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  1. #621

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    I thought it was all but confirmed that WM was dropping the line. TRU and Target still seem to be supporting it though, Target being the strongest supporter of the line.


    I got too busy to review the deluxes, I'll get to them this weekend. Here's the wave 2 basics though.

    TF:CY Hardtop - I think he's a dune buggy/sandrail type thing, but the actual toy doesn't sell that concept all too well. First thing I can say is that the colors are pure ***, the black, dark green and purple might have been alright by themselves, but I don't like how they look with the silver of the cockpit and the light aqua plastic is just terrible. Then there's the shape of the car, generic and boxy at the front, a painfully spartan cockpit and midsection, and thick lower legs way up in the air with wheels dangling off flat arms the back claiming to be a rear end - what's tragic is how much nicer the prototype sketch looks, more rounded and with nice flow to it, but even it had the rear end empty at the bottom. There are sculpted details, but they don't match up with other areas as some are too big and cheap-looking, adding to the mishmosh feel of this alt mode - even the wheels are simplistic and cheapo - and the "seat" in the cockpit is hardly identifiable as such. You can also plug the generic gimmick gun onto the back, it is simplistic but doesn't really subtract from the look so that's something. If the sculpt had been more refined, or the colors more realistic, or even if they hadn't left the rear end empty on the bottom, it'd be a much nicer toy, but as it is it feels like a generic robot transformer that turned into a box which they added bits onto to make it "something". Transformation here is a bit like origami, lots of folding and unfolding, bringing the entire rear end over, it's clever but certain bits are very strict about being done in the right way. Robot mode is definitely better than the alt mode, now he's like a Decepticon grunt, a frown on his face and a classic bot body without overwhelming characterized features. He looks good from a sculpting perspective, rounded head looks right, the body is well-proportioned, and there are new details in play like the wider chest and big toes; but the chestplate from the seat seems oddly simplistic, you can always see the hollow open voids on the sides of the upper arms, all 4 wheels are just hanging off the back and legs, and the rollbar halves are just hanging off the upper arms. The colorscheme torpedoes the figure pretty badly here with more aqua in play including the head, and the arms bringing a fugly gold/green color to the party - I can't imagine what they were thinking with this ugly crap. Articulation is very nice, standard head and waist, ball-jointed shoulders and hips, hinged elbows, and knees which are ball-joints that act only as hinges. His gimmick weapon is still simplistic, a simple long blaster with an odd box on the back (to accomodate the cyber key) that converts into a slightly longer blaster - it looks like they were going to make the gimmickized barrel even longer and with a bigger tip, there's room for that when stowed, but they didn't so it remains unimpressive. Bottom line, the alt mode sculpt feels like it needed another pass or 2 to get it looking nice and that rear wheel situation is very annoying, the gimmick is nothing special, the transformation is interesting, the bot is a decent grunt but suffers too much kibble, and the whole thing is ruined by a truly terrible colorscheme.



