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  1. #4021
    Found Drift at TRU Los Feliz today along with Seaspray and Starscream, but my wallet couldn't handle more than Drift.

    Drift's alt mode is a bit of an elongated Japanese-style sports car, no real direct car that I can tell though, but the lines remind me of a few of the late '90s cars, maybe a Nissan Skyline with a little more swoop. It's a little off to me, either not wide enough or too long, it's ok but doesn't blow my mind. The hood seams are too obvious, and on mine they gap enough to distract. The white plastic color doesn't work without a wash too well, very plain even with the red rising sun-inspired paint job (which disappears pretty early). The blue front and side windows being transparent kinda works, kinda shows off a piece of interior that changes the whole look, makes it seem like a big B-pillar, I think they should have gone frosted or even opaque like the painted rear window. The long sword clips to the underside of the car very close to the ground.

    Transformation is fairly standard fare really. I do like the side windows folding down for once rather than remaining kibble, that usually drives me nuts and it's SO common. There is a clip at the front and another at the back that are way too tight though, that is a stand out. Also, the feet just kinda "stop", they don't feel transformed so much as kibble put to use and sculpted to look like boots. Depending on your orientation of the large sword, it is possible to transform Drift without removing it.

    Bot mode is nice and tall, but at first blush seems overly simple. The sculpted detail is a tad broad after a few years of very fine detailing, and the details he does have are totally lost in the white plastic. I think a paint wash would really bring this figure to life, but it's also missing a bunch of paint apps like the red on the chest, the yellow on the "cheeks" (they put gold instead of yellow on the crest center), a few other things like that, just a sense of "more" that's badly missing here. And if that weren't bad enough, while he's got the general idea of the character down, he's a tad scrawny-looking, especially around the torso, and then he has fatty boots that look like too much car kibble. His chest could have been salvaged by making the windshield opaque, but clear it's not doing its job of shaping the guy. His eyes lightpipe light blue, but it's a top lightpipe that works but creates a dark center in each eye, realistic to people yes, but looks a little odd here, and the color gets lost in the silver face a little. In fact, all the black and silver colors in bot mode should be something else, mostly dark gray I'd say. So all that said, this figure is pretty good. Why? Because it can pose like a mofo, and pull off 2-handed sword wielding, and somehow it just has presence once you get to playing around with it. Drift comes with 2 short swords stowed in the door-kibble hip armor (the right sword on mine falls out so easily though), and the long sword is on a clip on the back which is hinged even though it didn't need to be. Poochy the Marysuebot here is nothing without standing around posing and holding his swords, after all. Articulation is good, it's not even great really, no waist, limited knee range too, but what's there works very well for Drift's poses, and my favorite is the hinged head designed to look up at a 30 degree angle - that is something all figures, TF or not, should be able to do.

    Bottom line, Drift is an ok Transformer in general, not mindblowing in any one way, but by giving this figure enough mobility to have attitude, somehow it becomes a little more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps most frustrating then is what all this figure could be with better deco choices, but all in all it's a decent purchase.



    Quote Originally Posted by figrin bran View Post
    JT, it's a good thing I never liked Bayformer Ratchet.
    Yeah, he is a loser in every scale they put him in.

    We've not really talked much about the Botcon coverage yet but there are some promising deluxes coming like Tomahawk the Apache chopper. Blurr is coming as well but I think I like the animated Blurr much better.
    I'll be honest, I've been so busy I've barely skimmed the Botcon coverage. Not even Steve's coverage yet:
    http://photos.actionfigs.com/g5511-botcon-2010.html

    I did dig a lot of the new stuff they showed, but it felt like "why wait so long to put it out???" after the last few months. Generations Blurr being Drift is meh to me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chaddymac View Post
    I'm looking forward to the Transtech Cheetor remold of Animated Blurr!
    Wait, what???
    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. #4022
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
    Wait, what???
    Yeah - Collector's club exclusive. Very cool. Can't remember if it's the membership freebie or an exclusive the store will offer.

    Also, I completely disagree with your Drift review. Everything you say about him is true, but nit-picky. I would call him one of the best deluxe figures in the last couple of years (and not just because of he has swords, which seems to be a common theme among my "best figures" of the last couple years). I think that a lot of the simplistic things about him are what make him elegantly brilliant. The transformation isn't overly complex, but it's completely satisfying. And I love the way the back of his car transforms into the legs - they don't just fold out or slide out, it's like the pieces fold together and it creates a very "Space Samurai" kind of effect.

