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Review – Transformers – Combiner Wars – Computron (Technobot Giftset)

Combiner Wars was definitely an interesting take on the line.  The need for every figure to be a robot and a vehicle and an arm or a leg really made for some pretty similar designs across the board.  All of the most well known combiners, Superion, Menasor, Bruticus, Defensor, ended up with a release in the main line.  Devastator got a massive Titan Class boxed set release as well.  One vehicle combiner missing from the mainline was Computron.  Instead of individual releases, Computron came available at the tail end of the line as a boxed set only, though he consists of repaints of previously released figures.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The boxed set for Computron consists of 7 figures, 5 forming the core combiner and one Legends class partner, like all of the other releases, who happens to also include another even smaller partner toy of it’s own.  Unlike the other 4 known combiners, Computron is a straight update of his normal 5 members, no stand ins like Rook of Alpha Bravo.  It’s also worth noting that there was also a Japanese boxed set released around the same time that costs around the same price.  There are a lot of different design choices in which molds are used and both sets contain unique new remold versions of Strafe.  I do not own the Japanese version but there are pluses and minuses to each design choice and a lot of what it comes down to is a preference of G1 cartoon vs G1 toy aesthetics.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Lightspeed

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

I want to start with Lightspeed since he’s probably the most boring of all of the figures in this set.  Not really so much because of his design, but because he’s a repaint of the Streetwise/Prowl mold which is itself a remold of the Breakdown/Wildrider mold.  Basically, this mold has been used a ton throughout this entire line and so it’s starting to feel a little tired.  On the plus side, it’s one of the better molds in the line.  He has a nice range of pose ability, his transformation is a little more interesting all around and it works well as both an arm and a leg.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The overall shape fits pretty well as an update to G1 Lightspeed as well.  The original toy was a bit more orange in color however.  This color works pretty well though and homages closer to the cartoon color pallet.

Nosecone

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Next up we have Nosecone.  Probably the weakest figure in the entire set, primarily due to the choice in base mold.  The original Nosecone was a drill tank thing.  Rather than take the Takara route of extensively remolding Rook, Hasbro’s Nosecone is simply a repaint of Brawl from the Combaticon set with a new drill bit turret.

A lot of Nosecones flaws are simply due to using the Brawl mold, which is the weakest in the line.  He is so close to being pretty good though, at least in robot mode.  The waist joint however is very poorly designed, things accordion together to connect the legs to the torso, but the accordion action isn’t quite a solid as it wants to be or should be.  He does have a pretty nice paint job in robot mode as well which helps.  The paint apps are more designed to homage the original toy than the original cartoon.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Where things fall apart is the vehicle.  The intended design is to position the turret out what is the back of the original tank.  The problem is this means the bottom of the feel are really obviously exposed in all of their hollow glory.  You’re better off just positioning the drill facing forward the way Brawn’s turret sits and calling it a day.  It’s mildly less accurate but looks a heck of a lot better.

Strafe

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Strafe is kind of the polar opposite of Nosecone and Lightspeed.  Where both of those were straight repaints, Strafe is an extensive remold of the Air Raid mold.  Where Air Raid turns into an F-14 fighter jet, Strafe has an entirely new front half and a completely different wing assembly on the legs.  The only real noticeable bits that are the same are the robot parts and the rear tail fins.  As such he shares the same basic transformation that all of the Aerialbots used with the clam-shell leg mechanism and the arms folded to the sides and the nosecone backpack.  All of the Aerialbots are solid figures however, which translates into a nice plus for Strafe.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Unlike his Aerialbot counterparts, Strafe’s “funky space ship” alt mode allows him to wear his bulky undercarriage much more well.  He isn’t trying to be a sleek jet, so the body bulk and complete lack of aerodynamics become much more excusable.

