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November, 2018:

Transformers – Studio Series – Jazz

Studio Series is a line that I wish I were more excited about.  I just really don’t have a need or interest in updated versions of most of the Movie Transformers.  I had heard a lot of good things about Jazz, and the only other version of Jazz was the one from the first movie, which wasn’t a bad toy but not super great.  After finding him on sale, I decided to go ahead and pick him up, though I was a little worried about his size.

The size of this figure is definitely the most noticeable thing.  Jazz is one tiny toy.  Part of this stems from the push for robot mode scale that I mentioned in the Studio Series Blackout review.  He sort of feels like a not so great value next to other figures, especially with the price bump.  He includes a pretty large weapon, but it doesn’t really make up for the lack of plastic.  Granted, there’s more to a transformer than how much material it’s made of.  Jazz makes up for his lack of size a bit with his very nice looking shinny paint job.  He also has a pretty neat transformation.

His robot mode is small, his car mode feels absolutely tiny.  It helps a bit that the Pontiac Solstice he is based on is a fairly small car, but it is barely larger than a basic scaled Transform.  Even as a small car, it looks out of place next to other deluxe sized Transformers, including previous Movie based characters.  It looks really nice at least.  On a related note as well, getting things to all mesh together can be a little tricky, there is a peg on the underside of the roof that needs to be pegged in first before almost any other step.  Going back to robot mode has a few little quirks, the head is a pain to pull up out of it’s little hole.  I do really like how the chest transforms however, the way the whole thing rolls over and clips upside down is really neat and not something that has been done in Transformers that I recall.  The front of the car also pops out to flip over which works to really make the chest look similar but different than the front of the car.  It’s a nice little touch.

There is also this really need trick with his gun.  It’s not as original of an idea as the chest, but the gun can be held by a standard 5mm peg fist, or the fist can be folded in and the gun attached to the end of his arm.  It replicates the way the guns in the movies would sort of transform out of the robot arm.  The clip isn’t super strong though, so it tends to fall off if bumped the wrong direction.  It’s also nice to have a movie Jazz with real arms, and not the weird hollow arms the original had.

Overall, despite the size problem, Studio Series Jazz is a pretty nice figure.  He’s visually interesting in both modes, partly from his nice coat of paint.  The transformation does some neat tricks.  The robot is pretty nicely pose able, he has some really good ankle tilt joints that aren’t even part of the transformation.  He’s definitely a good update for the old Jazz and pretty nice on his own.

Figma – Tracer

I have this incredible love/hate relationship with Overwatch.  I do enjoy the game and the characters, but I kind of hate a lot of aspects of the game play.  There are a lot of annoying balance issues going on right now.  I also feel like the lack of community servers still really hurts the game and the ability to get over a lot of it’s flaws by at least playing with fun people regularly.  This isn’t really supposed to be a rant about Overwatch though, it’s about Figma Tracer.

Good Smile Company has two main lines and a bunch of other sub lines, they are producing Overwatch figures for the two primary lines, Nindoroid and Figma.  Both lines offered Tracer as their initial offering, though so far the Nendoroid line is far outpacing the Figma line in terms of releases.  Where Nendoroid Tracer is a stylized Chibi version of the face of Overwatch, the Figma is much closer to the likeness you’d see in game.

Unfortunately it’s not a perfect likeness.  The worst offense on this toy is the face.  It’s just… off… all over.  It’s almost like it’s a sort of bizarre bishoujo version of Tracer.  There is definitely too much “anime” in the sculpt.  I mean, Overwatch is pretty heavily cartoon in it’s stylization, but it’s not manga styled.  It’s kind of funny because the Nendoroid version almost looks more like Tracer in the face, despite the goofy proportions.

The Nendoroid also has some accessories that the larger version really should have included as well, even if they were straight up the same pieces.  Aside from the obvious blink streak included with the Nendo, the Nendo also has the little flippy hair piece on it’s head, which was a nice little fun touch.  The pegs on the stands aren’t the same size at all, so there isn’t even a way to use the blink effect piece with the Figma.  Also notable, is that the guns are not the same between the two figures, though they are pretty close to being the same size. Aside from the guns, Tracer includes some alternate faces and a decent selection of hands and her pulse bomb.

I also have a bit of an issue with the poseability of the figure.  It’s pretty good, except for the hips, which are extremely limited by the design and the belt straps.  I’m not sure what could have been changed but the knees also don’t bend as far as they could.  Basically, a little more bend all around in the legs could have really helped Tracer pull off some of her signature poses better.  The “real” straps are nice, but I can’t help but think sculpted straps might have allowed a bit more range of motion.

