Posts Tagged Decepticon
I am currently in the last leg of a cross-country roadtrip so this week’s update, which lands this weekend, is going to be a little slim (hint: literally Cyberverse sized).
In the meantime, here’s a couple notes about my Transformer-laden Trip to Bountiful. Okay, maybe the pickings were a little bit more slim than that, but if you read the twitterings (tweetings?) going on in the middle column of this site, you already know the best Transformers-related news of this trip.
Beginning and (hopefully) ending in Chicago, the trip went to several places in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
Currently I am typing this from the halfway point back to home where I have finally found some reliable Wi-Fi; a hotel in Youngstown, OH, but that’s neither here nor there (ha! travel humor. I kill me.)
I was quite proud of myself for resisting the urge to stop at every Walmart and Target from Lake Michigan to the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, we had made it all the way to Oregon, Ohio before I finally succumbed and pulled over at a Walmart. There I picked up the new Legends class Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. We then stopped at a couple more Walmarts but to no avail until, on our jaunt down to Philadelphia, we stopped in Toys R Us in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Never having seen one at retail before, I thought the single Fall of Cybertron Blaster hidden behind a row of wave 1 Prime Robots in Disguise Voyagers was a mirage. When I determined it was actually real, I giddily grabbed it and attempted to explain to my son what I had found. Being one and half, Wesley responded with, “Ah-bot red car!” Good enough, kid. Post coming very soon on that particular purchase, he is amazing, even for a redeco of FoC Soundwave/Soundblaster with a new head.
Nothing for the rest of the trip was going to be able to match that find (I was seriously starting to think I would never own him) but I found some fun minor additions to the collection anyway.
Next up was a run in Dollar Tree where I found the six fingerboards (miniature skate boards) that have been floating around since at least 2008. I had seen a few of these before but with all six together, plus being a dollar apiece, I decided to grab the set.
I previously had a tradition of getting a Transformer at the Toys R Us in Times Square but there hasn’t been anything worth buying my last couple trips. This visit was no exception… almost. Walking away quite disappointed from the Action Figure area, I headed over to the toys for younger kids and stumbled across the newest Rescue Bots Optimus and Cody Burns. Wesley loudly exclaimed “Op-uh-miss!”, so I just had to buy them for him, right? As soon as we got Optimus out of his packaging, Wesley tried his best to push his arms in like his other Rescue Bots Optimus and it took some explaining that this Optimus didn’t actually transform.
The last Transformers purchase of the trip was a visit to a Five Below store in New Jersey. I had heard of these stores from other forum members, but had never seen one. They had a bunch of the Dark of the Moon stuff that I already had and a ton of the Speed Stars stuff that I didn’t have. I normally don’t buy non-transforming Transformers for my collection, but again the combination of the super low price and abundance to choose from was too enticing. I decided I still didn’t want the whole series, but I got the two single-packed and one double-packed Optimus Prime. The double-packed one came with an orange coloured Long Haul which I gave to the kid (who absolutely loves dump trucks).
All-in-all, not a bad haul for a trip whose purpose wasn’t actually Transformers. Mostly it just made me even more impatient for my impending Botcon trip.
Speaking of trips, I always pick one Transformer to go with me on trips for messing around with when there’s downtime. The choice this trip is soon to be the subject of his own post, Generations Blitzwing. Not sure if he appreciated his place of honor on the dashoard or not.
As unexpected homages and/or updates, Generations Sky Shadow ranks up there.
Black Shadow was a Takara exclusive released within the Transformers Victory line as a remold of the Mega Pretender Thunderwing with a new chest piece and head.
Now renamed Sky Shadow, he is a Hasbro exclusive released within the Generations line as a remold of Generations Thunderwing with a new chest piece and head.
Pretty awesome how this whole thing came full circle. Even minus the connection to G1 in a succinct update, he’d still be a pretty awesome figure on his own.
With great light-piping and detailing, his headsculpt and new chest piece are wonderful.
He retains the mold’s two missile launching cannons.
They can also be linked together to make one giant cannon that, thanks to his awesome articulation, he can hold with both hands.
He has the detachable drone to simulate his G1 mold’s Inner Robot’s Alt mode.
The best image I could find of Black Shadow’s inner robot was from Botch the Crab’s Box Art Archive site.
His Generations alt mode is an F22-ish jet
It becomes a little bit ungainly when you attach his guns under the wings.
As tends to happen with molds that get used in Botcon sets, once Metalhawk showed up that made three versions of this mold that I have all with different heads.
Luckily they are all distinct enough that the reuse doesn’t hurt them at all. That being said, the Black Shadow use is my favourite of the three.