    TF:CY Recon Minicon Team
    - a fun set overall and a welcome return to Minicons. Both wheeled bots have an unappealing drab olive green wheel situation which is also used for Jolt's lower legs and head. Bottom line, I think this is a great little set and you just can't go too wrong here.
    - - Sixspeed is the green racecar, he's the weakest design of the group but that doesn't mean he's bad, just not as cool as the other 2. Sixspeed's alt mode is bright green which would normally be awful but since he's a racecar it's not quite as bad; the car isn't as flat as other minicon racecars, and it looks more realistic this way - the clear canopy is a nice touch, and it sports decent detail. Transformation is not idiot-simple the way Vector Prime's minicon is, but it is standard minicon (and spychanger) territory; the chest won't click into place on mine but the joint is stiff enough to hold it up and close to the body. Bot mode loses a little of the detail, and gains REALLY tall shoulders which I'm not a fan of, also his arms are too close to his body -- it's not a terrible bot, standard minicon fare really except perhaps a little thicker. I don't like the face, it's like he's wearing a football helmet, I think there's tiny sculpted details within but they got lost, so he ends up looking like a smiling doofabot. Articulation is alright, standard shoulders, hips, knees, and he can look down or up. He's ok in my book, but no great shakes.
    - - Jolt is the red and white helicopter, no relation to Armada's minicon of the same name and general vehicle apparently though. This Jolt is a bubble-cockpit helicopter like those from the '60s, I like his robust and complete design, he even has skids and a tiny interior. Hasbro cast the main body from the same green plastic as Sixspeed, then covered that with red paint which had to be thick, this makes it gloppy in some places; the clear bubble cockpit has white painted details. Transformation is ok, mostly just folding down parts, but rotating the cockpit is a cute twist. Bot mode is nifty, the thinner legs, rounded body, and head under glass give a slight nostalgia feel; the wide chopper blades and tail backpack are a bit too kibbly though. The cockpit plastic is a little hazy so only the silver paint on the face is viewable immediately, the rest of the head is too dark to see without getting up close and a lighter color on the plastic of the head would have cancelled this out. Jolt has ok articulation with standard hips, knees and ankles, and shoulders which can rotate and shrug inwards due to transformation. I like Jolt, he has a classic '50s robot vibe and a nice alt mode.
    - - Reverb is the blue pickup truck, the medium-dark blue looks great with the yellow lights and the silver grill, he has gold paint on his windows which doesn't actually look that bad to me. The orange fists in the bed and orange rear window paint job are the only things that really stick out as odd; watch for slop on the lights and windows though, I saw plenty of sets with this. The truck is bold and beefy, not a lot of little details but a strong shape, kinda like a Chevy Avalanche but not brand-specific, the raised middle of the hood is more Dodge Ram-esque. Transformation is pretty unique, the legs are standard but the rest is all more creative, I especially dig how the arms are formed. Except for the large boots, bot mode is more like something you'd see on a deluxe and looks very keen. The little face has the most character of the trio and is painted silver. The orange rear window is now the chest, the orange takes a plain section and gives it more life as the Japanese version had less paint here and seems more plain to me. Articulation is decent, standard hips and knees, sideways-hinged shoulders (for "flapping") and hinged elbows, and his mid-torso has a transformation joint so he can lean back. I think Reverb is a great little bot and I love his transformation, I hope they use it on a larger figure soon.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  2. #622

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    I think its nice that they're still doing minicons, since the seem to sell well.

    But personally I'm burned out on them. I find it hard to be interested in bot modes that small. I will probably pass on this set. I was already going to pass on Hard Top. His bot mode looks ok, but his color are crap. That = no buy.

  3. #623

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    I still like the minicons, and basics have been keeping the Transformers lines alive since the Spychangers of RiD which Hasbro totally didn't see coming, so I'm sure they'll keep doing them. We haven't had but 7 minicons in the last year though, Energon had just the new Perceptor set (hmm, maybe I should count the remold of the Star Saber team... ok, 10 minicons). Plus, it's easy to build an army of these guys and play & display 'em because they're so small.

    For me, the colors thing is more annoying than the smallness of the toys, I bought Hardtop mainly to bolster my Decepticon forces, he got a lot of positive reviews though and I don't really know why.


    TF:CY Override
    - a very ambitious Transformer that is good but has a number of issues. Override's alt mode is a nifty, futuristic sportscar that's a little on the larger side of the deluxes, considering how the frong half is created it's surprisingly stable. There's a small Autobot logo on the left rear fender, barely noticable, the overall white and red colorscheme seems a little fruity and off-target for this car but I do like the clear wheel designs. The shape is slightly wider in the front than back thanks to oversized, angled fenders, and the front end reminds me a bit of the Mach V from Speed Racer. The overall shape is fairly exciting, but the head sticking out and some gappage from the side bring it down a notch, the entire crest of the head sticks out the middle and doesn't blend at all, they could have simply shaped the top of the head to be less conspicuous and it would have been more exciting. The key gimmick is just flip-around blasters, nothing special and quite rubbery at the fins and wings (I wouldn't suggest folding the wings, while they're hinged they're also squared so it's tough to get them to return), and the car looks truncated without the weapon; the car rolls alright but has minimal ground-clearance.

