Archive for category Unofficial Release
Part the Second is going to be less like a sequel and more like bookends for Part the First.
Sitting at work and watching the UPS Tracking link like a hawk, I was actually surprised how fast I got him. Sitting at work, I received a message from my wife,
“I have your box.”
I contemplated coming down with a sudden bout of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo disorder (I’m pretty sure that’s the medical term for “Lazy”) and heading home, but stuck it out — that’s the selfless kind of person I am. Just to give a sense of the size of his box, I put it up next to my one and a half year old kid.
He then dutifully and excitedly started pointing out the Autobot symbol, repeatedly saying “Ah-bot! Ah-bot! Ah-bot!” (I am quite proud of the fact that “Autobot” and “Optimus” were some of his first words). The box is huge. I was originally concerned that I didn’t know where I would store it, but have since decided the box itself is display worthy. I really, really, reeeeeeeally like the Takara boxart.
Not that Hasbro’s isn’t nice, it just lacks the dynamism of Takara’s.
As was widely reported, this release has put a little bit of a crimp in the style of the MISB collectors. Due to an undisclosed “QC Issue”, TakaraTomy was forced to open each box and then tape it back up, this lead to dreaded “double-taping” that sets most MISB collectors’ teeth on edge.
Not such an issue with me, I believe Transformers are meant to be transformed so I sliced right through that tape. Out slid what came to be something of another surprise with this Encore release. Long determined to be environmentally detrimental, the styrofoam used to pack many of the larger G1 toys has been all but removed from modern packaging. Fortress Maximus, however, comes packaged in a styrofoam coffin, similar to his original release.
Finally, it was time to see my very own Fortress Maximus.
First, we must go back in time for just a moment. Before there was a Fortress Maximus in my collection, there was Fortress Minimus.
When I was under the clear understanding that my acquisition of an actual Fortress Maximus was about as likely as a lasting Cybertronian peace treaty, I settled for the next closest thing I could find. By “closest” I mean “oddly well detailed at about one eighteenth the size”.
This miniaturized knock-off version of Fortress Maximus actually fit in well with my shelf of Primus and Unicrons, but could now be retired because he had been rendered remarkably redundant.
Meanwhile, back at the unboxing,
I pulled everything out of the box and inspected it meticulously; transforming him between his three modes to make sure. From armless Spike/Cerebros to a defective hip ratchet on Fortress Maximus himself, there has been a smattering of serious quality problems being reported on the forums. I am quite pleased to say that I found none, serious or minor, on mine.
Having relieved that particular anxiety, I was ready to set up the camera and take some serious photos. Oh… wait. What’s that colossal sheet of shiny silver paper that’s almost the size of Fortress Maximus?
Stickers. 55 of them to be precise.
Determined to push through my least favourite part of reissues, I actually found far fewer instances of needing to trim down improperly cut stickers than normal, which helped the process along. There’s been a couple posts on the forums about buyer’s remorse, but – just short of needing the money for an unforeseen life-saving operation — I can’t fathom how that could be. He is magnificent.
Does he lack articulation? For a G1 toy, not particularly. There are those that can truly be called “bricks”, like Powermaster Optimus Prime or Star Convoy (two of my favourite Transformers toys), but Fortress Maximus’ limited articulation is on par with a good portion of the G1 ’bots a fourth his size.
For someone big enough to just step on most of his enemies, even without counting his handheld dual laser cannons and photon rifle he is fairly bristling with weaponry. Guns rotate out all over the place.
He also carries the massive Master Sword.
No, not that Master Sword, this one.
An accessory exclusive to the Takara release, the Master Sword played a very prominent part in the Headmasters series as the weapon that allowed Fortress Maximus to finally defeat his rival, Scorponok. In the cartoon, they are roughly the same size, but in toy form, Maximus towers over Scorponok.
Had this been the scale used in the show, Headmasters would have been a very short series indeed. Probably the worst offender of scale tomfoolery in all of Transformers history, writers just didn’t know what to do with an Autobot this big. His fictional appearances mostly bring him down in size; how far down varies between different fictions and something even varies within the same fiction. His most recent appearances in the IDW comics put him at just a little bit bigger than the average Transformer.
I really like the sculpt on Fortress’ head mode, I was surprised to find that Cerebros was not necessary when attaching Fortress to Fortress Maximus, with the instructions even showing that he can be placed in the shoulder compartment to the right of the head.
When in robot mode, Gasket and Grommet can be parked in his feet.
