Posts Tagged Timelines
Showing that alt modes don’t always have to make any sense to be awesome. Energon Scorponok! Timelines Double Punch!
After two posts from Cybertron and now this guy, you might be able to guess that I have reached the A-E-C portion of the packing of the toys. For anyone not familiar with the “Unicron Trilogy”, Armada, Energon, and Cybertron or A-E-C for short were three back-to-back Transformers cartoons and toylines meant to be one continuity. Whereas Energon is a straightforward sequel to Armada, the connection between those two and Cybertron is tenuous at best (if not just an outright fabrication by Hasbro). All that aside, Energon is easily the weakest of the toylines of the three. In fact, I don’t own a good portion of it. I might have been more able to forgive the glaring mistakes of the toyline if the cartoon dub hadn’t been even worse than the already poor Armada. At the time, I didn’t have easy access to the Japanese version, called Super Link due to the combining gimmick of the series. Maybe watching Super Link would have made it somewhat better or, like with Galaxy Force versus Cybertron, actually downright enjoyable. I found copies of the Japanese releases of both Armada and Energon and maybe after enough years have gone by, I’ll attempt to watch them. Granted, the urge hasn’t hit yet and it’s been ten years since Armada first aired.
Enough ranting, let’s get to the toy.
My initial reaction to Energon Scorponok was, in order:
- What the ever-lovin’ heck is that supposed to be?
- Space Scorpion Construction Vehicle Assault Tank. Huh.
- I think I love it.
I am relatively sure I shouldn’t actually like him, but I do. There’s nothing at all that makes sense about his alt mode, but that’s never stopped me from totally liking a Transformer before. Then, of course, there’s the fact that he is a triple-changer, with a space ship alt mode as well.
His imposing robot mode, the mode that really sold me on this toy, is chunky but still manages to have some pretty decent articulation.
The Botcon-folks would use this mold in 2010 as part of the G2: Redux line to do one of my favourite repaint/remold tricks: provide a transforming update to an Action Master. As with all the Action Master Elites, G1 Double Punch was never released in the U.S. Also, as part of that European-exclusive Generation 1 toyline, Double Punch had some wonderfully obnoxious colours, faithfully recreated in his Botcon release.
Though Scorponok received a slight remolding to be released in the Cybertron line, Double Punch uses the original version of the mold.
Complete with awesome-ly nonsensical alt mode. To this day, I don’t know what they were thinking when they designed it, but I like it.
The original really can’t even come close to Double Punch’s application of the mold. Even the G1 Scorponok homaging head mold is made better in Double Punch’s colour scheme.
Double Punch is clearly the toy this mold was always meant to be.
The showdown of the Overlord and the Pretender has been put on hold due to an Invasion! Botcon 2012 Gigatron and Metalhawk!
It’s the little things that bring the most joy. For instance, when I suddenly got it in my head that I must own Scoop it was because I wanted very much to recreate the following Botcon 2012 comic panel in toy form:
Once I got my 2012 Botcon set, I had that vital missing piece. Metalhawk. I had to borrow a couple weapons, such as Tracks’ odd little hairdryer gun and a sword for Metalhawk himself, but mission accomplished!
As for Metalhawk himself, I was very happy with how his toy turned out. A lot of others are not. Most of them were expecting the recreation of the inner robot form, like most of his U.S. appearances in fiction, not the Pretender shell. As I laid out in my post about Gilmer/Submarauder, though the human Pretender concept was handled poorly on Hasbro’s side, it was done correctly by Takara. I am nearing the end of Super-God Masterforce, the Japanese series Metalhawk appears in, and when I think of Metalhawk, I think of this guy,
Not this guy.
That’s why I am quite happy with this guy,
I am also very happy with the Botcon folks use of the Thunderwing mold, it fits the update perfectly. Well, maybe not perfectly. I did have to borrow a sword for him for the photo recreation of the comic panel. However, he makes good use of the mold’s two cannons. Of the three versions of this mold, I think he actually looks the best wielding the combined gun mode.
