April seems to have gone by in a flash. As far as shopping for Transformers goes, we seem to be in a dry spell. For the hardcore TransFan, not a whole lot new stuff hit the shelves this month. Below I present the TFs that I bought in April
- TF Prime RID Soundwave, Walmart, $12.88
- TF Prime RID Arcee, Target, $12.99
- DOTM Deluxe Darksteel, Kohl’s, $3.90
I first bought Soundwave in March. But like I mentioned in the March post, I wanted to see if I can find it cheaper. On April 1st I found him at Walmart (and returned the 1st one to TRU). Also on the same day I got Arcee at Target. Both of these figures are excellent. This particular Soundwave is a very refreshing take on the character, and both alt mode and robot mode are accurate to his show appearance. RID Arcee is also a solid figure that will give the FE version a run for her money. In fact, I can’t decide which is the better Arcee. They both have their pros and cons. TF Prime figures as a whole have been nothing short of spectacular. There’s not a single one thus far that I would not recommend.
As for Darksteel, the $3,90 price is not a mistake. Regular price is $16.99 as you can see in the pic, but they were having a sale. I also had one of those $10 Kohl’s gift cards that I frequently get in the mail. So final price after tax was $3.90. Not a bad deal at all. I already bought Darksteel last year, but I broke one of the foot pieces so I thought I buy it again.
Only 3 TFs for April… that’s very unlike me. Hopefully there will be more TFs in May. Transform and Roll Out!
“You break it, I’ll remake it.” Any TransFan worth his energon can immediately identify which legendary TF this motto belongs to. As the Autobot’s chief medical officer and primary physician, Ratchet is a major character across all Transformers universes. As far as I know, he made an appearance in every TF continuity. And more often than not, Ratchet plays a major role as part of the core group of Autobots belonging to Optimus Prime’s inner circle. This is seen in G1, the Movie-verse, TF Animated, TF Prime, and the TF War For Cybertron video game. Always a healer first, Ratchet is most often seen tending to comrades wounded in battle. However, Ratchet does possess decent fighting abilities, and is not afraid to get his hands dirty in a fight when the situation requires it. Ratchet is a favorite of comic writer Simon Furmon. In both the original US G1 Marvel comics and the IDW G1 reboot, Ratchet has a significant part to play in the fight against the Decepticons. His courage and loyalty is unquestioned.
So it goes without saying that I would have many figures of such an iconic character in the TF Universe. Below are some pics of all the Ratchets in my collection.
Front row (left to right): TF Animated Activator, TF Animated Deluxe (Earth mode), TF Animated Deluxe (Cybertron mode), TF Prime Deluxe, Universe Deluxe. Back row (left to right): Movie 1 Voyager, ROTF Deluxe, DOTM Deluxe.
For the group pics, I put all the Movie-verse Ratchets in the back, and all other Ratchets in the front. As I compiled all my Ratchets together, it dawned on me that I have exactly one Ratchet from each Bay movie. The DOTM deluxe figure is probably my favorite out of the 3 that I have. I also forgot I have 3 Ratchets from TF Animated. Believe it or not, the Activator figure is the first TF Animated figure that I bought. He came with Sunstorm in a Target exclusive 2-pack. That’s why I even have him, since normally I wouldn’t buy Activator figures. I found that 2-pack for $5 BTW. As for the Deluxe Animated figures, they’re both quite good. I really liked the Universe figure when I first got him. But now that I’m looking at him again years later, that head-looking-down issue is bugging me. Still, he’s not a bad update for the CHUG line. And last but not least, there is the TF Prime Deluxe Ratchet. This Ratchet is really well built and the design is brilliant. He’s probably my favorite Ratchet out of the whole bunch. At this time he’s readily available in mass retail. Grab him if you see one.
The only unopened Ratchet I have is the G1 Encore figure. To this day, I have not played with G1 Ratchet or any of its re-issues. Same goes for G1 Ironhide. So I have no idea how this figure transforms. Hardcore G1-ers like myself know that this figure does not come with a real head. I think maybe one of these days, I will open the Encore figure and finally check out how good (or bad) this iconic G1 figure really is.
Transforming all these Ratchets to take the pics was a good exercise. I kinda forgot how to transform some of the figures. But none of them are too tough to figure out. This was a good refresher for me. I actually think that Universe Ratchet is the most difficult out of this bunch, but other TransFans may disagree.
I also noticed that I didn’t buy doubles of any Ratchets. That’s weird. I kinda wish I bought more Universe Ratchets. The value of this figure has gone up considerably.
Until next time, Transform and Roll Out!
Back in August of 2011, I featured this customized Generations Red Alert done by my buddy Gemini. He brought me the figure and the gun weapon, but he left the engine accessory at home in his possession. Some time later, he painted the engine piece and mailed it to me. I also did not take any pics of Red Alert in alt mode in that post. So Today I’m going to show off the painted engine on Red Alert in his sporty Lamborghini-inspired race car mode.
The silver paint and red and gold highlights on this particular accessory really adds that extra something. If you don’t believe me, take a look below at the painted with the unmodified, side by side.
After the custom paint, anyone can easily see just how dull the engine accessory really is in its original factory default colors. Hasbro should take a cue and learn from these pics. Some little paint touch up here and there can really add a lot.
The pic above shows off how the gun weapon is attached to Red Alert in alt mode. The gun basically becomes the exhaust. This piece is painted silver. Check out how much better this looks over the dull factory colors in this post.
Transform and Roll Out!
As the first combiner team in the TF Universe, the Constructicons are the most recognizable gestalt group among hardcore TransFans. Many combiner teams have come since their appearance, but no other unit has had the legacy that is claimed by this platoon of six Decepticon construction vehicles. They made their first appearance in 1984 in the G1 episode “Heavy Metal War”, one of my favorite G1 eps of all time. The six evil builders sneaked into the Ark for some mischief, not expecting to be overpowered individually by the Dinobots. And just when it looked like the Dinos were gonna turn them to slag, the Constructicons combined to form the fearsome Devastator!
Since the introduction of Classic figures in 2006, hardcore G1-ers such as myself have been crying for an update of the Constructicons that would fit well into the Classic-verse. We all knew that the chance of it really happening was small. Hasbro has not made a true combiner team since god knows when. Their recent approach to gestalts, such as the ROTF Constructicons and PCCs, are nothing short of disappointing. A true combiner team in the G1 spirit does indeed feel like a heavy undertaking, something Hasbro was not prepared to invest in.
Enter TFC Toys, a third party in the same vein as FansProject or iGear. I don’t have any background information on this company. But they were willing to give us what Hasbro will not. Similar to the 2010 FansProject homage to Combaticons, TFC Toys is giving us “Hercules”, a team of six constructions vehicles that can each transform into a robot and combine to form the giant Hercules. Since TFC Toys is not affiliated with Hasbro in any shape or form, they cannot use official Hasbro names to the characters. But it’s obvious that this team of 6 is an homage to the original Constructicons.
This set is not cheap. Each figure is about $100. I’ll let you do the math for how much it cost for the entire set. Clearly this is for hardcore collectors only. Each figure is about Voyager size. I bought the first one back in Oct of 2011, and I completed the set in Feb of this year. Each is packaged in robot mode. A group shot of them individually appears below.
And here is a group shot of them individually in their alt modes.
Each figure in the set is well constructed and feels solid and robust. From a pure aesthetics perspective, these figures draw heavy influences from G1 and the Classic-verse (no weird Movie designs here). Transformation for each figure is also not difficult, and should be obvious to anyone who has played with enough G1 or CHUG toys. I won’t go too much into each figure individually. Just know that I am impressed with each of the 6.
I should point out however that there are 2 constructions issues. The first one has to do with Heavy Labor’s hip joints. TFC was willing to acknowledge the issue and has included a replacement part with Neckbreaker. This post goes into the fix in good detail. The other issue has to do with Neckbreaker itself. It’s a pretty easy fix that I did in about 5 min. Check out this post for the fix. I realize that at $100 a piece, they should be issue-free. However this is TFC Toy’s first attempt, and they were responsible enough to provide fixes, so I don’t see it as a big deal.
Ok, now onto the real reason I bought this set, the giant Hercules. This figure is awesome when combined! Check it out!
Hercules is such a towering giant of a robot that you can’t help but be impressed when the figure is witnessed in person. Transformation of each of the individual components is not difficult, but putting them together to form Hercules does require some work. The joints that connect each component is super tight! I really had to apply force to get the pieces to combine. That’s probably a good thing, considering that each figure is Voyager size, so the tight connection will help Hercules stay combined.
Neckbreaker also comes with a visor that you can put over the eyes of the head of Hercules. This is so you can decide between how you want Hercules to look, either more like the G1 toy (no visor) or more like the G1 show (with visor). The picture above is the only one here where I did not put on the visor. Personally I like how he looks in the G1 cartoons, so the visor is included in all shots below.
One thing that I really like about this set is the fact that extraneous pieces are not required for combining. With the G1 toys, merging into the mighty Devastator required a extra head piece, a extra chest piece, a extra hip piece, 2 extra forearms, and 2 extra fists. Many of these pieces had no where to go when the Constructicons are separated, in either or both alt and robot modes. Combining the toys were impossible without the head and hip piece. The Hercules set has no such issues. Extraneous pieces are not required for combination. Almost everything needed is built into the figures. Take Hercules’ head for example. It is built into Dr. Crank’s back. All connectors are also built into each component. The only pieces that can be argued as add-ons are the fists and chest shield. However, there are places to store these in both individual alt and robot modes, so they are accounted for. Even the guns used by individual figures are accounted for when combined (more on this later). I give TFC Toys high praise for engineering a combination mechanism where add-on pieces are very minimally used.
Below are some size comparisons pics. See for yourself what a massive figure Hercules really is.
For a gestalt, Hercules is quite poseable. There are pivot points at the neck, shoulder, elbows, fists, fingers, hips, and feet. The only key places absent of articulation are the knees. The gestalts made by Hasbro are not articulated at all, so I feel TFC Toys has given us more than enough.
One last thing that I wanted to show is the giant rifle used by Hercules. Take a careful look at the picture below. The rifle is formed by taking the six pistols used by each figure and combining them. Very very cool. I did not know of this until I bought the set. TFC Toys really put a lot of thought into the design of Hercules.
To summarize, I cannot say enough good things about Hercules. I give this set the highest possible recommendation. Yes I know the price is gonna be a turnoff for many, but it is so worth it. As of this writing, BBTS has a sale on third party figures, which may alleviate some of the financial burden of owning something so awesome. If you like combining transforming robots, you owe it to yourself to acquire this in your collection.
With Hercules, TFC Toys has established themselves as a solid 3rd party in the Transformers Universe. I look forward to what they will produce next… Transform and Roll Out!