Now, Fortress Maximus may have been intended as a city ‘bot, but out of all his modes Headmasters uses his third mode most often. The somewhat indeterminate “battle station” in the Hasbro instructions or the space-faring Battleship Maximus of the Headmasters release (or “Spaceship Bruce” as the hilariously bad Omni Productions dub called it) is the least convincing of the modes, despite being the one with the most cartoon representation.
Though this is the mode that makes use of the little cockpit at the top of the tower.
I was quite surprised by how low the price was when the Encore release was announced, but even as reasonable as I found it, unfortunately it’s still prohibitively expensive for a number of fans. This makes me sad because I can finally understand why this has been a grail piece for so many. I know I have already written it once, but magnificent is really the only word I can use for him.
Playing with toys.
This is a concept that is natural while mostly inconceivable to your average toy collector. This is how these toys were meant to be used,
But for a good portion of them, this is how they will be displayed,
Almost seems a shame. Well. Almost, until something like this happens,
That is the tiniest of holes poked in the sticker on the main ramp — stickers that go over molded detail are one of the many areas that the original G1 stickers fail as a concept. It was done by my son because all he wants in the world is to drive “truck” (a.k.a. Gasket) up and down the main ramp.
Which I will allow him to do all he wants.
When he is eighteen…
Or maybe never. The jury is still out on that one.
The Year of the Really Big Autobots, Part Two… Part One. Gasket and Grommet (Cog), Spike/Cerebros, Cerebros/Fortress! Fortress Maximus!
2013, which I have declared the year of the “most surprising, most glee-inducing releases in recent Transformers history” rolls on with TakaraTomy’s Encore Release number 23. Unless you’ve been living under a Transforming rock for the last six months, you are probably well aware of the identity of the most recent release in the Encore line.
Measuring 22 inches tall, Fortress Maximus was, until very recently, the largest Transformer toy ever made and an unattainable holy grail to many, myself included. Add in the fact that I had just finished watching the Headmasters cartoon series not too long before he was announced and I pre-ordered him so fast I was dizzy. Though I did not shell out the extra money for the “early shipment” that some online retailers were offering, I was champing at the bit to get my hands on him.
Never having owned his toy (I was 13 when he was originally released and was told I was too old for Transformers), the closest I have come to him is pictures on the internet or the few I have seen from a distance on dealers tables at Botcon. Not having the commitment nor the fortitude to stomach the cost necessary to complete a vintage Fort Max, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that the closest I would come to having him grace my display was the KO of Spike that I owned. His Encore release was as welcome as it was completely unexpected.
Encore reissues are, of course, completely a TakaraTomy affair — especially with this one as there’s just no way he can pass the Draconian “Drop Test” laws of Hasbro territories. One thing this means is that the smaller robots that come with the gigantic ‘bot aren’t the human Spike, binary-bonded with the Headmaster Cerebros, who in turn transforms into the head of Fortress Maximus. No, here we have the small robot Cerebros who forms the head of Fortress, who then forms the head of Fortress Maximus. That’s why, when referring to the toys themselves, I will be using their Takara release names.
As I wrote about at length in my Hardhead post, I fully support Cerebros being a robot in place of the squishy human Spike. As much as I absolutely love Headmasters, Targetmasters, and Powermasters; I still consider the use of highly modified organics for partners to be both illogical and painfully awkward.
As first impressions go, I expected Fortress himself to be larger, though I’m not sure why. Fortress Maximus is as righteously huge as I was anticipating, so the size of the robot that makes up his head should have been pretty easy to extrapolate.
Despite his smaller size, he still has the full three tumblers in his chest for his Tech Spec readout. Putting the “Max” in “Maximus”, he has all tens across the board.
Despite having Spike, I never really thought about just how very wrong the Marvel comics and US cartoon got his head model — shown in the bottom of the last panel in the comic book image above. Headrobots did do a set called “Centurion” that included updated versions (along the same lines as their “Hothead” G1 Hardhead update) of both the original G1 toy as well as the way he looked in the US fiction.
As much as I love Headrobots, I didn’t really feel the need to pick this set up. I can imagine it was awesome for anyone that had assembled almost all of a vintage Fortress Maximus but maybe missing Spike. Though I wouldn’t mind owning just the US cartoon accurate one, I honestly like Takara’s Fortress better than Hasbro’s Cerebros, they managed to get much closer to the look of his toy.
