Howdy, things have been crazy lately.
Okay, before the review, two things...
Adam was being charitable in his Titaniums review.
Is the Costco set going to be recolors? And, what does a Costco membership cost?
Here are several short reviews of recent acquisitions.
Gigalonian Minicon team
various Legends of Cybertron
This toy is pretty well impossible to review. The quality control problems are many, varied, and frequent. Anything I say could easily be contradicted by somebody with another copy of the toy. In general, this is a great idea, completely ruined by inconsistent execution. If you are feeling brave, your copy of Menasor is likely to have plastic tolerance problems with the hips, the chest, and with the drill mechanism in the right arm. These problems seem to manifest if exclusive combinations. For example, I have not heard any accounts of Menasor toys with both the hip and chest problems. But, I have not heard of any copies that lack both. In theory, one could buy multiple copies, and swap parts around, but that is a great deal of effort for what is supposed to be a hobby.
Grade: n/a If you pick one up, be wary.
Woohoo! The X-Planet faction is complete. And, this is one more US exclusive mold that I have! Huzzah. This toy definitely appeals more that I initially thought it would. If one can seperate this toy from the context it is associated with (a truly awful set of convention exclusive comics), it is not half bad. The transform is similar enough to the Sideways toy (another X-Planet faction member) to be evocative, but different enough to be redundant. The tank is evocative of something one might see in Games Workshop (such as an Eldar tank), and the bot form displays well, albeit with somewhat odd proportions.
Grade: B Do not go crazy looking for this toy, but pick one up if you see it.
Legends of Cybertron toys:
These things have turned up at KMart. While the early runs of the line are still difficult to find (owing to lousy distribution), the current toys are better distributed. The most notable of the several I have is Thundercracker, which is arguably better than the full-sized version. Starscream (recolored as Sunstorm) is also worth a look. The worst is Redalert, which feels cheap, even for the price-point.
Grade: varies Do not go nuts looking for these. Grab Thundercracker if you find one. Buy the rest as your fancy warrants.
Gigalonian Minicon team:
Yeeehaw! More exclusive US molds, and one step closer to finishing the Gigalonian faction. All told, this is not a bad set. As with all of the Minicon 3-packs, the set has a unified gimmick. In this case, the gimmick is rooted in aesthetics, with each of the Minicons transforming into small versions of what would normally be large vehicles, a sub, a transport plane, and a crane. There is also a land/sea/air theme here. The best is the crane, which is designed around a concept that makes some larger toys look primitive by comparison. As with the first set of Cybertron Minicons (the soon to be recolored Recon Team), choosing the worst is difficult as all 3 pieces in the set are excellent.
Grade: A Stuff like this justifies the hobby.
Oddly, I found these things derned cheap. For whatever reason (likely owing to a store remodel gone awry) I found the larger Megatron and Optimus toys marked for $5 each, and the smaller toys marked for $15. (The prices and product codes seem to have been transposed in one of the inventory control systems.) I tried to inform a clerk of this (as the guy tried to help me find Gigalonian Minicons.), and he simply checked his scanner for the price. (This makes no sense, as his scanner is rooted into the same system that produced the incorrect pricing in the first place.......) So, after attempting to be moral, I still wound up with two cheap Titaniums figures, and payed less for both than either should have cost alone.
And, believe you me, did I ger ripped off. While poor quality control may play a role here, many of the problems seem rooted in the basic design of the toys. They break while being transformed. They break while being fiddled with. They even break while being removed from the packaging. (Megatron came apart like a shoddily connected merge-team.) The packaging is not just tedious to open, is is actually difficult, with the twist ties actually cutting into one's fingers while being opened. What follows is a review of the two that I got. But, the grade is for the line thus far.
Grade: F Avoid this line. Some good ideas, but poorly planned and badly executed.
As this toy is based on the character as shown in "The War Within", I really wanted to like this toy. But, a combination of flimsy jointes, and lost engineering opportunities conspire to reduce what could have been a great toy to the level of boot-leg. One of the more troublesome examples of this is the fact that the (plastic) hands have sloppier molding than some toys that are 20 years old. The transform is straight forward, but hindered by the construction of the toy.
One bright spot is the character profile on the back. The character stats are not a straight line of "10s", which presumably reflects Prime's status as a novice during "The War Within" arc.
This is possibly the worst Transformer I have ever purchased. Even Generation 1 Ironhide stayed together, aside from where parts where made to detach. Cybertron Backstop, while failing in terms of aesthetics, is a good sturdy toy. Megatron's right arm does not even stay attached when the toy is being transformed. If the tank form is jostled, the arm (half of the turret) falls out. The only thing to say about this toy that is now wholly negative is that it is an odd evocation of 2 obscure arcs. The tank form is a nod to Marvel''s "Generation 2" arc, and the write-up on the back references the Dreamwave cross-over from '03. (Never mind that the '03 story was terrible.)
-taking some comfort in the fact that the Gigalonian Minicons were good.