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Transformers – Studio Series – Rampage

The second in the multipart, multiyear release of figure from Hasbro to produce an accurate Revenge of the Fallen Devastator is Studio Series Rampage. The first release was Studio Series Scrapmetal, who was a pretty good all around transformer, and sort of an original character for Studio Series, who didn’t get a release in the original Revenge of the Fallen line. Rampage here is a little different though, he was a leg for the old Devastator that didn’t have individual robot modes and he got a single packed Deluxe release that didn’t come with a limb mode.

Rampage is also notable as one of the few Constructicons with actual screen time in the movie beyond becoming part of the whole. He kidnaps Sam’s parents in Paris (or wherever) because a bulldozer driving through a European city isn’t conspicuous AT ALL. Later he shows up again to pogo around the desert in a death match against Bumbebee, who rips the spine out of Ravage and beats Rampage to death with it.

The Pogo mode is the most interesting aspect of this guy really. He doesn’t have any sort of traditional legs at all, not even optional ones, just a monopod leg and a stand for the toy to keep itself upright. His bod does have a few joints to let it compress and look sort of springy, but his neck and head are kind of limited and he can’t really crouch too much without looking weird.

He also has two huge claw arms, but the articulation is really limited. All of the joints are pretty much fingers or near the shoulder, so the longest part just sticks out all weird and straight looking.

Other problems? Oh yeah. On mine, he head pops off super easy, partially due to the way it ball sockets on to the join sort of in the back. He also had some trad bits that hang off his arms to emulate the character’s whips in the movie, but there isn’t enough joints or length to make them look particularly cool in any poses. Especially with the limited arm articulation.

Rampage does have a lot of nice little details all over his body, he looks cool, he just, doesn’t DO much. He looks like he will make a pretty amazing Devastator leg one day. Fortunately, from what we have seen so far of the other Devastator limbs, he looks like he is going to be the most compromised and weakest design, so it can only really go up from here. As a stand alone toy, Rampage is pretty weak unfortunately.

Transformers – Studio Series – Scrapmetal

So, for the most part, the Michael Bay Transformers movies are pretty trash. Mostly for the shitty plots, but Revenge of the Fallen is particularly bad. One thing it did have that was pretty cool though was Devastator. In general, I do like the Bayverse/Movieveerse designs, and the take on Devastator was pretty interesting. Though the Revenge of the Fallen toy line was full of some of the most complex Transformers ever produced, the only full on Devastator is produced was Legends scaled. There were individual figures of most of the components that had robots and vehicles, and there was a large combined figure that only had parts that turned into vehicles, no robots.

Hasbro has decided to remedy that with Studio Series, by putting out a new Devastator, across eight figures, that all have robot modes and vehicle modes. There were 6 components to the previous version with vehicles only and Seven in the Legends sized one, which added a vehicle to create the pelvis and back. This new iteration is taking things a bit farther, following the pattern from the Legends sized version, but splitting one of the arms into two separate toys.

Scrapmetal is one of those two arm characters. He’s technically the only “new” character of the set, since Hightower (the crane) has almost made up the arm on the previous toys. This figure more or less forms the hand.

Scapmetal turns into a small excavator. The primary driver in Studio Series is robot mode scale so the excavator is pretty small, but there are some small er versions of this particular vehicle out there. The vehicle is a little small compared to old style Deluxes but looks alright next to other Studio Series. The transformation doesn’t allow the top to rotate independently of the treads unfortunately.

Transformation is pretty straight forward but has a few neat little tricks. There’s some fun asymmetry to the way the arms fold in together to form the top part of the vehicle mode. The legs pretty much just collapse and fold up underneath. He has a little removable shield thing that mostly exists to cover a few gaps in the vehicle mode, which is a little cheaty.

The robot is pretty normal as well, at least for Movie Constructicon standards. The other initial release is Rampage who stands on a single Pogo Leg, but other highlights of the Constructicons include Hightower, who turns into a sort of Velociraptor, and Demolishor who is a pair of arms on giant wheels.