Afterburner

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Afterburner is the pseudo new mold of this set.  The motorcycle mold in Combiner Wars showed up originally in Takara’s Defensor set for Groove.  There has been rumor and speculation that the US release received Rook in place of Groove because of safety issues involving the clear plastic canopy, due to scale issues of the motorcycle, and possibly just because the mold is a little large for a standard deluxe and this didn’t fit price wise.  Eventually Groove did get a limited release in the states through several online retailers.  Afterburner however is the most reliable way to get the mold in the US, though Afterburner is also a remold and not just a straight repaint of Groove.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

I can see why he might have failed standard safety tests, that window backpack just sort of hangs off of the top of the figure and clear plastic tends to be more brittle than the standard plastic used in most figures.  On the other hand, here we are, with a regular mass release version of the mold.  The speculation that he’s too large is feasible as well, he is definitely taller and bulkier than most of the Combiner Wars deluxes.  The scale issue, at least in Afterburner’s case, kind of falls away however.  Groove is a police motorcycle, thus would be much smaller than his fellow Protectobots.  Afterburner is a space motorcycle.  Who says he isn’t a giant space motorcycle.  Especially when all of his friends are giant robots.

Scattorshot

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Scattorshot is a repaint of the much more muted color pallet, mass released, Scattorshot who is a remold of the Aerialbot torso, Silverbolt.  The mass release version of the figure was very bland and mostly red, and formed the torso for “Beta-tron”.  I’m not sure why he ended up with two releases, my only real assumption is they weren’t sure Computron would actually get a release.  The boxed set version has a lot more white spots of color and different shades of red, which really helps make the mold look a lot less… beta, in design.

This mold is one of the better torsos in the line, but the individual robot is a little funky looking with it’s huge boots.  It does work for Scattorshot though, the original toy also had some kind of funky proportions going on with his body.  The funky space wings really help to make him seem different than Silverbolt as well, which is nice.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The vehicle gets a new node piece in the form of a giant cannon, in addition to the previously mentioned space wings.  There are enough little greebly bits added to the vehicle to help him stand out even more from Silverbolt.  The torso, doesn’t fare quite as well however, as it very much resembles Superion’s torso.

Scrounge and Cybaxx (Boltax)

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Because there were little “helper” transformers in the Legends scale for each of the other combiners, Computron also includes a repaint of Generations Cosmos and Payload in the form of Scrounge and Boltax.  Both are relatively obscure G1 comic characters, both of which were originally yellow gold colored.   The original Scrounge seems to turn into some sort of wheel thing, so Cosmos’ flying saucer works pretty well there.  Boltax doesn’t really have an original alt mode, his association here is more on the “smart guy” side of the Technobots theme.  He was sort of an omniscient librarian in his original form.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The new head on the Cosmos mold is a nice little touch, it would have been really simple and easy to just make him a repaint.  Given that this is an older mold from an older line, the interactivity with the larger Computron is pretty weak.  Where Menasor and Defensor got new chest pieces and Superion and Bruticus got guns, Scrounge sort of becomes a shield that loose bolts onto existing pegs and Boltax turns into an undersized targetmaster style gun (just like Payload).  Well, undersized for Computron, less so for any of the individual robots.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Computron

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

So, being apart of Combiner Wars, and the combiner Computron, these figures all merge together to form one giant robot.  He’s actually got quite a bit going for him in his combined form, compared to the other combiners in the line.  Despite some of the individual flaws, all of these figures are good limbs.  Couple this with the Silverbolt/Scattorshot torso and you end up with a pretty solid combined robot.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

What also helps make this set is that he also includes a new set of hand/foot pieces.  The individual releases all came with various hand/foot bits that could be either a hand or a foot.  They were also a bit undersized for the combined robots, especially for the feet.  Computron here has two dedicated feet that are much larger than the previous hand/foot gun pieces, and two nicely sculpted left and right fists.  The Hand/Foot Guns all were also designed to work as a left or right hand.  These pieces really help him look more beefy and properly proportioned in his combined form.

His color scheme is a little hodge podgey, though the tones are all sort of in the same general pallet and there is a lot of colors across the limbs that helps everything feel a bit more blended.  He also benefits from the boxed set benefit of budget, because he has a bit more paint apps across the board, which helps make him look really nice.

