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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Festive December - The Ravage Infiltration

The Ravage Infiltration

"Ravage relies on speed and stealth to succeed"

Generation: Live Action Movies
Toyline: Revenge of the Fallen/Hunt for the Decepticons
Size Class: Scout
Faction: Autobot

Flak's robot mode is quite stocky and is mostly black and dark grey in colour, he also features some white and black camouflage paint as well. He also features some details coloured in differently like the blue patches on his chest, silver on his abdominal area, brown groin, shoulders and guns and white knees. Flak features a mostly round head which is connected to the torso by a ball joint allowing it some movement. His face is gold with sculpted nose, mouth and chin. His eyes are a black colour and are recessed into his head.

Flak's upper arms are connected to his upper torso by a ball joint allowing it to rotate as much as needed. His elbows are created by a combination of a hinge and a ball joint allowing them to bend inwards fully and rotate as well on the point. His hands are able to fold inwards by a pivot joint at about a 90 degree level. His vehicle mode guns can be rotated on a pivot joint so they can act as handheld weapons for his robot mode, complete with handles/triggers that fit inside his half-closed sculpted fist.

Flak's waist is created by a pivot joint that allows it to rotate 360 degrees at the point. The upper legs are connected to that by a pair of ball joints that allow them to rotate as needed, the knees are created using a ball joint as well that allows them to bend and rotate as desired. The feet are connected by a hinge joint that allows them to bend backwards is desired depending on the surface he's on. Flak's vehicle mode plough is used here as a shin guard of sorts to protect his lower legs.
Flak's vehicle mode is a mostly dark grey pick up truck with a pair of brown guns on the roof and a black plough on the front. This mode features several aesthetic features such as headlights, front grill, black tinted windows, doors, exhaust pipes and various other details like storage areas and intake points.
Flak's wheels are able to spin around freely and so long as his robot mode knees are folded in properly he won't get caught up on anything on the floor.

Generation: Live Action Movies
Toyline: Revenge of the Fallen/Hunt for the Decepticons
Size Class: Scout
Faction: Autobot

Rollbar is a mostly light grey and black robot with some white and black camouflage deco visible as well. His head is connected to the top of his torso by a ball joint that allows it to move around as much as needed, including being turned to side to side and nodding. His head features a black helmet around a silver face with green visor optics. His face is sculpted with a nose and cheeks as well as a small mouth inside a mouth plate recess (so fictionally he could have a retractable mouth plate).

Rollbar's upper arms are connected to his upper torso by a hinge and ball joint combination, allowing them to be folded inwards a bit and to rotate on the joint as much as needed. Rollbar's elbow is created by a pair of hinges that allow them to bend inwards at two close points at about 90 degrees each. His arms also feature sculpted hands with fingers that are unable to hold anything. The tops of Rollbar's arms also feature his vehicle mode guns that can be repositioned in pretty much any way as long as it's still connected to his arms to be used fictionally as cannons for his robot mode as well.

Rollbar's waist is able to rotate on a pivot that allows it to rotate as far as needed unless obstructed by something. The upper legs are connected to his waist by a pair of ball joints allowing them to rotate as needed again. His knees are created by a singe hinge joint allowing them to bend backwards by about 90 degrees so he can sit down if needed luckily. Rollbar's feet are connected by a pin joint that allows them to be folded backwards and are supported by a similarly jointed heel as well allowing them to be supportive in most appropriate surfaces.
Rollbar turns into a gun mounted military dune buggy. He also features working free spinning wheels, bumpers, aesthetic lights and other such expected details from a buggy mode. Rollbar's driver's area is sculpted with a non-moving steering wheel, and his robot mode arms are repurposed here as seats (though there's a big hole at the bottom so it's nt too sensible to stay inside him when he's driving, especially if it's over a sharp or hot surface)
Rollbar's colour scheme is essentially the opposite of Flak's where he has a light grey instead of black. His guns are black and gold

Generation: Live Action Movies
Toyline: Revenge of the Fallen/Hunt for the Decepticons
Size Class: Legends
Faction: Decepticon

