Saturday, January 20, 2018

Transformers Power of the Primes: Vector Prime w/ Metalhawk

When Hasbro first leaked the images of their Prime Master toys online my heart leaped for joy. You see, it wasn't that I was excited about the Prime Masters themselves, but the fact that they are essentially Pretenders.

The Pretenders are one of the few "gimmicks" if you will from the original 80's Generation One toyline that hasn't been revisted in modern Transformers...that is until now. If the idea of having small Pretender armor suits for the Prime Masters wasn't cool enough, Hasbro (and Takara Tomy) decided to treat us North Americans with the first official non-Japanese release of the Pretender character, Metalhawk.

If you don't know who he is, pause your reading and open another browser window and Google Metalhawk and read up on him. It's OK, I'll wait.

Are you back? Yes? Good! Now that you know a little of the character, let's look at this highly anticipated toy from the packaging down to the figure itself...and perhaps a few photos with his G1 namesake.


The packaging for the Prime Masters basically takes the place of the Titan Master packaging from the previous Titans Return series. You've got a nice character artwork on the top of the card with the black vertical bar on the right side with the large red block letter Transformers modern logo.

The back of the card shows how the toy essentially works, that it can contain the Prime Master, Vector Prime while also being able to trasform into a weapon. Like with most modern Transformers, the cool bios aren't printed on the packaging.


Out of the package Metalhawk is awesome. He's small, only a few inches tall, but he packs a punch for such as small toy. The level of detail in the mold is truly impressive. The designers did a good job at capturing the likeness of Metalhawk's armor. From the large crest on his helmet, to the ornmate look of his chest armor.

It may be hard to see, but unlike the original Pretenders, these don't have a human(oid) face, but a hole for the Prime Master head. It's very hard to see the tiny robot head inside, but upclose you can see it. While I would have preferred an actual face (human or robot doesn't matter), I'm so tickled with this toy that I can give them a pass.

The armor only has two points of articulation. His arms can rotate a full 360 degrees. This is pretty much identical to the G1 Pretenders so that shouldn't come a surprise to long time Transformers fans and collectors.


The front half of the armor simply folds down forward, revealing the Prime Master figure inside...in this case Vector Prime. The tiny robot fits snuggly in the armor, but comes out with a little effort. I almost wish the original G1 Pretenders opened up to reveal the robot inside in this fashion.


The small Prime Master figure scales well with the "pretender" armor. The Prime Master features all the same points of articulation that the Titan Master figures had.


The Prime Master figures are essentially Titan Master figures, without a head mode. Instead they transform into a spark (or is it a vessel containing the actual spark inside?) of one of the 12 legendary Prime characters. 

To be honest I'm not too sure how I feel about these at this point in time. This is my first exposure to a Prime Master figure. While I don't mind the concept, the actual toy just seems odd. I mean, all I see is a faceless Headmaster / Titan Master.


To add to the actual play value of the toy, the Pretender armor can also transform into a weapon. In this case Metalhawk converts into a gun, similiar to a Targetmaster. Sice it's just the armor laid down on his chest with a gun barrel, but I can appreciate this extra mode. There is a peg in between the feet that rotates out to let a larger Transformer wield the weapon. I believe it's a standard 5 mm peg so most modern Transformers should be able to hold these.

 

The original Generation One Metalhawk toy is highly sought after by many collectors, but thankfully I've had this guy in my Transformers collection for a very long time. I couldn't wait to pull him out of the glass cabinet to compare against this new, smaller version. As you can see, he's pretty spot on.

I wish his helmet crest had been painted red like the original, but dang it if they didn't nail just about every other aspect of the character. There are some small differences here and there, but overall I couldn't be happier with the final outcome.

I was really surprised to see that the peg on the Prime Master armor snuggly fit into the peg hole on G1 Metalhawk's hand. Yes, he can wield himself in battle!! I love it!


I have been super impressed thus far with the Transformers Power of the Primes line. So far many of the modern upgrades these classic characters have received are excellent. I picked up the other two Prime Masters in this wave with Metalhawk (Micronus w/ Cloudburst & Liege Maximo w/ Skullgrin) and I cannot wait to see which other classic Pretender characters get this treatment. 

If you are a fan of the other original Pretenders I simply can't see how you would not enjoy this figure. From the intricate detailing, to the homage itself, Hasbro has a huge winner on their hands with Vector Prime and Metalhawk.

