Friday, May 29, 2015

Linkfest - Combiner Wars Continue

The Combiner Wars continue for Hasbro with an upcoming release of the Protectobots and for most of the 3rd party companies who have released either completed around four or five combiners this year with another 5 or so set to finish by year end. It is an embarassment of riches for fans but also quite wallet draining if trying to keep up, especially if trying to get all the combiners. That is before you include the 6 or so Dinobot lines that also in works from these companies.

Much like how combiners wars are a nod to the past so too are some of the links below with a look at potential Action Master designs using combiners as action figures, some behind the scenes info from Transformers: The Movie and 35+ year old commercials from Japan that feature many of your favorite G1 Transformers before they became Transformers. There are also links to galleries to the first 3rd party Grimlock, Prime 1 Studios Age of Extinction statue line, and a stop motion video.

As for reviews, the links include Hasbro's Combiner releases of Cyclonus, the Protectobots, Stunticons, along with Robots in Disguise Jazz & Drift, Playstation Optimus Prime and Masterpiece Star Saber. For third party releases there are a ton of reviews to go with their now overkill output. Iron Factory and 3DX has three releases of their legend scale lines. ToyWorld completes their not Throttlebot combiner after over a year of nothing on that front while also releasing a solid take on not Astrotrain. The number of not Dinobots in the works has reached at least six lines that I can think of including two of them being combiners. Probably need to develop a cheat sheet to keep up at this point. Warbotron has completed their not Bruticus combiner that looks spectacular while Unique Toys reaches the halfway point on their not Terrocons. Those are just some of the many reviews linked below.

Transformers' Past
Transformers Hall of Fame Voting - The Transformers Hall of Fame voting for Botcon 2015 is now open. Voting is currently only available in their Transformers Mobile Apps so no website to link to. Nominations for Favorite Character are Galvatron, Optimus Primal (Beast Wars), and Prowl. For Best Combiner Character the choices are Bruticus, Devastator, and Predaking. For Best Musical Act Used in Transformers Branded Production you can choose Ford Kinder & Anne Bryant (best choice as composed the G1 Transformers main theme song), Vince DiCola (composer for Transformers: The Movie), Weird Al Yankovic (single song for Transformers: The Movie). I am a huge Weird Al fan but if going by purely who influenced Transformers the most and/or longest, it is an easy choice to pick Anne Bryant followed by Vince DiCola and then Weird Al. Even then I would put Stan Bush into TF Hall of Fame before Weird Al.

Unused Action Master Designs - Back in 1990 Transformers as a line essentially was at death's door. One of the reasons would be the Action Master line that released Transformers as literal action figures. They were expensive, blocky in design and couldn't transform. The pretty much arrived DOA resulting in the concepts shown at the link above from never being produced. Plans included using Bruticus, Superion, Predaking, Ultra Magnus and more.

Transformers: The Movie Q&A - Hit the link for video of a Q&A that was held during a screening of 1986's Transformers: The Movie with story consultant Flint Dille, voice director Wally Burr, Neil Ross (voiced Springer), and Michael Bell (voiced Prowl, Swoop, Sideswipe, more) as they talked about making the movie. If not interested in watching the 25 minute video, click here for the highlights.

Diaclone and Microman Commercials - Below is a nice compilation videos of Diaclone and Microman toy commercials that aired in Japan. As you watch you will noticed many familiar toys as these lines became the core of what is now considered G1 Transformers when Hasbro licensed them in 1983 and hired Marvel to create the characters and story to help sell them. It was not until Transformers: The Movie toy line that Hasbro really started really putting effort in creating an original line which partly explains why they began such a strong departure in design and engineering from what came before. For little bit more, images from a 1982 Japanese toy catalog shows off what would become Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Ratchet and more.

ToyWorld Corelock - A look at what is surprising the first 3rd party take on Grimlock and what will be the torso figure of their Dinobot combiner. Available for pre-order at $150. I suspect the combiner will work like their Throttlebot combiner (review below) by cheating the combine a bit.

Prime 1 Studio: AoE Optimus Prime | AoE Drift | AoE Galvatron - Hit the links for a look at upcoming releases from Prime 1's very expensive but highly detailed statue line based on the Transformers movies. Optimus Prime is limited run of 500 pieces that stands 28" (71cm) that costs $1600. Drift indicates an attempt at scaling as he will be shorter than Prime at 21.6" (55cm) tall and a run of 750 but no price but suspect it will be over one thousand. Galvatron is still early so the link is a look at his prototype so no info on size, look, or price.

Prime vs Megatron Stop Motion - Here is a fun stop motion video that pits the AoE Optimus Prime and Grimlock against Combiner Wars Megatron using stop motion.

Takara/Hasbro Video Reviews
Protectobots: Blades | First Aid | Rook | Streetwise | Groove | Hot Spot - The next of the Combiner Wars figures that should be hitting stores sometime this summer.