Much like G1 Thunderwing, I don’t hold any delusions that his G1 figure will ever get reissued. Though unlike Thunderwing, at least Black Shadow made a cartoon appearance. Takara’s equivalent of Hasbro’s Mega Pretenders — Pretenders whose shell could also transform — the two Destron “Crossformers” Black Shadow and Blue Bacchus appeared in one episode of Victory. The pretty much tore up the planet Micro but were stopped when Greatshot, the Cybertron six-changer, showed up and destroyed their shells, sending them fleeing into space. A short, but fun appearance.
He’s got some great P.R. people working for him, somehow that short and injurious appearance has since been spun into a character that, according to his Generations bio, is “one of the most foul, dark-hearted Decepticons in the galaxy.” As if that wasn’t enough, it goes on to state “Megatron shudders when he hears the whine of jet engines in the distance, for it may be Sky Shadow coming for him!”
Granted the best part about Black Shadow is his original G1 function:
How awesome is that?
I should get Laura Linney to introduce this post. Masterpiece Seekers! Thundercracker! Skywarp! Starscream!
Super nerdy post title is super nerdy.
Almost exactly two years ago this month, I did a sequence of posts on the original G1 Seekers where I declared the acquisition of Thundercracker the “end of the Generations Seekers Saga”. Though the Generations line also included the three “Conehead” Seekers and the new Seeker, Acid Storm, the 2012 release of Masterpiece Thundercracker at least completes the original trio of Seekers in Masterpiece form.
We’re reportedly receiving Acid Storm in the Masterpiece line near the end of the year. Being a Toys R Us exclusive, he will most likely be difficult to find initially, then when he is somewhat easier to find his price will go up to excruciatingly expensive. This pattern repeating itself will determine whether or not I bother trying to pick him up at all.
To complete a full set of “Masterpiece” Seekers, including the Coneheads, the Blue Rainmaker, and a G2 Ramjet if you want, you have to go 3rd Party. So far the original three and the planned Acid Storm are the only official full retail releases in Hasbro’s Masterpiece line. TakaraTomy released “special edition” versions of Sunstorm “Starscream Ghost Version”. I actually wish we were getting Sunstorm instead of Acid Storm over here.
Either way, these are the quintessential Seekers as far as I am concerned and having all three brings me much joy.
To make it easier to discuss in the forums, even Hasbro Masterpiece mold versions tend to get named after their TakaraTomy release numbers. Hasbro’s Skywarp and Starscream both use the “MP-3″ version of the Masterpiece Seeker mold. TakaraTomy released Starscream as MP-3 and, using the same mold, Skywarp as MP-6 and Thundercracker as MP-7. Hasbro’s Masterpiece Thundercracker uses the new “MP-11″ version. MP-11 was first released as “Starscream Coronation Version”, while based on the MP-3 mold, there was significant remolding done. Most notable being the addition of struts in the back to help him stand better, the removal of the pieces hanging off the hips — something a lot of fans didn’t like about the MP-3 mold — and a brand new headsculpt. Apparently someone in the packaging department didn’t get the note about Thundercracker using the new version of the mold, as his box has a call out for “2 different heads!” which was true of the MP-3 mold, but not the MP-11 mold.
The instructions included are also for the MP-3 mold. Oops.
The new headsculpt is pretty awesome and I had hoped to swap it out for Skywarp’s. When I did, I learned a couple things:
First, as expected, it looks really cool on Skywarp.
Second, the older head looks surprisingly cool on the new mold.
Third, the old mold can’t transform with the new, larger head, despite the new head having collapsible sides to make it somewhat smaller. Since I am not about to take a dremel to my favourite toy, the head swap was short lived.
Other than the head differences, the new legs are heftier and lend more of a cartoon aspect to the mold. In fact, of the three, Thundercracker has far more of a cartoon look to him. The fandom is split, with a majority appearing to prefer the MP-11 mold because of the lack of “hip kibble”, but I actually fall more on the MP-3 side. I determined this when I set Masterpiece Thundercracker next to his G1 and Generations incarnations.
In robot mode Thundercracker looks a lot like a large version of his Generations release, especially with the new, chunkier legs and his new headsculpt. I’m not really a fan of that. It’s hard to put into words, but the closest I can come is that I much prefer my Masterpieces to be their own thing, to be uniquely distinct from the other releases of that same character.
His alt mode looks perfectly fine from the top, retaining the realistic F-15 the other two Masterpiece Seekers have.
He also retains the mold’s air brake feature.
Thankfully he also keeps the orientation of the Decepticon symbol on his wings the same as Skywarp’s, which puts them right way up in robot mode. Starscream has them the other way around in alt mode and therefore upside down in robot mode.
