Posts Tagged Arms Micron
So, it looks like the last of my blog post publishing problems has been wrapped up and things should start appearing every Thursday like they’re meant to. For anyone that missed it because of the two Gizmodo posts, I did finally get my Insecticons post to show up. Enjoy!
In the Beast Hunters line there were three toys I was looking forward to the most and one I was looking forward to the least. The first of the three was Smokescreen, the last of the three will be Beast Fire Predaking, the Ultimate Class dragon expected later this year. In the middle are the remaining two: one I was eagerly anticipating and one not-so-much.
What I found was that the one I wasn’t looking forward to at all is actually quite good and the one I was looking forward to is indeed fantastic.
I actually feel a little bad for Bumblebee at this point. He’s been done so many times that you would think that he could get a good long break from that same yellow and black look, but no. Sure, he’s gotten a couple “stealth” releases here and there, but the vast, overwhelming majority have stuck steadfast to the very strict homage. This wouldn’t be too bad by itself, but once you mix it with the sheer number of toys he received on the shelves since his front-and-center role in the 2007 movie; a tinge of animosity can begin to grow.
His Beast Hunters release had it even worse, being a retool of a previous toy. Granted he is heavily, heavily retooled. In Beast Hunters style, he is festooned with the requisite stabby spikes, but he also has new hood detailing, missile carrying racks added to both car doors, and a 5mm hole added to the car roof for mounting weapons.
More specifically — though he comes with the Robots in Disguise release’s arm guns — it’s for mounting his new “Eagleshot Bow” (not to be confused with the weapon of Beast Hunters Optimus, the “Eaglefire Missile Launchers”) for which he comes with six missiles.
He has a new “armored up” headsculpt which basically adds a cool crested helmet to his previous head and giving him a birdlike visage.
One more major retool he received is that the hinge that lets his roof fold up and tuck away better is removed. The end result is that part of the roof sticks up further in the back on the Beast Hunters release. However, this takes away from the awkwardness of the one part of his Arms Micron and Robots in Disguise releases I didn’t like; the thin panel that juts up behind his head.
So, I am glad to report that even with his yawn-inspiring yellow and black paintjob, the rest of him is surprisingly good.
Not surprisingly good: Shockwave. He is decidedly not surprising in the fact that he is beyond good, he is amazing. What is surprising, is that somehow he accomplishes this while overcoming a very serious handicap. No, not his lack of depth perception or the huge cannon where his left hand should be; those particular “handicaps” are an intrinsic part of Shockwave.
No, his problem is his alt mode. While it’s very reminiscent of Animated Shockwave, it’s a strange half-tracked, spindly suggestion of a tank rather than an actual tank.
For a voyager, I definitely don’t expect to see his arm and hand mostly dangling from the bottom of his alt mode — a problem he shares with fellow Prime Voyager-class release, Dreadwing. At least Dreadwing’s hands stick out in the back, Shockwave’s is right there in front. He definitely isn’t doing the “H-Tank” category any favours.
The other thing he shares with Dreadwing: his robot mode more than makes up for any alt mode deficiencies.
Furthering the Shockwave homage in a very clever way, one of his tank treads unwraps and attaches to this gun arm to mimic his G1 release’s cannon tube.
Also, this mode is impressively large, fitting for his character in the show, but as he towers over Megatron, not fitting for the actual scale of the show.
Though some didn’t like the Deluxe size release for War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron Shockwave, I always thought it was appropriate for his smaller “Scientist Class” size in the game itself. The difference between these two is almost like before and after shots of some sort of augmentation or upgrade.
Shockwave’s gimmick is a gun feature that expands while it spins. There is no built-in way to lock it open.
Shockwave shared Smokescreen‘s Beast Hunter feature, having his extra armor pieces as flexible, removal add-ons.
Though, like Beast Hunters Soundwave, I’m not sure why one of the Decepticons needs the Beast-y armoring, but his will go somewhere in a bin like Smokescreens as it doesn’t really add much to either mode.
Really, though, what could they have possibly done to improve on this monstrous presence?
Ok, now I’m just confused. Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Soundwave and Ravage! Arms Micron Soundwave, Laserbeak, and Zori!
Beast: a term for a Transformer with an alt mode resembling an organic creature.
