Posts Tagged Prime
**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.
A+ for originality with an A+ for homaging? Impossible! (Though F for naming.) Transformers Prime Rumble!
One thing that’s very difficult to do in this franchise is pull off an homage to a previous character while actually remaining original in your design. As fans, we lack an appreciation for subtlety. Sad, really, because then we tend to grouse and moan loudly when we are given, “more of the same”, but not as loudly as we complain when we are given something that is “totally off the mark”. For this reason alone I applaud whomever designed Transformers Prime “Rumble”. Granted, they then manufactured him in the wrong colour (or named him the wrong name, whichever), but they did a great job of capturing the scrappy little Decepticon thug anyway.
However, when it comes to direct homages, there’s really only two. First, of course, being the piledriver weapons that integrate into his arms, but can also be held as guns. Then there’s the unnecessary, but awesome detail molded into the sides of his alt mode that stick up from his back in robot mode, harkening back to the weapons that protruded from the original’s back.
Minus these details and his character’s description, there’s really nothing else that screams “Frenzy!” or “Rumble!” about this guy.
He’s actually impressively original in his design aesthetic. I absolutely love his headsculpt. He also makes great use of translucent plastics, his light-piping is wonderful. I guess his chest can be considered somewhat an homage to the cassette tape spool chest of his G1 toy, but as quite a few people have pointed out, it really looks more like eyes of a face. I know when I saw him, the first thing I thought of was the Gunmen of the anime series Gurren Lagann
I do have one serious concern about his robot mode. His waist consists of a rather thin stick of plastic connecting his top half to his legs, I mean perilously thin. It has enough clearance that a little too much pressure might easily snap it off.
I’m just sayin’, be careful with this guy. Now, his new alt mode is a somewhat plain looking compact car.
Just like United Frenzy and Rumble, there’s no real explanation provided as to why he is no longer a Deployer of Soundwave’s. Of course, there is an implied one, if you ignore that very forced attempt by Hasbro to shoehorn Transformers Prime in with the “Aligned Continuity”, then Rumble was never a Deployer of Transformer Prime‘s Soundwave to begin with. His alt mode, which looks very, very much like Alternators Rumble’s Honda Civic Si alt mode, takes on an almost Transformers Animated Bumblebee-with-jet-boosters look when you attach his weapons on the sides.
Though Takara-Tomy has announced an Arms Micron release of both Rumble and Frenzy (which is which colour has yet to be seen, but Takara has historically gotten the toy names correct), we haven’t heard anything from Hasbro. It would be shocking for Hasbro to pass up a possibility to put a straight repaint out there, but stranger things have happened, heck, just ask Transformers Prime Ironhide… or rather, Kup.
Not expecting to find anything at my closest retail, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon a single Dreadwing hidden amongst the plethora of Optimus, Megatron, and Bulkhead. The recently released, sword-swinging brother of the erstwhile Decepticon and currently dimensionally displaced zombie, Skyquake, Dreadwing has shown to be quite competent and enjoyable on the show. Hopefully he’ll get a little more character development as Season 2 proceeds.
His toy is very show-accurate in robot mode, if a little less bulky. The gold adds a nice contrast to the otherwise very Prime Decepticon colours of silver, grey, and dark blue.
There’s something oddly noble looking about Dreadwing in the cartoon the toy seems to capture perfectly, right down to the headsculpt.
Though he does come with a weapon that is meant to look like his cannon from the show, it has been given the “Powerizer” treatment. This essentially means it’s default state is a folded up mess which is far taller than it is long and looks positively daft.
My solution — as I did with Voyager class Prime Optimus’ — was to remove the battery (none of the light-up gimmicks on these “Powerizers” work at all anyway), detach the spring that keeps it folded up, and wedge a piece of plastic cut from the display window of his box to keep it locked in the proper folded-out form.
Taking another cue from Optimus, Dreadwing comes with a sword like he uses in the show.
The disappointment in this toy is his alt mode, or half of his alt mode, or to be even more precise, the bottom half of his alt mode. He transforms into a… let’s call it a heavily modified F-35 fighter.
Whereas Transformer jets quite often suffer from disproportionate undersides, with Dreadwing, it’s as is if the designer just stopped trying. First, there’s the ridiculously obtrusive robot mode hips that jut in an ungainly manner from the front edges, but even that isn’t as bad as the robot hands sticking straight out of the rear end of the aircraft.
The hands would have been excusable on a toy of much smaller scale, but on a Voyager, that’s just sloppy design. In fact, Dreadwing’s Cyberverse toy does a better job, at least tucking the hands under the back wings.
Dreadwing’s Cyberverse release, unlike Breakdown’s, is a very good small scale representation of the character. Done in the larger Commander scale, he comes with an accurate cannon and his sword.
