Posts Tagged The Thirteen
Unlike most posts where I get about three fourths the way in before I stop slobbering praise over a toy long enough to say, “Oh yeah, here’s what I don’t like about it,” I am just going straight to my one nitpick about Vector Prime.
No, not some sort of euphemism for robot genitalia, parts of the toy made of flexible plastic that are way too easy to bend out of shape. Usually it’s done for safety, such as Drift or Bludgeon, and Banzaitron’s swords, which is most likely also the reason for Vector Prime’s sword and his wings. I do like having his wings cast in the translucent blue, but unfortunately it can lead to this.
Step one: Get water very, very, very hot.
Step two: Stick the offending piece into the hot water until it becomes flexible.
Step three: A lot of time, the plastic will automatically return to the correct, straight position it was originally manufactured into. If not, simply bend the now malleable plastic into the correct position and keep it there until it cools.
Even Primus himself isn’t as Cybertronian as Vector Prime. Just look at him. Seriously, from his helmeted head with that protruding chin and sunken eyes to his cape wearing, knight-like armor, he is every single Ancient Cybertronian stereotype rolled into one beautifully brown, white, gold, silver, and teal robot. Then you attach his mini-con, Safeguard, to his arm and equip him with his sword and he’s ready to disabuse you of any preconceived notions that “ancient” somehow means “fragile”.
Add in his status as one of the Original Thirteen Primes, guardian of time and space itself, capable of existing outside of time, and you begin to understand that he is actually immensely powerful. His sword alone is so powerful — able to open dimensional gates — that it gets its own name, Rhisling. He is accompanied by his mini-con, Safeguard — whom I liked so much that when Vector Prime was repainted into a hideously gaudy bronze colour, I hunted down the accompanying repaint of Safeguard, but not bronze Vector Prime himself. I’m also trying to get my hands on the third Safeguard, a brown and silver repaint that came with the equally hideous Universe re-repaint of Vector Prime.
Safeguard essentially transforms into a huge (by Mini-con standards at least) winged cannon. Being a Cybertron toy, Vector Prime has his very own Cyber Key, mimicing the geared clock motif that is also predominant on Vector Prime’s body.
Inserting the Cyber Key into his chest turns his electronic blaster sounds into electronic sword slashing sounds (yaaaaaawn!). A nice touch is that his key has the symbols of the other planets, Gigantion, Earth, Velocitron, and Jungle Planet, as well as a tiny little Autobot symbol on the front of it.
I can imagine Vector Prime is the kind of toy that designers love to have as assignments. They get to make this tremendously cool robot mode and aren’t restricted too much by the alt mode because it is “Cybertronian” rather than a normal Earthen alt mode.
Looking closely at the surface of this mode, you can see they just went to town with the molded details and paint applications. Note the clockwork gears on the top and along the front edges. You can see an inset area with a Mini-con port behind the cockpit where you can attach Safeguard. Also, just in front of the cockpit you can see the trigger that fires a missile from the front of the ship. The depth of detail doesn’t stop there either, it continues onto the bottom side as well.
There are a lot of Transformers that I absolutely adore that I can completely understand if others do not like, but honestly I don’t understand anyone that doesn’t have this noble guardian and his little Mini-con companion in their collection.
When the five separate components are presented with the option to join with each other and reform Nexus Prime, they are clearly given the choice,
“TO DIE. TO BE REBORN. OR TO LIVE AND FADE AWAY.”
This means they have found the answers they were searching for. Or rather, that four of them were searching for; Heatwave seemed quite content to ignore the big, empty space that was his past. It also means that to truly wipe out that void and rejoin that past they must lay down their individual lives.
Where once there was a void there would now be a history that was truly legendary, they were all pieces of one of the original Primes, one of the original thirteen Transformers. Each Prime was given a station. Nexus Prime was to be guardian of Rarified Energon, the basis of all Transformers life, the building block of both their bodies as well as their souls, their Sparks. Another of the Primes, Prima, the Warrior of Light, carried a sword and within the hilt of his sword was the Matrix. Yeah, that one:
His sword, the Star Saber, was so powerful that it could destroy entire star systems. In order to keep it from being used by evil — perhaps even another of the Primes, Megatronus, also known as The Fallen — Alpha Trion and Nexus Prime split the sword into five pieces. Nexus Prime would take each piece and hide it. In order to ensure that no one Transformer knew of the location of all five pieces, Alpha Trion and Nexus Prime first used the sword to cleave Nexus Prime into five separate robots. However, the plan worked too well. The five components of Nexus Prime became lost to time, living out their own individual lives, unaware of their true identity and no longer aware of where the five pieces were hidden. Given the choice to recombine, they somewhat reluctantly took it and now are traveling across the dimensions trying to recover the five pieces of the Star Saber.
When they recombined, they lost their individual lives but became part of something far more powerful. Nexus Prime now had access to all of the individual five’s special abilities, basically giving him mastery over energon in all of its forms. Now, as far as the fiction goes, this combining and never coming back apart works very well. He is given standard proportions and something that his toy doesn’t really have. Actual fists.
