Posts Tagged Mini-con
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?
Very few Transformers have warranted two posts, but as I stated in his first post, Hot Spot quickly jumped into my “favourite Scramble City combiners Commander” slot. That position was previously occupied by Scattorshot, but only by default because Computron was the only G1 combiner I had growing up. In another post, I wrote about hunting down a G1 Hot Spot to display separately from my combined Defensor, this was further reinforced when the new Generations release was announced. I lucked across one in a local collectibles shop.
Though he’s in good shape otherwise, I got him for a really good price because he’s is missing some stickers, one of this two fist tabs is broken off, and he came with no accessories. Luckily you can’t see the tab unless you’re specifically looking for it and I already had all his accessories, some pieces a couple times over.
As far as the Generations release, he’s darn near perfect. Well, that is if you put aside the darker paintjob and the fact that this is the fourth version of this mold I have.
Granted, a lot of people have the same problem with Hot Spot as they had with Inferno: the original G1 version of both have fire engines with ladder apparatus as their alt modes, however the Generations mold sports a water cannon in place of the telescoping ladder.
As updates go, I much prefer the more modern look of the water cannon, but to each their own, I guess. To tell the truth, as long as they made him any discernible firetruck that was blue with a firey comet logo on the front, I would have been happy. Either way, for me it’s the headsculpt that really sells it.
It’s so good, in fact, it makes me want to apply a little silver paint to the mouthplate of the G1 toy.
Something I forgot to mention in the previous post about Hot Spot, is that he received a little bit of an homage in the Armada line.
In his 2003 repaint, the Mini-con Emergency Team member Firebot received a Hot Spot inspired paintjob.
The coolest part is that the Emergency Team all have a second alt mode of a weapon, unfortunately with no cooresponding Mini-con port, neither Hot Spot can use Mini-Hot Spot as a missile launcher.
Hot Spot also got a release in the Japanese Kabaya series. It’s been a tradition of my last few Botcons to pick up whichever parts of that year’s Kabaya releases at the convention. This year I went with the clear goal of getting Deathsaurus and Hot Spot. (I actually ended up getting the third toy in that series, War for Cybertron Optimus Prime, for free along with them.)
I wanted to get Hot Spot especially so that he could sit on the shelves of my work display.
Much like the Generations release, my complaint about the Kabaya toy is that the blue is far too dark, but other than that he’ll fit right in with all the Legion class and Cyberverse Commander folks.
My only real regret is that this amazing new Hot Spot will never be the centerpiece of an equally sized Generations Defensor, which would be amazing.
In my head, the whole thing looks rather epic and a lot like this,
One can dream, right? Though, I guess it’s for the best “Protectobot Hot Spot” is the only Protectobot on the shelves. If he was part of a combiner I would have to hunt down a second Generations Hot Spot, like I found I just had to do with the G1 release.
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.
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.
**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.
The rebellious teen of Giant Planet and the cricket on his shoulder… or rather, in his chest. Cybertron Menasor and Heavy Load!
The series Cybertron was full of little oddities. It also had its share of very large oddities.
Menasor, the hotheaded young rebel-with-a-cause turned Decepticon lackey, who is then relatively easily converted back to the Autobot side of things partially thanks to his Mini-con conscience, Heavy Load, falls squarely into both categories.
Like Metroplex and the other inhabitants of Giant planet, Menasor also has a shorter “work mode”. Though his “work mode” transformation isn’t as involved as Metroplex’s.
Then there is Menasor’s alt mode.
Also like Metroplex, he transforms into a Gigantion-based construction vehicle. Unlike Metroplex, Menasor’s “excavation vehicle” doesn’t really correlate to any Earthen-based vehicles. By splitting the front plow in half, you can insert Heavy Load in alt mode to form a wider blade in his alt mode’s “Assault Mode”.
Unfortunately, not even the addition of Heavy Load can add sense to his alt mode. Heavy Load puts the “mini” in Mini-con, taking the title of “shortest Mini-con” in robot mode.
All that being said, Menasor, and to a slightly lesser extent, Heavy Load, have wonderful paintjobs. With a high degree of detail and some translucent pieces, the brushed silver effect on his drill arms and the two-tone blue mixed with gold and beige is all quite dynamic.
His headsculpt reminds me of a Tokusatsu or possibly Anime character. Maybe it’s his chin that makes me think of the Guyver?
He remains an oddity, but at least he’s a well-articulated oddity that’s cool to look at.
Steve, Winged Steve, Mini Steve, and Other Steve. Transformers Prime, Arms Micron, and Kre-O Vehicon and Igu!
I take the most delight in things that send a small portion of the fandom into an irrational frenzy. These topics include:
Animated‘s design aesthetic
Now, if you don’t know who Steve is, well, he’s one or more of these dudes,
Possibly also one or more of these dudes,
But he’s definitely this dude,
Though, I am firmly convinced the truth is a little more insidious.