I might get strung up by Takara fans for this, but this mold has a far, far, faaaaar better alt mode than the original. Granted, that’s not too hard, considering how lackluster most Pretender alt modes are.
However, as controversial as the human-faced Metalhawk may be, it comes nowhere near the amount of foaming at the mouth that has occurred over the other “Classics-verse” character in the boxset.
Called Gigatron rather than the proper name of this particular update, Overlord, he apparently represents a very touchy subject for non-U.S. Transformers fans. Also from Super-God Masterforce (as far as my wife is concerned, the best name for any cartoon series ever), Overlord was a huge toy made up of a tank, driven by Giga, and a jet, piloted by Mega. One thing no one in their right mind could argue is that Gigatron’s alt mode is a spot-on update of the original G1 tank portion of Overlord.
The real issue then comes down to two main points:
- This is only half of Overlord.
- The mold that was used, Bludgeon/Banzaitron, is too Bludgeon and not enough Overlord.
I can understand both of these complaints. Granted, as far as 1 is concerned, yes, this is only half, the Giga half. His name is actually Gigatron, not Overlord. With 2, I can also understand the aversion to the skeletal samurai but the perfect alt mode, the colours, and the headsculpt overcome the skeletal thing. The samurai part was explained in his bio,
In robot mode, Gigatron carries an array of bladed melee weapons so that he may savor the damage he inflicts in a close-quarter brawl.
So, he’s a stabby-stabby kind of guy. Ultimately, to both of these complaints I say: meh. Which is easy for me to say, I know, but I don’t have the original G1 toy and at the point that I am in the series, I have seen far more Giga and Mega than Overlord. The Botcon folk anticipated this backlash and had Last Stand of the Wreckers artist, Nick Roche, do a promotional image for Gigatron basically stating that this was a version of the comic book Overlord, not the cartoon one.
To further reinforce this, the headsculpt was done specifically to be a recreation of Roche’s Overlord model. The end result is the best headsculpt on a Transformer. Ever.
I don’t care what your feelings are regarding the use of the mold, that head is absolutely beautiful. I am ok with everything about this toy. The homage to the comic book Overlord mixed with the homage to the cartoon Giga all wrapped up in a pretty fantastic paintjob.
And, oh, that headsculpt is just superb.
So that’s it, the Botcon 2012 Invasion boxset.
As usual, the box the toys come in is a work of art itself.
Of course, there were other exclusive toys, the Souvenir sets, but those will be posts for another time. Especially one in particular that is a great update that itself is going to get a little bit of 3rd party love here in the coming months so stay tuned for that.
Trying to make Earth into the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Botcon 2012 Shattered Glass Ultra Magnus!
For those that don’t recognize him, that’s the psycho Shattered Glass Optimus Prime (seen here talking to his gallery of dead bodies). Now, imagine having this guy for a brother, the sibling rivalry would be pretty intense. Culminating in a coup attempt by the less-succesful brother, Ultra Magnus, against Optimus, the “Emperor of Destruction”; Optimus took a page out of Movie (2007) Optimus Prime’s book and ever-so-politely ripped Magnus’ face off.
Leaving his brother with a bare mechanical skull where his face once was, Optimus then had him tossed into prison and went about his crazy business. Escaping from prison thanks to his lackey Shattered Glass Tracks, Ultra Magnus receives an upgrade into a more powerful body but chooses(?) to leave the frightening skull face.
And, oh, what an awesome headsculpt the skull makes. Done in translucent plastic on his toy, it pretty much counts as the best light-piping ever.
The awesome doesn’t stop there. Just like his fellow evil Autobot Tracks, Ultra Magnus’ paintjob is based off a Diaclone toy. “Powered Convoy” is the toy that would eventually be repainted into G1 Ultra Magnus.