One neat little bit if you want to fancy him up a bit, his legs have the option of working as “normal knees” or can knock back and become Digigrade legs. Probably the main disappointment is that there isn’t really anything fun his crane arm can do in robot mode. You can swing it up between his legs like a huge phallus but that’s not super useful really. He also has a lot of neat little extra detail. The biggest stand out is the treading detail inside his back, that doesn’t serve any purpose in either mode. I imagine in the combined form it will be more visible for some added detailing.

Scrapmetal really has me excited for the test of this team. He looks like he’ll probably be comparably sized to the old Revenge of the Fallen Devastator, but with a lot more detail and more functional articulation. I also kind of like that these are being released over time, since it gives me a chance to spread out what is essentially a $200 purchase over a couple of years.

Transformers – Studio Series – Bumblebee (VW)

The latest Transformers Movie, Bumblebee, takes things back more to the original roots of Transformers.  It features G1 versions of a lot of the characters and the main character, Bumblebee, takes the form of a Volkswagen Beetle like he had in the original 80s cartoon.  The movie isn’t getting it’s own toyline but is instead being looped in with the Studio Series line.  The first figure from the new films is Bumblebee himself though in many cases, Dropkick from the followup wave is also showing up with him.

The new Bee reminds me a lot of Studio Series Jazz in that he is really tiny in both modes.  This feels a lot more appropriate given it’s Bumblebee, who was one of the smallest Autobots in the original G1 series.  It does make the $20 price point for deluxe Transformers a little hard to swallow but he has a few little parts that help make it feel more worthwhile.  The robot is pretty nice, though he has a huge backpack that feels like it should collapse on itself a bit more, but doesn’t really seem to without pushing the plastic beyond what feels comfortable.  The legs also are a little funny in that they feel like they should peg together better but don’t seem to. 

The design itself is very reminiscent of the old Camero Bumblebee design from the last few Michael Bay Transformers movies.  The way the layered chest lays and the panels fall on his legs and the door wings sit on his back, these elements are all very Movie Bumblebee.  The Door wings aren’t very accurate to the film though, where the doors seem to do some mass shifting and point downward instead of becoming wings. 

I mentioned he comes with some extras to help offset his cost.  Specifically, he has an alternative face plate for his “Battle Mask” look and a swap-able arm piece for his arm cannon.  There’s also a blade weapon which can attach to the side of any of the three forearm pieces.  These sort of swap out parts aren’t a real common things for Transformers.  Having them, it’s kind of clear why.  The canon arm falls off a lot more easily than the standard hand arm and the Mask face falls off if you look at it funny.  These are definitely parts which will become lost over time by some.

The transformation is pretty straightforward in it’s execution, though fairly complex.  Its a pain to get everything to massage together properly, partially I think because it’s such a small figure.  The legs and back piece are particularly problematic and I can’t see anything obviously out of place like the hidden peg on the underside of Jazz’s roof that just made everything sit right in place once engaged.

The VW Beetle looks alright aside from things not quite sitting together properly.  The vehicle does feel a little funny because the G1 Bumblebee, was very much a stylized chibified VW.  This Bee feels too long, though I’m sure he’s not for a real Beetle.

Cutting to the chase here, I think that Studio Series Bumblebee is alright, but I kind of wonder what the wider audience is for him.  He’s too complex and finicky for kids, and there are plenty of simpler options out there.  He doesn’t really mesh well for collectors.  I don’t have it but I suspect the pricier Masterpiece Movie Bee does everything slightly better and he probably looks better.  I suppose if you’re in the middle like me and don’t really need a super classy Bee but don’t want something overly simplified this version does the job, but if you want a perfect VW Movie Bee, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.


Review – Transformers – The Last Knight – Cogman

I’m not going to lie, I barely remember anything about The Last Knight.  I had some vague hope it was going to be better going into it, but it wasn’t.  I don’t really know how but somehow the Michael Bay Transformers movies just got worse and worse with each release.  I vaguely remember something with knights in the beginning and then they go to the ruins of Chicago or something then there was something with Anthony Hopkins and Hot Rod in England.  Beyond that, the whole thing exists as some sort of weird repressed memory or something.