    Transformation is ambitious, it's partially an autochanger and not a simplistic one at that, but that also means more things can go wrong sometimes. When it works right, transformation of the upper body involves pushing a panel on the front end backwards (the instructions aren't too clear about this) and having the rest of the middle of the car fly backwards where it triggers the arms to flip around and is triggered to unfold and wrap around the torso, all in the blink of an eye, it looks cool and the end result is very bot-like and surprisingly stable considering the transformation isn't finished. Unfortunately, sometimes the auto-transformation doesn't totally work, and either the midsection doesn't unfold leaving you with the majority of the midsection hanging out in the air, or more often (on mine anyway) the right arm has a weaker spring and won't flip in time so it gets pinned behind the newly-formed back. The rest of the transformation is folding the middle front up to peg into the back, rotating the hips together (I really don't like how this works though), and unfolding the boots, this keeps it from being a boring autochanger.

    Bot mode is tall for a deluxe and very broad-chested/shouldered, the overall look isn't bad, but between the wide shoulders and face sculpt this doesn't look like a female bot, it looks like a man-bot. At this point it's noticeable that the plastic looks and feels cheap and overly-hard, the big boots are the worst offender, maybe a paint wash might help the cheap look. Bot mode changes the colorscheme from white-with-red to red-with-white which is an improvement, but a decent recolor is definitely in order. The head crest helps offset the big shoulders, and the back of the head has translucent red like the eyes are lightpiped, but they're painted solid blue on black on an orange face. Override has decent articulation with standard neck, univeral-jointed shoulders, rotating upper arms, hinged elbows and knees, and ball-jointed hips -- however, the figure has a very tough time standing due to poorly-designed legs, huge toes and a crappy heel situation, even when the knees are as straight as they can go the figure is still too backheavy until you remove the weapon from the back and reposition that panel covering it. The weapon itself is just a big flat box with flip-out barrels, kinda meh, it stowes on the back from transformation, and the alt mode's middle front end folds around and pegs into it to stabilize the upper body a bit (the peg doesn't line up all the way in when keeping the body flat, it holds but if you want it all the way in you have to angle the upper body panels up a little), with the gun removed that front end panel hinges down to find a new peg on the back, but it's a loose connection so there can result in flopping.

    Bottom line, Override is a decent bot and futuristic sportscar but has some frustrations because it's too much of an experiment-in-progress, it probably won't be popular with some collectors. The figure is pretty interesting, but leg situation and misfired transformations keep this one down a tad.


    TF:CY Red Alert - just a super keen Transformer in my eyes. The alt mode is basically a Dodge Magnum (musclecar/station wagon) emergency vehicle, there are no insignias and the white paint with blue stripes and red sirens and dark red windows could suggest police car as much as a rescue/ambulance/lifesaving type vehicle. The car has big, nicely-sculpted low-profile wheels that roll nicely and give the car decent ground clearance. There is a good use of detail sculpting with wipers sculpted to the windshield, vents on the hood, intakes just ahead of the rear wheels, even first aid-type boxes near the back, the simple white base color doesn't really bring out the rear end sculpted details but they are there. The roof sports 2 sets of red siren lights, an odd techy box at the back where the cyber key is inserted, and between the siren lights the head is turtled down 2/3rds. The key gimmick is surprisingly cool, the upper rear door and back panel on either side pop out a quarter inch and a blaster rotates out to point forward, it all happens very fast - the right blaster on mine would stick halfway through at first, but a little working and now it gets all the way through no problems - I only wish the guns were silver instead of dark blue so they'd stick out visually.

    Transformation is quite satisfying and unique, specifically how the legs are formed. The front end and lower rear end fold together to make the legs in such a clever way, and you can also do a 4-legged mode. The rest is hinging the arms up and folding some parts, then pulling the head up. It's not the most complicated, but I really dig it.