Overall, Computron is a really great complete package of a combiner.  He’s probably my favorite of the 5 combiner sets that I own (Superion, Bruticus, Defensor, Menasor, and Computron).  The techno spacey Cybertronian theme of all of the vehicles helps these guys stand out in a sea of Earth modes and help hide some of the bulky-ness flaws of the Combiner Wars line.  You also get an entire set instead of having to hunt down individual robots, which makes things a lot easier.

 

Review – Transformers – RiD – Bisk

I have yet to actually watch any of the Transformers Robots in Disguise show, but very early on one of the designs showed off was for a character named Bisk.  Everyone hoped Bisk would get a toy but early indicators where we had one Decepticon for a dozen Autobots, it didn’t seem likely.  Thankfully things changed and we ended up with our crazy Lobster Man Transformer.  He’s even gotten a repaint named Thermidor.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

Bisk, has the pleasure of having a Lobster for his animal theme.  He definitely takes this theme above and beyond with his lobster head and giant Lobster Claw hands.  Even his vehicle mode kibble hanging off of his back works since it sort of looks like a lobster shell.  I can fully understand how this zany looking robot would not work for some people, he certainly stands out with other Transformers, especially non RiD Decepticons, but he certainly has a ton of character from this look.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

This character even goes a bit deeper than expected with his Vehicle Mode.   Transformers Robots In Disguise is a sort of sequel to the previous series, Transformers Prime.  It shares a general design ascetic and the plot is a sort of follow up to the previous series, though the tone of these two shows is quite different.  Bisk’s vehicle very much resembles the Vehicon Drones that were ever present in Transformers Prime.  He’s not an exact match but the overall shape is there.  His guns even mount on the front headlights the way the old Vehicon guns do.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

His guns also work in robot mode via the same pegs, mounting on top of his lobster claws.  The claws are particularly interesting, the arm joints aren’t quite traditional joints for up and down and rotation, but there are essentially two different elbow joins next to each other, which allows for his claws to work both in a vertical and horizontal orientation.  It really helps add to the range of poses he can make using his big ol’ claws.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

Overall, though the aesthetic won’t work for everyone, Bisk is a pretty fantastic addition to the Robots in Disguise line up.  He looks nice in both modes, the Transformation is pretty straight forward and he just oozes character.  He’s nicely poseable too, which is always a good feature.

Transformers – Review – Titans Return – Broadside

Broadside is a character that people have been anticipating an update of for a while now, mostly because he was part of the popular Wreckers team int he comics.  He’s one of the few members who hasn’t gotten a new toy in ages, though it’s somewhat understandable why he hasn’t.  Broadside has two alt modes, one is a jet, one is an aircraft carrier.  Working aircraft Carriers in with any level of scale is effectively impossible being possibly the largest vehicles on the planet.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

There is a vague attempt to make scale work with Broadside.  He includes a set of small aircraft sculpted to resemble the recently released Combiner Wars Aerialbots toys, that can be stuck on the carrier deck using little pegs.  This does have the odd effect int hat it means his Headmaster in “reality” would be larger than Superion, but it’s still a neat effort.  I plan to paint up my Aerialbots at some point since they are all white plastic.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

Talking about small Aerialbots seems like a funny place to start out discussing a figure, they are just accessories after all.  The thing is, I prefer to discuss the good points before the bad points, and the mini Aerialbots are the only real good point with poor Broadside.  It’s fairly rare that I just flat out don’t like a toy, I try to find some redeeming qualities when possible, but I really just don’t like Broadside, he’s just a big ball of weird design choices and flaws.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

So, continuing with the carrier mode.  The flat deck essentially consists of a bunch of flippy panels that all sort of but don’t quite mesh together well, which kind of huts the aesthetics of the carrier.  It’s also covered in a lot of ill fitting stickers.  The stickers aren’t the problem on their own, it’s how poorly they fit and how the sticker detail doesn’t even attempt to match the sculpted detailing on the surfaces they attach to.  Then there are the little landing gears on the carrier, which are mostly just used to allow it to sit on a flat surface, except the way they fold up is goofy and they are prone to folding up by mistake when trying to display the carrier.  Lastly the goofy wings on the front end of the carrier.  These wings sort of exist for the Jet mode, except they look goofy over there, as well in Robot mode.  They just are all around poorly executed and get int he way in all three modes than they do help the look.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