Unfortunately the removal of the pieces that hang from the hips results in removing the part that better covers the sides of his robot mode arms. They also added ball-jointed armatures attached to his guns so they would not need to be removed during transformation, nice touch but ultimately unnecessary in a Masterpiece toy and further take away from the look of alt mode. Both are minor details, but still push me further to the MP-3 side. Something else they did with Thundercracker that I don’t appreciate, and didn’t appreciate with the one application on the Starscream release, are the rather capriciously humorous tampographed details they added.
Hidden on the back of his shoulders in robot mode, both sides of his alt mode are the only place you can really see the images of G1 Reflector with the words “Say Cheese!” Then, combining Thundercracker’s signature Sonic Boom attack with G1 Soundwave, this silhouette adorns the outside of both vertical stabilizers.
Had they been optional stickers, I would have thought they were pretty awesome (and summarily not applied them), but being tampographed I find them mostly annoying. Thundercracker really doesn’t strike me as the whimsical type.
Some far less annoying applications are the addition of pilot names and Thundercracker’s G1 Takara release number, D-24, as a sort of call sign detail.
Though one name is paying tribute to toy designer Joe Kyde, I’m not sure who exactly J. Sass is, though I am assured he is also a toy designer.
He might also be an actual dragon as far as I know. Toy designer sounds like a safer bet, I guess. The MP-11 mold keeps the MP-3 mold’s chest missiles and smaller accessories (accessories I completely forgot to even mention in either Skywarp or Starscream’s previous entries). There is a clip to allow jet mode to carry the gun mode Megatron that came with 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime, wing missile racks, a chromed “holographic pilot” figure, and a base with a stand for posing him in either robot or alt mode.
The missile racks don’t make as much sense as it requires removing his attached guns with their armatures; kind of defeats the purpose of the armature pieces and leaves the unsightly ball-joint receptacle. MP-11′s “holographic pilot” replaces the MP-3 mold’s figure of Dr. Arkeville. Also, the parsing of “Thunder Cracker” on the stand sets my teeth on edge.
All-in-all, any quibbles I have with either the MP-3 or MP-11 molds are very minor.
As I’ve already typed once; these three together bring me much, much joy.
In my Torca post I recounted how I dreaded pulling him out of the bin he currently resides in for fear of the results of the dreaded GPS. Though I lucked out and found nothing yet, GPS is a question of when, not if. There will come a time that he eventually cracks and finally crumbles. To alleviate that sad day, I am still determined to hunt down the non-GPS suffering version of the mold, Elephorca, released in Takara’s Beast Wars Neo line.
Fast forward to one of the two subjects of today’s post: Megabolt. Though I went into the Torca post aware of his affliction, I didn’t know it about Megabolt. Apparently he has what the TFWiki calls “a mild case of GPS”. This means he suffers cracks, but doesn’t simply shatter into powder like most.
I didn’t know this at the time I removed him from his bin so it came as quite a surprise when immediately the posts holding the sides of his alt mode head together both snapped off.
This is a ten year old figure, never before transformed, so — despite the gold plastic staring me in the face — I didn’t immediately jump to the conclusion of GPS.
Then the small loop where his arm locks in place on the back of his alt mode cracked into multiple pieces.
While trying to survey the damage, his left arm fell off altogether. That’s when I hit the internet for answers. The diagnosis was grim. With the somewhat hopeful use of the words “mild case” on the TFWiki, I was determined to repair as much damage as I could and extend his life as long as possible. I started by successfully gluing the arm back on. So far so good.
Next I glued the tab back together, or at least the one piece of it I still had.
However, to glue that one piece back on, I had to transform him to robot mode first.
I was terrified.
Luckily (what an odd thing to type at this point) the only thing that happened was the indention that holds the ball joint on his shoulder cracked into several pieces. There would be no way to ensure I didn’t glue the joint into one piece if it was still attached, so I had to remove it. I glued the pieces together, waited until it dried, then tried to snap it back onto the ball without stressing it so much that it shattered further.
It shattered further. Enough remains to actually hold the joint together while still allowing it to move so I was more or less successful. In the image above, you can also see where the tip of the tab on the other shoulder piece snapped off as well.
There he is, you wouldn’t know his sad state of affairs just by looking as him, so I guess mission successful. However, this is as posed as he’s going to get, I am not tempting his fragility any further. Never has a headsculpt so perfectly encapsulated my feelings about a particular toy experience.
As the most compacted mode and therefore most secure from random breaks, he will probably spend the rest of his life in alt mode. So let’s talk about this alt mode and this figure in particular now that the unpleasantness of GPS is done.