    Bot mode is a little on the short side, but fairly well proportioned, and has more sculpted details revealed. The lower legs are big but the backpack and front doors on the shoulders offset this a little - the front doors are basically kibble parallel to the body and can be angled. The head is somewhat reminiscent of the Armada version's head and has "siren ears", but no light-piping for them or the eye-visor. The Autobot symbol is in the center of the chest, it doesn't show in alt mode; Red Alert's colors are now blue with white and lots of translucent red accents. Also like the Armada version, this Red Alert has a blaster in place of a left hand and comes with 2 accessories - a hammer and a long claw, open the hood halves to find them - which plug onto the end of the barrel. Red Alert has decent articulation with standard head, ball-jointed shoulders, hinged upper arm elbows, standard hips, hinged knees, the hands and feet can be angled a bit, and the hips splay outwards from the middle which seems a little unusual but is useful... even if it does remind me of an Energon deluxe combiner. The look is compact and tough, the key gimmick is part of the backpack - which avoids being too big - and now rotates the guns over the shoulders to point forward.

    Bottom line, I think this is a great figure, possibly my favorite in the line so far, both modes are fantastic and fun, he's got decent weaponry, and even has accessories that can be stowed under the hood. Red Alert may not be the biggest or most complex, but he is one satisfying figure and I hope he gets a worthy repaint.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  4. #624

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    Found Dark Scorponok at Target Culver City this morning. I debated on whether I'd buy him, but eventually decided I didn't want to end up in the position so many were in when Energon Ultra Magnus was released and no one could find him.
    All Hail Darth Schmitsky!

  5. #625

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    Does he look good enough to buy? I could almost guarantee I wasn't buying him before you said that.

    Oh, and anybody seen this Zippo Prime before? I just spotted it on Remy's site, too funny! http://tfkenkon.com/collection/act358/
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  6. #626

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks
    Does he look good enough to buy? I could almost guarantee I wasn't buying him before you said that.

    Oh, and anybody seen this Zippo Prime before? I just spotted it on Remy's site, too funny! http://tfkenkon.com/collection/act358/
    I didn't have the other Scorponok and I liked the colors on this one better so I thought, "What the hell?" He's cool enough, I guess. I don't regret buying him, but he's not so different (and the mold's not so fantastic) that I think it's worth buying another.

    Interestingly, though, the force chip code doesn't work on the transformers.com site yet.

    That Zippo Prime is GREAT! I just wish they'd release stuff like that stateside.
    All Hail Darth Schmitsky!

  7. #627

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    I cracked open Battle Ravage last night, and spent a few minutes transforming him. I was planning on only opening one Alternator, but he was so cool that I had to open and transform Grimlock and Swindle as well.

    These guys rock!!

    They don't seem to be quite as tough to transform, but I've given up following the instructions exactly and using them as a rough guideline, looking more at the joints and hinges and how they work to make something that looks like the box photo.

    It's really tough to tell which of these is my favorite at this point. I love these things!
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  8. #628

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter
    I cracked open Battle Ravage last night, and spent a few minutes transforming him. I was planning on only opening one Alternator, but he was so cool that I had to open and transform Grimlock and Swindle as well.

    These guys rock!!

    They don't seem to be quite as tough to transform, but I've given up following the instructions exactly and using them as a rough guideline, looking more at the joints and hinges and how they work to make something that looks like the box photo.

    It's really tough to tell which of these is my favorite at this point. I love these things!
    Welcome to Transformers Alternators: "Land of the Joygasm"
    All Hail Darth Schmitsky!

  9. #629

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    i'm pretty sure shockwaveblast is my favorite alternator, followed closely by jazzmesiter. the rx-8 is an awesome car, both characters rock, and the transformation is probably the slickest feat of engineering with these toys to date.
    Nachos are the right of all sentient beings.

    The guns... They've stopped!
    - Dan Akroyd, Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope

  10. #630

    Re: Transformers: Energon & Beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaddymac
    I didn't have the other Scorponok and I liked the colors on this one better so I thought, "What the hell?" He's cool enough, I guess. I don't regret buying him, but he's not so different (and the mold's not so fantastic) that I think it's worth buying another.
    Ok, if you didn't get him the first time, I guess this makes sense. I did get him, he was on mega sale, so I would never buy another, no question in my mind.

    Last night, I'm going to bed and I hear a weird noise just as I'm falling asleep, I look around and see Armada Jetfire's weapon had been triggered a while before and the batteries were so low that while the light was still on at normal strength, the sounds were super slow and was going through its sound effects cycle. I finally got out of bed, unscrewed the hatch, and took out the batteries because I knew even if I reset it, it was just gonna happen again eventually.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

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