Posts Tagged Universe
A whole bevy of combiner pieces: First Aid! Blades! Neo-Wheel (Universe Hot Spot)! Sireen (Universe First Aid)! Falcon Wing!
Never say I never gave you a bargain. Even if I confuse myself into providing a little bit of a misguided bargain. It’s two-for-one Combiners here at the end of January. I was originally planning to do the mighty Defensor when I realized there are actually two Defensors. The more the merrier, I thought. Let’s break down both of them for your pretty picture viewing pleasure. So I made my clever Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (Knees and Toes) mentions over there in the “This Week” box. Then I set to typing this post and it occurred to me.
Strictly speaking, I don’t own two sets of Protectobots.
Yes, there are two, actual, recognized Defensors that have been released as toys. One is G1 Defensor, composed of the original five Protectobots. The other is Universe Defensor, composed of the Micromaster Protectobots. However, Universe Defensor is the American release of the 2002 Micromaster Collection reissue of the 1992 Japan-only release of Sixturbo. What I own is actually the Micromaster Collection reissue from Japan. I didn’t bother to buy the Universe Protectobots when they came out in 2004 because they are identical to the ones I have – with the exception of their copyright stamps.
Without further ado, I present an assortment of limbs.
G1 Defensor’s arms are polar opposites. First Aid, as his name may suggest, is a “compassionate, cautious” Autobot doctor. Blades, as his name may suggest, is a stabby-stabby, pyschotic street-brawler.
“If I’m gonna destroy someone, I want his fuel spurting all over me, not the ground below,” says Blades.
So, his grasp on the “Protect” part of “Protectobots” is a little tenuous, at least he throws himself into his work. I’m just glad he’s on the side of the good guys. Plus, he can totally excuse his name because of his helicopter alt-mode, right?
Unfortunately, as much as First Aid would perfer they do nothing but protect, these are still giant robots in the midst of a war.
First Aid’s robot mode is a good, solid G1 era robot. Blades, however, is a bit of a trainwreck in the arm department.
Really, how hard would it have been make his landing skids fold out of the way? Worried about cost? Then trade out some form of hinge for those completely unnecessary wheels. Maybe he’s such a pscyho because he’s always knocking everything over when he reaches for things? Design flaws can kill, kids. Also, design flaws can kill kids. (See the difference a comma makes?)
While I’m in complaining mode, someone please explain how the alt-modes of the six Micromasters that make up Sixturbo/Universe Defensor work together for either team? Sixturbo is made up of the Turbo Team; what part of “Turbo Team” made people think this:
Of course, Sireen — or Universe First Aid as he was known in America — works perfectly fine for the Protectobots. However, what’s so “Protecto” about this:
You got Protecto in my Turbo, and vice versa. Setting aside all team assignment oddities, I love me some Micromasters. Takara went out of their way, with paint applications that really add a lot of details to these guys.
According to Sireen’s bio, all of that bristling equipment (that looks a whole heck of a lot like weaponry) is actually not “offensive weaponry, but rather various medical tools and devices.”
Of course, this can be taken with a grain of salt because the original toys did not have individual bios, these bios come from the 2002 reissue. Just looking at Sireen, I choose to believe the original toy designer was actually going for more of,
“Oh, look a harmless ambulance.” *transforming noise* Surprise… death! Mwahahahahaha.
Also, Neo-Wheel “appears to have the special ability to communicate with the animals” according to his bio. I literally have no comment about a Transformer that chooses to speak to squirrels.
There are six of them, but being Micromasters, the Turbo Team/Universe Protectobots might have a slight disadvantage when compared to their G1 counterparts.
However, one distinct advantage that they have is, when not combined, all of the extra material used in their combination (footplates, fists, etc.) can be combined into Falcon Wing, an aerial assault craft that can be piloted by a Micromaster.
Let’s see what happens to the original G1 combiner pieces when not in use.
Right. Definitely advantage to the Micromaster team.
I ♥ Headmasters. Immensely. I don’t know if you picked that up from my last two posts, but yeah, I love them a lot.
I remember thinking as a kid how simple yet how awesome it was that any head could be put with any body. Then, the fact that the big robot’s head could become a little robot and use the transformed larger robot as a vehicle? Brilliant!
