I will return to regular posts in January, I have been working on a revamp of the site (with a possible name change? TBD… maybe not) as well as doing some reconfiguration to my collection display in the ‘BotCave.
Yes, I have taken to calling the room in which the Transformers and assorted other robots and mecha are displayed the ‘BotCave.
‘Cause I’m a nerd. (I don’t know if I have communicated that fact sufficiently.)
Trying to do all this has just lead to sporadic delays in the posts and having to scrap almost all of the re-design I have done so far because it’s unfocused and I just don’t like it.
Barring some minor changes here and there, I’ve had the same basic setup for the last three years on the website. I’m thinking it’s time for a change. As far as the name, I am toying (haha!) with the idea of integrating the name ‘BotCave into the site, but I’m leaning more towards keeping ‘TilAllAreMine. We’ll see.
So, no new toy posts until the beginning of the year, just a couple Happy Holiday! posts, I’m sure. Also, Paul and I recorded a Robots in Cahoots! blogcast that hopefully will go up soon.
I was able to hold off buying the voyager class Transformers Prime Predaking because of the promise of a “Beast Fire Predaking” toy in a class called “ultimate”. Prime is the first time ”ultimate” is an actual toy class but only by virtue of their being two figures at this size and neither having the word “Ultimate” in their actual name. The previous uses of “Ultimate” include the Movie (2007) Ultimate Bumblebee, Revenge of the Fallen Ultimate Bumblebee Battle Charged, and Dark of the Moon Ultimate Optimus Prime. This time around, the Ultimate class is made of Beast Fire Predaking and the somewhat awkwardly named Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Beast Hunter Optimus Prime. For the sake of both my wallet and some semblance of scale among my display shelves, I opted for ultimate class Predaking but was fine with voyager class Beast Hunters Optimus Prime.
It’s still only a vague representation of scale seeing as Predaking’s alt mode was absolutely massive in the cartoon described as having “a wingspan of two football fields” in one of the cartoon’s commercials. Granted, as that would give him a total wingspan of well over 600 feet, that seems like a gross exaggeration, but he’s massive nonetheless.
Still, I love dragon Transformers and it was awesome to get a dragon Transformer with a “HUGE 21-INCH WINGSPAN”.
How do I know he has a ”HUGE 21-INCH WINGSPAN”? ‘Cause the box wasn’t shy about telling me so.
Of course, Predaking, leader of the Predacons in Prime, takes his name and deco from the combined form of the original Predacons, G1 Predaking.
Predaking’s robot mode is impressively original, while staying within the Prime and specifically Beast Hunters aesthetic. His tail is rounded and works well as a tail in dragon mode, but only somewhat as his sword, the Infernum Blade, in robot mode.
Along with his sword, he wields two bow-shaped launchers.
These can also be attached to his wings in alt mode, though they look quite cumbersome.
Wonderfully detailed, his body and both wings are etched with cyberglyphics.
Cybertron Scourge has the distinction of being not just one, but two influences on Prime Predaking’s toy releases. First, the voyager class toy I planned on not buying includes two detachable, dragon-headed guns that can be placed on his alt mode to mimic Scourge’s cyber-key gimmick. Second, the voyager class toy was released again, this time in the Predacons Rising subline as “Cryofire Predaking”, matching Scourge’s “Cryo Scourge” release. Damn. So much for not buying the voyager release.
For those that don’t want to shell out for the ultimate class toy, the voyager class is actually a decent replacement. The Cryofire release adds a dusting of silver to the edges of his wings, correcting my biggest complaint about the first voyager release; the very plain-looking purely orange wings.
His robot mode is just as intricately detailed as his much larger incarnation. This time his tail is thinner and makes a much better sword than it does a tail.
Those detachable dragon-head cannons can be connected and used in robot mode.
This release retains some of the cyberglyphics on the wings and chest but adds Cybertronian writing to his arms spelling “Cryo” — strangely in Autobot characters.
