Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Transformers Review - DotM Action Sets & Tomica Diecast vehicles

From Tomy in Japan this year, for the third Transformers Live Action Movie (Dark of the Moon), a pair of Diecast vehicles were released a couple months back - one of Bumblebee and one of Optimus Prime with a Trailer.  It's the two main characters, so is expected... but I was very impressed by the detailing, and inclusion of a Trailer with Optimus Prime. (I would have expected Optimus to be release without a trailer, like the RPMs & Speedstars vehicles by Hasbro)

The two vehicles in the middle are the Tomy ones, while the ones on the edges are the Hasbro ones for comparison.  As you can see, the Tomy Bumblebee is slightly bigger than the Hasbro vehicle, while the Tomy Optimus is smaller than the Hasbro Optimus. Neither pair are in scale with each other, but the Tomy Optimus was probably made smaller so that it could include the trailer without being too much more expensive than the Bumblebee.
Note that the Tomy Bumblebee has opening doors, and a brighter yellow than the Hasbro version. But neither Tomy vehicles have the robot detailing underneath that the Hasbro ones had (which was a gimmick of theirs).
It is also noteable that the Tomy Bumblebee appears to be the Nascar version that Hasbro released as their Deluxe toy, but wasn't actually in the movie... making this an inaccurate figure.
The Optimus vehicle is about right, and the trailer adds to the versions now available for the DotM toyline (the Action set version, JP Voyager version, JP Chronicle version and the Ultimate version). The only issue I had with mine is that the grey box part of the trailer came apart easily from the blue base. It wasn't secured enough, either as a design flaw or a production flaw with the one I got. And from a design perspective, I would have liked to have the trailer at least open up at the back. It is too small to hold much (maybe a few missiles that are often easy to lose), but would have been a nice touch, or at least given both vehicles opening doors (as Bumblebee's doors open).

I bought these in November from two different sources (because neither source had both), for about $8 for Bumblebee and about $18 for Optimus.  Very expensive, so probably an "acquired taste" type purchase, or something probably best bought cheaper at the source (in Japan).

The other items being reviewed are the Hasbro/Tomy Action Sets for the DotM Movie line.
On Christmas Eve I finally found the last Action Set, so can review them all now, at once.
So far released are 6 regular Action Sets, 2 store-exclusive redecos and one large playset. The regular sets were released in Japan by Tomy, and maybe the large playset, but I don't think they got the 2 store-exclusive redecos though.
No other sets have been announced or expected for the DotM line, so these could well be the only ones now... especially now that we know that the new TFPrime toyline early next year will have a playset/action set concept (making it unlikely they would have two different lines of playsets at the same time).
So these are the sets we have here.
The 6 regular Action Sets
wave 1 - Bumblebee, Starscream
wave 2 - Optimus Prime, Megatron
wave 3 - Ratchet, Shockwave
The 2 store-exclusive redecos  - Bumblebee, Optimus Prime (both came in multi-packs of other figures)
And the large playset - the Ark with Roller.
(click on the image to see it in full-size)

On the right are the Decepticons (slightly outnumbered and outgunned), from the top is Megatron, Shockwave and Starscream.
On the left are the Autobots, with the Ark & Roller in the middle, and Ratchet out the front (the white one). From the top down, the ones "attached" to the Ark is the regular Optimus, the redeco Bumblebee, the regular Bumblebee, and the redeco Optimus.
(the action sets are able to attach to the Ark playset, but I didn't have them attached in this set-up, as the connections didn't line up where I wanted them)

Bumblebee Mobile Battle Bunker -I am so over the actual robot toy of Bumblebee, but the vehicle that came with this one looked nice in photos and in the packaging.  And it lives up to being the best thing of this set. The car-carrying mode is the best mode (the top left image below, but the grey trailer is shown upside down for some reason). The mini stealth-bomber is nice as a flightpack, but sooo out of scale as a stealth-bomber. The two weapons modes are quite good too, with no kibble... although the mode at top right is a bit of a cheat mode from its vehicle mode. 4/5

Starscream Orbital Assault Carrier - The best thing about this set was that the character toy wasn't a redeco of a previously released toy. The Starscream toy wasn't released on its own until 2-3 months later in America, and some 6 months in Australia. The other good thing about this set is that the vehicle accessory in the mode shown in the top right (below) is inspired by the Cybertronian patrol craft in Dark of the Moon, during the occupation of Chicago. The other two modes are bit, meh, though. And probably poor pairing choice, as the colours of both are very similar, making them blend together, despite not being one of the combining Action sets. 3/5