I can also clearly remember how very, very appalled I was upon reading issue 38 of the Transformers comic book (having missed the Headmasters limited series) and realizing these little guys weren’t robots… they were people. Alien people called Nebulans, but squishy organic people nonetheless. That was the single worst idea I had ever heard in the Transformers franchise (remember, this was before the non-transforming Transformers known as Actionmasters).
Not having access to the cartoon while all this was going on, luckily I was spared the American cartoon’s even more ridiculous depiction of this process. If you read part 1 of my Arcee post, you may remember this piece of Transformers history:
Then I got the greatest news. I found out that the Japanese chose to go a completely different route with the Headmasters; one that made far, far more sense to me. The Japanese market didn’t broadcast the three episode long Rebirth that comprised the American series’ finale. Instead, they created an entire new series titled Headmasters. Eventually, I was able to watch it, but because neither Hasbro nor Takara has released them officially in America, I had to go so far as to purchase a region-free DVD player specifically to be able to play the subtitled Madman release of Headmasters and the two subsequent series Super God Masterforce and Victory.
Japan’s take on Headmasters? The little robot that transformed into the head was the actual Cybertronian. The body was a lifeless vehicle called a Transtector. Granted they slightly broke this mold when they produced Super God Masterforce, introducing the smaller Headmasters, “Headmaster Juniors”, as Earthen children. To me this is still preferable because the robot bodies remained Transtectors that the kids piloted. It makes far more sense to me than trying to say that jamming a human mind and a Cybertronian mind into one head is going to lead to anything other than some form of extreme mental retardation.
In 2009 a listing for “Hardhead” appeared as part of the Universe “Generation 1 Series” toyline. “It’s too much to hope for an actual Headmaster”, I thought. I was, in all my wonderful cynicism, unfortunately correct. It was shown to be a direct repaint of the previous year’s Universe release of Onslaught. As I already had and quite liked Onslaught, I quickly lost all interest in Universe Hardhead. This would then be compounded by the fact that the Onslaught mold was given a new headsculpt and released at Botcon 2010 as G2 Clench.
I did actually see Universe Hardhead on the shelves at Walmart, the store he was an exclusive to. I passed him by in my hunt for his wave-mate, the red repaint of Powerglide. I would regret that decision a year later… but only for a short time. Last year, our wonderful friends over at Headrobots, the guys that made the wonderful Cobra and Crystal Cobra from yesterday’s post, announced they would be releasing a
Hardhead errr, “Hothead” Headrobots Upgrade kit. It was too good to be true. The mad scramble to find Hardhead was on when, like an impossible stroke of good luck, this Walmart exclusive toy started showing up at TJMaxx and Marshall’s — for half the price he originally sold. Moments like this make me very glad I live in a city like Chicago. One trip and two Marshall’s later I had my half-price Universe Hardhead, ready for upgrading.
Headrobots corrected Hasbro’s oversight and completely replaced the original toy’s head with the transformable Headmaster partner named Duro-5. Thus, returning Universe Hardhead to his position as a true Headmaster.
To keep from hitting any copyright issues they called the Headmaster itself “Duro-5″ –G1 Hardhead’s partner was named Duros in the U.S.
Rather than use “Hardhead”, they named the upgrade set ”Hothead” — Hardhead having been described as quite hotheaded in almost every fiction he has appeared.
Oh, Headrobots wasn’t done being awesome just yet, they then engineered an adapter to allow “Duro-5″ to work with the original G1 Hardhead as well!
As a cherry on top of this grand cake of amazing: the way Hasbro engineered the mold’s head transformation is that a door opens in the top of the tank’s cabin. This door can be opened in alt-mode, and since the head that used to be hidden away there is now gone, Duro-5 can be inserted, replicating the G1 toy’s ability to actually use the tank mode as a vehicle.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that, thanks to the Headrobots updgrade kit, this 2009 release is now my favourite Transformer of 2010. It’s amazing how a change of head can make a whole new toy!
One side note, there is a consistent little oddity when it comes to Hardhead. It’s his head.