Stunticons: Breakdown | Dead End | Off Road | Blackjack | Motormaster - These along with the Aerialbots are now available in stores.

Voyagers: Ultra Magnus | Megatron | Armada Megatron | Cyclonus - Armada Megs is a slight re-tooled version of Megatron only in his Transformers: Armada color scheme. Technically both Megs are available now but so far only seen the Armada version. As for Cyclonus (out at some point this summer), he is a slight retool of the Combiner Wars Silverbolt mold and like 'Bolt he can be used as the torso piece for the other combiners.

Robots in Disguise: Drift | Jazz - Two more upcoming characters for the cartoon series in toy form.

Playstation Optimus Prime - Believe it or not this is an official release from Takara that gives Optimus Prime the alt mode of the first Playstation console that is about deluxe sized for the price of $120.

Masterpiece Skywarp - MP-11SW that is another repaint of the MP-11 Starscream mold that has had about 10 releases, repaints, etc over the last few years. He also doesn't come cheap with a rather ridiculous price of $230 (when compared to other 3rd party and MP figures).

Masterpiece Star Saber - This was the figure that was created as result of a fan poll from about two years ago. Over all its transformation sequence and blockiness would make this figure fit right at home in the 80s except for with a whole lot more articulation. Available now for $170

3rd Party Video Reviews
Iron Factory: Iron Giant's Maiden | City Commander | Sonictech - Another sorta legends scale line with takes on Windblade ($24), Ultra Magnus ($51) and Blaster ($24). Available now.

3DX: Chigurth | Plague & Medilance | Tyrant & Hurricane - Chigurth is another 3rd party Astrotrain with solid robot and train mode and disproportionate shuttle mode for around $160. The other two links are for legends scale takes on G1 figures of Cyclonus, Galvatron, Scourge and Ratchet. Not bad figures but they work out to be about $22 each. All are available now.

ToyWorld: Evila Star | Highway | Shinebug | Sideload - Evila Star is the other 3rd party Astrotrain that can be tricky to transform but pretty much nails all three modes of the figure. Available now for $115. The three not Throttlebots Highway ($60), Shinebug ($85), and Sideload ($95) completes the Throttlebot combiner (that review is below) that was started nearly two years ago.

Not Dinobots: Fansproject Volar | Fans Toys Sever | GCreation Shuraking Thunderous | GigaPower Gutter | Planet X Summanus - Volar is the third release from FansProject line for not Swoop that might be their weakest release in years. Available now for $85. Sever is a masterpiece scaled take on Snarl that will be released soon for $200. Thunderous is a voyager scaled take on not Sludge that is the first of five combiner. Available now for $115. Gutter is not MP Snarl and available now for $200. Sammanus is the War for Cybertron version of Slag that is available now for $100.

Mastermind Creations: Felisaber | Cynicus | Eupatorium | Salvia Prominon - Felisaber is the last release for their Feral Rex combiner and available now for $95. I think he swaps out another character but not sure. Cynicus is an original not based on any previous G1 figure with a rifle alt mode that is out for $85. Eupatorium and Salvia are repaints of their unique take on Arcee and are $60 each. I especially dig the creative paint job chosen for Salvia.

Unique Toys Fenrir - Available now for $105, this continues their not Terrorcons line that is set to complete sometime this summer.

Warbotron: Whirlwind | Fierce Attack | X-Ray/Gun Set - The final releases to complete the not Stunticons and the not Bruticus combiner (that review below).

SXS Overclocking - A look at not Blurr that sells for $105.

X-Transbots Apollyon - This is one of the most faithful 3rd party version of Megatron yet with a very accurate animated robot mode that scales to the Masterpiece line. The first run sold out almost immediately early this year but a 2nd run is set for release sometime in June. 2nd opinion

Badcube Wardog - This is not Warpath and looks good in robot and vehicle mode but looks to be a bit of a pain to transform. Out now for around $115.

Fansproject M.A.D.L.O.W. - Another slamdunk from Fansproject with their version of the G1 Autobot Sixchange Quickswitch. Like any sixchanger some modes are better than others. Available now for $90.

Perfect Effect Combiner Upgrade - This 3rd party set that comes in red or purple is to improve on Hasbro's combiners with more proportional feet and articulated hands that also act as guns in alt mode.

ToyWorld Throttlebot Combiner - Below is a look at the combiner that merges the six Throttlebots into one with a few parts forming cheats. Still the final result is cool Just be aware that getting the first three figures of the line can be difficult as they stopped being made over a year ago. No idea with a release is in the works.

Warbotron Not Bruticus - I am seriously considering taking the hit for this one as the individual figures are excellent takes on the Combaticons and the combined version pretty much is the Bruticus I want and Hasbro consistently failed to provide despite many attempts.

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