Transformers Power of the Primes: Dreadwind

The third and final chapter of the Prime Wars trilogy, Power of the Primes is nearly here. I say nearly because of the street date for the new toys is December 15th...however some lucky people started to find them at their local Target stores in late November.


Right before Thanksgiving the wife and I were at a Target gathering pictures and ideas for our daughters Christmas lists. Several aisles down from the action figures I found Dreadwind just sitting on a shelf. I scooped him up quickly as I was excited to finally find something new at local retail I wanted to buy. Personally I'm sick of seeing all those horrible movie toys on the shelves!

The packaging for the Power of the Primes figures may seem familiar. It shares the same overall design that started back with Combiner Wars and then carried over to Titans Return. Transformers is written in the same large red block letters down the right side of the packaging, the same as the previous Prime Wars trilogy lines as well as the movie toys *shudder*. I love the large new character art on the front of the card.


On the left side of the cardboard insert inside the blister bubble features some new art of Starscream as a combiner. Just like early Combiner War images, both factions are shown to comprise a larger combiner. In this case you have Dreadwind as an arm for Starscream, along with the Autobots Jazz, Dinobot Swoop and Dinobot Slug. Weird, but cool art none the less.



If this mold looks familiar to you, it should as it was first used in Combiner Wars as Aerialbot Skydive. Hasbro did a great job retooling this mold to make it look like the iconic G1 Powermaster. The colors are pretty spot on and the tampographed designs on the wings look good. I really wasn't sure when I first saw the images of him online if those were stickers or not. The mold doesn't appear to show any signs of "mold rot". The wings, arms and legs all seem firm.


Transformation from jet to robot is pretty much the same as with previous versions of this mold. I do have to say that while I liked the Titans Return line, it's refreshing to see a Transformer with a normal sized robot head again.

Speaking of the head, what a great sculpt. Again, the designs did a good job capturing the likeness of his G1 self.

 

Unlike his G1 self, this version of Dreadwind only comes with one blaster. It's a teal color versus the original dark gray, but its a great looking gun so I can't knock it too much. 

Dreadwind still sports a good amount of articulation in both his arms and legs. I'm not the best with coming up w/ dynamic poses and such for action figures, but hopefully you get the picture.


The gimmick in Power of the Primes are the Prime Masters. These are essential retool Titan Masters (or Headmasters if you will) that interact with the Legion, Deluxe, Voyager and Leader classes. Each deluxe figure comes with a combiner hand that can double has chest armor. In Dreadwind's case, there is a teal piece of plastic that covers the cavity the Prime Master will fit into. The picture on the right shows a Titan Master figure inserted as I've yet to acquire my first Prime Master.

From a straight on view you really can't tell the armor has been attached to his chest, but from an angeled or side view it appears that Dreadwind is carrying a Baby Bjorn! Personally I don't care for this look and don't plan on displaying any of my Power of the Prime toys with this "armor" attached.

I should have taken a picture of the combiner hand piece as it's been changed since the Combiner War days. Now there are two semi-articulated thumbs. Yes, each hand has two thumbs. They attach via a ball joint so I guess you could pop off the back thumb if it bothers you that much (raises his hand!).


This combiner hand / armor piece can also attach to the top of Dreadwind in his vehicle mode. If this doesn't remind you of the G2 Decepticon seeker jets with their bulky electronic pack I don't know what will! If you look carefully, you'll see both thumbs spread out on each side.



Lastly, Dreadwind's blaster can be mounted under either wing or you can use the same port on the top of the jet the armor piece uses and mount the gun there. I don't mind it underneath the wing, but he really needs two guns if you're going to do that in my opinion.


Hasbro continues the trend of including small cardboard cards of the characters, but this time there are 12 different versions of the cards for each character! Each Prime Master is represented, in this case Megatronus. This will make it very difficult for some collectors (such as myself) that love the cards. This will also make it rather challenging for me to catalog all of these different card images as a part of the Transformers Bio Card Database. I'm gonna need plenty of help from the fandom and fellow collectors if I'm going to fill this area out.

All in all I'm very impressed with my first exposure to Hasbro's newest Transformers outing. Of course I'm axious to see what kind of changes Takara Tomy make to both the toys and the packaging, but this is a very sold release by Hasbro. It seems the MSRP has risen a few dollars to $16.99 USD with these deluxes, but as long as Hasbro delivers a good product I'm OK with the price.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Disney's Gargoyles: Coldstone

Disney is long been known for his child friendly animated movies and their princesses, so when their animated cartoon, Gargoyles, hit television screens I imagine I wasn't the only was suprised to see Disney's name attached. The animated show was top notch and I feel it was ahead of it's time. The story and the writing were really good, having a darker overtone than most animated kid shows.

