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Monday, 29 October 2012

Prime - Starscream

"Starscream hasn't survived this long simply by running away every time he might lose a fight. Every retreat is a calculated risk, designed to fulfill a greater purpose. It is often when his enemies believe they are winning that Starscream turns and finishes them off."
Name: Starscream
Faction: Decepticon
Toy Line: Prime - Robots in Disguise
Continuity: Aligned
Size Class: Voyager Powerizers

Strength: 8
Intelligence: 7
Speed: 9
Endurance: 6
Rank: 9
Courage: 3
Fireblast: 9
Skill: 10
Robot Mode
Starscream utilizes a very slender, but still masculine robot mode with mostly grey-scale, silver and black paint applied. His body also features some smaller details in different colours, such as the red eyes on his chest, translucent purple lower arms and blue detailings. 

Starscream's torso is mostly formed from parts hidden in the vehicle mode, so it has sculpted details for his abdominal area etc. His chest is formed from a part of the very top of his jet mode which is reconfigured to (oddly) resemble his Movie incarnation's face (somewhat). This groin area is formed at a hinge that is always slightly open, which gives him a bit of a haunched, submissive look (perfect for Starscream).
The bulk of his jet mode is found of his back, which of course includes his wings, which are now a custom for Starscream to wear as wings in robot mode.
Starscream's head is connected on a small connector with a ball joint, allowing the head to move as needed )and so you can give him a creepy expression if desired). The head itself is mostly Starscream's angular face with prolonged chin, a sinister smirk and a pair of red optics (which are not able to light up). The upper part of his head is a skull-cap of sorts with ridges and side horns protruding from the sides. The helmet has a horn that pokes out the front, giving him some unicorn goodness as well.

Starscream's arms are connected to the upper torso by a connector-ball joint combination that allows them to move as needed. The shoulder's are covered by a larger piece to give them some decoration, rather than just being rounded shoulders. His upper arms feature a pivoting joint just under the shoulder piece that rotates fully, his elbows are formed by a hinge between the upper and lower arms that allows them to fold inwards fully. His hands are connected by a pivoting joint, so they can rotate 360 degrees, but can also fold inwards very slightly on a ball joint, but not much, the hands are also sculpted with long, sharp fingers that form around a hidden peg hole (but the weapon supplied seems too heavy for him to really hold anyway). His lower arms also feature a peg hole for his missiles to be held in (unless you'd rather keep them on his wings like I usually do).
Starscream's legs are connected to his groin by a pair of pivoting ball joints that allow them to move as much as needed. His knees are formed by a hinge joint that allows them to bend backwards by about 90 degrees, and are fronted by a long grey thin knee cap each too. The lower legs are very pointy, as they're made of most of the rear of his vehicle mode (the part with the tail fins etc). His feet are just folded out from the vehicle mode and are able to support the weight of the whole body, especially when supported by the rotating thruster, now used as a support strut of sorts (this can be positioned as needed, or desired by the owner)
Alternate Mode
Starscream's vehicle mode is a mostly grey-scale fighter jet with a purple canopy cover and several other smaller colours on some of the sculpted details (ie silver, red, blue, black etc). This mode features several pieces of sculpted detailing, such as a single thruster, paneling, nose cone and other pieces you'd expect from a jet mode.
Starscream comes with a pair of small plastic missiles that can be clipped under his wings to act as make-believe weapons for him
Now, I shouldn't HAVE to say this, but this toy does NOT actually fly! Do not throw it in the air, you will hurt someone (even with the softer plastic on the nose cone)
Starscream comes with a large weapon that can be clipped into either the pegs on the undersides of his wings (next to the missiles) or into the peg hole at the back of the canopy, either way you can pull on the built in "trigger" and turn into into a bladed weapon. This weapon requires you to hold onto it to keep it deployed, and as such it isn't that great (it's certainly terrible in robot mode, which is why I haven't even shown it in this review here).
My Final Thoughts
Starscream's a nice little figure, he looks good in both modes and is well articulated in both forms as well. On top of this he looks fairly screen accurate compared to most other toys in the line. 
The only real issue with Starscream though, is that his limbs feel a bit fragile, especially since you need to manipulate them in transformation. The only other (small) issue is that Starscream essentially towers over most other figures, even Megatron, which in itself seems a bit odd.
This figure is definitely worth getting, I personally got mine in a contest, thus it was free, but I would have been very willing to spend money on this guy :)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Prime - NYCC 2011 Arcee and Bumblebee

"Arcee is an accomplished, street smart and powerful fighter with little patience for those who don't know their way around a battlefield. Luckily, Bumblebee is as skilled as any other warrior in the Autobot army. Set loose on the streets of the big city with their human partners Raf and Jack, they're an unstoppable team in the defense of the planet."