Don’t get me wrong, his toy is absolutely amazing, and as a collection of the Energon series combiner pieces, it is very flexible (if not transformed exactly as the instructions state) and can form two very good hand-like appendages. However, the thought of him never again separating into his five components would be very sad indeed.
Then, when they hit a threat too large to take on divided, they can unleash the might of Nexus Prime.
Hasbro has stated that his “correct” assemblage is as the image from Issue 30 shows above. That is: Landquake as the right and Breakaway as the left arm; Topspin as the right and Skyfall as the left leg. However, I cannot abide that on his toy. Topspin’s combiner piece actually creates the most hand-like of all of the pieces. Additionally, when not transformed like the instructions, he allows for an actual elbow joint, so I swap Breakaway and Topspin.
Nexus Prime’s name itself has also been subject to a little bit of unintentional hilarity. When the fiction for the character was submitted, he was a Prime, but for some reason, when the names of ”Maximus Prime” and “Prime Nexus” were submitted for the toy itself, Hasbro actually told the Collectors Club no. Hasbro instead suggested they drop the “Prime” and just use what was left over. Therefore, the TCC released his toy name as “Nexus Maximus”.
Here’s a lesson for all of you that are in the job of naming things for release to the public: use Google. (Warning: putting Nexus Maximus into Google
may will return results that will make you giggle, if not outright blush. That’s all I’m saying.)
His name was officially changed to Nexus Prime and a humorous image was thrown up on the TCC forums where Aquarius, the hippy Quintesson from Shattered Glass, explains that the name “Nexus Maximus” was the fault of a bad translation job by Alpha Trion’s minicon companion.
Nexus Prime is listed as an Autobot but has Decepticon, Autobot, and even red “heroic Decepticon” symbols on him. The individual molds actually keep the spark crystals from their original versions with Autobot symbols for Skyfall and Breakaway,
and Decepticon spark crystals for Heatwave, Landquake, and Topspin.
All titter-inducing naming accidents and symbol confusions aside, this toy was well worth the five years it took to complete.
Too bad direct sunlight is bad for Transformers or I would station him permanently in a window in all his translucent glory.
Where did we leave off? Oh, yes, The Fallen was pointed at angrily by Primus and — to quote the TFWiki: “somehow sets himself more on fire.”
Sealed back into the Seal of Primus by the hand of Primus himself, The Fallen, once again, had fallen. But you can’t keep a good Multiversal Singularity down so he was bound to return and return he did, this time in the Movie Universe, and specifically as the subject of the second movie, Revenge of The Fallen. Out of the two we have received, War Within and Movie, this is easily my favourite. I am far less impressed by War Within’s rather bland “Really Big Blocky” robot than I am with the emaciated, otherworldly look of the movie’s version of the super-powered demigod. The toys capture the spirit of this menacing creature, and the newest toy adds even more detail to the impressive rendition.
I distinctly remember the announcement of this version of The Fallen. I laughed. I already had the original release and not only was he detailed enough for my tastes, he was the correct colouring as well. I had already skipped one other version, the Target exclusive orange repaint, but it was seeing this new one in person at Botcon 2010 that changed my mind (and it wasn’t just the OCD kicking in and telling me I just had to have him because of his new accessory, the “Command Staff” he brandished in the movie). I’ll save the best for last, though, you can see the real reason I just had to have this more movie-accurate version at the bottom of this post. Well, once the decision was made to get this one, I really needed to go back and find the one I was missing, the Target exclusive I had initally passed up. Turns out passing him up was the right decision because I managed to get him rather quickly for half the price I would have paid originally in Target. The three of them make a very nice display piece together, a kind of fire and ice dichotomy.
Go ahead, click on the picture above and just look at the ridiculous amounts of details Hasbro’s designers put into these figures, I’ll wait.
You back? Where was I? Oh yeah, it’s that time of the post that I write “the one thing I don’t like…”.
The one thing I don’t like about these three is that branding has moved from a guiding principle to the first and foremost commandment for Hasbro. Therefore, this incarnation of The Fallen is depicted as the “First Decepticon”, thereby allowing the toys to be marked with that oh-so-familiar Decepticon faction symbol. Though they don’t detract from the figure visually, in both versions, they are almost an afterthought, it irks me — fictionally speaking. (Can you be fictionally irked?) One of the original Thirteen Primes (oh yeah, this incarnation added that the original thirteen Transformers were the original thirteen Primes) shouldn’t really need to marginalize himself like that. I guess I just like my demigods a little more… detached. Following in the “just there because you people wouldn’t by a Transformer with no alt-mode” (which I don’t actually mind), The Fallen’s alt-mode is a “Cybertronian Destroyer”.
