I got Breacher from TRU thanks to a stash from JT and Hailstorm from Target.
I got Breacher from TRU thanks to a stash from JT and Hailstorm from Target.
Got Hailstorm and Sidearm Sideswipe at Target last night.
Hailstorm is a mess. He's small in both modes. His missiles are marble-shooter style and don't fire for crap despite his missiles being his KEY FEATURE! His alt mode has a really odd hollow cockpit. His transformation is interesting but makes him even shorter. His bot mode is just too odd, super short and gorilla-like bulk with long arms, but not intentionally a knuckle-dragger since his shoulders foist the missile boxes. Honestly, this feels to me like an outsider's work, someone who came in off of Marvel or SW TF Crossovers (not that this has any of the major flaws those lines have, don't get me wrong, there's no ridiculously crappy joints or telescoping limbs). I'd grade him a "C" at best, maybe a little lower even.
Sidearm Sideswipe is pretty cool. All new, he's somewhat similar in alt mode, but can deploy his guns slightly upward. Transformation is fascinating, totally different from before, it feels unique. Bot mode is quite cool, but the chest is a little oversized compared to the rest of the figure (the head seems pretty small, but that's more about the chest IMO), and the lower body is restricted by design elements that hamper the knee and hip joints. There's a lot of sculpted detail and a decent deco/aesthetic going on. The guns look cool and fit specifically in these hands. I'd give Sideswipe a "B" but caution that it's not a figure every fan will dig.
I guess I forgot to weigh in on Hailstorm despite having had it for nearly a week now. Not that I had too much compelling to say about it though!
JT, another aspect I didn't like was that in alt mode, there's no way to pin the two halves of the front together.
The feet on Hailstorm peg into their respective outer side shins, and once that's done and the thighs are lined up right, you can tab each foot into the crotch which aligns them. It's not perfect, but it works ok once you know to look for it.
Finally got a Rodimus, and there was a Darkmount on the pegs next to it. Yay!
Rodimus is... welllll... this figure after all its anticipation is just alright, and a bit half-baked. The alt mode looks like a car that's had the frame broken in the middle and is sagging. For an Animated figure, this one requires a little more panel massage than I'm used to. Also, the rear of the alt mode is a gap for no reason, there's a panel back there COULD have hid it if they had extended it. Transformation is interesting but gets wonky at the chest, and the shoulder joints pop out too easily.
Bot mode is decent with pose potential and a very Hot Rod look, but also awkward with some gaps around the torso, and I don't like the noseless face with the low mouth. I get it, it's the opposite of all the other figures in the line, no giant boots, no giant chin, but the long wide face is odd and not quite what the show art had, and the way the torso comes together doesn't feel complete. That said, it's got good articulation (if you don't mind the shoulders popping out all the time) and a trim profile, no kibble really. The bow looks decent but doesn't have storage in bot mode when he's not holding it. When his eyes lightpipe, they have bubbles in the middle for irises, just like the animation, an interesting touch.
All in all, I'd give this a "B-" while trying to ignore the price-increase to $15. The alt mode feels a bit odd but isn't terrible, the transformation is unusual if a little bothersome at spots, the bot mode is decent but has issues.
Darkmount is clearly Straxus, so we'll drop the pretense at this stage. Alt mode is a halftrack tank with a VERY beefy turret that sports a long, thin cannon and 5 of the figure's 7 different 3mm clip-system rails for its 3 clip-system accessories - a smoke/grenade launcher, a rocket launcher box with 6 tips, and a machine gun which looks best clipped into the top. The turret rotates all the way round, and the main gun elevates to about 75 degrees. The vehicle has lots of detail, although the sculpting is not exactly as sharp as I've gotten used to, it feels a little like a throwback in that respect. The scale is a little confused, the wheels, tracks, and headlights suggest a fairly standard deluxe scale; while the cockpit, tail light, and cannon bore suggest a much bigger tank, like a rolling house, and the clip-system accessories don't really seem to have a sense of scale at all. The colors are mainly blue plastic with gray accents, the front of the vehicle has a copper section to give it some flavor, and there are a few small areas with red but mainly that's meant for other modes. The vehicle is interesting, it's bulky and apparently massive, has a long cannon, interchangeable accessories, it's detailed but in a different manner from what we've gotten used to from the movie lines.