Hunter: a term for one who hunts.
Ergo, Beast Hunters:
a.) a Transformer with an alt mode resembling an organic creatures who hunts.
- or -
b.) a Transformer who hunts other Transformers with alt modes resembling organic creatures.
When the concept for Transformers Prime Beaster Hunters first started to show, we knew that the Decepticons had employed the help of the Predacons, an ancient race of Transformers with dragon alt modes, to find and destroy the already beleaguered Autobots. Basically, a.) beasts who hunt.
Then the Beast Hunters toys started to show up. A good portion of whom were Autobots covered in spikes and equipped with pursuit and capture weapons. Basically, b.) hunters of beasts.
Alrighty, either this season is about Decepticon-aligned beasts that hunt Autobots; or Autobots that hunt Decepticon-aligned beasts. Or both.
Wait. Soundwave is quite decidely a Decepticon-aligned Decepticon. Why is he geared out in beast hunting equipment when the beasts are on the same side as he is?
WHAT IN THE NAME OF PRIMUS IS THIS SHOW ACTUALLY ABOUT?!?
Ok, kidding aside, yes, I realize this look for Soundwave as well as the recently released Beast Hunters Starscream probably won’t actually make it into the show. This goes double, given his current status on the show, for the upcoming Beast Hunters release of a season two favourite, Dreadwing.
With his wild colours and oversized, spring-loaded launcher, Soundwave is a prime example (see what I did there?) of how Beast Hunters is turning out to be something of the “G2” phase of Transformers Prime. Especially his paintjob.
Far more than Beast Hunters Wheeljack, and definitely more than any of the Beast Hunters Autobots out now, Soundwave and the other Beast Hunters Decepticons are just a mostly incoherent riot of colours. It’s even more stark a contrast when compared to their original forms.
Also like Wheeljack, slight changes have been made to Soundwave’s headsculpt to add more angles and protrusions, an unnecessary but very appreciated addition.
Speaking of original forms, since I put up my original Transformers Prime Soundwave post a little over a year ago, I have traded in my Hasbro release for the TakaraTomy Arms Micron Soundwave. As is common with the Arms Micron releases, he has additional pods with Mini-con ports on his wings/shoulders.
He also comes equipped with his Mini-con, the scorpion, Zori.
Like the other Arms Micron Mini-cons, Zori transforms into a form that comes from the animation. In this case it’s the tentacles Soundwave uses to interface with computers and occasionally to harass small children.
Because what the silent, creepy Decepticon needs is some tentacles to make himself seem even more creepy.
In addition to Zori, Soundwave still comes with Laserbeak, like his Hasbro Robots in Disguise release. Beast Hunters Soundwave surprised everyone by trading Laserbeak for a tiny Ravage.
Both are configured to fit into the chests of either Soundwave release.
Both can also be transformed into a sort of bladed weapon that can be attached using the holes in Soundwave’s hands.
There’s something to be said for the simplicity of Soundwave’s original form. Nowhere is this more evident than the sleek lines of his alt mode, even with the Arms Micron addition of the Mini-con ports.
That being said, I am really liking that an already menacing-looking Decepticon has managed to appear even more dangerous thanks to the application of some spikes and extensions. Not too coincidentally, this intimidating upgrade is also most apparent in alt mode.
Soundwave couldn’t be a proper Beast Hunter (or whatever it is he’s hunting) without a hunting weapon. While Wheeljack has his new Falcon Spear, Soundwave has a “Talon Grapple Cannon”, a decidedly passive device for the otherwise vicious Decepticon.
With the claw being attached to the launcher on a string, this toy is a lot of fun to play with, especially for messing with the cat (the real one, not Ravage).
Though I guess it could be fun to torment Ravage with it as well.
The launcher has posts on either side as well as a handle underneath that is specially designed to fit in the specifically shaped hole on Soundwave’s chest. This allows the cannon to be carried on the bottom in alt mode when no deployer is currently taking up residence there.
It can also be attached on the top but logistically, it doesn’t seem to make as much sense up there.
Toy-only or cartoon as well, I guess we’ll find out on March 22nd when Transformers Prime Season 3 makes its premier — or sooner if the rumor of a March 15th release in Singapore is true (well, for some of us, if it is broadcast in English). One big, happy possibly beast hunting family?