Optimus Prime Armored Weapons Platform - This was actually the first Movie Optimus toy to come with a Trailer, for the Hasbro/western market. The Tomy/Japanese market had a Voyager Optimus with a Trailer, but it would be another 3 months before Hasbro would release another Optimus toy with a Trailer (Ultimate version). Aside from the big gap between panels on the sides of the trailer, it looks really nice with this Optimus toy.  The only flaw was that it had to hook onto the truck in a way that it can't swivel (because the "hook" on the truck is "universal" for the different backpacks packed with the non-Action set releases. The weapons platform looks like the third mode that they designed last, as it doesn't really look like anything. The exosuit and trailer modes appear to be the main focus of this set, and make it worth buying. 4/5

Megatron Blastwave Weapons Base - The thing I like most with this set is the truck & trailer mode. This and the Voyager Megatron toys are probably the only ones we will get from the Movie line that replicate the full form Megatron had in the Movie.  The exosuit doesn't look too good with the "wings" sticking out the sides, while the weapons unit is probably one of the better ones, as it doesn't look like a "fan-mode" alt-mode. 4/5

Autobot Ratchet Lunar Crawler -The colouring of the Ratchet is weird and unnecessarily matches the partner vehicle. Bumblebee wasn't colour matched to its partner vehicle, so there was no need to do it with this one, especially since the other colour matched sets are robots that combine with their partner vehicle.  Probably the one good thing about this one though is that it's partner vehicle is designed and coloured to match Roller from the Ark playset. Then again, I think it is unnecessary, as it is out of scale, so would have been better in a different colour scheme. So the lunar rover mode looks nice, but the other two are pretty lame. The car-carrier mode doesn't work too well, and the weapons unit mode just looks like a squashed lunar rover. 2/5

Shockwave Fusion Tank - This is only one of two Shockwave toys (so far... and probably at all), so it is nice to have a smaller option. And it looked so good in pics... but was probably the most disappointing of the regular sets, and not just because my expectations were so high. The colourings look like it came straight from the Gen1 cartoon, which means it isn't very Movie accurate.  But the colours are the least of the problems with this figure.  The design appears to be very flawed (or maybe I ended up with a production error). The Shockwave figure doesn't transform into the vehicle mode properly. The legs and arms end up sticking out at an angle instead of being parallel like in the packaging pics and instructions. They have to be plugged together, but can't go parallel... as such, it looks wrong and then doesn't fit properly into the partner vehicle like in the top left picture below. I also couldn't get the arm weapons (gun and blade) to fit onto the weapons unit as shown bottom left below - the blade and gun are shown on particular sides of the missile launcher, but can only plug in on the opposite sides to each other. And then finally you have the other weapons unit (top right), which looks the worst of the three modes. So the two modes that look the best, are the two that are affected by design flaws. The best thing about this set ends up being the robot mode of Shockwave... and personally, I would have liked to have seen this set come with a Driller Monster or something homaging it from the Movie. Instead, this seems like a wasted opportunity, that didn't end up working out. 2/5

Autobot Ark with Autobot Roller - One of the first significant playsets released by Hasbro since probably Micromasters. We've had a few figures that came with parts that turned into weapons units, or even the microverse sets in Beast Wars, but an actual playset like this is something fans have been begging for, with just about every series that had a spaceship setting/prop. And the best thing about this set is that it is actually based on the ship in the Movie. The Ark folds out very simply to become a base, so isn't difficult or frustrating. It has enough gimmicks and features from the movie (like the Spacebridge pillars & CR chamber) to keep the kids and collectors happy. The main gimmick is the electronic feature, with a couple lights and sounds... but gets boring real fast. A criticism is that only one missile fires. Roller is a nice figure, but I think having Sentinel Prime packed into this set would have made more sense. The transformation of Roller is a bit too simplistic though, but works to give us two fairly decent modes. 4/5

redeco Bumblebee (Cybertronian Warriors Pack) - Very similar in colouring to the regular set, with the Bumblebee figure.  The Vehicle accessory is all grey this time, instead of half grey of the regular set. So not as interesting as the regular version, and I prefer the army green as it looks more "realistic" than the grey/silver & gold of this version. The other figures in this set are nice, but some odd colourings. 2/5

redeco Optimus Prime (Battle in the Moonlight) - This one has a black trailer (an unintentional homage to the Gen2 black Optimus trailer) and mostly white robot. Everything else is the same as the one above, but since the white looks really wrong, I don't like this version. Even the two figures it came with were ugly colourings, making this one even less desirable. 1/5

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