Thursday, June 30, 2016

Transformers Go!: Sensuimaru G20

Today's post brings the 2nd member of the Shinobi team from Transformers Go!, Sensuimaru. Along with Hishoumaru and Gekisoumaru, these two sword bots form a combiner were either robot can form the top, middle or bottom. It's a different approach to the traditional Transformers combiner and while their combined form isn't my favorite, I do particularly enjoy Sensuimaru.

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The back of the packaging shows Sensuimaru's robot and alt mode (a very cool shark) as well as the team's combined form w/ Sensuimaru forming the top part of the combiner, GoSensuimaru. The tech spec rankings are found one end of the box, while the other end has a larger image of the combined form.

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Sensuimaru sports a rich purple color scheme with black robotic parts with red and white paint in certain areas. The robot mode does have a few drawbacks however. First is the kibble on his shins is quite large, but thankfully it doesn't detract too much from the over look. The 2nd drawback, and quite the biggest issue with the robot mode is the fact that he's all legs. The small waist "skirt" needs to be a little larger to help hide the fact that the legs continue past his waist. Flip Sensuimaru around and you'll see just how awful the robot looks,

Because of the combining gimmick, his articulation is limited. His arms have a good range of motion in the shoulder and elbow areas, but with no true waist the leg articulation is limited to the knees. You can spread out the legs a bit, but the further you move the legs apart the more apparent it is the lack of a waist.

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While I prefer Sensuimaru's headsculpt over Hishoumaru's, the head just seems to float above the body too much for my tastes. With his alt mode being that of a shark, I'm OK with the head being molded into the body of the alt mode.

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Sensuimaru's kabuto is a bit smaller than this teammates. This piece is used for when Sensuimaru forms the top part of the combined mode, but can also be attached to both the robot and shark modes or wielded as a shield or a weapon.

I particularly like the way Sensuimaru's kabuto looks. The head sculpt looks fantastic and the gold sections helps make the chest look fuller in combined mode. At first I thought the silver portion at the bottom was a missile or some type of weapon, but after looking at it again it's actually an anchor. Makes since since he has a marine alt mode.

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Sensuimaru's kabuto can be attached to his robot mode, but in my opinion it just looks odd all folded up on his back. You can almost fold it up far enough that the anchor tips sit on his shoulders like rocket launchers.

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I'm not sure what his weapons are supposed to be. Are they shuriken of some sort? Or are they just a generic bladed weapon like a pick axe? Either way, he can wield these one in each hand, or combine them for a larger weapon.

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Sensuimaru has the best alt mode of the 3 Shinobi team members hands down. While he is clearly a shark, he almost has this submarine vibe going on as well. While he does have a good bit of under carriage in alt mode, at least he's armed. While I'm not the most versed fan/collector of Takara's Brave series of toys, from day one I've always thought that Sensuimaru had a Brave aesthetic.

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There is so much detail sculpted into this figure that I can forgive the overall lack of articulation. In shark mode his jaw is articulated as well as the front purple fins, but that is about it.

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The kabuto piece attaches to underneath of the shark and actually blends in well with the figure. When you place the shark on a smooth hard surface you'll see that the nose leans down a little more than when the kabuto isn't attached.

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Sensuimaru to me is one of those figures that you'll either love or hate. He has a decent robot mode and a fantastic alt mode. He isn't the most articulated and he has some flaws in robot mode, but overall I think he's a solid figure. Because of his large legs I opted with keeping Sensuimaru the lower portion of the combined robot, but his kabuto does have a great head sculpt and I wouldn't hesitate switching around the order of these 3 bots.

Like with his Shinobi teammates, I don't think he sold very well and hit the clearance racks fairly quickly. As of this post, you can still grab him brand new for $16.03, roughly 50% off his original retail price at eToysJapan. If you're looking for a different type of combiner then you may want to give the Shinobi team a chance...especially since the prices for the 3 figures have fallen so much.

Related Posts:
Gekisoumari G05
Hishoumaru G10

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Transformers Go!: Hishoumaru G10

While Western audiences were treated with the continuation of the Transformers Prime toyline in Beast Hunters (and eventually on the television show as well), Japan decided to go a different route with Transformers Go!. Set in the same universe as Prime, Go! essentially continues the story after season 2 of Prime ended. This isn't the first time where Takara has taken Transformers down a different path than what other parts of the world received.

Combiners made their return to Transformers with the inclusion of the Swordbots, martial artist transformers that have the ability to combine and form powerful three robot combiners. There were two teams, Samurai and Shinobi. The Samurai team was the first to receive toys in the Go! series. I own this group and had every intention on doing a post for each 'bot, but if I'm being honest I wasn't all that impressed with them as individual robots so I may never get around to that post. However I'm glad to say the Shinobi team is pretty cool and Hishoumaru is the first member of the Shinobi team we'll look at.

