Protectobot Groove – Transformers: Generations – Combiner Wars

We are going to go back in time a little bit today. Back to the days before the Titans Returned. Back in the days of the Combiner Wars. One G1 figure that was left out of the lineup was Groove. What a shame it was too. It seems like Hasbro made the choice of not creating the gigantic motorcycle for the Protectobots, instead going with the new character Rook. Instead, they made Groove a much smaller, more inscale Legends class figure. That did not sit right with a lot of people, since Groove was one of Defensor’s legs way back in 1986 when the Combiners first appeared.

While we were getting a tiny version of Groove here in the US in 2015, in Japan, they were getting a really great version of Groove. Finally in 2016 the US got their Groove with some strange release methods. I ended up getting him online for a killer price. One day he was $45, and then I saw him for $16.99. He has stayed that price on Amazon for a while now, and I can tell you he is worth it!

In a strange turn of events, the back of the packaging says Protectobot Groove is a part of the Sky Reign team. Umm, his name is “Protectobot” Groove. What are they thinking? Of course he is a part of Defensor and the Protectobot team. Crazy I tell you. At least they show him as the correct appendage.

Straight off, Groove looks great. He is well detailed, and has lots of good paint apps. White, gold and silver make up most of his coloring with touches of black here and there.

He comes with THREE guns. He has two blasters, equipped with police lights on the top. He also comes with the hand/foot gun that has the dual gatling guns.

From the back, you can see he is definitely a motorcycle. There is a bit of a backpack back there. As we have seen many times before, there is not really a great place to hide a motorcycle’s front wheel.

Transforming him is about as easy as the rest of the Combiner Wars figures. They are all pretty straight forward. Groove looks great in bike mode. He is about the same size as Wreck-Gar, so while he is out of scale with the rest of the vehicles, it allows another robot to ride him.

I cannot get over how cool the guns are. The red lights are the best. At the bottom, the gun handles are clear, so they are probably not supposed to be there when in bike mode. They would have blended in better with the bike without the handles sticking down there. I think that is a Tomy touch that carried back to the US and the Hasbro team.

There is a lot going on here at the front of the bike. This could have just been a sticker or a splash of silver paint, but this is a Tomy motorcycle, so there is a painted light, with clear plastic over it. He has a blue windshield, and clear red lights on the side. These are such fantastic fine details.

I am skipping Sky Reign, who they claim he belongs to, and going right to Defensor, who I know he actually belongs to.

As with most of the appendages for the Combiners, there is not a lot of parts to move to go from vehicle to body part. The legs are generally the easiest of all. As with the others, Groove can become either an arm or a leg. He was a leg back in the day, so a leg he will be again.

Finally Defensor can be put together the right way. Rook has been omitted from the line-up. First Aid moved from the right leg, to the left arm, and Groove took his rightful place as the right leg. All is right with the world.

Except for poor Rook. He is now a Combiner without a team. His is a good guy, so he will be able to stay on the team as backup.


World of Nintendo – Slippy Toad, Fox McCloud, and Peppy

The World of Nintendo figures were not on my radar before late last year. I picked up Mario, and from there, I had to have others. I have most of the Mario Bros. gang, and then I found some Star Fox figures that were a lot of fun too. I like that they fit into scale with one another very well.

I remember playing Star Fox when I was younger on my SNES, and loved the 3D game play. It is so rudimentary by today’s standards, with better graphics on my phone than the SNES, but back then, to go from playing game with sideways scroll, or top-down views of planes flying, this was crazy awesome.

The figures, as with all of the World of Nintendo figures, come with an accessory. The first released figures came with a blind box surprise. That was fine, but pretty easy to figure out what was in the box. Fox McCloud was the only one from this series that was early enough to have a blind box.

Fox is really well done. He has passable articulation, as do most of the figures in this line. They don’t go too crazy, but for most of the figures, the 11 or so POA are enough.

Fox cam with a tiny model of the Arwing that he flies around in. Now he can recreate his favorite scene from Top Gun, where the pilots were playing around with models.

I found Peppy second. I love this guy. He does not have the tough pilot look that Fox has. There is no arrogance about him. He is cuter than he is action hero. But that is part of his charm. He is a short guy, with his head only coming to Fox’s shoulder. Those ears make up for it though. He comes with a supply box. Not the best of accessories, but decent enough for display.

Then there is Slippy. Another rather cute looking guy. I am starting to see why we got Fox and Falco in Super Smash Brothers, but not these two. Slippy come with a bomb.