Another difference between the Takara and Hasbro releases is the inclusion of two versions of the Master Sword, the sword “given to the just ruler”. One of which is a smaller version, meant to be wielded by Fortress.
On the subject of things I wasn’t aware until I acquired him for myself included his third mode: ”communications room”.
Errr, well, it works better when he combines with his section of Fortress Maximus in city mode.
A good reason for me not knowing his second alt mode was that he actually transformed into an alt mode in the US cartoon’s “Rebirth“. That alt mode just happened to be a miniaturized version of Fortress Maximus’ full city mode.
That’s not too surprising, as there really isn’t anything consistent across any of his fictional appearances.
I’ve looked far and wide, but can find no evidence for or against Takara’s release using the same name as Hasbro for the two components, Gasket and Grommet.
By extension, as far as I know, Takara released their combined robot mode under the same name as well, Cog.
The part that I don’t understand is — beyond the application of wheels and tank tread stickers — no real attempt was made to make these guys transform or even look much like two separate alt modes. Gasket, the upper half, does marginally better; if seen from the side, he looks like a vehicle of some sort. He can also function as a heavily armed
wheelchair vehicle for Cerebros.
I still think he was meant to go the other way ’round. He looks like a torso on wheels the way the instructions show him. Reversed, he looks like a well armed pickup truck type vehicle.
Grommet on the other hand makes no attempt to look like anything more than a pair of Transformers legs with tank treads driving around.
It would have made so much more sense to put holes on Grommet to allow him to carry Cog’s arms as guns in alt mode.
That’s Fortress Maximus’ supporting cast, the primary inhabitants of this particular Autobot city.
I have to admit, Gasket and Grommet are a bit of a let down, though Cog is a solid enough combined mode. They are definitely no Scamper, Six-Gun, and Slammer, so that’s one area that Fortress Maximus loses out to Metroplex. Well, the only area. I’m saying this while being very partial to Metroplex, but Fortress Maximus is just a wonder in city mode.
As my kid will attest, this mode has non-stop play value.
One of the added benefits to leaving the guns off Gasket is that he’s able to fit into my favourite gimmick of city mode. I knew that Fortress Maximus had a somewhat awkwardly placed rotating handle on his crotch but never knew what function it served. In city mode, it sits in the back, tucked away behind the main tower and nestled between the two rear cannons.
Turning the crank raises and lowers an elevator inside the main section of the fortress.
Once the vehicle elevator has been raised, pushing the red button next to the ramp opening tilts the back end of the elevator platform up, ejecting the vehicle at surprisingly high speeds.
City mode has a prison for dealing with those dastardly Decepticons.
Also, a helicopter pad.
There’s a turning radar arrary, presumably powered by Fortress in his “communications room” mode. Of course, there’s also a million other nooks and crannies for the other inhabitants, ’cause this is a
Next up is part two of “The Year of the Really Big Autobots Part 2″ — Part 2 of Part 2? Maybe I should have just called them Part 2: Hyper Fighting and Part 2: The New Challengers.
Anyway, up next: the Big Bot himself.
Not exactly the greatest mystery of Transformers history, but definitely an interesting identity crisis. G1 and Dark of the Moon Spike Witwicky and Backfire
Most humans are not allowed in my display, let alone subjects of blog posts, but with the obvious exception of Minerva and Shūta showing up last week, I feel now is as good a time as any to take a quick look at Spike Witwicky; mostly spurred on by a Human Alliance release from early in the Dark of the Moon line (so there is an actual Transformer involved in this post too).
We start at the most recent release that actually represents the beginning of the cycle; last year’s Toys R Us exclusive Masterpiece Optimus Prime. Hasbro’s release of TakaraTomy’s MP-10 mold included the tiny Spike figure.
He represents the beginning because first there was Spike from the original G1 cartoon.
Followed by Spike from later in the G1 cartoon by way of the 1986 movie (or “Sparkle” in the hilariously bad Omni Productions dub of Headmasters.)
Which leads to the amusing little sidetrack homage of Spike from Animated.
Separately from the cartoons, we have Spike from the original G1 comics.
Who was caused by Spike from the G1 toys. By “caused” I mean he was inserted in the comic at the time pretty much to sell the new Fortress Maximus toy.
Previous to Spike’s appearance in the comic, there was just his younger brother, Buster.
Another amusing sidetrack, either Spike or Buster may or may not also be Butch from the Forest Rescue Mission coloring book.
None of them is – or perhaps all of them are – necessarily analogous to Sam from the recent movies.