Megabolt makes very little sense as a toy release. He was an Armada style packaged, Robots in Disguise toyline KB Toys exclusive redeco of the previous year’s KB Toys exclusive Robots in Disguise release that was actually meant as a Beast Machines Megatron toy.
Bwah? I’ll give you a moment if you want to re-parse that sentence. It’s kinda tangled.
Of course, if you’re familiar with the Beast Machines series, you recognize Megabolt’s alt mode as an improperly coloured, scaled down version of Beast Machines Megatron’s “Grand Mal” mode most commonly known as the BFH, the Big Floating Head (or Big F#@%ing Head if you’re less polite).
Unlike with Torca, when Megabolt finally suffers an irrevocable break (*sob*), it won’t be as bad because I already have the original and — more importantly — non-GPS inflicted version of the mold, Megatron Megabolt.
Megatron Megabolt was designed to be the toy incarnation of the massive, floating head construct that Beast Machines Megatron’s spark resided in for a time when he purged the organic material from himself. It was shown to transform in the cartoon, but from an enormous head into a spaceship.
Nicknamed “BFH” by the fandom, the official name of “Grand Mal” [french for "great evil/wrong/illness/pains" but best known as the erstwhile name of a type of seizure] was revealed in episode scripts and in a short story in the Transformers Legends anthology. In toy form, his original Beast Machines bio states that he “has taken the form of a gigantic cybernetic head that hovers over Cybertron”.
While staying within continuity for the series, the bio fails to address the addition of spider legs in alt mode. It also says nothing of his robot mode.
It would also make as much sense that this was meant to be a scaled down version altogether. I would love to imagine a scene in Beast Machines where the Grand Mal opened its mouth and out poured hundreds of these spider legged horrors. Then for them to transform into copies of Megatron himself as they began their assault. How chilling would that have been?
The toy also has a spring-loaded, flip-down “battle mask” attached to a missile launcher. The mask is designed after the helmet of the control harness Megatron used in Beast Machines to control his army.
On the toy, the helmet portion actually adheres to his head by way of magnets.
The head on Megabolt is one of the parts reported to suffer from GPS, which is why a photo of him in his mask is missing from this post.
One more awesome little factiod about these two (and I have to confess, my recent acquisition of Fortress Maximus actually spurred this post).
When Megatron Megabolt was brought over to the Robots in Disguise toyline, he received a bio that made him the “Emissary Mode” of Robots in Disguise Megatron himself. Car Robots, the Takara cartoon and toyline that Robots in Disguise was dubbed from included a repaint of G1 Fortress Maximus named Brave Maximus. There is an odd design quirk about Megatron Megabolt and Megabolt that he fits perfectly into the Fortress Maximus mold’s head area once you remove the spider legs.
Though most likely accidental, Megatron Megabolt’s Robots in Disguise bio actually calls this “feature” out.
“Developed “Emissary Mode” to combine with his space cruiser and even the secret Autobot defense fortress in attempt to gain absolute power.”
Regardless, I still consider Megatron Megabolt to be a Beast Machines toy and he will be displayed with the other Beast era toys. Megabolt, however, will now be sealed up in as safe a container as I can find and stashed away in a bin until the day I can display everyone. Not that it matters, I guess, considering he very well may be a pile of shattered pieces by then.
With the Kreons, I have gained both a new appreciation as well as jealousy of the folks at Takara and Hasbro that design Transformers. It started with my experience bulking up and somewhat G1-ifying my Kre-O Wheeljack and has happened again with the new Kre-O Microchanger Combiners.
Before we get to that part, first let me go off on a bit of a tangent. With all of the announced Kre-O Microchanger Combiners — wait, back up: let’s start with the fact that the Microchanger Combiner teams based on their G1 releases even exist to begin with. Now, back to what I was typing about before my tangent went off on a tangent: even though each of the Kre-O Combined robots is only made up of four ‘bots; they are including the fifth ‘bot from the team as a single packed release.
Now I want one more person to tell me that Hasbro & Co. doesn’t love the fans. Just one.
There is absolutely no other reason they would include a single-pack release that is mostly indistinguishable to the average kid from the guys in the Combiner set other than for the fans.
For example, that way we (the fans) don’t miss out on Slingshot — released as Kre-O Quickslinger — with the rest of the Aerialbots that make up Kre-O Superion.
Quickslinger gets a different head and helmet from the rest of the Aerialbots, but other than that, has the same basic colour scheme as Firestrike — the Kre-O incarnation of Fireflight.
The remaining three are the ones that didn’t suffer a name change; Air Raid, the team leader Silverbolt, and Skydive.
Air Raid’s is pretty much the only one of the five of them with a semi-decent alt mode.
