Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Generations 30th Anniversary Legends Bumblebee with Blazemaster

Bumblebee with Blazemaster

OK.... Pairing Optimus Prime with Roller is an obvious choice. But new versions of 1984's Minibot Bumblebee with 1990's gold & blue Micromaster Blazemaster? Less obvious..... until you look at 1990's Action Master Bumblebee which pairs him with a blue helipack/gun. Simply change Blazemaster's major colour to blue and he becomes a partner for Bumblebee which manages to homage (so far) 3 toys....

... but you can quickly throw a fourth one in because the shape of Bumblebee's robot mode is clearly inspired by Generations War For Cybertron Bumblebee which you may remember me having trouble transforming a few years ago. Fortunately there's no issues turning this toy from it's packaged robot mode into vehicle mode: On each arm, straighten the arm, fold the hands inwards into the lower arm and fold the outside panel of the lower arm down. Straighten the legs, peg them together and fold the feet up. Fold the back, which id the roof of the car mode, up over the head. Fold the upper chest and roof of the car back then push the waist and upper legs into the roof of the car until the car windscreen clicks into place on the back of the legs. Fold the arms into place as the sides of the car.

Bumblebee's car mode looks vaguely credible as an earth vehicle but you can see the influences of the WFC version in the shape with a very high bulging top. It can roll along ok most of the time on a flat surface but there's zero clearance above the ground on it. The back looks a little odd, with the robot chest sticking out of it, but somehow it works ok. On the top of the car is a 5mm peg hole and that can be used for mounting Blazemaster's weapon mode.....

Blazemaster comes in a helicopter mode: A blue attack helicopter with a chin gun. 4 bladed rotor spins so job done there. Yes Blazemaster was more gold originally but a gold helicopter wouldn't have gone so well with a yellow robot so the more suitable blue from the actionmaster back pack becomes his primary colour and we can't really moan that much because that was already used on Blazemaster's robot mode. If you can find the right 3mm peg weapon then that can be attached to the helicopter mode because the sides of the helicopter, the robot's arms, have 3mm pegs on them. In turn the chin gun, which is in fact a 5mm peg, can be used to attach Arms Microns to Blazemaster. If you bend the chin gun down then it can be used as a handle for larger TFs to hold the helicopter mode albeit at the cost of disrupting the shape of the front of the vehicle mode.

To transform Blazemaster to robot mode, fold the chin gun and tail up then stand on the front of the helicopter. That's it. Here the original Blazemaster's colours are completely inverted with the chest and head, previously blue, becoming gold while the rest of the figure, which was gold, becomes blue. The robot just looks a bit odd with the head set back from the chest and the barrel of Blazemaster's gun mode sticking up beneath and in front of it/ The only articulation here comes from the shoulders which allow th arms to raise and, as we've already said, the arms have 3mm page holes in his hands to allow him to hold weapons.

From robot mode slide the feet up, causing the back of the robot/top of the helicopter to move down forming the weapons mode, then fold the helicopter's chin gun down to form the gun's handle. The gun itself is oddly shaped, with a humped back, so actually resembles Bumblebee's vehicle mode. The gun barrel here, unlike on Legends Optimus' gun, will allow you to plug a 3mm peg into it which is good and you can also mount 5mm weapons on Blazemaster by removing the rotor blades, which are mounted on a 5mm peg, and placing weapons pegs into the hole.

So let's get back to Bumblebee: pop the sides of the car off and fold the panels with the front wheels on back against the doors to form the lower arms and revealing the hands. Fold the feet down, then pull the legs and lower robot chest down which locks into the underside of the back of the car. Fold the top of the car down onto the robot's back.

For a small toy Bumblebee is packed with articulation: He's got ball joints on his inner shoulders, elbows & hips, bending knees & ankles, an outer shoulder joint that lets the arm raise to the sides and the shoulders can move forwards slightly round his body. You can get some really quite decent poses out of him. Like Optimus he has 5mm peg hole hands but these are fully closed. As well as holding Blazemaster as a gun he can be used as a helipack for Bumblebee. If you don't like the rotors on top of the gun mode then pull them off and they'll peg into the wheel on either side of the forearm. Logic suggests the wheels, even though they have shallow peg holes, should also take other 5mm pegs but for some reason they don't!

*VERY* good as a small Bumblebee toy, well worth getting.

For More pictures see:

Future Repaints

Easy one this, just get all the traditional versions out. Cliffjumper, Hubcap and Goldbug. There's loads of repaints of those that could be also done and that's before we get to the various versions and recolours of Animated and Prime!

Generations 30th Anniversary Legends Optimus Prime & Roller

Generations 30th Anniversary Optimus Prime & Roller

When This Image surfaced in Jan 2013 showing what appeared to be a new Optimus Prime with a Targetmaster Roller there was great excitement amongst Transformers fans. I suspect what most fans were expecting was a deluxe sized toy. However when the toy, and it's Bumblebee counterpart, were shown at toyfair were shown at Toyfair they were classed as Legends!

Now what does the name Legends say to you in Transformers terms? To me it's the 7cm/3 inch high figures, smaller versions of larger toys, available since the Cybertron range started. It's not a card game. Or, even worse, a different size of toy!

The packaging style shown at toy fair was the same size as that used for the Generations Data Discs - they couldn't possibly be that small? The main clue to the size of the toy came in this photo of Roller which show's Optimus' gun with two different sizes of peg. So that probably meant 3mm and 5mm and if you Work back from that you end up with a Prime Robot about the size of a Cyberverse/Powercore combiner.....

..... which is roughly what you get. Optimus is the same height, to the top of his head, as Transformers Prime Cyberverse Commanders Ironhide and Dreadwing/Skyquake.

To transform into vehicle mode start by parting the chest down the middle, folding the head down and closing the chest round it. Rotate at the mid torso swivel so the chest windows are the same side of the body as the grill and pin the grill into the chest. Bend the arms at the elbows, fold the shoulders back and fold the arms into the sides of the cab. Clip the legs together and fold back at the waist under the toy.

What you get isn't the worst Prime cab by a long way but there's three major concerns here. One is the feet stick up at the back of the flatbed and in a toy this size they could easily have been hinger backwards. Then there's the odd wedge shape at the back of the cab which just look odd. I could see this working ok at the front and stretching back the length of the cab but the back ???? Finally there's a big lump of blue plastic, the back of his head, visible in the roof of the cab. Uncovered it's a bit distracting but since the back the head is a 5mm peg hole it lets you mount Optimus' gun or any number of extra weapons on the cab.

This Optimus Prime toy is just a cab, there's no trailer, so the 4cm long Roller toy included with it automatically looses the launcher play feature that made the original so good. But he makes up for it in other ways. Roller's change shape a bit: whereas before he was an open top vehicle he's now more of a small 6-wheeled armoured vehicle, moulded mainly in blue plastic. On the top of the vehicle is a 5mm peg hole which, like the earlier version, allows Roller to carry Optimus' gun around with him.

Although there's no trailer as such Roller can sort of be towed by Optimus: there's a pair of bars on the front of Roller that clip into a pair of slots on Optimus' trailer. I think Hasbro missed a trick here: spacing the holes and bars a little further out would have mirrored the combination on the Cyberverse Optimus Prime with Trailer Launcher and let this new Optimus tow that trailer.