Straxus then turns into a battle station, which the instructions make hash of, but the parts actually have specific functions so I'll talk about the REAL one. When done right, the rear tread shell halves angle down and tab onto the struts holding the front shell halves which stabilizes them, the arms then rotate upside-down to show the inner tread details and kind of hang out inside those shell halves but loosely. Then the turret raises up, locks into the middle, and handles rotate out of the back. What you're left with is a gun emplacement sized to a basic figure and it's a little low for that even. It's got modern 3rd-mode-syndrome in that it looks a lot like the main altmode jury-rigged into something else, but the parts moving in the way they do and the gun handles lend it enough credibility that I can dig it, and even though Hubcap has to hunker down to use it, it's a decent pairing putting a basic with this emplacement. I am not sure the mighty Lord Straxus would really appreciate turning into a rather modest weapon emplacement though. ;)
Transformation in the instructions to bot mode require first going through battle station mode, yet the reverse instructions (which, btw, Hasbro deserves props for now including on all the figures I've seen lately, kudos) bypass the battle station, so it goes "vehicle to battle station to robot to vehicle". Instructions also have the order of stuff wrong, so it's more frustrating the way they do it, and they have storage for the axe that doesn't work and is pretty vague. Anyway, transformation is very involved and interesting, if you get the order wrong it's gonna be frustrating since panels will hit things, stuff will ram into moving parts, etc., but when you get it right it's quite clever and not the bumpy road Hasbro thinks. The finished result is stable, a good size with bulk, and in terms of kibble, the rear halftrack shells hanging off the back isn't as offensive as it might seem. The way the forearms end up with the inner portion of the track gears is pretty clever, and helps lighten up the backpack's bulky look a little. I especially like that Straxus' ax transforms, with the barrel stem sliding down to become part of the pommel (the slide lock is a tad stiff, but worth it), the ax blades rotate around and open up. All in all, Straxus feels different from a lot of TFs lately, a little more original and somewhat classic.
Straxus' bot mode is a decent size but isn't a tubby guy the way the original character was, instead he's more of a balanced bot with a bit extra bulk in the chest and lower legs (he does have the big-boots, short thighs thing that's been going around the last decade though) - so he looks big and tough without being squat and blocky, it's easier to take him seriously as a contender for Cybertron's most-feared. The figure has lots of sculpted details, some of which are right out of the G1 character's look - the red triple-triangles are all over here, and the head is unmistakable with its swept ears and collar-fang mouth design - while others seem feel classic but aren't Straxus' original styles - the armored forearms and pointy hip panels aren't his or his planned repaint's (Skullgrin). The colors add more gray and a lot more red, so it's quite a bold look, although those colors with this blue seems more Autobot than Decepticon. The figure has a tilted-forward lower torso design, something else we've been getting more of lately. Articulation is great, lots of movement especially at the arms which can hold the ax 2-handed, but the foot connection is a sideways ball-joint which is risky in terms of long-term design, it leaves an unsightly gap, and it has limited sideways tilt range - that said, so far the feet haven't given me any trouble. The figure is a little back-heavy from the kibble and short heels that are a bit far forward in the centerline, but the articulation allows for plenty of compensation. The 3 clip-system accessories feel somewhat forgotten here, they can be plugged onto the legs, and 1 can be clipped onto each half of the kibble backpack, but they don't really add much to the guy.
Overall, Lord Straxus is well-represented in the Generations line. While not perfect, and not everybody will get behind the battle station mode, there's a lot working for this figure in bot and vehicle mode, and very little distracting from either. I'd grade Straxus/Darkmount an "A", though the figure is a complex chap and only patience will make him really rewarding to fully enjoy.
Nice to hear. I'm looking forward to that one.
Skullgrin is going to be a Straxus repaint, right? Does he at least have a new head? I skipped Banzai-Tron (truth is, I didn't look for him so I'm not sure that I've seen him), because such a poo-poo character being a Bludgeon repaint is lame. But Skullgrin I always thought was cool for whatever reason, so I might bite on this one if the head is different.
Awesome. If the figure's as good as JT says (and he's usually more critical than I am), then Hasbro has definitely suckered me in. :D
I found Generations Dirge and Blurr at Target this morning.
I have a friend who found Red Alert and Straxus. This means there are six whole Deluxes I haven't seen yet (counting Soundwave and Megatron). If I don't find them soon, that could be one expensive trip if more waves come out.