Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Transformers 3rd Party: Headrobots - Cobra (Headmaster)

QUICK INFO:
Name: Cobra
Line: Head-On!!! (Headrobot)

Year: 2010
Price: $17.95 (TFSource)

It seems that ever since the first live action Transformers movie hit the big screen the Transformers property has been hotter than ever. The old Generation One (G1) toys have always been popular with people who grew up with them like myself and a quick scan on eBay will show the toys can bring in a pretty penny. With the current success of Transformers there have been several "garage companies" overseas that have popped up that produce unofficial/unlicensed Transformer action figures, accessories or add-on items for official Hasbro/Takara Tomy Transformers. Some fans hate the stuff, some fans love the stuff. The quality of the items range from craptacular to spectacular. Love 'em or not it appears this stuff is here to stay (at least for awhile). So today we'll take a look at one of my favorite "fan made toys" to be released in the last few months, Headrobot's Cobra.

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Headrobot's first release is called Cobra. From what I understand the idea behind this toy is that it was an unused idea back in the 80's in Japan that Takara never used. Takara did manufacture and sell several Headmasters figures separately in Japan (3 robots, 3 beast Headmaster heads), but Cobra never made it past the drawing board. Cobra is a traditional sized G1 Headmaster head. Instead of a robot mode however he has a beast alternate mode...of a Cobra. Never would have guessed, huh? Cobra comes packaged in a really nice re-sealable clam shell case. Headrobot even made additional inserts for the clam shell so you could mix it up if you chose to display the figure in the packaging. The default packaging mimmicks the original Japanese G1 Decepticon Headmasters packaging. To avoid copyright infringement the usual Transformers logo has been replaced with "Head-On!!" which is a direct homage to the Japanese Headmasters animation where "head-on" would be shouted at the time of transformation.

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The back of the packaging isn't nearly as beautiful as the front, but it does offer up some information about the toy in both English and Japanese languages! Also note the Robo Points in the bottom left corner. A very nice touch. They even re-create the ST logo albeit slightly changed. Underneath the ST logo it reads Seibertronian Made Figure (designed in the USA). If you are wondering what the information is read on:

What is Head On Cross?!

The evil Headrobots started training to further strengthen themselves again the good robots. Headrobots can connect to the Transtector after they master the art of combining. The Power Meter on the chest shows their abilities.

Now, it is your time to cross head on to D-85 Crocodile, D-86 Wolf, and D-87 Bat!

The references made to the animals of course are the Decepticon Headmasters Skullcruncher (crocodile), Weirdwolf (wolf) and Mindwipe (bat).

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Let's take a look at Cobra out of the packaging. The head module of Cobra is mainly comprised of a creamy white and a light olive green while the visor is painted yellow. You'll notice that the shape of the head is quite different when compared to G1 Headmaster heads in that it features a sloped look. It was hard for me to capture the detail on the face with my camera, but a great deal of detail went into this sculpt. The "mouth" has two vent like features right underneath the visor. You can tell a lot of care was given to this form. The Transtector nub on the bottom of the head is also sculpted differently than most G1 heads in that it is almost entirely square like a peg. The notches on the right and left sides are barely noticeable, but they serve the same function as we'll see shortly.

Now let's plug Cobra onto a G1 Headmaster body and see how well this new toy blends in with the old.

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I chose Skullcruncher here for several reasons. First he is one of my favorite Headmasters, but more importantly I thought the green used on Cobra would better match than the dark purple on Mindwipe or the yellow on Weirdwolf. As you can see he attaches to the body just as any other Headmaster head would. I think this body is a really good match and at least to me Cobra doesn't look out of place.

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Here's a better close up of Cobra attached to Skullcruncher. You can also get a better idea for the level of detail on the head module as well as see how well he blends in. If I didn't know better I may have thought this was the original or intended head for Skullcruncher.

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Here we get a glimpse of Cobra's "abilities" once attached to a Headmaster Transformer. First we'll take a look at Grax attached to Skullcruncher (top photo). You can see that Grax's Speed is around 4, while Strength is maxed out at 10 and Intelligence is probably a 9. Plug Cobra into the body (bottom photo) and now we can see that Cobra's Speed is around 7 while Strength is 5 and Intelligence is 6 or 7.

Enough time spent on Cobra's head module form. Let's take a look at his namesake's form...the cobra.

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Cobra has a unique look. Top half cobra, bottom half tank. The tank treads are molded in the same creamy white plastic as the top half of Cobra. Transformation is rather simple.

1) From head module, flip up the flat white portion of the head.
2) Flip over the middle portion forming the snake head.
3) Pull up on the snake assembly and pose as you like.
4) Underneath the treads is a white tail piece, flip it out.

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I forgot to pull out the tail portion before snapping this side view of Cobra. Oops!

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This is a fun little toy and I have no regrets with my purchase. I'm not a huge fan of the olive green color scheme, but it does blend in very well w/ Skullcruncher. The original pre-production colors was a darker shade of gray. I've found one on-line retailer selling this version, though I'm not sure how many exist or if the quality is the same as this final version I hold in my hands. Headrobot did a fantastic job making this forgotten idea reality. The level of detail is quite good. The quality of the plastic and materials is top notch. While $18.00 may seem like a lot of money to some for such a small toy it really is worth the purchase. Headless G1 Headmasters are easy to come by @ flea markets and on eBay and when matched up with Cobra the toy really shines. If you are on the fence whether or not to buy Cobra I say go ahead. Not only will you be getting a cool little toy, but you will be helping Headrobot financially. They have already stated that if the sales of Cobra are good enough then they will release another Headmaster beast (Iguana). If you are looking for a good Decepticon Headmaster to match up w/ this version of Cobra then I highly recommend Skullcruncher. Head-On!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Brakedown

QUICK INFO:
Name: Brakedown
Line: Transformers Revenge of the Fallen

Year: 2010
Price: $7.99

Bio: Decepticon scout Brakedown avoids contact with the enemy at all costs. His job is to observe and report, not fight. That's why he's geared for speed, not battle. Unfortunately for him, Mudflap has other ideas, and now he finds himself racing for his life away from the determined Autobot warrior.