What Roller does have that he has never possessed before is a robot mode: stand him on the rear of his vehicle mode exposing the robot parts moulded into the underside and fold his arms up.

Yes it's simple but there's fun to be had here. Roller's got 3mm holes in his hands so he too can hold Prime's gun which handily has a 3mm post too allowing both robots use the weapon. Roller also has a 3mm port in the middle oh his chest so if you've got any Cyberverse weapons with a rear post they can be stuck into his chest - he looks really good using Cyberverse Beast Hunters Bumblebee's bow.

But Roller also has a third mode: He's a Targetmaster. Turn the vehicle mode over and pull the rear of the vehicle down folding out a 5mm peg for Prime to use.

Roller become a double barrelled gun, a familiar Targetmaster form and one Prime's used previously with his Generation 2 Laser version. I've got a few issues with this as a gun: the rear, formed from the top of the vehicle, has sections linking at odd angles so the back of the gun slopes downwards in relation to the barrels. The barrels themselves are *just* over 5mm wide so they won't tightly hold a 5mm peg which is a bit of a shame. The 3mm peg hole on the robot mode Chest is now on top of the gun so you can add extra weapons that way.

But there is a non documented method for expanding the dual cannon: the rear of Optimus' gun has a weird concave sided bar. This slips between the barrels of the Roller Targetmaster to form a larger combined weapon. I can't tell if this is coincidence or not but the height of this bar is exactly 5mm so it will slide into 5mm peg holes, like hands or Minicon weapons. Sadly the hole in the front, which looks like it should be a 5mm peg hole, isn't. There's rifling inside the barrel that stops you pushing a 5mm peg into it which is a shame especially as Legend Bumblebee's Blazemaster will take 3mm pegs in his barrel. Attempts thus far at removing the riffling have failed. A couple of 5mm pegs/holes in the side of the weapon would also add to it's playability. It's good but it's so nearly great and with a little more thought it could have been.

Roller has also got an unofficial ground mounted cannon mode: from gun mode, fold the arms down to form supports for the gun. A nice little extra.

Transform by pulling the arms out the side of the cab, then pulling the grill forward. Turn the top of the cab round so it faces the rear. Fold the waist down under the toy. Fold the grill onto the robot back and slot in place. Open the chest, fold the head up and close the chest.

The robot toy mode ticks the basic Optimus Prime boxes very easily: blue legs & hands, red arms & body, cab windows as the chest and blue head with silver faceplate. The most obvious problems are the shoulders: the raised lump at the back of the cab is now on the shoulders and is inexplicably hinged. Now while I have found pictures of an IDW comics Prime (whom I'm told this toy is modelled on) with sloped shoulders on the comics version they slope outwards. The shoulders may also be distracting you from a feature that's missing: No exhaust pipes on the shoulders! The hands are open sided 5mm holes and, to be honest, look too big for this size of toy. But they are necessary: Roller's gun mode needs a 5mm peg, a 3mm peg would break or shear under the weight.

Articulation is good: ball joints at knees, hips, shoulders and elbows plus a turning head. In fact the shoulder articulation reveals the only possible reason for hinging those slopes on the top - it allows access to the open top of the ball joint socket allowing the arm to fold right the way out to the sides. About the only thing really missing is a swivel joint as the waist.

Some early in-hand photos showed him with a sloping lower chest but these were just mistransformed: a straight chest is normal.

A pretty decent attempt at doing a smaller scale Optimus Prime. Yes there's a few minor issues but it's a good toy. Can't wait to have a Metroplex to go with him!

Optimus Prime & Roller are a Wave 1 Generations 30th Anniversary Legends toy packed along with Bumblebee & Blazemaster which became available in the US in late April 2013 and in the UK in August 2013.

For More pictures see:

Future Repaints

Roll out the Ultra Magnus, Scourge/Nemesis Prime, Thunderclash and Motormaster Variants

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Beast Hunters Abominus


Yes we all know it's Sinnertwin but they couldn't use the name for some reason. A yellow and green two headed four legged hydra dragon. Job done. But Transformers doesn't have a good history of beasts in sizes smaller than basic and to even attempt something like this in a Legion is incredible. While the original had a yellow body, necks & heads and green limbs this mixes the colours up adding yellow panels & feet and a green top to the back.

Whereas the Legion cars generally have three 3mm peg holes Twinstrike is covered in them: one on both of his knees on his rear & front legs, one on each knee of the front legs two on his back and one in each jaw. That makes FOURTEEN in total. Get your Cyberverse weapons out and tool him up! Twinstrike also has a pair of 5mm pegs on the inside of each lower rear leg: they're a bit useless for weapons expansion but will be used later....

Speaking of Cyberverse Weapons .... Twinstrike comes with what's described as a Piston Hammer: a big grey hammer with a 3mm peg on the bottom to hold. Yes Twinstrike has der happy shtick. This year Hasbro have worked to increase the playability of the Cyberverse weapons so on the top of the hammer is a 3mm peg, there's another peg on one side of the hammer and an opposing hole opposite it and a peg on the back of the hammer head. That means you can peg the Cyberverse weapons together to form larger weapons. It also means that the Hammer can be held as something approaching a gun mode as well.

They've gone back to opaque coloured plastics for the weapons this year, a mixture of similar greys over the range which will please those that like more realistic weapons, but since these are packed with several toys (Prowl & Blight also have the Hammer mould as the Justice Hammer/Affliction Hammer) a different colour, preferably a different clear colour would help distinguish them.

But on the other hand Twinstrike's is a different grey from that used on the other Terrorcons who are all a Uniform colour! So when you combine them together you get a weapon that's a uniform colour apart from on piece! Either make them all different or all the same, just one different feels wrong!

Beast articulation is a little limited: ball jointed rear ankles and ball jointed hips on each leg make up the majority of the articulation. The tail bends up and down but essentially that's part of the transformation. There are ball joints at the base of the beast necks which you can use to bend the necks down or out to the sides but the way they're constructed, with the ball bellow the neck rather than behind it, makes it impossible to raise the necks.

Transformation: Fold the rear legs back behind the toy. Turn the rear feet round so the 3 beast toes point back as heel spurs and the sloped robot foot faces forward. Stand. Pull the thigh armour out to the sides and rotate down at the knee to form the lower leg armour. The front beast hips/shoulders, which are connected by a bar through the toy, fold back and up 90 degrees. Fold the necks down and then fold the base of each neck, a separate piece previously held in place by the shoulders, out to the sides. Fold down the chest and flip the head up. Close the chest. Raise the front beast legs up behind the back and fold the tails up onto the back.

For a Legion that's quite a complicated Transformation! The only slightly annoying bit is that opening the chest up exposes the bar between the shoulders through the body. At that point it's possible for the bar, shoulders, fore beast legs and robot head - attached to the middle of the bar - all to come away as a unit.

The robot mode reveals the reasoning for the ball joints under the beast necks: sideways on they've become the arms, with the jaw becoming the hand on each arm. The look of the rear legs is transformed by the armour now covering the lower half turning it from something bent twice to a straight leg, albeit with the animal frame visible underneath. The chest has got some purple flashes of paint on it, a nice homage to the purple in the tail on the original Sinnertwin. Articulation is ball joints at shoulders, hips and ankles which isn't bad at all.