Sam is given the nickname of “Spike” in the credits of the Latin American Spanish dub of the movie (presumably from an earlier draft of the script) but Sam Witwitcky can’t be Spike Witwicky. Mostly because this guy already is.
Packaged in with Human Alliance Backfire, Spike Witwicky is definitely not Sam. Just to add a little confusion, Sam Witwicky was later packaged in the Autobot Daredevil Squad, which also includes a repaint of Backfire. How do I know Sam is not Spike? Sam can be described as a number of things (“twitchy” comes to mind) but Spike Witwicky is described as a “specialist in urban warfare”.
Sorry, Sam, I’m not buying it, I don’t think you have a place in the Spike Witwicky group.
So, how did I end up on this ultimately fruitless path of trying to figure out where “Spike Witwicky” fits within the movie-verse’s Witwicky family? To make a long story short (too late!),
Initially there were a couple things that really caught my attention with this guy. First, he has great light piping in his head. Second, the two guns that he comes with are really freakin’ cool.
Third, his Can-Am Spyder Roadster alt mode is great. Just like Human Alliance Icepick‘s snowmobile, I don’t have any particular attachment to the vehicle itself, just that the sculpt is really well done.
The best part about him, though, is his third mode.
Speaking of Human Alliance Icepick, before I get to Backfire’s third mode, I need to clear up a moment of extreme stupidity on my part in my Icepick post. I derided him for his third mode, something I declared to be a “Hoverbike with a chainsaw”; which, as awesome as it sounds like it should be, doesn’t really make any sense.
Now I’m not saying I’m the smartest person on the planet, but normally I’m not this obtuse. Somehow, despite showing the shield mode of Drag Strip in the very same post, I managed to miss the post at the back of Icepick’s third mode. As in: the handle. The handle meant to be held by larger Transformers.
And not just a Targetmaster weapon, a freaking chainsaw with guns. That is awesome. Seriously.
It finally dawned on me what the best point of the Human Alliance basics line really was when I saw Backfire’s third mode.
I knew I had seen this before and a quick search of the Dark of the Moon concept art proved me right.
I think I’m actually going to go back, revisit this line a little more closely, and see what other awesomeness I might have accidentally glazed over.
The biggest conclusion I have come to, though, is that I would have cared so much more (or at all, I guess) for the “Human” part of Human Alliance if they had used humans I cared about at all. By this, of course, I mean: why is there no G.I. Joe Human Alliance Transformers?
Some oddities and downright mistakes from the earlier years of Transformers have understandably perpetuated. The easiest example of this would be the accidental swap of Rumble and Frenzy’s colours. Those of us that knew them first as toys are used to Rumble being red and Frenzy being blue. Those that saw them first through the cartoon tend to expect the reverse. It makes sense that such a big discrepancy would still live on with the G1 cartoon being such a formative piece of fiction for a lot of fans.
The perpetuation of other mistakes makes far less sense. ”Minelba” is one. Minerva, an actual name that makes actual sense, has been consistently incorrectly transliterated or “romanized“ from Japanese into English on her packaging and bio card. The reasons for this are blatantly obvious to anyone with even a passing familiarity with Japanese, but the original intent of the name is clearly Minerva, named after the Roman goddess of (among many other things) medicine.
And so the error lives on. You’ll even find fans that insist the name is truly Minelba, despite all evidence to the contrary. Of course, this is the same fandom that can sometimes exhibit… inappropriate reactions to the fifteen-year-old girl.
Minerva only appeared as a Takara release in the Masterforce line and her lack of a Hasbro release leads to her commanding excessive sums of money on the secondary market. The most recent Ebay auction as of this writing closed at $570 for a toy with heavy sticker wear and missing her seat/helmet and two smaller blasters. The end result being that just short of a reissue, a Minerva would not be gracing my display any time soon. This made me sad as I had just recently watched Masterforce and liked it a lot.
Then at the end of 2011, Reprolabels announced it would be doing a free giveaway project of stickers for both Minerva and another Headmaster Junior, Goshooter. To remove the inevitable flood of these sets showing up on Ebay, they stipulated that you must own either of the toys to qualify for the free project. Due to the somewhat rare nature of the two, they also allowed those that owned the Korean knock-off versions to be eligible. To prove ownership, you just needed to take a photo of you holding one or both and e-mail it in. As the closest I would reasonably come to owning these two, I ordered the knock-offs and had my wife snap a quick phone picture and I was in.
