Archive for June, 2011
Just to let you know, this post about Sentinel Prime is going to be chock-full of
nuts spoilers. Seeing as Sentinel’s role in Dark of the Moon is rather pivotal, these aren’t your normal sized spoilers, at least one of these is a big, giant, honkin’ huge, spoiler. Not knowing this one thing is pretty much paramount to your complete enjoyment of this movie. If you haven’t already, go watch the movie and then come back to this post. Don’t worry. I’ll wait…
You have been warned.
Heh. Call me simple, but that makes me chuckle.
Sentinel Prime, voiced by Leonard Nimoy, is amazingly rendered in the new movie and his toy, Leader-class sized to do it justice, is a remarkably intricate and faithful reproduction of the ancient Autobot.
It was one of the toys I most eagerly anticipated ever since I saw him in person, during the filming of Dark of the Moon here in Chicago. However, right from that first encounter, I should have known something wasn’t quite right.
See, Sentinel Prime tried to kill me in real life.
As I have a strict no spoilers policy for myself, I managed to stay far away from anything that was TF3 news related. Therefore, I was completely unaware of his existence until I came across this big guy while wandering around the filming last August. (Ok, maybe wandering around the filming at all might be a questionable tactic for someone with a strict no spoilers policy, but how could I resist?) Moments after I took the picture above I asked one of the Production Assistants if I could get across the street you see there. He escorted me across and I walked about five feet from the front of this huge, unnamed Autobot! I was staring straight up into the windshield, marveling at the insane size of the thing when it suddenly lurched forward. Five feet from the front of this colossal fire truck of doom became one foot in a heartbeat; relatively speaking of course, because I’m pretty sure for that moment, my heart stopped beating altogether.
My first thought was to drop to the ground, with its clearance, it would most likely have passed directly over me. The Production Assistant, who — standing in line with the huge wheels — was in more danger than I was, tried to raise his walkie-talkie to his face but instead succeeded in launching it at Sentinel. The walkie-talkie bounced harmlessly off the front bumper, but the fire truck stopped moving. Now some might say it was because the driver actually looked down and saw us. I like to think it was that Sentinel thought twice about revealing his evil intentions too early. The Assistant and I shared a look of, “Well that would have been a hell of a lawsuit” and continued on our way.
Luckily for me, the remainder of my encounters with Sentinel during the filming were from a nice, safe distance.
So I continued on in my blissful ignorance, really wanting that Leader-class behemoth of a toy. Such a faithful representation, not only in robot mode, but also in alt mode.
He transforms into a Rosenbauer Panther Crash Engine, basically an airport fire truck, with an articulated water cannon and button-activated flashing lights and siren.
Seems like a nice, friendly, helpful guy, right? Wrong. This guy is a jerk. After he tried to kill me, combined with the fact that the most recent other Autobot to carry his name, Animated Sentinel Prime, was a complete jerk as well, you’d think I would have pieced this together already.
Thought to be lost when his ship, the Ark, is attacked carrying an imporant Autobot weapon called the space bridge, Sentinel Prime becomes consigned to history as a lauded, fallen hero. Little did the Autobots know how fallen a hero he actually was. The attack was merely a cover, allowing the Ark to use the space bridge technology to teleport away. Meaning to rendezvous with Megatron on the planet where the Allspark had crash landed, fate had other plans. Jumping through space and time, thanks to the space bridge, his vessel finally crash-lands near his intended destination, on Earth’s moon, but in 1963 Earth time. There Sentinel Prime would remain, hidden away, in stasis lock.
Once all of this comes to light, Sentinel claims that his declaring a truce with Megatron in the interest of rebuilding Cybertron was actually a noble endeavor. However, his intentions towards the populace of Earth are anything but. He would have us enslaved to form the workforce necessary to rebuild his home planet. To achieve this, he would use the space bridge to bring the entirety of Cybertron to the vicinity of Earth.
Using his double-sided “Primax blade” and his shield, he proves himself to be a very, very capable fighter.
Once he had spoken of freedom as a right of all sentient beings. Now he was little more than an opportunistic would-be conqueror. I was not sad when he was killed in the movie. This is why you never make pacts with Decepticons, you jerk.
