R Us 2 pack.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Generations Power of the Primes Snarl

Generations Power of the Primes Snarl

Snarl was the first Dinobot I got when I was younger, a weapon less 1990 purchase off a market stall in Kingston that had previously only ever supplied me with bits of the matchbox version of Judge Dredd's Land Raider. It would be a years or so before I acquired Grimlock & Sludge, courtesy of their gold box classic versions an my first Slag was a green G2 version, with an original following shortly after: to this day I have never owned Swoop. So I have something of a soft spot for Snarl.

Straight out the packaging he's evidentially the original Dinobot. Legs are spot on, with the dino head halves now hidden behind the legs instead of at the sides. The body has been thinned down, with his combiner connector replacing the cockpit for a Diaclone warrior. The arms are slightly beefed up and in an odd choice the shoulders are now clear plastic instead of the grey used for the legs. As this piece has the ball joint for his shoulder embedded in it it is a worry for later. His forearms have been lengthened and are now gold, another odd choice: I'd have made them black but then that would be too much like Sludge maybe? Like the original his tail is split in two and spread out as wings behind and just above his shoulders but, if I'm being picky, the flat inner face now face front rather than the curved one.

Articulation: ball jointed head & shoulders, bicep swivels & bending elbow. Rotting waist. Ball jointed hips, thigh swivel and bending knee. 5mm hands to hold his weapons, but he's missing his signature gun coming with just a clear sword, not even red like Swoop's and the original Dinobots. Like the other POTP land based deluxe Dinobots, Sludge & Slug, he has 5mm ports on both shoulders and on the middle of his chest though the chest port is mounted on his combiner connector. As per the other Dinobots he comes with Prime Armour, which can be attached to his chest, used as a weapon or forms a combiner hand: you can pick his out easily as the 5mm peg is gold on his, not black like the others.

Transformation: remove his weapons. Pull the tail halves back and fold the head back into the exposed cavity. Fold the tail halves closed and swing up covering the robot's neck. Fold the hands into the forearms, bend the arms and swing the shoulder joints back 90°. Swing open the panels on the rear of the legs, tab the legs together, fold the lower legs back 180° at the lower knee joints, close the panels , fold the head forward and position the forelegs.

So very nearly spot on: the tail has too muck silver grey in it's base and isn't gold. The gold robot forearms now make sense as they're serving as the Stegosaur's rear lower legs which always were gold but folded back under the arms on the original Snarl. Arm articulation for the robot is transferred to the rear Stegosaur legs, forelegs rotate at the hips & bend at the knees. Rear legs hips have 5mm peg holes on the side for mounting weapons, they're the only ones on the dinosaur mode. The top of the rear of his body has a Primemaster footpeg on either side and there's another on the inner faces of the largest pair of plates, which can fold to the sides.

Apart from the robot shoulders, which worry me, a pretty decent go at reinterpreting Snarl. Needs his original gun though!

Snarl also serves as a combiner limb, principally for the Dinobot combiner Volcanicus.

Leg mode: Take the beast mode. Fold the head down underneath the beast, exposing a 5mm port. Swing the rear legs down and tab onto the grey front of the beast, swinging the forelegs up. Fold the tail forward & up, don't split the tail as some of the first pictures of the combiner did, and fold up the combiner connector.

Solid leg, with the tail covering a large part of the combiner's upper leg.

Arm Mode: take the robot mode, fold the tail back & bring the tail halves together. Fold the head back and raise the combiner connector. Bend the arms at the elbows, rotate 180° at the bicep and tab the gold forearms onto the sides of the red body. Open the panels on the rear of the legs and fold the 5mm port down behind the feet. Close the panels up again, tab the legs together, rotate the waist 180° degrees and insert his Prime Armour's peg into the hold under the legs to act as a hand.

Again a decent arm. No complaints.

So a pretty good update of the original toy plus two decent limb modes. A definite win!

Snarl is sold in Power of the Primes deluxe wave 2, with 2 of Sludge, 2 of Rippersnapper and 1 each of Moonracer and Blackwing.

Generations Power of the Primes Sinnertwin

The Power of the Primes version of Sinnertwin reuses a number of parts from Snarl, notably most of those moulded in black on the Dinobot. The fists, elbows, combiner connector, waist, hips and upper legs are all reused on the Terrorcon, but in a greeny blue colour. The only obvious black part from Snarl not reused is his head!

Future Repaints

When Snarl was released as a Diaclone Toy his chest was black instead of red. His Generation 2 toy was available with his silver grey swapped for either Green or Red.

When Snarl's toy was unveiled at Hascon 2017 images showed him with an additional gun in Dinosaur Mode which was missing from later images and the finished toy. This gun resembles the weapon on the front of Dinoforce Goryu's Pretender Shell which, coupled with the Yokuryu head for POTP Cutthroat accidentally shown at NYCC 2017 makes many people think a Dinoforce/Dinoking repaint of the POTP Dinobots/Volcanicus might be coming. However I'm not sure Snarl will stretch to being Goryu's Monster Pretended repaint Scowl.

Sinnertwin's Beast Hunters version Twinstrike has a Clear Yellow repaint in Predacons Rising, a Green version as Transformers Go Garara and a Grey/Black version as Transformers The Last Knight Thrash.