The KO versions are certainly not without their flaws. Minerva has a black torso rather than white, a gold face with black eyes rather than yellow with blue eyes, and the guns on the side of the head have the handle at the wrong angle.
The difference in the face didn’t really bother me at all, in fact I especially like the gold, but the black chest had to go. So I tried my hand at a little painting and I don’t think it came out too bad.
One place that was difficult to lay an even coat was on the robot’s chest, due to the smaller details. It doesn’t really make too much difference, as the other thing the KO lacks is the tech spec mechanism in the chest altogether so there’s not really a reason to open it. Not that it stopped me from putting the SPD/STR/INT sticker in place.
Another difference with the KO is the lack of the tiny paint application on the face of the Headmaster figure itself.
A cool detail about the Headmaster Juniors, as well as their Hasbro counterparts, is that even though the smaller size of their robots didn’t allow for three separate tumblers for the tech spec reader, the heads still had the proper tooling. This means plugging Minerva into Brainstorm’s body will give you Minerva’s tech specs of SPD: 7, STR: 5, and INT: 8.
The Reprolabels sticker set really gets a chance to shine in alt mode.
Minerva’s alt mode would be considered an emergency rapid response vehicle — the smaller, faster vehicles used either along with an ambulance or in place of an ambulance in cases were transporting patients isn’t necessary. The KO has black windows in place of the original’s blue painted windows, but retains the hole placements necessary to weaponize this otherwise unsuspecting emergency vehicle.
Also still there is the opening roof to allow Minerva to ride along in alt mode.
Minerva’s fellow Headmaster Junior Shūta Gō has a little bit of naming confusions but only to those not familiar with the convention of using the surname before the given name. In Japan, his last name of Gō would come first; thus Gō Shūta gives way to his Transformer’s name of Goshooter. The KO of Goshooter has a much darker blue and he has a silver rather than light blue face.
In alt mode, Goshooter now sports a red and blue light bar, the original only had light blue on both ends.
Shūta rides along in alt mode.
He also has holes for weaponizing his alt mode.
Just like Minerva, Shūta is missing the paint application from his face.
If the KOs are any indication, Minerva and Goshooter are quite solid pieces. They are both very well proportioned and reasonably well articulated for Generation 1 era toys.
I just need to find Cab to complete the trio. Luckily there was no difference between the Hasbro and Takara releases of the Cab/Hosehead mold. Unlike Minerva and Goshooter, tracking him down actually seems reasonably possible.
While researching Hubcap’s complete lack of U.S. fiction appearances for the first 18 years of his existence, I came across the best description of his circumstance by way of the TFWiki:
“Despite his availability with the rest of the ’86 Mini-Vehicle assortment, Hubcap was omitted completely from the original cartoon. No character model was drawn up for him, and he was similarly absent from the Marvel Comics The Transformers Universe bio series, despite having a full-length bio written by Bob Budiansky. The reason for this omission is unknown.”
This created a situation where, very much like Scoop, I was aware of Hubcap, but not overly invested in adding him to the collection. The third character/toy that falls into this same category is Jackpot. It was Jackpot and Hubcap’s appearance in the TFCC story Gone Too Far that made me want to pick both of these guys up.
Out of the two of them, I liked the hapless but affable con artist Hubcap best. Though the chances of getting a Classics-style update to Jackpot are even more remote now that we are getting a toy of Animated Jackpot through the TFCC Figure Subscription Service, we got an updated Hubcap through the amazing work of Venksta over at Renderform.com.
With colours to match either Reveal the Shield Bumblebee or Legacy of Bumblebee Bumblebee, I went with the Reveal the Shield release.
Though the Legacy release has a closer yellow colour to his G1 incarnation, I wanted to differentiate Hubcap further from my Classics Bumblebee, that and the orangish red in his face goes really well with the slightly orangish yellow of the body.
As with the other replacement head sets for the Minibots, the “Hub Scout” set includes some serious weaponry for Hubcap.
Though Hubcap is more of a talker than a fighter, so they seem excessive. The generic ”Cruiser” hatchback alt mode does a good job in place of his G1 toy’s Porsche 924 Turbo.
It’s not the size of your ‘bots but the power of the blaster they form that counts. The Mini-con Space Team, Armada Astroscope, Payload, and Sky Blast!
Though Armada did bring some terrible Transformers T.V., it also brought the advent of one of my favourite factions. It’s the reason that with Transformers Prime I have bought an unprecedented amount of the Takara-Tomy line alongside the Hasbro line.
