TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

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TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby JediTricks » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:16 pm

I guess it's my turn to start one of these threads, with...

Transformers: Prime - Robots In Disguise - Deluxe Class - (Revealer) - Series 1 - Autobot - Wheeljack - Level 2 - Intermediate. WHAT THE HELL IS WITH THIS LINE?!? How many things can you say about a friggin' deluxe figure?!? The deluxes are known internally as "Revealers" as it shows on the TRU and Target pegs, and the rest of that stuff is actually on the packaging, it's like the brand manager is getting paid by the letter. Also of interest, the difficulty ratings are now "1, 2, 3" - no more 4, yet the instructions on ol' Wheeljack here are pretty hefty, so it's like what's the point of putting that on the packaging when you're not going to give the customer the advice you're promising them?

Anyway, Wheeljack was $15 at TRU, and is VERY small in package in vehicle mode, even with his swords showing in the tray. Packaging is more white and red, smart because those colors catch the eye very nicely unlike the darker blues of the DOTM line. The card is a simple die-cut shape, the most complex being a different take on the J-hook; the blister is shaped to match and has simple angled shapes embossed out the top and front - pretty standard fare for TF lately. The Autobot logo is fading out from white into red and is being attacked by lightning, it doesn't quite pop, but it also doesn't take away from the character portrait to its right, which is BLASTING YOU IN THE FACE BUYER LOOK AT ME NOW! The blister has a bunch of different text boxes yet keeps itself from fighting for attention; oddly, the Hasbro logo makes a more prominent space than usual. There's tech-spec numbers above a different character portrait to the side of the blister, I don't love the graphs they used, the angled ends look weird. The numbers for this WJ remind me that he's not a character I know, I haven't seen Prime episodes with him as I've not been watching the show after the first few episodes, but his numbers are far off from the classic Wheeljack numbers I'm more used to (and it's odd, I'm not at all a techspec guy, yet that stood out for me immediately in the store). Bottom houses the barcode and very small co-sells for his case-mates. The cardback art is a little sparse for my tastes, images of the figure in both modes along with the shadow-accenting Hasbro photoshops onto every figure's official photos, and here WJ's eyes are light-piped to an incredible degree - the real figure would need a spotlight to get that bright. There's a simple bio, but it doesn't have a box to stand out. Beneath the toy shots is an ad for the show with the main heroes to the right. The card front is alright for a line look, but I don't like the card back much, it's only good thing is showing the toy, and knowing Hasbro photography like I do, I know that'll be a detriment at some point.

For this figure, the card's character art presents a problem. It uses the series character design from a promo shot, but the shot is of WJ's forearm sporting a big-honkin' blaster as it is about to fire a blue blast - it's striking and takes up as much attention as the rest of the character art, but the toy has no such feature whatsoever! I wanted to emulate that gun either as an accessory or as an internal feature, and the figure just doesn't have it, it's odd since the forearm could easily have put something like that gun barrel on the forearm's pre-transformed rotation, yet didn't. The art also shows an Autobot faction logo on his chest, it's small but prominent, and the toy has space for it but no actual logo, which is a shame. I looked up a little info on the TF:P character and found out he sports a grenade on his left hip, sure enough that's showing in the promo art on the card as well, but again this is entirely omitted from the toy. The toy is a fine toy on its own, but it's emulating a character and these aren't huge touches, if your primary card art is showing it, your toy designs should be as well. I guess we're lucky they showed the mouthplate on instead of off, as most promo art showed, since the toy has the mouthplate.

Ok, so let's get down to the toy on its own.

Wheeljack comes in alt mode, it's a very compact little sports car, on its own it looks fine but it has a very small footprint for its deluxe pricepoint, slightly smaller than DOTM Sideswipe; but WJ's alt mode is a taller design thankfully. The car is a modernization of the Lancia Stratos that G1 Wheeljack was based on, though G1 WJ was based on the Stratos Turbo racing car, and Prime WJ is definitely closer to the Stratos Stradale. The Stratos is a VERY small car which is why it has such a big windshield in proportion to the rest, it's tiny in real life, so Wheeljack holds up well to that. This alt mode has bold fenders (oddly the tops of the fenders are separate pieces, suggesting they'll be swapped out on a later revisit), sharper angles, pronounced side mirrors, the classic rear-window louver panels (entirely closed), a small mid-engine-area spoiler, pronounced rear hips, and an even blunder rear end than the real car - in fact, if not for the tail light section of the fenders, the car would end at the wheels (the wheels are low-pro, big, with swept blades inside). The car has a low ground clearance but not stupidly so, and is solid with all 4 wheels free-rolling on the ground. The only thing I don't really like about the sculpt of the car is the open area at the rear end from the midline down - it's passable, but no axle showing means it's unacceptable IMO; the front end underside has an open slot at the ground on either side, but this is somewhat obscured by the forward slant of the upper portion of the front end - it bothers me, but isn't the same kind of deal-breaker because the middle of the car still has body. Oddly, while the headlights get a specific sculpt, the side mirrors get their own pop-out detailed aspects, there's sculpted panels on the air inlets behind the side windows, and even the gutters where the windshield wipers would take in rain swept from the glass, there's no sculpt for the doors, so the sides have a big expanse of less detail, although the car gets an overall shape that keeps it from being just a flat panel. The car is shot in bald white plastic, painted at the nose and roof with an angled version of the Air Alitalia red, green, and white styling found on G1 Wheeljack, along with some red angled shapes on the sides that don't really feel as important but are welcome to break up the low-sculpted area; a big dark blue translucent wrap-around angled windshield; dark gray louvers in place of the back window; silver for the wheels over black plastic for the tires; and the large tail-lights are painted red and yellow over very dark plastic (possibly translucent blue of the windshield). The white holds up well, consistent across different areas except the small white paint on the middle of the roof, but other than that hiccup it gets away with being a white plastic car better than most. The vehicle mode exterior features a 5mm hole on either rear fender just behind the middle of the wheels. The windshield is in 2 halves that meet in the middle, theat is the only real panel line that is an issue here IMO, the rest holds up nicely. The underside of the car features an obvious robot pelvis and upper legs, the rest shows no sign of being what it is, and there's some sculpted detail on the inside of the front end of the car. So, good homage to G1 Wheeljack but a slimmer, more updated design, and it looks good pretty much overall in paint and in sculpt, except for a gap in the back end.
Alt Mode: 9 / 10

Accessories, WJ's swords are all we get, let's talk about them separately for alt mode. The twin swords are dark gray hilts with silver-painted blades, no red hilts or black middles to the blades. The blade design is persian with it growing thicker at the middle then thinning back at the handle, it has small glyphs sculpted on either side of the blade just above the hilt. The hilts are 5mm squared-off pegs with a notch cut through the middle of the tang, hollow hilt head on either side, thinner angled pommel flag-type design (on the show is the hilt as it's one continuous single bar leading up to the blade), and off the side of the hilt head is a stubby 5mm peg. Overall, the swords are fine, though not entirely what you see in the show apparently. In vehicle mode, the swords can be pegged onto the rear fenders which looks not so bad, the swords follow the lines of the rear fenders until they get clear and then curve in towards the doors; other 5mm accessories of course can also be plugged into those fenders, with about as much success as they usually have. The swords are intended to be big tusks though and the cut-outs in the hilts correspond to tabs inside the front fenders where the bumper would otherwise be, the tusks look is intended but it doesn't do it for me, it's not terrible but it just doesn't blow my mind either. The swords can also be entirely hidden by tabbing flat into the underside, they add a few millimeters to the underside yet still clear the ground, and still do not show in normal vehicle mode, even with one of my swords very slightly bent.

Transformation in the instructions has 17 steps, although the last one is a 5-parter. The first step to bot mode is the roughest one, it's not immediately clear what parts come out with the doors and why they aren't initially moving even when you're doing it right. From there though it's a fun and unique transformation, although some of the steps are a bit killjoy the way the instructions present them, but once you get the flow it's all quite nifty. The instructions do a poor job showing the shoulders tabbing into the chest, they move the shoulder parts around too much so it's easy to get that element lost thanks to Hasbro. The way the front fenders slide up and then rotate 90 degrees is probably my favorite part, it's just Transformers fun. Going from bot to alt mode is pretty much the same, not quite as fun since it's more obvious where things have to be, but that's a pretty common issue with TFs in general; there is the question of how the hands are supposed to be angled, they put tabs and a cut-out to guide them but it was easy to miss on my first pass. That said, it's not a "ooh brilliant perfect" transformation just because it's a small deluxe figure, so it's good, it's got new stuff, but it's not the end-all-be-all either.
Transformation: 7 / 10

Wheeljack is definitely related to his namesake, no fan could miss that with the head sculpt, colors, and roof chest - they all scream "Wheeljack". But the head also makes clear that this is part of a different universe, it's angled and angry and quite different in proportions, and the rest of the figure follows that. I have to confess that I don't terribly care for the Prime aesthetic, there have been a few designs that have caught my attention at the preview slideshows, but the overall Prime school of design leaves me cold... now, that out of the way, back to the figure. Wheeljack stands about as tall as the recent Generations Wheeljack who is a big of a short guy, but where that figure has tons of bulk, this TF:P figure is much more svelte and has almost no kibble at all. Wheeljack's sculpt is not terribly detailed, he has a few shapes at his shoulders and waist which are new, a little at his collar, and his chest successfully shrinks down the concept of his windshield, but largely he's enjoying details from his vehicle mode - it's not bad at all except for the arms which leave me cold in detail as well as overall shape. His head is an effective sculpt but simple rather than detailed, the lines are swept in more of an anime style, and thankfully as I mentioned he's got that mouthplate sculpted in rather than the weird little mouth some promo art shows; his eyes are light-piped blue, it doesn't pipe all that well without a flashlight, but they did sculpt the inner iris-circle. The arms are past his knees and bigger at the forearms than the upper arms, and they also sport significant windshield kibble inside at the midpoint, it's definitely not attractive left straight like that; but luckily they look much better bent all the way at the elbow, brought up to a more reasonable height. If one were a fan of the show design, they'd be confused by these arms, they don't deliver at all what the show art does, there's a pretense at the forearms but it's quite half-assed, and then there's door kibble on the outside and windshield kibble, and the shoulders stick out -- but I'm not terribly bothered since I'm not heavily invested in that character, so it's only the length and window kibble for me. The hands are big open hands, not gigantic but the big like someone who works with his hands for a living, they're open-C shaped with the thumb doing a lot of the work, and they have a natural sculpt to that pose despite being a clean 5mm circular opening. The figure's wings end up as an odd thing, they are 45-degree splits from the roof middle halves, they're not really what the doctor ordered and yet they're working for me as suggestive of the concept while unique. The legs look good, the lower legs mix the concept of the front end as legs with the boots concept we've seen more recently, and since he gets separate feet from the front end, it pays off overall. The deco adds a more gray and black to the mix which mixes it up nicely, but oddly there's no Autobot logo on this figure anywhere, especially not the little white spot at the middle of his chest that the character art consistently shows.

Articulation is pretty good for a smaller deluxe figure, there's a ball-jointed neck that can turn and look up quite a ways; restricted ball-jointed shoulders on hinges that can shrug up a few degrees, plus barrel receivers in the shoulders that let the shoulders rotate on the vertical axis; a hinge at the biceps; a hinge at the elbows; restricted ball-jointed wrists that lead into vertical axis-hinged hands; restricted ball-jointed hips that allow side-kicking, attached to rotation joints at the top of the thighs; hinged knees; and ball-jointed feet where the joint is sideways out the outside, but it works and looks better than any previous attempt I can think of. The jointing allows for some expressive poses, and the feet are just the right size and jointing to keep it upright in action poses, although they might be too narrow for 1-footed poses (I have mine in one now, but it has enough wobble that it won't stay that way over a few hours without help). The elbows and knees don't have as much range of motion as I'd like, they're more like 75 degrees instead of 90 or even 110 that I'd prefer, but his elements would block the lower legs anyway; the upper arms have the bicep hinges to somewhat compensate for their range issues. I would have liked to have seen a bicep rotation joint instead of that oddball barrel receiver rotation joint they use, I find that lack of bicep rotation the single most noticed joint missing whenever I hit the wall in a pose with Wheeljack, the lack of waist joint doesn't factor anywhere near as close. The joints are all tight and solid; the figure's stability is pretty good overall. The shins do rotate out of position a little when handled, and posing the figure usually folds the knee points flat; the right "wing" seems to de-transform on its own quite a bit on mine, but it looks like a "your mileage will vary" situation.
Robot Mode: 8 / 10 (or 7/10 if you are a stickler about show-accuracy)

So, getting back to the accessories now for robot mode to complete that conversation... The swords fit in the hands quite well and hold, the figure clearly is designed to wield these twin curved swords, his arm articulation and even neck tilting up just open the figure to a myriad of sword poses. The swords are long, as apparently they were on the show, although clearly thicker to A) not break, and B) fit in the hands, but the long arms do work with the swords' length. The only thing about posing I could say is an issue is - and it's a small thing - that the door kibble on the arms extends out past the wrists and the sword hilts have those plastic pommel/facade hilt-ends and the sideways 5mm pegs which all get in the way during rotation from about 5 degrees to 60 degrees, but from there out the figure can hold the swords out to the side just fine as long as you remove them before rotating the hand into another position. The swords can be pegged into the shoulders thanks to the 5mm holes from the rear fenders ending up there, but even better, the swords fit into cut-aways behind his shoulders - it's not mentioned in the instructions, but just outside of the wings and inside the shoulders in the back is a pair of square cut-outs to stow the blades, roughly where they were stowed on the show, although the hilts stick way up here due to the nature of, you know, "reality". So the swords are cool, he looks good wielding them, they stow away, yay; but why the hell does a figure with a firepower of 8 and a GIANT gun-hand showing on the packaging have... no gun at all? I don't get that, he already doesn't get his shoulder launcher. I gave him DOTM Sideswipe's big gun, it looks a hell of a lot better in Wheeljack's bigger arms, plus it has that sword gimmick so it still plays well here - WJ is keeping that damned gun! (No accessory for you Sideswipe, sorry, maybe if you hadn't been gray instead of silver, ya loser.) The swords are cool, not entirely color-accurate, but decent enough; they're just not all this figure should have, there's the big gun situation, and there's the grenade on the hip.
Accessories: 7 / 10

Overall, I like this Wheeljack figure in both modes, I like the transformation, the deco is ok but could be better, it's a bit small for the price, and while decently-articulated, it could use more articulation and range of motion. There's a lot of personality here and a lot of style without being painfully stylized.
Overall Score: 8 / 10 - Pretty Good
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Re: TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby BWprowl » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:10 pm

Good review, glad to hear he's cool. Although...no bicep swivel? Oy, that's dangerously close to a deal-breaker for me. I'm glad I didn't cave and get him for $15 at TRU. Hopefully I see him for less eventually at Target or something.

Hopefully I'll run into Soundwave soon. Maybe I'll toss up a review of FE Starscream in the meantime...
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Re: TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby JediTricks » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:06 pm

Thanks.

Yeah, the lack of a bicep swivel does hamper things, and that weird barrel rotator joint they used instead can't do as much. If it were a $10 figure I could see maybe letting it pass, but it's $13 - $15 and it's pretty small, so it is harder to overlook.

I spent the $15 mainly because it was something new after months and months of nothing, and it was a unique special item. I knew from the earliest images of this line that I'd be picky at the outset, getting FE Starscream (which looks to never happen now), Wheeljack, the Vehicon, I'm not even sure which Cliffjumper had me interested but seeing the RID version in person definitely didn't inspire confidence in that mold at this price, and that's about it.

Soundwave is 1 per case, while the others are 2 per case and BB is 3 per case. Thanks Hasbro. :roll:


I suppose I should have opened this thread back in July when I got the Comic-Con Optimus Prime, but didn't think of it at the time or something.
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Re: TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby JediTricks » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:47 pm

Something odd I've noticed over the past few days. I have Wheeljack holding that blaster and it's sorta covering his face, and without his head, every time I see the figure this way I see it as a Veritech Valkyrie mech. The layout of the arms, legs, and torso all have a lot of similarities which I would normally not have noticed if not for giving him a gun and covering up his iconic head.
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Re: TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby BWprowl » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:38 am

Through some startling coincidence (or possibly just an appreciation for particular aesthetics) the only TFPrime toys I own thus far are all Decepticons. That will probably change eventually, at least whenever Deluxe Ratchet comes out, but for now I actually own a solid representation of the Decepticon ranks as they appeared in the first parts of the show, with Starscream, Soundwave, Megatron, and a little Cyberverse Vehicon to do their bidding. Starscream was an FE toy and is thus now only slightly rarer than a Lucky Draw figure, so I won’t worry about reviewing him. Instead, I’ll go all Denny’s Appetizer Sampler Platter and review the three guys from the three size classes from the mainline. No way I’m getting all this typed up in one go!

Vehicon

The Vehicons are the cannon fodder of the show, all being identical black car dudes (okay, there are jet variants too), though they are apparently sentient individuals and not just mindless drones; the profile on this guy’s box seems to back that up. Being cannon fodder, and little, inexpensive figures makes this Legion-class one ideal for army-building, if you’re into that sort of thing. Making it less ideal for army-building is that fact that it’s apparently shortpacked in the Legion figure cases. This is a running trend with the Prime figures across all size classes, and I’m wondering if bad guys are testing worse with Hasbro’s focus groups now, or something. Ah well, let’s see how worth it getting just one Vehicon is!

Vehicle Mode

I don’t care how they’re packaged, Transformers start in vehicle mode and you know it. This guy’s a mean, sharp little car. He’s actually got these jagged, pointy, sticky-outy-bits on the front of his car mode, which give it kind of a Batmobile feel, actually. Being black also means all the little holes all over this mode don’t stick out as much, there’s one on each door, plus the hood. These are there for the new Cyberverse line-wide gimmick: each Legion class toy comes with a generic clear, rubbery-plastic weapon, which has multiple pegs, plus a connection point on it, in theory allowing you to stack multiple weapons on guys, and then stack multiple weapons on those weapons. Kind of like a tiny version of the Energon weapons of old. Vehicon’s weapon is a little gun with an angled blade tacked to the side of it. It generally looks okay stuck onto the vehicle mode somewhere, though the blade looks more like just some panel in most cases. You can make this work though, if you plug it into his side so that it faces upwards, it looks kinda like it could be a panel from the vehicle mode that popped open to let the gun pop out. Of course, it doesn’t look *too* much like that, since it’s clear purple and the car mode is black, but come on, imagination!

Not a shiv-ton of ground clearance, but he rolls okay.

Transformation

Holy cats is this simple. Pop out the arm-panels and reveal the head. That’s it. Sure, you can mess with the legs to get them more into position, but there’s really hardly anything to it. I kinda like the way the roof panels stay attached at the arms, to wrap around for vehicle mode and leave the robot mode body looking more proportionate, though they also get in the way in robot mode, so.

Robot Mode

Tiny little decently accurate (as far as I can tell) Vehicon. Posability’s not too bad for a Legion, he’s got knees at least! As mentioned though, the arms get in the way a little bit, with those roof panels. I’d also like if his head could turn, though it can at least nod up and down on the transformation joint. Good amount of paint detail on the chest and color on the legs here too, so he doesn’t end up being ALL BLACK in robot mode. And the gun’s got tons of options and play value here, since the door-peg-holes wind up on his arms, plus he has hands that can hold things. You can peg the gun onto his arms, or have him hold it, or wield it sticking up as a doofy-looking sword-thing. Posing him doing these sorts of things is harder than it should be, given that his feet don’t seem to let him stand up all that well (they’re molded to be spread apart at an angle for standing), but he feels satisfyingly fiddly for a Legion class.

Overall: If you enjoy Cyberverse stuff, then this guy’s solidly in the middle of the pack of that line. Transformation is lamely simple, but the vehicle mode’s solid and the robot mode decently cool-looking and posable. And he comes with a weapon, which is something all the DOTM Legion guys should’ve done. I got him mainly just as a way to ‘try out’ the Prime Cyberverse line, but if you like the design and want a little pocket-sized toy of it, you won’t be disappointed. You could even go to every store in the tri-county area to get just enough to army build with!

Soundwave

Despite my lukewarm reception of the TFPrime show, I at least *really* liked Soundwave. Admittedly, this was mostly because of the design: It’s very striking and different, even among the distinctively-styled Prime cast, and it struck a chord with me. Even after I realized Prime just wasn’t my bag, I still knew I wanted a toy of this thing. And then he turned out to be massively shortpacked (one per case!) in the first wave. With the rest of the wave being Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, and Wheeljack, this means that there is ONE whole Decepticon in an entire CASE of TFPrime toys. Hopefully this evens out a little over time, though the light Decepticon cast of the show in the first place means they might have to keep spreading things out. Enough complaining though, I did get him after all. How does the toy version of Soundwave live up to my appreciation of him as a character design?

Vehicle mode
An unmanned aerial recon drone, I think Soundwave might be the first vehicle mode of his kind in TF. It results in him being a small, slender craft with not a lot of details all over him, save for the panel lines that kinda break up the front section, not to mention look unintentionally like a cockpit. The back section, presumably the engine, does have a good chunk of detail, and just a bit of color with the tailfins being black. There are other little bits of color breaking up the rest of the mode, with black lines along the back ends of the wings, and pink highlights on the front, and where the wings connect to the body. These also help break up the otherwise all-blue-ness of the vehicle, as well as calling to mind the similar highlights the WfC designs have. The detailing does compromise at the center of the vehicle, where the section’s status as a pair of legs clipped together becomes all too obvious; the connection of the wings to that chunk is anything but seamless. Flipping the thing over reveals it even worse: there’s actually not much undercarriage on this thing, but there are still robot details molded like crazy into the underside parts of the vehicle, the arms are particularly obvious, as well as the crotch piece. Laserbeak, interestingly, actually blends in pretty well, and if you like you can unpeg him from there and plug him into the top of Soundwave’s vehicle mode for piggyback rides. I’ll talk more about Laserbeak with the toy’s robot mode.

Transformation
Is exceedingly simple. Swinging the struts the arms are on up into the main body is as complex as it gets, pretty much everything else is just repositioning robot mode joints, or unpegging stuff. Oh, and swapping the booster out for the head, which sometimes needs a little nudge for its automorph to happen.

Robot Mode
Despite the seemingly-simple transformation, what you end up with actually looks significantly removed from the vehicle mode. The redistribution of mass on the chest and legs does its job well, he’s proportionate to his character design with hardly any kibble (seriously, the only actual kibble on this toy is the folded-up nose-halves on the backs of his legs). He’s not *quite* as sleek as he is in the show, the chest with its various slots and gaps from the transformation and the pegged-in Laserbeak being the clearest break from the aesthetic, and even then it’s pretty close, at least to what I like about it. It’s a very ‘different’ design, the face and arms being the most obvious indicators of this. The arms are…wings! He actually has extended parts that fold out of the wings that make them just look like longer wings with fingers stuck on the end. I love this, when I first spotted him in the show, I actually hoped he just had plain wings with no hands for arms. Those hopes were dashed, but what we did get is still pretty cool. The head is a Cyberjet-ish face plate, though they opted not to make with clear-with-lightpiping, and just painted it purple on a solid blue piece. This sucks, the purple can get lost in the blue or just look black rather easily, depending on your lighting, and having it lightpiped would’ve helped it stand out much better. Plus they painted the back-half of his head solid silver anyway, so clearly having the colors on this part match up wasn’t the priority. It’s a nitpick though, because this is still a cool head design. Interesting: He doesn’t take too many cues from any Soundwave design in the past, but the head design is still based on a classic Decepticon symbol (okay, so technically the symbol was based on G1 Soundwave’s face, not the other way around), they’ve just tweaked the way the details were interpreted to make it his own. But he’s still got the crest, the central antenna, and the ridge-bits flanking the bottom of the head. I like the way this was done, means he’s still got a *little* bit linking him to previous Soundwaves (in a series where everyone else is packed with design homages, this would make him the odd guy out).

Soundwave’s not the most dynamic guy in the show, so I wasn’t terribly concerned about articulation, honestly. He really just needs to be able to stand around and look cool and be menacing. Hey, he’s Boba Fett! But despite that, the toy’s actually pretty articulated. The digitigrade legs are tricky, as they often are at this scale, but they’ve got enough room to be adjusted, and you can get the knees bent around (because of the pointy bits coming out the backs of them though, you need to bring the top joint forward before they’ll clear), though you have to remember to reposition the independently-posable kneepads to keep up with where the legs end up. The feet have a good range of motion too, with the heels and feet being independently posable, though they’re somewhat week, so you have to be careful about what poses he will and won’t stand up with. He’s got an (extremely tight) waist swivel, and a limited ab crunch, to let you recreate the slouch TFPrime ‘cons are wont to have. The arms are kind of nuts. What could basically be called the elbow joint itself is a short mass of an up/down swivel at the elbow, connected to a bicep swivel, connected to a *ball joint* hooked onto the upper arm. This gives the arms incredible range of motion around this area, and the transformation joints at the shoulders (which are just swivels otherwise) and in the middles of the (downright lengthy) lower arms are just gravy. He can actually cross his arms across his chest pretty well, though it seems kind of an un-Soundwave thing to do. The head’s okay. It’s a balljoint on a vertical strut, which should give him good range in theory, but that strut has a spring built into it for the auto morph gimmick, meaning his head is being perpetually forced down by it, leading to more of that chronic slouch; you kind have to block its motion with his chin if you want him looking up more.

Color-wise, there’s a bit more black visible in this mode, plus just the tiniest bit more pink highlights on his crotch and lower legs. The insides of his shoulder pads and arms are also painted dark blue, apropos of nothing, since those parts are hardly visible.

Soundwave’s lone accessory is Laserbeak, a winged…thing that unpegs from his chest and folds his wings up on struts to fly around and spy on stuff. Look, the name Laserbeak is pretty much a vestigial homage, this thing only looks like a bird in the vaguest sense, clearly being more of a creature of function rather than from. I’m okay with that, it suits Soundwave’s whole aesthetic here. He’s not meant to actually look like anything in particular, he’s meant to look like a flying, stealthy, spying machine, and Laserbeak ties right into that. Laserbeak’s wings can adjust up and down, which is kind of nice, and he can peg into holes at the end of Soundwave’s arms. These go all the way through too, so Laserbeak can either perch on Soundwave’s wrist, or sit in his palm, which is kinda cool. Leads to more posing opportunities for Soundwave’s articulation-loaded arms, anyway. Soundwave’s chest does look oddly bare/incomplete without Laserbeak there, a consequence of Laserbeak having a somewhat more intricate combination scheme with that part.

Soundwave does pretty much what I wanted him to do, which was be a good representation of a design I really liked. I wish the head had lightpiping for the faceplate and wasn’t so crippled articulation-wise by the spring on its strut, but otherwise it’s a fine toy of a robot who looks damn cool, and Laserbeak’s a cool bonus. The vehicle mode is just kind of okay, as far as TF vehicle modes go, but it at least gets points for having little undercarriage and being unique, and since I’m mainly here for the robot mode, it’s not a terribly big deal. This is basically a toy to buy if you think it looks cool, since it does so without having to compromise being a good toy as well. If you’re just after it because you want the character, you’ll likely be satisfied too. Like I said, he’s pretty different and may not be for everyone, but for those who do think they like the look of him, he’s a good choice.

Megatron
Unlike Soundwave, who I pretty much fell in love with as soon as I saw in the show, Megatron’s design is one that didn’t really grab my attention at first. Then, a while back, ‘86 sent me pics of this toy and I was surprised by how much I wanted it. It was a very well-realized design, and the toy seemed to capture it well. Even before Soundwave, this was the TFPrime toy I first knew I really wanted, in spite of my distaste for the show. Let’s see how my early impressions at those first pictures hold up to my feelings on the toy when it’s in-hand.

A couple asides about this first: I’d initially been under the odd impression that the Prime and Megatron in this line were part of a new size-class called ‘Weaponizers’ which were somewhere between a Voyager and a Leader, size-wise. This turned out to be untrue: Prime and Megs are straight up Voyagers, the ‘Weaponizer’ tag being the ‘gimmick’ name for the class to coincide with their light-up Mechtech-ish weapons, as well as the Deluxes’ own gimmick-name-tag of ‘Revealers’. This is fine with me, Megatron ended up only costing me twenty bucks, and I think ‘Weaponizer’ is a terrible, stupid name for a size class anyway.

Also, villainous short packing continues: There’s apparently one Megatron in a four-Voyager case that’s otherwise all-Optimus. And DvD’s page reports subsequent cases of nothing but Optimus. I don’t know if this means Megatron is getting phased out early for whatever reason, but if you decide you want him, you may want to grab him now, rather than waiting to see if he’ll make another revision later.

Now, onto the review, for serious!

Vehicle Mode
Ha ha, oh wow. Remember the Fallen? The Voyager one from the ROTF line? I actually liked that toy, but remember how he went through that insane amount of contortions and legitimate transformation-panel moving, and pegging and so forth, all to wind up with something that was *still* just blatantly a robot bending around trying to look like a jet? Megatron here does slightly better…but not by much. Even folding down on struts and rotating a bit isn’t going to disguise that the nose of the jet is just the chest pieces up around the torso plate. The thighs of the robot mode hang out very conspicuously behind that section, leading to the shoulder pads just stuck under the wings, which are pretty obviously sides of legs with some little tips folded out (at the very least, the sides of the legs becoming wings is a transformation trick I don’t recall having seen before). At that point they just give up, and the feet and arms just bunch together in the back and try to look inconspicuous. This isn’t even a robot folded up to kinda look like a jet, this is a pair of wings and some top-kibble-plates that almost look like space jet parts carrying a pile of robot parts that (especially with the robot head hiding in it’s little porthole) almost looks ashamed to be flying around this way. Flipping it over and exposing the arms and legs only increases the shame; they may have hinges that let them fold in, but his hands are still RIGHT THERE.

He’s mostly a light grey, molded with a visible ‘roughness’ to it, that manages to increase the sheen and make it look more metallic and silvery, without having to actually paint the whole thing silver. I’m fine with this, after what happened to my poor Ejector in storage, I’m not sure I’d want a toy entirely coated in potentially-chipping silver paint.

The fusion cannon (with the brass knuckle bit attached to it) can be mounted on a clear plastic strut in the back of this mode. Folding out the blade parts is kind of hilariously pointless here, though you can just barely push it to activate the light, which the strut is presumably clear purple to make use of, though it’s not too impressive being located where it is. Having the cannon there does obscure the arms just sticking out the back though, so that’s something, at least.

Transformation
Like the Fallen, there’s a whole lot of hoo-hah to go through here getting a pile-of-nothing vehicle mode into the robot mode. Lots of order-of-operations stuff, particularly in getting the wings moved around the shoulder pads and body panels, and how you go about getting the chest halves moved up past the torso plate. Going back to vehicle mode is even more of a pain, with having to get things pegged in at the right time (again, manipulating those wings around the shoulder pads is a bear and a half). This, combined with the general lackluster feel of the vehicle mode, significantly reduces my desire to transform him in that direction. This s not the best thing for a toy called a Transformer. The bit with the Decepticon symbol folding through the chest is kinda cute though, at least.

Robot Mode
Here we go, this is why I bought my ticket! A small-scale, but bulky, beefy, and imposing robot, Megatron cuts an impressive figure, especially with the way all that jet-shrapnel smoothes together to from this very cohesive robot design. Only kibble around is those jet-mode plates on his back, and those can be folded back to be inconspicuous, at least from the front. He’s got visual influences mostly coming from the Movie and Animated versions of Megatron, especially where the head is concerned, though there’s a little bit of Classics in there too, especially the legs, as well as his eyebrows. The effect with the light grey doesn’t work quite as well in this mode, though it doesn’t look too bad, and the purple bits everywhere help break it up well. He’s all curved, swooping, bladey bits, and it makes the design work well. He looks like a weapon. A very sharp, very big and strong weapon.