Though I have stopped buying the Cyberverse toys for characters I have larger toys of, I just had to buy the Thunder Clash inspired Cyberverse Beast Hunters Optimus Prime, which came in a two pack with a Cyberverse Predaking done in purples and red. So I have now have this character at three size classes in three completely distinct decos.
I’m not sure if there was an inspiration for this odd colour palette on Predaking. This time around his tail forms a gun instead of a sword.
For a commander class Cyberverse toy, his alt mode doesn’t have much articulation to it.
Articulated or not, he adds one more to my favourite beast-related alt mode.
Hic sunt dracones.
Here [be] dragons.
Carrying on traditions, starting some new ones, and wearing your friends as clothing. Cybertron Optimus Prime!
I have already stated before that I found Cybertron unwatchable, but quite enjoyed Galaxy Force, however I loved almost all of the Cybertron toyline. Cybertron Optimus Prime — and by extension Galaxy Force Convoy — are a wonderful, wonderful toy.
Though Armada Prime has the Matrix molded into his robot mode chest, Energon Prime replaced that with the new Spark of Combination. Cybertron returns to the Matrix of Leadership and goes as far as including a removable one with the toy, this time housed in a rather intricately detailed Matrix chamber in his chest..
He even gets a unique Cyber Key, the gimmick for the line, shaped like the Matrix as well.
Though most aspects of adding gimmicks to a toyline whose very existence is based on the gimmick of transformation make me roll my eyes, one very cool part of the Cyber Keys were the codes specific to the Transformer the key came with that could be entered on the Hasbro website to unlock images and text. Optimus Prime’s code unlocked some cool historical information,
“In the history of the Transformers brand in the United States, there have been over 25 different versions of Optimus Prime! If you add in the various versions of Optimus Primal – there have been close to 40 different versions of the classic red, blue and silver hero!!! “
Continuing on another tradition established by Robots in Disguise, Armada, and to a different extent, Energon, Optimus has the ability to merge with his trailer. Though now he has added an impressive wingspan to his super mode, something that would then go on to become a tradition of its own.
In a wonderful bit of detailing, along with the wings that fold out from the sides of his head, you can raise a faceplate to cover his mouth in Super mode.
Granted, you can do that not in Super mode, but that seems kinda pointless. His super mode also has a seemingly endless supply of weaponry with guns rotating up at his knees and the massive cannons rotating forward from his backpack.
Using that aforementioned Cyber Key, smaller guns can be folded out from one cannon and, my favourite part of the toy,
His original Hasbro instructions actually have his wings rotated around the wrong way, with the guns over the top of his shoulders instead. This is incorrect, as the cartoon and every subsequent release of the toy would prove out.
Another, slightly more disconcerting, tradition various Optimus Primes picked up at some point was wearing their friends as power-ups. Cybertron Optimus is no exception. The first would be Leobreaker, where the fearless leader wears his lion teammate in place of his own arm in “Savage Claw Mode”.
The next was Wing Saber, who pretty much makes a backup flying backpack for the Autobot commander in “Sonic Wing Mode”.
You can give Optimus Rhisling, Vector Prime‘s sword, to recreate the final battle between Optimus and Galvatron at the tail end of Cybertron and Galaxy Force.
(Pretty sure 8 years is enough time for spoilers to expire, but just in case: SPOILERS!) For those that haven’t seen it, in a very satisfying end, the ghost of Vector Prime shows up, bequeaths his sword to Optimus, and then Optimus impales Galvatron on it, killing him dramatically.
(But enough spoilers.) His smaller alt mode is a truck, with his trailer able to form a gun emplacement.
Combined with his trailer, Optimus has a vaguely firetruck looking alt mode; albeit a heavily-armed one.
The thing that actually got me thinking about Cybertron Optimus, ultimately leading to this post, is my recent purchase of a three-pack of Bot Shots that came with a Jump Shot toy clearly designed after him.
I’m not too big of a fan of the Jump Shots and I really don’t like the Spin Shots, but they continue to knock it out of the park with the headsculpts. I particularly like the expression on this guy, with one eye opened wider than the other.
So, one more toy in my collection gets his very own Mini Me.
