Saturday, 26 March 2011

PCC Waterlog & Undertow

Waterlog is the Minicon packed with Undertow, the Power Core commander speedboat.

Robot Mode:

Waterlog's robot mode is mainly clear green with a bronzey colour used for the arms and upper legs. Both colours of plastic are also used on Undertow. Connected to his back are a pair of wings which can be folded forward or back. Projecting up from the back are a pair of gun barrels. Put these two together and it looks like he's wearing a flight pack or, given the nature of this set, some form of aqua speeder. The water connection of the toy is emphasised by the diving mask and breathing apparatus that he's moulded as wearing. His Minicon socket is in his chest and there's a peg in the middle of his back. He's got ball jointed shoulders and bending hips.

Vehicle Weapons Mode:

From robot mode bend the legs back at the hips & the knees pegging the heel spurs into the base of the gun barrels. peg the port on chest onto a Minicon connector. Nice added gun emplacement, and as a bonus also serves as a vehicle mode producing something not dissimilar to Targetmaster Slugslinger.

Robot Weapons Mode:

From robot mode bend the knees right the way back then fold the legs forward at the hip till the bottom of the feet are along the line of his back. For taste, fold the wings up or down. Use the Minicon peg as a gun handle. Decent gun mode reminiscent of several dual barrelled Targetmasters. However the face is visible pointing upwards and the legs aren't secured. You're meant to plug the pegs on the side of the legs into the robot's hands but they just don't reach. A revolving waist, connected to the head, and holes for the heelspurs on the chest, as seen on Airlift, would have fixed both of these issues no problem.

Robot Armour Mode:

Vehicle Weapons mode, with the guns pointing down. Yes it means he has two..... things hanging down from the front of the chest but otherwise it's a decent piece of armour.


Decent Minicon, but a little tweak using technology seen on another PCC Minicon would have made it so much better. I'm a little surprised that it's not been used for a United campaign Targetmaster yet.

At the time of writing Waterlog is expected to be the final Power Core Minicon.

Power Core Combiners Undertow

Undertow is a catamaran attack boat, mainly black, with a light blue grey engine and cabin structure, gold like plastic weapons and a clear green cockpit canopy. To each side of the boat is a moulded 4 barrelled chain gun. On the top of the engine is a single Minicon port that can be used to mount Waterlog, his partner, or any other Minicon.

Transformation: Fold back the panels on the rear of the outer sides of the hulls. Fold each hull out to the sides and fold back behind the boat. Fold the front of each hull back of the rear of each hull to form the robot's legs and fold down the feet. Fold the sides of the engine down to form the arms, swinging each chain gun forward 180 degrees. Fold the canopy down to form the chest plate.

In robot mode the grey/blue takes over as the primary colour with the black being confined to the legs. Nice head with a green dome covering the eyes and upper front of the head. Decent articulation: bending knees, hips that turn and fold to the sides, rotating head, ball jointed shoulders, bending upper elbows and ball jointed lower elbows. Fists are 5mm peg holes so no problem holding weapons mode here. Chain guns now swung out under the arms. A single minicon port is found on his chest. There's just something about this robot mode which isn't right. It's hard to explain but I think each leg looks like it should be on the other side! Just something about the lines and the details.

Transformation to torso mode: Pull the chest plate out, fold the shoulders forward and the power core connector blocks to the side. Pull the chest itself forward, then fold the head backwards into the robot's back folding the chest with it which locks onto what was the small robot's back. Bend the arm right back at each elbow, then swing the lower arm round the back of the upper arm. Fold up and place the 5mm fist hole over the shoulder post. Bend the legs out to the sides at the hips and then back down above the knees. Turn each lower leg round 180 degrees and fold down the Power Core Connector blocks from the legs. Unpeg the front of the legs and move it so it sits about 1cm further up the leg

Undertow's drone commander mode is dominated by the head - a gold painted old fashioned diver's helmet, similar to An Action Man Deep See Diver which was around when I was a child. The exposed panels on it are clear green plastic powered by a light pipe in the top of the head. Slung over his shoulders are the chain guns from vehicle mode. Unfortunately the rest of the toy is thin & skeletal, and this look isn't doing anything for me here. The shoulders turn as do the head and the hip while the knees bend.

