Friday, February 16, 2018

Generation Toy Sarge - Streetwise

Generation Toy Sarge - Streetwise

I’m surprised to say that I don’t have a proper Defensor. My Combiner Wars set is back in its packaging in my garage and Maketoys Guardia is still in various stages of unboxing. I was excited to see the Protectobots be tackled by one of my favorite new (renamed old?) companies. Generation Toy Sarge seems to be a great start to another line of figures.

I love the way vehicle mode looks. I'm not a car aficionado so I'm just going to guess it's a Nissan Z. Gun metal gray paint breaks up the expanse of white. The decals appear to be very cleanly applied. I appreciate the painted head and tail lights. Despite his head and fists being visible, the undercarriage is pretty clean. On my copy, there is a spring-mounted piece that will not stay in place. It doesn't seem to affect the car's ability to roll along smoothly on its rubber tires. He also has soft rubber sideview mirrors that are on hinges.

Transformation to robot mode is not complex, but I found that I had to flex a piece here and there to get panels to slide or rotate pass one another. Fortunately, nothing scratched or snapped. As expected, some windshield pieces are on transparent plastic hinges. Going back to vehicle mode is not too difficult. It is about on par with their Stunticons. I had less trouble with it than with GCreation Rebel.

Robot mode looks really good. I'm not familiar with his IDW incarnation, but there does not appear to be any aesthetic embellishments that would prevent him from doubling as a Masterpiece Streetwise. The few applications of metallic and red paint are cleanly applied. I like how his backpack somewhat locks into place. It does not swivel around like with the Stunticons, triggering my OCD. My only real complaint is that the soft rubber hinges of his sideview mirrors prevent them from ever sitting completely flat against his chest.

His head is on a hinge and swivel. He can look up, but not down. His shoulders are on swivels and hinges. He can raise his arms out and up parallel to the ground. He swivels at his biceps, wrists, torso, waist, and thighs. His elbows are single-jointed, but are only capable of half curls. He can also bend his wrists inwards. He has fixed thumbs and single-pinned fingers. His pointing fingers articulate separately from the others. His hips are on universal joints that allow him to perform a not quite full front or side splits. He has double-jointed knees that curl a bit past ninety degrees. His feet are on rockers and tilts.

His only accessory is his rifle that has metallic paint on the barrel. It has a hinged handle that uses a Masterpiece-styled tab. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t stay securely in place, but it doesn’t fall out either. The rifle basically becomes a third exhaust pipe in vehicle mode.

Sarge will stand on my IDW shelf and double as my Masterpiece Streetwise, at least until the Ocular Max version is released or if the rest of the line proves to be too stylized. There were a couple of nervous moments during transformation, but the figure looks great in either mode. I really liked the Generation Toy Stunticons so am glad to see them take on another large combiner that I don’t have yet.

Friday, February 9, 2018

GCreation Rebel - Prowl

Prowl is one of my favorite characters. My eight-year-old self was somewhat traumatized by his death in The Movie, but at least he had a rather awesome death scene. I'm not familiar with the IDW incarnations, but find GCreation's designs to be rather compelling. Rebel is a fun figure with and a great representation of that dearly departed Autobot (He may be alive in the comics. Don’t really know).

Vehicle mode looks pretty interesting. I really like the design of the Cybertronian police car. The metallic painted windshields is a design I wish were found on more figures. His hubcaps make a strangely hypnotic pattern while spinning. I don't like how several panels just sort of sit loosely in place and how his undercarriage makes no attempt to hide the robot. He rolls easily on rubber tires.

Transforming to robot mode is fairly easy because you're basically unfolding him. Transforming back to vehicle mode can be a bit of a hassle trying to line up the side panels to the tabs on his arms. His legs are a little confusing, but not too bad. Overall, it's nowhere near as hellish as Badcube War Dog or GCreation's own Ultra Maxmas.

Not surprisingly, this figure really shines in robot mode. There is plenty of line work that is highlighted by red, white, and blue paint applications. The head sculpt nails Prowl's iconic head crest. I wish his chest would lock more securely in place. It's always hinging upwards, covering his face. Reminds of the Star Trek guys having to constantly pull down on their pajama uniforms. His shoulder cannons also have a tendency to fall out. I think a little bit of putty will solve that issue.

