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Friday, 27 July 2012

TFA - Sentinel Prime

"Graduate of the same class as Optimus Prime at the Autobot Academy, Sentinel Prime is commander of a squad of the best the Autobots have to offer - the Elite Guard. Though he is a powerful warrior and a cunning leader, he is also obsessed with following the rules to the absolute letter. His is unbending in his interpretation of procedure, and dislikes the way Optimus Prime and his crew improvise. If he had his way, that whole group would be sent back to Basic Programming."
Motto:"Without law, all is chaos"
Name: Sentinel Prime
Faction: Autobot
Function: Autobot Elite Commander
Toy Line: Animated (Hasbro)
Size Class: Deluxe
Robot Mode
Sentinel Prime's robot mode is a large chested blue masculine form with an anorexic looking waistline and very angular limbs, He also features several splashes of black, grey, yellow and orange across his form 
Sentinel's chest is made up of a faux-part depicting his vehicle mode hood, but in a much more distorted appearance, which includes his headlights, front grill and insignia, his waist is formed from a separate piece of plastic that can fold inwards (for his transformation, but can also be used for posing). His snow plow blades from his vehicle mode have been split in half and now form decorations for the sides of his wide chest and to hide his shoulder-arm connectors as well. His real truck front is found on his back.
Sentinel's head is connected by a small piece of plastic that can be folded into his torso, which sort of resembles a collar as well. The head itself is connected to that piece by a ball-joint connector so he can shake and nod his head as much as possible. His head is made of a large blue helmet with a chin "dimple" in the form of a flat-head screw. Sentinel's "ears" are in the form of small pipes that can be moved slightly if desired (it doesn't do anything really though) His face is a dark grey colour and features a grumpy set of features including his mouth and eyes (which are painted a bright blue).
His arms are connected by combining the two two wheels on both sides along with a stiff pivoting joint that allows them to rotate as needed, and also connected by a hinge that allows them to bend upwards by about 180 degrees. The upper arms are connected to the shoulders by a small hinge joint that allows them to bend backwards by about 90 degrees. His elbows are connected by another hinging joint that allows it to bend inwards by about 90 degrees again. His hands are sculpted with fingers and feature a peg hole for him to hold his weapons in. The outside of his arms feature a lump of blue plastic with orange markings in the form of two lines and one triangle (as with most Elite Guard figures)
Sentinel's legs are connected to his groin area by a pair of ball joints that enable them to move as needed, his knees are formed by a hinge joint that allows him to bend them back by about 90 degrees, allowing him to sit down in a deluxe sized chair if you want. The lower legs and feet are created from pretty much the entire top of his vehicle mode folded in, this make shim very sturdy, and very stable on most surface types, even despite his otherwise top-heavy form.
Vehicle Mode
Sentinel's vehicle mode is a mostly blue pick up truck with an orange and grey snow plow on the front. His windows are blacked out (to hide the robot parts inside) and also features a small area in the back hold area to hold some small items, if desired.
This mode features several usual pieces of detailing on vehicles, such as headlights, bumpers, working wheels, side mirrors, front grill, doors, spoiler and several other small pieces. His Elite Guard insignia (winged Autobot insignia) is found on the hood of the car, in front of the windscreen.
Sentinel Prime comes with a lance bright blue lance and shield (denoting energy) with grey and blue parts across them. Bath can be held in either hand by the handles
These weapons can be slotted together through a hole on the shield's handle, and can also be held in vehicle mode as a roof-mounted weapon by slotting the sheild's handle into a small square-hole behind Sentinel's cab.
My Final Thoughts
Oh Sentinel, you may be a douchey character on screen, but you are a wonderful toy with so much to offer. His vehicle and robot modes are both very fun, his accessories work well, and can be stored easily in vehicle mode (always a plus side for me). This vehicle mode can even be mistaken for a Generations style toy if you want him to. Also due to a similar character appearing in the TFCC Coming Storm storyline, you could even put him on your Wings of Honour-era G1 shelf in your room if you want, without it looking too out of place.