Yeah it works as a toy. But I'm afraid that, apart from the combined robot mode head, there's little to excite me here. Sorry.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Generation Warpath

Generations Warpath

Poor Warpath. He's not had much fortune with his re-imagined versions. First we get Movie Warpath, a repaint that you look at and thing "Why have they called that Warpath when Warpath's a tank?" until it hits you that the missile in the chest is kinda like Warpath's gun barrel. Then we get Universe Legends Warpath, a doubly cursed toy in that it was released in tinsy tiny numbers just before the second film came out (I can see two carded on eBay for £15 each. £15 for a Legend ? ? ? ?) and that a section of molding on the toy stops the turret from spinning meaning it's pointing backwards in robot mode. So when a new Generations version was announced we were all pleased.... until we realised that he'd be in the last wave of Generations toys before the 2011 movie came out and everyone's limited availability alert sounded again. I have one pre ordered. But when I spotted an eBay auction for one, a month ahead of release and at a reasonable price I jumped on it.

My first thought on seeing Warpath straight out of the box was "You're a bit small". The Tank mode has a footprint of 10.5cm x 8.5cm and is coloured a burgundy red, with a small amount of grey plastic and some silver highlights, especially on the treads.

It's time for the Transformers Tank Test!

Does the turret turn? Yes, a full 360 degrees and I didn't even have to saw anything off this time.

Does the barrel elevate? Yes!

100% pass for Generations Warpath.

I've seen Warpath described as an H tank, which I guess means the treads on either side and not much in the middle. That's a tad unfair. Yes the body of the tank begins 1cm further back than the front of the treads, but from there it stretches all the rest of the way back. Each side of the vehicle is actually formed from two treads, each with a wheel embedded in the underside and a small gap between the font and the back tread, very similar to the look employed for Universe Legends Warpath except that the slope forward (assuming you corrected your Legends version) is less pronounced on the Generations version. The front treads are rock solid in relation to the rest of the toy, but the back ones can be pushed down on if you pick the toy up. There's a tab on each that fits into a slot in the body and the slot has no restraint along the bottom of it. Each rear tread has a screw hole on the top near the front. I'd hoped these would be 5mm holes so I could plug some of my cache of 5mm peg weapons into the tank but alas it's not. They are however 4mm holes which although less used than the larger diameter does allow you to plug in the guns for Topspin, Twin Twist, Hot Rod, Classics Rodimus and thus Fansproject Sidearm and Targetroid Hot Flame.

The hatch on the turret opens revealing the robot's face within the turret. Yes you could raise the head up, turn it round and push it back in so the rear of the head is facing up but it's a tight, tight fit going in that way round and you'll be looking for a screwdriver to lever it out again. The turret has two additional weapons attached to it: To your left (from the front) is a dark grey missile launcher which fires a single burgundy missile, most of which sticks out the back of the launcher. To your right is a four barrelled grenade launcher array. Both weapons can be folded out to the sides or inwards closer to the turret. It a shame that these are attached weapons: a c-clip would have allowed the same motion and made them removable so they could be used on other toys or clipped onto the 3mm bars that Warpath has, two on each side of the vehicle, mounted on top of each tread portion.

Transformation: Pull back on the turret rotating it back 180 degrees so it's upside down and pointing out the back of the toy having brought much of the top of the middle of the tank with it. Fold both parts of what was in front of the turret forwards and then bring the turret back forward, using the joint in the middle of the robot's back, not the one on the waist that you used before. For each forward tread, pull it's base slightly out to the side, pulling it off it's tab. Fold the back of the tread forward bringing them so the base of the tread faces out the front of the tank. Separate the front of the tank in two to form them legs. Rotate each leg in 90 degrees at the thigh, then fold the tank tread foot back locking on to the end of the leg. Fold the rear treads down 90 degrees. Look at the top of each tread, now on the back of the toy, and open the door you find there, under the 3mm bar, out to the side. Fold the tank tread forward 180 degrees to form the lower arm. Fold the fists out. Close the arm doors. Fold the turret weapons up towards the body so they're not restricting the arms. Open the turret hatch and fold the nose up. Push the gun barrel back into the turret.