Strength: 4 Intelligence: 8 Speed: 8 Endurance: 4
Rank: 3 Courage: 7 Firepower: 2 Skill: 9

I'm not a big fan of the movie themed Transformers, but I have to give Hasbro & Takara Tomy credit with the scout class figures. Today we'll take a look at a fan favorite and how he compares to his Generation 1 (G1) homage.


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Brakedown comes packaged in the standard Revenge of the Fallen style blister. Back of the card gives you his bio as well as his Tech Specs. I really miss the function and motto aspects of the old Tech Specs.

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Brakedown is pretty good. My first impression right out of the package is that he is in line with other ROTF scouts, but not the best. The white plastic is very bright and the it helps make the blue used on the arms, legs and waist really stand out. The arms are rather long and at least to me it takes away from the overall look of the robot mode. There are slots on the inside part of the hands that allow him to wield Skystalker's hand weapons. Nice touch. Another thing about the arms I don't care for are the car doors/windows that literally hang off. Most of the car kibble is hidden so to speak on the back of the toy.

He has a good bit of articulation in robot mode. His head spins a full 360 degrees and can be positioned up and down a little bit. Shoulders rotate forward and back and 360 degrees. Waist piece doesn't rotate, but does let the upper half move back and forth. Legs are articulated at the waist connector and at the knees. The toes move enough to help support several different poses. The only Decepticon symbol viewable in robot mode is on his chest in the license plate area of the rear bumper. Like most of the movie toys it is a simple silver color and not the iconic Decepticon purple.

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Brakedown's head only shares the same color scheme as his Generation One (G1) counterpart, Breakdown. Gone is the square shaped head. The head sculpt does a good job at making the Decepticon look evil though.

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Rear view of Brakedown. As you can see there is a lot of car kibble in robot mode. Thankfully the kibble doesn't make too large of a back pack and blends in well with the rest of the figure. This view does give you a better idea of how the transformation occurs which in my opinion is one of the highlights of this toy.

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Comparison time! Brakedown is much larger in robot mode then Breakdown is. The color scheme is spot on however. While some liberties were taken with Brakedown's robot mode there are enough similarities (outside the deco) where one not familiar with the Transformers history could see how these two are related.

I don't normally talk a lot about the transformation process in my toy reviews of Transformers, but I had to mention of this particular transformation. Usually the smaller class figures have a more simplified process, but Brakedown bucks that trend. Since he's packaged in robot mode we'll look at the steps to take him from robot mode to vehicle mode.

1) Straighten the arms so the car doors are in line with the sides of the shoulders. Flip his feet up and pull down the front part of the car behind his feet.

2) Flip the head back into the designated hole.

3) Rotate the legs inward.

4) Snap the two hood pieces together forming the front of the vehicle.

5) Pointing the vehicle down, flip the windshield portion up.

6) Take the sides of the vehicle and flip them up so the spoiler portion on the rear of the vehicle snaps together with the sides.

7) Take the portion of the car that is still hanging down and rotate the waist portion out just a smidge.

8) Flip the rest of the vehicle up so it is in line with rear and sides.

9) At this point the car should be coming together. The windshield should be pointing towards the rear spoiler now. Rotate it 180 degrees to the front and snap it into place.

10) Take each side now and fold it in and snap the sides into place.

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Brakedown is a stylish sports car. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be any certain make or model. There is enough sculpting on the car to resemble a Lamborghini Countach which his G1 counterpart is, but there is also enough different about the design to make it not look like a Lamborghini. It's rather small and compact, but it's no smaller than any other scout class figure. The wheels are rather free wheeling which adds to the play value.

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I have to say the designers did a good job hiding the robot bits on the underside of the vehicle. It's nice and compact and nothing really protrudes out.

Comparison time! I love the vehicle mode of both toys. In this mode you can really tell the difference in the shade of white. Breakdown is a more creamy off white while Brakedown is more of a bright snow white. Hasbro did a good job with the red portion on the hood of the vehicle. I noticed on mine however some rather heavy scratching on the hood just to the right of the red. I'm guess this is from how the parts move during transformation. I have no idea of others have had this problem or not, but it was a bit of a bummer to see it all nicked up since I just popped it out of the packaging today for this review.

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In closing I have to say Hasbro did a good job with this figure. While the robot mode is lacking in a few areas the overall design and transformation make this a fun little toy. I've yet to run across a scout class figure in the Revenge of the Fallen line that I don't like. Brakedown wasn't as good as I was hoping he'd be, but he still is a solid addition to the line. The Generation One homages are great and it is always fun to see old characters re-envisioned using modern toy technology. I recommend this toy to all.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Generation One Transformers Prototypes

I've got another review in the works, but in the meantime I thought I'd share some nice resin prototype pics of some late G1 European Transformers. Enjoy!

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Boss (Turbomaster)

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Flash (Turbomaster)

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Hurricane (Turbomaster)

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Scorch (Turbomaster)

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Talon (Predator)

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Snare (Predator)

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Falcon (Predator)

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Turbo Master (Action Master Elite)

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Windmill (Action Master Elite)