Bringing the Unexpected: Part Six – The Final Clones

Bringing the Unexpected: Part Six – The Final Clones

The clone two pack has finally arrived at Junkion HQ and they saved the best for last. (If, like me, you are not lucky enough to have found one in your local Walgreens store, you can order your own on their site.)

Clones in package

Wingspan

The second Decepticon beast is just as fun as the first.

The Robot

Not surprisingly, the new clones look pretty much the same in robot mode.

Wingspan robot mode

The Bird

The transformation on these are more satisfying than the first two clones since they include a few more steps. Wingspan’s arms have an extra little piece attached to the shoulder that links the wings to the body and locks everything into place. We can also finally see the reason for the second hinge int he robot hips since it is required for the transformation of the final two clones.

Wingspan beast mode

Comparison

Here is Wingspan with his G1 self: shorter but better articulation.

Wingspan with G1 robot mode

Sadly, my G1 Wingspan can only be called “span” since he no longer has any wings but here they are together in beast mode anyways.

Wingspan with G1 beast modeEvil Decepticon Span transforms into a vicious cyber-turkey

And with his updated pal Pounce, he’s the one on the… he’s one of these two.

Decepticon Clones robot mode

They’re easier to tell apart in beast mode.

Decepticon Clones beast mode

Titan/Prime Master Integration

You can put a Titan or Prime Master onto his back and finally recreate those Lord of the Rings scenes with Transformers like you know you’ve always wanted to.

Wingspan with Prime Master

Cloudraker

Although his jet mode is no more convincing than the original, I still enjoy the air-based Autobot clone.

The Robot

Again, not a radical new look for the robot mode, as expected.

Cloudraker robot mode

The Plane

Here is where all of the new comes in.

Cloudraker vehicle mode

Titan/Prime Master Integration

Like Fastclash before him, Cloudraker includes a flip up panel on his chest that becomes a cockpit in alt mode.

Cloudraker with Prime MasterThis is a totally natural way to ride a jet

Comparison

Sadly, my G1 Cloudraker has gone missing so here he is in robot mode with G1 Fastlane.

Cloudraker with G1 robot mode

The clone look is really broken by the large spoiler and wheels on Fastclash’s shoulders.

Autobot Clones robot mode

Air and Land attack!

Autobot Clones vehicle modeThese are totally real vehicles!

Extra: Weapons

Thanks to ToyHax’s Black Friday sale I picked up several of their label and parts sets including the missing weapons for the Autobot clones. Fastclash’s weapons are included in ToyHax’s Chaos on Velocitron set and Cloudraker’s are in their own set.

Autobot Clones with weapons robot mode

Cloudraker’s weapons really work well with the jet mode and help give the “arms pointed backwards” fuselage a bit more purpose.

Autobot Clones with weapons vehicle mode

360 Degree Turnaround Videos

Along with the new year, I’m introducing a new feature 360 degree turnaround videos. With these you’ll be able to see front, back and side views of each figure in each mode.

Cloudraker

Wingspan

Titans Return Brainstorm

Titans Return Brainstorm

Due to a very brief appearance on clearance, I was able to grab myself a new copy of Brainstorm from Walgreens.

Brainstorm in package

The Robot

Brainstorm wears this mold well, the white, grey and teal are very striking. Like with Nautica, the shoulder mounted wings really help to break up the Blurr outline.

Brainstorm robot mode

The Titan Master

Teslor is a simple repaint of the Blurr Titan Master with a new backpack.

Teslor robot mode

The Space Jet

The most noticeable difference with this version compared to G1 or the Generations Voyager is the single tail-fin necessitated by sharing Blur’s transformation engineering. The second biggest difference is the fact that the robot arms lay flat along the sides of the jet instead of doubling up under the wings – this worked OK on the G1 version but was a bit awkward on the Voyager so I don’t mind the change.