Warpath's robot mode is 13cm high by 8.5cm wide, the same as the vehicle mode. The robot retains the "tank treads as feet" look from original Warpath, but now makes them separate feet with fully articulated legs. The upper body formed from the turret and head out for the turret hatch are also from the older toy and while the arms look like they're a deviation from the original design with the added articulation, you'll find that the original's arms are also formed from the rear portion of the tank treads with the actual tread as the underside of the arms like here.

Articulation isn't bad: the feet tilt a little backwards and forwards, the knees bend, there's a thigh swivel and ball jointed hips. No waist but the head turns although it's a little hard to get a decent grip on it due to the turret hatch raised behind the head. The shoulders turn and swing out to sides, there's a low bicep swivel and a bending elbow that will bend a full 90 degrees but moves very stiffly for the last 20 or so of them. His hands are closed fists with 5mm peg holes - RESULT! I see you RTS Optimus Prime and your stress marked open hands that won't properly grip half my weapons. A 3mm bar has ended up over the front of each lower leg and the top of each wrist allowing the robot mode to be tooled up too. When the arms are raised there's a curious gap at the top of the wrists. This does allow you to place weapons inside the forearm, like Generations Wheeljack's Wrenches/Guns or RTS Tracks' missiles, and have them protrude from the front of the wrist above the hand. The 4mm screw holes have ended up on the back of shoulder so you can use that to store weapons on or mount shoulder cannons in this mode.

For a bit of fun you can get a different leg transformation out of the toy: Detach the foot from the leg and fold the front of the leg in. Rotate each leg out to the sides 90 degrees at the waist and peg together. Yes you loose all the leg articulation but the tank treads out to the sides of the feet look quite interesting.

When it comes down to it, Generations Warpath reminds me of Universe Legends Warpath, but upscaled. Yes there's some tweaks in the transformation here and there with the feet and the arms but essentially these two are the same toy at a different scale with the barrel retreating into the turret, rear treads becoming the arms and front treads & tank body becoming the legs. That's no bad thing as Legends Warpath is my probably favourite toy of that size and the changes made to the transformation are nice little tweaks that take advantage of the larger size to get more articulation for the robot.

Top toy, love him to bits.

Warpath is due to be released in the USA in late March/early April 2011 in a Generations case which probably won't be available for long due to the Dark of the Moon toys hitting in May. He is not scheduled to be released in the UK, and has no Japanese release scheduled due to United ending in March. If you want one of these, don't hesitate: buy one as soon as you're able to as my feeling is availability will be limited. Yes Hasbro have said at Toyfair that Generations will continue through 2011 but at this moment in time there's not much sign of that happening.

Future Repaints

Warpath's Instructions show an alternate head sculpt which looks a lot like Headmaster Hardhead so I think a green version of this is on the horizon somewhere.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Generations Wheeljack

Generations Wheeljack

Now 1984 Wheeljack & Tracks aren't two toys I'd normally link, except in the sense of "Wheeljack and Tracks are two Generation 1 Transformer toys with no repaints" and even that is a little suspect given the red European Tracks variant. But there we go: Tracks is repainted as Wheeljack (or possibly the reverse: Universe Sideswipe was produced before but released after Universe Sunstreaker).

Looking at the pictures we have for pre-orders we know this much: Wheeljack is Tracks, but moulded in white with a new head and the legs turned the other way round. The front of the car - heel spurs on Tracks, now the feet - are remoulded, as are the missiles which become tools for Wheeljack to hold while the gun becomes Wheeljack's shoulder cannon, yet more evidence of the cartoon bias shown this year: The original Wheeljack toy has two. I'll just have to steel the gun from Tracks for the other one, it looks rubbish there anyway. For more cartoon bias see also: Speakers on Jazz and the blue Rumble scout toy amongst others.

I'll come back and have another look at Wheeljack when I have him in hand.

Which I now do. The deco on the car mode is fabulous, with Track's blue being swapped for the whitest plastic I've seen on a Transformers toy for many a year with green & red stripes very similar to the Alitalia racing colours seen on the original Wheeljack. The front of the car is considerably longer gaining a narrow projecting edge at the bottom which extends about 7-8 mm in front of the car. The rear of the car now features a spoiler, and if you go back to Track's you'll find a rounded rectangle panel occupying the spot on the rear of the car where the spoiler now sits, secured by a pin that passes through it from the back of the car.