Though his head is consistently hard, it isn’t ever his toy’s head. His original toy’s head has a faceplate but, as far as I’m aware, every single appearance he has made in fiction: the Marvel comic series; the Japanese Headmasters comic series; the American cartoon; the Japanese cartoons; and the newest IDW comics series, shows Hardhead with a mouth. To this end, Headrobots (have I mentioned how awesome they are?) announced a BigBadToyStore.com exclusive “Alternate Universe” remold of Duro-5 with, you guessed it, a fiction-accurate face complete with mouth (and possibly with differently coloured guns). Due in the next couple months, I say, the more heads the merrier! Bring it on!
The pint-sized barnstormer with a little bit of a deathwish now has a body to match the size of his heart, Powerglide!
Powerglide was easily my favourite minibot and among my top 5 favourite Transformers of all-time. A huge part of why I am such a very toy-centric collector is because as a kid that was practically all I had to go off. Being an Air Force kid and growing up in England, except the occasional Saturday morning episode that broadcasted when I was lucky, I didn’t get any fiction beyond what was printed in tech specs. Therefore, Powerglide had a leg up on the competition in four ways: first, he was an Autobot airplane, one of the few (remember, Air Force kid?); second, not only was he an airplane, he was my favourite airplane, an A-10; third, he was my favourite colour, red; and fourth, his tech spec made him out to be pretty much a pint-sized daredevil. Naturally, I was overjoyed in 2008 when Hasbro announced not only that there was an all-new mold was coming for Powerglide but he was now to be Voyager-sized. That joy turned quickly to flabbergasted amazement when they then released this:
Red. Reeeeeeeeeeed, Hasbro. This is not difficult. And do not give me that nonsense about trying to “preserve some semblance of realism”. A-10′s have their dull two-tone grey colour schemes for aerial camouflage. Aerial camouflage does not work well when you break it up with lines of bright red. ‘M just sayin’. Takara then released their version and, as is their way, tried to be a little more accurate to the original Powerglide. Basically reversing the colour scheme, theirs was mostly red with lines of white, closer to the original but not quite there. My devotion to Powerglide was such that for a heartbeat I considered biting the bullet and shelling out the extra cash for Takara’s version. Patience, however, turned out to be a virtue in this case and soon Hasbro announced a WalMart exclusive American release that would forego both previous colour variations. In a very rare case, Hasbro’s second release was actually more cartoon accurate than Takara’s.
This new version used grey only for the arms, upper legs, and faceplate. Thank you, Hasbro, all is forgiven.
So, previously Powerglide didn’t let his small size stop him, he was all attitude.
“Incredible maneuverability… delights in displaying his dazzling aerial virtuousity, to friends or foes”
Now, his newly upgraded body may not have gotten any faster, but it certainly hasn’t lost any of those stunt capabilities. All that, and his 2008 tech spec contains one of the greatest uses of the word “backfire” in Transformers history:
“Where his enemies rely on afterburners and advanced weapon systems, he executes loops, flat spins, and other aerial maneuvers that make even the craziest and most foolhardy Decepticons backfire out of fear.”
So, finally, I had my upgraded Powerglide. Powerglide is such a great update because it retains so much detail from the original. Even those his head no longer transforms into the nosecone of his jet mode, an antenna is molded in on his head to represent the original’s gatling gun. I also find it funny that the oval on the forehead of this version is painted silver, perhaps paying homage to that fact that the original had a screw in the same place?
Oh, but the homaging doesn’t stop there. In one of the greatest nods to the original, lifting Powerglide’s chestplates reveals…
That’s right, a heart. Getting the original Transformers cartoon inconsistently as a kid, it wasn’t until many, many years later that I became aware of the second season episode “The Girl Who Loved Powerglide”. Through a series of events that’s pretty much the equivalent of a Transformers romantic comedy, Powerglide and a spoiled heiress, Astoria Carlton-Ritz, move from a state of mutual annoyance to… well, love.
In the end of the episode, as they part, Astoria gives Powerglide a kiss right on the faceplate. As soon as she leaves, of course, the rest of the Autobots start to make fun of Powerglide. He bears the brunt of the teasing but the moment he is alone he opens his chestplate to reveal,
As far as I’m concerned Powerglide’s upgrade just means that now he has a body to match his great, big heart. Awwwww. The new Powerglide also has added gimmickry, in this case lights and sound. Most of these are just annoying a best with the exception of the old-school transforming noise that plays when you change him from robot to alt mode, and then in reverse when you transform him back. As an added bonus, here he is, all lit up in what I call “Laser Boobs Mode”.