This is a great team of characters. They look great together. I have never been able to find Falco, but I am still on the hunt. Online places want $24 or more, if they are not already sold out. It could be quite tricky to fill out the four members of this team. At least these three are really well done, and have a place on the shelf with the rest of my World of Nintendo figures.


Hera Syndulla’s A-Wing – Star Wars Rebels – 3 3/4 inch vehicle

There is a Mandalorian fighter in the background.  Will we get one of those too?

There is a Mandalorian fighter in the background. Will we get one of those too?

Hera is one of my favorite characters in the Rebels show. She has such an even attitude, which probably helps make her a great pilot. I recently finished the novel A New Dawn, in which Hera and Kanan meet each other for the first time. It wasn’t a long time together, but Kanan fell in love with her from the start. We got a glimpse of what a good pilot she was in the book. In the book Rise of the Empire, that also includes A New Dawn, there is a short story were we see a brand new Hera take on the Empire for the first time, not only showing good pilot skills, but also what a good heart she has.

In the show, Rebels, Hera usually flies The Ghost. She got to fly the new experimental B-Wing, and really showed that she was a great pilot overall, and not just of her beloved Ghost. And then her great flying and good leadership saw her promoted to the leader of Phoenix Squadron, an A-Wing team of fliers.

The A-Wing comes with Hera in her trademark puffy orange pants. She has traded her goggles for a proper flight mask, though she does not wear a full helmet, probably due to her lukku which would give some trouble to putting a helmet on.

She is a typical 5 POA figure. Head, shoulders, and legs. I am still really bummed that this is the way Hasbro decided to go with the Star Wars figures. The Clone Wars era toys had so many POA, and now we are back to 5.

Hera sits in the cockpit of the A-Wing with no problem. It is a bit wide in there, so when she is flying around, she does bump around a bit. There is no place for her to store her blaster. In the Force Awakens and Rogue One vehicles, there were added holders for weapons. Not so this time around.

The A-Wing is such a recognizable fighter, from the flat pointed nose, to the giant fins off the back. The color scheme is really well executed, with tan, grey,white and burgundy. That is a lot of color on a small ship like this. This is a slightly different version than we see in the later Star Wars movies. This is the unmodified version where the fins completely go through the large engines. The nose is also flat all of the way across. In The Battle of Endor, we got to see the modified A-Wings in action that were much faster with less armor and weaponry.

The details are really well done. This is a new model, so the lines are nice and crisp. From the details of the engines to the panel lines on the body.

Then there is the glaring extra on this one. Apparently we need things that fire, and fire incorrectly for the show. We saw this with the giant Millennium Falcon that had an opening front end, the U-Wing with a drop-down gun, and now the A-Wing with a giant cannon attached to the bottom. All of that to fire a Nerf projectile. Ugh! I do not want to fire a Nerf projectile from the bottom of my A-Wing. What I want is an accurate version of the ship for the first time in forever. That being said, the firing mechanism is super strong, so the people that actually want to fire the cannon will have a lot of fun with the two projectiles included in the box.

From the back you can see the great details of the engines. Some really nice work went into making this look fantastic.

The underside shows the giant cannon and the holders for the two projectiles. Unfortunately, there is no way to actually take the cannon off the bottom. It is molded into the bottom of the ship. There goes that plan of a remodel.

 

Overall, I like this ship. I had yet to have an A-Wing in my vehicle collection. I have yet to see one in the store, but they are going for a really good price as of today on Amazon.


Bumblebee – Transformers: Generations – Titans Return – Legends Class

Oh good, another Bumblebee. HAHA!!! A fan favorite, he is often used a lot. In my collection I have 36 Bumblebees of differing sizes and styles (and that does not include the plethora of other figures that are repaints and remodels of Bee). Our long living Autobot saw life way back in 1984 as a Micro Change Volkswagen Beetle. Of course, he was the Beetle in the show as well. His first big change came in 2006 when he was released as a hatchback of Hasbro’s design. Not working with VW anymore, they kept the idea of Bee alive, but without the Beetle influence. Once the Transformers movie came out in 2007, Bee was reimagined as a Camaro, and he stayed his larger self for a long time. It even influenced his look in the Robots in Disguise and Prime TV shows.