Now at the point Twinstrike was solicited by Hasbro all we knew about the Beast Hunters toyline was those initial toys. Of course the Sinnertwin connection was quickly made and speculation began as to if there were other Terrorcons and could they combine to form Abominus? The answers were yes and yes! Twinstrike serves as an arm for Abominus which basically is his beast mode: the pairs of pegs on the inside of the rear legs lock into holes on Hun-Gurrr's arms. Both he and Windrazor have these pegs in the same places so can be swapped to serve as either arm. They can also, just about, be used as legs and I've even seen a picture of an all Twinstrike limbed Abominus.

Top top toy especially at the Legion size class. Well worth your money even without the combining gimmick.

Twinstrike is a Beast Hunters Cyberverse Legion Wave 1 toy shipping with Bumblebee, Smokescreen & Airachnid. He's numbered 002 and his function is described as Assault Infantry.


With the original Terrorcons Hun-grrr & Sinnertwin were basically the same looking toy albeit in different colours at different size classes. With all 5 Terrorcons now being Legions it's a bit hard to have them both as exactly the same toy so Hun-Gurrr's changed a bit beyond acquiring a U in his name. He's gone from being a four legged Hydra Dragon to a two headed one which seems a good move: it's close to his original look but just different enough. He's also had a colour change switching from grey & off white to off off white & red.

Articulation isn't bad in this mode: both heads bend, the necks are on ball joints, the fore limbs are joined by a bar through the body so move together, the hips are ball jointed and there's a thigh swivel.

Hun-Gurrr comes with the Dragon Tooth Saw, the serrated blade weapon found with both versions of Smokescreen and with Soundwave. It's got a 3mm peg to act as it's handle, another sticking out of the rear of the gun, one on the top and a fourth out of the side along with a 3mm peg hole on the opposing side of the gun and another at the end of the barrel. Since the barrel is hexagonal sticking a round hole in the middle of it does make it rather Shockwave like! Both of Hun-Gurrr's dragon heads have a 3mm peg hole running through them, plus there's a further two one each side of each leg and another on each ankle. Oddly there are none on the body, one on the back or between both necks would have been nice.

Transformation: Fold both heads back and up to form the robot's feet and stand with the top of the robot facing you. Fold the tail down onto the robot's back and the beast arms up besides the tail. Swing the beast legs down to form the body and turn out to the sides so the hand holes face forward.

Proportionally he's wider than the original quite slim version which is quite odd but the "beast heads as feet, necks as legs, rear legs as arms, beast back as body" configuration used here exactly matches that for original Hun-Gurrr so there is some similarity to the original. His ankles bend, the hips & shoulders are ball jointed and there's an extra bicep swivel that most Legends toys don't have. 3mm weapons can be held in the hands (or feet) plus on either of the two plugs on the front or backs of each arm.

To turn Hun-Gurrr into the body of Abominus start by opening the chest up and folding the small robot head into it, in turn raising the large head, and then closing the chest, but lower than before so it pegs into the tail. Fold each foot so it points down and each arm so it points up and turn round so the Abominus head is facing you.

Like the creature and the robot is OK but somehow lacking compared to Twinstrike

Hun-Gurrr is a Beast Hunters Cyberverse Legion Wave 2 toy shipping with Soundwave and Smokescreen's repaint Prowl. He's numbered 007 and his function is described as Berserker Infantry.


Another name change here as Cutthroat becomes Windrazor, a name first used on a G2 Decepticon Jet. But apart from that this toy is essentially a more organic version of the original in bird mode with all the colours in approximate the same places with a green body and legs, cream feet, head and wing the last of which is heavily overlaid with purple to match the original. Articulation is top notch, easily the best for Legends class: bending ankles, ball jointed hips & "shoulders" at the base of the wing, a ball joint mid-way along the wing "arm", a pivot that allows the wings to unfold, and bending joints at the head and the base of the tail & neck.

He's got 3mm post holes on both sides of each knee, another on the top of the wing pivot and his robot 3mm grip hands are visible as claws on the wings/ There's a pair of 3mm pegs on the inside of each foot which, like Twinstrike, can be used to attach him to Hun-Gurr as either arm.

The weapon he comes with is the Tornado Bow, which originally came with Bumblebee as the Eagleshot Bow (and is found in a larger functional form with Deluxe Beast Hunters Bumblebee) and Airachnid. There's a peg underneath the weapon to hold it plus another at the back and one at the side with a peg hole on the opposing side and at the front. Held by it's handle it's a sideways on crossbow but held by the side peg it can be used conventionally.

Transformation: fold each shoulder forward. Fold the the wings to the side and slide one half of each wing over the other. Fold the bird feet up & forward to form the front of the robot's legs. Fold the beast head down into the chest and the robot head up from the back. Fold the beast tail up into the back.

Windrazor's robot mod looks fab, again a thinner and more organic version of Cutthroat's robot mode. The bird head is again part of the chest but the wings have now moved and are hanging off the lower arms which are posed at a 90 degree angle. Articulation is good again: the bird's ankle joints are effectively lost in transformation but the ball jointed hips & shoulders remain. The ball jointed elbows don't allow for much up/down motion but they do allow the lower arms & wings to be turned either in or out as you like.

Top toy: I'd be happy to have this sitting with my Beast Wars toys or repainted as Swoop.

And the dinobird mode, with wings folded back, forms an arm for Abominus.

Windrazor is a Beast Hunters Cyberverse Legion Wave 3 toy shipping with his teammates Predacon Rippersnapper & Blight. He's numbered 008 and his function is described as Inferno Stormer.

Predacon Rippersnapper

Nearly there with the name this time, just the addition of the word Predacon to keep it in use. You know that's kind of odd, Rippersnapper is a Terrorcon not a Predacon. I can take Predacon as a descriptor for this new faction or for the old Beast Wars faction but seeing it here used alongside a Terrorcon member that forms part of Abominus.... just wrong.

The original Rippersnapper was..... well lets call it a mutated shark/piranha/fish thing. There's a distinct fishy vibe going on there. That's lots in the new one. Yes it's a two legged beast in approximation of a Tyrannosaur but the general vibe I'm getting from it is more 1990s Godzilla than Rippersnapper. Sorry. Still at least the colours are sort of right with sea blue limbs and a greyish body. Articulation is limited to ball joints at the hips and independently turning arms.

On each hip is a 3mm peg hole. Two more can be found on the inside of each leg plus the jaw once again has a 3mm hole through it. There's a c-clip in the end of the tail that can sort of hold a 3mm peg so you can get away with trying to extend his tail with the Electrocharge Bow he comes with, the same weapon that's found with his team mate Cutthroat. I could have done with these in different, preferably clear, colours to work out which belonged to who!

Transformation: fold the back of the fin/hump backwards. Split the head and fold each half of the face back before rotating the head halves backwards to form the robot's feet. Pull the underside of the beast body away from the robot legs and rotate the robot head out the back of it. You can try to prevent the robot head falling off but my advice is to accept it will happen and have the tweezers ready to help reattach it. Fold the underside of the body back so it's wrapped round the underside of the tail and forms the robot's chest. Fold the rear of the fin back onto the top of the tail and lock into the robot chest.