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Takara always does a great job with the packaging for their Transformers series and Go! is no different. Packaged in large window boxes, you can see Hishoumaru displayed in his robot mode. Flip the box over and you've got a larger product shot of the toy in robot and beast mode as well as his combined mode where he forms the top of the combiner.

One side of the box gives you a larger view of the combined mode where Hishoumari forms the top of the combiner robot. We'll talk more about that later. The other side of the box has his tech spec ratings.

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When you have a robot that combines with others there is bound to be some drawbacks to the toy. In the case of this one (and others in the Shinobi group) these robots tend to have very long legs and not much of a defined waist area. Hishoumaru has probably the best robot mode of the group as the torso plastic covers the center portion fairly well. Flip the figure around and it's a whole different story. The robot's legs do suffer from a bit of beast kibble as the bird feet fold up and just hang off the side of his calves.

Articulation for the robot is hampered by the combining element, but between the hinge joints and ball joints you can pull off some decent poses.

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The only part of the robot that I really don't care for is the head/face sculpt. I guess I'm just not fond of the rounded, almost humanoid head. Looking at his long enough and I can start to see Rodimus Prime a little bit.

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Each Swordbot comes with their own unique kabuto along with a few weapons. The kabuto serves as the upper torso and combiner head for when that robot forms the upper half of the trio combiner. While not combined, each robot can wield the kabuto as a shield or a weapon. This piece can also be attached in beast and robot modes.

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In this shot you can see the kabuto has been attached to the back of Hishoumaru. He is also wielding his main weapon, a kunai knife sword. This piece also doubles as the tail section while in beast mode.

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I'm not sure what animal his beast mode is supposed to be. Is it a phoenix, eagle or some sort of chicken? I actually like the bird mode more than I thought I would. It's a little thick and wide in places, but it works. It's not as nice as say Energon's Divebomb was, but it gets the job done.

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From a top view you can get a better idea how the kunai sword attaches to the rear of the bird to form it's tail feathers of sorts. You can also attach the kabuto to the bird's back as well and flip up the head antennae to form little guns. I apologize that I forgot to take a picture of this, but you'll see what I've referenced in the Shinobi team group shot below.

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While I didn't care for the robot's head sculpt, I love the beast mode's bird head sculpt. The red eyes help complete that evil Decepticon look.

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Overall Hishoumaru surprised me. I honestly didn't know what to expect going in after the mild disappointment that was the Samurai team. He has decent looking forms in both robot and beast modes, a fair amount of articulation and he makes for a good upper torso potion of the combiner, GoHishou. I do see however how some fans just don't care for this figure. It's made to combine with the other Shinobi team members...period and while it has it's shortfalls, he turns out to be a decent figure who just happens to have a very loud color scheme going on.

I don't believe this figure (or the other combiners) sold very well and now can be had in a set of 3 with the other Shinobi team members ($30-$50) for what I paid for the figure alone when it was first released. One online store I used to shop frequently has him in stock as of today's date for a mere $16.03 if you're interested.

Related Posts:
Gekisoumaru G05
Sensuimaru G20

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Masters of the Universe Classics: Stinkor

It's been awhile since I've done a Masters of the Universe related post so let me remedy that with today's topic, MOTU Classics Stinkor.

A part of the highly successful subscription figure service by Mattel, Stinkor finally got the Classics treatment. Before this figure he had his vintage release and a very nicely sculpted NECA release in the vein of the 200X series. Sculpted by the Four Horsemen, it was a very nice "staction figure". When it was time to include this smelly villain into the Classics series, he came with an alternate head so you could display the character with his vintage / Filmation cartoon likeness or his 200X / Mike Young Productions cartoon likeness. Personally I loved these small touches by Mattel.

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When I still owned my collection of MOTUC figures, I chose to display Stinkor with his newer sculpted head. No matter which head you decide to place on your figure the rest of his body has that classic look. From the armor that rises just above his nose and mouth, to his classic looking blue shield and blaster there is no mistake who this character is. The other small accessory was a mask that could be fit over the vintage's head's mouth and nose.

MOTU was notorious for using the same parts to create a vast number of characters and the same can be said with the Classics series. Here he has the recolored Mekanek's upper body armor, the traditional loin cloth waist and Skeletor's feet. Knock it if you want, but it works.

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I honestly can't remember if the vintage Stinkor toy came with a backpack like this, but I do remember seeing it on the NECA version. While the backpack could benefit greatly from some paint apps, I love the idea that he can control his own odor and use it as a weapon.

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New head sculpt

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"Vintage" head sculpt

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I loved the character design of Eternia's villains, but if I'm being honest I never cared for how the characters were fleshed out in the old Filmation animated series. I much preferred the characters overall in the Mike Young Productions animated series as they came across a little more serious and a potential threat the He-Man and the rest of the Masters of the Universe. For this reason I chose to buy and display the more modern appearance figures.

A quick completed auction search on eBay shows this figure loose is selling for $50+ while sealed specimens are selling for near $100! Wow, I guess I should have held onto my old collection.