Though I may still love his toy, it will not be standing on display with his former Autobot brethren. It will be consigned to the DotM Decepticon shelf instead.
My big plan was to provide my own snapshots from the filming here in Chicago. However, they all reside on Facebook right now and I have been trying for two days to do a mass-download of the images to no avail. No way I am going one-by-one to 135 photos to download them individually.
In place of a nice, embedded photo gallery, for now I offer the direct link to the Facebook album containing the photos:
The way the link works, you don’t need a Facebook account to view the images.
Next up: Thursday brings us Sentinel Prime and some serious movie spoilers.
Last night I saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon. My plan was to put up Sentinel Prime today in anticipation of the movie’s full release tomorrow. This plan, however, was thwarted by the fact that no post I could make would do him justice without being able to talk about a very, very surprising (well, to me at least) turn of events from the movie. Of course, a good majority of the Transformers fans out there won’t have a chance to see the movie until tomorrow, meaning Sentinel will have to wait until Thursday. Instead, I will be filling in today with the photos I took of the filming for the movie here in my home town of Chicago, but first a spoiler-free review of the movie.
The review: I loved it. Ha! There’s a big honkin’ surprise. Hey, I never claimed to be a movie critic (ugh, who would?)
Fine, I will get a little more specific. I don’t go into movies like this, Transformers or not, looking for Shakespeare. I’m not looking for deep, insightful dramas about the human condition. I am looking for summer blockbuster-style action and adventure. Also, blowing the city I live and work in to rubble was a lot of fun to watch, and just a little scary.
Specific to Transformers, I am looking to watch a live action enactment of my favourite war, that one between the robots that has a bad habit of spilling over to inhabited planets. If you can squeeze some human interaction in there and keep it consistently entertaining, then awesome. In the first two movies, I found Megan Fox’s character of Mikaela Banes to be worthwhile. Obviously she was chosen for other… assets before her acting talent was taken into consideration, but I personally had no problems with her. My wife put it best, “I totally believed she could fix a motorcycle and drive a tow truck backwards.”
Rosie Huntington-Whitely? Nope, sorry, not buying it. Granted, at no point is her character, Carly Miller, presented as being a badass, but the script takes great pains to try to convince you that she is remarkably intelligent. If she is, she has one opportunity to really display it, and instead you get a ham-handed scene between her and Megatron that really should have ended with her squished to a pulp. Miss Huntington-Whitely was hired as eye-candy, which is clearly evidenced by the fact that her mostly not clad rear end is the first part of her you see in the movie. I understand the demographic of this movie and can mostly laugh it away, but what is up with those gigantic lips? What is going on there? Huge. Just distractingly huge lips.
Other human problems? Ken Jeong plays the exact same completely unbelievable, annoying, hyper-angry “asian dude” he plays in everything else and John Malkovich’s character is a complete throwaway. John Turturro’s increasingly lunatic Seymour Simmons is also increasingly unnecessary. His role in this movie was so obviously shoehorned in for no apparent reason other than star power. However, I forgave him; because along with him came my favourite new human, Dutch, played by Alan Tudyk. Though he is as exaggerated as any of the rest of them, he does so in controlled bursts, which allows him to remain entertaining.
Along with Dutch, I continued to be entertained by the Witwicky family and all of their interactions. If there was anything I could ask from the human quotient of these movies, it would be more Judith Witwicky. Julie White is wonderful in this role, she is definitely my favourite human in the movie franchise.
Another thing that remains consistently good is the military — or as is the case in Dark of the Moon, military and ex-military — half of the cast. Lennox, Epps, and the rest of their gun-toting crew are just funny enough but when it comes down to business, they get it done.
That brings us to the reason for the entire franchise: the giant robots. Early on director Michael Bay promised more robot backstory in this installment, and he provides it… a little. Unfortunately we still get virtually no character depth to the Decepticons, particularly in the case of the newly introduced Shockwave. but we do get a story full of self-doubt, recrimination, exploited vulnerabilities, and pure, unbridled self-interest. We are presented with the deadly consequences when those that are truly not made for war are inevitably sucked into the conflict. There was at least one point in the movie that left me heartbroken and there were no humans involved. This movie manages to do what the first two as well as 27 years of comic books have failed to do: meaningful, impactful death. It brings home the real scale of this war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, making it is easy to see and believe the ravaged, lifeless state Cybertron is in and the desperate acts people will sink to, robotic or otherwise, to ensure their survival.