Still, I like Transformers Movieverse Toys.  This guy Cogman was the tail end of the line and got a really random release pretty much straight to discount stores.  I believe Cogman was Anthony Hopkins’ butler robot int he film, I don’t remember him turning into any car or anything, but it may have happened at some point.  This guy gets a semi proper representation through his Headmaster.  This movie came out alongside the Titans Return line, which was all Headmasters, and while the movie line didn’t share that gimmick, this guy does.

Cogman’s headmaster is cross compatible with the Titanmasters and Prime Masters, and like the Titans Return figures, Cogman has a driver’s seat for his head robot.  In fact, he has two seats, so a buddy can even ride along, a neat little added gimmick.  The vehicle itself is an Aston Martin, a vehicle appropriate for the butler/servant of the eccentric Sir Anthony Hopkins.   There was one other pseudo Headmaster in the line if you want to keep things pure, Nitro Zeus has a removable head that’s compatible with the Titan/Headmasters, though his own head doesn’t transform. 

The robot fits pretty well in with the Knight theme of the movie and a lot of the toys in the line.  He’s all gray with a dark wash in some places.  He has a sword which he can wield with one or two hands.  His design has sort of an armored look to it as well.  The transformation is pretty neat overall, his hood has a neat rotational gimmick instead of just folding over.  He holds together fairly well, which is sometimes an issue with characters with cockpits like Cogman has.

Overall, Cogman is a pretty neat figure.  It’s kind of a shame that he got shoved tot he back half of the line, because he’s become a bit of a scares toy to find.  He’s one of the few actually new molds and characters of The Last Knight toyline, and he has a lot of interesting and unique aspects to him with the double driver interior and Movie themed Headmaster.  I believe he’s getting a re-release in the Studio Series line however with a different paint job, so there’s still a chance to find him, though probably not at the discount store price.


Review – Transformers – Masterpiece Sunstreaker (MP-39)

I don’t really collect Masterpiece Transformers, not on any sort of large scale.  I have a few, the original MP-01 and MP-05 Optimus and Megatron.  Though both of those are in the old larger scale of Transformers.  I use MP-08 Grimlock as my “Classics Grimlock”, because it’s a nice looking toy and his bulk makes him nice and imposing next to mainline sized toys.  Sunstreaker is more of a personal indulgence.  When he was announced, he looked really nice, and when a reissue of his brother Sideswipe was announced to go with him, I definitely wanted the pair.

So, I just want to cut to the chase a bit on this guy, this is a really damn nice Transformer.  He looked fantastic in the promotional photos and he lives up to that in every way.  The robot mode is very slick, very poseable, and very solid.  The whole transformation does an excellent job of collapsing everything together and removing any dangling vehicle kibble.  The result is a very nice representation of Sunstreaker as he appears on the show.

The Transformation may actually be the downside of this figure, if you aren’t really into complex transformations, it’s definitely a plus if you are,  There are a ridiculous number of little flippy and sliding parts that all come apart and come together to make this robot.  Everything about his backpack has to collapse together just right to make it all conform into the proper shape.  The front windshield of the car is supposed to fold up into the backpack but it pops off easily and honestly, I prefer to just pull it off and put it aside because I worry that its going to break while putting the backpack together.

There is so much more about this figure that makes it exceptional though, even by Masterpiece Transformer levels.  There are extra joints in his shoulders, that allow him to hold his gun with two hands.  The vehicle itself has some nice surprises as well.  Despite already being a complex puzzle of joints and panels to build the robot, the vehicle goes even farther and is able to convert between a standard stock Lamborghini Countach, and the tricked out super car that Sideswipe was on the show.  This is more than just a panel flip on the back, it’s a panel flip, and some roll over parts and even a second set of taillights that flip up over the stock tail lights.

He’s also loaded with fun accessories.  Aside from a pair of guns, he also includes a small Chip Chase figure in his wheelchair, several alternative face plates, and an alien mask from Hoist Goes to Hollywood.  I don’t know if it’s a widespread issue, but I did have a problem with his smaller gun.  The clip holding it together pretty much broke immediately.  It still holds itself together as a gun, but it doesn’t transform anymore.

Overall, Masterpiece Sunstreaker is just a really fantastic transformer.  He’s not even a particularly big name character in G1, so it’s not real clear why he deserved such a great treatment.