One of my favourites of the boxset, the Diaclone-based colour scheme really looks good on this mold. Topped off with the skull headsculpt, it makes for a visually stunning toy. He comes with the mold’s transforming sword, which the Botcon Invasion comic and his bio refer to as the Terminus Blade, an immeasurably powerful weapon capable of splitting open space-time itself.
One thing he doesn’t manage to improve upon is this mold’s frustratingly awkward alt mode.
Once you get all the pieces into the right places, it looks great, but getting it there involves lining things up just so in a number of areas — especially when getting the back wheels aligned. One wrong push to align the tabs in the back and you can dismount the doors and windows in the front. Almost always re-aligning the doors and windows leads to accidentally releasing the tabs in the back. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Overall, the mold is good but not a lot of fun to transform.
Whoever will come to our rescue?
As a surprise addition to the promised five (now six!) back-to-back posts, we have someone that was quite a surprise to me when I got him.
Mentioned previously in Transformers fiction only in a conversation between regular universe Cliffjumper and Shattered Glass Sidwswipe, we got a brief glimpse back in 2008 at what would eventually become the entire basis for his character,
“Straxus is insane, where you come from? I always liked his poetry.”
In the regular universe, the evil Decepticon Lord High Governor Straxus is a borderline lunatic and just an overall jerk. In the Shattered Glass universe, the heroic Decepticon Straxus is known as the Bard of Darkmout. Poet, philosopher, and all-around great guy, he was a surprising addition to my Shattered Glass display when he was given as the Attendance Freebie toy at this year’s Botcon. Usually the freebie toy is a repaint of one of the molds used in the exclusives, which Straxus was not. He is, of course, a repaint of the G1 Straxus toy released in the Generations line.
Given a rather bright paintjob, there was initially a lot of speculation as to the origin of his colour-scheme.
The answer proved even more surprising than his inclusion as a Botcon exclusive. From ’89 to ’92, a German comic book called Condor Verlag published Transformers Comc-Magazin, reprinting the Marvel US and UK comics jumping through the chronology quite a bit. What they were best known for were their wildly miscoloured covers. The cover to issue number 10 depicting Straxus’ floating head actually served as the inspiration for Shattered Glass Straxus’ paintjob.
You know I love me some obscurity. It doesn’t get much more obscure than that.
Character-wise, Shattered Glass Tracks is probably the least inventive of the Shattered Glass characters. He’s basically the exact same as regular-universe Tracks; remarkably vain and conceited.
However, depiction-wise, he is a wonderful head nod to the history and even pre-history of Transformers. Upon first seeing him, a lot of fans cried, “Road Rage!” from the exclusive red version of Tracks put out by the Takara affiliate store eHOBBY as the original G1 character Road Rage. In truth, Road Rage — who is incidentally a female Transformer — and Shattered Glass Tracks share a common homage, that of the original pre-Transformers Diaclone Corvette toy from which G1 Tracks’ toy came.
For reasons unknown, Hasbro eventually chose to put out G1 Tracks in a blue colour scheme, but the red paintjob could still be seen on the Transformers 1985 box art.
Though I much prefer him as Shattered Glass Tracks, it is nice that those that would like a Generations-style Road Rage can grab some Reprolabels and turn him into her.
The red detailing really works well with this mold’s alt mode too, perhaps even better than the blue deco.
Of course, flying car “attack alt mode” is there too.
So yeah, there’s not really much else to say about Shattered Glass Tracks. A pretty lackluster attempt at the evil incarnation of an established character, but a pretty spectacular implementation of Transformers pre-history resulting in a great toy.
As the polar opposite of the quiet, calm, calculatingly reserved Soundwave of our universe, Shattered Glass Soundwave is a “cheerful, optimistic, and headstrong” dude with an appreciation for grooving. So much so that, even though he shares his evil G1 counterpart’s function of “Communications”, Sir Soundwave (yes, he has been knighted for his good deeds) also has an added “and Morale Officer” tacked on.