    I love his car mode - yes, the sword sits close to the ground with little clearance, but it's otherwise perfect for me. And if you look through the windshield, his feet look like seats. I'm glad it wasn't frosted glass. And when you transform him into a robot, I like that you can see the chest detailing through the windshield.

    I think he is well beyond the sum of his parts and the realization of a the wishes of a G1 Dreamer who grew up wishing his toys were this cool. He's not perfect, but if every figure in the line were at his level, I'd be a pig in $#*!. He ranks among molds like Classics Sideswipe, Starscream, and Prowl, and isn't even a character I know. I'll reiterate that, because I tend to ignore characters I don't know, but this guy is amazing. Go and buy him.
    All Hail Darth Schmitsky!

  3. #4023
    Quote Originally Posted by Chaddymac View Post
    Yeah - Collector's club exclusive. Very cool. Can't remember if it's the membership freebie or an exclusive the store will offer.
    Wow, that's crazy. Any images yet?

    Also, I completely disagree with your Drift review. Everything you say about him is true, but nit-picky. I would call him one of the best deluxe figures in the last couple of years (and not just because of he has swords, which seems to be a common theme among my "best figures" of the last couple years). I think that a lot of the simplistic things about him are what make him elegantly brilliant. The transformation isn't overly complex, but it's completely satisfying. And I love the way the back of his car transforms into the legs - they don't just fold out or slide out, it's like the pieces fold together and it creates a very "Space Samurai" kind of effect.

    I love his car mode - yes, the sword sits close to the ground with little clearance, but it's otherwise perfect for me. And if you look through the windshield, his feet look like seats. I'm glad it wasn't frosted glass. And when you transform him into a robot, I like that you can see the chest detailing through the windshield.

    I think he is well beyond the sum of his parts and the realization of a the wishes of a G1 Dreamer who grew up wishing his toys were this cool. He's not perfect, but if every figure in the line were at his level, I'd be a pig in $#*!. He ranks among molds like Classics Sideswipe, Starscream, and Prowl, and isn't even a character I know. I'll reiterate that, because I tend to ignore characters I don't know, but this guy is amazing. Go and buy him.
    If you say so. I think I made a case for some fairly big things, it's a good figure but by no means what I'd call amazing. So what else would you list under "best figures of the last couple years"?
    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. #4024
    I saw the Combiner Whatever Huffer. Not close enough to classic for me to spring for it. I can't have too many orphans running around (though I made an exception for Animated Grimlock, and still am thinking I should get his buddies, as well as for Animated Arcee).
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  5. #4025
    Chux, at least get Animated Blurr if you can still find him. That's my favorite from that line.

  6. #4026
    Quote Originally Posted by figrin bran View Post
    Chux, at least get Animated Blurr if you can still find him. That's my favorite from that line.
    Agreed, Animated Blurr is one of my favorite TFs of all time, the alt mode is so sleek and has a bit of the Mach 5 in it. The transformation might be a little challenging for you, but it's worth it... it's probably worth buying 2 if you're frustrated transforming it.


    So finally in the mail arrives Leader-class Starscream:

    Leader-class Starscream is an interesting figure. While packaged in bot mode, I always prefer to begin reviews from alt mode. Let me start off by saying I like this figure quite a bit. Now here's why it sucks. Naw, just kidding, but there are some nitpicks here. Alt mode is a large, hefty F-22 Raptor... and then some robot legs folded underneath trying to be as sleek and unobtrusive as they can, but still stuff under a jet. The legs make up just over half an inch more jet than the bottom should normally be, which is about 25-33% more jet height than normally would be there. From some angles, it gets away with this pretty well, and from others it's business as usual for TF jet figures, especially the large crotch piece at the back under the engines. The engine exhausts, by the way, have sculpted turbines, which is quite cool. The designers knew the legs wouldn't really work into the jet, so they sculpted some of the jet underside elements behind the legs, a bold choice. The top of the plane is almost immaculate with the sculpted panel lines and little details, if not for a few black screws towards the back, and of course the Cybertronian tattoo deco isn't USAF-accurate. The cockpit is pretty well-detailed, it and the intakes are cast in clear yellow plastic but get away with this, especially with the jet being largely a satin lightly-metallic gray with black tattoos and a few light gray lines (there's also a few spots of bronze and dark bronze, but not too much). The front and sides are decent despite some bot stuff visisble, it's more like a jet with panels missing off the airframe. From the back, that crotch is just too much cargo under the plane, it's a thick part and has big hip joints exposed. From the bottom, more bot stuff is visible, and the wings have some exposed elements that are inaccurate. Adding on the big missile to the underside of each wing is inaccurate - the Raptor has an internal weapons bay - and the bot mode launcher hand can be stowed on the underside but visually sticks out a little more and its little non-removable missiles are facing the wrong way. In-hand, the plane is fun to whoosh, the kibble at least keeps the lines consistent, especially the front of the legs and feet which do a good job carrying the sleek shape of the plane. It's quite solid, almost no flex, and no dislodging parts.