Moving on to the Jet mode.  I will just say, an attempt was made, and leave it there.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

On the robot, hid design is almost there, he’s nice and beefy and chunky, except his also just sort of gets int he way of himself.  Those previously mentioned Wings just sort of hang off of his shins and get in the way.  The carrier panels hanging off of his shoulders get in the way of the arms and shoulders.  He’s also back heavy so posing him can be a little difficult as well.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

I think my biggest issue with Broadside is mostly just how close he is in almost every area he misses.  It just makes him frustrating to interact with in every way because everything about him mostly almost works but not quite.   To add insult to injury, he seems to have been shipped alone to a lot of stores, which means he will likely clog up shelves for a while blocking other Voyagers from getting a more widespread release.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Perceptor

Due to it’s hodge podge origins in various Japanese toy lines, primarily Diaclone and Microman, the Transformers picked up a few less practical alt modes in it’s early days.  The most well known is Soundwave’s cassette player.  Perceptor is one of those characters with a less conventional (ie not a car or a plane) modes with his Microscope mode.  The previous Generations remake of Perceptor changed things a bit giving him a Snow truck alternate mode instead of his traditional Microscope.  Titans Return has been all about keeping with the designs of the original toys as much as possible, with updated modern engineering, so Perceptor is once again, a Microscope.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

You could argue that he’s actually a sort of medical bay for the Titan Masters however, since the stage of the microscope is designed for a Titan Master to lay in to be examined by the scope.  The scope itself is functional as a microscope, though it’s extremely low power and kind of hard to look through due to it’s small size.  If you put say, a finger in front of it, you will get an enlarged image of your fingerprint however, which is a nice touch.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

The overall design is very reminiscent to the original Perceptor toy from the 80s, though he’s quite a bit smaller, the original figure was somewhere between modern Deluxe and Voyager sizes.   His transformation is where a lot of the flaws come through.  It’s simple enough, but the sliding mechanism for the microscope feels extremely stiff and prone to breaking.  I have not broken one, it just very much feels like a part that could easily BE broken if care isn’t given.  There are alsoa  lot of unused extra bits on his body for the undocumented Tank Mode

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

The original Perceptor had an attack mode which amounted to folding him into a square and using the scope as a tank canon.   There are definitely vestigial bits for something similar to be done on the Titans Return toy, but the instructions do not show anything about how to properly transform him into a tank.  There are extra flip out treads, extra flipping parts on his chest, extra tabs on his legs and shoulders.  It’s even a great way to better incorporate the little Titan Master drivers into the mode.  It’s just not documented, which is kind of tragic.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Aside from the missing Tank Mode, I really enjoy this figure.  I’ve always been partial to Perceptor because of his goofy Microscope mode, though I can see how this may be seen as boring by some people.  The microscope actually having some very basic functionality just makes this guy even more interesting and good in my book.

Review – Transformers – RiD – Quillfire

Broken Record time again, I just love the unique style and designs of the Robots in Disguise Decepticon line up.  Quillfire is no exception, with his porcupine themed robot mode.  He also has a very unique squat shape to his design, which just helps give him more character.

Quillfire, unlike Steeljaw, has the benefit of being a late line figure.  That is, he came out in wave 3 or 4, and the designers of the figures have had a chance to work out the new kinks that pop up every new Transformers line.  The neatest part of his design is probably in his head, which Which despite having a hunched look, has an extra joint added that allows for side to side movement.  Given that a lot of recent Transformers have kind of felt like they were cheapening out in places, the neck joint here really feels like a bonus.  It’s something that could easily have been removed.