Now we are running the nostalgia train, and the Generations line has streamlined the figures to look as close to their G1 counterparts as possible. That means Bee is going back to his roots, and getting that little car makeover yet again. He is back to a hatchback, and that means he is going to be super cute in robot mode too.

Back is the cute round face with the horns. Back is the insignia on the round chest. Short legs, and bubbly arms return as well. This is the classic Bee we have needed in the Generations line.

From behind, you can see he is really clean. I am amazed at how well he folds down. There is a lot of car folded into that torso area.

It is good for Bee to hang out with Wheelie. They both saw themselves swell beyond their regular heights over the course of the Generations line. They are both back to being their smaller selves in the Legends Class. They can go scout together.

In vehicle mode, you can see that cute little hatchback in all his glory. It is a tiny two door. As with the first redesign of Bee, this one has some go-faster details, like a longer front clip, a spoiler on the back, and really tall wheels filling the wells.

Bumblebee is a part of Titans Return, so he should be able to hold a Titan Master… and he can. The back end flips up with the entire roof attached. That allows a Titan Master to ride in style.

Who would have thought Bee would be able to take Brawn for a ride?

Who would have thought Bee would be able to take Brawn for a ride?

It is really amazing how these vehicles were designed to allow something like this to occur, as well as being able to transform. Remember, this is where all of the back end was stuffed when Bee is in robot mode. Now there is a tiny little driver in there.

When I was shooting the car, I noticed his license plate that reads “100 STRA”. I knew it looked familiar, but I couldn’t place it at the time. Later I was in my room, and I have a big movie Bumblebee on a shelf, and the license plate on his crotch reads “900 STRA.” So a little homage paid to his movie counterpart as a license plate. Nice.

It is really great that Habro has done such a good job of combining the forces of the Titans Return. They have figured out a way to include the Legends figures into game plan, and not left to the wayside as just some extra figures at a lower price point. Wheelie and Bumblebee are the best examples with actual cockpits for the Titan Master to ride in.

This was a great third wave of the Titans Returns Legends Class. Don’t feel too bad for the Autobots, with only one new figure this wave compared to two Decepticons. In the next two waves, it looks like we will get two Autobots in each wave, and no Decepticons. But then again it looks like the Cons are going to be focusing on the Voyager and Leader Classes with some big hitters, not to mention Trypticon who will rival Fort Max for the king of the Titans.


Kickback – Transformers: Generations – Titans Return – Legends Class

FINALLY the Insecticon team is complete!!! Skrapnel came out first, way back in the Generations: Thrilling 30 line back in 2013-14. From there, we got Bombshell in the very first wave of Combiner Wars in 2015. Now with Titans Return we have completed the team with Kickback. Three team members spread over a little more than three years. That is a long time to wait. Was it worth it?

It was. Kickback looks great. And even though these are three figures from three different sub-lines, they work so well together, and they all have that great G1 look to them, but with the articulation of a modern figure.

Kickback comes out of the package in his robot mode. That is not a surprise. Not a lot of kids are going to yell to mom and dad that they want a grasshopper toy. He is folded flat in the box, but with a few twists, his wings prominently stick up and help give him a little extra height.

He does not come with a gun like he did with his G1 toy. This time around, he has to rely on his name sake, and kick the Autobot back to wherever he came from.

His robot mode is great, but what makes these three even better is their unique transformation into giant bugs. Kickback is fairly well folded up in robot mode, and you cannot really tell what kind of bug he is, though you can definitely tell he is a bug. The transformation is pretty fun to get him transformed into a giant grasshopper. His wings are once again the main focus here. They have good movement to allow for playability in this mode. His back legs also have good articulation to allow for some super Kickback kicks.

This, being a part of the Titan’s Return line, has a cockpit of sorts to allow a Titan Master to ride on his back. The little Titan Master does not go in very far.

Together, the team looks great. For being over the course of three years, it is amazing how well these three match. The purple and yellow match well.

I am really happy with this guy. Again a great figure to make in the Legends scale.


Gnaw – Transformers: Generations – Titans Return – Legends Class

Ah, isn’t he cute? No? Really? Okay, not the cutest. Beady eyes and a short stature. It looks like he would have eaten his own mother if it were for not being a Transformer.

Gnaw is another fantastic upgrade of a figure from 1988. He was never made again until now. Part shark, part piranha, a mace for a tail, and a, well a different opinion than other Sharkticons. Gnaw has befriended Wheelie in the IDW continuity. It must be interesting to be an individual in a sea of Sharkticons.