I’ll be very interested to read the opinions of others of this movie in relation to the other two or in relation to other incarnations of the Transformers franchise.
So, get out there and see it tomorrow and let me know what you think.
Next up: I share the photos I took when I stalked the set of the movie while it was being filmed in Chicago last summer.
I’m not sure how many other musical theater Transformer nerds there are out there, but here’s hoping a few get the title of this post.
Just like Megatron, Galvatron just isn’t a Galvatron without a large cannon attached to his forearm. Remember, it was Shattered Glass Megatron that got himself shot in the face and killed, not his trusty, non-sentient drone, Rumbler the tank. Therefore, Rumbler was ready for duty when his boss miraculously returned to life as Galvatron.
So maybe “a tale as old as time…” is a slight exaggeration. Unfortunately “a tale as old as August 8, 1986″ isn’t nearly as charming or poetic. That’s the date The Transformers: The Movie came out in movie theaters. Of course, when it came out in 1986, the movie was actually set in “the future” of 2005. I guess technically that makes this tale only 5 years old, right?
All chronological tangents aside, 1986 was when we saw two momentous occasions in Transformers history that would from then on become recurring themes.
First, the death of Optimus Prime.
Second, the near-death reformatting of Megatron into Galvatron.
As we all are thankfully aware, Optimus got better, but went on to die at least once in many, many Transformers universes since then.
However, Megatron never “got better”. In that particular timeline he would remain in his new, more powerful, less mentally stable body. Subsequent Megatrons would choose a less death-induced version of this reformatting. In R.i.D., Armada, Energon, and Cybertron Megatron’s reformatting into Galvatron is actually an upgrade provided by consuming some sort of power source, not a bargain with the devil to keep himself from going offline like in The Transformers: The Movie.
This brings us to the reverse universe of Shattered Glass, and the heroic Megatron.
SG Megatron was one of the souvenir add-on toys, packaged with SG Rodimus and SG Divebomb, and sold at Botcon 2008. He is a remold of the Energon Megatron mold, replacing the head with a new headsculpt based off of G1 Megatron’s original concept art.
He comes with the original mold’s accessories, a small tank based of the design of Armada Megatron’s alt mode. The tank, called “Rumbler”, is an homage to Optimus Prime’s non-sentient drone Roller. Rumbler can be attached to Megatron’s arm, another homage, this time to G1 Megatron’s arm-mounted fusion cannon.
Just like other uses of this mold, he also comes with an energon blade that can be inserted in the back of Rumbler to serve as a blade weapon for Megatron.
Rumbler can then catch a ride on the back of Megatron in his space cruiser alt mode.
Turns out there is a traitor amongst the Decepticons and with one shot to the face Megatron is killed, dealing a terrible blow to the Decepticon forces. Of course, as history tells us, you can’t keep a good Megatron down, so Shattered Glass Megatron (the very definition of a “Good Megatron”) goes old school with his reformatting.
Unfortunately for the evil Optimus Prime’s assassination attempt, four of the five members of Nexus Prime are on hand to witness the betrayal. Their attempt to use their energon manipulation powers to resurrect Megatron results both in their reunification back into Nexus Prime as well as the bringing Megatron back to life as the mighty Galvatron.
Botcon 2011 saw the Transformers Collectors Club make up for killing their previous exclusive by offering SG Galvatron as a souvenir add-on toy, packaged with his fellow Shattered Glass Decepticon, Thundercracker.
A repaint of Cybertron Evac, this mold was destined to become Shattered Glass Galvatron from the moment a Fun Publications employee custom painted his own from a War Within Springer (itself a straight repaint of the original Evac toy.) Finding himself on earth after being brought back to life, Galvatron proves that looks can be deceiving, showing his new body to be even more powerful than his previous form.