Ravage is a silver-black Quadroped robot with a single red optic on his head, an opened fanged mouth (which cannot close). Ravage's tail is connected to the rear of his body by a hinge that allows it to wag up and down and spin on the tip as well. Ravage also features a back mounted cannon that clips into a slot and allows it to rotate on the axis as far as possible depending on obstructions.
Ravage's limbs are connected by ball joints that allows them to rotate as needed, the rear legs feature a knee joint created by a pivot joint that allows it to bend inwards as needed. Ravage's feet are connected to the bottoms of the legs by pivot joints that allows them to fold inwards and out as needed for balance.
Ravage's first alternate mode is a fish-like missile that features a face-like front which could be used as a blade for slicing obstacles in fiction. Ravage also has a set of wings/fins on the sides. The guns from his robot mode are still intact as before.
Ravage's second alternate mode is an entry-pod mode that is essentially just a fully folded in and collapsed version of the previous modes that somewhat resembles those seen in the first movie's toyline.

This toy set comes with three human figures, two have the coolant guns seen in the first movie (the guys who attacked Bumblebee under the bridge) and the third has a machine gun weapon ready to kill Ravage if needed.

My Thoughts

Over all, I'd say that this set is quite fun, the figures are new characters (except Ravage of course) and not just another Bumblebee to add to the pile. They look nice and have a matching motif of being camouflaged military vehicles, and when combined with Ravage are able to emulate the scene in Revenge of the Fallen where Ravage breaks into NEST to steal the Allspark sliver.
This set is especially good since due to whatever reasons, it has become one of the few UK exclusive sets to exist in the modern franchise.
Despite both of the larger figures being repaints of figures that have been repainted a lot now (with Rollbar's mold having at least three other uses to my knowledge!) they both still look great and even feel new when you look at them. The little humans are just repaints from the Screen Battle sets from the first movie, so they aren't important at all, just throw them in a drawer if you want to!

In my opinion this set is definitely worth getting, if only for the sake of using it to tease the American fans who have no easy way to grab a set for themselves ;)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Festive December - Sandstorm


"Sandstorm was built to survive for extended periods in the harshest climates. Anything Earth can throw at him, he can endure and come out smiling. He requires the same fortitude from his human partner, Private Dedcliff, a Special Forces survival expert with years of experience. Together, they hunt Decepticons in the most remote places on the planet."

Generation: Live Action Movies
Toyline: Dark of the Moon
Faction: Autobot
Size Class: Basic Human Alliance

Strength: 6
Intelligence: 5
Speed: 5
Endurance: 8
Rank: 4
Courage: 8
Fireblast: 4
Skill: 4

Robot Mode
Sandstorm is a mostly green robot with some grey, black and red parts as well. His Autobot insignia is located on the very top of his chest.

Sandstorm's chest is concealed behind a black panel that can be opened outwards so you can either pretend to have him bear the Matrix or something or you can have his human partner sit on it as a chair. He features some pipes at either side that you can lower by about 90 degrees if needed. Sandstorm's head is connected to the torso by a pivot joint that allows it to rotate fully allowing him to look to either side. His waist is able to rotate on a pivot joint, so he can gyrate as needed. You can also store his gun on the bar on his back thanks to his C-Clip, which is quickly becoming a common feature on Transformers.
His head is stylized like most other Movie continuity figures but prominently features a silver face area with mouth, nose and chin, a pair of blue eyes and a red upside down trident style head decoration.

Sandstorm's arms are connected to the upper torso by a connector piece and a ball joint allowing it to move very freely as needed. His shoulders feature his rear vehicle mode wheels, but thye don't interfere with his mobility at all. His elbow joint is created with a ball joint meaning that it can bend inwards and to the sides as far as needer for poses, the hands are connected to the lower arms by a hinge joint that allows it to bend inwards by about 90 degrees. His hands are simply sculpted with digits and details, so they aren't actually articulated, however he does feature a standard peg hole allowing him to hold his supplied gun in either hand.
If you want to, you can fold his hands in and use his vehicle mode triple exhaust pipes as a retractable gun in this mode too.