There’s something somewhat strange about the fact that the Beast Wars incarnation of Ultra Magnus is making an appearance in a post before I’ve even gotten around to devoting a post to the City Commander himself. But…
I can’t deal with that right now. (Ha! Straight to the oldest joke in the book in no time flat.
Mostly because there’s this to deal with,
Ok, that’s not entirely show-stopping. Mammoth’s are admittedly pretty awesome, but setting aside his fabulous shade of blue, we’ve had mammoths in the franchise for roughly fourteen years now, ever since Big Convoy first showed up in Beast Wars Neo.
What is absolutely, remarkably, splendidly show-stopping is the deco of the robot mode.
Not just that he is made to look like Ultra Magnus, but the fact that he is Ultra Magnus.
Rather, he is Ultra Mammoth. In essence, this figure — this character — exists to make that pun.
Magnus joins the Beast Wars era in the same way Hot Rod and Arcee did, through the BotCon/Timelines fiction. Whereas Arcee gained a shiny new spider alt mode — undergoing the “Maximal Upgrade” procedure — Hot Rod remained the same, or at least he did up until they killed him in Wreckers: Finale Part II. Ultra Magnus
has chosen was forced to undergo the Maximal Upgrade when he, Prowl, Silverbolt, Ironhide, and Grimlock crash land on a prehistoric Shattered Glass Earth. Though it’s not called the Maximal Upgrade, instead Prowl… well, maybe I should just let him explain.
Maximal Upgrade or not, the end result is the same.
Really the only part of this that peeves me is the legitimacy it gives to previous assertions by IDW in their Beast Wars Sourcebook that the components of Magnaboss were actually G1 Prowl, Silverbolt, and Ironhide. All of that is forgivable when we get the big blue behemoth leading them up.
Unlike the 2.0 version of the Subscription Service — where I was only convinced to sign up once they showed Thrustinator — Ultra Mammoth was the ice cream sundae sitting atop a cake full of awesome. In a group that included the amazing Jackpot, Circuit, Slipstream, Breakdown, and Scourge; Ultra Mammoth has proven to be my favourite.
Though it is sometimes derided for being a “shell-former“, I love everything about this mold. There’s the massive cannon — named “Blue Bolts” after the weapon carried by Robots in Disguise Ultra Magnus – formed from his beast mode’s head and snout that can be left on his back — yet still deployed in battle — or be detached and held.
He has missile launchers in his legs and tonfa fold out from his wrists for some up-close-and-personal beatdowns on Decepticons or Predacons.
Because I tend to store missiles away, I didn’t even know they had changed the legs missiles on this mold from the original design until I read about it online.Apparently now they are wider and don’t sit as far in. This means they can’t be left in when he is transformed into beast mode. You know where they do fit just fine regardless of what mode Ultra Mammoth is in? In the box. Which is where they will stay.
A feature of the mold that took a little bit of explainin’ is the Matrix stored in his chest.
Currently, this has become the main focus of the Transformers Collectors’ Club Magazine’s comic book. Ultra Mammoth and his band of newly minted Maximals, joined by Depth Charge, are on a hunt for a mysterious “Origin Matrix” that resides on this prehistoric Shattered Glass planet Earth. Hopefully they can use this Deus Ex Machina to undo the spreading damage done when the Ultra Magnus native to the Shattered Glass universe used his Terminus Blade to pull the Earth of the Classics universe into orbit around the Cybertron of Shattered Glass, destroying the remainder of Classics universe in the process.
Catch all that?
tl;dr version: TOY!
Being a mold made for Beast Wars Neo, it has a second alt mode, essentially a weaponized version of his beast mode oddly enough.
Not as bad as the Unhorse, but it is still a thing that should not happen.
