Monthly Archives: June 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction – Target 2-pack – Silver Knight Optimus Prime and Grimlock

I am not always a huge fan of the 2-packs that come out in stores.   Sometimes they are just repaints, and other times they are to get us to rebuy figures we already have in order to get “that other” figure.  Well, this two pack falls into the first category.  An old Optimus and an old Grimlock, recolored to be packaged and sold again.  This time around though, it has two things going for this 2-pack.  1. Lots of chrome, and 2. An excellent repaint of Grimlock to match his G1 color scheme.  So, I had to pick up this set.

Optimus Prime:

 

This version of Optimus was ironically enough, a Walmart exclusive the last time around.  He certainly didn’t have this much chrome going for him that time around.  There have been a bunch of toys starting to show up with the Silver Knight title.   I don’t know if Optimus is going to be making quite an entrance for the finale of the movie, but it looks like that may be the way we are going to be going here.  I am pretty sure that we will not see him revery back to his Dark of the Moon truck, after seeing the new truck.  Just another way to get a little more money out of us.  I do thin we will actually get a good version of the Silver Knight a little later this summer.

The only change for this version are his sword, which is pretty weak.  It is seriously lacking details, and it is too big.

As good as he looks, chromed out in his robot mode, he really looks good in his vehicle mode.  The transformation is pretty easy and fun, with a few tricks in the legs to shorten them up.

Overall, this is a good version of Optimus.  I am not a huge fan of the Deluxe versions of Optimus.  He really needs to be in the Voyager Class to fit into scale with the other team members.

One thing to watch out for:

The first 2-pack I brought home had an Optimus with 2 left hands. I had to take it back to the store to get a replacement. No flipping these hands around.

Grimlock:

Truth be told, I was way more interested in Grimlock than I was in Optimus.   I was really excited to see the Fall of Cybertron Grimlock with the G1 color scheme.  I knew this was going to be a good figure to get my hands on.

The silver of the new Grimlock is a lot lighter to resemble the old color.  He also has on the red bike shorts as well as the colors down the front of his legs.  It is clear Hasbro went to a lot more trouble getting this new Grimlock ready than they spent of Optimus.   I guess that is what we would expect, since Grimlock is the new character in the newest movie.

He really looks like the G1 Grimlock when he is in T-Rex mode.  I think the only drawback of this version is his stumpy tail.  He has the button on the back of his neck that allows for a light-up mouth (batteries included).

This is a very good version of Grimlock.  Grimlock fans will definitely want to get their hands on this 2-pack.  Optimus is not the best one out there, but this version of Grimlock more than makes up for it.


Transformers: Age of Extinction – High Octane Bumblebee and Crosshairs

We are going to get away from the Dinobots for a bit here and look at a few of the vehicles.   Bumblebee, who we knew would have to be back, being a crowd favorite and all, and a new player, Crosshairs.

High Octane Bumblebee:

Bumblebee has been around from the start.  A fan favorite, he often has to step in and save the day to some extent, usually saving some humans or another.   It will be interesting to see how his job changes as he doesn’t have Sam to protect any more.

He has a huge amount of the car on his upper body.  Somehow he manages to stay slim like the scout he is.  There is a lot about him that still looks the same from the previous movies.  It is nice to see him not just reissued as a repainted version of a previous movie’s character.  The only drawback I have with him is the flick-fire missile on his arm.  We don’t need him to fire something (Crosshairs doesn’t, nor do any of the Dinobots).  The interest of the toy line is the fact that robots transform into vehicles, not that they fire little missiles.  In the case of Optimus Prime, they did a pretty good job of hiding the missile and the trigger, so that worked.  This one is not even removable.  If you take off the missile, he still has the launcher sticking out there.

One of the places I was most worried about was his back.   When I saw him in package, there was a lot of car’s top hanging down around his legs.  I was really worried that it was going to be left as one giant piece, and really mess with the overall design.  Thankfully, it was just the way he was packaged, so he would fit in the proper size bubble.   His roof folds over itself into a pretty tight backpack.

Finally Bee gets the Camaro treatment he was always meant to have.  I have nothing against the new Camaro design, I just know the writers of the first movie really wanted to go with this version of the Camaro when he was found by Sam, but there would be no way a kid would be able to own one of the most desired Camaros out there.  Flat black with a touch of yellow highlights.  He is lookin’ mean, and a great color choice for a scout.

Crosshairs:

Crosshairs has a very interesting face.  It looks like goggles on his head.  My overall impression of him in robot mode is that he is fine.   Nothing too special about him.   The shoulders are a little high, making it rather hard for him to see what is going on to the sides.    I do like that he comes with three guns.   He has this two-handed machine gun type weapon.  No, he can’t hold it with both hands.   He also comes with two smaller hand guns.  They fit into holes behind his side flairs.  Speaking of the side flairs, I am not impressed.  I am actually a lot worried about them. They are made of a rubber type material that folds from the car’s body and attaches into slots on his chest.  It looks like he is supposed to have these softer flairs that move when he moves.  I think it might be a Matrix kind of thing.