He also has a functioning jaw on his large head, which helps add to the ascetics in a good way.  Additionally, despite his stocky design, the pose ability is pretty good.  He does unfortunately have a pretty large ugly backpack just sort of hanging off of him, which is kind of meh and though the neck is cool, it is limited compared to your more traditional robot designs.

He is also incredibly brown, which admittedly makes him kind of bland to look at.  He has a repaint named Scatterspike which has a very similar color scheme, which doesn’t help matters on his color scheme.  Like most of RiD, the Transformation is pretty straight forward without too many steps or flippy panels.  He includes two weapons, a hand held gun and a quill knife, both are able to be stored in Vehicle mode.

Despite his boring brown appearance, Quillfire, is a neat and fun little toy.  His repaint Scatterspike probably has a slightly more interesting color scheme since it’s a dark shade of Red, if you are only interested in getting the mold once.  Then again, the browns are a bit more military looking if that’s your thing.  He’s a decent toy, just not much to look at.

Review – S.H. Figuarts Mace Windu

I have a sort of general philosophy I like to follow when writing reviews. I like to give good points and bad points and let the reader sort of make the final conclusion on if something seems good or not.  There are really too many subjective factors to give a definite yay or nay on most things.

SH Figuarts Mace Windu

Unfortunately, I don’t really have much to say about Figuarts Mace Window that is negative.  I really just don’t, the figure is damn near perfect and it’s definitely the best toy Mace Windu us ever going to get.  I suppose that, as a Star Wars Figuarts, he’s a little pricey than some people might want to pay.  Also the cuts for his joints are a little ugly looking in some poses.  But these are kind of nitpicky level complaints.

SH Figuarts Mace Windu

Mace Windu includes 6 sets of hands, and 2 heads, one angry and one more smug/neutral.  He also includes 2 light sabers, one with a peg to hang off of his belt and the other to be held, with or without the blade.

SH Figuarts Mace Windu

The sculpt on everything is amazing, which is helped by the fantastic paint job.  The heads do a spot on job of capturing Samuel L. Jackson down to little wrinkles in his forehead.

SH Figuarts Mace Windu

He pose ability and stability are also great for a lot of really exceptional dynamic posing.  His open hands are great for “force action”.  He can perfectly wield his light saber in one or two hands.  The details on the head and expression work great for attacks and neutral poses.

SH Figuarts Mace Windu

Basically what I’m saying is, if this figure interests you, he’s great and well worth picking up.  It’s every bit as awesome as it looks, probably more so.

Review – Movie – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

So, the first Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movie kind of got a lot of flack.  To be fair, though, it’s not actually directed by Michael Bay, it’s just produced, so it’s not as awful of a live action remake as The Transformers movies are, it was however quite a departure from what people think of when they think Ninja Turtles.

The second film in this series is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and it seems to be the answer to what a lot of people wanted and expected from the first movie.  Where TMNT is an updated modern take on the basic Turtles vs The Foot idea, Out of the Shadows is a very blatant tribute and Nostalgia fest for the original 80s TMNT cartoon show.   It actually kind of feels a little sad with just how blatant of a tribute it is.

Rocksteady and Bebop? Check!

The Turtle Van?  Check!

Krang? Check!

Baxter Stockman?  Check!

The Technodrom?  Check!

Also, unlike a lot of remakes and updates, things stay fairly true to the original, or at least, much more aligned with the spirit of the original.  Rocksteady and Bebop for example, are pretty unmistakable.  Krang is a little weird but still very much is obviously Krang with his goofy robot body.  Baxter Stockman follows the original comic and modern show versions of being African American instead of a goofy white guy with orange hair, but he’s still a goofy scientist.

This movie very much feels like a response to the “This isn’t the Turtles I remember” complaints of the first TMNT film.

Honestly, I kind of feels like it makes the film better.  I didn’t hate the original TMNT, but the nostalgia level of Out of the Shadows definitely does it’s job.