Articulation is…sufficient. It’s about what we can expect from this size class, it just doesn’t stand out, and the design gets in its own way in a couple places. The legs are okay, with knees with decent range, and mid-thigh-swivels, and ball hips with tons of range. Feet can only move down though, not up, so poses needing that kind of movement are shot, especially with how much space the bottoms of his legs/feet take up. No waist joint, the way the torso plate folds up wouldn’t really allow it. The arms are kinda weird. No wrist swivel, though he does have a hinge, and a swivel joint up next to the elbow joint; both of these are actually there for transformation, though they work okay for posing. The elbow joint is just a hinge connected to the upper arm, which itself is a solid piece connected to a ball shoulder. This means no bicep swivel, which would usually be a kiss of death for a toy like this to me. But! Those lower-elbow swivels pick up some of the slack, and his shoulders are mounted on these little panels that fold around for transformation, and don’t exactly connect well to the rest of his body in the first place, meaning he still has some side-to-side action with his arms. It’s not perfect, but it does help more than if it wasn’t there. His shoulder pads are actually separate piece mounted on ball joints on struts. This lets them move around enough to not get in the way of his arms most of the time, though trying to move his arms up past his head isn’t going to work so well, and looks rather doofy. His head is on a ball joint, but thanks to his huge raised collar section, its range is limited, even in turning side-to-side. He can cock his head to the side indignantly though, which is kinda cool.

Being a ‘Weaponizer’, Megatron’s primary gimmick is a MechTech-style transforming weapon with an led. Surprise, it’s a fusion cannon! A decently cool-looking one, at least, with a clear purple cap to the barrel, and little pointy bits above and below that. Grasping it by the visibly-defined-for-such-use back end and pushing in on a purple plunger bit swings a couple sword blades forward to form one big blade, as well as activating the led and swinging it around to pump light through the clear plastic of the sword blade. It’s not…really strong enough to light up the blade effectively, though it still looks okay. You might be wondering, why does the light need to swing around, why don’t they just position it straight through the sword and have it just turn on when you push the plunger? It’s all to tie into the ‘Energon flow’ part of the Weaponizers’ gimmick. Mount the cannon on Megatron’s arm, in a dedicated 5mm peg-hole, then activate the gimmick, and the light swings past a clear-purple ‘window’ on top of his arm, lighting up the whole clear plastic of the arm itself, before passing around into its dedicated part by the blade. It’s apparently supposed to simulate the Energon from Megatron’s body flowing from his arm into the weapon, though being that overly ambitious it works about as well as you would expect. There’s also no way to lock the cannon into sword mode, which sucks, especially since that would let you keep the light on more continuously, if you wanted. You can manipulate the light for other purposes though! The strut that held the cannon in vehicle mode fold up into his back, and its peg-hole is actually double sided, meaning the cannon can still be mounted on it. And since it’s a clear plastic strut backing the clear plastic internal piece of his chest, putting the cannon back there and turning on the light (which can be done by just pressing on the top of the bit with the light in it, rather than activating the whole plunger/blade assembly) you get kickass light-piped glowing-red-from-within-chest action! This looks downright solid, and the best part? Use the plunger, and the blades can catch just enough on the back kibble, keeping the gimmick from fully deactivating and leaving the light turned on, meaning you can actually display him with his chest lit up all awesome-like! No, he won’t have his fusion cannon on his arm, but it still looks incredibly cool. Kinda reminds me of how I’d stick the Laser Rods’ lights back behind their heads to go into their eye light piping (Megatron can do this to, though it’s somewhat cumbersome).

He also includes this little brass-knuckle-blade-thing weapon. It’s a mean-looking little thing that mounts on his hand and wrist pretty well, or you can connect it to his fusion cannon to make that look even more dangerous. Megatron’s a gladiator, and this sort of accessory suits that.

There’s a lot of good and bad I’ve rattled off about this toy, but there’s one final thing I want to address: his plastic. Specifically the light grey he’s made out of. It feels…cheap, for lack of a term to better describe how I feel about it. It feels lighter than I’m used to on Transformers, especially at this scale, and some parts like the shoulder-connection-panels have more flex than it feels like they should. That so many of them are bits that are hollowed out on one side (the upper arms being a major offender here) doesn’t help matters. I don’t know, maybe I’m being paranoid and he’s totally structurally sound, but he just feels very light and airy, and maybe like he doesn’t have enough mass for having paid for a Voyager.

That’s a weird, paranoid nitpick though. Megatron is a great design, with good articulation, and a cool weapon with a gimmick that’s…okay in its own execution, but which can be manipulated to do cool things with anyway (seriously, that light-up-chest thing almost makes up for the other shortcomings entirely). He captures the imposing, monstrous elements that I liked about the design, and makes a cool toy out of them. And he even transforms! The transformation is a little frustrating, and the resulting vehicle mode maybe not really worth it, but at least they clearly put a little effort into that element. Go ahead and buy him if he looks like he appeals to you. He ain’t perfect, but he’s far from a bad toy. Maybe not quite worth hunting for him if he’s scarce in your area, but if you still think you want him, and you do come across him, you should go ahead and pick him up.

Holy cow I’ve got to go to bed. Hope everyone else had a fun weekend!
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Re: TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby Onslaught Six » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:24 am

BWprowl wrote:An unmanned aerial recon drone, I think Soundwave might be the first vehicle mode of his kind in TF.


Nope, we had this discussion! Generations Scourge turns into one of those. Yes, he has tiny windows. So does the drone he turns into. It's a small drone that's designed specifically to look like a huge plane.

A couple asides about this first: I’d initially been under the odd impression that the Prime and Megatron in this line were part of a new size-class called ‘Weaponizers’ which were somewhere between a Voyager and a Leader, size-wise. This turned out to be untrue: Prime and Megs are straight up Voyagers, the ‘Weaponizer’ tag being the ‘gimmick’ name for the class to coincide with their light-up Mechtech-ish weapons, as well as the Deluxes’ own gimmick-name-tag of ‘Revealers’. This is fine with me, Megatron ended up only costing me twenty bucks, and I think ‘Weaponizer’ is a terrible, stupid name for a size class anyway.