The only real downside of this toy is that he isn't a larger scale toy (Voyager for instance), but that's a very minor complaint on a very nice toy otherwise.
If you can find Sentinel Prime in a shop somewhere then I do recommend buying him, he's a fun toy, and a main character in the franchise.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Armada - Street Action Team

"Although they look ordinary, these three robots are keys to the Mini mission of all the Mini-Cons. They combine into a robot, showing the strength of teamwork. Their capabilities continue to grow over time, but their real power is in making others discover their true potential. The Autobots and Decepticons see the unlimited power beneath their innocent forms and struggle to possess them."
Name: Street Acton Team
Toy Line: Armada
Continuity: Unicron Trilogy
Size Class: Mini-Con Triple Pack
Faction: Mini-Con (Autobot Allied)
Motto: "Seek Your True Power"

Strength: 5
Speed: 5
Rank: 5
Firepower: 3
Intelligence: 9
Endurance: 6
Courage: 7
Skill: 6
High Wire
High Wire's robot mode is a black and pale blue form, his face is made from a sculpted/painted white face plate and red visor optics, the hat on his head is made from his vehicle mode light. His vehicle mode handle bars are found on his back as kibble behind his arms, also as kibble, he has his combiner head hanging off a connector.
On his left side you'll find his Mini-Con insignia, whilst on his right side you'll find his power-link peg hole. His arms are created from the bars leading to his front wheel that are separated, but leaving the wheel on his left hand (guess he's right handed then!) The arms are connected via a ball joint at the shoulders to the torso enabling them to move as much as possible. 
The legs are connected to the torso by another set of ball joints that enable them to move as needed again. The legs are created from the rear bars of the bike mode and wheel split in half, and the pedals folded down into feet. The figure is able to stand up straight by using the rear wheel as a support behind the feet.
High Wire's alternate mode is a black and pale blue BMX bicycle with black wheels and a random head hanging over the rear wheel (I guess you can pretend that's the seat or a storage pack of some sort.
The wheels are fully able to rotate as needed, and the handle bars can rotate on a pivot if needed. The pedals can rotate as needed for play-value or just so he can be upright in this mode.
Grindor's robot mode is mostly dark blue with some yellow patches of paint, and pale blue limbs. His face is sculpted with a face plate and optic visor, but is completely painted yellow. His chest features a black piece of chest decoration which covers the tops of his arms, which is found right above his Mini-Con peg hole. On his back you'll find a pair of wings/shoulder pads. His Mini-Con insignia is found on his back above the hard point.
His arms are connected to he back mounted shoulder pads/wings by a pair of pivots connecting to the upper part of the torso enabling them to fold up and down as required. His legs are connected to the groin area by a pair of ball joints that enable them to be moved as required for posing, whilst his knees are able to be bent inwards fully (as part of his transformation really, but it can be used for posing as well if needed)
Grindor's alternate mode is a dark blue and yellow rocket powered skateboard with bale blue highlights in the middle. You can place a small figure on top of this toy and pretend he's skating as well. The four small wheels enable him to roll along a smooth surface if needed. This mode prominently shows off a Mini-Con hard point that can be slotted into any Mini-Con peg hole as well.
Sureshock's robot mode is an orange block of plastic with some grey parts and a grey face with a pair of creepy yellow eyes coming out of the darkness and a small, almost invisible face plate as well. Her legs are unable to move individually, but as a block connected to the main torso by a pair of hinges that enable her to bend inwards. Her arms are connected to the torso by a ball joint enabling them to move as much as needed. The ends of the hands feature a pivot connecting to the now split front section of her alternate mode giving a potential buzzsaw weapon of some sort. Her Mini-Con insignia is found on her outer right leg, and her peg hole is found on her back, on the right side.
Sureshock's alternate mode is a small orange motorized scooter with a dark grey seat, light grey slightly moving handlebars and some gears etc.
The wheels are able to move fully as is expected. This mode also features some sculpted details like an exhaust pipe, struts, headlights and other smaller details
Perceptor is the combined mode of the three Street Action Team Mini-Cons. Sureshock forms his legs, Grindor forms the main torso, arms and his side skirts, whilst High Wire forms the head and back kibble.
This mode is about the size of an average Scout class toy but of course is lacking in terms of articulation to some degree.
The legs can only be reposed at the groin area and on the knees to bend outwards (crab style). The arms can move at a joint connecting the shoulder to the torso by a pivot, and also by a ball joint found on the shoulder as well. The head can be moved a small amount as well as it's connected on an articulated connector from the back-pack..
Even though he's a Mini-Con combiner and not a single Mini-Con he still features 2 of his peg-holes, so he can be connected to a larger figure still.
My Final Thoughts
This team is very unusual, it was one of the first sets of Mini-Cons (and Armada toys in general) to be released, but not only that, it's made up of a set of unusual alternate modes for Transformers, a batch of kid's vehicles.
This group is worth having, if only so you have them for the Unicron Trilogy shelf in your room, or if you love Mini-Cons like me, but if you're just looking for a good toy with great articulation, then you may want to pass over this set.
If you do want this set, then don't spend too much on it, it's really not worth more than the RRP if I'm totally honest.
Also, be careful with the peg behind Grindor's head, it's easily broken off, and if it does come off then the Perceptor Mode can't stand up properly (This is my second Grindor btw). Also remember, there was a new set of these characters from the Energon toyline which had updated vehicles and robot modes which you may like more.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Binaltech - Arcee