Rippernsapper's robot mode reminds me of something though for the life of me I can't work out what. It's certainly not the original Rippersnapper as apart from the colour placement nothing else seems similar with wildly different shapes, limb lengths and beast part destinations. Ball joints at the hip & shoulder as even plus a pivot at each ankle. The shoulders also swing back at the body. He's got 3mm peg holes hands as you'd expect but there are also holes on the inside of his wrists, his shoulders and the outside of each knee & foot.

Rippersnapper forms one of Abominus' legs. His limb mode is the back of his robot mode with the arms folded in across the chest and the feet pushed together

Rippersnapper is OK. I'd think better of him but I've played with Twinstrike and Windrazor which are so much better than he is!

Predacon Rippersnapper is a Beast Hunters Cyberverse Legion Wave 3 toy shipping with his teammates Windrazor & Blight. He's numbered 009 and his function is described as Predacon Grunt.


That's Blight spelt B-L-O-T ! How could they loose that name? Ah Blot, one of the great "What is his Alt mode" toys? The same is true of this update though there's a big hint of Squeezeplay in their albeit with a more Tyrannosaur like head, complete with the 3mm peg jaw all the others have, and a yellow crest running down his back. Again there's something of a 90s Godzilla vibe here. Articulation isn't bad: Ball jointed shoulders and hips as per normal plus a bicep swivel and opening hand claws. In addition to his mouth there's peg holes on the shoulders and both sides of his elbows. I can take his odd beast mode OK but what annoys me is seeing his robot mode hands sticking out the sides of the beast mode feet! Rippersnapper builds the hands into ankles, I can't see why the same wasn't done here.

Blight's weapon is the Affliction Hammer. Fab name. It's the same mold as Twinstrike's Hammer but cast in the uniform plastic used for both the bows and Hun-Gurr's gun.

Transformation: Fold the head back onto the beast's back. Raise the arms above the body and twist the bicep swivel 90 degrees. Open the claws out and stand on the open claws. Fold the hands out of the beast feet. Swing the beast legs down to the sides to act as arms. Fold the head up.

Once again beyond the colours there's little relation between Cyberverse Blight and the original Blot. Blot was a lump, Blight's more a big bruiser with the Affliction Hammer adding to his thug like appearance. In fact the combination of dark blue with that head almost says Soundwave more than anything else. Essentially in this mode he comes down to having ball joints at shoulder and hips but not a lot else. There's a 3mm peg hole in each hand, one on each hip, and one on each side of each knee.

Blight is the only limb to have a significant Transformation in limb mode: Fold the beast head off his back so it points down. Peg each leg into the side of the beast head. Turn the arms in across the beast chest.

Like Rippersnapper, just not as good as the toys that make up the arms. He's OK, it's just that Twinstrike & Windrazor are very good.

Blight is a Beast Hunters Cyberverse Legion Wave 3 toy shipping with his teammates Predacon Rippersnapper & Windrazor. He's numbered 010 and his function is described as Savage Destroyer.


To assemble Abominus clip the pegs on Windrazor & Twinstrike into the holes on Hun-Gurrr's arms. Open the chests of Rippersnapper & Blight up, push Hun-Gurrr's Beast heads into the chests and lock the 3mm bars on Hun-Gurrr's legs into the C-Clips in both toys. Close the chests up and stand.

At least that's the plan. I've found it difficult to get the Blight leg to stay on but I think the knack (My Sharona) is to push the tip of the head into the body so the body closes up better.

Combined together the robot is around the size of a deluxe class Transformer. He towers over Cyberverse Legions with Commanders coming up to his waist. It won't win any fans for those whom articulation king: the legs are solid and though the hips are ball jointed effectively all they do is allow you to adjust the balance of the top half. The arms move at the shoulders and unlike some others who own a Cyberverse Abominus I've managed to pose it with the arms outstretched. There's also an elbow of sorts on each arm where the robot that makes them up bends at the hip.

Although the head, body and legs don't exactly scream Abominus at me I think this toy works quite nicely as an updated Abominus mainly due to the influence of having the two most recognisable components Twinstrike (Sinnertwin) and Windrazor(Cutthroat) prominently displayed as the arms!

The 5 individual weapons can be combined together to arm Abominus or attached as individual weapons to the exposed peg holes. Unfortunately a large combined weapon does tend to unbalance the toy a bit !

In many ways the combined toy is a reflection of the individual parts. Twinstrike and Windrazor are superb both as close updates to the originals and toys in their own right. Hun-Gurrr reminds you of the original but Rippersnapper & Blight deviate from their predecessors somewhat. Oddly the closeness to the original is reflected by how well they work in the combined form.

For toy galleries see:

Future Repaints

A Target exclusive Abominus boxset with new deco is due later on in 2013.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Legends Rodimus

Universe Legends Rodimus

Not Hot Rod nor Rodimus Prime, just Rodimus.

He’s the odd bot out in this wave – he’s not a Minibot (The other classic characters in Wave 4 & 5 of Universe Legends had all been minibots: Bumblebee, Beachcomber & Brawn and Cosmos, Warpath and Wheelie) and there’s already a larger version of him in Classics Rodimus. Back in 2009 when he was first released I couldn’t really see the point in doing him. Some moulding money may have been saved by doing a repaint of the previous wave's Bumblebee to make Cliffjumper, Hubcap & Goldbug or even Brawn as Outback.

I suppose there may be some sort of in joke going on – for years Western fans coveted the Japanese Micromaster Hot Rodimus, now we take revenge with a Legends figure that won’t be released there – all of the Generation 1 moulds in the last two waves of Universe Legends were reused in the two Henkei Minibot sets released in 2009. Bumblebee was repainted as Cliffjumper (Cliff) in the C-18 Minibot Attack Team with Beachcomber & Brawn (Gong) while Warpath, Wheelie & Cosmos (Adams) were released as the C-19 Minibot Spy Team.

Rodimus’ robot mode looks like the G1 (and Classics) versions of the character – mainly red with a yellowy orange firebird on the chest. His wheels, inner shoulders, upper legs and feet are a combination of moulded and painted black. Gone are the dual points of his yellow spoiler pointing up his shoulders.

TF: Very similar to Wheelie in the same case: fold the chest up so it meets the windscreen on the back. Pull legs & feet together and then forward so they meet the rear of the windscreen. Bring the arms forward & in so they meet to form the sides of the car. Fold the spoiler back.

Rodimus’ vehicle mode is a little different to what we’ve come to expect – it’s a more current car design, almost Porsche/Jazz like but painted in the Rodimus colours complete with firebird on the bonnet and fire trails up the doors. There’s a mild gold wash to the top of the spoiler – I’ve only just noticed it and I’ve had the toy a day – but it could do with being much more opaque and covering all the spoiler. The windows are painted using a purpley black colour very similar to the shade used on Classics Rodimus.

Interesting update, similar to Wheelie's, giving Rodimus a more current rather than futuristic vehicle mode.