A lot of the images online I have seen of this guy shows him not fully transformed. For some reason, people don’t like to rotate the sides of his alt mode’s tail down, which hinders arm movement. Being based on a Cybertron toy, he has missile launchers that flip forward when his cyberkey is inserted in either robot or alt mode.
Along with the deployable missile launchers, he also retains the toys other two gimmicks, button-activated spinning blades, and the aforementioned retractable string gimmick in his rescue hook. (Have I mentioned I love retractable string gimmicks?)
So, yeah, this week may still see another (very small) post with a picture of Galvatron sporting Rumbler on his arm.
It happens sometimes that a toy is released within one line but fits better in a newer line. Timelines Skyquake is one such toy, basically a toy ahead of its time. Released as a souvenir add-on as part of Botcon 2009′s “Wings of Honor” set, I never really had an interest in Timelines Skyquake. I am not a fan of that particular set altogether; which was quite convenient, as I did not attend Botcon 2009. The way I ended up owning him was: earlier this year, when I obtained Timelines Deathsaurus from the Botcon 2005 “Descent into Evil” set, I had decided I wanted, no… make that needed his “faithful” lieutenant, Timelines Leozack. Leozack had received an update as the free attendee exclusive for Botcon 2009. When I started looking around for one to buy, I actually found someone selling both Leozack and Skyquake for the price I was willing to pay for just Leozack.
Once I actually got Skyquake in hand, I am so glad I did.
See, Timelines Skyquake is an update of the original G1 Skyquake, a 1992 European market exclusive. If that sounds familiar (possibly from yesterday’s post?), then you can already guess where this is going. Put those protective goggles back on, it’s another attack of the 90′s!
G1 Skyquake suffers rather famously from the dreaded Gold Plastic Syndrome, and just short of spending money on a toy guaranteed to crumble to dust in my hands, the original mold will have to live on in the form of the repainted Universe King Atlas on my shelves.
That’s why, in hindsight, I am happy I ended up with his Timelines incarnation. With Leozack displayed next to his boss, Deathsaurus, Skyquake doesn’t have to be orphaned as the only other Botcon 2009 toy in my collection. He can just jump ahead a year and hang out with the 2010 G2: Redux toys. He certainly holds his own in the 90′s deco department.
He is a repaint of the Energon Starscream toy and comes with the sword and gun combo. As his original character didn’t come with a sword, I keep that part packed away and let him carry his very large gun. His wings flip up to be able to use his missile launchers in robot mode.
The only annoying thing about this mold is the damage detail that is very purposefully built into it. In the plot of Energon, Starscream was actually a ghost and the damage he displays plays a part in that. Every reuse of the mold since has had to deal with the damage. You can see it on his left wing and the left side of his tail in alt mode, which become his right shoulder intake in robot mode.
Other than the annoying “battle damage”, which has actually added to the bright paint scheme in this case, this guy will proudly take his place amongst the G2: Redux folks. It’s not too far of a stretch anyway, considering that G2: Redux actually occurs within the same universe as the Wings of Honor story.
Put on your protective eyewear, it’s the attack of the 90′s! G2 Ramjet and SG (G2: Redux) Thundercracker!
To say Generation 2 was a misguided effort is both an understatement as well as only half of the story.
Everyone looks at the garish colour choices and immediately jumps straight to “OMG, that is sooooo G2!!!” However, years before 1994 when the G2 Combaticons showed us the brightest, least camouflaged military vehicles ever, the original Transformers line was still going on in Europe and producing some of the most eye-searing colour schemes possible.
The most obvious example of this?
One of our old, reliable Seekers decided to ditch the familiar blue and silver with red trim in favour of… well, this:
Sorry, I really should have warned those with sensitive corneas. Yes, that is Action Master Thundercracker; released “only in European and Australasian markets” in 1991. As the über-example of the 1990′s colour craziness it is somewhat ironic that the most “G2” Transformer of all time isn’t actually from G2.
However, his place amongst the European exclusives made him a prime target for the Transformers Collectors Club’s G2: Redux line. Of course the TCC folks weren’t just going to announce him as a Botcon exclusive and be done with it. The first glimpse of the possibility of the return of Action Master Thundercracker was in a Twitter post from the G.I.Joe Convention in which they gave us a glimpse of the upcoming Animated Cheetor and Wildrider along with [insert Joe dude's name here]. What was most interesting, though was a garishly coloured jet in the background.