Name: Arcee
Faction: Autobot
Toy Line: Binaltech
Robot Mode
Arcee's robot mode is a mostly white and varying shades of pink (supposedly) feminine form which features several pieces of kibble from her vehicle mode visible. Some black pieces are added to break up the pale colours somewhat, and it actually does work in some weird way.

Arcee's torso is made from most of the mid-section of her vehicle mode and her car boot folded in on itself and seems to feature a design that could be interpreted as an abdominal area, and even a chest (not a very feminine chest however I must say). Her Autobot insignia is located dead center of the chest and is surrounded by a silver border.
Her head is connected by a ball joint connector that allows her to nod, shake, bop or anything she needs to. This head uses a different sculpt to that use by Windcharger and definitely seems more feminine in general. The helmet itself is mostly white with a dark pink border, and white forehead cover and chin guard. Her face is a pale pink and features a sculpted nice and mouth, as well as sculpted blue eyes.

The shoulders are attached to the upper torso by a still pivoting joint that limits its movement, but can be raised up and down to make her more broad shouldered if desired. The upper arms are connected to the shoulder pads by a pivot joint hidden behind the wheels that allows them to be raised sideways as needed. The elbow joints are created with a pivoting joint and a hinge that allows them to rotate on the pivot as much as needed, and to bend inwards by about 90 degrees as well. The lower arms are connected to the hands by a ball joint that allows her hands to rotate and fold in as required. Her thumbs aren't articulated, but the index finger is jointed to fold inwards or out on it's own, with the remaining 3 fingers on each hand being sculpted in a single piece that can fold in the same ways as needed once again.
The inside of the hand features a small clip that enables her gun to the held in it, whilst the forearms feature another peg that can be used to hold her shield.

Arcee's legs are connected to her groin area by a pair of ball joints that allow her to move as required, along with a pivot joint near the top of the upper legs that enable her to be posed as needed on awkward surfaces. Arcee's knees are created by a pair of hinges that enable her to bend her legs inwards (though this joint is very stiff), and to also give her a crab-walk appearance if desired (it's actually for her transformation, but we can pretend it was for crab-walks too). Her vehicle mode car doors are positioned like a pair of leg guards down the sides, but otherwise her lower legs feature nothing too remarkable. Her feet are connected by ball joints, and also have a fold-out back support/heel that can surprisingly support her very top-heavy form!
Vehicle Mode
Arcee's vehicle mode is a white licensed Honda S2000 Hardtop sports car with black frames around the windows, spoilers and even roof-hold, and some of the interior to the vehicle mode as well. He chairs are pink (as you might expect form a girly car) and her steering wheel and gear stick is white, matching her exteriors.
This mode features several added features you would expect to find in a Binaltech toy, such as working wheels, realistic designs, opening car boot and hood (which even reveals an engine if it's been placed inside it), rear exhausts, license plate, detailing, side mirrors with reflective silver paint, headlights, rear lights and other smaller details like an antennae near the back, and of course a clear windscreen.
This particular mold of course also features another fun feature, her roof can either be in a hard top configuration, or replaced with a collapsed rood that's been stored away somewhere. The hardtop roof features a rear window as well.
Arcee comes with these three accessories, all of which can be utilized as a part of her vehicle mode, or as a weapon or decoration for her robot mode. The engine/exhaust pipe becomes a gun (and even includes the long barrel, unlike her Hasbro brother, Windcharger). Arcee also comes with a collapsed roof clip on, which can be left in it's vehicle mode configuration even in robot mode (unlike the hardtop clip-on). The Hardtop clip on roof can also be used as a shield (like Windcharger can do with his soft top roof as well).
My Final Thoughts
Okay let's be honest here, this figure is nice, but probably doesn't work as the very girly Arcee we all remember from our childhoods. I do like her vehicle mode's design in this case however, as it does look like a very girl-friendly design and colourscheme, but the robot just doesn't work too well for Arcee herself.
I do recommend this figure for anyone's collection however, especially if you like Alternators/Binaltech/any other licensed toys, you can just pretend Arcee forgot to wear her pretty clothes that day or something.
This figure is very heavy due to it being made from metal rather than the more commonly used plastic of today, whilst this makes the toy much more durable, it also makes it a lot more stiff in some places or even dangerous (especially if you're prone to throwing the toys at people who annoy you).
My one main design complaint about this toy (other than the masculine feel to this female character) is that the figure is lacking articulation that is very common today, like ball joints on every joint, instead opting for hingese, which are just terrible for posing honestly...she does look nice with my Alternators Rodimus though, I do have to say!
If you can find her for a reasonable price (like the standard going price for Alternators, with maybe a little more for importing fees etc) then you should get her, but otherwise you may as well just pass her over.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