In actuality Steve is a name applied by fans to one or all (depending on who you ask) of the Vehicons in Transformers Prime. As the fandom is made mostly of children (I’m not being judgmental here, this is statistically true) there are some that react rather violently in opposition of naming Vehicons. This is especially true when you name them all the same name.
I, however, find the joke to be funny and the violent opposition from a small, but vocal minority to be absolutely hilarious.
So Steve they are.
Despite what could be called janky arms (with elbow joints much like Airachnid’s) these guys are still some of the best toys to come out of the entire Transformers Prime line.
When it was discovered that the Winged Steve (in my house that’s pronounced rather dramatically as “wing-ed”, ’cause it’s funnier that way) would be a Takara-only release, I grabbed a pre-order. Much like Breakdown, he and his Mini-con are very, very much worth the import cost. As the flying Vehicons in Prime actually have cars with wings for alt modes, rather than jets, it was initially thought that Arms Micron‘s somewhat ironically named Jet Vehicon would be nothing more than the Robots in Disguise mold minus wheels and plus wings. However, this was not the case.
Takara completely reshelled the alt mode while keeping essentially the same robot mode underneath. This also gives him the advantage of not having to have the large 5mm posts added, instead just having holes and pegs pre-built into his wings.
It would have been nice if they would have given Winged Steve a 5mm post or hole somewhere along the center of his alt mode, so his Mini-con Igu could be attached without looking so unbalanced. Speaking of whom, Igu is a large recreation of the Vehicon weapon from the cartoon who transforms into an Iguana.
Proving Steve comes not only in many shapes, but also in many sizes, there is Mini Steve, the Cyberverse-scale Vehicon.
Though only with a car alt mode, so no Mini Winged Steve (but one can hope).
At Boton we were introduced to a trio of Kreon Steve, including Steve with wheels, Winged Steve, and Steve with no apparent alt mode but with a gun arm, or Other Steve as I have oh so imaginatively decided to call him.
I’m not one for army building (the term for buying multiples of the exact same toy because they are a generic character in the fiction) but as long as they keep putting out all these different molds, I can build an army of Steve without ever duplicating. That’s pretty much the only reason I will buy the First Edition Steve when he is re-released as a Toys R Us exclusive later this year.
After all, the more Steve, the merrier.
[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.
The parable of Cliffjumper; in which we dissect — at length — our bullheaded Autobot. Transformers Prime Cliffjumper!
When last we left Transformers Prime Cliffjumper (in a post from almost a year and a half ago) he had proven that sometimes being the “Lone Wolf Hero” type doesn’t pay off and looked like this,
At the time, I commented that “they haven’t released any info about toys for Transformers: Prime yet but if we don’t get a toy of that, it’ll be a crime.” This was in reference to the artwork from the cartoon of the original, still living Cliffjumper not the zombified horror pictured above. Since then we’ve seen three Cliffjumper releases with a planned fourth coming out of San Diego Comic Con. What I never imagined back then would be that not only would we get the living version of Cliffjumper, but that we would also get two different versions of the undead remains of Cliffjumper. Furthermore, I would never have imagined that I would feel compelled to shell out for the Takara release of zombie Cliffjumper when we are getting our own Hasbro release here as the aforementioned SDCC exclusive.
Now, I’ve said before that each of these Arms Micron Mini-cons has gotten better and better. Then Jida happened,
Oof. Kill that thing with fire. What is this, the 1980′s? The bulging back legs, the lack of articulation in the legs themselves; just a very, very bad attempt by the designer. It’s a good thing I bought the Takara release of Zombie Cliffjumper for the actual Zombie Cliffjumper. With most of the other Takara releases, I have endured the agony of stickers, a rather long shipping time, and sometimes somewhat unsightly added ports because of the awesome little Mini-con. For the AM-08 “Terrorcon Cliffjumper” release it definitely wasn’t to get my hands on Jida.
Heck, I don’t actually know what that is supposed to be. Is that a club with two chainsaws attached? What the heck is a chainsaw club? How is that a useful weapon for anybody, let alone a zombie? Just a disaster in the making, and that’s completely without addressing how/why a Decepticon aligned Mini-con is working with the reanimated corpse of an Autobot. Also, why is his name “Jida” (jee-da), from the Japanese pronunciation of “Cheetah”? He’s not evenly vaguely cheetah-like. He also has unexplained hinging on his sides. Though I’m sure it’s for some combined weapon mode with the other Decepticon Arms Microns, I instead have given him a “Mini-con Skin Rug” mode.
From bad robot mode — how hard is it to make a to nonsensical weapon alt mode and beyond, Jida is certainly not doing the Arms Micron line proud. What Takara did very, very right with this release was to come completely out of left field with translucent plastic for Cliffjumper. Translucent purple.