Gnaw came out of the packaging in his robot mode. To get him to fit in the flat style box, his Sharkticon head, that sits behind his legs were folded down below his legs. One quick flip later, and he is ready to stand. He is short and stocky, but he does have some articulation. His legs aren’t the best, but he is a short guy, so I would not expect too much. He comes with his mace, but does not get a gun this time around.

From behind, you can see all of the greeble parts. His head with arms attached sit back there, just flopping around on the ground.

Gnaw is best in his beast mode. He just comes alive. Those clear eyes look amazing. He has plenty of color for primarily being a grey guy.

I really like the blue fin on top, and the tail being made out of the mace is great.

Boy can that mouth open wide. He could chew on pretty much anything he wanted, short of Fortress Maximus.

One of the gimmicks of the Titans Return figures is that they are Titan Master compatible. The small cars can hold a driver, or there is a little cockpit. This is a bit of a stretch. Gnaw has pegs in his mouth to hold a Titan Master. I presume it is so Gnaw can transport him to his next robot, though I would think a Titan Master would want a bit of a nicer ride.

The mouth even closes. The Titan Master stands up fully inside the mouth. It is just so strange to me. I would not want to have to hope a Sharkticon wouldn’t want to swallow. Yikes!

This guy is great! He is such a fun guy. He is again a figure that is just right for his scale. He is a little guy in the Legends scale, and that works great. He fits right in with the likes of Wheelie and Bumblebee. Now the tough decision is whether or not I need to army build these guys. Gnaw is one of a million.


Autobot Apex and Powermaster Optimus Prime – Transformers: Generations – Titans Return

Here is another interesting figure for Hasbro to tackle. This version of Optimus Prime pays homage to the 1988 gimmick of Powermasters. This is very similar to the Headmasters, where a smaller bot powers up the bigger bot. Originally it was an engine that plugged into Prime’s chest to give him more power. Of course we are in the midst of the Titans Return line, so Hasbro went with a Titan Master and made the big chest engine a part of the transformation. This is a pretty good execution of bringing forth a new version of the one-off figure from 1988. It also allows Hasbro to come out with two different Optimus Primes in this Series.

He comes with a card that shows Optimus’ power, and then the addition of Apex to the team.

Apex looks a lot like Orion Pax when Optimus’ helmet is pulled back. It is a good face when you think of it being similar to what we have seen given to Pax figures. The helmet can be stored in the back of the body.

Apex is a cute little guy. He looks like a very close approximation of Hi-Q, who was Prime’s original Powermaster partner.

Transforming Optimus into the truck seems very familiar. So familiar. Like Ultra familiar. Oh yeah, this is a heavy retool of Ultra Magnus from the Combiner War line. The cab looks similar, and the basic design of the overall cab/trailer combo looks familiar, but there are so many differences. The base body is the same, with many parts being reused. But there are also so many new parts.

Hasbro had to figure out how to close in the trailer, since Prime is technically a cargo hauler, not a car hauler like Magnus… though you know he mostly takes cars around. The back end opens with a ramp to allow smaller cars to fit inside, like Bumblebee, who we will be looking at in the near future.

When Optimus got a new model in 1988, they went over the top. Giant cannons mounted at the front of the trailer, check. Guns mounted on the roof, check. The telltale blue and white stripe down the side of the trailer, check. It is all here.

Comparing Prime to Magnus, it is clear to see the similarities and differences.

In truck mode, they look so close in the cab. You know the cabs have to be different, because Magnus has a driver’s seat in his cab for robot mode, and then it is taken up with a head in vehicle mode. Prime has a way to hold Apex in the cab as well as the helmet. The backs are clearly different, though they use the same basic body.

In robot mode, you can see where they used Magnus’ chest plate with a new plate to give Prime his Powermaster capabilities. They look a lot more similar in their robot modes.

One of the gimmicks of the original Powermaster Optimus, was the ability for the trailer to turn into a battle station. Since the cab and trailer are attached as one in this set, all of Prime turns into a battle station. Really the trailer turns into the station, and the cab just hangs out back there facing the wrong way.

It is a funny thing to see Ultra Magnus come first and then be remodeled into Optimus. But it has been done with some other figures more recently. They bring out the remodel figure first, and then the original. Can’t complain with that, since I will probably end up getting both version anyway. This is a good version of Optimus Prime. The Powermaster parts give him a nice unique look, and he is a welcome part of my ever growing Optimus Prime army.


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