Mind you, this isn’t a complaint or a strike against these guys in the least bit for me. None of the Microchanger series and especially none of the Microchanger Combiners have been bought because they can actually transform. Just like the pre-Microchanger Kreons, they were all bought based on their robot modes and the awesome G1-ness of it all. Pretty much the same reason I own all of the widely released G1 Robot Heroes.
As much as I like Superion and the Aerialbots, I’m not too overly attached to them, which may be why I didn’t really feel the need — as so many other apparently did — to find a combination that included him in Superion. It wouldn’t be too difficult to do and still include a majority, if not all, of his pieces.
For some reason, I didn’t feel the same about Predaking and the Predacons. Not only did I feel the need to include the single-packed member of the group, Rampage, but I also felt compelled to correct the non-G1-ness of his combined mode’s legs.
For it to properly be Predaking, you have to have a rhino head for the left kneecap and a bull head for the right. What the instructions have instead is a — admittedly clever — single horn to represent the rhino and the double horned piece from Divebomb’s tail to suggest the bull head.
What I and countless others have done is to use the actual head pieces in place of the suggested ones. This presents a slight problem, because the combined mode uses the orange head piece for its head. All except Divebomb have an interchangeable helmet piece with holes to insert horns and make it into a rhino or bull head or left as is for the two cats. To solve this, I swapped out Rampage’s red head piece achieving even more G1 accuracy in the process. However, this wasn’t the end of the problems. As a further cheat, the red head for Rampage on Predaking’s shoulder is faked by using the red headpiece from the bull. I say “faked” because, remember, Rampage isn’t even included in the Predaking set.
I considered buying a second single-packed Rampage just for the headpiece, but for now I faked it even more by borrowing a couple of my extra red pieces for his shoulder.
By adding Rampage into the mix, I also made Predaking a little taller, which is appropriate given his comparatively hulking size in G1.
While I was adding extra pieces, I also increased Divebomb’s wingspan which in turn increased Predaking’s. Remember that appreciation and jealousy of the toy designers I mentioned? Divebomb is where a majority of it came from in this case. I had a lot of dislikes with Divebomb. First, his robot mode placed his wings directly on his arms, which is needlessly inaccurate. I moved those to his already existing backpack. I also used red for the wings rather than black in robot mode. I would have preferred a little more G1 accurate orange, but was lacking the pieces.
I also left his tail piece on his backpack. Speaking of his tail, that I changed completely. The double-pronged tail piece from the instructions just didn’t work at all. His entire alt mode was pretty much just him bending in half, it clearly needed further help. I kept the black wing pieces along with the added red and gave him a bigger wingspan and used the two slanting orange pieces from his combined mode’s legs to try to recreate his G1 tail. I also replaced the two horns with actual clamps to give his bird legs some actual clawed feet.
Still not perfect, but much better in my opinion. The appreciation for toy designers came in the fact that I would make improvements to his alt mode, but then it was too bulky and I was removing way too many pieces to convert him to robot. What I had to do was find a balance between a definitive alt mode and a clean robot mode without a pile of pieces left over. Luckily Kre-O has a precedent of a couple pieces left over after you transform them. A toy designer doesn’t even that much leeway. These days they have to try to make a convincing alt mode and a convincing robot mode and use all the same pieces for both. A mind-twisting exercise, but a fun one (which is where the jealousy comes in). With the exception of not putting the vest piece on Razorclaw, I left the other guys pretty much alone in both modes. The vest pieces have been particularly annoying because they cover up all the wonder detailing included on the Kreon’s chest.
I’ve left them off of any Kreons where they aren’t strictly necessary.
Despite the identical headpieces, the menagerie of animals for the Predacons has just enough differences. Though they still come off rather… impressionistic.
Once again, not a problem. The combined mode is where it’s at.
I have purposely tried to stay away from their Kre-O names because two of them are a bit of a mess. Razorclaw, Rampage, and Divebomb all retain their original G1 names, but Tantrum and Headstrong are no longer available. Hasbro replaced them with Torox and Headlock. Now, Torox has history, it is actually Tantrum’s Italian G1 name. The problem is that someone got confused and swapped their names along the way, with Tantrum being renamed Headlock and my favourite Predacon, Headstrong, being renamed Torox.
Either way, whatever they’re named, I seriously doubt anyone’s going to mess with them about it.
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?
I’ve loved these guys since I was knee high to a grasshopper. The Insecticons Bombshell, Kickback, and Shrapnel!
All the way up to the most recent series, Transformers has been infested with bugs and it’s mostly these guys’ fault.