First the Kre-O folks have me constructing Transformers, a task I swore I was done with, and now Takara-Tomy has me not only constructing them, but applying stickers as well.
Counterclockwise from the left: Dai, Baru, and Gabu are the first three releases in the Arms Micron Weapon series. Of the three, I was originally only going to get Dai, as his was the only one of the three I felt had a decent robot and alt mode.
After having some issues getting him in the mail to begin with, I had him all of half a day before I broke him. A word to the wise, be very, very, verrrrry careful when assembling the three of them. Their connections are extremely tight; the process of snapping them together can break the connecting pieces easily.
After getting my second order in, I assembled them all much more carefully. His alt mode is a handheld rocket launcher.
After seeing Dai in person, I figured that it would be a pity to never get to form the “Super Combo Weapon” Dark Matter Calibur. The more Mini-cons, the better, so I grabbed the other two.
Baru’s robot mode is ok, looking a little odd because of the placement of the differently sized pegs on either of the wing pieces. His alt mode, pretty much a cleaver, is more awesome the more I think about it.
Transforming cleaver. Just brutal enough of a weapon mode to be fun. Of the three, the weakest robot and alt modes definitely goes to Gabu.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what the heck that’s supposed to be, don’t feel bad. You ready for this? Horseshoe Crab. Transforming Horseshoe Crab Decepticon. Then comes his alt mode.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what the heck that’s supposed to be, don’t feel bad. This time, honestly, I just don’t know. Not being able to read the Japanese of his package, I went to the internet. It had such suggestive ideas, from “flying plane/blade like weapon” to “twin-bladed thing, possibly a crossbow”.
To be ever more honest, I don’t really care. The real fun in both Gabu and Baru are their ability to combine with Dai and form the large, imposing and deadly looking Dark Matter Calibur.
This thing is dangerous, best leave it to the professionals.
**Planet-sized spoilers for the ending of Transformers: Prime Season One coming up!!!**
Plus, any excuse to trot out that tired little joke…
Unlike most of the rest of the Arms Micron releases, when Takara-Tomy announced AM-19 Gaia Unicron, there was no question whether or not I would be placing a pre-order. The announcement came well after Unicron had already appeared on Transformers Prime, discovered to be the freaking core of the planet Earth (seriously, props to the show’s writers, that’s one hell of an awesome, unexpected spin on an otherwise tired character), and been rocked gently back to sleep with a lullaby consisting of a matrix blast directly to the spark courtesy of Optimus Prime.
The timing meant two things. First, the toy is “Gaia” Unicron; Gaia being the personification of Earth in Greek Mythology and a somewhat common term used to reference planet Earth in Japanese fiction. This could have been a rather larger spoiler for the cartoon by itself, but the timing made that point moot. Second, the timing meant there was no chance whatsoever that Hasbro was going to be releasing this toy in the foreseeable future (read: Breakdown Syndrome).
This is Unicron, likewise, there was no chance I was passing this toy up; without ever seeing an actual picture, I ore-ordered him.
This picture is a perfect example of why he is an absolutely impeccable display piece, but all things considered a lousy action figure. First up, his Autobot-pummeling rock arms are actually only halves.
Second, much like The Fallen, he is a saddled with an oddity of a “space cruiser” for an alt mode because our Transformers toys simply must turn into something, despite in the cartoon being a rock creature formed from the Dark God’s essence bubbling up to the surface from the core of the planet.
However, those clever, clever designers even found a way around this. In the cartoon, a good portion of Unicron’s essence breaking the surface is depicted as a volcano from which Unicron even has glowing eyes and a mouth to address Megatron.
Stand that “spaceship” on it’s end and voila, it’s a Unicron-faced volcano.
The face part was actually a pleasant surprise, I guess I hadn’t paid close enough attention to the recent images of him to even know it was there until I pulled him out of the packaging. This face, of course, lead some, like Japanese blogger Alfes 2010, to balance this new Unicron face on the body of a previous Unicron release, and the effect isn’t actually that bad.
Unlike The Fallen, Unicron’s Decepticon symbols are stickers and therefore can be left off completely. This means it can also be left off Bogu, Unicron’s Rock Mole Tank Mini-con.