But, wait, you say, Cliffjumper is red, why translucent purple? Well, maybe not. If you have seen Transformers Prime — specifically how Cliffjumper ended up a zombie to begin with — there’s a good chance you already know the answer to this question. This represents Cliffjumper at his dark energon-y worst. One of my favourites scenes from the first season was Optimus Prime and Ratchet facing down Megatron’s army of dark energon-fueled undead Transformers. Also, zombie Cliffjumper’s non-translucent pieces are done in a wonderful dark reddish brow reminiscent of the colour of rust. Hasbro’s upcoming SDCC release of zombie Cliffjumper in the “Rust in Peace” packaging goes with the original red coloration.
“Need backup?” -Arcee
“Do I ever need backup?” -Cliffjumper
Famous last words indeed. Unlike most deaths in Transformers fiction, Cliffjumper’s was well done and meaningful ; its impact is still being felt even now, well into the second season. Cliffjumper was far too headstrong and sure of himself; a common problem among Transformers but one that rarely in the TV show results in such immediate, fatal consequences. For toys, Cliffjumper was at the heart of the whole First Edition release disaster. Next to Optimus Prime and Bulkhead, Cliffjumper was the one that I saw the most complaints about regarding how much vastly better the First Edition mold was over the Robots in Disguise release. Some went so far as to say such idiotic thing as “next to each other, RiD Cliffjumper looks like a knock-off.” Granted this was usually comments made from viewing poorly shot photos uploaded to a forum, but now having both molds in hand, I can say that is utter nonsense.
Comparing the two, assuming “cartoon accuracy” is the measuring stick, each has equal improvements over the other.
I’m not planning on doing this for any of the other First Edition to Robots in Disguise releases, but here’s my full breakdown comparison starting with the shoulders.
The upper arms and shoulders are better on the Robots in Disguise release, even with the odd choice to paint the wrong part red. The section with the circle should be the part painted red.
The First Edition’s shoulders jut too far above the head to be cartoon accurate. As for the lower arms, this clearly goes to the First Edition release.
The Robots in Disguise release’s forearms are hollow rectangles where the First Edition’s are more solid looking and curved in detail, closer to the cartoon model’s. Also, the First Edition walks away with this one by providing Cliffjumper’s signature ion cannons that rotate out from his hands. The Robots in Disguise release’s weapon is a hammer/gun thing.
The lower legs, however, are the direct opposite situation of the forearms.
In this case, the Robots in Disguise release are curved with properly red feet, once you turn them completely around this very clear advantage becomes a lessened when you see they are openly hollow. The First Editions are just rectangles, from any angle and end in completely black feet for some reason.
As far the chest is concerned, it starts out looking almost like a tie leaning slightly more to the Robots in Disguise side.
They both look pretty cartoon accurate with the Robots in Disguise side looking a more compact and rounded than the First Edition. However, this is due to “cheating”. Where the First Edition uses the true roof of the alt mode, the Robots in Disguise just uses a separate piece made to look like Cliffjumper’s chest. Additionally, the transformation of the First Edition actually incorporates the headlights, bringing them under and forward to form part of the torso. Here again the Robots in Disguise mold cheats, ending up with preset headlights on his stomach while the alt mode’s actual headlights end up on his upper arms. Two roofs and two sets of headlights on the Robots in Disguise release means I have to give this one to the First Edition mold despite the slightly better looking Robots in Disguise torso. As far as the headsculpt, this is an even match as far as I am concerned. The First Edition mold’s head (or what’s left of it on zombie Cliffjumper at least) seems to have all the same detail of the Robots in Disguise.
If I was forced to go one way or the other, it looks like the First Edition mold has slightly larger horns, so I would go with that. Speaking of horns, the bullhorns from Cliffjumper’s alt mode end up on both mold’s backs but despite having the entire hood, roof, back window, and trunk hanging off his back, the Robot’s in Disguise mold’s back folds up and tucks the alt mode horns away. The First Edition leaves them like some sort of odd tail on Cliffjumper’s rear end.
Somehow the Robots in Disguise manages to come out on top when looking at the back sections. The alt modes are both great as Cliffjumper but truth be told, it would have been difficult to screw this one up. Definitely could have done without the weapon mounting hole in the roof of the Robots in Disguise release.
So there’s just as many advantages as disadvantages to each. With no clear winner, it looks like we’ll have to turn to a good ol’ fashioned grudge match to decide the winner. Unfortunately for zombie Cliffjumper, in a one-on-one match, still operating higher-level brain functions and a hammer will beat shambling, groaning, and biting any day.
Anyway, this still remains my favourite way to get around having two molds of the same character. Having Takara then go the extra step of giving me a dark energon infused, translucent version is just icing on the cake.