Mini-cons. I love ‘em. I especially love the Space Mini-con Team.
(Just in case you question my use of the phrase “terrible Transformers T.V.” I give you the above image of the Space Mini-con team.)
Ummm. Yeah. Where was I? Yes, the Space Mini-con Team toys.
Astroscope, the satellite, Payload, the rocket transport, and Sky Blast, the rocket, typify the great things that were done with the Mini-cons, especially the three-pack sets that were not only similarly designed but specifically made to work together; with Payload capable of carrying Sky Blast.
It would have been better if Astroscope could then attach to Sky Blast in a meaningful way, but with Transformers scale being what it is, you have to just imagine that Sky Blast is actually carrying Astroscope inside of him.
Additionally, they were one of the set that formed a third, combined mode. In their case it is the Requiem Blaster, the most powerful weapon in the Armada universe and arguably one of the most powerful weapons in all of Transformers.
The Requiem Blaster was such a ridiculously powerful weapon that it uses “the power of a super nova’s energy, a quasar sonic output, or a black hole’s gravity”. It was so named the Requiem Blaster because it has the ability to quite easily kill Transformers (though in some rare cases, they get better.)
Some random knock-off company decided to make over-sized versions of the team in pretty accurate decos and when I saw them at a discount store and confirmed that they could also form an over-sized Requiem Blaster, I couldn’t pass them by.
Though they suffer from some weak joints typical of knock-offs, they are otherwise of surprisingly good quality.
They also include all of the right pegs for allowing Payload to carry Sky-Blast.
They are over-sized silliness, but I like them, and they definitely make for a much more intimidating Requiem Blaster.
I’ve already established that Jazz is the coolest cat you know, no matter what dimension. I think Jazz would most likely be my favourite Autobot were it not for Wheeljack. Of all the dumb things I did early on in my Transformers collecting, not picking up G2 Jazz ranks up there with my most regretful. Seeing him on the shelf with his mind-blowing new paint scheme was just too much for my still G1-centric mindset.
Judging by a lot of the online auctions I have seen out there, Jazz’s new sticker set proved somewhat challenging for kids. Or at least I hope it was a kid that did this.
To fill this hole in my collection for now, I broke down and bought a cheap Reveal the Shield Jazz and ordered the G2 Jazz upgrade stickers from Reprolabels. Moments after receiving the stickers in the mail, the news hit the internet that the very unlikely choice had been made to release an official “G2 Jazz”. This, naturally, annoyed the heck out of me because I am not a customizer in the least and Reprolabels’ G2 Jazz set required using rubbing alcohol to remove actual paint applications from Jazz. I would much rather just buy an official release and be done with it.
Then it was announced that G2 Jazz would be in a set and an exclusive.
Then it was announced that the price would be surprisingly reasonable.
Then a picture was released.
So… wait, what the heck is that? Nothing against the deco, per se, but that is not even somewhat G2 Jazz. My choice to go the semi-D.I.Y. route now seemed to be a very, very good choice.
As I said, I’m not customizer. I would like to say that removing the red line across the bottom of the front bumper was intentional, but it was actually removed accidentally. I considered getting paint and tape and putting it back, but I actually think I’m ok with it. It pulled attention away from the other added details, and this rainbowed wonderfulness is fine without it. Granted, it wouldn’t be G2 without a big, brightly coloured gun with overly elongated missile sticking out of it.
He still looks amazing in robot mode, still one of the best designs of recent years. Most of the deco ends up on his back in robot mode, so he’s definitely going to get displayed in alt mode; sporting speakers, of course.
This guy isn’t the only Jazz to hit my collection since the last Jazz post (which is pretty impressive considering there were already five different Jazz toys in that post). At this year’s Botcon, free Kre-O sets were being given away and thanks to some trading with an awesome friend (Hi, Rebekah!), I ended up with Jazz rather than a second Prowl — or was it Mirage?
Of course, all I wanted was the Kreon, the construction set itself didn’t even warrant building the alt mode and has joined a growing pile of Legos for playing with in imaginative, none-instructions-directed ways.
Next up is another dose of Jazz rating an “OMG!” on the adorable scale. Naturally, the ever-popular culture maven was given a release in the new Bot Shots series.
His alt mode is very reminiscent of the original “Penny Racer” style G1 minibots.
Which brings us to the most recent Jazz, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Jazz. Like a lot of the characters in the game that were turned into toys, Jazz is pretty much as close to his game model as you can get.