Bogu’s alt mode is actually Unicron’s cartoon accurate left arm.
This allows the two half arms Unicron normally sports to be combined into one that looks much more like the cartoon version as well.
One other interesting note is that alongside those Decepticon symbols on Unicron’s sticker sheet are two Unicron faction symbols.
On a much less interesting, downright ugly note, Unicron also has a “Gaia Armor” mode that basically has you pulling him to pieces and applying the pieces as armor to either Voyager Optimus Prime or Megatron. This mode is both notoriously frustrating to assemble as well as completely not worth the extraordinary effort needed to do so. So I didn’t.
In summary, if you have a Unicron display then you can not go wrong getting this for it. The textured orange chrome is worth it alone. However, if you’re impartial to Unicron and all his many manifestations, skip it.
[Pretty much a repeat of the same Breakdown-related spoilers as last time.]
I figured that I typed so much about Breakdown in my last post, that I might as well give him his own post, now that I finally have him in my eager little hands. First up,
Ok. Enough said about that (probably too much). The fact that Breakdown is import-only and looks to stay that way means a lot of Transformers fans won’t end up with this guy in their collections and that makes me very, very sad.
This is my first Voyager Arms Micron purchase and oh my, he is wonderful. From his blocky, awkward, football player proportions, to his almost-too-small-for-his-body headsculpt, he is a nearly perfect rendition of his cartoon incarnation. For the most the Mini-cons are supposed to emulate the weapons used in the show. In Bumblebee and Arcee‘s cases, this results in somewhat comically oversized versions of their weaponry. Not so with Breakdown, whose fist transforms into a hammer in the show.
His Arms Micron partner, Zamu, the ridiculously cool Rhino Hammer, fits him at an appropriate scale.
Rhinoceros’ are one of my favourite animals and hammers are one of my favourite melee weapons. The very idea of a Rhino that transforms into a hammer is so right up my alley, it’s ludicrous.
If there is anything I could have asked for, it would be that I wished they had used the eyepatched version of Breakdown’s headsculpt.
Eyepatches are just cooler. I know that the Silas repaint of Breakdown is rumored to have the eyepatch head and I think that might be the only reason I still have my pre-order open, now that I have the original Breakdown.
Speaking of which, back to this guy. His transformation is tricky the first time (well, without directions, but who uses the directions unless they just absolutely have to?), but once you get it down, it’s pretty intuitive and snaps together well. Just like his robot mode, Breakdown’s alt is a cartoon-accurate as you could ask.
Even his alt mode looks like a football player. Of the smaller Cyberverse guys Breakdown was the hardest for me to find, for some reason. Unfortunately, unlike the return on investment represented by his Voyager toy, Cyberverse Breakdown does not live up to the mostly consistent levels of awesome usually found in the Cyberverse line.
The arms are just too much among other issues. This guy is one of the bruisers of the show, he really should have been a Commander scale. Much like his Voyagers toy, his Cyberverse toy has a weapon that is pretty well scaled and cartoon accurate.
Though the size of the Cyberverse gun does mess up the authenticity of it somewhat.
He looks downright adorable next to the Voyager class toy.
I couldn’t resist at least one shot of him with his erstwhile buddy and partner in crime, Knockout. The Deluxe versus Voyager makes them pretty much right in scale with each other, as if they both just stepped right out of the cartoon.
Of course, if you want to be truly cartoon-accurate with Breakdown now, you’ll have to take a hammer to the guy.
Blackarachnia may be my wife’s homegirl (no, really, she even embroidered a tote bag to take to Botcon this year that reads “Blackarachnia is my homegirl”) but being a fan of tough, tailpipe-kicking females in general, she has a fondness for Transformers Prime Arcee.
This might have contributed in some small way to the fact that I now own three versions of her. To be fair, I was initially planning to own two versions: the First Edition mold by way of the NY Comic Con exclusive repaint and Takara’s Arms Micron release, complete with pink Mini-con Arc, that transforms into her arm blade.
However, when I saw the Robots in Disguise release of Arcee at retail, I felt compelled to buy her. Something I am very glad of. I would have preferred some pink paint applications to make her closer to show accurate, but unfortunately the way the Arms Micron release manages this is by stickers.