In fact, as far as I am aware, Robots in Disguise is the only continuity group in which we see no evidence of Transformers with insect alt modes. Even then, “Insecticons” are named in a couple pieces of dialogue of the English dub, though the references make them sound more like wildlife, like the “Petro-rabbits” from G1. X-Brawn opens episode 21 being chased by Decepticons and stating,
“They’re on me like an Insecticon on a power core.”
The three “original” Insecticons; Kickback, Shrapnel, and Bombshell weren’t the only Insecticons from G1 but because they were the only ones to make it into the cartoon, people tend to forget about the other four.
Back in my Windcharger post, I raved a bit about the wonderfully talented Matt Kuphaldt. Another piece that I particularly like is his Shrapnel image, showing off Shrapnel’s lightning powers.
Shrapnel was shown to be something of a leader of the Insecticons in the cartoon but is most often remembered as the guy that repeats the ends of his sentences, sentences (a form of palilalia I discuss in my Warpath post.)
All three of mine are original G1 that I hunted down separately — acquiring the last one right before Hasbro decided to reissue all three of them. My Shrapnel came with the later released gun variation that includes the panels in the back and the more detailed barrel.
Shrapnel’s alt mode is a robot stag beetle.
This was particularly funny when Shrapnel had his gender swapped in two foreign dubs, one in France and in Russia, seeing as only male Stag Beetles have those really big antler-like antennae. Together the three Insecticons originally formed the “Insecter Robo” releases of Diaclone, mechs piloted by the Diaclone villains, the Waruder. This is why they include cockpits in their alt modes.
This is also why all three received Diaclone-inspired repaints through E-Hobby in 2004. They also received releases in the uber-cute Robot Heroes line. Both Shrapnel (released as just “Insecticon”) and Kickback are battling it out for who can be the most cheerful Insecticon.
The only reason Robot Heroes Bombshell (released as Hardshell) isn’t in the running is because he has a faceplate rather than a big, cheesy smile.
He then passed on his new name to a couple Hardshells, both the lead Insecticon from Transformers Prime as well as an Insecticon clearly designed after G1 Bombshell.
Bombshell’s power has been one of the most widely used conventions in the history of Transformers fiction. Shrapnel’s electric attacks were nice, but Bombshell has the ability to implant mind controlling “cerebro-shells” into the heads of robots or humans using his “stinger”.
This is, of course, setting aside completely the fact that he is supposed to be a Rhinoceros Beetle therefore that thing in the front is a horn, not a stinger. It ends up over his head in robot mode, so he can take over people’s minds in either mode.
My favourite of the Insecticons is Kickback. Partially because of his alt mode, but mostly because his alt mode is what gives him his power. Shrapnel channels electricity, Bombshell controls minds, Kickback… kicks things. Really hard.
See, it’s ’cause he’s a grasshopper. In my book, that’s awesome. A Transforming Grasshopper. That definitely ranks up there with wonderful oddities like a transforming locust.
Kickback was one of a handful of G1 ‘bots to make it into the Sector Seven promotional material for the first of the live action movies. Though he appears at the height of an actual grasshopper, he demonstrates that kicking prowess of his by kicking a camera to death.
In a nice piece of engineering, his robot arms are formed from both of his front alt mode legs, but he still retains a little bit of elbow movement.
His Robot Heroes release has gigantic, awkward hands. He looks like he’s ready to gleefully assist Skywarp in pushing some folks down a flight of stairs.
Kickback would go on to be the only one of the Insecticons homaged in Fall of Cybertron to receive a toy release.
I’ve always liked the G1 Insecticons in general because rather than simply being a sub-group within the Decepticons, they spent a good portion of the cartoon considering themselves to be an entirely separate faction; forcing Megatron to bribe them into working for him. That takes some serious ball bearings.
Megatron most valued them because of their ability to clone themselves, creating drone-level copies as a swarm of Insecticons. This idea would get turned on its head in the IDW comics series, having the Insecticons instead be created by the Decepticons.
The process of creating the three hyper-intelligent Insecticons resulted in roughly three thousand mutated, seemingly mindless, Transformer-devouring Insecticons, collectively called “The Swarm”.
From the Swarm, however, came my favourite Insecticon of all time. Bob, the domesticated pet of Sunstreaker.
Isn’t he just adorable? Why have we never gotten a toy of Bob?
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?
I have to admit a great deal of disappointment in Fall of Cybertron, and it’s almost all this guy’s fault:
I’d like to be able to simply jump on the bandwagon and say that the toy is the problem; that he’s just too small and his transformation is to simplistic. In reality, he is much less bulky than his previous incarnation.