Though a good portion of the fans had been requesting an Action Master Thundercracker update for years, this picture didn’t engender happiness in the fanbase. The reason for that is the choice of mold. The Cybertron Thundercracker mold is pretty universally regarded as the worst Seeker mold ever. All of this came to a head when people took a better look at their calendars and the date of these posts, April 1. The TCC folks came clean and declared the “accidental” reveal to be an April Fool’s Day joke.
Though some fans choose to go as far out of their way as possible to spoil themselves on any potential surprise, I am most assuredly not one of them. I did follow all of the official reveals of the Botcon 2011 boxset, but stayed far away from the rumor mill inevitably spoiling any of the Souvenir set toys. It wasn’t until I was standing in line for registration that Botcon’s announcement over Twitter let me in on the fact that we were, in fact, getting an Action Master Thundercracker update and he was absolutely glorious.
The Classics mold was the only one that was ever going to do this guy justice and the Botcon folks knew that. From the top of his golden head to the tips of his brilliant green feet, Thundercracker embodies everything that was gloriously inappropriate about Transformer colour choices for the first half of the 1990′s.
As an Action Master he had that whole “non-transforming-Transformer” thing going on (stupidest toy gimmick of all time), so now we get to see what Action Master Thundercracker looks like transformed.
One of the best stories from the Botcon 2011 TFCC toy panel was Lanny Latham talking about how he had the hardest time convincing someone that this was the finished product and not one of the test shot prototypes [For those that don't know, prototypes in the test shot phase are typically cast in random colours.]
The only real problem I have with him is that — despite it being the only logical place for this toy to land, fiction-wise — this is not G2: Redux Thundercracker. As evidenced by his faction symbol, a red Decepticon symbol, he is actually Shattered Glass Thundercracker.
Now, as far as the fiction is concerned, I understand this move. There is absolutely no way you can convincingly explain why in the world G1 Thundercracker has adopted this colour scheme. There just isn’t enough Forestonite in all of the fictional universes combined to make it believable. Also, there is a precendent as Thundercracker in his Action Master colours made an appearance in the 2008 April Fool’s comic “Shattered Expectations” as a member of the Heroic “Mayhem Suppresion Squad”. Still, he will always be G2: Redux Thundercracker to me.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have G2 Ramjet.
Though he is still inappropriately coloured, his colours are far more subdued. (Besides, it’s not like any of the G1 Seekers, Coneheads and originals alike, had appropriate military jet colour schemes to begin with.)
As one of the original G2 toys I own, I was ecstatic when TFCC announced at Botcon 2010 that G2 Ramjet was going to get a G2: Redux update as one of the two 2011 Club exclusive figures. Much like Thundercracker, they knocked this one out of the park.
One of the things I learned in the TFCC toy panel this year is that the TFCC guys have more leeway when it comes to paint applications and they used that to full advantage in this case. What appears as stickers on the original’s knees, hips, fuselage, and wings are now paint applications on the updated version. They then used stickers to duplicate the shiny details on his feet and shoulder intakes. They even go a step further and replace the G1-style Decepticon symbols on his wings with painted G2-style symbols.
Though his boxart fails to mention it, his bio places him squarely in the G2: Redux story, along with a Forestonite-induced power. After being dosed with the stuff, Ramjet now finds that he can “sheathe himself in a whirling, drill-like forcefield while flying”, further allowing him to live up to his name.
This guy is such a perfect update, I have nothing at all to complain about… well, about the toy. My one point of contention is with that aforementioned boxart.
What the heck, did they let Pat Lee draw that thing? That’s one hideously bloated, squatty robot. Setting aside his boxart (in this case literally, it will go in a box hidden in a closet somewhere), I leave you with one more shot I call “When the 90′s attack!!”
p.s. Keep an eye out tomorrow, the nineties might not be done with us just yet.
There are some deep, dark crevices in Transformer history that are better left unexplored. Windcharger, it turns out, inhabits at least one of them. His original G1 toy looks harmless enough:
The head on his toy isn’t much to look at, and his card art doesn’t do much to help the matter.