Brainstorm jet mode

The Mold

Blurr mold robot mode
I’m quite fond of the Blurr mold and now have all four versions along with Nautica and Arcee. I’m even considering picking up the soon to be re-released Legends version of Blurr that I missed the first time around.

Blurr mold vehicle mode

As you can see from the photos Brainstorm and Arcee got the most remolding with new shields, spoilers and shoulders while Nautica simply got snap-on wings.

Walgreens Exclusive?

I still find it totally bizarre that Walgreens, of all places, has exclusive Transformers. The reason I caught this deal was that I’ve been watching the site closely hoping for this year’s Walgreens exclusive, the Clone two pack, to reappear online.

Brainstorm was released in the US as an exclusive twice, also appearing in the Titan Force box set at SDCC and later Hasbro Toy Shop  in a lighter, more anime inspired, deco.

Price Roller Coaster

When originally released, Brainstorm was $17.99 on the Walgreens site. At the beginning of November, it was marked as “clearance” and the price on the listing dropped to $11.09 – unfortunately this price was not honored when adding it to the cart where it still came up at regular price. That was during the “good old days” when the Clones were still listed on their site.

Brainstorm Clearance listing
It didn’t take long for the clearance label to be dropped and, at the same time, the price went up to $19.99. Over Cyber Weekend, when I got this one, it went on clearance for real and the price dropped to $8.59.
Brainstorm Clearance for real this time
That didn’t last long either and the price went up to $14.99 where it remains as of this writing.
Brainstorm Clearance Take 3

Pricing Update

The proverbial ink on this post was barely dry when I checked Walgreens site for the clones and found this:

Brainstorm Clearance Take 4
Back up to $19.99, and no clones.

Transformers Prejudices

After coming clean about being a “Rumble is Red” guy in my last post I started thinking about my personal Transformer Prejudices. For example the reasons that, for me, Rumble is red, Thrust is the best Seeker (with wings behind his shoulders BTW) and Twin Twist is an important character is all due to the fact that I owned the toys as a kid.

A lot of the G1 arguments we have in the fandom are topics where both sides are technically correct. Of course, my side is more technically correct, but I digress.

Scale

We talk about this a lot; Masterpiece Ultra Magnus is too big (disagree), Masterpiece Grimlock is too small (conditionally agree), Power of the Primes Predaking is too big/not big enough (too early to tell). Lets be honest, there is no possible way that you can make everyone happy using a physical object to represent anything animated in the original cartoon.

TFwiki.net Hoist driving HufferScale – I don’t think that word means what you think it means (photo from TF Wiki)

With deliberate mass-shifting and abundant animation errors it’s simply impossible to represent the characters as they were shown.

Takara decided to base their post MP-10 Masterpiece scale on the following guide (photo from TF Wiki):

TFwiki.net G1 Scale Chart

This is great-ish. We have a standard scale for the robot modes that is consistent across the line. However, take Bumblebee…

Sideswipe & Bumblebee robot mode

…looks about right…

Sideswipe & Bumblebee vehicle mode

…wait, is that a child’s pedal-car model of a Volkswagon?

Personally I like the approach that Takara took since I primarily display my collection in robot mode.

Masterpiece Autobots

However, eagle-eyed readers might notice MP-8 Grimlock standing between Ultra Magnus and Optimus Prime, a clear violation of the scale chart. To compound the violation is Bullsfire DB-01 Air Strike, my Swoop stand-in which, unlike every other Masterpiece themed Swoop, is scaled to match MP-8. I did pick up FansToys’ FT-05 Soar but it is far too large to fit into my display.

Ultra Magnus

I don’t think of Ultra Magnus as a repainted Optimus Prime in armor because I didn’t get the toy until I was in college and the animation model always transformed straight from the car carrier to the bot.

Ultra Magnus with Minimus Ambus

Sure, I’ve read the Dreamwave comics where he was “revealed” as wearing armor and I’ve read the IDW comics where he was “revealed” as Minimus Ambus, just one in a long line of Ultra Magnus cosplayers, but that was long after my opinions were solidified.

Takara vs. Hasbro vs. Third Party

TakaraTomy vs Hasbro Hot Rod

There are a lot of fans that will, very emphatically, argue that one is inherently better than the others, often followed by declaring how poor those other two options “really” are. I tend to double dip into Takara for my main collection when a deco (Henkei chrome) or additional accessory (Targetmasters) warrants it then use third party versions to fill gaps, primarily on the Masterpiece side. If I have a third-party version and an official version comes out I tend to display only the official.

Takara, Fansproject, Hasbro sharing the spotlight

LG-44 Sharkticon

LG-44 Sharkticon

Takara LegendsRecent releases from both Hasbro and TakaraTomy have been a celebration of the original animated movie, the latest example of this is LG-44 Sharkticon & Sweeps.

Sharkticon - box

Sharkticon

The Sharkticon mold is a great little ball of terror!

Sharkticon - beast

To transform; remove the mace and fold the fin back. Disconnect the top half of the beast mode, split it apart and fold it back to make the robot legs. Fold the beast head halves back to become the robot heels. Move the beast hip joints up until they snap into place to become the robot solders. Spin the beast feet around to become the robot forearms. Fold the beast lower jaw down to become the robot chest then rotate the robot head up out of the torso. Spin the head to face forward then fold up the fin against the robot back.

Sharkticon - robot

There’s something almost lovable about this rotund little bot.

Gnaw

This mold was originally released in the US as Titans Return Gnaw.

Sharkticon & Gnaw - beast

Takara’s version is mostly grey with purple and blue accents. The fin, beast arms, upper legs and mace are all molded in the same grey as the lower-half of the beast mode. The fists and robot thighs are now in purple to match the beast mode’s mouth.

Sharkticon with Gnaw

Sweeps

Sweep Headmaster - robot

I skipped LG-26 Scourge the first time around but picked one up specifically to go with Sharkticon’s Sweeps Head Master. There are no differences between the two Head Masters

Sweep Headmaster - head

Sweeps Head Master mustache goes upwards over his cheeks instead of down like Scourge’s.

Sweep with Scourge

The Swarm

I’m not usually a troop builder but something about this figure made me want a swarm.

Swarm

I might have managed with just the one if not for ToyHax and their label upgrade set. The set includes enough labels to customize three figures in their own color scheme. After seeing this, I immediately pictured Gnaw with three squad leaders each backed up with half a dozen color coordinated drones. Sadly, reality and budgetary limitations forced me to scale this back a bit. Now, with the Legends version, my swarm is a quintet – rather appropriate for servants of the Quintessons, I think.

QC Punishment

After greedily ordering three additional Gnaws Karma decided to punish me a bit. Although my first Gnaw is perfect, none of the others can keep their tails in place in beast mode. It was so bad that I even labeled each tail/mace to make sure it gets back to the figure it originally came with.

Swarm - tails

Conclusion

Despite a few loose tails I’ve really enjoyed these figures and wanted to end with a scene inspired by the movie.

Movie Scene

Box Set Refugees

Box Set Refugees

At New York Comic Con 2017 today Hasbro announced the immediate availability of Grotusque with the final die-cast Titan Master Scorponok!

Grotusque & Scorponok

Grotusque is a remold of Titans Return Twinferno (aka Doublecross) with an all new beast head and arms.
Grotusque beast mode

I doubt it will be long before Botcon’s Headmaster Scorponok starts showing up with this new die-cast head attached.

Grotusque and Scorponok will be packaged just like Arcee (now available from TRU) in a special black box.

Grotusque box

I’m glad to see that we’re getting another refugee from the two cancelled box sets and hope that we see more!

Bringing the Unexpected: Part Four – Twin Twist

Bringing the Unexpected: Part Four – Twin Twist

Twin Twist has finally arrived at Junkion HQ and the Jumpstarters are finally complete!