Revenge of the Fallen Legends Smokescreen

Revenge of the Fallen Legends Smokescreen is a repaint of Universe Legends Rodimus

Smokescreen is perhaps not the most obvious choice of character to use as a Hot Rod/Rodimus repaint. But then again the base mould isn't a usual Hot Rod, more of a modern, as opposed to futuristic, interpretation on the character. The most obvious connection between the Rodimus & Smokescreen is that they both have a spoiler. The original Smokescreen is a repainted and adapted version of the mould that Bluestreak and Prowl use.

I associate Smokescreen with being blue with a red stripe, but the Legends version swaps Rodimus' orange/red for a bright red, keeps the black plastic and then paints the sides of the car blue, the windows black, the headlights yellow and adds Autobot & number 38 details. The end result looks a lot like the original Smokescreen car, which is what we're after here. My only real complaint is the lack of a 38 on the bonnet.

Robot mode is less like Smokescreen. We lack any white or painted black for a start, and while both toys have the bonnet for a chest, original Smokescreen has his bonnet pointing out while the Rodimus mould has it flat against the chest. The front of the legs are painted blue - the original was red so I'd have saved my paint here. The forearms are blue while the shoulders & hands are red - I'd have reversed that too. Since none of these details is visible in vehicle mode there's no reason why they couldn't have been changed to produce a better looking toy in robot mode.

I've seen much worse Smokescreen homages. The vehicle is very good and although much is forgiveable at legends size a lot of the things that trouble me with the robot mode could easily have been fixed. So he makes an adequate Universe Legends Smokescreen, rather than a top notch one.

Smokescreen was sold in the USA in a Target Exclusive 2-pack with NEST Legends Starscream, a repaint of the original 2007 Movie Legend Starscream.

Dark of the Moon Rodimus

Rodimus returned in 2011 as a bonus item in a VS pack during Dark of the Moon. Released at Wal*Mart as an early promotional item for the film it contains the Revenge of the Fallen Legends Bumblebee, repainted in gold, and Soundwave, repainted in his G1 blue. Rodimus, meanwhile, swaps his red for bright orange and black for brown with the spoiler being painted silver, yellow windows and a flame outline on the sides & the bonnet.

Um yes. It's great to see the Rodimus mould back in circulation but the colours are a little bright and gaudy. But while looking at the toy it pushed a button in the back of my mind and I realised I'd seen a similar colour mix before: he's using Wheelie's colours! Are we in fact holding Wheelimus Prime in our hands? It would also have been nice if Rodimus could have been retooled to hold Cyberverse weapons. However none of the toys in this set can, despite there being a retooled version of the Movie Bumblebee Legends mould out there.

This set has belatedly been released in ASDA in the UK. A steal at £11.

EZ Collection Rodimus

Finally in May 2012 The Rodimus Legend figure reached Japan!

Pre-release I wrote: A Japanese version of Legends Rodimus has been shown in promotional images for Transformers Chronicles EZ Collection Volume 02. The images are monochrome but I'd hope to see something similar to the Universe Legend with a yellow painted spoiler.

The colouring on this version is vastly different to the original Legend with the red plastic becoming a more cherry red, the orangey yellow flames becoming a brighter yellow, the gold tail becoming orange, as does the black paint on the upper legs & feet, and the purpley black windows becoming pale blue.

Much, much better than the original, well worth your money.

EZ Collection Gum Rodimus

The EZ-Collection Gum wave re-releases 5 Legends previously available in EZ-Collection Wave 2: Optimus, Megatron, Starscream, Prowl & Rodimus. Where the moulds have been modified for a Transformers Generations release these modifications are present on a Japanese release for the first time so Optimus, Starscream & Prowl all get 3mm hands and peg holes but are missing the weapons released with their recoloured American versions. All 5 toys have their deco tweaked slightly to give them a metallic finish.

Gum Rodimus is very similar to the EZ-Collection Rodimus above with the cherry red becoming metallic and the orange becoming bronzey.

Top repaint, different enough to make it worth getting even if you have the previous EZ-Collection version and far superior to the western Rodimus Legend.

Future Repaints

For a start Rodimus really needs a Generations Legends style remould with 3mm c-clip hands and a hole on the bonnet for mounting the gun. I'd like to see a Western release in the EZ-Collection colours except I'd have the the spoiler painted bright yellow.

But for other repaints.... well this mould could be really milked by Hasbro if they chose to. The 2001 reissue of original Hot Rod has Clear and Black repaints so there's a good start. Classics Rodimus has been repainted in black as Shattered Glass Rodimus, in clear blue as E-Hobby Matrix of Leadership Hot Rod and in dark blue as Sideburn, based on a Hot Rod like repaint of RID Sideburn...... which got me thinking: what other toys have been repainted as Hot Rod which you could then repaint this Hot Rod as? In yellow as Armada Hotshot or metallic Blue as Cybertron Hotshot immediately sprang to mind. Meanwhile Animated Rodimus Minor has been repainted in white as Breakdown and black & red as Sideswipe (and that takes us off down a whole other stream of repaints) while Energon Rodimus gets a Police Repaint as Checkpoint and an "interesting" repaint as Thunderclash while Alternators Rodimus gets a blue with white racing stripes as Mirage. There you go: 11 potential versions right there!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Transformers Go EZ Collection Optimus Prime

See Legends Optimus Prime for previous versions of this mould.

Transformers Go EZ-Collection Optimus Prime

Like the TF GO EZ Collection Prowl & Starscream the Optimus Prime in the same line also features the modified sculpt introduced for the Transformers Generations Legends but lacks any weapon. The red plastic used here is slightly duller than usual, a more cherry red, while the blue is much brighter with a metallic sheen giving the toy a striking appearance visibly different from the other Optimus Primes.

Legends Prowl

Reveal The Shield Legends Prowl

Prowl's only previous Legend was of his Animated Version. Looking at the Reveal The Shield legend, it's obvious that it's meant to be the 1984 Generation 1 Prowl. You might think it's a retool of Universe Legends Jazz: At first glance they look *VERY* similar, with the straight back door wings and the Transformation even down to the shape of the chest and the positioning of the screws. But looking closely almost every part is different. The only pieces that MIGHT be unaltered are the wheels and the inner shoulder joints linking the body and the arms which end in the shoulder's ball joint. The rear wheels move location on this design ending up on the arms and we get more articulated heels but that's it as regards functional changes.

TF: fold up the chest piece to become the bonnet. Fold the feet in, bring the legs together and fold the lower legs up over the upper legs to become the back of the car. Fold the arms into place as the doors and the rear wheels.

Prowl was absent from Reveal The Shield (RTS from here in) Legends Wave 1 which contained Megatron, Starscream and Gold Bumblebee where all were two per case. Thanks to Hasbro UK we never saw that case in Great Britain! However those 4 toys reshipped in Wave 2, the box that actually did reach the UK, at one per case alongside Prowl and Trailcutter which were two per case. Needless to say Asda had a lot of Trailcutters and Prowls leftover for a while!

EZ-Collection Prowl

RTS Legends Prowl was the one "new" RTS Mould not used in Transformers Chronicle EZ Collection Series 1, I presume because Jazz was included and, as I intimate in the review they share, both toys are very similar. Jazz, being a more popular character in Japan, won it and Prowl turns up here.

