Friday, May 24, 2013

Transformers United: Artfire

Transformers United Million Publishing exclusive Artfire. It seems we waited for ever since this figure was announced. Part of a mail away program in Japan in conjunction with Million Publishing's Generations 2012 book. Previously Takara Tomy had released Artfire's Targetmaster partner, Stepper, so now the pair is complete. These two characters in the original Japanese Generation One line are the subject of many collector's white whales or holy grails. Now everyone can have updated versions of these two elusive and high sought after G1 Targetmaster characters.

Takara Tomy decided to package both Stepper and Artfire in glossy black and white boxes. The packaging is fairly simple and gets the job done..

I'm used to seeing toy packaging feature great looking artwork or a large window displaying the actual toy inside, so I was surprised and impressed to flip over Artfire's box and see this nice action scene featuring the figures of Artfire and Stepper.

I have no idea what the text says in the upper corner, but you can make out Artfire's tech spec rankings in the bottom right corner.


On each end of the box you have a picture of Artfire in each of his two forms.

Tucked away inside the box is the form fitting plastic tray holding hostage Artfire and his two Targetmaster Micron partners. Being a huge Micron/Mini-Con collector I was thrilled to hear that Artfire was coming with an extra Micron, especially when I saw it was the Firebolt figure.

For starters if you have or are familiar with Hasbro's Generations Inferno or Reveal the Shield Grapple, then you'll feel right at home here. While the G1 Artfire was a recolored G1 Inferno, this is more a recolored RTS/United Grapple. Artfire does retain his original red and white color scheme which looks fantastic on this mold. The only thing that can make this release better is if I had the head piece with the white wings to apply in robot mode. Maiden Japan made these head kits, but when I ordered mine for Generations Inferno I decided to wait on the kit for Artfire. Doh!

The paint apps are stellar looking. The translucent blue used for the windows, headlights and light bar really pop with the red and white. The held sculpt is unchanged from Inferno's release, but that's OK since it fits in with the whole G1 to modern upgrade.

Artfire retains the extendable crane arm that Grapple had. Now I know Artfire was a fire truck and this Artfire has a crane arm, but it works. This really doesn't bother me. I'm not sure why Takara Tomy didn't craft an actual ladder piece for this release. Perhaps since it's limited release was part of the equation. Had this been a mass release I bet you a ladder would've been present. I know once of the third party Transformer companies made an accessory kit that contained a ladder for Inferno. I assume if you had that piece you could place it on Artfire...but don't hold me to that.

One thing about the crane arm that benefits this release is the ability to attach both Targetmaster Microns to the hook. Now Artfire can be armed and ready for Destron/Decepticon attacks while driving around in vehicle form!


Artfire's two Targetmaster Microns are some of the better Micron molds in my opinion. The one on the left, Nightstick, has been used several times. Most will recognize him as Nightstick, partner of the Decepticon Cyclonus. It was also released in crazy translucent green color as Vector Oracle in Japan as a Micron campaign exclusive. The Micron on the right, Sparks, was first released in the Power Core Combiner line alongside Leadfoot. He was also recolored and released as a free giveaway at Toys 'R Us Japan stores when the Arms Micron series was just kicking off.

Both figures feature new color schemes exclusive to this release. However the are basically color swaps from their other releases.

Probably the best Targetmaster Micron mold, I'm really glad this release lacks the silver chrome plating that the Henkei! Henkei! version (left) featured.  No alterations were made to the mold itself.

While I prefer the other Micron's gun mode, this is one of the best looking robot modes of all the Microns released to date. I love the overall sculpt and the articulation. Left is the Toys 'R Us Japan exclusive Firebolt. Artfire's partner features a high gloss on the black pieces and I just don't care for it. I much prefer the flat black that Firebolt has.

If you own the Million Publishing version of Stepper then you simply must find away to add Artfire to your collection. While I think I actually prefer Stepper when it comes to these two (superior mold IMO), Artfire is a great piece despite the higher price tag. At the time of this post TFSource actually his Artfire on clearance! Unless I win the lottery this is the only way I'll ever own either of these two characters so I'm glad I have them both proudly on display.


  1. That's a beautiful figure. I found an auction on eBay for an "original" Artfire for $800 loose. The fists and mount were repro parts! This is definitely a cheaper way to own this character.

    1. Artfire is just mad expensive. MIB pieces can go for $2000-3000.

  2. It's official, I'm jelly! Lol.
    Congrats on getting him.

  3. Very nice! I like it and I dig the colors used for it too.

  4. Love the review. I got mine at release and still have not opened it yet. Since you have done such a detailed review, maybe I don't have to open mine!

    1. I really wish I could get in contact w/ the guy from Maiden Japan and pick up that head piece to complete his overall look.

  5. Artfire is bit cool, I like this place. I get more sales on as compared to artfire, etsy, ebay etc.