I’m assuming that’s why, in his cartoon appearances, he was given a face.
Other than his questionable choice of activity while off-duty, Windcharger was a mostly unremarkable part of the cartoon and comic book. It was, however, his cartoon depiction that led to him having an actual face when he was recently given an upgrade in the Reveal the Shield line. Windcharger proved to be the most difficult of the end-of-the-line RtS toys to get ahold of. He was well worth it, though, he’s a great toy and a wonderful update.
Character-wise, I don’t remember much of him from his background appearances throughout the cartoon or comic book, the first piece of Windcharger art I can remember actually making an impression on me was an unofficial piece done by the super-talented Matt Kuphaldt. Titled “Return to Sender”, it shows Windcharger using his trademark weapon, as described in his bio:
In robot mode, Windcharger’s arms act as the positive and negative poles of a magnet. He can cast powerful magnetic fields at distances up to 700 feet. He can levitate a 10-ton block of steel at that distance. He can attract objects that are affected by magnetism toward him or repel them. At closer distances he can rip them apart.
(Pay close attention to that last part, it will come back up.) In Kuphaldt’s piece, Windcharger is using his magnetic ability to return two missiles, presumably in the direction of the Decepticon that launched them at him.
Just a brilliant piece of artwork, you should definitely take a look at the rest of his stuff. RtS Wincharger takes the magnets and turns them into flip-out weapons that replace his hands.
Both also include rungs for use with C-Joint weapons, as you can see in the image below, the rungs can be used with his weapons out, or when they are folded in and replaced by his hands. Overall, a very, very worthy update of our impulsive little magnet-handed Minibot.
Thanks to him being a Minibot, G1 Windcharger transforms into a somewhat cartoonish looking Pontiac Trans Am. RtS Windcharger now transforms into a made-up muscle car that combines elements of about four or five current actual models.
Despite the somewhat caricature-like look of his alt mode, I don’t think that anyone’s going to be making fun of G1 Windcharger any time soon. In 1986 a book was published titled Deadly Paradise. A mystery involving Decepticons cloning Autobots and framing them for acts of destruction. Everything is going along fine until the Autobots get a chance to mount an escape, knocking out Decepticons, when on page 27, Windcharger murders Starscream.
“Windcharger flew to the rescue, grabbing Starscream in his huge arms and squeezing him with such magnetic might that the Decepticon screamed for the very last time.”
Yeah, careful with those little, quiet types. ‘M just sayin’.
I am aware that you’re not supposed to make fun of people with disabilities and — at least in Transformers — robots are people too.
There are plenty of examples of robot speech impediments in Transformers. There’s:
- “Me, Grimlock “and other Dinobot’s inherent inability to grasp grammar or proper sentence structure;
- Blurr’s superfasttalkingallthetimeboyohboyitsagoodthingthisisn’tannoying.
- The Insecticon Shrapnel’s vocal tic that makes him repeat the end of his sentences, sentences.
- Warpath peppering his speech, rather inconsistently, with “Ka-pow!”, “Zowee!”, and other vaguely onomatopeiac exclamations.
Wait… Robot Tourettes? Now, even as a kid I recognized that Tourette Syndome was an exceedingly lame speech impediment for a robot. You would think that a race of robots that are scientifically advanced enough to delete most of their “personality subroutines to leave more room for science” would be able to cure themselves from exhibiting the vocal symptoms of Tourettes.
Now, some may argue that Warpath doesn’t actually suffer from Tourettes. His utterances are not palilalic (repeating oneself, like Shrapnel), echolalic (repeating others), which only leaves coprolalic (uttering “obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks”). My argument is that when you are surrounded by a shell-shocked race of robots that have been at constant war for millenia, suddenly and without provocation yelling “BLAM!” in a crowded room is a good way to incite panic and therefore falls under “socially inappropriate”.
To tell the truth, though, a good portion of why I want to believe Warpath exclaims “Wham! Bang! Warpath’s on a roll!” is because beyond a recognized speech impediment, the only other reason that Warpath might do this is just that he wants to. That would just be ridiculously annoying. So, I go on accepting that Warpath suffers from a vocal disability because that way I can still like him as a character and not want to tie his toy to the closest explosive device I can get my hands on.