The biggest fault of this film is the some what flimsy plot.  It’s not awful, but there’s quite a few “what” moments, one of them is a pretty crucial hinge to everything.  Early on in the film, The Shredder is rescued by The Foot, amidst the rescue, he is suddenly kidnapped by Krang, who wants to recruit The Shredder to gather several McGuffin devices in order to open a portal from Dimension X so Krang can take over The Earth.  Very Classic 80s Cartoon to be sure.  It’s just very, sudden, however with zero build up.  It’s just suddenly “Hey, giant brain man, let’s work together”.  It kind of feels like it could have been massaged a little bit on the flow.

There’s also a subplot involving Casey Jones tracking down Rocksteady and Bebop which feels pretty superfluous to the everything.  It seems to exist entirely so create an excuse to throw Casey Jones into the movie.  He basically fills the role of Vernon from the first TMNT, someone for April O’Neal to pal around with when she isn’t hanging out with the turtles.

There’s also an ooze subplot that goes nowhere after Rocksteady and Bebop become a thing.  That is, it’s there to mutate Rocksteady and Bebop, which is fine, but then it lingers around a bit until the end where a choice is made, one that never really felt like it had any appropriate build up to actually give it any meaningful impact.

The real bottom line is that the plot, or plots aren’t awful ideas, it’s more that there’s just too much crammed into one film, and as a result, nothing gets fleshed out to any meaningful level.  Maybe I’m looking for too much from a movie about giant martial artist turtles, but I can’t help but think that maybe, splitting things out a across a couple of films would have helped solidify everything a bit better, giving us something much better than what we got.  Maybe run with Shredder being rescued and meeting with a shadowy unknown, creating Bebop and Rocksteady and introducing Casey Jones as more of an antagonist and foil, then keeping Krang and the idea of being forced to live “In the Shadows” as a plot for a third connected film.

Review – Figma – Stand Alone Complex Motoko Kusanagi

Ghost in the Shell’s Motoko Kusanagi is kind of a hard one to pin down for a real “definitive look”.  Unlike a lot of anime, cartoon, or even comic characters, she has had a pretty wide array of styles over her various movies and shows.  There is a general theme of “tough” and “short purple hair”.  Aside from that there have been a variety of tactical suits, jackets, and various spandex sort of outfits.  This particular figure is based on the Stand Alone Complex Anime series.  Stand Alone complex is an alternate timeline version of the story from the popular movie and manga, Ghost in the Shell.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

There aren’t any particularly great figures of Motoko from the original series from what I can tell.  I haven’t really seen any of Stand Alone complex though I like the original movie and have read some of the manga.  Of the various versions of Motoko available, I felt this one more capture the essence of what I personally think of as the character, though this design feels “younger” and a bit more, anime, for lack of a better term, than I’d really prefer.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

It’s a decent design though and the sculpt and articulations are pretty clean.  There’s something a little funny going on with the articulation I can’t quite place though.  It works well enough for posing, but she kind of looks a little wonkey in some poses, like things don’t quite line up naturally.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

Motoko includes 5 sets of hands in various poses, a Figma stand, three faces (smiling, frowning, yelling), two hairs (one is “windswept”), a pistol, an assault rifle, and an extra set of boobs.  I’m not entirely sure about the boobs, I think one is slightly larger but they look really the same.  Several of the hands are pretty specialized around holding the weapons, in particular the special right hands for holding each gun.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

Figma Motoko has a problem I’ve encountered with the few Figma toys that I do have.  Her hair falls off way to easily.  If you lean her forward at all the hair has a good chance of slipping right off her face.  It’s a good sized chunk, so it’s easy to find if it falls, but it’s kind of a nuisance.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

So overall verdict, it’s an alright figure, like a lot of the line, but it’s not quite the version of The Major I wish I had.  I’m kind of hoping that the live action Ghost in the Shell movie will see a bit of a resurgence in merchandise and some more, better figures.  I’d love to get a Batou to go with Motko.  I am also kind of surprised there aren’t more SH Figuarts from Ghost in the Shell, considering Bandai makes Figuarts and owns the rights to GitS.  That’s probably one of those screwy “The media company is different than the products company” deals.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi