Power of the Primes Blackwing

The second half of Dreadwing has arrived at Junkion HQ! Now Dreadwind won’t be lonely anymore.

Blackwing on card

The Card

Blackwing card front

My version of Blackwing came with a card for Megatronus Blackwing.

Megatronus Blackwing: Accelerates the extinction cycle of entire planets.

The Robot

The robot mode is very close to the original and is very clearly “Darkwing” despite the copyright-inspired renaming.

Blackwing robot mode

As with Dreadwind, the armor mode is a bit awkward.

Blackwing with armor

The Jet

Blackwing is a remold of Combiner Wars Air Raid, which is a close match to the original.

Blackwing jet mode

The Powermaster

Like with Dreadwind, the combiner hand can be used to replicate the G1 Powermaster feature.

Blackwing powermaster

Prime Master Integration

While I still don’t like the chest armor, it does look a little better with a Prime Master in place of the included plug.

Blackwing with Prime Master

Dreadwing

Like the originals, the PotP versions can combine into a super jet mode. It’s not terribly stable since the two are held together by a single post. One interesting thing to note is that the instructions label this combination as Duocon Dreadwing.

Dreadwing

The Combiner Limb

Like the other Deluxes in this line, Blackwing can also become a combiner limb.

Blackwing combinedThe instructions say he goes with Hun-Gurrr but I’m not buying that. I just wish we had two more jets in the line to complete a Super-Seeker gestalt.

Blackwing arm mode

Power Masters United

Blackwing with Dreadwind

One nice feature of the cover plates that these two come with is that they match closely with Titans Return Overlord and make passable stand-ins for the missing Giga and Mega.

Overlord with cover plates

ACE-02 Hiccups

ACE-02 Hiccups

Today’s post is a Clearance Catch: ACE-02 Hiccups, aka Masterpiece Hubcap.

Hiccups with Bumblebee

There are some figures that catch your eye but not quite enough to convince you to part with the cash required to click the “buy” button. Hiccups was one of those for me. I wasn’t too interested in their first figure ACE-01 Tumbler (aka MP Cliffjumper) mainly due to the head which seemed a bit “off” to me. Some of that disinterest may have colored my opinion of Hiccups even though I never had a problem with his head design. But now that the price has dropped to half of the original it seemed like a safer risk.

The Box

Hiccups box

The box includes full-color art that can be placed beside Tumbler’s box to make a larger scene.

About HICCUPS: He is always listening. A consummate manipulator and con-man. HICCUPS is friendly with everyone but nobody's friend. He's a fun guy to be around, but don't let your guard down, there's no telling what he's up to. Approach with caution.

The back of the box features a quick bio for the Hiccups character.

Hiccups box contents

Unlike Tumbler he does not include any Kryten-esqe spare heads and instead has a nozzle called Roscoe that can be attached to the end of the figure’s arm.

Hiccups nozzle

He does include Cliffjumper’s “Shatter Cannon” Bazooka from More Than Meets The Eye and the standard Autobot blaster from later episodes.

Hiccups bazooka

The Instructions

The instructions are a weird hybrid that shows both ACE-01 Tumbler and Hiccups in a split view. Although the Roscoe nozzle is shown on both sides of the instructions it was only included with Hiccups. The instructions also show an “alts head” for Hiccups that is the head that came installed on the figure. The head shown attached in the instructions has a narrower silver crest and is not included in the box.

Hiccups instructions

The steps on the back of the instructions start at the bottom of the page and move upwards.

Hiccups instructions back

The Display

One really nice thing about the ACE figures is that they come packaged in a display case.

Hiccups in display caseI’m special!

The bottom of the case can also be used as a display base complete with a flight stand. The stand can be attached two ways, I’ve set up the photo below with the stand hooked up for the most height.

Hiccups flight stand

There is also a spot on the bottom of the base where you can store the display stand when not in use.

Hiccups display base storage

The Figure

Hiccups robot mode

Many fans find the short arms to be a big issue with this figure. As you can see below, they are noticeably shorter than Bumblebee’s even though Hiccups is half a head taller.