The upper legs are connected to the lower torso by a ball joint at the sides of the groin allowing them as free a movement as possible without obstructions. The knees are created from a pivot joint that allows them to bend backwards b about 90 degrees (like a normal knee). His feet are connected to the lower legs by a pivot-ball joint combination that allows them to be positioned in pretty much any way needed depending upon the standing surface it's on. Despite having the front vehicle wheels on the sides of his feet he can't skate on them (aww).

Vehicle Mode
Sandstorm's vehicle mode is a mostly green military dune buggy which features an exposed driver's cockpit which features a seat for the driver and an immobile steering wheel.
The vehicle mode also features a pair of triple piped exhaust pipes at the rear (which can be raised upwards if needed) and a set of four large brown treaded wheels, which are fully mobile, so ong at the surface is flat and smooth. He also features some sculpted headlights etc that you'd expect to see on a ground based vehicle Transformer.
Sandstorm features a strange connector at the back which doesn't seem to do anything, however it has to be rotated around depending on what mode he's in, so maybe it does have a purpose, or it used to have one, I'm not sure.
Sandstorm's gun (and any C-Clip compatible weapons as well) can be clipped onto the buggy's bars to gun him an extra weapon if desired.

Base Mode
The "base mode" is essentially a folded out version of Sandstorm's vehicle mode. The main changes are that he's been rendered immobile thanks to his wheels being off the ground, although he is still stable thanks to some support struts etc. His vehicle mode exhaust pipes have been turned into guns in this mode and also come with some levers/handles for the operator to manipulate.
The vehicle mode cockpit has been retained, but flipped over by 90 degrees, meaning that the operator sits down on what was the back of the chair and leans against what was the seat before. An added feature that wasn't accessible in the other modes are some deployable missiles that are extended by just pushing the seat backwards.
Sandstorm's gun is able to be connected to any of the bars available by using the C-Clip, like in the previous mode too.

Private Dedcliff
Dedcliff is just an annoying little figure designed to interact with Sandstorm when in his alternate modes (as shown here) he doesn't do anything too spectacular, he has bendable areas on his upper legs, knees and shoulders. He has disturbing little dead black eyes, so I like to pretend that he's just a holo-avatar for him to use (considering he's an open-top vehicle). I tend to just keep him locked up in a box with the other human figures in my collection.

My Thoughts

I actually really like this figure, he's small, so he's affordable all three of his modes are interesting and fun to play with and he even comes with a small human to act as a holo-avatar (or a real human if you prefer to use toys as they're meant to)
Over all this is probably my favourite non-screen character toy from the DOTM line so far (as of the end of 2011 anyway) so I'd strongly advise anyone to buy him, he'd make a good Christmas present to either a friend, family member or even to you!
Also a weird thing I've noticed is that Sandstorm is very similar in basic design to the Cybertron series toy Hardtop, who also turns into a military buggy, has a removable gun and some very striking similarities to Sandstorm...maybe this guy was intended as an update on his toy?

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Festive December - Soundwave


"It is said Soundwave can hear a fly sneeze. Uses anything he hears for blackmail to advance his status. Opportunist. Despised by all other Decepticons. Sensors can detect even lowest energy radio transmissions. Able to read minds by monitoring electrical brain impulses. Acts as radio link for others. Locates and identifies Autobots, then informs Decepticons. Carries a concussion blaster gun. Often target of retaliation by his comrades."

Generation: Generation One
Toyline: Classics 2007 Reissue Figure
Faction: Decepticon
Function: Communications
Quote: "Cries and screams are music to my ears."