The pink along her Arms Micron release’s legs and on her wrists is fine because it lays flat. The curved knees, front and seat back of her alt mode have wrinkling and creasing and generally don’t fit well.
The Takara release is in a darker blue but either essentially works for show-accurate colours. Her Mini-con companion, Arc, is one of the worst of the Arms Micron Mini-cons, mainly due to her giant arms being stuck at an angle.
Though she does have a cute little heart-shaped headsculpt.
Her weapon mode is an oversized version of Arcee’s arm blades and looks rather cumbersome attached to Arcee’s arm.
As far as the First Edition mold is concerned, I’m not all that impressed relative to the Robots in Disguise mold. It has a somewhat more complicated transformation and is a full head taller than the Robots in Disguise release, but lacks the more streamlined chest and torso area of the smaller release. It makes up for this and any other flaws by being pink, in homage to the original G1 Arcee and having double arm blades.
For the most part, the FE and RiD molds are identical for alt mode, with the FE once again being a little larger. Because the Takara release’s added 5mm ports are on the inside of her wings, they aren’t an issue in alt mode.
Their respective weapons can also be installed on their alt modes, much the same as Wheeljack, the bladed vehicle alt modes of the Robots in Disguise mold looks odd. With the First Edition mold, they appear to just be side panels.
Of the two molds, I definitely have to say that I like the RiD better, and for not having the creasing stickers issue, the Hasbro release wins, though all three are still pretty great.
For the love of Primus, go buy this toy. Right. Now. Transformers Prime Arms Micron Skywarp and Balo!
As recounted in my
post, my choice for the Starscream First Edition mold was the 6th entry in Takara’s Arms Micron toyline, AM-06 Skywarp; a decision I am so pleased with right now, I can’t even explain put it into words.
Well, maybe I better put some words to it, or else this post is just going to end up a bunch of disjointed images.
Much like Animated Prowl, the First Edition Starscream mold has lithe proportions and a sleek alt mode that contributes to a very, very well articulated robot mode with tremendous amounts of personality.
Skywarp’s little Mini-con friend, Balo (the TFWiki states his name comes from “a shortening of “buffalo”, accomplished by dropping the middle syllable from the Japanese spelling of the word”) is marginally articulated himself, for an adorable little buffalo-drill-ninja star-shield-dude.
Granted, his “shield” mode looks a heck of a lot like the reverse side of his “ninja star” mode, but he transforms into a freaking ninja star, so I’ll allow it.
My favourite of his alt modes has to be his drill mode. Oddly, nothing in his instructions or on the box depicts him in this mode.
The Arms Micron line has a couple peculiarities, first: stickers. I don’t like stickers. I don’t like stickers a lot. Thankfully Skywarp doesn’t have too many of them and I admit they add some nice, shiny details to him. Balo actually has more of them than Skywarp, and they were quite annoying in their small size and quantity.
The other thing is that the Mini-cons in the new Arms Micron series come as pieces on a sprue.
I was worried when I first learned this but, at least in Balo’s case, those worries were unfounded. He’s really solid with tight joints.
Skywarp maintains his warp ability but now uses it for “ninja-like” “Warp attacks”. Courtesy of Hydra over at Allspark.com, here’s the translated bio for Transformers Prime Skywarp in its entirety:
Skywarp is a member of the Decepticon aerial group the Seekers. He outwardly resembles Starscream, but lacks his scheming nature, instead loyally obeying Megatron. True to his name, he specializes in warp attacks. Lurking in the shadows of the Decepticons, he rarely makes his presence known, but his ninja-like attacks with his shuriken-shaped Arms Micron menace the Autobots.
Definitely qualifies as Skywarp’s coolest incarnation, despite having a minature buffalo as a pet. Skywarp’s jet alt mode swaps Starscream’s removable missle pods for non-removable bomb-like attachments.
They are covered in the new hexagonal 5-mm holes that are used in the Arms Micron line.
Every time we go on a roadtrip, I always choose a Transformer to bring along. Next week is a very, very, verrrrrrrrrrrrry special roadtrip to Dallas, TX for a little thing called BOTCON! I do believe my newest Skywarp and his minion will be our travelling companions.