It’s not that, though, I really don’t have a problem with the recent down-sizing of the toys. No, I have an issue with the overall aesthetic. I have since before setting eyes on the toy itself; since seeing this shot from the Fall of Cybertron trailer.
The design just doesn’t come close to his War for Cybertron body (a change that is never actually explained anywhere.) The toy actually improves on the odd, rounded look his head has, making it less rounded and more angled. However, it pales when put next to the awesome War for Cybertron head. The problem that the toy doesn’t fix is the chunky, blocked torso, though it does a decent job of downplaying it.
Still, that boxy, squared-off, top-heavy chest piece is something I would expect from an Ultra Magnus toy, not Optimus.
Oh. Well there you go. Yes, the mold definitely looks better as Ultra Magnus. In fact, I’m pretty sure he can deal with that (and just about anything else) right now.
I consider this a sort of vindication for poor Ultra Magnus. After suffering as an on again, off again repaint of his much more famous “brother”, it’s good to see him actually doing a mold better. The strange part is just how well the exact same mold still manages to pull off a really good Optimus and Ultra Magnus alt mode at the same time.
Since Ultra Magnus’ appearance in Animated, he’s become somewhat synonymous with hammers, but it looks like earlier on, he chose a… stabbier-slicier weapon. The best part is that the sword splits into pieces and can be combined with his gun — the same as the gun that comes with the Optimus version of the mold — to form an even bigger sword.
Funnily enough, the sword itself is modeled after the sword Optimus uses in the final showdown with Megatron in the game.
A scaled-down version of Megatron’s sword actually comes with Fall of Cybertron Air Raid.
When it comes to a sudden boost in weapon accessories, Ultra Magnus and Air Raid are both indicative of the second and future waves of the Fall of Cybertron toys.
The weapon Optimus’ toy comes with appears in promotional material for the game.
This is a nice inclusion, and speaks to this new move to actually make toy versions of the weapons from the game.
Optimus’ primary weapon of choice in the game is the Path Blaster.
Sideswipe, a fellow wave 2 toy with Ultra Magnus, includes this massive weapon.
After playing through the game and getting all the upgrades for the Path Blaster, there’s a good chance Sideswipe is not getting this weapon back from Optimus. All of this new weapon love isn’t entirely new. Back in War for Cybertron, Megatron came with his fusion cannon, the front half of which resembles a combination of the War for Cybertron Fusion Cannon and Fall of Cybertron‘s Riot Cannon
Unfortunately, it was molded as his alt mode’s primary weapon and includes a huge piece at the end. Also, it attaches in a specific way to Megatron’s arm and really can’t be used by other toys.
Another weapon, which makes an appearance in the game but is really character-specific, it the Sling Shock. Unlike Megatron’s, Shockwave’s weapon has a standard post and can be held by others.
Starscream comes with the game’s Neutron Assault Rifle, a very mean-looking geared six-barreled cannon.
Last but definitely not the least of wave 2 is one of my favourite weapons to use in multiplayer, the Gear Shredder. Used properly — never charge it all the way, it kills the accuracy — it’s a lethal and, more importantly, fun weapon (watching enemies flee with bladed discs sticking out of them from different angles never gets old).
Included with Kickback, the firing mechanism leaves a lot to be desired for a disc weapon, but it still looks very cool.
There are at least two of the next wave that come with game weapons; Whirl with the Subsonic Repeater and Roadbuster with the Energon Harvester. I can’t wait to grow the Fall of Cybertron in-game arsenal a little more.
If you have never seen any of Omni Production’s dub of The Headmasters, Super-God Masterforce, or Victory — sometimes called “The Singapore Dub”, it’s the one referenced in my post about Billy-I mean, Blaster/Twincast – you are doing yourself a disservice. This dub is so horrifically bad, it’s awesome. Now, I’m in no way suggesting you watch all of the Omni dub, that can’t possibly be good for anyone’s sanity, but there’s enough of it up on the Tubes of You to give you a taste of the lunacy. One particularly note-worthy scene involves the translation of Sixshot’s function as “Ninja Officer”.
Now, does this mean he consults about ninjas? Or he is a ninja who also does consultations? On what? Or maybe he consults directly to ninjas? Mysterious. (Or ridiculous. Your choice.)
His single appearance in the U.S. cartoon was pretty much a straight advertisement for his toy and its unprecedented six modes.
He also only made an appearance in one panel of the second issues of the four-part Headmasters comic book mini-series. This meant that for a while, his involvement across Headmasters, the Japanese season 3 cartoon, was pretty much the entirety of Sixshot.