Speaking of the “The original thirteen Primes” connection, this The Fallen can only be destroyed by one thing, a Prime. Unfortunately for the Autobots, their’s was just K.I.A., but luckily for them — in a wonderful homage to the Marvel Comics continuity plotline involving Buster Witwicky being the temporary vessel for the Matrix — their human companion is able to recreate the disintegrated Matrix and bring Optimus Prime back to life, just in time for him to… Now, different universes means different personalities for some, right? It just so happens that the Optimus Prime in this universe had already proven himself to be a warrior capable of shanking the ever-loving heck out Decepticons. This made it somewhat less surprising when Optimus said, ”Give me your face”, ripped The Fallen’s face off, impaled him, and then forcibly removed, and crushed, The Fallen’s spark core.
Yes, as you can see, what Hasbro added to this version of The Fallen is probably the most humiliating. You can actually remove The Fallen’s face, uncovering the mechanics below.
No, here’s what Revenge of The Fallen didn’t show you: what did Optimus do with The Fallen’s face once he removed it? In true psycho-style he wore it like he was Hannibal Lector.
* Now imagine that said in Peter Cullen’s voice.
In the beginning Primus created them… or maybe it was the Allspark. And there were 13… or 7.
And one betrayed them… or they all betrayed each other… and one of them became Unicron’s herald… or maybe he didn’t, maybe he just wanted power.
And he killed his 12 or 6 brothers… or maybe all but one… and he was locked away in another dimension… or it was the Seal of Primus… or maybe he just fell asleep.
See, here’s the problem with moving into the realm of Transformers God- or Demigodhood. You become what is known as a Multiversal Singularity and exist across so many dimensions, you inevitably contradict yourself. Singularities are entities that either exist all at once across all dimensions, such as the Transformer’s creator and god, Primus; or they exist once and inhabit only one dimension at a time but have the ability to flit between dimensions the way a person changes channels on a T.V. To date, Hasbro has identified at least sixteen such Multiversal Singularities: Primus; his evil twin, Unicron; the life-giving supercomputer, Vector Sigma; and the original thirteen Transformers.
The original thirteen were the Primes and they all served a function. Amongst them was the “Overseer of Entropy”, basically the guy in charge of making sure stuff broke into chaos, basically the Transformers equivalent of the Hindu deity, Shiva. Oh, no, I can’t possibly forsee any problems with putting one immensely powerful entity in charge of the very nature of chaos itself. Much like some interpretations of Shiva, Megatronus was to shepherd destruction as a preparation for creation, but he grew too fond of the concept of destruction for the sake of destruction. He sided with the Dark God, the Chaos Bringer himself, Unicron. For this, Primus banished them both by chucking them into a black hole. For a God, Unicron sure falls in a lot of black holes these days.
The above story now serves as the prelude to a comic book series called “Transformers, The War Within: The Dark Ages” produced when Dreamwave had the Transformers license. The worst comic book artist to ever hold the Transformer’s license, Dreamwave president and head swindler, Pat Lee, did one thing of note in this mini-series. Mr. Lee’s single contribution was the design of the lead bad-guy, a new character called, The Fallen. Granted, Mr. Lee’s normal style of “Transformers with Elephantitis” was prevalent and the concept came out looking bloated and bent.
Luckily by the time The Fallen made his appearance within the pages of the comic book itself — sadly Pat Lee continued to do covers for the series – he had laid off the steroid use and was replaced by an imposing figure, perpetually aflame, with a furnace for a heart. Fiction has since given a reason for his constant state of conflagration but, per the writer of War Within, Simon Furman, the original reason was “because it looks cool.” (Another reason we love Simon Furman.)
And this, along with the entire bankrupted and dissolved company of Dreamwave would have been merely history in the Transformers archives, had someone at Hasbro not decided that this character deserved a toy. In 2007 the Transformers toy line, the Titanium Series, had already seen releases of other War Within designs. In wave 6 we received the first ever toy incarnation of The Fallen (now just called “Fallen”). He was actually based mostly on the Don Figueroa design used for Pre-earth Megatron in the Stormbringer mini-series,
The Fallen’s toy would change the head and add some flames.
The Titanium Series was a collector’s series, made partially out of diecast metal. This meant great little details were added. Look closely at his arms, legs, and chest to see stress marks and chips that can accumulate over the eons. They were also packaged with a display stand emblazoned with the figure’s name and faction symbol. Now, Hasbro is a company that understands the importance of branding, putting Autobot and Decepticon symbols on characters that are neither but that happen to be evil or good characters, e.g. the “Decepticon” Animated Lockdown. Surprisingly for The Fallen they eschewed the use of the Decepticon symbol. The Fallen actually has his own head, set ablaze, as his faction symbol on both his base and the side of his alt-mode.
Though never shown to actually transform in any incarnation in any media so far, that wouldn’t sell too many toys, so The War Within The Fallen transforms into a tank.
The War Within incarnation of The Fallen was stricken down by the hand of god himself. While trying to revive Unicron, Primus… well, he pointed angrily at The Fallen and The Fallen dissolved into energy. Oh, how the mighty have Fallen, once again.
Up next: A new story, a new weight loss regime, and a new colourful wardrobe, but the same old The Fallen.