Something I recognize now but didn’t catch as a kid, if he does have Tourette Syndrome and he transforms into a tank (a vehicle with a turret, ha!) that’s just too damned clever for words.
In G1, Warpath was one of the minibots, like Bumblebee, Cliffjumper and my favourite minibot, Powerglide. Warpath was another of my favourite minibots, maybe it’s something to do with his decidedly non-standard-tank colouration of red.
Maybe it was the fact that he had a cannon for a chest in robot mode.
Whatever it was, I loved the little red tank despite his character’s annoying speech pattern. This was one of the reasons I was exceptionally unhappy when his Universe Legends class release in 2008 turned out to be an end-of-the-line toy that I never once saw in stores.
Though I might go back and fill in that particular hole in my collection, the need to do so has dramatically decreased thanks to this year’s Generations release. Ironically also end-of-the-line and somewhat difficult to procure, Warpath was one of the last three of the current Generations run, with Wheeljack and Thundercracker.
And he is amazing.
The headsculpt is spot-on, the transformation includes tread feet and treads on his arm, as well as his cannon protruding from his chest. The great thing is that his cannon now recedes into his chest so the full length of it does not awkwardly protrude. Pushing his cannon in also has a sort of auto-transformation as it causes his head to pop up. Though they have added some much needed colour variation, he is still predominantly red.
He also includes a number of rungs for use with the new C-Joint weaponry, though his own shoulder weapons are actually hard-mounted to him and swing out in tank mode. I like to think that this new, grown-up version of Warpath has gotten help and is now Tourettes-free, but his tank includes two call-signs that suggest that might not be so.
One side reads “Z0W-333″ and the other reads “KA-90W”, a cute little nod to his G1 incarnation.
Though some complained about his new tank mode being the futuristic “H-shaped” tank style, I have never found a bright red tank to be all that realistic to begin with, so I am digging it. Also, I am a big Halo fan, and by extension, a big fan of the M808B “Scorpion” Main Battle Tank of which Warpath now bears a slight resemblance.
It’s almost enough to make me buy one of those little Spartan minifigures in Red that come with the Halo Megablocks sets to hang out with Warpath. Speaking of which, someone needs to do an official Halo/Transformers crossover.
Now that is a Human Alliance I could get behind.
At Botcon in 2005 a panel was held displaying some of the “TF Rarities”. This included the proposed, but never released Universe Toxitron.
A repaint of the original G2 Laser Optimus Prime done in amazingly garish (and awesome) colours, sadly Toxitron would never see the light of day due to the fact that the Universe line was swiftly running out of steam. He was then used in Botcon 2007′s “Things you’ve never seen before (and will never get)” display.
The morning of my flight out to Pasadena for Botcon this year, I checked my phone to see an announcement by the Botcon folks over Twitter in which they named one of the souvenir sets as “Toxi./SS”. I immediately thought “Toxitron?!?!” This naturally lead me to suspect a repaint of the recently released Reveal the Shield Optimus Prime. Being a new mold based on the G2 Laser Optimus Prime, it seemed like the most obvious answer.
What I forgot to take into account was this year’s theme of Animated.
I was in the Botcon registration line later that same day when my phone went off again. It was Botcon twittering images of the exclusives.
Animated Toxitron in all his glorious pea-soup and clashing purple! The best part is that his bio then sets him up to be a failed clone of Optimus Prime. He is powerful, leaks toxic fluids, and dumber than a nail. He wields illegally modified copies of Optimus’ weapons, the ion axe and toxic sludge spewing cannon.
Acting the opposite of the heroic Optimus, this failed clone is pretty much the Animated universe’s answer to Bizarro, the anti-Superman. Toxitron even tends to drive backwards while in vehicle mode. True to his toxic nature, his paintjob features splotches of oozing, dripping toxic fluids.
All-in-all the souvenir exclusives this year went from awesome to even awesome-er, with this guy standing right near the top of the pile. There was only one that trumped him, by having an even more garish paintjob.
But that’s a post for another day.