He originally had the repurposed Sonic White” version of the Takara Music Label Soundwave for his robot and alt mode. Upon arriving on Earth with Heatwave, Soundwave ended up taking on an alt mode of a minivan complete with a G.I. Joe cartoon homaging logo of “Cold Slither”, a heavy metal band originally consisting of Zartan and the Dreadnoks, on the side.
As part of the Botcon 2012 Invasion boxset, he takes advantage of his alt mode to add bumper stickers further depicting his love of music.
The Cold Slither logo, with Zartan’s head added to the center for even more homage, is wonderfully recreated in toy form. It was also used as the graphic for this year’s “First Day Registrant” pin.
He is actually the third character to use this mold. Strangely, as much as I found the mold lackluster as both Ironhide and Ratchet, it works really well for this dude.
It’s also nice to reunite him with Botcon 2010′s G2: Redux release of the hyperactive, walking Attention Deficit Disorder Shattered Glass Ravage.
I have always liked Shattered Glass Ravage since his first fan-made appearance and was happy when he was made official. I actually liked him so much that I bought Glit, the toy he was repurposed from, to have a Ravage to put with my 2008 set. The three cassettes that came in that set are the only pieces of Kiss Players I have allowed into my collection (and my wife loves Rosanna).
Sir Soundwave’s green headband was a little bit of a controversy at Botcon. For some reason it wasn’t packaged with the rest of the box set and had to be purchased separately. They added in a trading card to justify the price (which I didn’t really find all that outrageous to begin with), but it certainly made a lot of people angry. If anything, the only part that annoyed me was it wasn’t a bright enough green. However, I took a tip from Sir Soundwave himself and just chilled, dude.
Early images of his headsculpt made it look much worse than it turned out to be in person. It looked strangely elongated in all of the promotional images Fun Publications put out. I was very happy when that turned out not to be so. Of course, he also comes with the mold’s dual-sided blade/gun weapon.
His headsculpt also fixed Ironhide and Ratchet’s flaw, allowing him to look forward rather than slightly down into his own chest.
I am quite happy with how this guy turned out and after having him appear in fiction sporadically since 2008, it’s good to finally have him on display. This gnarly, radical and righteous dude rocks in every sense of the word.
I am supposed to hate this toy.
I can hear the collective “BWAAAAAH?!?” now. How can I possibly hate a toy this phenomenal looking? An amazing paintjob, with a great new headsculpt, on one of the best molds to ever be created in Transformers history? Everything in my collecting DNA tells me I should hate it. That’s how.
To understand you have to be aware of the only correct answer to the question,
“What is the single worst robot mode in Transformers history?”
See, Shattered Glass Treadshot is actually a double-homage to two different characters in two different toylines that shared a single mold. Armada Side Swipe — yes, there’s actually a space in the name, *sigh* — and Universe Treadshot. His name, obviously, comes from the Universe toy as does, oddly enough, the silver striping down the length of his alt mode. The rest of his colouring in alt and robot modes come from the Armada toy.
So, what is the single worst robot mode in Transformers history?
As hideous as it is, a simple 2D picture of Armada Side Swipe doesn’t do justice to how bad everything is about him. Trust me, if you haven’t yet and get the chance to, look at this thing in person, it’s outstandingly bad. Then promptly throw it into a fire, for everyone’s sake. Of course, Hasbro wasn’t content to release this thing upon our collective collections, no, they revisited this mold three more times. Then they re-released the last version in a box set. Let me just state that once again: Hasbro put this mold out FIVE TIMES.
I don’t know what the fandom did to warrant one release, but we must have done something pretty horrible to justify five releases.
When there was news of a Heroic Decepticon Treadshot from the Shattered Glass universe being released in the Botcon 2012 Invasion box set, most, myself included, assumed that meant an update to the G1 Decepticon Action Master Treadshot. The Botcon folks do so love giving actual transforming updates to Action Masters so it made perfect sense. What didn’t make sense was an homage of a character that was horrible in the cartoon and had the most universally despised robot mode.