Strength: 8
Intelligence: 9
Speed: 2
Endurance: 6
Rank: 8
Courage: 5
Fireblast: 6
Skill: 10

Robot Mode
Soundwave's robot mode is mainly blue and silver but also features several decals on various parts of his body, such as his shoulders and knees so as to add colour to the figure. Soundwave's chest is a clear window that can hold up to two of his cassette minions by opening it with the silver button on his left soldier. One of Soundwave's batteries from his alternate can be reused in this mode as a shoulder cannon for his right shoulder, it doesn't do anything, but you can open it up to hold his spare missiles if wanted. Soundwave's head is connected on a hinge and pivot joint combination that allows it to rotate at 360 degrees and further, plus also bending backwards as well so he can look upwards and see the sky falling if he wants to. His head is blue with a silver painted mouth plate and lowest segment of his sculpted forehead chevron, his visor-style optics are also painted yellow. Soundwave's head is also the basis for the Decepticon insignia in the toyline.
Soundwave's arms are connected to his upper torso by a metal connector on a hinge and pivot joint basis that allows them to be folded backwards as far as possible (about 90 degrees) and be rotated in a windmill fashion fully. His lower arms are able to bend forwards by about 90 degrees enabling him to create an elbow at the connection point. His hands are sculpted with non-moving fingers and both feature a peg hole designed to hold his blaster gun.
His legs are connected to his lower torso by two separate metal connectors that allow them to rotate sideways-outwards by about 90 degrees and to fold forwards by 90 degrees as well. Soundwave's knees are created by a standard pin joint that allows them to bend forwards (unlike human knees). His feet are metal and are folded outwards from his lower legs, which means they can be repositioned slightly as needed. Due to his feet being metal it makes his feet heavier than the upper body, thus meaning that he wont topple over from being top heavy when you reposition him.
Soundwave's two batteries are able to convert into two weapons for him, one of them turns into a shoulder cannon (as I mentioned before) and the other turns into his handheld weapon by just sliding out the middle section to give it a new shape and some more details and then inserting one of his three missiles into the hole at the barrel end. This blaster can be held in either hand by Soundwave.

Alternate Mode
Soundwave's alternate mode is a life-sized blue and silver micro-cassette player with a clear tape holder and several non working buttons. On his sides he also features a switch and a dial which, whilst able to move don't actually do anything. He also features several written words as labels for the tape player mode.
Soundwave's two weapons in robot mode are able to turn into a pair of batteries, which can be slotted into the rear section of the alternate mode and then hidden away with a battery cover. Soundwave's tape holder is able to open up by pushing the silver button on top and hold up to two cassettes (Laserbeak and Ravage in this set's case).

Ravage is a mostly black jaguar in robot mode with silver details on his right hand side and chromed silver side rockets slotted into a hole near the back.
Ravage's legs aren't very good for balance, you need to have them perfectly even for him to stand upwards, otherwise he needs some form of support.
Ravage turns into a micro-cassette with detailings on one side that show a track system in the holes and other small details on the same side, and a small diagram of Fortress Maximus on that side, which if you place a red decoder strip on top of it it will reveal his weaknesses for Soundwave. (It's his right leg). On the other side he features a rub sign insignia.

Laserbeak's robot mode is in the form of a red and black condor with silver rocket boosters on his back. His wings are able to move back and forth as far as possible whilst on a pivot joint system, as does his head when attached to his neck and torso by a pair of pivots again.
Unlike Ravage Laserbeak is fully capable of standing freely due to him having struts rather than normal legs.
Unlike Ravage, Laserbeak's alternate mode features details on both sides, although the only really noteworthy part is the ribbon image in between the two holes and a rub sign insignia located under that image.

My Thoughts

These figures, despite being from the very basic Generation One lines are actually quite fun, their alternate modes are very realistic (and mostly life size too) and even have some added features such as the opening tape holder or battery slots.

I like this particular version of Soundwave because he is actually a repaint of the Soundblaster version of the mold, meaning that he has a double sized chest cavity and he can hold two cassettes in it at a time.
My only real issues with this set are very common complaints for G1 figures, he has limited pose-ability, he requires a lot of parts removal for transformation (all three do) and other minor details, but overall this is a good set and would make a good present for anyone at Christmas time in my opinion.