    For alt mode gimmicks, there are 3 fold-down landing gear, each with nicely-rolling wheels that leaves good ground clearance in the front and enough in the rear to not be a belly-dragger. A purple Decepticon symbol on the upper left sets off 2 light & sounds, a fast plane flyby sound with blinking red lights in the cockpit and behind the intakes; and the other is solid lights while it says "no one can defeat Starscream!" I think that line is a mistake on Hasbro's part, the packaging calls out "flyby and air combat sounds" when there's no combat sounds, and that voice line appears in the separate bot mode sound effect trigger.

    Alt mode on its own I'd give an 8/10, with points off for the leg kibble and exposed underside elements (it's a stealth plane after all). If this were a voyager-class it'd be a lower score but the size works well in its favor for heft and sculpt, and it's nicely solid, and from a few angles it's spot-on.

    Transformation to bot mode is quite a thing to see, lots of flipping elements around and inverting on, no shellmaster nonsense at all. Hasbro's instructions are from bot to alt mode, and some spots they felt necessary to include both text AND photos, which actually helps a little (especially a slightly confusing double-hinge that can be moved in a lot of incorrect ways) - imagine that. Anyway, once you have transformed it to alt mode, getting back to bot mode you'll understand why things are moving and it'll flow more naturally, but there are a few areas that were mistransformed in package so they still won't feel familiar the first time, and it's easy to forget moving some elements since there are so many. Also, the cockpit has to be opened manually to release a panel behind it, this is very important, they sculpted fingernail slots for it, but it's not mentioned anywhere (that panel, btw, can be taken as an airbrake in alt mode should you have the imagination for it, there's even sculpted detail inside). The launcher hand accessory must come off for tf, it might be possible to leave the missiles on but those wings automorph a flip-over so it would require rotation. Oh, and I hope you like the transform-to-bot-mode classic sound, you'll hear it a lot. I think they meant to have the alternate sound for transforming back but goofed here too as it is intended to sound both coming and going.

    Transformation is quite good, a lot of stuff moving and coming together in unusual ways. It's like a modern movie voyager mixed with a Masterpiece, and I don't know if that'll appeal to casual fans, but it works for me.

    Bot mode is a big boy, a big, wide, tall, heavy robot boy with lots of things going on. Standing with straight legs, Starscream is a head taller than movie 2 leader Optimus and wider too, and I don't mean by kibble! The figure can digitigrade (chicken walk) the legs down by up to an inch and a half if you like that Starscream-gorilla look, I don't so thankfully he stands straight legged quite well. The figure is quite solid, there's some flex but it holds together well, in terms of de-transforming you can move only a small upper wing and fold in the shoulder a little, so it holds up there too. The figure has a lot of sculpted detailing everywhere, almost every spot you look has what appears to be the inner workings of the jet turned into a robot. There's also a few spots of twisted robot internals like other movie 2 figures, each lower leg has a rotating "bone" inside the shin. The figure does suffer a lot of black screws visible in the front, it's not a dealbreaker but enough to be an issue of note. There's a lot of work in getting the overall shape to come together, even fully useless arms and panels that lock together just to get him right. The wings form a backpack that doesn't stick out too badly, but the crotch sticks out the front and stops so early that it highlights the backpackiness of it. The large crotch is the one part I find stands out too much on the figure, it looks like he's got a big frontbutt, and it's just incongruous. The toes spread a little, but are sculpted with stops so they don't splay too far out. Deco removes more of the tattoos while adding more grays and bronzes, but this is a very uncolorful robot, even the purple Decepticon logo on the top of the backpack (it's the transform sound button as well) doesn't add color to the party (nor the tiny green wiring for the light & sound gimmicks that's a bit exposed in the left shoulder). There are 2 spots of red, the pull-open cockpit tab and the robot eyes, more on those in the gimmick section. I find that if I stare at the figure long enough, the chest visually comes apart into its separate elements, but there's enough going on that there's a level behind that.