You know what makes even less sense? The fact that Shattered Glass Treadshot has managed to completely overcome the handicap of his heritage by being a positively awesome toy.
Also, he had a pretty good showing in the Invasion comic book.
Bravo, Shattered Glass Treadshot way to redeem the worst, dark corner of the Transformers toy universe.
Maybe this will even be enough to allow Armada Side Swipe out of his box of shame hidden in the farthest corner of the closet and onto the display…
If you get the title of this post: congratulations, you win at life.
This post marks four Transformers for which I have received an amazingly awesome updated version, taken a look around for the originals, and passed on purchasing them when I found them, despite vaguely reasonable prices.
The first was Blurr, though I really haven’t found him in a good enough condition with a reasonable enough price, my dislike of his character has been the biggest deterrent.
The next was Goldbug. I can’t really say what a reasonable price would be for me to pick up any of the Throttlebots. The lack of arms. The lack of legs. The… well, you get the idea.
G1 Runamuck and Runabout, or the Battlechargers as they are called due to their auto-transformation gimmick, share the G1 Throttlebots complete lack of articulation or actual extremities.
All four of these toys may eventually join my collection, somewhere down the road, but they’re pretty far down on the priorities list.
What has pushed G1 Runamuck and Runabout even further down on that list is why would I need the legless, armless Battlechargers when I have these guys,
Now, before the claims of mis-transformation start; I already have a variation of this mold twice as Tracks, G1 and Shattered Glass, and this same mold with a different head as Wheeljack. Wheeljack and Tracks have wings and launchers on both the shoulders of their G1 toys. Neither Runamuck nor Runabout do, so I leave their wings folded down and attach their would-be shoulder launchers to the clamps in their legs. You can even fold their wings completely in and push the trunk piece up over their heads to make them look even more like their original toys. I like just tucking the wings down because that allows the trunk piece to still lock in to place properly.
Though you could argue that they should each have one gun on a shoulder, given where you place their G1 toys’ rifles, but it’s quite clear from every appearance in fiction they would ever make that these are meant to be handheld weapons, just that neither of them have actual hands in toy form.
The new headsculpt used is perfect, and of course, works for both of them.
The head and mold working for both at the same time is where the genius of these two comes in. Whereas Runamuck was this year’s membership figure, Runabout (or Over-Run as they call him due to copyright issues) was actually sold as one of this year’s two club exclusives, the other being Shattered Glass Drift. The club exclusives come with snazzy packaging with cool artwork and foam inserts, but the membership figures ship in plain white boxes. Knowing these guys were a duo, the TFCC folks actually carved out a removable piece for Runamuck in Runabout’s foam insert!
The box artwork includes Runamuck as well, being a take on the cover of their comic book debut, Marvel US issue 23 “Decepticon Graffiti!”
I am glad they used the Wheeljack version of this mold, as the front end looks much meaner than the original Tracks version does.
A nice touch is that they retain the Tracks version’s rubsign on the roof, though Decepticon rather than Autobot. That and the larger Decepticon symbol painted on the hood makes them truer to their G1 toys.
Runamuck sticks to the gold stripe and gold grill of his G1 toy (adding a gold spoiler for good measure), but Runabout adds a large red stripe down the top of his alt mode, it helps to make them a little less salt and pepper looking together.
Of the two, I would have a hard time saying which is my favourite. The charcoal black, light grey, and red on Runabout looks pretty wicked, but Runamuck’s gold with orange and white is striking and just so not what you expect from a Decepticon.
If you get a chance, check out the TFCC comic book “A Flash Forward” in issue 43. It has the best retelling of the ending events and aftermath of the Battle of Autobot City from the ’86 movie, recounted hilariously by these two.