Jumpstarters complete!

In photos Twin Twist’s tank treads can look very thin and Topspin’s wings do not lock in place so I had been a little concerned about how the treads would work. But with the actual toy in hand I’m happy to say that they stay in place very well in both modes. There’s no real lock but they are tighter than Topspin’s wings.

Twin Twist vechicle mode

Like his mold-mate, Twin Twist has a great transformation that  compacts everything into the vehicle mode for a very solid feel. Not only is it a great update of the original, but the cockpit is very well integrated and feels like it should always have been there.

Twin Twist with G1

Also like his mold-mate, Twin Twist’s biggest difference from the original is the height difference. There is no question that these are the same ‘bot. You may notice that my G1 Twin Twist is not exactly pristine – it is my original toy and features a catalog Autobot symbol that I glued on after the sticker wore off.

Twin Twist robot mode

After seeing a solid color parts swap of Twin Twist and Topspin on TFW2005 and realizing how much I loved Topspin I decided to double-dip. After much debate I finally settled on donating these bodies to Clobber and Ptero. I thouth that he blue for Ptero would evoke the Diaclone figure while the white Clobber would have a Beast Wars feel.

Clobber & Ptero with bodies

Swoop was another figure that I owned “back in the day” and I was very excited when Ptero was announced, especially after seeing how great Clobber’s beast mode turned out. Unfortunately I was underwhelmed by Ptero’s mini-vehicle and am much happier with him in his new form (at least until we receive the true Swoop next year).

Clobber & Ptero vehicle mode

Titans Return Tripplechangers

Titans Return Tripplechangers

After much waiting and anticipation the last two Tripplechangers from Titans Return have finally arrived at Junkion HQ.

Tripplechangers!

I hate to say it, but I’m disappointed.

I enjoyed Laser Optimus Prime from Chaos On Velocitron so much that I purchased the original Diac & Optimus Prime to go with it.

Primes!I especially liked how the Rodimus Prime head looks on this mold.

But, right out of the box, Blitzwing and Octone both have mangled Decepticon badges. I was able to smooth out the one on Octone but Blitzwing’s was unrecoverable.

Sad Decepticon Logo

I don’t have the pre-mold Megatron version so I was really looking forward to Blitzwing but the stickers are just so poor that it sucks the fun out of the figure. I wasn’t happy with the stickers on Laser Optimus Prime’s trailer, but they’re mostly out of the way, especially in robot mode.

Octone's Sad Wing

Another disappointment is that one of my Octone’s wings is extremely loose and rarely stays in place. The only good thing about this is that is that, while looking for more stable configurations, I stumbled on a fun Shockwave mode.

Octone/Shockwave

The good news here is for ToyHax who will probably be selling two more sets of labels to clean up my sad Tripplechangers very soon.

Decepticons Rule!

HasCon TF Exclusives

HasCon TF Exclusives

According to io9, HasCon will have two Transformers exclusives; Optimus Prime and Arcee with Ultra Magnus.

Optimus Prime power bank

Looking for a backup battery for your phone? This one transforms!

If charging your phone is too dull for you you can use the battery to power Optimus’ light-up sword!

A bit out of left field, but also something of a continuation of Takara’s Device Label.

Box Set Refugees

TR Ultra MagnusTitans Return Arcee leaked card

They’re releasing the Blurr repaint Arcee with the Ultra Magnus Titan Master as a set. I suspect the trading cards, which many pointed out don’t match most of the other cards from TR, are for this set and use art from the cancelled box sets.

Update

More photos from the Arcee & Ultra Magnus set have surfaced including the packaging and both Titan Masters.

Packaging

Leinad (or Daniel if you prefer) has a blank silver face and, disappointingly, is not the same mold as the Exo-Suit Spike that’s coming with Legends Bumblebee. I’m sure we’ll see some face swaps once both figures are out in the wild.
Titan Masters