Most of that was being known as the guy that ruthlessly killed folks. First, we find out millions of years ago he killed Chromedome’s little friend Abel (get it? Abel, the biblical first victim of murder? Subtle Takara, real subtle.) Then he shows up in modern times, gets up to some pretty standard Decepticon hijinks and then, oh yeah, murders Ultra Magnus in episode 24, given the accurate-yet-spoiler-filled-title: “Ultra Magnus Dies!!”After he fires the fatal shots, Sixshot lets out one of the best evil, maniacal laughs in the history of Transformers cartoons. Four episodes later, he then murders yet another friend of Chromedome, Jack.
All of this seems to culminate rather unsettlingly in episode 32 “My Friend Sixshot!” in which Daniel befriends “Uncle Sixshot” when he convinces himself that Sixshot isn’t really that bad of a guy. Did I mention this is the guy that killed Ultra Magnus a mere eight episodes prior? Or that killed two friends of Chromedome, who Daniel is supposedly also friends with?
I never had Sixshot as a kid, I honestly don’t recall at what point I even became aware of his existence. Until somewhat recently, the real lack of a presence in US fiction lead to statements by many like,
“I generally like G1 figures but I don’t remember Six Shot at all.“
However, IDW changed that by having him take a very active role in a number of their comics. Unfortunately, at first they poured on the “I’m a super-awesome-uber-cool-tailpipe-kicking ‘bot” a little too thick for me.
Granted, that “unbeatable one ‘bot army” thing has been knocked down a peg. The last we saw of him, he had just been dealt with by Metroplex.
But even that couldn’t keep him down permanently, so I’m sure he’ll be making a comeback.
Hopefully his return will come as an actual character rather than the super-powered stereotype he’s been portrayed as so far. All of these appearances seem to have been enough to garner attention from Mastermind Creations, a 3rd Party group, who are soon releasing their highly articulated and highly expensive “Terminus Hexatron”.
While a very, very nice looking toy, it’s not really something I need in my collection. Though it is infinitely more articulated than the original, it doesn’t really do anything to actually update Sixshot.
While only having a single point of useful articulation (his arms swivel up) Sixshot’s G1 toy has one advantage, he is intimidatingly large.
Mine is the 2002 Takara reissue. There’s recently been a Hasbro Asia reissue, but as it was given a shiny new chromed and metallic paint deco, it’s actually more expensive to get ahold of than the upcoming 3rd party toy.
Hopefully the combination of the 3rd party stuff — there’s also a recent Justitoys “World’s Smaller Transformers” release of Sixshot — and the Hasbro Asia release will drive prices down on the original and the 2002 reissue for those that haven’t had a chance to add this guy to their collections. For those that do finally get him, my first piece of advice regarding the instructions: ignore a good portion of the instructions.
First, don’t fold his chest “fins” in.
I assume whomever made the instructions thought the chest fins should move completely out of the way of his one point of articulation, but his box art shows you how it’s really done.
I usually angle them out somewhat rather than just putting them flat out, but that’s personal preference. Ironically, Sixshot’s instructions came sealed with a sticker and presented the buyer with a challenge:
The reason this is ironic is that both the instructions and the photos on the back of the packaging mis-transform the armored carrier mode.
There’s a step that rotates the arms to move the wheels forward.
Another purported inaccuracy involves his gun mode. There are extra holes inside his legs. Not used in any of his official transformations, his gun mode would make much more sense if this were where his blasters should be put.
Unlike the correct positioning of his wheels in armored carrier mode and of his chest fins in robot mode, the presumably correct gun mode transformation didn’t make it into his fictional appearances either. Instead they all used his instructions’ placement, on the outside.
The two modes that are pretty properly described are his other two vehicle alt modes. First, there’s the tank, which is particularly cool for the command station that’s formed by folding out the wolf’s lower jaw.
Then there’s my favourite of his vehicle alt modes and the most cohesive, the “Attack Jet”.
My favourite of all of his modes is his wolf mode. However, even this mode doesn’t escape without a minor bit of scrutiny. If it is indeed just a wolf, then the instructions’ placement of Sixshot’s wings is fine.
However, his fictional appearances tend to go with a Winged Wolf, angling the wings up and out slightly.
One of the reasons the wolf is my favourite is that it even warrants a special call-out in his Tech Spec.
“Only the wolf creature has no need for Sixshot’s 2 hypersonic concussion blasters; the wolf mode prefers to rip apart enemy Autobots with his razor fangs.”
Of course, “Winged Wolf” isn’t to be confused with “Wingwolf”, the oddity of a “hidden” seventh mode he suddenly displayed in Headmasters.
I wonder if the reason this seventh mode is “hidden” is because he doesn’t want to get kicked out of the Six Clan? (Couldn’t possibly be because it’s completely made up by the producers of Headmasters and not actually a real thing… right?)