Bob Seger lyrics as a post title? Really?
I can’t help it. Every time I hear Breakdown’s name, I think of this song, which inevitably leads me to Beverly Hills Cop II, which reminds me of the 1986 Ferrari 328 GTS from the movie, which is mistakenly swapped with a Ferrari 308 in one of the chase scenes, which is the alt mode of Breakdown’s fellow Stunticon, Wildrider.
See how I brought that back around to the point of the post?
I am nothing if not to the point.
Maybe I should just start this post over.
“When Breakdown is in his car mode, he thinks everyone else is staring at him. Not just living creatures such as other Transformers and humans, but humans’ cars, stoplights… anything mechanical”
Whereas this just translates into paranoia elsewhere, the interesting turn is that on Earth he’s actually self-conscious that someone will see through his disguise and that it might affect his job performance.
“He’d be happier if he were a human – that way he feels he could just anonymously fit in anywhere and be in a better position to help conquer the Earth!”
It’s like some kind of neurosis-inducing Decepticon job ethic? Love it.
I think he might be my favourite Animated Stunticon as well, but this time because of his toy more than his character. Personality-wise, his Animated toy bio only makes it as far as his severe paranoia, adding in that he is,
“Profoundly unlucky and saddled with an inferiority complex”
His toy, however is a remold of my personal favourite of the entire Animated line, Rodimus, with an all-new head. When they first announced him, my only concern was that, just like Animated Dead End, the weapon included with this mold, the energon bow, seemed very out of place for him. Somehow it seemed too… elegant a weapon for a Stunticon? Animated Drag Strip handled this by changing his/her personality enough to make the weapon actually make sense. For Breakdown, in the convention exclusive comic book, they went the opposite direction, highlighting how little finesse the Stunticon posseses.
I’ve typed it three times before and will type it again: Stunticons need guns.
Of course, don’t tell Animated Breakdown that the gun he’s holding is actually a Targetmaster. He would probably just think that Pinpointer there is judging him.
I totally lied yesterday when I stated that Wildrider was the only Animated Stunticon to provide a weaponized alt mode like their G1 limb counterpart. Though, given my feelings on Breakdown’s use of an energy bow, I hesitate to include it, here it is in all its strangeness.
G1 Breakdown transforms into a Lamborghini Countach, which this Animated mold’s “futuristic racecar” imitates quite well.
Unlike the rest of the Stunticons, Breakdown’s garishly coloured G2 toy was the only one to see official release: as the first ever Botcon exclusive in 1994 and then the next year at the Florida Extravaganza Collectibles Show.
Then, ten years later, at Botcon 2004 — the only unofficial Botcon — Breakdown saw his first unsanctioned Botcon appearance in the form of a Action Master G2 Breakdown.
This strange history made Breakdown too good of an opportunity to pass up when the whole Botcon boxset went G2: Redux in 2010. Still paranoid and worried about his job, he now has the added level of stress that is having the lunatic Galvatron as his boss.
“He’s afraid that without Menasor, he’s nothing, and that the only reason Galvatron hasn’t destroyed him yet is because the Decepticon leader can’t remember who he is.”
Along with doing his original personality quirk justice, they perfectly recreated his wonderful new G2 paintjob, all the way down to the great big G2 Decepticon logo on his hood.
The fourth Breakdown in the alt mode picture up there is actually not Breakdown but Brakedown.
Speaking of headsculpts, of the many heads of Breakdown, the most dissimilar are actually his G1 cartoon and toy models. So, where do the other homages and updates fall on a scale of Cartoon to Toy?
Animated is most similar to his cartoon model with RotF falling pretty evenly between the G1 cartoon and G1 toy. Of course, his G2: Redux is meant to be a straight update of his toy headsculpt.
Sheesh, you might see why a guy could get paranoid when he gets so much attention.
Either way, I am still going to have “Shakedown” by Bob Seger stuck in my head for the rest of the day…