Wrong again, Prowl!

Weaponizers is actually an entirely different size class, and is indeed between Voyagers and Leaders. There's a Voyager Megs and Prime as well as a "Weaponizer" Prime and Bumblebee.
BWprowl wrote:The internet having this many different words to describe nerdy folks is akin to the whole eskimos/ice situation, I would presume.


People spend so much time worrying about whether a figure is "mint" or not that they never stop to consider other flavours.
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Re: TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby BWprowl » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:07 am

Onslaught Six wrote:
BWprowl wrote:An unmanned aerial recon drone, I think Soundwave might be the first vehicle mode of his kind in TF.

Nope, we had this discussion! Generations Scourge turns into one of those. Yes, he has tiny windows. So does the drone he turns into. It's a small drone that's designed specifically to look like a huge plane.

Dang, I had a hunch I was wrong about that one. Glad I covered my ass by prefacing it with ‘I think’. :?

Wrong again, Prowl!

Weaponizers is actually an entirely different size class, and is indeed between Voyagers and Leaders. There's a Voyager Megs and Prime as well as a "Weaponizer" Prime and Bumblebee.

Okay, I officially have no idea where I get some of my ideas from (The fact TFPrime’s size classes and line names seem to be designed as some sort of ancient Mayan cryptogram, fortelling a coming event as the first part of a hidden hyper-prophecy, does not help). At least I know I got the Megatron I wanted.

Honestly, if those are the only things I managed to get wrong in that WALL OF TEXT I typed up, then I ain’t got no reason to be mad.
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Re: TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby Mako Crab » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:26 pm

I haven't opened them yet, but. . .

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Re: TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby JediTricks » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:15 pm

Skystalker, the scout from the ROTF movie line who docks to Mindwipe, was a drone first. As for Scourge being a drone, while his alt mode does share similarities with the X-48 drone, that drone was intended to act as a scale model for a larger plane design, Scourge has much larger engines and landing gear which suggests he's a large plane, not a drone.

Did I ever do a review of FE Optimus from Comic-Con? I remember doing one which means it should be here too. I busted out that figure the other day, it doesn't hold up as well as I first thought: the arms don't look so great, the shoulders are very narrow, there's a lot of backpack, and the feet are sorta awful. Still, it's got a good transformation.
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Re: TF:Prime Figure Review Thread

Postby 138 Scourge » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:31 pm

JediTricks wrote:
Did I ever do a review of FE Optimus from Comic-Con? I remember doing one which means it should be here too. I busted out that figure the other day, it doesn't hold up as well as I first thought: the arms don't look so great, the shoulders are very narrow, there's a lot of backpack, and the feet are sorta awful. Still, it's got a good transformation.


I think you gave him a quick review in the Hauls thread when you picked him up, maybe?

So I have a reason to go in this thread, finally. Wheeljack! I've been on the fence about this dude, almost got him as an impulse buy until my girlfriend reminded me that I just don't like Prime at all. But then I thought about it more and figured "Eh, maybe I'll get him if I see him again." Then I saw him again and my liking for Wheeljack in general beat out my distaste for Prime. Glad it did, too, this is a pretty nice toy.

The car mode looks like it goes pretty fast, and it kind of has this neat thing going where it looks like it could be a stylized Earth high-end race car, or it looks like it could be a space car. Either way, I like it well enough. Maybe it's because no other Autobot really has the white, red, and green color scheme like Wheeljack does, but even through the stylization, this says Wheeljack to me. The attack mode's pretty silly, but when you've just got a couple of swords to work with, you gotta do what you can.

The transformation, well, like JT said, this is full of neat stuff, and it's a lot of fun to do. It's not a conventional sort of thing at all, and I like all the parts that rotate 360 degrees, especially at the legs where they rotate, and then the car's front pulls back, and then you've gotta fold that bit down. It's just a really cool thing. I like the smaller parts of the transformation that are just extra crap that wasn't strictly necessary, too. The bit where the middle of the roof tries to be the regular Wheeljack wings on the back, or the knee-spikes. You don't really need these to make a robot out of Wheeljack, but they add some nice touches to the robot mode. Very glad they're there. Also, aside from those bits, everything else clips securely into place, so when you've transformed this guy right, you know full well you've done it.

Robot mode, well, he certainly looks like Wheeljack. The long-ass arms sort of say movie, but the original Wheeljack toy had that going on, too. The head still looks Wheeljack-y while doing it's own interpretation of the original look. The swords might seem an odd weapon to have with this guy, but they look nice. I like the Persian influence going on here, it's not something that's used too often in this kind of toy. And the toy's fun to pose with the two swords in various poses. The lack of a bicep swivel doesn't even hurt too terribly much in this regard. What I do wish this thing had was a decent place to holster the swords, though. Seems like there could be a tab for 'em to clip into, or if the clearance on the car's spoiler was a little higher they could use that as a place to slide into on his back. That's a pretty nit-picky ass complaint, probably, but toys like Drift and Bludgeon show that you can have sword-sheaths all over a figure and manage okay. And seriously, they could have pulled that off easily enough, it just feels like a missed opportunity.

Overall, I really enjoy this toy. He's G1-homagey as hell, but he manages to do his own thing with it, and he's a fun toy to transform, fiddle with, and just look at. For being something I almost didn't want to pick up, I'm pretty happy to have it, so I suppose that says something about his quality.
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