His head is on a ball joint. He can look up but not down. His shoulders are on double swivels. He can only raise his arms out and up well shy of 90 degrees. He also has a very limited reverse butterfly joint. He swivels at his biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. His double-jointed elbows can almost perform full curls. His thumbs are fixed. The rest of his fingers are single-pinned and articulate as a single unit. The cannons on his wrists are on swivels. He does have an ab crunch as a consequence of a transformation joint. His hips are on universal joints that allow him to perform full side splits. His backpack hinders his front splits. He has single-jointed knees that can curl 90 degrees if you move the exhaust ports on his calves out of the way. His toes are on ball joints and his heel spurs are on hinges.

His accessories include two rifles and two spikes. His rifles are two different designs, but both are grey plastic with interesting line work and some yellow paint applications. They sit securely in his hands. Unlike Fuuma and Ultra Maxmas, the rifle tabs into what would be the meaty part of his palms. I really wish that Masterpiece figures would use this option, or just about any other solution. The spikes are just grey plastic with a hinge at the top of the handle. They merely sit loosely, but securely, in his grasp. The rifles and his over-the-shoulder launchers can peg onto the back of the vehicle. I couldn't find a spot for his spikes.

My original intent was to mix and match Generation Toy and GCreation figures on an IDW shelf, but Rebel looks so different from J4zz, that I'll probably just start a new shelf. Too bad the GCreation Dinobots aren't scaled properly to be displayed here. As always, I look forward to more.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Fansproject Pinchar - Snarl

FansProject Pinchar was a long time coming. Like most others, I had wished they had completed their core set of Dinobots before releasing those previous two figures. Unfortunately, Pinchar really wasn't worth the wait.

His stegosaurus mode is a large and chunky size, but now makes Columpio look even smaller. He has a surprisingly G1 look when compared to the more stylized dinosaur modes of his teammates. As expected, the metallic gold paint and chrome plates look fantastic. His front and back sections has a tendency to separate on my copy. A tighter set of pegs would have prevented that.

His head has the slightest of nodding action. He can open his mouth a fair amount. All four limbs are on ratchets with a single joint at the knees. The rear legs also swivel at the knees and have a hinge at the toes. They can splay outwards. His tail can waggle side to side. Some of the plates along his back are hinged.

Transformation back and forth is very straight forward. It follows most of the expected motions of a Snarl figure. Be sure to pull on his torso until it clicks into place or he will be a floppy mess. I appreciate how his shoulder plates lock into place as well. 

I wish I could say I couldn't complete his transformation. Unfortunately, FansProject seems to have simply given up on the backplate kibble. According to the instructions, it simply sits there, sticking out quite annoyingly. They should have provided a swivel joint on that back plate so it would at least have pointed downward. I've seen a mod involving a dremel and some careful cutting that I might look into.

That backplate canopy is downright annoying. Otherwise, his aesthetics is similar to his teammates. The paint applications are plentiful and clean and the line work is abundant. If not for the messy backplate, I would really like how he looks. He really fits in well with the rest of the Dinobots.

His head is on a ball joint. He can't look up very far, but he can look down quite a bit. Being his rear hips, his shoulders are on the same double hinges and ratcheted swivels. Even extending the double hinges, he can only raise his arms out and to the side well shy of 90 degrees. He swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. He can only perform half curls with his single-jointed elbows. His thumbs are fixed while the rest of his fingers are single pinned and articulate as a single unit. He has ratchets in his waist swivel. He also has both a normal ab crunch and a reverse ab crunch. His hips are on ratcheted universals. He can perform full forward and side splits. Technically, he has ankle rockers and tilts. Unfortunately, they are both hindered by the dinosaur legs tucked inside his robot legs.

His accessories include a rifle, a sword, and his Target Master. His rifle is black plastic with some line work. His sword blade is translucent red plastic. The handle does not have any paint, but has plenty of line work. Both weapons sit securely in his hands.

His Target Master, Lepida, is a large pole arm of some sort. Unfortunately, he seems to be a step backward when compared to the Target Masters of Volar and Severo. I’ll probably leave him in weapon mode. His head is on a swivel. His shoulders are on hinged ball joints. His elbows, hips, and knees are also on ball joints.