Save for swapping the rubsign for a painted Autobot logo RTS Prowl & EZ-Collection Prowl are identical.

This toy was released blindboxed in EZ-Collection volume 2 in a case with Generation 2 Optimus Prime & Starscream (RTS Legends Wave 1), Prowl (RTS Legends Wave 2), Hound (Universe Legends Wave 2), Rodimus (Universe Legends Wave 5), Generation 2 Combat Hero Tank Megatron/Archforce (a purple repaint of Tank Megatron from Universe Legends Wave 2), Skywarp (a repaint of RTS Legends Wave 1 Starscream) and Skywarp (Bluestreak/Silverstreak, a repaint of Prowl from RTS Legends Wave 2).

EZ-Collection Streak

The Prowl mould has two repaints: Bluestreak and Smokescreen and it was kind of inevitable one of them would get used as a repaint for the RTS Legends Prowl mould. Bluestreak won. Because he's Japanese he uses the Streak name and thus avoids all the Bluestreak/Silverstreak naming problems.

From the Prowl colours black - be it plastic or painted - remains the same. White becomes a silvery grey *except* on the upper legs where it's now painted cherry red as are the horns on the head. Gone is the lightbar, but there's a square of grey plastic now occupying where it once sat.

He's slightly darker than what you might expect for Bluestreak but still a very good representation of the character.

Generations Bluestreak

So Bluestreak, whose EZ-Collection version had been in high demand by western collectors, made an appearance in the GDO Legends wave in later 2012. Initially solicited as a Chinese exclusive these toys were later imported into the US by Hasbro for exclusive distribution to the Toys R Us chain.

Bluestreak isn's a straight import of the EZ-Collection version: The grey bodywork gets a darker grey stripe over the centre of the bonnet and the roof. In robot mode the entire body is painted dark grey, not just the lower chest, but the hands have been left silver grey the same as the bodywork.

Like all the other Generations Legends Bluestreak features some mould modifications to allow the toy to use 3mm Cyberverse weapons. He gains a 3mm hole in each door and a 3mm hole in the hand. He comes with a superb miniaturised version of the rifle the original toy had. Unfortunately the gun has pieces projecting from the top and the bottom which prevent it from being mounted on the car doors in vehicle mode. If the holes were repositioned upwards so they're in the windows this would allow the toy to attach the gun in vehicle mode and provide mounting points for it to use Cyberverse 3mm peg weapons as shoulder cannons in robot mode.

That one caveat aside Bluestreak is a very nice upgrade to the EZ-Collection version. The ability to hold weapons is always welcome in toys so I appreciate the C-Clip hands and additional gun.

Bluestreak shipped at 1 per case alongside 3 of Motorbreath (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 1 Optimus Prime), 2 each of Thundercracker (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 1 Starscream) & Hoist (repaint & remould of RTS Legends Wave 2 Trailcutter)

EZ Collection Gum Prowl


Take the RTS Prowl.

Colour with a slight metallic sheen to the plastic and paint. Nice, but not as striking as the other toys in the Gum collection.

Add on the modifications for the GDO Legend Bluestreak - 3mm holes in the doors, 3mm c-clip hands. Woo, a gun holding enabled Legends Prowl - result.

One slight problem is that the holes on the doors lie within the area covered by the door graphics so there's a hole in the tail of the P on his left door and covering most of the E on his right. I can live with that if it lets me attach weapons to him. But the other problem is he doesn't come with the gun that Generations Legends Bluestreak has! Will someone please KO the Generations weapons?

Very decent, worth having.

Transformers GO EZ-Collection Prowl

I now have FOUR Legends Prowls.

The Transformers Go version that arrived today is a bit odd. In car mode it looks like the original EZ-Collection version, but with silver grey windows rather than pale metallic blue. However when you transform is it you find Prowl has the 3mm C-Clip hands of the Generations Bluestreak modification.

What's happened here is the holes in the doors have been filled in. You can see marks where the holes would be but otherwise it's a flat surface once again with the wording on the doors over the holes.

I'm not keen on having lost the peg holes here: if he had a gun (and he doesn't - will someone *PLEASE* KO the Generations Legend Bluestreak gun?) you'd have nowhere to attach it in vehicle mode. And somehow the silver/grey windows don't work nearly as well as the blue ones did.

I await a future Generations version with door holes, original paint scheme and a gun for the perfect Legends Prowl.

Future Repaints

Smokescreen is the obvious choice here.

Transformers GO EZ-Collection Megatron

See Legends G2 Megatron for previous versions of this toy!

Transformers GO EZ-Collection Megatron

When the Transformers Go EZ_Collection was first solicited many of the toys, Megatron included, were similar to the previously released Japanese versions. In Megatron's case the purple EZ-Collection Megatron. However what we got was somewhat different.....

It's surprising we haven't had a grey Megatron tank before. Yes we nearly got one in G2 but this is the first time one's made it to the shelves. The use of grey for the tank body is similar enough to the silver of the original Megatron albeit overlaid with the now very familiar camouflage pattern for the tank. If anything the now grey tank mode reminds me of the Wal*Mart exclusive Armorhide repaint of Brawl that came out in 2003. (see also Flak and Wreckage for more grey tanks).

Transforming to robot mode reveals Megatron's waist and upper legs are now cast in a lighter grey than used before, a much better colour than the white used on the unreleased G2 version. The only slight oddity here are the hands on the toy: purple where perhaps a dark grey to match the body would have been better. It's the only purple on the toy, save for the tampo Decepticon symbol on the tank front/robot chest, so it can't be a case of needing to use the same colour paint as somewhere else.

Apart from that one minor niggle he's a top top version of the toy.

Future repaints

The most obvious repaint for this toy is one using the bright green, blue camouflage and G2 symbol of the original G2 Megatron tank. Change the camouflage to brown and you get Beast Wars II Megastorm. There's a further version of the Combat Hero toy in blue as Reverse Convoy/Rebirth Megatron.

We've sort of had the the unreleased G2 Combat Hero repaint as the Transformers GO EZ Collection version but how about one with more "G2 accurate" white body parts which could be 2 packed with a revised Optimus Prime Legend in the colours for the abandoned G2 repaint that were recently showed used on Combat Hero Optimus in the Ultimate Giftset?

Currently my legends are sitting on my Monitor stand next to my Arms Micron Capsule Special edition toys and Legends Megatron stands next to his Arms Micron counterpart cast in wonderful clear purple. TakaraTomy I have money here for you for a clear purple Legends Megatron! Oh OK then and a clear green one too!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Generations Fall of Cybertron Starscream

Hasbro Generations Fall of Cybertron Starscream

How many Deluxe Star screams have there been since the introduction of the standard size classes? Not many: Energon, Classics and Dark of the Moon come to mind and a forthcoming Beast Hunters Deluxe. The main Starscream figure in the line is usually a larger Voyager.

He comes packaged in robot mode so we'll start by transforming him into a jet: spin the head round and unfold the shoulder armour. Fold the back up flattening the neck out. Fold the arms into the back and lock together. Fold the waist and the legs back pegging the ankles under the jet.

Yeah basically it's the tried and tested Cyberjet transformation. Don't muck with what works!