Transformation to robot mode is *nearly* identical except for the waist doesn't get turned. The front of the car become the feet, rather than the heel spurs and the former rather flat feet are now the heel spurs with the front wheels, now attached to the sides of Wheeljack's ankles, folded down beside them.

The most prominent remoulded feature of the robot mode is the head. We get a spot on likeness of Wheeljack's cartoon appearance featuring lightpiped eyes and ears. The fold out wing tips are remolded to resemble Wheeljack's wings. These are now painted silver as is the inside of the door panel serving as a wing giving the illusion of a longer, silver wing piece. Track's gun now becomes Wheeljack's single shoulder cannon and because it doesn't suit Tracks I've stolen his gun to act as Wheeljack's second cannon :-). Track's missiles are completely remoulded with just the C-clip remaining. We now get a silver barrelled handle of 5mm width allowing Wheeljack to hold them as a wrench. However each wrench now feature not one but two 3mm bars: one on the side of the shaft and one on the top next the c-clip but at right angles to it. If the opening on the clip had been in the same orientation as the bar on the end you could have combined them together as a staff. As it is I think they are meant to be used as weapons: There's some indentations on the c-clip end of the wrench making me think that perhaps they're meant to also serve as gun barrels. Wheeljack can store the wrenches when he's not using them: there's a 3mm bar located to the outside of each knee allowing them to sit inside the leg panels or be positioned pointing over the side of the knee as a gun barrel. Wheeljack's an inventor, I can see him trying out knee mounted guns. Turning Wheeljack round you'll see that the panels making up Track's leg fronts are completely gone replaced with a much simpler and plain design that allows the knees to bend in that direction where they were previously locked off by Track's knee pads. They no longer bend the other way thanks to a remoulded slider on the lower leg which also doesn't come up so far making Wheeljack's height a little short than Tracks. Most of the exposed white pieces remain the same colour but the joints that connect the wheels to the shoulders and the wings to the body are now a bright green plastic. I don't know if some minor remoulding has taken place or if it's just that the tolerances are out but I can no longer fold the wheels onto the front of Wheeljack's shoulders like I could with Tracks.

Top, top repaint/remould. I'm putting this as an early entry for toy of the year. It just works far better as Wheeljack than Tracks. That then makes me think is Wheeljack actually the original and Tracks the repaint/remould. I'm forced to conclude that Wheeljack must have come first. The mold suits both his modes better. The missile gun is more Wheeljack than Tracks. The odd shaped ankle with the bar out the side serves a function on Wheeljack but not Tracks. The Tracks feet work better as heel spurs. Yup, as far as I can see Wheeljack is the original.

Wheeljack is a Wave 7 Transformers Generations toy, packed with Thundercracker as well as Kup & Scourge which are carried over from the previous wave. He's due to be carried over into the next Generations wave which introduces Warpath. He is scheduled to be released in Japan at the end of March as Transformers United toy UN-22 alongside the Rumble & Frenzy 2-pack, Scourge & Generation 2 Optimus Prime.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Reveal The Shield Wreck-Gar

Reveal The Shield Wreck-Gar

Wreck-Gar's first toy was a motor bike made to tie in with the first Transformers Movie in 1986. We waited Twenty Three years for a new version before Animated Wreck-Gar came out at the start of 2009, brilliantly reincarnating the collector of rubbish as a dust cart. Two years later we have another version of Wreck-Gar out as part of Reveal The Shield d this time we're back to being a motorbike. The new RTS version slims down the bike and makes it much more realistic than the original. The new one is quite high too, making it feel a bit like an off road bike. Both wheels spin freely, but neither is wide enough to support the bike so a fold down stand is supplied on the right side of the bike. The placement of this part will cause some problems later. Neither the front forks or handlebars turn out to the sides. The colours are similar to the originals with lots of brown, sandy brown and grey. The seat on the back of the toy has a nice feature: there's two slots on it which precisely match tabs found sticking down from the waist of Wreck-Gar's robot mode. This allows Wreck-gar, or one of his repaints to ride Wreck-Gar, rein acting the battle on Junkion scene in Transformers The Movie (The proper one!) At the rear of the seat is a single 3mm bar for c-clip weapons. Mine's not terribly well aligned, formed as it is by two parts attached to either side of the saddle.