So that would be Ultra Mammoth, a toy that more than lived up to expectations and that I thought I couldn’t possibly love more; but something else has sprung up in the meantime that I am loving even more than the official Collectors’ Club fiction. Over at Shortpacked, David Willis is writing a self-proclaimed “Beast Wars Doujinshi” (I admit, I had to look up “doujinshi”) about Ultra Mammoth’s birth, as a wholly different character than Ultra Magnus, on regular Beast Wars earth at the same time the Maximals and Predacons are fighting elsewhere on the planet. There is a notable guest appearance by a member of the main Beast Wars cast, but that’s the only encounter he has had so far with anyone. I’m not sure what direction it’s headed at this point or even how long it will be, but I must say I have quite enjoyed the ten parts presented so far.
Tiny terrors! Hun-Gurrr! Windrazor! Rippersnapper! Sinnertwin/Twinstrike! Blight! Cindersaur! Kre-O and Prime Abominus!
It’s Halloween so it only seems appropriate to post a collection of terrifying ‘bots!
Being the only G1 combiner set I have tracked down and completed as a collector and being Decepticons that transform into an odd assortment of creatures, the Terrorcons are one of my favourite sub-groups of G1. When we were told we would be getting dragons from the Predacon contingent of Transformers Prime I was happy. When we were then told we would be getting a Predacon combiner named Abominus I was doubly so. Especially given that their alt modes are all heavily influenced by.
Though I initially started getting the individually packaged ones, I couldn’t pass up the Target Exclusive giftset of all five done with some translucent plastics. With the help of HasbroToyShop.com and a coupon code, I grabbed the remaining three of the regular releases at the same time I grabbed Prime Prowl.
Despite being Cyberverse Legends class toys, they have a great level of detail and a surprising amount of articulation. I just wish they had done Hun-gurrr in Cyberverse Commander class.
His alt mode remains a two headed dragon with twice the appetite.
The only other component of Abominus to keep the same name is Rippersnapper.
Instead of the Shark-Salamander of doom, he is now a bipedal-lizard-thing of doom.
Not too surprisingly, Cutthroat is one to have a full name change. In his place is Windrazor.
Like the name “Cutthroat”, gone is the chicken-monster. In its place is an alt mode head more closely resembling the pterodactyl-like creature of Cutthroat’s G1 cartoon appearance.
The remainder of his body, like the rest of his teammates, ditches the boxy lines for a more organic dragon.
Blot becomes Blight.
His somewhat-sort-of-an-ape-monster-with-a-long-snout alt mode becomes… well, still pretty much somewhat-sort-of-an-ape-monster-with-a-long-snout.
My favourite of the G1 Terrorcons gives way to my favourite of the Prime incarnations. Sadly “Sinnertwin” is either not available or simply deemed not PC enough so he now goes by the far less awesome name of Twinstrike.
A far more detailed Orthrus, his alt mode is so good Twinstrike is one of the only upcoming simplified deluxes I am thinking of buying.
Combined into the mighty Abominus, the amount of articulation in each individual toy allows for different positioning of his “hands”. Essentially you can come up with an approximation that works for you. I like to use Windrazor’s alt mode head as one full hand and then a massive claw from Twinstrike’s various pieces.
A very big missed opportunity here is hinted at in Rippersnapper’s repaint. An homage to his G1 namesake, Prime Cindersaur came packaged with a G1-inspired deco for Smokescreen.
The two G1 redecoes packaged together made this Target exclusive set a must buy for me.
So we have our Prime Cindersaur, where’s our Flamefeather and Sparkstalker? They could have easily done a version of Blight for Sparkstalker and Windrazor in deep blue for Flamefeather and we would have had a complete set of G1 Firecon homages! Instead we got a red version of Blight packaged with Bumblebee and an upcoming bright green repaint as Rot Gut (albeit a great name). Even stranger, we are getting a repaint of Windrazor as the Autobot Divebomb.
Now, by way of a small confession, I have to admit what really lead me to wanting to do this post are the Kreons of these guys. This is because – while everyone else I know are playing the new Batman game — I am utterly addicted to the new Lego Marvel Superheroes game. Addicted to the point of kinda sorta not posting anything other than the podcast last week (sorry everyone!) I recommend the game highly for the adorable fun factor but the hilarious in-jokes are where the game’s true charm lies. Right now I am on an obsessive quest to get enough gold bricks to unlock Dr. Strange. My dream would be the exact same game; only replacing New York with Cybertron and the Marvel characters with Transformers Kreons. It’ll never happen, but can you imagine the fun?
