Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Hasbro TFPrime First Edition waves review

Both Hasbro and Tomy have released 8 action figures in their First Edition waves of this year's new toyline "Transformers Prime".

Hasbro released:
Deluxe wave 1 - Bumblebee, Arcee, Starscream
Deluxe wave 1.5 - Cliffjumper
Voyager - Optimus Prime, Bulkhead
Deluxe 2-pack - Optimus Prime Vs Megatron (plus DVD & 3 Human figurines)
+ Roleplay weapon (Bumblebee Blaster - minor redeco of TF2 Bumblebee Blaster)

Tomy released:
Deluxe - Bumblebee, Arcee, Starscream, Cliffjumper, Vehicon, Megatron (from Hasbro's 2-pack)
Voyager - Optimus Prime, Bulkhead

Note that Tomy released in Japan, Megatron on its own, no Deluxe Optimus (or 2-pack), and the Vehicon in its place.
The Voyagers were all released in robot mode, while Tomy released Deluxes in robot mode... Hasbro released Deluxes in vehicle mode.

I bought all the Hasbro Action Figure versions (it looks like the Tomy versions are identical), but am interested in chasing up the Vehicon figure if Hasbro aren't releasing it until the regular line is launched in March.
If I do get it, it will be reviewed later. I've put off this long enough already.

I managed to get Bumblebee & the 2-pack first from a HongKong source in November, and then found the rest from a Taiwan source in December (which sent it in the two crushed boxes I posted up here).

Initially, the first 3 toys I received didn't impress me... and I wasn't too excited about the remaining figures as I was waiting for them to arrive.
Actually, it seemed that I ended up trying out the worst ones first, with the better ones being the last three I played with (Cliffjumper, Arcee, Starscream)... so much so, that I even felt compelled to comment about how great the Cliffjumper toy was on the Ozformers forum (the Australian Transformers Fan forum). It was the first Transformers toy in a long time that I was totally impressed about.
But more on that in a minute.

These are the Hasbro First Edition figures so far.

From left is the SDCC Optimus (back), Bulkhead (front), Voyager Optimus, 2-pack Optimus, Bumblebee, humans, Cliffjumper, Starscream, Megatron (back), Arcee (front).
The only thing missing is the NYCC 2-pack (Bumblebee in Taxi deco, Arcee in pink/white, 2 human figurines)... which is supposed to be in transit.

The Deluxes in Vehicle mode.
And a better shot of the four single-packed Deluxes.
(Click on the pic for a full-size, deliciously articulated group-shot) :p
The Voyagers in Robot mode (with 2-pack Optimus for comparison).
And in their Vehicle modes.

Up first, SDCC Optimus Prime.
Released around August at the American SDCC event, this was probably more interesting because of the special packaging, and it being such an advance "sneak peek" at the next Transformers toyline (seven months before the regular line would be launched).
The toy itself was a bit fiddly, and was somewhere between the difficulty of a Movie Deluxe (frustrating) and a Classicverse Deluxe (fun). There was still a Movie feel to the design of this figure, and could have been a little simpler I think. Both modes look fairly good, but the robot mode is probably the weaker of the two with the big square back-pack. Since this figure was re-released in the 2-pack (with a couple of very minor colour differences), I think get the 2-pack if you just want this as a Deluxe Optimus toy. But if you want the whole fancy presentation of this packaging, it's a nice set. 3/5

After the Optimus toy, this was the next one I acquired... and it is the worst of the First Edition Deluxes. It has poor body proportions in robot mode, over-complicated transformation (more than it needed), unusable weapon storage in vehicle mode (doesn't go on easily or stay on), as well as some redundant moveable parts (like the chest panels that are meant to move a mere millimetre. This figure is being re-released in the launch wave, with a fix to the weapon problem, but not the engineering & proportion issues. Look at how top-heavy that robot mode is, with tiny legs and huge boot-feet.
Considering that Hasbro would have needed to rush the development of these Prime toys to get them out as soon as possible after Animated was axed, it seems they over-complicated this toy... to the point that it won't be much fun for the new kiddies they are trying to hook into this new era of Transformers.
Bumblebee is the character/toy that they are expecting will be the kids & parents first choice when delving into Transformers after watching the new cartoon... so it should have been the easiest and "fun-est" toy of the main Deluxe-sized cast.
It starts out well enough with the legs (from car mode), but after figuring out the "auto-morph" feature of the feet, the rest of the toy is annoyingly fiddly. The arms, chest, neck, shoulders... all more complicated than they need to be.
The front-bumper/chest halves are even meant to split downward, but the one side that does (on mine), only splits so slightly that it isn't even noticeable enough (to wonder why they even bothered creating extra pieces to do it).... even the packaging/official pics don't even show it.
The middle of the robot chest has an autobot symbol, but if you move the chest halves (or even while you are playing with the toy making it move), the symbol gets covered up.
I'd probably recommend a smaller size-class version of this character... but we are likely to have hundreds of Bumblebee toys in this series as well.  1/5


One of the things I like with this toy, as others have commented on the Ozformers forum, is the way the robot mode has totally captured the Prime series Starscream, down to his skulking, scrawny frame & articulation, and devious, suspicious looking face. He can even pose himself in a way that makes him look like the snivelling coward of Starscream in many-a-series.
The Transformation was a lot easier than expected, and after the dreadful Bumblebee (and Voyager figures which I had played with first), this one was a lot more fun to convert and play with in both modes.
The missiles probably should have been fixed or left off, as they (like the Bumblebee gun) are way too small, making them easily lost (or even a choking hazard).
I was glad that there was at least a couple First Edition toys to bring up the standard of this new series, and this is one of them. 4/5


The first of two moulds of this very brief character, this one impressed me so much that I had to rave about it to others on a public forum (which I don't feel comfortable enough to do much anymore).
It was a little fiddly, but not as bad as other figures. I was just amazed at how the arms and leg bits fold together, into proper limbs, from an accurate car mode... without it cheating like many movie toys by being a shell-former.
And not only is it kibble-less in robot mode, with great overall proportions - it actually incorporates the front of the car mode into the back of the robot, by way of hinges to fold up against the robot (most figures just have a back panel just hanging off or away from the actual body of the robot). That was very impressed by that. Whoever designed the engineering of this figure - I am in awe of their abilities.
A "must buy" figure... even if you don't like TFPrime or intend to buy any of the toys. If there was anything that could possibly improve this figure, I'd have to say including a weapon would be the only thing that could.
I just don't see how the next Deluxe Cliffjumper mould (in the launch of the line) could possibly outdo this one. 5/5

The rest of the reviews later - I have to go to work. :(

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