    Despite thin legs and small feet, the figure stands fine, though 1 click out on the ratcheting hips has too much play and it becomes an extremely wide stance. There's strong play in the knees, so you can fuss with that to get good poses, but the hips are already so wide that the slippage on 1 stop out is hard to work with. The legs have the digitigrade articulation we've seen from the movie before, especially on other Starscreams. There's no above-the-knee swivel, but there is a below-the-knee one to make up for fairly locked down feet. The arms are well articulated, rotation above the elbow but not below. The hands have fold-in thumbs on either side of each hand, and are hinged at the wrist and again at the 3 middle finger cluster, though the fingers are so long I wish they had articulated knuckles, they aren't as versatile without. The shoulders are articulated, and connected to outer torso/collar bone sections that fold in, so he can shrug forward quite a bit, enough to just barely touch the opposite shoulder even! The neck can swivel about 45 degrees either direction. Standing up, the figure is so big and heavy it can wobble, but finding solid standing poses is easy, and if you don't bend them in the same direction so the sideways play takes over, the hips can get action poses 1 or even 2 clicks out that look good. The only restriction on motion is a strut that hangs down outside the elbow which runs into 2 small portrusions out the back of the forearms, this is very easy to just move around, and otherwise range is unencumbered.

    Gimmicks in bot mode are nice. First off, the launcher hand can be pegged into the back of either hand, it can be left on the hand when flipped up but thankfully it's designed to be pegged into the back of the figure for storage. It looks like the movie version with 3 missiles on either side and 2 pointy prongs in between, plus a larger rotary wrist (non-movable here). It shoots 1 large dark bronze missile, the ones pegged into the back, the range isn't that great mainly due to the weight of the missile, but there's power behind it. Then there's electronic lights and sounds, or "Starscream speaks!" as the box puts it (it feels right to Screamer's ego), when you pull forward the red tab on the cockpit canopy, there is 1 of 2 lines, the "no one defeats Starscream!" with solid red light, and "Decepticons will crush the Au-to-bots" (the spacing on "Autobots" seems a bit weird to me) with another solid light, the voice acting is about 90% close to Chris Latta Starscream. When you pull the tab, it opens and smashes together the cockpit a little, and opens 2 panels above the cockpit with more orange translucent plastic details behind them, and opens Starscream's mouth by moving the upper half of the head. The light shows through the cockpit, the upper chest vent in the middle and side panel interiors, and lights up the eyes a vibrant red, it works quite nicely. The alt mode button is now on the back and works the same as before. The side panels and upper head are spring-loaded so they can be opened by hand, and are quite solid. The packaging claims there's moving gears to be seen in there, but I am pretty sure there's not.

    Then there's my favorite gimmicks, which get their own paragraph. A small red tab is on the inside of each forearm, push it back and on the outside of each forearm, a panel springs in half and hinges up a weapon: twin missiles on the left, and a sweet gatling gun on the right. These aren't the biggest gimmicks, but they are fun as all get-out - I love hidden stuff that opens and moves! The extra outer torso articulation really comes alive using these, it makes for a more organic shooting pose.

    The bot mode is impressive, it's quite large and solid, not too chunky for this odd movie design, good poseability. I'd give it a 9/10 and again, it gets points that a smaller scale of it might not get away with.

    Overall, this is an A- in my book, there are flaws to be found if you look, but the overall balances fun with collectible, it's an exciting Transformer with some creative ideas going on. What works is an achievement, and what doesn't work is generally minor. While not perfect and a few little goofs, there's plenty of big and little stuff to make one easily overlook those. Also, having compared it to the early pic of Masterpiece Movie Starscream, this is the exact same mold, that one just has a different paint job, and while it's nice and classier, that's not worth double this leader-class Starscream figure (although it may have a clean, non-tattooed paint scheme, then you have to decide where your loyalties lie, cash or F-22-accurate paint scheme). Bottom line, leader-class Starscream is a winner.
    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.

  7. #4027
    Ooh, that Blurr does look nice. Wasn't aware of him--I'm not sure I ever saw that figure. Is it still findable?
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  8. #4028
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
    Ooh, that Blurr does look nice. Wasn't aware of him--I'm not sure I ever saw that figure. Is it still findable?
    Barely still findable if you're lucky, but mostly gone as the line is off the market.


    I forgot, I added 2 little things on the review, adding now.
    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.

  9. #4029
    It looks like some TRU exclusives, including MP Grimlock ($70), will be available at the Entertainment Earth booth at SDCC.

  10. #4030
    spotted the new Mini transformers last night at TRU in East Brunswick... they have the mini Ravage, Fireburst Optimus Prime and a repainted Bumblebee. I'm tempted to pick up the Ravage but the rest are easy passes....

    also spotted the power core combiners again another easy pass...
    Looking for CW 2010 Sidious and TX-20...if anyone can help it would be greatly appreciated. thanks

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