Pinchar will stand on my FansProject shelf. For now, I'm combining them with the Maketoys Cross Dimension figures since they don't really fit anywhere else in my collection. The scale isn’t quite what I would have liked, but it will do for now. I might even turn them all back into dinosaurs so as to not deal with the kibble on three of them. This set of Dinobots took forever to complete. I appreciate that FansProject was going for an aesthetic all their own. I even really like the art direction. Unfortunately, the engineering aspects aren’t holding up. Volar and Severo are my favorite in the line. They have wonderful aesthetics and delivered on the engineering. Too bad Pinchar arrived a little too late and finished off the line with a whimper. I hope FansProject now concentrates on finishing their Function X line of Headmasters, but I’ll likely not collect anything more from them beyond that.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Planet X Pluto - Megatron

The High Moon games were what rekindled my interest in Transformers. I love the design of the characters and was disappointed that the official figures, except for two or three, are all on the smaller side. Thankfully, Planet X came to the rescue with their Dinobots and have spread into the other characters. Pluto is their latest offering. Not surprisingly, I love this figure.

Hovertank mode is not hateful. There are a lot of gaps in the form, but the overall shape is very interesting. Spikes and sharp edges adorn the vehicle. I'm surprised by how well he actually holds together. The small handful of tabs keeps almost everything tightly positioned. With his knee spikes and feet folded out, he reminds me of a Zerg Guardian. Unfortunately, his cannon does not articulate. His head is clearly visible in the undercarriage.

Transformation to robot mode is not difficult since you are essentially unfolding him. However, going back to vehicle mode is not fun. I kept knocking off the spikes on his back and his feet assembly have no real clear places to peg to. Not surprisingly, his cannon requires a bit of parts-forming, but is integral in holding the tank mode together.

He has a very striking presence. The metallic purple paint applications and purple translucent plastic look absolutely stunning. He has the same bulky torso as Neptune and Vulcun and is covered in spikes. His face could stand to look a bit fiercer, but otherwise is great. I don't like how his chest is a bit flappy though. Also, his feet are a fiddly, kind of like how Vulcun's were.

His head is on a ball joint. He has a decent range of motion, but nothing great. His shoulders are on ratcheted swivels and double hinges. Despite his shoulder spikes, he can raise his arms up and out parallel to the ground. He swivels at his biceps, wrist, waists, and thighs. His elbows are single-jointed and ratcheted. He can only curl to 90 degrees. His thumbs are fixed. The rest of his fingers are single-pinned and articulate as a single unit. His waist swivel requires you to move his crotch plate out of the way first. His hips are on ratcheted universals. He can perform both front and side splits to rival Van Damme. His knees are double-jointed and ratcheted, but he can only curl his legs about 90 degrees. His feet are on hinged ball joints while his toes and heel spurs are on their own hinges.

His accessories include his fusion cannon, a sword, a bunch of spiky bits, and a some screw hole covers. His fusion canon is quite large and nicely detailed. It can peg to either arm. Like his fusion cannon, his sword is also large. It is covered in line work, but no paint. He holds it very securely, but it is a bear to force into his grasp. As usual, the self-assembly bits are a pain to push into place. They fill out his back with spikes and cover screw holes in his shoulders, back, and thighs.

Pluto will stand on my Planet X shelf. Despite a couple of flaws, my enjoyment of this figure is not dampened in the slightest. I do not regret putting my official War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron figures into storage and am content to wait on Planet X to fill out my shelf.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Masterpiece Sunstreaker

Sunstreaker is one of my favorite Transformers. It may be easier to list which ones are not my favorite. Although I’ve enjoyed Badcube Sunsurge, I never truly felt satisfied with him on my Masterpiece shelf. Masterpiece Sunstreaker is a near perfect rendition to satisfy my compulsive collection disorder.

Vehicle mode looks wonderful. The panel lines are kept to a minimum and actually make sense in context of the car. As expected, he's mostly yellow, but there are also surprising touches here and there. The door handles are painted, as are the taillights under his distinctive rear panels. Not surprisingly, he looks great next to Masterpiece Sideswipe. His headlights, hood, and doors can open. Unfortunately, there are no engine details and obviously no seats. His rear cannon can flip out if you move his spoilers out of the way. His distinctive rear section can be flipped around so that he more closely resembles the Sideswipe Lamborghini mode. Even the rear panels that cover his tail lights rotate away. The undercarriage is very clean and he rolls like a champ on plastic tires.

Despite having a similar vehicle mode to Sideswipe, Sunstreaker has a completely different transformation. It is involved, but not complex or fiddly. Everything moved easily. His backpack compresses reasonably well. His chest is a faux roof, but it's worth it to keep his chest in proper proportion. I’m not a fan of the slider mechanism for his head nor of the various transparent plastic hinges. Going back to vehicle mode was not difficult.