Tracer is decent, overall, though I honestly think I like the Nendoroid more.  At the moment it’s the best Tracer figure available, but Hasbro has recently announced a new line of Overwatch based figures coming, and you can bet it will include Tracer.  Figma Tracer isn’t a bad figure, but it could have been better without that totally off face sculpt.

S.H. Figuarts – The Rock

I’m going to be straight up honest.  I don’t have any interest in Wresting, at all.  But I think Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the actor, is pretty cool.  Plus this figure has a lot of hilarious faces and possibilities for photos.  I also ended up getting a good deal on him from the closing of Toys R Us, so there’s also that nice bonus.

As far as Figuarts go, he kind of feels like a mixed bag.  The face sculpts are great.  They look like the rock and convey a lot of nice goofyness and character.  Even without relating it directly to The Rock the wrestler, they still show off several of his “signature looks”.  He is also very poseable, even for a Figuarts toy.   He even has a jointed set of hands.

The poseability is also his major downside.  The joins on this figure are ugly as hell.  There isn’t really any way around that.  He also isn’t going to fit in with any other wrestling figures aside from the other Figuarts Wrestlers.  Most of the wrestling figures on the US market seem to be closer to 7″ in height.  The Rock is closer to 6″, and he’s a little on the overall small side of 6″.  So he’ll definitely look really puny next to any mainstream Wrestling toy.

He does work pretty well with a lot of other figures though, especially other Figuarts figures.  He’s not a bad figure by any stretch, but he does have his ups and downs compared to other figures out there.  He’s still a lot of fun to goof around with, ugly joints and all.

 

 

Review – Transformers – Titans Return Overlord

Overlord may be slightly less familiar to a lot of people because he wasn’t a part of any major show continuity in the US. He was the big dog Decepticon in the Japanese series Super God Masterforce, and showed up a bit in some of the other Japanese only G1 shows. His other major role was as the protagonist in the popular IDW comic arc, The Last Stand of the Wreckers. In the original continuity he was a double Power Master. He had two Power Master figures who could slot into his chest behind the panels on his chest. In the Masterforce cartoon, these were Giga and Mega, a husband and Wife combo recruited by Devil Z to combat the Autobots. In the IDW books he was just a big tough guy. In this new iteration, he is a headmaster, like all of the Titans Return figures. He also only has one head, though the Japanese version includes two head options, representing Giga and Mega.

He does have his chest slot gimmick still however. Sort of.  The chest flaps open and have slots where you can stick Titan Masters.  Except the holes aren’t deep enough to allow the doors to close with the Titan Masters inside.  This is actually a real shame given the whole gimmick of the follow up line and it’s Prime Masters.  Having Overlord be able to “power up” with the Power of the Primes would have been a neat little play pattern to tie the two lines together.

The Titan Masters kind of look funny anyway, with their obvious faces and all.  Disappointing chest face gimmick aside, Overlord still has a few tricks up his sleeve.  Unlike a lot of Transformers, he eschews the standard one bot, one vehicle gimmick and splits into two vehicles, a Jet and a Tank.  Neither vehicle has an independent robot mode and both are somewhere between a deluxe and voyager in size individually.  The tank is pretty nice, but even without the need to hide a bunch of extra bulk that most jet Transformers suffer with, the jet is still kind of chunky and weird.

For a Leader class Transformers with two vehicles, the overall transformation is pretty simplistic.  He definitely falls into the category of “G1 with more articulation” in his design in that respect.  Considering Overlord isn’t one of those staple characters who gets a new look every few years, that’s probably for the best.  He fills the role of “Classics Overlord” pretty well.  Certainly better than the TFCC version we got a few years ago.  As much as I like the Bludgeon mold and that figure, he doesn’t work nearly as well as Overlord as the Titans Return figure.

In addition to his two vehicles, Overlord also turns into a pretty nice little base for Titan Masters.  This fulfills the line gimmick of the Leader toys becoming bases and homages back to G1 Overlord, who also became a base.  It’s works really well in this line too given the emphasis on the little Titan Master figures.

Overall, Overlord is just a nice solid toy.  His vehicles and base work well with the Titan Masters.  The robot itself is all around solid and nicely poseable.  He isn’t the most well known character, but he does look the part of being a big menacing bad guy, which is pretty much what he is trying to do.  I’d definitely recommend Overlord.