The jet mode looks really similar to the War For Cybertron design, especially the triangular tail sticking up from the body. The vast majority of the toy is grey but there's lots of blue and red as well. In fact the wings are entirely red which is a little off putting but I expect we'll see a version with grey wings and red wing stripes down the line. The purple Decepticon symbols on the wings are a little difficult to pick out against the red of the wings. They have their chins pointing forward.... this'll cause trouble later. The cockpit is moulded in clear orange plastic which we like but he has no landing gear underneath. There's a peg hole on the side of each engine and another under each wing: either of these can be used to mount his weapons in.

Ah his weapons. Possibly the real reason to buy the toy: Starscream eschews his usual null rays, missile launchers or swords for a twin pair of Gatling Gun. Each gun has a rotating barrel a feature rarely seen on a transformer: on the TMUK forum we thought of just Leader Starscream and Beast Wars Rampage.of Lots of Zoids toys have it - Darkhorn, Gunbluster & Shadowfox plus numerous add ons. Transformers? No. Anyway each Gatling has two pegs which let you hold the weapon or attack it to the jet mode. But you can also lock them together to form a dual barrelled Gatling gun. Whats more the barrels have cogs on the side which lock together in combined mode so if one barrel is turned the other rotates in opposition.

The combined form has two pegs close together that look like they should fit into the two holes on the underside of the jet formed from the outside of the forearms, but the peg holes are sat too deep for the weapon pegs to penetrate - the weapon can't fit between the engines. Bringing the arms out of the undercarriage just doesn't work either as the pegs are just slightly too far apart. It's an annoying near miss....

But fortunately there is an official place to store the combined weapon in vehicle mode albeit a concealed one! The triangular tail unit is a separate piece and will remove. It may not feel like it as the connection is VERY secure so excessive force is required but trust me, it comes off without breaking the toy. It's attached by a single 5mm peg but just in front are two close together 5mm pegs allowing you to mount the combined weapon on the jet mode. A 5mm port on top of the weapon *should* allow you to re-attach the tail but seeing as the post is made up of two half circles on each part of the weapon with split between the two parts down the middle the connection isn't the greatest. Any of the ports on the jet's top can be used to add on any other 5mm weapons you may have.

And if you want some silliness in jet mode it's possible to raise the head and have it facing out over the cockpit!

Reverse the instructions to return to robot mode. Optionally fold in the nose cone before unpegging the engines and folding the undercarriage forward to form the chest and legs. Fold the arms out the body then fold the rear of the jet down to form the robot's back. There's a fiddly bit where the back of the platform the head is sitting on in jet mode needs to be bent up to transform which takes some work but apart from that it's dead easy.

The robot mode is obviously Starscream: mainly grey with the cockpit in the middle of the chest flanked by red sides and dark, nearly black head with silver face plate. Some of the details could do with some tweaking though. We mentioned the red wings in jet mode, they look just as bad here and now the Decepticon Symbols on them are upside down in robot mode, a big bug bear of mine! They aren't the only red part that's annoying me though: the upper legs are red. While there have been iterations of the Starscream design with red on the wings, so you could see how they got to red wings, in all of them the basic colour for the legs is grey like most of the rest of the toy. So both of the major red pieces on the toy itself would be better grey. The other pieces molded in red plastic are the weapons, also traditionally grey, and two tiny pieces of plastic flanking the head, which could have been painted. Actually these bits are rather odd: they're meant to simulate the air intakes on the G1 design and stretch back from the chest..... but they don't go all the way back to touch the structure behind the head. Front on - fine. Sideways on - massive gap. The head itself is lightpiped in the clear orange used for the cockpit window and looks really good.

Articulation: very good: sideways rocker in ankle, bending knee, rotating thigh, universal jointed hips, ball jointed shoulders, rotating bicep, double bending elbow, rotating wrist, turning head. The articulation is so good that Starscream can hold the peg sticking out of each side of his combined weapon at once.

If you don't want him to hold the weapons there's plenty of 5mm holes on the figure: one on the side of each leg, one under each forearm plus the ones on his back under the tail fin that let him wear the combined weapon as a backpack. The only extra points he really could have used are one each on the side of his upper arms in order to let him use the Gatlings like the Null Rays on the original toy.

Very very good. Not perfect, but very very good. Most of the problems I have with it are easily fixed by recasting the red parts in grey which I would not be surprised to see at some point.

Takara Generations Fall of Cybertron Starscream

Time to air a longstanding bugbear that I've never had an opportunity to before!

For many years Takara were the deco kings. Their toys trumped Hasbro's everytime. Beast Wars, Car Robots, Amanda/Energon/Cybertron, Henkei.... Takara won everytime. Then a few years back, around the time Animated was starting in Japan Takara started doing metallic paint jobs. They didn't appeal to me. Yes there were a couple of hits United Megatron and Bumblebee - a very good Goldbug stand in - spring to mind. But most of the others just didn't do it for me and have a tendency to scratch very very easily.

These same metallic paint jobs have been used on the Japanese versions of the Generations toys and I've not been liking them there either.

Starscream is worse than most because the metallic looking parts are the red ones which rather draws my attention to them.


Takara Generations Fall of Cybertron Skywarp

Like you didn't see this coming!

A metallic dark grey and purple repaint of Starscream - loosely red becomes purple and the the grey and blue become the metallic dark grey.

Oddly it's not screaming Skywarp at me. Not enough (any) black!

Future Repaints

Redo Starscream with grey wings and upper legs.

Redo Skywarp in black with a better purple.

Thundercracker. Sunstorm. Oh you know the form ....

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Arms Micron BH

AM-10 B.H.

Ladies & Gentlemen: B.H. Worst Robot Mode *EVER* It's a big fat green ball with a head, curved arms and two short legs. Bar the legs he's almost a dead ringer for the Unproduced G1 Unicron. Articulation is horrendous with shoulders that swing forward and hips that bend back, both sets present for the Transformation rather than the articulation. He's got a 5mm Micron port at the top of his chest and another on the front of his crotch, separated by his orange Trapezoid Autobot spark. There's an additional socket on each arm and leg, 3 more under the figure and and a 5mm peg on his back..... speaking of which do not look at the robot side on. Just don't.

Right let's get onto the good stuff. Because B.H.Has not one but two weapons modes!

Fold the legs down and back into the body. Lift the chest up by the base and fold back 180 degrees revealing a 5mm handle hidden behind the chest panel.

Now this is a bit more like it: a Bulbous Gatling Gun weapon beating CL hand's down by having FIVE forward facing 5mm barrels. The peg is now on top of the barrels at the front, with the sockets from body and the arms facing up from the gun's handle at the back . Slot into a figure's 5mm peg hand and it looks just like the version of the weapon supplied with Cyberverse Bulkhead. Top stuff, with plenty of extra ports for expansion.

But we're not done yet. Oh no. Fold the gun handle/robot chest back down and into the front of the weapon. Pull on the peg sticking out the toy and it will come away bringing a length of plastic chain with it to transform the toy into the ball & chain seen with FE Bulkhead and Prime Bulkhead. Yeah the ball part of the weapon is a bit heavy one side due to the chest and yeah the chain could have been longer but ...