TFA - Armorhide (Japan)

Faction: Autobot
Function: Local Combatant
Size Class: Deluxe

Strength: 8
Speed: 5
Rank: 6
Firepower: 6
Intelligence: 6
Endurance: 10
Courage: 9
Skill: 9
Robot Mode
Armorhide's robot mode is a mostly red masculine bi-pedal form, parts of his limbs are dark grey and he also features some black and blue highlights as well.
Armorhide's torso is made up of pretty much all of the bulk of his vehicle mode, and his front treads. The treads and very front of his vehicle form his abdominal area, whilst the top of the front is his chest,a nd his rood forms a back-pack of sorts. His head is connected to the torso by a neck-shaped connector, which can be folded back into his torso if needed for transformation or just so he can look upwards. The head itself is connected by a ball joint that allows it to rotate as needed in pretty much any direction. His face is grey with a red helmet surrounding it. The most prominent features of the head are a forehead chevron, nose ridge, a sculpted smirk for a mouth and a pair of light-piped eyes that glow pale blue in appropriate lighting.
His hand held weapons can be kept on the same clips that he uses in vehicle mode for storage in this mode as well (as shown above).

Armorhide's arms are connected to the upper torso by a ball-joint connection that enables them to move as much as needed (perfect for a fighter like this guy!). The upper arms feature some shoulder pads that can be rotated full if needed. His elbows are created by a combination of a hinge and a pivot joint that allows them to rotate and bend as needed once again.
The lower arms are different on each arm, although physically similar. The right arm features a button behind it that allows Armorhide to use a punching gimmick, whilst his left arm features a plug hole that you can insert the EMP weapon that comes with Lockdown into (since this is a Ratchet retool remember).
Armorhide's hands feature sculpted fingers with a peg hole between them, this peg hole can be used to hold weapons, including his own ones to act as punching weapons.

His upper legs are connected to his groin area by a ball joint like his arms. His knees are created by a pivot and hinge joint like the arms again. Unlike the arms however his lower legs are both the same, and don't really do anything important (except for helping him stand up). The feet are folded out from his treads, which also reveals a heel as well, giving him a good amount of support.
Vehicle Mode
Armorhide turns into a Cybertronian...thing...I'm not sure what it is exactly, but I like to call it a truck with legged-treads. The vehicle is mostly red, with with a black roof, treads and some other small panel areas. His front windows are made with clear light blue plastic.
This mode also features sculpted friction marks on the treads, sculpted headlights, which have been painted black and yellow and other smaller details on the roof, like lights and ridges etc. The rear features a couple of clips for his hand-held weapons on to act as bumpers of sorts (as I tend to keep them as, as shown in my pictures above.
This mode features some small wheels under the treads (as usual on tanks and similar vehicles) so they can actually roll on the surface.
My Final Thoughts
You may have noticed how I've been calling Ironhide "Armorhide" during this review, this is intentional due to this version actually being the Japanese version, which was called Armorhide (because Bulkhead was called Ironhide in Japan). This version has a much more metallic colourscheme than his Hasbro release, which oddly works despite the cartoon-feel of the toyline itself.
I really like this toy, not just because it's the "rarer" Japanese version, but because it just looks and feels good in general (not to mention one of my few Japanese figures in general).
If you can find this toy, either version, I do recommend that you get him, he makes a good addition to any Animated shelf, despite him only appearing in a few episodes of the series. I managed to get my copy of this figure from Auto Assembly last year, and I'm still very happy with the buy, as I'm sure you will be as well.