Names: Arcee and Bumblebee (with Jack Darby and Raf Esquivel)
Faction: Autobot
Toy Line: Prime - First Edition (NYCC)
Continuity: Aligned
Robot Mode
Arcee's robot mode is a mostly pink and white female form with some silver, black, grey and blue added to break up those colours.
Arcee's torso is made up mostly of her vehicle mode's bulk which includes having her seat as her abdomen, her headlights as her chest and even having the back of her seat as her tail/ass piece. Her windscreen, front wheel and handlebars are set up to just hang from her back behind her neck. Arcee's head is connected by a white neck piece that is connected by a ball joint, giving her the ability to rotate it up-down and side to side as needed. The actual head is made up mostly of a pink decorated helmet, featuring a frame around her face and a forehead chevron, her face is silver with sculpted feminine features like a mouth and thin chin. Her eyes are able to light up a bright blue thanks to her light-piping gimmick activated from the back of her head.

Arcee's arms are connected to the torso by a connector and ball joint combination, at the shoulder, which is hidden by a pink plate made from a side-piece from her vehicle mode. Her arms are very thin and white and features a pivoting joint under the shoulder guard, a pair of hinges to form her elbows as well as having a hinge on her wrist to allow her hands to be bent inwards or out. Her lower arms feature a small hole designed for her blade weapons, her hands are sculpted with thin fingers, but aren't able to hold anything.

Her legs are connected to her groin area by a ball joint that enables them to move as needed. Her knees are made of a hinge joint that is hidden behind a silver knee-plate leading to her lower leg, which is made of quite a large piece of her motorcycle mode's body, which also includes her split-apart rear wheel. Her feet are made up of small pieces of plastic that can only support her weight with the supports behind them (from the wheels)
Vehicle Mode
Arcee's vehicle mode is a pink and white motorcycle with some silver and black pieces and blue translucent windscreen and headlights. Her wheels are fully rotating (as you'd expect from modern toys) and she features several smaller pieces of detailing to make her more convincing.
If you don't have her blades attached like I have above she is able to stay upright by deploying her kickstand.
Arcee comes with two pink and silver blades that clip into the round holes on her lower arms giving her an over-sized version of the blades she has in the cartoon. These blades are clipped onto the sides of her vehicle mode through a couple of smaller clips on the underside of the blades.
Robot Mode
Bumblebee's robot mode is a mostly yellow and black masculine form with some silver, grey and blue pieces for detailing.
His torso is made of his car hood slit open and rotated to reveal his head, and also featuring several previously hiddenpieces from his vehicle mode (such as his abdomin piece and groin). His car doors and roof are reformed as his now iconic wings in this mode. His head is connected to his torso by a small ball jointed neck piece that allows him to move his head as needed. the head itself is made up mostly of his yellow helmet with chin-strap. This helmet features several ridges and the chin strap covers his mouth (as needed due to his lack of speech), his face is silver and features a sculpted nose and a pair of light-up eyes, which activate thanks to his light piping gimmick.

His arms are connected by a connector and pivot joint combination that uses the front wheels as shoulder pieces, covered by some more previously hiddenpieces. The upper and lower arms are connected by a ball joint each, creating an elbow as well. His lower arms feature holes for his blaster (or any other similar weapon), and the hands themselves are sculpted with fingers and a hidden peg hole for more weapons to be held if needed between the glasping hand, these hands are also able to bend inwards by about 90 degrees if desired.

Bumblebee's legs are connected to his groin by a a pair of pivoting ball joints that allow them to move as needed. His knees are created by a hinge joint, as like Arcee are hidden by a knee pad. The lower legs are mostly made up of the rear of his vehicle mode, including his rear wheels and windows. This of course makes Bumblebee very sound-standing and (shouldn't) fall over that much.
Vehicle Mode
Bumblebee's vehicle mode is a yellow and black sports car designed with a NYC Taxi motif, besides the taxi details this mode differs from the regular Bumblebee in a few ways, such as having a darker yellow and the black stripes being in different locations. His windows and headlights are made of a translucent blue plastic.
This mode also of course features several detailings common on car alternate modes now, such as wheels with hubcaps, eshaust pipes, side mirrors and more.
Bumblebee comes with a single blaster that can clip onto his forearm, this seems a bit odd considering that the RID version comes with 2 blasters, one for each arm. This blaster can be stored in vehicle mode on a couple of clips found on the rear of his undercarriage.
My Final Thoughts
Arcee's colourscheme is of course meant to evoke the colours of G1 Arcee as well, whilst Bumblebee is just himself, but with an NYC Taxi design.
It's likely that this toy set influenced an episode in the Prime TV series which was set in New York city and involved Arcee and Bumblebee as well. The only differences though are that the Autobots stay in their normal colourschemes rather than taking on these new ones, Raf didn't go and was replaced by Miko, and they don't wear these different T-Shirts.
I personally really love this set, the alternate colourschemes used can make it very easy to recast these characters as ones other than Arcee and Bumblebee (so people who hate have doubles on characters can be happy too). The only problem you might have with these figures however is managing to find them, due to them being exclusives they're harder to find at a reasonable price on the after-market (I was lucky to find these guys at Auto Assembly 2012 for just £20 for the set though)
So in short, if you can find these guys for a reasonable price, then I'd suggest you buy them, but don't bankrupt yourself getting them, they aren't THAT great.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Prime - Knock Out