Two fab weapons modes. You need multiples. About the only thing that's wrong with the toy is the robot mode..... and that could have been done a lot better. Stand the weapons mode on the tubes with the robot chest facing forward. Now imagine that the chest is the other way up? Yes you've got the legs formed from the entire wrecking ball unit but it makes the robot look larger and better proportioned.

BH was released with the Takara Tomy version of Bulkhead on the 28th April 2012 and numbered AM-10.

AMW-11 B.H. B

BH's Arms Micron Weapon individual re-release swaps the green of BH for bright blue. It's a bit of an odd colour choice to put it mildly and the only reason I can come up with is to produce a matching weapon for Bulkhead's arch enemy Breakdown.

BH B was released on 29th September 2012 and numbered AMW-11 alongside Zori-M and Arc-S,

Note, while we are on the subject, the interesting tally between the Arms Micron numbers for the original toys and the Arms Micron Weapons numbers for their recolours:

Soundwave & Zori AM-09
Zori-M AMW-10
Bulkhead & BH AM-10
Arcee & Arc AM-11
Arc-S AMW 12

Since Zori also appears in AMW-14 it might have been nicer to drop his individual release and replace it with Zamu who's only individual release was as a limited edition (and now expensive to obtain Promo). Then each toy could have had the same Arms Micron Weapon number as it's original Arms Micron release!

Future Repaints

The most obvious repaint for this toy, and the one that the AMW release should have taken, would be a grey/silver version to match the ball & chain with the western versions of Bulkhead!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Arms Micron Zori

Arms Micron Zori

Transformers fans love Scorpions. Right from the first Scorpion toy, Scorponok, in 1988 they've been regular alt modes for Transformers toys. I think I've owned at least one version of each toy with the understandable exception of Double Punch. There's even been a scorpion weapon before Action Master Devastator's Scorpulator. So a Scorpion Arms Micron is an obvious choice. Even the name itself, Zori, echoes Zarak the name for Scorponok's Headmaster/Japanese Repaint. I'd argue pairing it with Soundwave is an odd choice .... a black version of Jida as Ravage would be a more G1 appropriate pairing. Still it gives someone a licence to do a purple/blue Soundwave with black Jida as an exclusive later to satisfy the G1 fan boys.

The dark blue, almost purple, colouring on Zori doesn't shout a previous version of the toy but it says Decepticon all over. In case you're not sure there's a round purple Decepticon spark crystal on top of the scorpion mode. There's lots of small pieces on the frame which leads to a well articulated animal mode. The arms bend at the shoulders & elbows. The tail bends at the base and twice in the middle. Unfortunately the joint at the base is near useless in animal mode because sticking out the tail is a 5mm peg. It's ok when the first tail segment points straight up because the peg sticks out the back of the toy but when you start to bend the first tail segment back the peg rests on the floor after about 1- degrees and then, the further you fold the tail back, raises the rear of the toy up. Very annoying. In addition to that peg there's a peg on each outer edge of the claw in this mode plus a 5mm socket on the end of the tail and one on each side of the top of the body. The one on the tail is very useful for attaching extra Microns such as Balo's drill mode.

Fortunately that tail peg can prove quite useful: bend the base of the tail back 90 degrees and fold all the other segments forward. Spread the claws to the side and fold the head back 180 degrees exposing a 5mm peg hidden in the body. What do you end up with? Effectively an Arms Micron version of Scorpulator's weapons mode! And since the peg is a 5mm one then Devastator himself should be able to hold it.

Zori's documented weapons mode fold the head up exposing the peg, the legs down under the body and straightening the tail out behind the body to form a long gun barrel. The weapon is then held by the peg at the base of the tail or by lowering the peg sticking out the rear of the toy.

That's a big big long gun. It does look almost a little unwieldy as a hand weapon and the two joints along the barrel are a little off-putting. But mounted along Soundwave's jet mode it looks OK. The end of the gun barrel is the 5mm socket from the tail which gives you the opportunity to add further Microns (and again Balo is a natural choice to form an even longer weapon though obviously the weight will start to bend the gun barrel down at the joints.

The long neck on the weapons mode reminds me somewhat of the alt mode for Laserbeak, Animated Soundwave's partner so maybe just maybe the pairing was intentional and Prime Soundwave has guitar rock god ambitions....

Serviceable intentional weapons mode, very decent homage bonus weapons mode and superb animal mode. Probably my top Decepticon Arms Micron so far.

Zori & Soundwave were released in Japan on 28th April 2012 as Arms Micron set AM-09

Terrorcon Zori

Zori's first repaint outing came with Terrorcon Bumblebee, an evil black repaint of Arms Micron Bumblebee. Zori swaps his purple/blue for clear purple.

Now I like the Prime Bumblebee mold. So I'm severely trailed by the existence of this toy and have been manfully resisting the urge to buy it just for the clear purple Micron. But boy do I want it.

Terrorcon Bumblebee was an AEON stores exclusive in Japan released on August 10th 2012 and falls outside the regular Arms Micron Numbering pattern.

AMW-10 Zori M

Zori's next appearance was as Zori M (Zori Metal) in the Arms Micron Weapons series. Here he's coloured silver grey in a colour scheme that's probably a tip of the hat to Movie Scorponok.

Zori M was released as Arms Micron Weapon AMW-10 on 29th September 2012 effectively killing any lingering need I felt to own the Arms Micron Soundwave. This is the first version of the toy I actually owned and the one I've used to write this review. But it won't be the last.....

Note, while we are on the subject of the September AMW releases, the interesting tally between the Arms Micron numbers for the original toys and the Arms Micron Weapons numbers for their recolours:

Soundwave & Zori AM-09
Zori-M AMW-10
Bulkhead & BH AM-10
Arcee & Arc AM-11
Arc-S AMW 12

Since Zori also appears in AMW-14 it might have been nicer to drop his individual release and replace it with Zamu who's only individual release was as a limited edition (and now expensive to obtain Promo). Then each toy could have had the same Arms Micron Weapon number as it's original Arms Micron release!

AMW-14 Arms Micron Ultimate 5 Piece Set D Zori

To seemingly close the Arms Micron Weapons series Takara announced two Arms Micron 5 packs one for the Autobots and one for the Decepticons. The Decepticon set consists of new recoloured versions of Gora II, one of AM-15 Darkness Megatron's Microns, Gul, AM-07 Starscream's Micron, & Ida, AM-18 Airachnid's Micron, Noji, AM-14 Vehicon's Micron
and a new version of Zori making Zori the only Micron (so far) to appear in two Arms Micron sets.

Both TakaraTomy's promotional images and the box for this toy show Zori in an off white colour so it was somewhat of a surprise to discover that the release version of Zori was cast in clear plastic. It's a fantastic choice because there are clear scorpions in nature: do a google search and you'll find some pictures.

Fab repaint, in fact this entire box looks tops.

Future Repaints

Despite Zori being the most repainted Decepticon Arms Micron with 4 variants there's room for a good few more. Green for Scorponok, black for Black Zarak/Beast Wars Scorponok. The idea of a Red Scorpion (google it) seems to be common without a lot of basis in nature so a red variant would be nice. And then translucent versions of all of the above would be nice - a clear red would be a homage to Botcon Japan Double Punch/

Either way there's room in my collection for more colour variants of this toy!