Transformation: pull the exhaust pipe and attached rear wheel fork half away to the side - they're connected to the other half of the fork by a c-clip that passes between the wheel and the body of the bike. Pull the other half of the fork away from the body then bend the rear wheel up along the right side of the rear of the bike. Pull the saddle back and fold out to become one of the legs. Pop the front of the bike off the front forks and pull up. Push the windscreen & headlight back folding the front mud guard out & turning around to form a foot. Bring the hips together and turn the toy so the saddle form the leg on your right and the windscreen the leg on your left. Turn the upper half of the toy round so the flame & gun barrel side of the chest faces front. Fold the vehicle parts on the robot's back out to the sides to form the arms which are then unfolded. Fold the head up. Unfold the removed fork half and exhaust. Move the blades of the wheel hub at the end to form an axe, similar to the armour axe carried by the original.

Wreck-Gar's robot mode resembles the original, with more than a hint of the differences shown in his original design drawings. The head *looks* like it's shaped from the front of the bike, but isn't, that's ended up on his right ankle. The eyes are a clear lightpipe from the windscreen on the head, with the the eye end tinted red. The chest is a much more angled version of the original with added flame detail and the guns poking out in a position that I'm trying not to talk about. The original Hasbro publicity photos shows Wreck-Gar with a red chest but the version I have here is the same brown used elsewhere on the toy. His articulation isn't bad: turning wrists, bending elbows, bicep swivel, ball jointed shoulder although his left one is a bit of a problem as his left upper arm has the front wheel attached to it but the body side of the joint has the stand attached to it meaning they have a habit of meeting each other. It wouldn't of been too hard to make either part attach to the other side of the toy. The head is ball jointed, the waist turns, both hips are ball jointed, the knees bend but watch the transformation joint on his right leg that's near the knee and the ankles are on ball joints. Unfortunately, like RTS Optimus Prime, he suffers from plastic stress both on the palms of his hands and on the top of the ball joints for the shoulders, which have a pin passed through them to strengthen them. This is putting me off the open style of hand that's becoming common recently and I'm hoping the closed fists make a come back soon. The robot mode features three 3mm bars: one on his left ankle, one on his left knee and another on his back which can be used to store his weapon.

Overall: I like the toy in both modes but the stress mark issue brings it down a bit. Transforming back to vehicle mode can be a bit of a pig too!

Reveal The Shield Wreck-Gar was released in the US in January 2011 and in the UK a month later. If you're looking for one in the UK then visit Toys R Us, which, at time of writing (02/03/2011) is receiving them and pricing the toys at £9.97.

For more pictures see these Blog entries showing United & RTS Wreck-Gar and various toys riding Wreck-Gar

Transformers United Wreck-Gar

The Blog entry linked above has some wonderful comparison images of the two different versions of Wreck-Gar. Broadly similar in vehicle mode, the RTS Version has a sandy seat mount and brown windscreen mount while these paint colours are reversed on the United version. In robot mode United Wreck-Gar loose the flames on the chest and paints it red, with the grey of his right shoulder, waist and upper legs becoming a sandy colour. The differences aren't quite enough to make them into two different Junkion characters though.

Wreck-Gar was released in late February 2011 as Transformers United toy UN-18 alongside UN-15 Perceptor, UN-16 Blur & UN-17 Kup.

E-Hobby Junkion

Late in 2010 E-Hobby announces a pair of three packs featuring the Henkei/Transformers United versions Autobots and Decepticons from the 1986 Transformers Movie. The Autobot set consists of a slightly recoloured & battle damaged Kup, a clear blue Hot Rod, supposedly from the scene where Hot-Rod catches the Matrix in the Autobot sick bay, and a new Junkion character, as yet unnmamed. The bike mode is a darker brown with some more silvery grey while the dark brown on the robot mode moves to the hands, chest and lower legs, with red upper arms and waist and most of the rest silver. A new head, featuring a face plate and no handle bars is also included.

More Junkions are good. *REALLY* tempted by these two sets.

Generations Junkion Scrap Heap

Reveal The Shield Wreck-Gar's instructions show a second new head, this time with visored eyes and a visible face which will become Wreck-Gar's Generations repaint. At time of writing we don't know colours or the name for certain, though I have heard this toy referred to as "Scrap Heap", so we'll call it that until we find out otherwise!

Future Repaints

White and Pink with a new head as Arcee please!