Like most of the Micro Changers, their alt modes are more an abstract suggestion of a thing rather than the thing itself.
Despite their individual selves being patterned after their Prime counterparts, their combined mode takes more than a few hints from G1 Abominus. This includes the stickers for his chest pieces, which are the only stickers I have applied to them.
From towering to tiny, they remain some of the most monstrous Decepticons out there.
Rescued from a spiraling descent into non-release! At least his head and paintjob… Transformers Prime Prowl!
Transformers Prime Prowl represents an interesting intersection between Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters – the toyline portion at least — and Transformers Universe, the
MMORPG MMOW MOBA video game being developed by Jagex.
Summer of 2011, we found out about this MMORPG set in the Transformers Prime universe. A smattering of news and huge delays pushed the release from 2012 to 2013. These news blips were followed by long periods of silence. Then we were told that it was no longer going to be an MMORPG, it was going to be battle arena style, or MOBA, like World of Tanks or League of Legends.
Why the massive change in direction?
“Transformers are about war; they’re about action. They don’t carry gold, bake bread, catch fish, cut down trees.”
Not exactly a promising sentiment from these stewards of the franchise. I mean, surely analogs for these concepts could have easily been found amidst the remarkably lengthy mythos of Transformers? This was then followed by another stint of silence, which was finally broken when the Beta opened in June of 2013. In July 2013 thirteen of the Transformers Universe team were let go as development of a proprietary engine was stopped. At this point Hasbro began “encouraging” Jagex to get Transformers Universe released by year’s end. Year’s end is coming up pretty soon and no word has been heard from the project since July.
Meanwhile, back in the more hopeful year of 2011, there were three huge standees in Jagex’s Transformers Universe area at that year’s BotCon. One that was not identifiable (later we found out he was simply a “Decepticon Fighter”),
One that most were guessing to be Barricade, which turned out be correct,
And one that took no guesswork at all.
The white and black colour scheme, the red crest on his head, the star on his chest, the stern face that just screams logical, reasoned, rational jerk; in other words, this design is so very “Prowl”. Given the status — whatever that might actually be — of Transformers Universe the possibility of this being any more than a future “Concept Art” footnote somewhere on the TFWiki seemed strong. That’s a pity, because the design is pretty awesome, especially the head.
Then that happened.
I don’t remember the first time I saw him, online or at a BotCon, but I do remember instantly loving that headsculpt. As I mentioned in my Botcon 2013 “Toys” post, seeing it in person in the cases reinforced what I was suspecting from the images I had seen: this had jumped to being one of my favourite headsculpts of the entire Transformers Prime toyline. It definitely didn’t hurt that this new headsculpt was put on top of a slight remold of Prime Smokescreen, a toy I very, very much like.
Staying as true to the original concept art as possible, they didn’t feel the need to add a bunch of colour to brighten him up. In fact, the only colour they did give him are the red crest, yellowish-orange eyes (thanks to some great light-piping), and blue lights and highlights on his torso of the concept image.
They left out Smokescreen’s “Shadow Quill” Armor and the “Electronet” piece from his launcher, but they did include his gun and missile. Without the net, the missile looks really odd.
Of course, it is the same mold after all so just because they left the armor piece out doesn’t mean you can’t still put Smokescreen’s armor on Prowl, but why would you that?
Because you can. That’s why.
Much like Hot Shot from the Robots in Disguise Bumblebee mold, I honestly think that as much as I like the original, Prowl actually does the mold better.
It may be because of the headsculpt, or because I’ve always been partial to the high speed police car deco, but the McLaren MP4-12C like design looks really good with the lightbar and the dark blue windows.
I especially like his “Sheriff of the Autobots” faction symbols
It’s a pity he didn’t make it into the show, he would have made busting Smokescreen for speeding into a fulltime job.