The only thing his toy is missing, is the sense of bulk his game model has, but that would have been difficult to achieve in while still keeping his alt mode streamlined.
His alt mode keeps the sleek lines of his traditional mode but dispenses altogether with the concept of being a passenger vehicle.
He also is one of the rare toys that doesn’t look goofy with his weapon mounted on his alt mode.
I’m assuming that’s just because Jazz is as inherently cool as he is.
If you read the comments from yesterday’s post, you’ll notice that I accidentally left someone out. I had thought to mention the Reveal the Shield release of “Gold Bumblebee” but couldn’t initially figure out where to work him into the post, thinking that I would go back afterwards and slot him in somewhere. Clearly it slipped my mine, as Flywheels from over at Random Toy Reviews kindly reminded me. Incidentally, Flywheels is going to be picking up the other Goldbug upgrade set, the RF-006 “Gold Scout” set from Azim Venksta over at Renderform, so hopefully we’ll see a post of that version over at Random Toy Reviews sometime soon?
Following the two most likely unintentional Goldbug homages of shiny gold G2 Bumblebee and the 2010 shiny version of United Bumblebee was an outright homage in the form of “Gold Bumblebee”.
Initially I was going to say that I was disappointed in this little guy, but the more I looked at him today at work (all of the little legends class, Cyberverse, Robot Heroes, etc. go to my work display), the more I liked him. Yes, he has Bumblebee’s smiling, happy face rather than Goldbug’s stoic faceplate, after all he is just a repaint of Classics Legends class Bumblebee, but taking the trademark blue in the head and extending it to the legs and arms is a really nice touch. Just out of curiosity I googled around to see if anyone did an upgrade head for this little guy and low and behold I found a TFW2005 Radicons post that shows a really good custom job.
Not needing any customization at all is Gold Bumblebee’s alt mode, with its sparkly, gold-flecked paintjob.
I do believe Classics Goldbug would approve.
In the 1986 Marvel comics crossover between G.I. Joe and the Transformers, imaginatively titled G.I.Joe and the Transformers, a case of mistaken intentions (a hallmark to this day of Marvel comics) has unfortunate consequences for Bumblebee.
Three issues later he is brought back in a newly created, more powerful body and declares,
Umm, alrighty then, Goldbug. Good luck on that respect thing.
Anyway, the following year Goldbug received a toy with a very distinct blue version of his original faceplated G1 toy headsculpt. Unfortunately — despite the “dignified” new name — this toy was a Throttlebot, falling somewhere between the simplistic small-child focused Cyber Slammers and Gravity Bots lines sold for the recent movie. About a year and a half later, when the Classic Pretender toyline was scheduled for release, the comic book writers had to get Bumblebee back into his original body. Having been deactivated half a year earlier by a superpowered Starscream, it wasn’t too difficult to have Ratchet rebuild Goldbug,
But why did Ratchet rebuild Goldbug back into Bumblebee? Was that the only schematic Ratchet had on hand to go off? Was there some sort of restriction due to how quickly he had to rebuild him?
No, Ratchet just liked old Bumblebee better than new Bumble-Goldbug-bee. For no other reason than “personal preference” Ratchet negated Bumblebee’s one attempt at “growing up”. That was effectively that for Goldbug. Ironically, G2 Bumblebee would be a little bit of an homage, intentional or not, being a literally Gold Bumblebee.
Another homage came in the form of Takara’s 2010 rerelease of United Bumblebee, also in shiny gold. I skipped over it as between Hasbro and Takara it was the fifth use of this mold for Bumblebee. I would almost regret that decision when two different 3rd party groups announced they were releasing upgrade heads to turn your gold United Bumblebee into Goldbug. Then, just before the release this year of Beelzeboss’ (the folks that did the awesome Cliffjumper upgrade head and weapons) “Growing Pains” set BigBadToyStore suddenly had the shiny gold UN-07 United Bumblebee in stock and for a price of $30! For an import at all, that’s pretty darned good, for a two year old import, that’s great, so I jumped on it.
Unfortunately the shiny gold paint used is prone to scratching and this toy has scores along the hood due to being packaged in robot mode.
Still, even with that flaw, he makes for a splendidly blinged-out Classics Goldbug, a figure we most certainly won’t see out of Hasbro due to Bumblebee’s new status as the flagship character of the Transformers brand. Of course, I say that but thanks to the somewhat recent IDW comics, Goldbug in their universe has been established as a completely different character unrelated to Bumblebee. Though this approach is understandable, it is a little bit disappointing in its disregard for the origins of the original Goldbug.