The show turned out to be pretty popular and spun off a Sega Genesis video game as well as a line of toys by Kenner. I never bought any of the figures when they were on retail shelves, but I did manage to pick up Coldstone on clearance somewhere.


Coldstone was a member of the Wyvern Clan, who long after being shattered by Vikings was rebuilt as an android along with fragments of two other clan members. This toy was released in 1996 as part of the Hard-Wired series. Like all Gargoyles action figures, he came packaged in blister bubble card. Molded into the blister bubble of the Hard-Wired figures are small circuitry detail. The back of the card featured other action figures available in the line.


The Kenner designers I thought did a great job at capturing the animated likeness of the characters. The majority of the figure was cast in one color of plastic, that being a blue/silver color. I feel its a good color since Coldstone is supposed to be an android. His headsculpt is especially impressive, with one eye being cybernetic with a metal plate while the other side being more organic with his original gargoyle horn. 

On his chest is a small image that shows off Xanatos. Coldstone was built and reactived by Xanatos and Demona and originally sent to destroy the Brooklyn gargoyles clan. He has a small lever on his backside and when pressed down, the image would spin and reveal one of 3 of the characters he was built with - Coldstone, Coldsteel, Coldfire. Xanatos is only shown since he's the one that built the android body.


Coldstone has detachable wings. The wings have a ratcheting like joints. When spread out he has a pretty impressive wingspan. You can also see that he has two orange blades that can be pivoted outward. If you look carefully at his wings you can see the small metal rivets, a nice touch.


The only accessory packaged with Coldstone is an orange missile that fires from his right arm. His arm opens up just enough to slide in the missile to where it locks into place. Open his arm again and the missle will fire automatically.

Being a mid-90's action figure you can't expect to find a lot of articulation. His arms and legs are pre-posed with your normal range of motion found in the shoulders and hips. His missile arm however seems to be on a ball joint that allows it to have more movement. Of course his wings can be posed and his tail can be rotated a bit. 

I found that the feet on my figure were warped right out of the package. I couldn't get him to stand very well on his own without some kind of support. Thankfully the tail joint was tight and I could use the tail to help give the figure some needed support.

Overall I found this figure to be a real joy. It was well sculpted to match his television show counterpart and had just enough "action features" to make the figure fun to mess around with. I did make me curious as to how the other figures in the Gargoyles line are, but I've yet to bother with another one outside of Demona that I've already reviewed. If you're a fan of the show, comic or toys, then I'd think you'd really enjoy this figure.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Spider-Girl

I have been buried with work since the new year began and more recently I've been fighting off a really bad cold or possibly the flu. That would be why I haven't made my first post of 2018 until 11 days into the new year.

That said, I continue to comb through my backlog and came across Marvel Legends Spider-Girl. When I first opened this figure (for the packaged Hobgoblin Build-A-Figure parts) I was quick to dismiss this figure as I really had no attachment to the May "Mayday" Parker / Spider-Girl character. While I vividly remember her Marvel Comics series being launched and being the cornerstone of the M2 comic reality, I never cared for the character...that was until I read the epic Spider-Verse storyline. All the sudden this character was a little more intriguing and thus made me revisit her Legends figure.


Spider-Girl shares her traditional black window box packaging with the other female in the Spider-Man wave, Spider-Woman as part of the "Warriors of the Web" theme. She comes packaged with Hobgoblin's head, wings and an extra sword hilt. 


I'm not good when it comes to looking at action figures and being able to tell which pieces have been re-used from a previous release. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the majority of this figure has been re-used as it seems Hasbro only has a few female bucks. You can tell looking at this figure that the character is younger than some of the other similar sculpted figures. 

I have always loved this costume design as it reminds me of the one that Ben Reilly wore when he took over for Peter Parker as the Spider-Man in the 616 for awhile. The utility cuffs (I don't know their proper name) look functional and really cool. Paint apps are done really nicely, something that I don't always see on Legends figures.

She has all of the articulation that you would come to desire and expect from a Marvel Legends figure, however due to a lack of creativity and talent you won't see any cool action photography shots here...sorry! This is a great figure and being the huge Spider-Man fan that I am, I may be a little biased. It's a great female sculpt and a beautifully designed figure, but it's of a character that isn't a part of the main 616 Marvel Universe so I can understand if she may not appeal to everyone.