Here is the real problem with Crosshairs:

I thought we were done witht his lazy design garbage.  The hood of the car just sticks out back there.  I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t put a better hinge there to allow the hood to fold all the way up to Crosshair’s back.  Grrr!  Not to mention that the side flairs, from the side, look like the side of the car.  This is some pretty lazy designing.

When Crosshairs is transformed into vehicle mode, good things happen.  He looks so nice in vehicle mode. That is a sweet Corvette.  The colors work well together.   His transformation is a little tricky.  Again, they say, “Reverse direction to change to vehicle mode.”  I can’t imagine kids being able to follow those direction going backwards.

So, better in vehicle mode… until you put him next to another vehicle:

Why is he so stinkin’ HUGE!?!?!  He is about 50% too big sitting next to Bee.   In robot mode, they look good together.  What happened making him in vehicle mode?   They did it again, and messed with the overall design. Don’ they put these into computers or something?

Even next to Optimus he is too big.  Ah well.  He will probably spend is days in robot mode anyway.  I don’t like the rubber pieces being twisted up under the body.  I just don’t like the thought of them getting damaged.

 

Overall, a good start to the vehicles.  I assume we will get to see a lot more new vehicles as we continue toward the opening of the movie.  I already found Drift, waiting in the wings for his spotlight.  More to come…


Hot Wheels New Model – Let’s Go – #165

This year we see the continuation of the Mini Figure trend in Hot Wheels.  The 2014 version is called Let’s Go.  I think this is a very thin take on Lego.  Last year we saw our first Mini Fig car with the Fig Rig.  It was a Hot Wheels scale truck with a lot of extra posts and handles added on.   This time around, it is a Mini Fig scale go-cart.

It is clear that more design went into this one, toward the idea of it fitting into the scale of the mini figs.  There is an actual seating area for the figure in the Let’s Go.  The Let’s Go also has a few more places to hold on than the Fig Rig, and they are integrated a little better too.

Hang off the back in an insane attempt to hold back your competition.

Better yet, hang upside down off the front as a wind screen for the driver, or for showing off at the circus.

In addition, there is a post on the top of the engine for a one leg balancing act, two handles on either side of the engine, and it looks like the exhaust port is the right size for a Lego post.  It looks like this car is a lot more interactive than the Fig Rig.   It is a fun car to play with, and for kids, it is crossing toy lines, so that makes for even more fun.   What do you collectors think?  Wanna see more of these cross-industry vehicles?


Preview review of How to Train Your Dragon 2

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Happy 400th post. Today’s is very special.

Sometimes it is pretty cool to have friends who have awesome jobs. My friend Ann, works for Drramworks, and she got preview tickets to Dragons 2 for this morning.

What a fun experience to hang out at a movie theatre in Redwood City with tons of Dreamworks employees.

Now for the movie. Nothing short of amazing. The story picks up 5 years after the first movie. This way it is able to also fit in the TV series.

We join the village of Berk in the midst of prosperity with a happy world where humans and dragons live together in harmony.
But, of course, we need a plot twist to move this story along, so in comes a dragon master who wants to protect all dragons, as well as a dragon warrior who would like to use dragons for world domination.

It is a power struggle where lives are changed forever. Can’t go to much into it without giving away some great secrets. You are just going to have to see it for yourself.

It is so fun to see the characters aged 5 years. There are new life changes for the kids that are now in their early 20s.

I highly recommend seeing this one in the theatre. There are many scenes that are huge in scale and really need that big screen treatment.

We also got to see it in 3D. I don’t think there is really anything that makes the 3D that much better. You can probably save the few extra dollars and go with the 2D version.

Go see it next, opening next Friday, June 13th.


Transformers: Age of Extinction – Dinobots (Strafe, Scorn, Slug)

Today we are going to look at three of the new Deluxe Class Dinobots.

Strafe – 

Strafe is a flyer in his dino-mode.  In robot mode, he continues with the medieval armor appearance.  The two beast heads work in the front to create strong shoulders and a pretty good look.

This Strafe is from the Toys R Us Exclusive that comes with a Mini-Con of the same figure (a redeco of Swoop).  It is the same Strafe figure, but just with a little extra.   There is one other out there as well, I think it might be Slug.

Talk about your epic pose.  I sure hope we get to see Strafe do this in the movie.  How bad-ass does he look with his wings out?  Pretty sweet.  You can really get a sense of the great armor he has.  The gauntlets on his forearms are awesome, as are the very strong looking legs.

And then we get to his dino-mode.  A two-headed pterodactyl.   This once again makes me question the reason to deviate so much from a standard dinosaur.  Ah well.

There is a lot of articulation in the wings that allow for some pretty good poses, instead of having to stick to the strait wings we get a lot of times.

 

Scorn –

I really like the overall design of Scorn.  His beast mode is pretty fantastic.  From the tall sail, to the long tail, to the head that moves back and forth.

I don’t love it when Transformers only have one usable hand.  I would rather like to see a second hand rather than a tail for a hand, but if you are going to be one hand short, at least his tail is huge and makes for a great weapon.  And what is better than one weapon?  Two weapons.  His tail hides his sword that he can use to make a little extra trouble.

Dinobot Slug –

Who ends up with a name like Slug?  I expect to see this guy sleeping through the whole movie.   He is a pretty good interpretation of a triceratops.  Only a few added parts to give him a little AoE extra.

I think Slug really shines in robot mode.  Strong and powerful is the name of the game.  Two swords wielded in very strong hands.  He looks to be quite a force.

There you have them, the first three Dinobots.  I still haven’t seen any Decepticons.  They have all be Autobot from the get go.  Of course we don’t really know much about the enemy from the trailer.  We know they are coming to eradicate the human race, but who are they?  Guess we will just have to wait and find out.


Transformers: Age of Extinction – Evasion Mode Optimus Prime (Voyager)

T4 Optimus with the G1 counterpart.   It is neat to see how Hasbro actually look color cues from the original Optimus for this Evasion mode version.

Evasion Mode Optimus comes with a gun that has a spring powered projectile.  Pretty nice since we seem to keep ending up with flick fire missiles, or guns that transform. This one is nice and simple.

He is definitely the movie version of Optimus.   He seems to be a thinned down version with out the giant front hood of the regular version of Optimus we have seen through the previous three movies… and later in this one.   I don’t see why they couldn’t use this design from the start.  it works well.

The gun sits a little tall when he is holding it.  It looks like they made a gun with a handle, and then realized the handle has to be round to be held in the hand, so they added an extra piece to the bottom.

The back stock gets in the way of it being held any lower as well.  A few things wrong with a gun is not a huge deal for me.  I like the overall appearance of it.

This guy can pose.  He has a lot of good movement all over his body that allows for very dynamic poses.

I think it really does have a lot to do with a slimmer design.  They didn’t have to try and hide the giant truck hood somewhere, and Hasbro was able to work on better articulation.

Here it is… truck mode.  A G1 homage to the original design of Optimus.  Why couldn’t we have had this all along?  This is great.  The colors are right on too.  Speaking of colors, it is funny, since they painted him up just right, but it is wrong for the movie.  Guess they didn’t want to go with the busted-up look we will see.

How is that for a comparison?  Pretty nice look to the new version.  It is funny how close they are in scale, when in robot mode, the T4 version of Optimus is a head and a half taller.

And the problem.  Transforming Optimus for the first time, this part broke off.  I didn’t even given any pressure, and the pieces snapped at the smallest section.  It is partially the nose of the truck, and the rest is part of the hood.   It  looked to be a clear piece that was painted, to allow for clear windows in the front.  Again with problem clear parts.  Any major problems I have had with brittle parts have come from clear pieces.

I have since glued it back together.  Hopefully it will be all right.

 

Overall, I am happy with the design.  I am not very happy that the front end broke off the guy, but hopefully the glue will set it right.   Up next… more Dinobots.


Transformers: Age of Extinction – Grimlock

The Big Boy!  Grimlock, finally making a showing in the new Transformers film.  I have been waiting through three movies for this one.  They are looking to be big in the film, so the best guy to start with is the Leader Class Grimlock.  He is big, and he is chromed all over.  A little homage to the G1 Grimlock.

He has quite a few colors across his body.  Chrome, black, grey, and fades of metallic orange.  From the first look, he doesn’t look a lot like the G1 Grimlock.  The colors are different, there are no tell-tale designs that speak to the G1 Grimlock.  His head is quite different, and he doesn’t have his sword.

There is a trend you are going to see in the Dinobots.  In robot mode, they have a medieval appearance, which looks like they are wearing knight’s armor, especially in the head designs.  Some are even more blatant about it than Grimlock’s head.

Hmmmm, pointy shoes.  I don’t know about this design feature.   It is a bit strange to see an elf shoe on a big fighting robot.  This trend follows all of the dinobots.  They all have the pointy little shoes.

It was not on the directions, so I don’t know if it is an actual design feature, or a happy accident, but the mace can be folded up, combined with the shield, and stored on Grimlock’s back.  It is out of the way when you don’t want him holding all of his weapons.

Now we get to his beast mode.   Are we back to Beast Hunters?  Nope, on to Transformers 4.   This is not a very accurate T-Rex.  It sure would have been nice to have seen him look a lot more like a T-Rex rather than the more stylized designs we saw during the Beast Hunters run of Prime.  It looks like, from the movie trailers, he will not really ever look like a T-Rex.  Dragon yes.    His body is very wide.   The ribcage is about half again as wide as what looks to be proper proportions.   This leaves him looking a little flat across the torso.

The face is great.  He has a moving jaw which makes for lots of good playability.   He can move his tiny little T-Rex arms.  Two points of articulation there.  Pretty nice.

 

Overall, I am happy with Grimlock.  There are some things I would like to have seen be a little better.  A sword, a robot head that looked a bit more like the classic Grimlock, and a little more T-Rex looking dino design.  His transformation is pretty good.  One problem there is the direction say, “Reverse order to change to dino mode.”   This would be nearly impossible for a kid to do.  The directions to go in reverse order are quite tricky.   Good luck parents.

 

Coming up next.  We have a trio of dinobots as well as a trio of Autobots.  One of them breaks on me, with no pressure at all.  Find out which one you will need to be careful with…


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