Beyond his stint in the Marvel and now IDW comics, Goldbug did make one more fiction appearance resulting in another wonderful toy. In an interesting twist, as part of the Botcon 2008 Shattered Glass set we get our Evil Autobot version of Bumblebee in the form of “an upgraded form and a new identity as Goldbug”.
Based on the Cybertron Hot Shot mold with a suitably blue new head mold, somewhat ironically it appears it took going evil for our intrepid young Autobot to actually grow up and get some respect from most of the other Autobots.
Also, with the theme for Botcon 2012 being the invasion of the Classics-verse by the Shattered Glass folks, this right here could very well happen some day.
Make like the Fatboy Slim song and “Build It Up, Tear It Down!” G1 and G2 Constructicons combine to form Devastator!
These have been my Constructicons for so long (almost 20 years since I bought them new in a Toys R Us) that I no longer recognize them as specifically the G2 Constructicons. They have simply been the Constructicons this entire time, to the point where these other guys — despite being the originals and the colour scheme you see in almost every fictional appearance — don’t seem quite right to me,
I think part of the reason it is so difficult to recognize the yellow Constructicons as G2 is the fact that construction vehicle are supposed to be yellow. One of the hallmarks of G2 is that the colour schemes are predominantly non-real-world accurate. When I hear “G2 Constructicons” I think of this.
Thanks to the awesome Arkvander over at Mostly Transformers Redux, I have some shots he provided of his recently acquired set of orange G2 Constructicons. Purportedly only released at KayBee Toys, the orange Constructicons are more of the wilder, fantastic paintjobs we’ve come to associate with G2. Like their fellow G2 release, the launchers remained neutered.
Setting aside flying front-end loaders and exceedingly armed cement mixing trucks, construction vehicles can sell toys to kids, especially in a toy line primarily aimed at boys. Therefore, just their alt modes alone could have made the Constructicons a very popular grouping of Decepticons regardless of the Generation.
As much as I might poke fun at some of the weaker robot modes in the bunch, they’re still pretty good by G1 and G2 standards.
However, ever since their first appearance — be it on toy shelves for some or in the episode “Heavy Metal War” for others — the Constructicons have been remembered and beloved for one thing: being the first ever Transformers combiner group.
“Constructicons! Merge for the kill!” were Megatron’s words in the 1986 movie as this behemoth tore into Autobot City. These guys were the only combining team until the appearance of the Decepticon Menasor and the Autobot Superion. However, they remained the only combined form made up of six members at the time. The “Scramble City” style combiners, like Defensor, that came afterwards and even most of the non-Scramble City types like Predaking were larger robots formed by only five components. It wasn’t until 1989 when the six component super robot would return.
There aren’t any notable differences between G1 Devastator and his two G2 releases, unless you count those neutered launchers for forearms.
Which I do, as it has removed Devastator’s ability to perform a good, ol’ fashioned, spring-loaded rocket punch.
Now, I have reinforced the fact that the yellow G2 Devastator is really my Devastator and will most likely remain so. This was to such a degree that after buying the recent reissue of G1 Devastator, I actually had a moment of buyers remorse, questioning my decision. Here’s where that “perfectly timed” part from my first Constructicons post comes in. Along comes two 3rd party companies vying for my attention, vying for my dollars, and giving me a real good excuse for having purchased the Encore set.
Devastator add-on kits are nothing new. CrazyDevy has been doing piece after piece to enhance your Devastator for a while now. However, buying all of their pieces individually can get quite costly. Recently Junkion Blacksmith, makers of the awesome JB-01 and JB-02, a.k.a. Headmaster Optimus and Soundwave, and a group called XTransbots both announced all-in-one add-ons to articulate the heck out of your Devastator. Comparing the pictures, I found I liked the design of the JB-07 Power of Destruction Devastator Upgrade Set by Junkion Blacksmith better. It also didn’t hurt that it was $15 cheaper and came with both cartoon and comic book accurate heads.
Another piece of cartoon accuracy that has become a mainstay of these Devastator upgrades is a replacement purple mixing drum for Mixmaster. For reasons I can’t seem to determine, this set came with not only the purple mixing drum, but also another green one? If anyone can tell me what I am supposed to do with the second green one, it would be very appreciated.
It’s a great piece that now allows me to have a more cartoon accurate, highly articulated Devastator standing next to my original, wonderful yellow G2 Devastator so I couldn’t be happier.