Luckily his Voyager class toy’s robot mode is more than enough to ignore any issues with alt mode. In fact, I like the robot mode so much, that I sincerely hope that the planned release of Skyquake actually happens. I definitely want a chance to place the two of them side-by-side on my Prime Decepticons display.
Beyond stocking my work desk by continuing the Legends class toys, the Cyberverse line also introduced the new playsets that I am definitely a big fan of. With the Dark of the Moon line came first Bumblebee and the Mobile Battle Bunker and Starscream with his Orbital Assault Carrier. They were cool, high on play value, but nothing too mind-blowing for display.
Then the next wave consisted of Megatron and Optimus Prime, both of which actually integrated with their action sets as trailers in alt mode and armor/flight suits in robot mode. Upping the ante for display, especially in alt mode.
In the following wave, Ratchet and Shockwave continued the integration with alt mode, but lose any real integration with robot mode.
Then came the brilliant Dark of the Moon release of The Ark. Rather than a made up (other than Optimus’ trailer, I guess) accessory, here we had an attempt to deliver a show-accurate representation of a piece of Transformers fiction that wasn’t actually a Transformer. My thoughts on the subject were pretty straightforward:
And Hasbro obliged. Not just once, but twice within the Prime Cybververse line we get Wheeljack’s spaceship, the Star Hammer (or Jackhammer if you prefer the show’s name) and a Decepticon Energon Driller.
However, they also decided to go in a completely different, larger-scale direction.
Optimus Maximus is intended to be a battle platform with two modes; the mech-like robot mode and a seated robot mode rolling battle station mode.
The intention, of course is to populate the battle platform with Cyberverse Legion and Commander Class ‘bots.
With missles and sounds and lights (even though, like most Cyberverse, the light-piping gimmick doesn’t work at all), Optimus Maximus provides plenty in the way of play value for the kids. With no fictional appearance, or for that matter basis for existing outside of his box text, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with him.
Then I saw him in person and… don’t laugh… was drawn to how much he resembled a piece of “exploded view” art.
Especially when set against a single-coloured background, Optimus Maximus looks a lot like a deconstructive study of an Optimus.
And that’s not including the fact that at his scale, I can populate him solely by incarnations of Optimus just for the heck of it.
Even with how much I like the look of Optimus Maximus and despite having see the Bumblebee Battle Suit in person as Botcon, I am still on the fence as to whether or not I am going to get that one when it comes out.
Unfortunately, he looks a little less Deconstructive art and a little more Dadaism…
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.
I was prepared to potentially dislike this toy based on the feedback I had seen online. Granted, if I was going solely on the feedback, I would have been prepared to despise this toy with every fiber of my being and oh, why does Hasbro hate us, not making a voyager class toy out of easily the best character in Transformers Prime and yadda yadda yadda. I don’t know if you know this, but the Transformers fandom can be a little drama queen of a community sometimes.
That being said, I do not entirely blame people for feeling particularly annoyed with the Transformers Prime line, it has been one misstep after another. It began with a year-long delay between the release of the cartoon and when the toys began to appear. Then there was the debacle around the original mostly-not-a-release of the First Edition toys (soon to be rectified with a re-release later this year).
It continued on with the will we/won’t we news about Skyquake. At one point, they announced that we won’t be getting a Skyquake but we would get the mold as Dreadwing.
[SEASON ONE AND SEASON TWO SPOILERS!]
Skyquake was dead, so fair enough.
Still, this is Hasbro, who love nothing more than repaints. This seems like a no-brainer. Then, as reported at SDCC 2012, they changed their mind? Or maybe the first news reports were bunk? Who knows at this point.
This brings us to Breakdown. A fan favourite even given his Skyquake-like deceased-ness, it was frustrating to learn that Breakdown will not be released in the U.S. due to his mold being “not made to the same standards”. Translation? Bringing the mold over is too expensive and not worth it for a dead character in Hasbro’s opinion. Looks like it’s time to import (mine is in the mail to me as I type this.) Of course, it’s not all bad. Breakdown’s Arms Micron release comes with a Rhino Mini-con that transforms into a hammer. Rhino Hammer. That’s worth the price of the import right there.
But, we’re not done with Breakdown, he’s getting another Takara release as “Cyrus” Breakdown. Mostly likely a reference to the fact that Silas, the somewhat compressed (having a giant robot land on you can have that effect) leader of MECH, is in possession of Breakdown’s bits and pieces (making Airachnid royally pissed at you can have that effect).
[END OF SPOILERS]
But, we’re not done with Breakdown. Wait… what? Yes! Takara is releasing the “not made to the same standards” mold a third time. This time in red with a new headsculpt as the Autobot Swerve.