Hiccups' arms compared to Bumble

The Porsche

No penny-racer here, Hiccup’s alt mode is a fairly accurate representation of the Porsche 924 that inspired the original deformed vehicle mode with the exception of the air scoop that should be on the hood. The biggest drawback of the vehicle mode are the front wheels: like Bumblebee, they do not lock into place nor is there anything behind them to hold them in place. Unlike Bumblebee, the hinge is a bit loose making it much easier to accidentally nudge them under the hood.

Hiccups vehicle mode

Like the main Masterpiece line, ACE is using the robot mode to set the scale of this figure so the vehicle mode looks very small next to a full-sized Autobot car.

Hiccups vehicle size comparison

The Conclusion

Although I like the idea, the die-cast feet really do not work for this figure. The extra weight in the feet makes the figure’s legs feel very floppy when handling and makes dynamic posing extremely difficult, especially when on the flight stand.

This figure is OK as a display piece and, once properly badged, will have a place as my official Masterpiece Hubcap.

Hiccups on stand

As of this writing, the figure is in stock at:

Power of the Primes Hun-Gurrr

The Terrorcon Leader has arrived at Junkion HQ!

The Card

Hun-Gurrr card front

My version of Hun-Gurrr came with a card for Prima Hun-Gurrr.

Hun-Gurrr card back

The Robot

Hun-Gurrr robot mode

I have to say that I don’t like the pseudo-rubsign on his left shoulder which gives the figure a lop-sided look as if they mistakenly put on the wrong sticker. I would have preferred if they just went one way or the other: either a real rubsign or matching symbol.

Hun-Gurrr arm blasters

The combiner feet actually make passable arm blasters.

The Beast

The dragon is probably the weakest mode due to the extremely small front legs and large purple belly. Still, it’s hard not to love a two headed dragon!

Hun-Gurrr beast mode

The Combiner Torso

Hun-Gurrr is also the core of Abominus, the only original G1 combiner to continue the Combiner Wars Voyager/Deluxe theme in this line. Sadly, I’ll have to wait for the third wave of deluxes to complete this picture.

Hun-Gurrr torso mode

The Enigma of Combination is nicely position in the combiner’s chest.

Hun-Gurrr Enigma of Combination

Power of the Primes Optimus Prime

Power of the Primes Optimus Prime

Wave one of the Power of the Primes Leader Class figures has arrived at Junkion HQ.

The Card

Optimus Prime card

My version came with a card for the Onyx Prime combination.

Optimus Prime card back

The Truck

Orion Pax cab mode

The cab is a great disappointment, with weird proportions and awkward kibble.

Optimus Prime alt mode side view
The trailer is a bit better, although the front and top look more like what one would expect from a Powermaster version than a classic G1 Optimus. The stickers are as awful as expected,  misaligned, ripped and peeling right out of the box – they actually seem to be getting worse with every release.

Optimus Prime vehicle mode

The Evolved Robot

Optimus Prime

From the front, a nice version of Optimus Prime. The illusion is broken by the large pair of legs sticking out of his back. Also, the double opening windshields for the Matrix Chamber are just plain weird.

Optimus Prime back view

The Devolved (?) Robot

Orion Pax

As a representation of Orion Pax as seen in the G1 cartoon this succeeds fairly well. However, like the evolved mode, the illusion is broken by the entire front of the truck cab jutting out from his back. On that point, if taking possession of the Matrix is the first step for Orion to evolve into a Prime, he’s going to need a friend since there’s no way he’ll be able to reach.

Orion Pax Matrix Chamber

The Matrix

Matrix of Leadership

The Matrix of Leadership continues the “nice from the front” design philosophy which appears to be the central theme with this figure.

Matrix of Leadership back

The back exposes the hollowness of the central unit which, at the very least, should allow for some light piping effects.

The Conclusion

The evolving Prime concept is an interesting one but not one that has translated well into an actual physical form, at least with this release.

Power of the Primes Tailgate

Repaint or no, I’ve been looking forward to Tailgate and now he’s here!

The Card

Tailgate card front

My version of Tailgate came with a card for the Solus Prime combination – Solus Tailgate which, ironically, seems to give him Windcharger‘s special magnetic power.

Tailgate card back

The Car

Tailgate vehicle mode

The black and white is very striking on this mold and the large Autobot symbol gives it a G1 Sideswipe feel.

Unfortunately, the color-matching (or at least gloss level) between the painted parts and the white plastic is very poor giving the car a bright white stripe across the middle.

The Robot

Tailgate robot mode

I really like how the painted chest details makes this figure look  dramatically different from Windcharger. I also like how the new head has the little panel on the back to invoke the feel of the G1 toy.

Fortunately, the color-matching issue that is so obvious in vehicle mode is barely noticeable in robot mode.

Prime Master Integration

Tailgate Prime MasterOf course there’s a Prime Master inside, can’t you see the empty armor?

As I mentioned in my Windcharger review, getting a Prime Master into the cockpit is a very awkward process which requires you to transform the entire back half of the car. The Prime Master fits in well but the windows are so dark that you cannot tell that it’s there.

The Comparisons

Tailgagte with Cliffjumper

The only physical difference between the two is the head but, as mentioned above, the deco on Tailgate does a great job of differentiating the two.

Tailgagte with Cliffjumper vehicle mode

Although the Thrilling 30 version captures the IDW look extremely well, it looks spindly next to this one which is equally good at capturing the G1 feel. PotP Tailgate will definitely replace the T30 version on my display.

Tailgate with T30 robot mode

It’s more of a draw when it comes to vehicle mode. The T30 version, despite the busy hood deco (which was omitted in the Legends release), is a good looking muscle car and holds up well with the PotP version.

Tailgate with T30 vehicle mode

Impossible Toys MC-07 Tapper

Today’s post is a retro-review: Impossible Toys MC-07 Tapper.

Tapper box

The History

Back in mid-2013, Impossible Toys announced a series of updated mini-bots. These were an updated “remold” of the original G1 Machine Man Penny-Racer inspired robot. The transformation scheme was retained but with some tweaks allowed by modern manufacturing techniques.

Tapper is a version of Tap-Out (who was a repaint of the Fun4All Cliffjumper key-chain release that was originally available at BotCon 2002) and retains the look and feel of a G1 mini-bot.

The Penny-Racer

Tapper vehicle mode(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Unlike most modern versions of the mini-bots these retained the super deformed look in vehicle mode.

The Robot

Tapper robot mode(Autobot symbol sold separately)

Again, the robot mode very reminiscent of the G1 mini-bots.

The Variations

Originally there were three molds with three versions each. Three additional heads were created to add some some more variety.

  1. MC-01 Bumble-Bug
    Their version of Bumblebee with a face based on the cartoon and The Transformers Collection Minibot Team Set re-release.
  2. MC-02 Hill Jumper
    Their version of Cliffjumper.
  3. MC-03 Bump
    Their version of Bumper (aka Bumblejumper).
    MC-03 Bump
  4. MC-04 Hub
    Their version of Hubcap which reused the MC-02 mold with a new head.
  5. MC-05 Gold-Bee
    Their version of Goldbug which reused the MC-01 mold in gold and dark purple with a new head based on the G1 Bumblebee toy.
  6. MC-06 Glypher
    Their version of Glyph (also originally available at BotCon 2002) which was a blue repaint of MC-05.
  7. MC-07 Tapper
    As mentioned above, their version of Tap-Out which reused the MC-02 mold in aqua.
  8. MC-08 Bee Bite
    Their version of Bug Bite (based on a Go-Bot who first became a Transformer when Takara re-released the Minibot Team Set repainted as Go-B0ts characters) which reused the MC-01 mold in white and light purple.
  9. MC-09 Wasper
    Their version of Wasp, from Transformers Animated, which reused the MC-03 mold in green with a black stripe and a new head.

As a final gift to their fans, Impossible Toys released individually numbered black and red repaints of their first three figures:

  1. Night-Bee
    Night-Bee
  2. Night-Jumper
    Night-Jumper
  3. Night-Bump

The Comparison

I didn’t have my Tap-Out handy so I’ve used the Bumblebee key-chain for these comparisons.

Tapper vehicle mode with Bumblebee

As you can see, aside from the size, there isn’t much difference between the two in vehicle mode.

Tapper with Bumblebee

Here you can see some of the upgrades added to this mold. The shoulders, elbows, hips and knees are all ball-jointed. There is also a hip swivel.

Tapper side view with Bumblebee

From the side you can see another of the upgrades – the head-flap slides forward so that the face is more centered on the shoulders.

Tapper dynamic pose with Bumblebee

And a dynamic pose-off between the generations.

Tapper sore winner with BumblebeeSadly, Tapper is a sore winner.

Still in Stores

I actually purchased this figure just recently and plan to put it on my desk at work. If you’re interested in picking one up, they’re still available from Big Bad Toy Store at clearance prices:

Power of the Primes Duocons

Power of the Primes Duocons

Power of the Primes, like Titans Return before it, has given us some unexpected releases in the form of Pretenders and now – the Duocons.

Duocons robot mode

Duocons vehicle mode

Roadtrap – The Card

Roadtrap card front

My version of Roadtrap came with a card for the Quintus Prime combination.

Roadtrap card back

Roadtrap – The Truck

Roadtrap vehicle mode

The front half of the truck is convincing, the rest – considerably less so being made up entirely of Roadtrap’s chest.

Roadtrap – The Robot

Roadtrap robot mode

Although the robot mode looks more convincing than the truck mode it has a few issues. The upper arms are not capable of moving backwards since they hit up against the hinge that they’re attached to. Also, the chest does not lock together as solidly as I would like and is prone to splitting.

Battleslash – The Card

Battleslash card front

My version of Battleslash came with a card for the Liege Maximo combination.

Battleslash card back

Battleslash – The Helicopter

Battleslash vehicle mode

Unfortunately, Battleslash’s helicopter mode is a bit awkward with a tiny rotor and a big gap in the nose where the two figures connect.

Battleslash – The Robot

Battleslash robot mode

Fortunately, the robot mode is much better, although it has a similar problem to Roadtrap where the shoulder joints cannot move backwards.

Battletrap

Battletrap

This is where these two Legends shine. The one flaw is the unfortunately placed rotor in the combined mode which hangs down behind the robot.

Battletrap rear view

The Conclusion

Although the individual robots were not entirely successful, I’m glad that the designers put in the extra effort to create them. A big improvement on the original G1 figure with a very solid combined mode.

360 Degree Turnaround Videos

Roadtrap

In this video, you can see Roadtrap’s dirty little secret – his very hollow back.

Battleslash

Battletrap

TFC Toys Trinity Force Wildhunter

Wildhunter, the final member of TFC Toys’ Trinity Force not-Road Caesar, has arrived at Junkion HQ.

Trinity Force Robot Mode(Autobot symbols sold separately)

The Box

Wildhunter Box

Like both previous releases, Wildhunter comes in the same fantastic retro box inspired by the original Road Caesar packaging.

Wildhunter Box ContentsThe fully pose-able hands can celebrate victory and wish you long life and prosperity. (Autobot symbol sold separately)

Wildhunter comes with all of the combiner parts required to assemble the team, including the hands and feet.

The Brain

Wildhunter Brainmaster

Just like the previous releases, the Brainmaster is still absurdly small. And, just like the previous releases, I immediately installed the spare head.

The Robot

Wildhunter Robot Mode(Autobot symbol sold separately)

It’s quite a relief to get a release in this team with no twisty pipes! Although the backpack can be tricky to get into place, there is nothing in this release that generates anywhere near the frustration level generated by the legs of the previous team members.

On that note, one thing this review reminded me of is how much I dislike the heels on Red Knight which, on mine at least, pop off whenever they’re touched or come in contact with any other surface.  Kind of an annoying feature for a foot.

The Dune Buggy

Wildhunter Dune Buggy (Autobot symbol sold separately)

Huge! That was my first impression when taking at this beast out of the box.

Trinity Force Alt ModeYes, this is a totally normal size for a dune buggy. (Autobot symbols sold separately)

The Combiner

Finally we can put together the Trinity Force combiner!

Trinity Force with SwordA properly located chest logo for Wildhunter ends up in an unfortunate position on the combiner. (Autobot symbols sold separately)

Although I’m not thrilled that they had to include separate parts-forming ankle pieces, I have to admit that they work well. However, the hip joints are the weak point of the combiner and are not strong enough for the robot to stand on one foot.

Trinity Force(Autobot symbols sold separately)

One issue that you’re going to run into with putting the combiner together is the clarity of the printed instructions. Someone at TFC must have realized that since there are QR codes that you can scan with your phone that will bring up videos of the process; Part 1 covers robot mode and Part 2 covers the combiner mode. Unfortunately, the video assumes that you’ve already transformed the other two members so you’ll still need the printed instructions for those.

The most difficult step is the connection between the leg bots which involves folding down an extremely stiff connector (as seen below). The video instructions show this piece already folded out which is reassuring since it really does not feel like it should move.

Raging Bull Leg Mode
Another thing to be aware of, there are two panels that snap into place on the bottom of the feet that appear to help lock the weapons from Raging Bull and Red Knight in place on the sides. I found that if I tried to remove the weapons with them in place they had a tendency to pop off dramatically and fly across the room.

Trinity Force Feet

The Free Gift

Display Stand

The first production run includes a stack-able rotating display with LED lighting. Unfortunately, it is a bit too small to use with the team combiner but should work well for smaller figures.

Display Stand with Posts

Here it is with the support posts in place. They’re extremely wobbly which makes me wonder how stable this would be with another stand on top.

MP-15E/16E Cassettebot vs. Cassettron

MP-15E/16E Cassettebot vs. Cassettron

The exclusive Cassettebot vs. Cassettron set has finally arrived at JunkionHQ!

Cassettebot vs. Cassettron Cassette Mode

It’s not an original thought, but if there is a logic to TakaraTomy’s Masterpiece numbering system I have yet to decipher it. For a release containing a straight repaint and a remold from MP-15, a straight repaint from MP-13B and an unreleased pre-mold, the 15/16 release number seems odd to say the least. I would think that a new number or a Legends inspired MP-EX would be far more fitting.

Cassettebot vs. Cassettron Beast Mode

One thing that surprised me is that everything in the box is in a little plastic baggy. I don’t remember the previous Takara cassette sets being packaged like that.

Enemy

Enemy Cassette Mode

Enemy is a repaint of the Rumble/Frenzy mold inspired by the G1 radio and voice changer accessories. As you can see, Enemy is a deep burgundy and navy blue which looks very good on this mold.

Enemy Robot Mode

He does come with pile-drivers but, even though he’s red, he’s not Rumble so isn’t allowed to use them.

Stripes

Stripes Cassette Mode

Stripes is a slight remold and repaint of Ravage inspired by a character in an early draft of the original Transformers movie. The original Encore cassette was Ravage with Steeljaw’s weapons so, in this version, Ravage’s rockets have been dramatically reduced in size and vertical wings have been added to the sides. Unfortunately, since the wings and rockets are part of the hip they can end up in odd locations when posing the figure.

Stripes Beast Mode

I know this is due to how parts line up in cassette mode but, for a character called Stripes, he has very few actual stripes.

Wingthing

Wingthing Cassette Mode

Wingthing is a Ratbat repaint based on G1 Soundwave’s Action Master companion. Like Stripes, this is another orange repaint, but it is a slightly darker shade which helps it stand on its own.

Wingthing Beast Mode

I do like the Ratbat mold, for anyone who doesn’t have it yet this is probably the least expensive way to get an official version.

Nightstalker

Nightstalker Cassette Mode

Nightstalker is the only new mold in this set and is clearly a pre-mold of Steeljaw, which will hopefully see a release soon along with a Masterpiece Blaster. According to TF Wiki, Nightstalker is most likely inspired by a G1 Marvel UK “design-a-decepticon” contest winner. The original Encore cassette was Steeljaw with Ravage’s weapons so, this version has rockets with flip out side wings to mimic those on G1 Ravage. Unfortunately the missile pods do not lock in place when in cassette mode.

Nightstalker Beast Mode

Due to the mechanics of the transformation he turns out to be about 2/3 the size of Stripes or Ravage. Despite the size however, Nightstalker is very pose-able and fun.

Nightstalker and Jaguar