In robot mode, Sunstreaker scales properly with Sideswipe and looks all sorts of awesome. He has more panel lines than Ironhide and his kibble cleans up nicely. His face sculpt is quite good and definitely reminds me of the character. I particularly like how his feet is properly proportioned to his legs. His black panels help to break up the large swaths of yellow.

His head is on a ball joint that is also on a hinged panel. He has a very wide range of motion for his head. He may be the first Transformer that can look down his own shirt, if that's what they wore. His shoulders are on hinges and swivels. He also has very generous butterfly joints. He can raise his arms out and up parallel to the ground. He swivels at his biceps, wrists, waist and thighs. His elbows are double-jointed and allow him to perform full curls. His wrists are hinged. His thumbs articulate separately from the rest of his fingers. He has an ab crunch. His hips are on universal joints with ratchets in the forward-to-back axis. He can perform forward and side splits that would make Van Damme proud. His ratcheted and singled-jointed knees allow him to curl his legs a bit past 90 degrees. His ankles are on rockers and tilts.

His accessories include two rifles, two alternate faces, an alien mask, Chip and his wheelchair, and a pair of replacement sideview mirrors. His weapons have some line work, but don't feature any paint applications. Unfortunately, they use Masterpiece-styled tabs. His small gun stays in place more securely than his rifle, which always falls out on me. The rifle can holster by pegging onto his back in robot mode and roof in vehicle mode. The pistol can store inside either leg in robot mode and between his arms in vehicle mode. He also comes with a happy and shocked face. Swapping faces is very simple; no tools are required. The alien mask fits well enough on his head and looks pretty good. Chip is a basic figure that I will probably just leave in the box. His wheelchair is just gray plastic. The wheels don't even work. I suppose the extra sideview mirrors are in case of breakage. They don't look any different than what is already on the figure.

Sunstreaker will obviously go on my Masterpiece shelf. Although I still love Sunsurge, the official figure doesn't have that height disparity with Sideswipe, who is due for a revamp. Sunstreaker only underscores how Sideswipe's mold is more suited for Red Alert. Each release from Takara just makes me more excited for the next piece in the line.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Mastermind Creations Aero Alpha - Wing

Ever since my first purchase of Azalea and Hexatron, I look forward to each Mastermind Creations release. Their Reformatted line is one of my favorite shelves in my collection. Although not flawless, Aero Alpha is a solid addition to an impressive group of bots.

Vehicle mode is interesting, if not my favorite spaceship or hover car. I suppose if these type of vehicles were real, I wouldn't mind owning something that looked like this. Unusual for a Mastermind Creation figure, the line work is kept at a minimum. The cockpit opens, but there are no cockpit details to be found. He has three deployable landing skids. The front one is hard to fold out because it is recessed between his thighs. His head is clearly visible in the undercarriage.

Transformation back and forth is really straight forward. I did not like having to detach the cockpit by leveraging the clear transparent joint of the canopy. Otherwise, everything moved smoothly and both modes stay together very well.

Robot mode reveals the line work that I like so much about Mastermind Creations figures. The three main colors work very well in giving him a striking appearance. His giant shoulder pads give a very distinctive shape. He has a very anime/Gundam look to him. The canopy hanging between his legs really mars his silhouette though. I wished it folded against his back.

His head is on a ball joint that provides a decent amount of articulation. His shoulders are on hinged ball joints. This affords him some butterfly action. Despite his giant shoulder pads, he can raise his arms out and upwards to near 90 degrees. I would keep an eye on the wings of his head though. He swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. With his waist articulation, be mindful of his long sword if it is holstered in his back. He has double-jointed elbows that let him perform near full curls. His thumbs are fixed while the rest of his fingers are single-pinned. His pointing fingers articulate separately from the rest. His hips are on universal joints. He can perform a full front and side splits. Be mindful of his holstered sword as well as his hip holsters. His knees are double-jointed and can also perform near full curls. His ankles are on ball joints as well as his toes. His sword holsters are on hinged ball joints.

His accessories include three swords and an alternate head. The longest of the swords splits apart for storage in vehicle mode. The shorter swords are broader. All three are single edged blades with metallic silver paint. The handles have some line work and fit well into his hands. All three swords can store in the undercarriage of the hovercraft. The blades have to face inward because of the shape of the tabs. The alternate head is all white with some yellow colored cheek vents.

Aero Alpha will go on my Reformatted shelf. I absolutely love Mastermind Creations figures and this one does not disappoint. I have no idea who most of these guys are supposed to be, but I still can't wait for more.