That’s three releases of a mold that Hasbro states will not be sold in the U.S. Very uncool at $50-$60 + shipping a pop. I have the original on his way (Rhino Hammer!!), a pre-order in for “Cyrus” (just in case, I am still reserving judgment to see where the show goes with it and how much difference there is in the toys), and no interest in Swerve (I keep telling myself that to make me a little less ticked off at the whole situation.)
Any one of these, especially the Breakdown nonsense, would be annoying on their own. All of them together, plus more, are just exhausting.
Along the lines of “plus more”, there’s Airachnid.
Where to start? How about her missing mode? Her name is a play on the word “arachnid” or spider. In the show she has an amazing half-robot half-spider mode that is completely absent in the toy.
There’s her hands, which are permanently affixed in “judo-chop” position, have large holes bored directly through them to hold her weapons, and are blocked from being able to be rotated in line with her arms.
Her arms themselves have very little in the way of lower articulation due to the hinge used in their transformation. Her legs also suffer from a lack of articulation at the hips and are so poorly arranged that she has a hard time standing upright. Her alt mode’s rotor does at least pay homage to her missing arachnid mode, forming three of the spider legs of which she has five total; two being formed by part of her alt mode’s tail section.
Her headsculpt pretty much looks correct to what is in the cartoon, but the seat in the cockpit of her alt mode is protruding from the back of it, effectively wiping out 90% of her neck articulation.
Speaking of alt modes, her helicopter mode is the only part of this toy which is done some justice. It may be small, but it is at least accurate to the cartoon.
Her stinger weapons can be attached to the side, but ruin the smooth lines of the alt mode when attached as the directions suggest.
I prefer to either leave them off altogether or attach them flat along the body.
Basically she can’t be displayed in alt mode without attaching the stingers to provide her enough stability to not fall over and she doesn’t look all that great in robot mode because her poorly molded hands look ridiculous.
This all really is a shame, because she is a wonderful character and looks so amazing on the show. I know it won’t happen but I would love nothing more than a do-over for Hasbro on this in a proper Voyager scale toy. At the very least, hopefully some 3rd party company can take advantage of the fact that her rotor is detachable and make a replacement one the provides her with sufficient spider legs.
On a note unrelated to her toy’s sad state of affairs, I learned that not only do Takara fans have to contend with this lackluster toy, the producers of the Japanese version of the cartoon have also broken an otherwise cool character on the show itself. In the original version of Transformers Prime, Airachnid is less a Decepticon out of allegiance than out of the opportunities it provides for her to exercise her own psychopathic tendencies. Case in point: she collects specimens (specifically dead ones) of endangered species. What happens if she arrives somewhere where the wildlife is teeming? How do you collect unique specimens if the species isn’t endangered? You endanger the species yourself. Prior to getting unintentionally reacquainted with her erstwhile Decepticon comrades, her plan upon crash landing on Earth was to hunt humanity into extinction and take her one trophy.
All pretty cool for a villain character. How did that get messed up in translation? Her TFWiki entry sums it up:
“In the Japanese version of “Predatory”, the nature of what Airachnid refers to as her “collection” was substantially altered. The images of the alien monsters were removed and, to fit Airachnid’s modified Japanese interpretation, her collection was said to consist of “cute boys” she had hunted and captured. She falls head over heels for Jack and becomes intent on making him the next addition to her boy harem, specifically.”
No words. I have no words for this.
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.
Borrowing a Transformers Prime Robots in Disguise Bumblebee from a friend, I decided to do a little side-by-side comparison with the Takara release. Basically, I was trying to determine if I needed to get the Hasbro release for my collection or if I am sufficiently happy with the Takara release. My conclusion?
I have spent way to much time on a toy that I am only marginally interested in based on a character whose vocal peculiarity bugs the heck out of me on the show.
After putting the two next to each other I did decid that I like the darker yellow colour on the Takara toy better and though I like the double blasters that come with the Hasbro toy, I can always steal the ones from Transformers Prime Hot Shot when I get my hands on him.
There is one thing that the side-by-side comparison did spur. I realized my only real problem with the Takara release was specifically the orangish-yellow parts of the stickers that didn’t match the yellow of the toy itself. Despite my wish to be done with dealing with his stickers, I pulled those pieces off, trimmed them down to just the black stripes, and reapplied them. It really made a world of difference for me.
This only left the comparison of the more show-accurate profile of the Hasbro release with the Takara release’s added 5mm ports.
This doesn’t bug me as much as it seems to bug others but I completely understand why people don’t like it. If anything makes me think I might eventually need to get the Hasbro release, it’s this. Of course, this is Bumblebee. There’s literally hundreds of him on the shelves, so I shouldn’t have a hard time in the near future getting him at a rather healthy discount.