"Knock Out is oily slick; the ultimate salesman. Everyone knows his weapons are dangerous and prone to malfunction, and his installation methods often leave Decepticons scarred or crippled. But who can resist having quantum disintegration at his fingertips?"
Name: Knock Out
Continuity: Aligned
Toy Line: Prime - RID
Faction: Decepticon
Size Class: Deluxe - Revealer

Strength: 6
Intelligence: 8
Speed: 8
Endurance: 5
Rank: 7
Courage: 4
Fireblast: 5
Skill: 4
Robot Mode
Knock Out employs a masculine robot mode in mostly red, purple and grey, like most (if not all) Deluxe sized Prime figures, Knock Out is missing his insignia, but it's clear he's a Decepticon even without it.
Knock Out's torso is mostly made of his vehicle mode car hood with it being folded ina  way to form a chest-design (with headlights as nipples) and even an abdominal area, his lower torso and groin area are formed from hisfront grill and a piece of his undercarriage. His front wheels hang off his back, to resemble the look of his character model (but not quite right).
Knock Out's head is connected to his upper torso by a small ball-joint based connector that allows his to nod and shake his head by a small amount. His face is silver and is surrounded by a red helmet featuring a spiked design on top, the middle spike also leads onto his face a bit creating a nose for himself. His face features a sculpted smirk for a mouth and features a pair of red painted, sculpted eyes.

Knock Out's arms are created mostly from his vehicle mode doors, roof and windows folded in on themselves creating quite a convincing(ish) solid arm, and also featuring what I call (jokingly) Knock Out's wrist mirrors. His hands are connected by a ball joint that allows them to rotate as needed. The hands are sculpted with sharp fingers that surround a hidden peg-hole for his (or someone else's) weapon to be held in.
Thespiked shoulders are connected to his upper torso by a ball joint connector, which leads to a pivot joint and a hinge creating his elbow, all of this gives his arms quite a lot of articulation, which is prefect for an articulate character like Knock Out.

Knock Out's legs are connected to his groin area by a pair of ball join connectors, his upper legs feature pivot joins near the top, so you can rotate them if needed for poses. His knees are created by simple hinge joints which allow them to bend back enough for the backs of his legs to scrape his bum. The lower legs are formed mostly of the rear of his vehicle mode, with his feet created from this rear bumper section creating the heels whilst he has a small trinagle as the front of the feet, connected to the main part of the leg by a small connector-ball joint combo.
Vehicle Mode
Knock Out's vehicle mode is a red and purple sports car with clear plastic windows, headlights, side windows and four working black wheels. This vehicle mode features several aesthetic details like side mirrors, front grill, license plate area, lights etc.
Knock Out's paint job is fairly flat, but the purple parts seem to feature a faded effect from a silver part at the front, which whilst Knock Out probably wouldn't allow such a defacement of his perfect body in the fiction, for the toy line it looks quite nice.
Knock Out features 2 peg holes on his sides that his Battle Spear (or other weapons) can be slotted into.
Knock Out comes with a black "Battle Spear" which can be split into two smaller weapons (it doesn't really work well that way though). This weapon doesn't really like to be placed into Knock Out's hands, except with the small tab on the lower part (see picture at bottom of page).
One positive part of this weapon though is that it can be stored in robot mode very easily on either of the two peg holes on his back. To make it look neater, I tend to have the spear bent at the connecting joint for the two halves and pose it that way.
My Thoughts
Knock Out is a hard one, I personally like him, but I've heard a lot of people say he's not a good figure, this is mostly because of his paint job however, but as you all must know, personal tastes for colourschemes are very subjective to the viewer (much like with artwork in a comic). Another problem people might have with him is that his toy instructions are basically useless, meaning you have to work out how to transform him for yourselves (and the chest formation isn't very clear as to how it's meant to be either), however once you figure it out for yourself, he's a fairly easy figure to deal with though.
My only real issue with this toy is his weapon as it's not that well designed and is very difficult to insert into his hands in an effective pose, and his split spear just looks stupid (so in that case it may be worth getting his Takara version just for the Micron, but nothing else, thanks to that version having lots of hideous holes mounted on him). Another mild issue is that the purple paint job is very sudden, it looks like it was added late in the process, rather than being blended into the red to make it more "natural" looking.
Like I said earlier, the decision to buy this figure depends solely on your own aesthetic standards, if you personally like the look of him with his purple and red paint job, and don't mind spending a while working out the transformation, then go ahead and buy him, otherwise, you might just be happy with skipping over him, or just buying him for the shelf and nothing else.